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Royal Caribbean International and Music Makers Set to Make Some Music



Cruise Line Executives Visit Junkanoo Group’s ‘Shack’  


#TheBahamas, December 20, 2022 – Three years after first meeting, the top executives of a Bahamian junkanoo group and Royal Caribbean International enjoyed time together to gain an even greater sense of appreciation for Junkanoo.

“We’ve been treated to several performances by the Music Makers onboard our ships for special occasions, including our return to service following the pandemic or for inaugural sailings,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

“We’ve even flown them to the Berry Islands, to entertain onboard and dockside at our private island destination Perfect Day at CocoCay, but we wanted to see them in their own home grounds, the place where all the magic is created. It was fascinating to listen, to see and to learn how the pieces are made and carried.”

The visit took place at one of two ‘shacks’ occupied by the Music Makers on Fowler Street in the heart of the inner city of Nassau.

Music Maker’s Chairman Gary Russell played host and shared, “a medium piece like this can weigh up to 60 pounds and the larger pieces up to 200 pounds,” explained the attorney, performer and long-time chairman, who has been a member of the Music Makers from his wheelchair since before a tragic accident took his legs, but not his spirit. “Only one man or woman can carry a piece and they have to dance with it, though the largest pieces we now have permission to put on wheels.”

Bayley first met Russell at the Fox Hill Community Centre in 2019 as the cruise line was exploring ways to link with Junkanoo, wanting to lend support to the national cultural phenomenon. Impressed, he and the team began including the Music Makers, retaining them to perform at special events.

The following year, as Bayley was speaking at the grand opening of the Bullock’s Harbour Community Centre funded by Royal Caribbean, he announced a major sponsorship for the Music Makers.

“When Mr. Bayley announced Royal Caribbean would sponsor us for $100,000, I was so excited I leapt up in the air, wheelchair and all,” said Russell. “If someone had not been holding me down, I would have gone up in the air and over, that’s how excited I was and in disbelief. We can never thank Royal Caribbean enough. They have given us new life.”

With the Junkanoo parades back on tap this year for Boxing Day and New Year’s following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Music Makers will return to Bay Street.

“We are going to make Royal Caribbean proud,” he said. “With their permission, we have renamed ourselves the Royal Caribbean Music Makers and we are going to make some music. We’re in it to win it.”


Photo Captions:

Royal Caribbean Music Makers Chairman Gary Russell, seated, explains how a Junkanoo piece is made to Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley during a visit to the group’s shack on Fowler Street off East Street and Ross and Gibbs Corner.

Bayley examining the craftsmanship on the junkanoo pieces and conversing with Music Makers Chairman Gary Russell.


(Photos by Cay Focus Photography for DPA)

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Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.

This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister  of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.

This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper,  was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”

The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.

Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General  of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”

Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working  to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.

Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.

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Defence Headquarters 28 SEP ’23: HMBS P-45 under the command of Chief Petty Officer Acadia Smith detained a group of Cuban migrants in Cistern Cay, Exuma on September 27, 2023, due to information received from a Good Samaritan vessel in the area that handed them over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Members of HMBS P-45 retrieved twenty-eight (28) Cuban nationals and transported them to HMBS Coral Harbour in New Providence.  All individuals appeared to be in good health and will undergo further processing and assessment by Immigration officials.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in guarding our heritage and appreciates the sharing of information and intelligence provided by the boating community to affect migrants and other unlawful interdictions at sea.

(For additional information, contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our official website at Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and explore our engaging content on our YouTube channel).


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CTO mourns the passing of former chairman Obediah Wilchcombe



#BARBADOS (September 26, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) deeply mourns the loss of distinguished Bahamian leader and former chairman of the inter-regional body, Obediah Wilchcombe.

At the time of his passing, Mr. Wilchcombe was serving as Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting and Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly of the Bahamas.

“We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Minister Wilchcombe’s family, as well as the government and people of the Bahamas. He was a true champion for the people of the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region,” remarked Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands.

Chairman Bryan recalled Minister Wilchcombe held the position of CTO Chairman twice (2002-2004 and 2016-2017) while serving as Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, and contributed significantly to the advancement of sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.

Chairman Bryan noted that the CTO plans to honor the life and legacy of “this eminent Bahamian leader” at the organization’s upcoming business meetings and the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Turks and Caicos next month.

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