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CDB studies how much cash culture brings to the Caribbean 



By Dana Malcolm

Staff writer



April 17, 2023 – Intellectual property based activity encompasses a wide range of events including carnivals, festivals, and more, all of which contribute to the GDP of their respective countries and with a new study, the Caribbean Development Bank is trying to find out just how much cash they bring in.

The study, called ‘Validating the Creative Industries: Research and New Data for the Region,’ was created to find current quantitative data on the impact of these activities and focused on four countries: St Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada.

Richard Harris, Deputy Director of Statistics in St. Lucia led the project.

“This project seeks to build capacity in the area of copyright and creative industries statistics that have traditionally not been very well represented in our national accounts and gross domestic product (GDP) numbers, even though we know that this activity is an important economic driver,” he explained.

In the Turks and Caicos, this would include cultural events, like Muskanoo, the Valentine’s Day Cup, the South Caicos Regatta and beloved Island Fish Fry.  The project actively trained several officers from different statistical departments across countries on producing more robust statistics on these industries with the funding from the CDB.

Harris said the economic advantage of these industries should not be understated, and what the cultural and creative industries need is  “strong empirical data to back those assertions and to help guide us in our economic planning.”

“Frankly, the value of contributions of copyright-based industries to the economy is generally untapped because we have focused our attention so much on traditional industries such as tourism and manufacturing, ” he said.

The aim of the project is to provide relevant information along with training for statisticians, to allow countries to truly see the potential of these industries and invest in them even more.

Bahamas News

Prime Minister Davis: Cannabis Reform Compendium 2024 ‘a long time coming’



NASSAU, The Bahamas – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said on July 15, 2024, that he spoke in support of the compendium of Bills to legalise the use of cannabis for medical and religious purposes, to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of cannabis, and to “regulate the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis and related products within our borders and to promote the health and safety of our people.”

“This has been a long time coming,” Prime Minister Davis said, during his Contribution to the Cannabis Reform Compendium 2024 Debate in the House of Assembly.

“For years, Bahamians have called for an administration to have the courage to step up and take this issue on in a decisive and responsible manner,” he added.  “While many other countries, including nations within our region like Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados, have taken steps toward decriminalisation and legalisation for medical use, Bahamians were left wondering when it would be our turn to modernise our local approach to cannabis.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that the national dialogue had been ongoing for the better part of a decade.

“Many people thought change was imminent when the Marijuana Commission began its work in October 2018, under the previous administration,” he said.  “These efforts culminated in a preliminary report delivered in January 2020 and a final report delivered in August 2021.”

He added:  “The Commission cited a wide range of in-person discussions and public opinion research, noting that there appeared to be widespread public support for the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.  There was also healthy support for decriminalisation and an appetite for a strong regulatory and enforcement framework to ensure high standards for this new industry.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that the recommendations of the Commission called for legalisation for medical use, decriminalisation for small amounts, legalisation for use as a religious sacrament for members of the Rastafarian community, as well as strict regulations to ensure the quality and safety of the local cannabis product.

“In the PLP’s Blueprint for Change, we committed to developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for growing, harvesting, and exporting cannabis to create opportunities for Bahamians,” he said.

“The approach we developed to legislating and regulating Cannabis was informed by widespread research and consultation,” Prime Minister Davis added.  “It was partially based on the CARICOM Regional Commission on Marijuana’s research and findings, as well as the approaches of other jurisdictions like Jamaica, Barbados, and Canada, where Cannabis has been legalised and regulated.”

He said that his Government’s goal was to ensure that it developed the most fair, balanced, and effective legislative and regulatory mechanisms, which would allow The Bahamas to reap economic and health benefits while promoting law and order and keeping its people safe through the introduction of stringent standards.

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Once we felt that we had an adequate draft, we released the draft bills publicly, and we held a number of stakeholder consultation sessions, led by the Attorney General’s Office, in which we sat down with major stakeholder groups like healthcare providers, leaders of our church community, advocates for legalisation, leaders of the Rastafarian community – some of whom I see here today, as well as those who had concerns about the impact of legalisation and decriminalisation on the proliferation of usage. These varied opinions were taken into account and adjustments were made to achieve the most practical and effective approach that would work best for the Bahamian people.”

He pointed out that his Government also paid close attention to ongoing research on the issue – the most recent of which, he noted, was a survey conducted nationally by Public Domain in 2023, which indicated that 61% of the population supported the legalisation of cannabis for medical usage.

“It was clear that the times had changed, and it was time for our laws to change as well,” Prime Minister Davis stated.

He continued:  “We’ve been hard at work since 2021. We knew this was not a process we could rush. There was a recognised need for carefulness and due diligence, but there was also a need to ensure that this new legislative and regulatory regime could be introduced and implemented within this term.  We could not simply kick the can down the road for our next term the way other administrations did.  No, we could not delay these changes – not when so many people had waited for years for real action to be taken.

