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MASK AND COVID TESTING MANDATES END FOR THE BAHAMAS

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, October 1, 2022 – The Bahamas is looking ahead to another roll back on restrictions as the precautions set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic fade away.  October 1 ends the mandate for face masks in The Bahamas; it’s another policy being recalled as the world embraces a new normal, where face coverings are optional.

In a snap measure, the minister of health for the Bahamas, Michael Darville also this month ended the COVID 19 testing entry requirement for the unvaccinated.  It makes The Bahamas, as a leading tourism destination, more affordable and more accessible as evidence supports that it does not also mean a spike in Covid cases.

Prime Minister Phillip Davis announced that the mask mandate change from New York, following his appearance at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and while attending the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.  However, it is not masks off for everyone:  medical facilities, aged care centers and schools will keep the rule.

The decision was met with applause by President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, Darrin Woods who said this move will undoubtedly improve tourism numbers and contribute to the nation’s economic recovery.

Additionally, President of The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Robert Sands, said the time for mask mandate and Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated travellers had long passed. He believes that removing this protocol will level the playing field since other rivals in the tourism industry have already done so.

Already, long stay guests to The Bahamas were exempt from mask wearing on hotel properties.

At this point, some 173,000 Bahamas residents have been fully vaccinated and in the September 26 health report; three patients were in intensive care from the virus of the 132 active and only one new case had been recorded in Nassau.

 

Bahamas News

Bahamas Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization Partner to Empower Women-Led Businesses 

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Nassau Bahamas, 29 February 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) are excited to announce the signing of a groundbreaking contract aimed at advancing the Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund’s Building Back Equal project.

The initiative is jointly led by UN Women, FAO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It will support women-led businesses in the agriculture, creative, and tourism industries, and will serve as a regional pilot for best practices in gender equitable financing in advancing small island developing states (SIDS).

Gavin Christie, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Deputy Chairman, said, “This partnership signifies a significant step forward for BDB, FAO, and the nation at large. It underscores BDB’s dedication to driving inclusive economic development and gender equality, aligning with the sustainable development goals. As we support and empower women-led businesses, we are fostering social growth and sustainability in The Bahamas.”

Nicholas Higgs, the Bahamas Development Bank’s Managing Director, added, “The collaboration with FAO underlines our commitment to not only bolster the economy but to also ensure that women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this advancement. By providing these targeted funds, we aim to catalyze a transformation in the industries that help form the backbone of our economy. This initiative is not just about financial investment, but also about investing in the skills and capabilities of women-led enterprises. The empowerment of women is a cornerstone for resilient and sustainable economies, and BDB is proud to lead by example. Through these efforts, we aspire to create a ripple effect that will not only uplift women within The Bahamas but also set a precedent for gender equity in funding across the region and globe.”

BDB is the national coordinating authority on the Joint SDG Fund and has played a crucial role in shaping the project’s design and implementation. The total contract allocation to BDB for the FAO-funded section of the project is $186,000. The proposed blended financing instrument is a collaboration between BDB and FAO, and will combine capital from the Bahamas Development Bank with non-reimbursable funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The strategic partnership will provide women-led businesses with access to low-cost capital after undergoing technical capacity development. A portion of the funds will also be allocated to a grants program.

BDB will also sign a similar agreement with UN Women, which will add a further $100,000 to the fund for women-led businesses and further showcase its commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in diverse sectors.

The Bahamas Development Bank is implementing a streamlined approach to its adjudication process to facilitate a faster decision-making process, ultimately ensuring expedited access to funding for women-led beneficiaries in the program. An announcement regarding applications will be announced in March.

 

Photo Caption: Standing from left to right are the Bahamas Development Bank’s (BDB) Deputy Managing Director, Dave Munroe; United Nations Country Representative, Aneesah Abdullah; BDB Deputy Chairman, Gavin Christie; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Representative, Alexis Bonte; FAO Bahamas Representative, Precious Fortune-Thompson; BDB Board Member, Kyron Strachan; BDB Strategic Development and Initiatives Manager, Sumayyah Cargill and FAO Bahamas National Correspondent, Keith Phillipe.

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Bahamas News

Storm Chasers Gear Up !

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 27th, 2024 – In the unfortunate event of a hurricane when most people are huddled in bed there’s a group of around 287 people across The Bahamas and soon to come, the Turks and Caicos islands who are in the storm working keenly to provide invaluable insight to meteorologists about the real life impact and intensity of weather events.  This is already benefiting The Bahamas department of meteorology, and very soon the Turks and Caicos Islands will also stand to gain.  The origin group is Stormwatch Bahamas, which is moving assertively now to hatching Stormwatch Turks and Caicos. We spoke to Craig Lowe, Founder and Storm Rescue Unit Captain for The Bahamas.

 

“It’s all about growing the weather community and protecting the public.” he explained.

 

That depends on much needed partnerships with locally emergency agencies. This weekend for the first time a Skywarn Instructor from the National Weather Service will be training both teams to take on the huge task of becoming a Storm Chaser. TCI is already equipped with the president and several volunteers but Lowe says they are always accepting more.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Record Tourism Arrivals 2023

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Tourism, February 27th, 2024 – The Bahamas tourism sector set a new tourism record with over 9 million arrivals in 2023, an unprecedented milestone according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation. Air arrivals climbed by 17 percent and cruise arrivals 43.5 percent. This indicates a 38 percent increase over 2022, solidifying The Bahamas as a sought after destination in the Caribbean. 

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