By Sherrica Thompson
#TheBahamas, December 6, 2022 – The Bahamas will soon see a boost to its tourism and job market as its redeveloped $300M Nassau Cruise Port will have its “grand opening” in late May 2023.
In providing an update on the port recently, Chief Executive of the Nassau Cruise Port Mike Maura explained the port was scheduled to open earlier.
“We had looked at having it earlier in May, but King Charles decided to be coronated around May 5 or May 6, and that meant the Prime Minister would be away, and we wanted to be sure that the Prime Minister is here for that grand opening,” Maura said.
Maura noted that once the port is completed, it will be able to accommodate three Oasis class ships at the same time, along with other vessels.
“We had expected to be finished long before the last weekend of May 2023, but the pandemic has had its fun with us. Once completed, we will be able to handle comfortably three Oasis ships at the same time and three other vessels for a total of six,” he said.
The Chief Executive noted that the port’s passenger capacity will also increase as the port will be able to host 13, 000 more passengers per day from the 20,000 passengers it could previously host.
The Nassau Cruise Port is expected to have welcomed about 3.2 million passengers by year’s end, and in 2023 that number is expected to increase to approximately four million and 4.5 million in 2024.
The cruise port is also expected to provide hundreds of jobs for Bahamians through businesses and facilities that will be operating at the site.
National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.
“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.
Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.
Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”
The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.
Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.
Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch
By Dana Malcolm
February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.
Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.
Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.
Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.
In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”
Those responsibilities include:
- Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
- Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
- Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.
The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.
With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.
74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court
#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.
Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.
A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.
The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.
For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
Caribbean News3 days ago
CARICOM condemns violence against police in Haiti
Caribbean News3 days ago
Murder Convicted, Malik Cox loses appeal at Privy Council
Crime1 week ago
Murder Victim Identified
Government1 week ago
DELANO ARTHUR APPOINTED AS COMMISSIONER OF ENERGY AND UTILITIES
Caribbean News2 days ago
Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer
Bahamas News1 week ago
UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment
Government3 days ago
US launches partnership to sponsor Caribbean refugees
Caribbean News1 week ago
JAMAICA: Multibillion-Dollar Shipyard Project Launched