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Russia-Ukraine war enters the second year



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#Ukraine, February 28, 2023 – Exactly a year ago Vladimir Putin appeared on Russian television and announced that he was launching a ‘special military operation’ into Ukraine.   As the Russian Invasion enters its second year we look back on the ripple effects felt around the world.


In the early weeks after the invasion residents began to flee en masse.  The crush included students from across the globe, expatriate workers and citizens.  Reports of racism against people of colour at the borders began to emerge. Neighbouring countries faithfully kept their borders open and people were allowed to leave as quickly as their legs could take them. Many walked hundreds of miles as cars ran out of gas and traffic made vehicular escape impossible. Behind them, the fighting began in earnest.

As of February 14th 8.1 million refugees have left the country, which is a crippling 20 per cent of the population lost. The UN says 21 thousand of civilians have been killed or injured so far.


After the war began Russia was hit with sanctions left and right by the EU, the United States and their allies. Retailers, restaurant chains, tech companies, luxury goods stores and more pulled out of the country en masse. Russian athletes were blacklisted from sporting events including tennis and countries are calling for their athletes to be banned from the 2024 Olympics.

Censorship in the country has become increasingly harsh and the divide between those who support the war and those who don’t is a hard line with coworkers and schoolmates reportedly turning in others deemed as traitors or dissidents to the Kremlin (the government of the Russain Federation), resulting in long jail sentences for journalists and even teenagers. Russia is estimated to have lost as many as 60 thousand soldiers with 200 thousand wounded or dead.

Europe and the UK

A 3D-printed oil pump jack is seen in front of displayed OPEC logo in this illustration picture, April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

At the beginning of the war after placing sanctions on the country and its oligarchs, Washington pushed for sanctions on its oil and energy, a tricky position for the EU which then bought the majority of its oil and gas from Russia.  After much infighting, the countries agreed to ban the purchase of certain Russian energy and promised to wean themselves off the stuff by the end of 2023.  Russia was quick to retaliate; it instituted a new law instructing all of the ‘unfriendly countries’ to pay for their oil in rubles, a move the EU described as blackmail. After that, citing pipeline issues it turned off the gas supply to several countries including Germany forcing them into crisis mode and prompting blackouts to preserve power as they scrambled to find new energy supplies.

In the UK gas prices reached record highs forcing the government to provide multimillion-dollar relief.


The effects of the invasion on Africa are as varied as the countries on the continent.

Most African nations have refused to outright denounce the war as the conflicts in their own countries are relegated to the back page.

In North Africa where wheat produced in Russia and Ukraine is essential, the prices of bread basket items rose exponentially.  Areas like Ethiopia and Somalia saw 66 per cent and 36 per cent jumps respectively according to the UN, furthering a food crisis affecting millions with malnourished children dying daily.  In other parts of Africa, lucrative oil deals were signed as the EU struggled to keep the lights on.  Algeria, Senegal, Angola, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria all reached deals with the EU or specific countries to supply gas.

Most recently South Africa participated in a military drill with Russia and China that fell on the anniversary of the invasion.

The Caribbean 

With the fighting far away, the effects felt in the Caribbean were mostly economical.  With the supply chain in disarray, food prices shot up to extreme highs and oil prices followed; electricity bills caused panic.  Inflation driven by the conflict wrecked the purchasing power of Caribbean residents who already pay higher prices for goods and governments were forced to implement relief measures including stimulus cheques and price caps.

The UN warned that interest rate hikes implemented in the US, UK and other large economies to curb inflation would reverberate hardest in the Caribbean and other Small Island Developing States (which did nothing to slow them down).

Russia also took shots at some countries directly listing the Turks and Caicos and 10 other UK overseas territories as well as The Bahamas as ‘unfriendly territories’.

The US 

The US-Russia relationship has deteriorated significantly since the beginning of the conflict with the two countries declaring each other as enemies in everything but name. A tense prisoner exchange in late 2022 is as close as the two have gotten to publicly negotiating in the past year.

