By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
NBA’s Buddy Hield appointed as Ambassador
#BuddyHield#Bahamas, February 19th, 2024 – Accomplished Bahamian Basketball player Chavano Buddy Hield, has been appointed as Ambassador-at-Large for Sports and Cultural Achievement, by the Davis Administration. This is a major accomplishment recognizing, according to the Office of the Prime Minister, Hield’s outstanding journey from Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama to the NBA as well as his commitment to inspire Bahamians. Prime Minister Philip Davis speaking at his Credential Presentation, expressed great appreciation to Hield. He said “Thank you for being a shining example of what it means to be truly great, both on and off the court. Congratulations Ambassador.”
UNDP appoints new Resident Representative for The Bahamas
[Nassau, 6 February 2024] – The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) newly appointed Resident Representative for The Bahamas, Kishan Khoday presented his credentials to Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusa Ali yesterday at the Ministry.
As Resident Representative assigned to the UNDP Multi-Country Office in Jamaica, Mr. Khoday also represents UNDP in The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Mr. Khoday, a Canadian national of Indian descent, is currently leading a team from the Kingston office on the first leg of an official mission to The Bahamas and Bermuda. While in Nassau, he will also meet with Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Honourable Vaughn Miller; Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Honourable Jomo Campbell as well as other officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Social Services and Community Development and the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
In welcoming the new Resident Representative, Ms Ali lauded significant areas of ongoing cooperation with the UNDP including disaster resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation. She also outlined other key areas for potential collaboration related to digitization and data collection.
Mr. Khoday pledged continuing support for The Bahamas’ development aspirations anchored on an inclusive and sustainable approach that leaves no one behind. He lauded the significant partnership between UNDP and the Government on the nation’s disaster management, climate resilience, biodiversity and debt management agendas, as well as investments in community-based action through the UNDP-implemented GEF Small Grants Programme and the India-funded Abaco Shelter project. He said that through the current Country Programme (CP)(2022-2026), UNDP offers a strategic approach to combating multidimensional poverty and advancing climate resilient, nature-based pathways, leveraging UNDP’s capacities in innovation, digitalization, and sustainable finance. “As we near the 50th anniversary of UNDP cooperation in The Bahamas, I look forward to building on our long-standing history and expanding cooperation in a way that builds resilience to multi-dimensional crises and advances results under the SDGs. This includes our partnerships for social inclusion and community empowerment; climate resilience and biodiversity, disaster management and sustainable finance,” he stated.
Mr. Khoday has served with UNDP for 25 years, having coordinated over USD $1 billion in country programming to help partners and communities around the world advance inclusive and sustainable development pathways. This included tours of duty with UNDP Country Offices in China, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia and with UNDP’s regional offices for the Middle East and North Africa based in Egypt and Jordan. Prior to joining the UN, Mr. Khoday worked with government and community organizations in his home countries of Canada and India on issues of poverty reduction, ecological resilience, and community empowerment.
Mr. Khoday is a scientist and lawyer, holding a Juris Doctorate specializing in constitutional, international, and environmental law; a Master of Science in natural resource management focused on land and water systems, and a Bachelor of Science in agriculture specializing in biodiversity and ecological change. The UNDP Resident Representative is a frequent speaker at international conferences and policy dialogues on the development agenda and a recognized thought leader on strategic issues such as climate change, ecosystem resilience, constitutionalism, postcolonial and decolonial theory, and resilience-based approaches to development, having published extensively on these and other issues.
Bahamasair opens City Ticket Office at Southwest Plaza
By LINDSAY THOMPSON
Bahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Carmichael Road area has long been dubbed “City 2000” due to the massive population shift to that fast-growing community.
In this vein, Bahamasair has decided to open its City Ticket Office (CTO) to accommodate that growing residential and commercial area.
Director of Aviation and Deputy Director-General of Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Romer, underscored the importance of relocating Bahamasair’s ticket office to the southwestern area of New Providence Island.
“Bahamasair continues to prove to be one of our greatest assets. I assure you of our support and that of the Deputy Prime Minister (the Hon. Chester Cooper),” he said, while also stating that the move is aligned with some of the big-ticket items reflected in the National Aviation Strategic Plan.
One is, strengthening financial resilience by innovating Bahamasair’s business model, growing existing markets, and exploring new routes to underserved and emerging markets. More so, it speaks to the airline pursuing additional sources of revenue and lessening its dependence on the public purse to fund operations.
Two, operational efficiency to which Dr. Romer noted that Bahamasair has been enhancing its strategic planning exercises to ensure a leaner and more efficient operation.
He added that the recent partnership with Qatar Airways, through a consultative exchange, would undertake a comprehensive overview of all aspects of operations and develop a business plan that will become the model for the region.
Another area is that of service excellence – people are at the center of what is being done at Bahamasair
“Nobody could do it like Bahamians and nobody does it better than Bahamasair,” said Dr. Romer who also acknowledged that, “We must explore ways to do it better and be better, by putting a greater emphasis on customer satellite satisfaction and the urgency in resolving problems that will arise. Customers must remain the priority, alongside safety.”
A final plan is enhancing human capital development. According to Dr. Romer, “Bahamasair will play an integral role in advancing our strategy to develop existing and emerging aviators, succession planning, advancing the role of women, and creating a system of mentorship that includes using retired professionals as mentors.”
Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair Holdings Ltd., shed light on the decision-making process in the relocation of the CTO.
“The decision to relocate the CTO from Palmdale to Carmichael Road was a very careful and deliberate consideration,” he said. “One of the key factors in the decision was to ensure that our new location would not only cater to the business community but also provide a convenient and accessible service point for our valued residents.”
Added Cooper, “In that regard, Carmichael Road often referred to as City 2000, emerged as the ideal choice – offering a host of amenities and the perfect alignment with the needs of Bahamasair.”
This he said also reflects Bahamasair’s commitment to provide its customers with top-notch service in a welcoming and accessible environment.
“We firmly that this new CTO will not only serve as the gateway to our exceptional airline services but also as a symbol of our dedication to enhancing the travel experience for everyone in The Bahamas,” Cooper added.
He thanked the team of Bahamasair, including the 15 staff members at the Carmichael location for their dedication to the airline and what it means to the country according to its slogan “We don’t just fly there, we live there…”
Also participating in the ceremony were retiree Wilfred Williams with the opening prayer; remarks by Tanya Pratt, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bahamasair; Vote of Thanks by Samantha Lookie, Director of Commercial, Sales, and Marketing; Ribbon Cutting by Wilfred Williams – president Bahamasair Retirees Association, and Blessing of the Building by Apostle Raymond Wells. The Royal Bahamas Police Force Pop Band provided entertainment.
BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs
Header: Apostle Raymond Wells performing the Blessing of the Building during the Official Opening of Bahamasair’s City Ticket Office in the Southwest Plaza, Carmichael Road on Friday, February 2, 2024. Pictured are Anthony Miller, board member; Dr. Tyneil Cargill; board member; Tanya Pratt, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bahamasair; Director of Aviation and Deputy Director-General of Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Romer; and Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair Holdings Ltd.
Insert: Officials tour the newly opened Bahamasair’s City Ticket Office in the Southwest Plaza, Carmichael Road on Friday, February 2, 2024. Pictured are Anthony Miller, board member; Dr. Tyneil Cargill, board member; Melony Rahming, board member; Director of Aviation and Deputy Director-General of Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Romer; Tanya Pratt, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bahamasair; Dwayne Davis, Bahamasair Deputy Chair; Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair Holdings Ltd; and Apostle Raymond Wells.
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