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Ten year old blows the judges away with vegan dishes In Young Chef Junior High Culinary Contest




Bahamas Information Services


#Nassau, The Bahamas, October 29, 2022 – A water leak at her station in the newly renovated kitchen at L.W. Young Junior High School did not deter 10-year-old Amina Eneas, a student of Akhepran International Academy, from grabbing the top spot in the 2022 Bahamas Young Chef Culinary Competition.

Her guava infused jasmine rice dish (topped with pigeon pattie) and lemon no-bake vegan cheesecake and triple-layered lemon walnut cookie with guava cheesecake filling on crispy banana leaf coils won first place in the New Providence District with a whopping 910 points.

The aspiring chef and doctor (surgeon or gynecologist) has advanced to the national round of the junior division set for the week of November 7th.  She beat four students for a first place finish in the New Providence District Competition.

Amina’s flour and rice vegan dishes blew away the judges.  Chef Joel Johnson, one of six judges, declared, “She did a wonderful job.”

“Her bean pattie was really good: I watched you try it, taste it, messed it up, restarted it, corrected it at least twice — before she finally put it on a plate. The rice flavor was awesome; the salsa was on point. The presentation was clean, simple. This is the type of stuff that want to I see as an appetizer in a restaurant.”

Chef Johnson said he was “completely shocked” by Amina’s dessert. “The fact that you made all of these sauces was impressive. I was not expecting the flavors. When she told me it was an avocado mousse I was expecting something completely different. When I tasted it I was thoroughly impressed. Everything was unique and I think that’s what a lot of people coming into competitions tend to miss.  Because you’re in a competition you want to go so big you forget that you should be nice, simple and clean.”

He also praised Amina for her presentation (plating) and the flavor in her dishes. “You have a lot of growing to do, so I can only imagine that it gets better.”

Chef Clement Williams agreed. “The flavors, texture and combination — I could not believe you were 10-years-old and so calm. You worked in water, you were at a disadvantage, everything started leaking and running from you but you stayed right there. Your poise for a 10-year-old was way beyond expectation. The dish is really good.”

After two hours in the kitchen followed by interviews with the judges, who are all professional chefs, Raquel Turnquest, Education Officer, Family and Consumer Science Unit, revealed the winners: Rishantae Spence of A.F. Adderley placed second; Deja Taylor, a student of Queen’s College, and Destiny Cleare of L.W. Young Junior High School earned a statistical tie for third place; and Ezra Pinder, a student of S.C. McPherson Junior High School finished fourth.

Amina, whose Mom coached her to success, said she felt “great” and was “happy” that the contest was over.

“I put a lot of time and work into it and practiced the two dishes until very late into the night.”

Before the 10:00 am start, Ms. Turnquest thanked the students. “We thank you very much for persevering to the end.  Others started practicing but could not make it across the finish line for the semi-finals so we congratulate you for making it to this point.  You are the future of culinary arts in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. We look forward to great things from each and every one of you,” she said.

She also acknowledged Krizzia Williams, who represented Robin Hood Flour and Mahatma Rice, which along with the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, sponsored the contest now into its 30th year.

The students were required to use any of the rice and flour products to design, prepare, cook and present their dishes based on the theme “Bahamian Culinary Arts: Sustainability Across Land and Sea.”

Chief Judge Chef Gerald Rolle introduced the judges. They were: Chef Michael Adderley, Chef Addiemae Farrington, Chef Celeste Smith, Chef Joel Johnson and Chef Clement Williams.

Chef Rolle congratulated the junior students and advised them to produce the items what they have been practicing throughout the past weeks. “Be confident in what you do. This is a fun event. Ensure that the equipment is working and that you have all the ingredients that you need,” he said.

Alan Orreal, VP of Culinary Operations and Ludovic Audaux, Senior Executive Pastry Chef at Atlantis, Paradise Island, dropped by to view the students at work.

The VP said, “We’re here today to have a look at the high school students competing in the national competition. Atlantis plays a really large role in food and beverage in hospitality in the country. We feel it’s important to support, and not only be seen to be supporting — but actually provide support.

“The first impressions are really strong.  The students are really engaged in what they are doing,” he said.

Chef Audaux was also impressed with the work of the budding chefs and sees a “bright” future in culinary arts in the country.  He declared they like involving new talents, and that it often turns out best when those talents start developing early.

Following interviews with the students and presentations of dishes, Ms. Turnquest reminded the students that they are all winners. “You have persevered and come to this level to represent the entire island of New Providence for junior high school students. Just for you to make it to this point — understand that you are all winners.  You have done an excellent job and I look forward to seeing you at the nationals.”

Chef Rolle commended the students and their coaches for the presentation of their tables. “The displays on the tables were some of the best we’ve seen in years. I love it….  You put thought and time into it. Well done!”


Photo Captions: 

BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna


Header: Amina’s winning dishes.

1st insert: Amina Eneas is pictured preparing her dishes during the contest.

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U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”



#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic



#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation on Visitor Arrivals



#TheBahamas, January 30, 2023 – The Ministry of Tourism is extremely excited to announce that visitor arrivals to The Bahamas eclipsed seven million in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic tourism numbers.
In total 7,000,706 visitors came to The Bahamas in 2022.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper praised The Bahamas’ performance and the work put in by industry professionals across the board.

“The fact that we have exceeded expectations and attracted more than 7 million visitors to our country in 2022, something only done once before in a single year was no accident,” he said.

“Countless stakeholders in the Bahamian tourism industry, including our international partners, worked tirelessly to achieve this. We sought to strengthen relationships to open new air routes. We sought to make travel to The Bahamas easier, more accessible, and affordable and took the message that we were open for business during our Missions and provided insight on our wonderful offerings to the world.”

DPM Cooper forecasted that 2023 promises to shatter even pre-pandemic numbers as interest in the Bahamas and our brand reputation have never been stronger.

“According to statistics the second half of 2022 outperformed the second half of 2019,” he said. In 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to our shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea.

Nassau and Grand Bahama remained our most popular destinations by air, while Nassau and The Berry Islands remained our most popular destinations by sea.  Foreign air and sea arrivals for 2022 were up by 233 percent over the same period in 2021 and just 3.4 percent shy of record arrivals in 2019.  December 2022 saw total arrivals eclipse 900,000 visitors, more than any month in our history.  Cruise arrivals in 2022 increased by nearly 400 percent over 2021 and were less than 1 percent below 2019 cruise arrivals.

Air and cruise arrivals monthly from July to December 2022 surpassed the corresponding month in 2019.
Occupancy rates for 2022 eclipsed occupancy rates for every corresponding month in 2021.

The average daily room rate in 2022 outperformed that category for every corresponding month in 2021. The Bahamas carved out new ground with more than 55 percent of first-time arrivals to The Bahamas, with increases in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

DPM Cooper confirmed that the last six months are the strongest The Bahamas has ever seen.  He firmly concluded by saying; “What the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation are forecasting so far and what forward bookings indicate, is that we are on track to break records in 2023. We don’t see this slowing down anytime soon.”

Mrs. Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism added that everyone should understand that tourism is critical to our economy and all Bahamians, even those who do not directly work in the tourism industry, should always seek to lift the industry up.

“We are all in the tourism business in The Bahamas. And it’s a great business to be in. We want to keep our brand fresh and evergreen. And that’s everyone’s job, especially mine. I have a great, hardworking team at our ministry and we have some incredible things in store this year.”

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