#TheBahamas, June 1, 2022 – Less than one week after insurance companies asked the Insurance Commission to allow them to invest in U.S. funds, a leading businessman is calling for a lifting of similar restrictions on the consumer, declaring that Bahamians should be allowed to seek coverage from companies outside the jurisdiction.
“The laws that govern how and where Bahamians can obtain health and life insurance hurt the average middle class Bahamian the most,” said real estate pioneer and social entrepreneur Mario Carey. “The insurance companies want the right to invest abroad and I believe as Bahamians we should have the right to seek health and whole life insurance abroad.”
Carey’s comments came in the wake of news that a leading underwriter was seeking an exemption to the insurance regulations that forbid Bahamian insurance providers from investing in foreign entities.
“I understand the good intention of those restrictions given the failure of one insurer whose holdings outside The Bahamas brought the company down, but while there are lessons to be learned from that, the consumer need not be punished because of it. We should insist on insurance rights, including the right to seek competitive rates, terms and provisions, just as the wealthy who have more than one address can do, or large businesses with numerous holdings that may be registered elsewhere do.”
Carey, who founded Better Homes and Gardens MCR Bahamas and is CEO of Mario Carey Ventures, enterprises aimed at social entrepreneurship, said current policies are especially hard on caregivers of elderly parents or offspring with special needs. His adult son registers on the high end of Asperger’s, the highest functioning form of the autism spectrum and Carey worries about how he will be cared for.
“As it stands now, a policy dies when the policyholder passes away, so for the policyholder who predeceases his or her parents, who is going to cover the health insurance costs if the policyholder is no longer alive? Who is going to provide the health care coverage for a child who is severely disabled and needs frequent, expensive medical attention if the health insurance policy is only good as long as the original policyholder lives and breathes, even if they bought it primarily to protect their loved ones? Do they go to their grave knowing they have left someone imperiled with no life boat to grab hold of?”
The answer, Carey believes, is twofold – allow funds to buy policies so the policy continues to live so long as the fund exists. Secondly, he says, allow Bahamians to shop and compare.
“We don’t force people to buy cars only from Bahamian auto dealers, why should we require Bahamians to buy health insurance – one of the most significant investments you will ever make – only in The Bahamas? While everything else around us has changed, we’ve been doing insurance the same way in The Bahamas since the middle of the last century,” said Carey. “I think it’s time we take a good look at the industry, how it serves clients, what we can do to improve it. There are some serious questions we need to ask. How do we ensure client rights? What we can learn from other places where there is a more liberal policy as to who can own a policy? In other places, a policy can be purchased by or through a fund that holds it and it provides options for the beneficiary or insured.”
Carey said he is far from alone in urging a more responsive insurance industry.
“We all know someone who is complaining about fighting for their rights to get a claim paid or a policy reinstated, even a policy they may have paid on for 20 years but had to let lapse to put food on the table during COVID-19 when they were out of work,” said Carey.
Carey, who has enjoyed a successful career in real estate closing in on $2 billion in transactions, has devoted much of the last two years to finding solutions for a host of issues. Also on the drawing table – a regional disaster recovery centre in southwest New Providence that would transform the former Bacardi plant and its 100,000 square feet of enclosed space into a readiness launching pad from which everything from helicopters to generators, tents to nonperishables can be sent as disaster strikes, saving time and lives.
“Look around you,” says Carey. “Everything has changed over the last 20 years, the phone you are using, the computer you are typing or designing on, even the way you get your news. Yet insurance, one of the most important basics of a well-planned life, has remained much the same as it was 50 years ago except that you may get your statement by email. It’s time to take a look, a serious look and see how we can bring it into the 21st century.”
Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis’ Remarks at the COP28 Green Climate Blue Co Launch
#TheBahamas, December 7, 2023 – We are here today because we are short on time and even shorter on the resources needed to empower every nation in the world to respond to an increasingly dire climate crisis.
We are approaching the tipping point from which there will be no return. At our current rate, the world will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold sometime within the next two decades.
The window of opportunity is closing.
But it is not closed yet.
And as long as there is even a small opening, just a sliver of time left for us to take action, there is still hope that we can save the world from the worst-case climate change scenarios.
I’ve travelled the globe representing Small Island Developing States like mine which have contributed the least to global carbon emissions but are already experiencing the worst effects of climate change.
Global inaction will soon threaten our continued existence as nations, but we will do everything within our power to avoid this outcome.
The Bahamas is here this week at COP 28 to invite the people of the world to partner with us and all vulnerable states to face this existential threat together.
As a region, the Caribbean has seen the results of our advocacy take shape in the form of the Loss and Damage fund to help us recover from the destruction already wrought on our nations. And we will continue to push for greater access to financing opportunities as we seek to protect our shorelines, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and invest in a renewable and sustainable future.
Through collaborative action, we will also create new industries and generate demand for novel solutions. Solving the world’s most pressing problems has always been good for business. We are entering an era of socially responsible investments, regenerative financing, and ESG finance. And the Caribbean is prepared to lead the way. In fact, if we want to continue to thrive as a region, we have no choice but to lead the way.
