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Bahamas News

COP 15 begins; Turks & Caicos delegation and objectives unknown…

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 7, 2022 – Will the Turks and Caicos be in the room when the ‘massive moment for nature’ unfurls in Montreal, Canada?  There is expected to be, in the end, a deal to protect animals and their habitats.

COP15 on Biodiversity begins today, Wednesday December 7th and while it was confirmed a TCI Delegation will be attending the event there’s no word yet who is making up that delegation or the objectives for the country, at this edition of the Conference of the Parties.

Josephine Connolly, Minister of Tourism with responsibility for environment had confirmed to Magnetic Media, weeks ago, that she was scheduled to attend the meeting.

The Biodiversity Conference is the third UN Conference this year pulling together a Conference of the Parties (a gathering of the supreme governing body of any international convention) the first two being COP 15 on Desertification in May and COP 27 in November.

The Biodiversity Conference is has three main objectives it is aiming to fulfil:

  •  the conservation of biodiversity;
  • the sustainable use of its components and
  • the fair sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

The Turks and Caicos islands have taken significant initiative this year to protect its Biodiversity, becoming the first Caribbean country to join the United Kingdom’s Blue Belt Program and hosting the Turks and Caicos’ first ever Climate Change Summit and continued partnerships with the Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK.

The Conference which will run until December 19th will also look at the implementation of the protocols of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that deal with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of nature, and the safe transport, handling and labelling of Living Modified Organisms.

It is to be carried live:  https://www.youtube.com/@cbd-live9013/streams.

COP15, like COP27 will open an avenue for funding to further biodiversity protection initiatives through negotiating with larger nations.

More than 190 countries will come together to hash out a plan to halt the decline of ecosystemswildlife, and the life-supporting services they provide.

 

Photo Caption: The United Nations Biodiversity Conference’s Ceremonial Opening Day press conference.  At the head table, Andersen Inger from UN Environment Programme, Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema, Huang Runqiu — COP15 chair, Steven Guilbeault — H.E Canadian Minister of Environment, and David Ainsworth, our Head of Comms. https://www.youtube.com/@cbd-live9013/streams

Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#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.

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Bahamas News

Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

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.

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Bahamas News

74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court

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#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.

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