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Summit of the Americas elevates hemispheric challenges, Bahamas PM vocal

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#TheBahamas, June 17, 2022 – “The Americas are challenged by crisis.” This was the statement made by the Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis during his contribution to the Plenary Session of the 9th Summit of the Americas on June 10, 2022.

“Climate, COVID and conflict have undermined our safety and our security,” he said. He went further to ask some thought-provoking questions: “Have we done enough here, at this gathering, to relieve suffering? To promote peace? To fight for the economic dignity of our People? “Will the work we carried out here continue once the spotlight and the world’s attention has moved on?”

He said the work and fine words do not count unless the people are told that the leaders have laid a true foundation for their progress.

Hinting back to the Summit in 2019, he said it is evident that the good intentions and optimism of that gathering did not translate into enduring advancement.

“Indeed, some countries in our hemisphere have become more unequal and more violent… across the Americas, the scourges of racism and discrimination appear to be on the rise. Emerging moral and technological challenges to our democratic norms threaten our capacity to deliver free and fair elections, and effective governance.” He added that all the mentioned challenges are “eclipsed by the existential threat of climate change.”

He expressed thanks to President Biden and Vice-President Harris and the people of the United States, to host and facilitate the dialogue and cooperation because none of the mentioned issues can be resolved by one nation.

Davis added, however, that “multilateral engagement at the highest levels happens too infrequently – certainly when it comes to issues which are important to the Caribbean,” he added. “But if the work of this Summit continues, if the will to cooperate endures, if words turn into action –change can lead to progress, and we can move forward.”

He highlighted several key factors affecting the region’s development, like hurricanes and other natural disasters that result in injury and debt, Covid-19 and the lack of sufficient healthcare workers, disinformation, and the illegal shipment of guns and movement of people. He also hinted at a topical issue, which suited the occasion as some countries were not invited to the Summit.

“It is easy to talk with those with whom we agree, but we must also be able to talk with those with whom we disagree. In fact, sometimes those are the conversations that are most urgently needed,” he said.  Prime Minister Davis noted that all the countries in the hemisphere faced overlapping developmental, security and democratic challenges. Collaboration and collective action can only be of mutual benefit. The absence of the Republic of Cuba has made these deliberations less complete,” added the Prime Minister.

“We must also be mindful of the unintended consequences of isolation and separation,” he said as he shared that more could be done to provide support for Haitians.

He noted that for the institutions within the Inter-American system to fulfil their potential, there should be some rethinking or re-calibrating. He added that the Organisation of American States (OAS), in particular, required both a structural and cultural adjustment.

As the Prime Minister ended his presentation, he called for not just more talking but also that participants “keep ‘doing — upholding our commitments and taking the action necessary for our collective survival.”

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Bahamas News

GBPA welcomes EY’s New Office to Freeport

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#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has approved a business license for EY Bahamas Ltd., who is set to open a new office in Freeport.

With more than 300,000 employees globally, EY provides assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions services to businesses, countries and entrepreneurs. Significant economic impact from this investment will stem from the need for local housing, food and beverage, entertainment, transportation and more.

“We are pleased to welcome EY to Freeport,” said Ian Rolle, GBPA’s President.  “GBPA has been working with EY to take advantage of the BH-1B Visa program, which provides a significant opportunity for us to welcome more people to our city. We are looking forward to the economic boost to local businesses including grocery stores, taxis, car rentals, the housing market, restaurants and more. The ripple effects as a result of EY’s new footprint in Freeport will be a positive addition to our business community.”

GBPA and EY began serious discussions in 2019 prior to Hurricane Dorian regarding the benefits of operating in Freeport’s Special Economic Zone.  Since then, GBPA continued building its relationship with the firm and further helped them to understand the benefits of the BH-1B visa, which allows them to use Freeport to support their client’s needs across the region and globe.  Besides attracting local Bahamian and international talent, EY was drawn to Freeport’s proximity to North America, its safe environment, technology infrastructure and more.

EY has operated in The Bahamas for decades, providing rewarding careers for Bahamians. In its new Freeport location, EY will offer its clients solutions utilizing global talent, while creating new opportunities for employment and training for Grand Bahamians.

“Our Invest Grand Bahama promotional arm is dedicated to attracting these types of businesses that can benefit from our unique Free Trade Zone. We will continue to do our part as we promote the best Freeport has to offer,” Mr. Rolle concluded.

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RM Bailey’s Class of 2022 told, go where your heart leads you; be courageous, innovative, be your best

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By: Kathryn Campbell

Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, June 22, 2022 – Vice-President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Barry Griffin appealed to R.M. Bailey Senior High School’s Class of 2022 to be advocates of change and to use their voices to encourage good governance and constant innovation.