My country has been hit by four major hurricanes over the past few years. Over a third of our national debt is directly linked to the impact of storms, causing billions in damages that threaten the economic and fiscal health of our nation and people. With the situation projected to worsen at its current rate, we have gone all-in on making the necessary investments to solve our climate woes. Our future as a nation depends on it.
So, today, I applaud the Green Climate Fund for its efforts to support the developing world in creating climate-resilient pathways to a sustainable future. This is life-saving work.
With the approval of the application for preparation funds to finance the development of the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordination Programme, we fully expect to see new, effective solutions emerge for the people of the Caribbean.
The Blue Co Caribbean project will provide the foundation for strategic investments at a scale not possible without embracing the spirit of cooperation and co-investment through this Caribbean-targeted, climate-focused investment opportunity.
Through this platform, Caribbean nations will be empowered to strengthen their blue economy frameworks and develop data-backed projects that can then be replicated and scaled across the region. My nation, as one of the world leaders in the research and development of blue carbon credits as a viable source of revenue generation, looks forward to the ways that Blue Co will strengthen The Bahamas’ mission to develop home-grown solutions that can fund a climate-resilient future for our people.
It turns out that saving the world isn’t just good for people, it’s also good for business.
Just yesterday, we were privileged to host a discussion on the Bahamas Sustainable Investment Programme, which will generate up to $500 million for climate-related investments. This is a testament to our commitment and resolve to generate our own innovative solutions to the climate crisis. And we are by no means standing alone.
Within the Caribbean, we have the passion, motivation, and expertise to drive the success of this initiative. There is no doubt in my mind that Blue Co can and will serve as a model for other regions to follow.
I invite all interested parties to reach out, get involved, and together we will save countless lives and livelihoods on our way to building a more resilient, renewable, and prosperous future for all nations.
Bahamas Joins U.S. Embassy Test of Emergency Response
The exercise illustrated excellent coordination between the Embassy, Royal Bahamas Police Force, and Royal Bahamas Defence Force. During the exercise, the security partners practiced responding to a hostile attack on the Embassy. In addition to testing communications between partners, the exercise included mock arrests, the evacuation of Embassy staff, and emergency medical services to “injured” civilians.
These emergency preparedness exercises help evaluate the Embassy’s ability to protect its staff and installations during an emergency. We want to thank our Bahamian partners for participating in the exercise and supporting emergency preparedness. As our American founding father Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.”
1st insert: The Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team joins the RBDF as it searches for suspects along Queen Street in an emergency preparedness exercise held on Tuesday, November 21.
2nd insert: The Royal Bahamas Defence Force conducts a sweep of Queen Street as a part of the U.S. Embassy emergency response drill.
3rd insert: A U.S. marine detains a gunman in a mock exercise held on Tuesday, November 21.
Ashley Albury Marks A World YWCA First
#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – For the first time in the global movement’s 168-year-old history, a Bahamian will serve on the World YWCA Board headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Ashley Albury, 25, was elected as a board member during the 30th World YWCA Council Meeting held this week.
Executive Director of the Young Women’s Christian Association of The Bahamas (YWCA Bahamas), Rosalie Fawkes, described the occasion as a “red-letter day” for the organization.
“I sincerely thank all of the YWCA women who have played a role in mentoring and supporting Ashley’s candidacy and we wish her well as she embraces this new opportunity for growth and development. May this occasion mark a renewed effort to continue building the membership and participation of our youthful population,” said Ms. Fawkes.
On the World YWCA Board as the second Caribbean representative is Adrianna Sosa from Haiti. Adrianna also made history four years ago when at the age of 19, she became the youngest member ever to be elected to the World Board. Today she is running as a candidate for World YWCA Vice President.
It was in 2015 that Ashley wrote via Facebook to YWCA Bahamas inquiring about its program offerings. That simple act eventually led to an active involvement in the life of the YWCA.
Ms. Fawkes added, “Ashley has successfully navigated the world of technology for the association; constructed our website – www.ywcabahamas.org; established a YWCA Collegiate Chapter at the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI); used her graphic design skills in newsletter preparation; served on the YWCA’s Board of Management; built an archives and storage drop box in the clouds; became a faithful member of the YWCA’s Bible Study and Fellowship Group and recently joined the finance team at the YWCA – and all of this while continuing to further her education.”
Ashley said, “Being elected to the YWCA World Board as a Caribbean representative from The Bahamas fills me with immense pride and a deep sense of duty. This role is more than a position; it is a pledge to elevate and empower women and girls not just in the region but across the world. The unique perspectives and vibrant cultures of elected members will contribute significantly to the achievement of the YWCA’s mission and vision.”
She continued, “I appreciate YWCA Bahamas for nominating me and voting delegates for seeing me as a well-suited nominee. This is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and to represent the vibrant spirit and resilience of the Young Women’s Christian Association of The Bahamas.”
Header: Ashley Albury, 25, is the first Bahamian elected to serve on the World YWCA Board.
Insert: Pictured are past and current board members of the Young Women’s Christian Association of The Bahamas (YWCA Bahamas). YWCA Bahamas Executive Director Rosalie Fawkes is seated in the center and Ashley Albury is standing at the far right.
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