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‘Friendship Agreement’ coming for TCI & The Bahamas says Premier & Grand Bahama Minister

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By Deandrea Hamilton

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#TheBahamas, February 20, 2023 – Thirty years since he’d been to Grand Bahama Island and Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos on an official visit to the Bahamas’ second city admitted the audience for his event was impressive.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think we can pull that crowd back on Turks and Caicos.  I was totally surprised to have such a large audience, pleasantly surprised,” said Misick responding to media questions following the over-booked meeting arranged for Bahamians of Turks and Caicos heritage.

Over 300 people were said to have filled the ballroom of the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  In the invitation only meeting and a beginning for closer relations between the two countries, an official plan was laid bare.

“As the economy expands, there are needs for more people to come and we want to give our own bloodlines the first dibs on job opportunities.  But not only job opportunities, business investment, he said.

Ginger Moxey, Minister for Grand Bahama beamed at the opportunity to partner with the TCI Government on the official visit, which drew curious residents to a first of its kind initiative.

“We have such a strong bond with the Turks and Caicos and so we are delighted for him to be here and for so many Belongers to see their premier.  We have already started to talk about a Sister City relationship because the bonds already exist,” said the minister when questioned, adding, “You know Turks and Caicos Islanders were some of the ones who were responsible for the development of the City of Freeport back in 1955…they’ve brought so much value to the Grand Bahama economy and to the way we live.”

The idea that there is a deep pool of human resources in The Bahamas which could help to fill the employment needs is not a new concept; companies like Beaches Turks and Caicos, the Hartling Group and Graceway Supermarkets have all been fishing for career seekers in Grand Bahama.

The premier said, his government knows that the issue of housing for anyone who does seize the offer to come back or apply for citizenship status in the TCI, will have to be addressed.

“The process is that if you are a status holder, then you are just coming back home.  The issue is going to be finding places to live.  We have a real problem when it comes to housing,” offered Misick as he acknowledged the country’s booming tourism industry has created a conundrum.

Grand Bahama is the island in the northern Bahamas still rebounding from seasons of ferocious hurricanes including, the most treacherous in modern history, 2019’s Hurricane Dorian.  Grand Bahama is also the island which absorbed and then thrived when waves of Turks and Caicos Islanders relocated to the archipelago north of them to support the budding pine timber industry.  Back then, it was a win-win situation – good employment and embrace by The Bahamas Government and for The Bahamas, a capable and steady workforce able to grow this new area of commerce.

Turks and Caicos Islanders eventually blended in.  While some returned home, many more remained and raised their families with heaviest concentration of those with TCI heritage said to be in islands like Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Today, the Turks and Caicos is eager to tap into the tens of thousands of descendants who would qualify for citizenship under the current law, where Turks and Caicos Islands Status is a right up to the second generation.

“I think as I see the future for TCI and The Bahamas I could see where the relationship will become stronger and stronger and where the flow of talents and skills will be facilitated because of our friendship agreement which we hope to enter into.”

The Grand Bahama minister is already well placed to progress swiftly in the ideas both leaders had shared; being a former vice president of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the current International Representative for the Sister City program.

The Minister supported this notion sharing, “we have discussed the Sister City relationship which is really about business exchange, cultural exchange, tourism, humanitarian and educational exchanges.”

Both the Premier and the Minister agreed, that while the word ‘city’ was being used, the plan is more grand in scale and has the potential to formalize a familial and geographical alliance for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

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Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis’ Remarks at the COP28 Green Climate Blue Co Launch

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#TheBahamas, December 7, 2023 – We are here today because we are short on time and even shorter on the resources needed to empower every nation in the world to respond to an increasingly dire climate crisis.

We are approaching the tipping point from which there will be no return. At our current rate, the world will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold sometime within the next two decades.

The window of opportunity is closing.

But it is not closed yet.

And as long as there is even a small opening, just a sliver of time left for us to take action, there is still hope that we can save the world from the worst-case climate change scenarios.

I’ve travelled the globe representing Small Island Developing States like mine which have contributed the least to global carbon emissions but are already experiencing the worst effects of climate change.

Global inaction will soon threaten our continued existence as nations, but we will do everything within our power to avoid this outcome.

The Bahamas is here this week at COP 28 to invite the people of the world to partner with us and all vulnerable states to face this existential threat together.

As a region, the Caribbean has seen the results of our advocacy take shape in the form of the Loss and Damage fund to help us recover from the destruction already wrought on our nations. And we will continue to push for greater access to financing opportunities as we seek to protect our shorelines, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and invest in a renewable and sustainable future.

Through collaborative action, we will also create new industries and generate demand for novel solutions. Solving the world’s most pressing problems has always been good for business. We are entering an era of socially responsible investments, regenerative financing, and ESG finance. And the Caribbean is prepared to lead the way. In fact, if we want to continue to thrive as a region, we have no choice but to lead the way.

My country has been hit by four major hurricanes over the past few years. Over a third of our national debt is directly linked to the impact of storms, causing billions in damages that threaten the economic and fiscal health of our nation and people. With the situation projected to worsen at its current rate, we have gone all-in on making the necessary investments to solve our climate woes. Our future as a nation depends on it.