Senator Griffin was the guest speaker at the school’s commencement exercise Monday, June 20, at Charles Saunders Auditorium. “Empowered to Make What Seems Impossible – Possible” was the theme for the event.

“What we need now from our leaders is a sense of urgency. There has long been this feeling in The Bahamas, and in particular the upper echelons of our country, that we have comfort and we can manage to navigate the twists and turns that come our way,” said Senator Griffin.

“But what Hurricane Dorian has taught us, what the pandemic has taught us, what the inflation and rising costs of gas, electricity and food has taught us is — something that those at the fringes of our society have known for far too long — that comfort we feel will not last for long.”

To make the change, he remarked that the love of an old  “anachronistic” system that no longer serves the nation and its students must be removed.

He appealed for expanded opportunities for all, structural changes in the economy and in politics.

“We must begin to call a spade a spade — we have a problem of inequality, a problem of equal access to opportunity and a problem of failed politics. And graduates the only way that changes, is by you making your voices heard.”

He offered the following advice to the graduates:

  1. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules.
  2. Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.
  3. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, both are equally important.
  4. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.
  5. There is no script. Live your life the way you want.
  6. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
  7. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
  8. Failure is the condiment that gives success flavour.
  9. Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
  10. Go where your heart leads you — and do everything you desire — act as if it were impossible for you to fail.

“My advice is to be bold, to be you, to embrace failure, and to live as if everything is possible.

“It is my hope that you run out of here excited, leaning forward into the wind and ready to take the world by storm,” he said.

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Bahamas Lobbies US Congress and Senate for Hurricane Restoration and Mitigation Assistance

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#TheBahamas, June 17, 2022 – On Monday and Tuesday, June 12th and 13th 2022, a Bahamian ministerial delegation comprising Minister of Works & Utilities Alfred M. Sears, QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, Frederick Mitchell, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Ryan Pinder, Ambassador Wendall Jones and their respective technical and support staff met with various US Government officials in Washington, D.C.  The purpose of these meetings was to lobby for financial assistance from the United States Government to support Hurricane Dorian restoration projects in Abaco and Grand Bahama as well as infrastructural improvement around the AUTEC Base in Andros.

Attending these meetings were United States Senators, Congresspersons and their respective Staff members including:-

  1. Senator Brian Schatz (D – HI), Member of Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense, and Military Construction; Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management
  2. Senator Marco Rubio (R – FL), Vice Chairman of Select Committee on Intelligence, Member of Appropriations Subcommittees on Military Construction and State and Foreign Operations; Ranking Member on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere
  3. Senator Jon Tester (D – MT), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense; Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction
  4. Congressman Mike Waltz (R – FL), Member of the House Armed Services Committee
  5. Congressman John Rutherford (R – FL), Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction
  6. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D – FL), Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  7. Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D – FL), Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
  8. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D – CA), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations
  9. Senator Bill Hagerty (R – TN), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management; Member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere; Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Military Construction and State and Foreign Operations
  10. Congressman Ken Calvert (R – CA), Ranking Member of Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
  11. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D – MN), Chair of the AppropriationsSubcommittee on Defense
  12. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D – FL), Chair of theAppropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction
  13. Congressman Gregory Meeks (D – NY), Chair of the House Foreign AffairsCommittee
  14. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D – CA), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee

This trip was made pursuant to a Cabinet decision that the Government, in partnership with a local Bahamian foundation, engaged the US law firm of Holland & Knight to lobby the United States Government for financial assistance to support hurricane restoration and mitigation in The Bahamas.

The delegation thanks the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for his commitment and continued support of this engagement.

The Government of the Bahamas expresses gratitude to Holland & Knight and its partner Jim Davis for coordinating this initiative, and also to the talented team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bahamas Embassy in Washington, in particular Ms. Farrah Styles, Leshia Deveaux and Jade Williams, for facilitating the work of the delegation.

The Government also thanks the members of the US Senate and Congress and their staff for meeting with our delegation and for their expressions of support for The Bahamas.

The Bahamas remains committed to its partnership with the United States through its bilateral agreements, inter-locking borders and shared values.

The delegation returned to The Bahamas on Wednesday, June 14, 2022.

 

Release: Bahamas Information Services/ Ministry of Works and Utilities

Photo Captions:

Header: Pictured from left to right: Ambassador Wendall Jones, Minister Frederick Mitchell, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Minister Alfred Sears and Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

1st insert: Pictured left to right: Ambassador Wendall Jones, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Jim Davis, Minister Alfred Sears and Attorney General Leo Ryan Pinder.

2nd insert: Pictured left to right: Minister Alfred Sears, Minister Frederick Mitchell, Senator Bill Hagerty, Attorney General Leo Ryan Pinder and Ambassador Wendall Jones.

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