By Sherrica Thompson
January 11, 2023 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) said it will be putting in US$43.3 million to construct a brand-new comprehensive school and rehabilitate two others in East Grand Bahama to accommodate students whose schools were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
The Bank’s Board of Directors approved the loan to the Government of The Bahamas at its meeting last month.
Some 2,000 teachers and principals will also be trained in learning recovery and enhancement to support student-centred, differentiated accelerated learning to address the learning loss occasioned by the impact of COVID-19.
The CDB said the facilities will fill the critical need that arose in East Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian’s passage destroyed four schools in the area. These are the East End Preschool in Freetown, the East End Primary School in High Rock, the East End Junior High School in McClean’s Town and the All-Aged School in Sweeting’s Cay.
“As a result, for much of the past three years, students have been forced to rise as early as 4:00 a.m. to make the over 60-mile commute by bus and ferry to Freeport to access educational services. The lengthy commute has made it challenging for students to keep up with their schoolwork, challenges that were further exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schooling,” the Bank said.
According to the CDB, when completed, the new comprehensive school complex will include a multi-purpose hurricane shelter. The shelter will be designed to function as a cafeteria during school hours but can be seamlessly transitioned for use as a hurricane shelter in the event of a natural hazard event.
CDB’s Division Chief, Social Sector Division, Dr. Martin Baptiste, while on the project, highlighted its potential social benefits.
“Given the intersectionality between the home, community and the school, the investment in new school infrastructure will also play a significant role in the general improvement of respective communities, enhancing skills training programmes, social protection initiatives and promoting social cohesion,” Baptiste said.
The CDB did not provide a date for when construction for the project would begin.
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Bahamasair Introduces New Flight Service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Georgetown, Exuma
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2023 – Bahamasair celebrated a significant milestone on Wednesday November 15, 2023, with the launch of its new direct service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Georgetown, Exuma. The new route enhances accessibility and convenience for Bahamian residents and travelers seeking direct access to the Exuma Islands.
The inaugural flight carried approximately 50 passengers. The new service, which will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, allows Bahamian locals to explore mainland Florida, while at the same time, providing travelers direct access to Exuma without the need for a stopover in Nassau.
During a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL), Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair, was delighted with the new service. He highlighted that the decision to add the flight to the Airline’s roster was a direct response to the public’s demand. He added that the move signified Bahamasair’s commitment to delivering a quality product.
“Today, we are thrilled to inaugurate our first flight between Georgetown and Fort Lauderdale, marking a significant milestone in expanding our reach and enhancing connectivity,” Mr. Cooper said. “Next year, we are looking to acquire more airplanes, leading to increased rotations and even more accessibility.”
For the route, ATR aircraft will travel between the Georgetown International Airport and Terminal 1 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, with an estimated flight time of approximately 90 minutes.
Lamar Fisher, Broward County Mayor, emphasized the significant impact of Bahamasair not only on the airport, but also on the county. The mayor pointed out that The Bahamas currently ranks as the 5th largest international market for FLL. He highlighted the strong cultural, historical, and business ties between South Florida and The Bahamas, expressing optimism that the new route to Georgetown would strengthen the connections.
“We welcome the Georgetown route,” said Mayor Fisher “We look forward to the tourism, business and trade benefits to come, connecting Broward County to another island in The Bahamas.”
Highlighting the significance of this milestone, Dr. Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General and Director of Aviation at The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, characterized the launch as historic. He conveyed his enthusiasm as The Bahamas reached another major achievement, having welcomed approximately 7.9 million visitors in the first nine months of 2023.
Dr. Romer underscored the government’s strategic vision to boost overall arrival numbers.
“This milestone is particularly noteworthy because, despite the ongoing efforts of our longstanding partner airlines to bring people to The Islands of The Bahamas, I am delighted that our national airline, Bahamasair, has left its mark and etched history,” he said. “We are highly pleased with Bahamasair’s initiatives; they consistently make us proud. Their exploration of new routes has our full government support.”
“This inaugural has significant economic value and benefit because each person who comes into Exuma on a plane contributes 28 times more than a cruise arrival,” said Dr. Romer. “So, when we look at Bahamasair adding additional seat capacity to Exuma, that translates in a tangible way to heads in beds and money into the economy of Exuma.”
Georgetown, Exuma serves as the gateway to an unparalleled Bahamian experience, with access to pristine beaches, ranked among the world’s best. Exuma is also home to the world-famous swimming pigs. Exuma and its neighboring island to the South – Long Island – will both benefit from the new route. Over the past 26 years, Bahamasair has provided transportation to FLL. During that period, the Airline has conducted over 65,000 flights and transported more than 4 million passengers.
With Georgetown, Exuma added to its schedule, the Airline now offers seven (7) daily flights to Fort Lauderdale to and from other Bahamian Family Islands: Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Stolen Money likely circulating in The Bahamas
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2023 – Some Bahamians could unknowingly be using stolen money from the bank after one reported being robbed of the cash.
According to a press release from the Central Bank of The Bahamas eary this month, a commercial bank informed them that it was violated by an armored car robbery and bundles of money were stolen.
The Central Bank urged that these banknotes could be in circulation.
In making sure the public knows as much as possible about the stolen money, the Central Bank released information and images on the banknotes. This includes serial number details.
Additionally, the complete list of serial numbers has been provided to authorities and commercial banks where possible, the release said.
The 2018 series 20 dollar notes have a serial number range of N760001 to N765000. All the others have non-sequential numbers.
People are urged to contact the Commercial Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Royal Bahamas Police Force, at (242) 322-4191 or (242) 501-9991/2, if they have the banknotes or suspect any suspicious activity related to the notes.
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