By Lededra Marche
#Freeport, The Bahamas, December 2, 2022 – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey said AML Foods Solomon’s Downtown grand opening in Grand Bahama on Thursday, December 1, 2022 is a big deal and epitomizes the reawakening of the downtown district.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a big deal for Grand Bahama Island and for Pineridge. It is a big deal because we all recognize that the relocation of Solomon’s to the downtown area will have a tremendous impact on businesses in downtown and surrounding areas,” she said.
Minister Moxey was bringing remarks at the Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of AML Foods Limited’s 20,000-square foot downtown location in the newly named Winn Building.
“We all know that this is not an opening. What it really signifies is the long-awaited rebirth of Downtown,” Minister Moxey said. “This moment brings downtown alive, as I have outlined in my 10-point agenda for Pineridge, because I’m sure many of you know by now that this is Pineridge.
“This food store has been and still is the lifeline for downtown.”
Minister Moxey, who is also the Member of Parliament for Pineridge, pointed out that the building, which housed the former Winn Dixie Food Store, is the great connector as the nucleus of the island’s commerce centre and catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Freeport.
“It connects nearby communities who were accustomed to walking to the grocery store. It connects those from east end to west end who hopped on the bus, did their shopping and returned home. It was the engine for commerce in this area, and I dare say, it fed the transportation system; the buses, the taxis and the surrounding shops,” she said.
“The residents in Grand Bahama have been long awaiting this day. We have been counting down the months, days, hours and minutes to this wonderful grand opening.”
Exactly four weeks ago, Minister Moxey was at that same venue to attend the renaming ceremony of the downtown building by the Milo B. Butler and Sons Investment Limited Company, following the transformation of the 32,000 square-foot building to the retail and office space.
The Minister for Grand Bahama declared that with the Solomon’s Downtown opening and the projects on the table, Grand Bahama is back and she commended AML Foods Limited for their devotion to the island and the people of Grand Bahama.
Having been in Grand Bahama for the last 25 years, Butler said there is no question that AML Foods is committed to the people of Freeport for the next 25 years and beyond.
In 2021, AML renovated its Solomon’s Lucaya to the tune of $1million and have earmarked $500,000 in investment for Cost Right Freeport in 2023.
Additionally, Butler said, AML added 60 new hires for the Solomon’s Downtown store, which now takes the employee count in Grand Bahama to 250.
“The opening of this downtown Solomon’s has been a three-year journey which has resulted from the damage of Hurricane Dorian to our former Queen’s Highway location,” he said.
Butler further revealed that all of the management for the new store is home-grown talent within the AML Food system and AML has invested in excess of $4million in its downtown store, with 90 per cent being expended on project teams and businesses in Grand Bahama.
The opening was capped off with the sounds of cheers from eager waiting shoppers and the pulsating sounds of Junkanoo as residents moved to the beat as they shopped.
Header: Scores of customers waited on the outside of the new Solomon’s Downtown Thursday, December 1, 2022 while the official grand opening ceremony was underway to be one of the first to see the new store and take advantage of the deals.
1st insert: Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony during the grand opening of AML Foods Solomon’s Downtown location in Grand Bahama on Thursday, December 1, 2022, much to the delight of eager waiting shoppers. From left are AML CEO Gavin Watchorn, left, Minister Moxey, and AML And AML Foods Chairman Franklyn Butler.
2nd Insert: A number of residents on Grand Bahama made their way down to the new Solomon’s Downtown location on Thursday, December 1, 2022 to have a first-hand look of the new space and shop.
(BIS Photos/Andrew Miller)
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.
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