So, today, I applaud the Green Climate Fund for its efforts to support the developing world in creating climate-resilient pathways to a sustainable future. This is life-saving work.

With the approval of the application for preparation funds to finance the development of the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordination Programme, we fully expect to see new, effective solutions emerge for the people of the Caribbean.

The Blue Co  Caribbean project will provide the foundation for strategic investments at a scale not possible without embracing the spirit of cooperation and co-investment through this Caribbean-targeted, climate-focused investment opportunity.

Through this platform, Caribbean nations will be empowered to strengthen their blue economy frameworks and develop data-backed projects that can then be replicated and scaled across the region. My nation, as one of the world leaders in the research and development of blue carbon credits as a viable source of revenue generation, looks forward to the ways that Blue Co will strengthen The Bahamas’ mission to develop home-grown solutions that can fund a climate-resilient future for our people.

It turns out that saving the world isn’t just good for people, it’s also good for business.

Just yesterday, we were privileged to host a discussion on the Bahamas Sustainable Investment Programme, which will generate up to $500 million for climate-related investments. This is a testament to our commitment and resolve to generate our own innovative solutions to the climate crisis. And we are by no means standing alone.

Within the Caribbean, we have the passion, motivation, and expertise to drive the success of this initiative. There is no doubt in my mind that Blue Co can and will serve as a model for other regions to follow.

I invite all interested parties to reach out, get involved, and together we will save countless lives and livelihoods on our way to building a more resilient, renewable, and prosperous future for all nations.

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Bahamas Joins U.S. Embassy Test of Emergency Response  

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#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – On Tuesday, November 21, U.S. Embassy Nassau conducted a successful emergency preparedness exercise with Bahamian security partners.

The exercise illustrated excellent coordination between the Embassy, Royal Bahamas Police Force, and Royal Bahamas Defence Force.  During the exercise, the security partners practiced responding to a hostile attack on the Embassy.  In addition to testing communications between partners, the exercise included mock arrests, the evacuation of Embassy staff, and emergency medical services to “injured” civilians.

These emergency preparedness exercises help evaluate the Embassy’s ability to protect its staff and installations during an emergency.  We want to thank our Bahamian partners for participating in the exercise and supporting emergency preparedness.  As our American founding father Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.”

 

 

Photo Captions

Header: U.S. and Bahamian law enforcement officers participated in a joint emergency response drill on Tuesday, November 21.

1st insert: The Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team joins the RBDF as it searches for suspects along Queen Street in an emergency preparedness exercise held on Tuesday, November 21.

2nd insert: The Royal Bahamas Defence Force conducts a sweep of Queen Street as a part of the U.S. Embassy emergency response drill.

3rd insert: A U.S. marine detains a gunman in a mock exercise held on Tuesday, November 21.

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Ashley Albury Marks A World YWCA First  

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#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – For the first time in the global movement’s 168-year-old history, a Bahamian will serve on the World YWCA Board headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Ashley Albury, 25, was elected as a board member during the 30th World YWCA Council Meeting held this week.

Executive Director of the Young Women’s Christian Association of The Bahamas (YWCA Bahamas), Rosalie Fawkes, described the occasion as a “red-letter day” for the organization.

“I sincerely thank all of the YWCA women who have played a role in mentoring and supporting Ashley’s candidacy and we wish her well as she embraces this new opportunity for growth and development. May this occasion mark a renewed effort to continue building the membership and participation of our youthful population,” said Ms. Fawkes.

On the World YWCA Board as the second Caribbean representative is Adrianna Sosa from Haiti. Adrianna also made history four years ago when at the age of 19, she became the youngest member ever to be elected to the World Board.  Today she is running as a candidate for World YWCA Vice President.

It was in 2015 that Ashley wrote via Facebook to YWCA Bahamas inquiring about its program offerings.  That simple act eventually led to an active involvement in the life of the YWCA.

Ms. Fawkes added, “Ashley has successfully navigated the world of technology for the association; constructed our website – www.ywcabahamas.org; established a YWCA Collegiate Chapter at the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI); used her graphic design skills in newsletter preparation; served on the YWCA’s Board of Management;  built an archives and storage drop box in the clouds; became a faithful member of the YWCA’s Bible Study and Fellowship Group and recently joined the finance team at the YWCA – and all of this while continuing to further her education.”

Ashley said, “Being elected to the YWCA World Board as a Caribbean representative from The Bahamas fills me with immense pride and a deep sense of duty. This role is more than a position; it is a pledge to elevate and empower women and girls not just in the region but across the world. The unique perspectives and vibrant cultures of elected members will contribute significantly to the achievement of the YWCA’s mission and vision.”

She continued, “I appreciate YWCA Bahamas for nominating me and voting delegates for seeing me as a well-suited nominee. This is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and to represent the vibrant spirit and resilience of the Young Women’s Christian Association of The Bahamas.”

 

Photo Captions

Header: Ashley Albury, 25, is the first Bahamian elected to serve on the World YWCA Board.

Insert: Pictured are past and current board members of the Young Women’s Christian Association of The Bahamas (YWCA Bahamas). YWCA Bahamas Executive Director Rosalie Fawkes is seated in the center and Ashley Albury is standing at the far right.

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