The country is Ukraine’s biggest patron sending billions and billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry and humanitarian aid to the country.

The war may drag on but the hope globally is that it will end soon as risks of further economic shock; and the displacement, assault and murder of innocents, loom on the horizon.


Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce.  Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.

As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.

The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee.  For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB.  As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.

Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.

The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.

As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.

The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts.  On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.

Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.

Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts.  Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.

These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.

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Bahamas News

Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin



By KATHRYN CAMPBELLBahamas Information Services
NASSAU, The Bahamas, March 29, 2023 – Over 100 schools in New Providence, public and private, and some 30 plus schools in Freeport have been inspected by The National Accreditation and Equivalency Council (NAECOB) to ensure high quality standards for the delivery of education.
“We will cover every island, every cay in this country to make certain that the facilities that we send our children to are adequate, conducive for learning, safe and sound for education,” said Thelma Grimes, chairperson, NAECOB.
“We are going to head to Cat Island and all the others before June.This is our announced visit. They [schools] have a chance to get things fixed that are not finished and [afterwards] we will have the unannounced.”
The Council informed the media of its progress during a briefing Monday, March 20, 2023 at its headquarters, Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member explained that the council’s seven inspectors are tasked with visiting every site or virtual space operating the following: primary/secondary schools, private/secondary, post-secondary, recognized, training, allied health and business institutions among others.
 Mr. Newbold said inspections include an examination of:
 -Safety and security standards-Human security which begins at the entrance to the property’-Physical security: safety mechanisms including smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishers (service date verification, and evacuation plan)-Primary grounds, playground equipment, swing sets and slides-Curriculum-Information management system (student records, staff schedules, registration certificate with NAECOB, business license, photos of the national leaders etc.)
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Institute thanked NAECOB for their efforts. She described their work as “critical” and a part of an overall national thrust to ensure that the quality of education in the country is at a high standard.“We’re the Ministry of Education and they’re our schools. We are accountable to NAECOB. They ensure that what is happening on the campuses throughout the nation meets the physical standards and the qualitative standards of education. You would have heard classroom size and teacher/student ratio. We may have challenges, and we do at the Ministry of Education but when these issues are brought to our attention we are obliged and compelled to seek resolution to ensure that the standards are met.
“This is a quality assurance measure for the Ministry itself and our schools to ensure that public and private and public schools meet these standards. We value that. Because the objective of the Ministry is to ensure that we meet the standards so that our young people who enter these institutions are afforded the best opportunity possible.
 “Education is a cultural value; a norm. We submit ourselves to the work of NAECOB to ensuring what happens is done at least to make the acceptable standards of the delivery of education in our schools,” she said.
Cassia Minnis, registration officer, said “registration” certifies that a local educational institution/provider has met the criteria to offer an educational service in The Bahamas as outlined in the Education Act. She said it is mandatory that all educational institutions/provider offering/proposing to offer an educational service in the Bahamas must be registered according to the NAECOB Act and the Education Act.
 She said NAECOB is aware of “small” schools operating within residential homes and warned that this is in contravention of the law.
She encouraged the public to view listings of all registered institutions on the website at
NAECOB is responsible for registering and accrediting primary schools, secondary schools, post-secondary schools, and any institution that offers training in The Bahamas.

BIS Photos/Mark Ford

Header: Seated at the table, from left: – Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin; Dominique McCartney Russell, Acting Director; Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer; Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson; Howard Newbold, Inspector, Council Member; Shena Williams, Council and Inspector; Dorothy Anderson, Inspector; T. Nicola McKay, Deputy Chairperson;  (seated behind) Willard Barr, Council and Inspector.

1st insert: Thelma Grimes, Council Chairperson

2nd insert: Howard Newbold, Inspector and Council Member

3rd insert: The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training

4th insert: Cassia Minnis, Registration Officer

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.

The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.

At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.

We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”

View the newly released calendar of events here:…

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