“Today, the wait is over.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that his Government was taking action on behalf of all of the people who simply wanted the ability to legally consume medical cannabis to help them with their medical conditions.

“There are people with children suffering from epilepsy who have been praying for this moment,” he said.  “There are people with glaucoma who want the opportunity to potentially alleviate their condition with a cost-effective and natural treatment.”

Prime Minister Davis added that there were people living with auto-immune conditions, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and other ailments who were “waiting not-so-patiently for this day.”

“We are taking action for the many men and women living with criminal records for carrying small amounts of cannabis, and the many others who will be spared criminal records as a result of decriminalization,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis stated that, as a society, his Government realised that the old approach taken against Cannabis in the War on Drugs in the 1980s and 90s did not necessarily reflect the current reality.

“Too many livelihoods have been lost because of a joint,” he said.  “Too many lives have been handicapped and potentials lost.”

He added that when he was saying that, it was not his intent to excuse those who choose to break the law.

“After all, the law is the law; it must be respected and upheld,” Prime Minister Davis stated.  “But we also recognise that the law is not static, it is dynamic. And the interpretation of the law and how it serves the greater good of society can change over time.  I am confident that many lives will be changed for the better as a result of the criminal records that will be expunged.”

“Through these reforms, we are upholding the rule of law, making it clear that if you are seeking to supply others with cannabis illegally or engage in other unlicenced and illegal activities, you will be held accountable,” he added.  “Everyone is welcome to participate within the legal and regulatory framework and only within that framework.

“Of course, as a part of this reform process, we are also taking action to recognise the rights and freedoms of Rastafarians to use Cannabis as a sacrament because it should not be against the law for our brothers and sisters of the Rastafarian faith to practice their religion.”


Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis speaks, on July 15, 2024, during his Contribution to the Cannabis Reform Compendium 2024 Debate in the House of Assembly.    (BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)


Release: BIS

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Bahamas News




July 19, 2024


#TheBahamas, July 19, 2024 – Blazer Elite Academy has won the EPIT Tournament during their European Tour.

The team began their international journey on June 27, 2024.  They arrived in Portugal on June 28 and played in the Portugal Festival on June 29 where they competed in the 19U division. The team finished the tournament with a 2-3 record, and secured 5th place out of 12 teams.

Following their visit to Portugal, the team traveled to Spain to compete in the EPIT Tournament in the 18U Division,  which started on July 1st, 2024. Elite Blazer Elite Sports Team won the Championship with a 4-1 record.

Portugal Festival Highlights:

Three players in the Top 15 in Scoring:

Isais Sejour:              #3

Mauricio Davis:         #7

Hinrich Monuma:      #15

Two players in the Top Ten for Rebounds:

T’Kai Delancy:           #3

Isais Sejour:              #13

Three players in the Top 15 for steals:

Mauricio Davis:            #4

T’Kai Delancy:             #5

Isais Sejour:                #13

EPIT Spain Tournament Highlights:

Top Scorers:

Hinrich Monuma:       #2    (23.5 oPPG)

Isais Sejour:              #4    (20.5 PPG)

T’Kai Delancy:           #7    (17.5 PPG)

Two players in the Top 10 in Rebounds:

Top Rebounders:

T’Kai Delancy:           #3      (11.5 Rebound PG)

Isais Sejour:              #4       (11 RPG)

Two players in the Top 10 in Top 10 in Assist:

Top in Assists:

T’Kai Delancy:            #4       (7.5 APG)

Isais Sejour:                #7      (6 APG)

Four players in the Top 15 in Steals:-

Top in Steals:

Mauricio Davis:          #2        (4.5 SPG)

Kevin Pierre:              #5        (3.5 SPG)

Isais Sejour:               #7         (3 SPG)

T’Kai Delancy:           #11      (2.5 SPG)


Carlens Louis:           #            5 blocks

Lance Simmons:       #            5 blocks

The team will continue their European tour with exhibition games in Paris and London before returning home on July 18, 2024.

The traveling party included Head Coach Dr. Ray Evans, Team Mother Nicole Evans, Parent Presidents Seandra and Gervergo Delancy, along with supporting crew members Deborah Mills and Chantal Sylvester. The team members were Isais Sejour, Hinrich Monuma, T’Kai Delancy, and Carlens Louis (from the Turks and Caicos Island), and Kevin Pierre, Mauricio Davis, Lance Simmons, and Ethan Gilkes. Coach Kenneth Grant and Kevin Harvey supported the team on the ground.

Blazer Elite Academy has served the Bahamas and the Caribbean, since 2013.  They grew from the Fritz Forbes Panthers Basketball Club of the 1980s with expansions into Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.  Over the decade,  the academy has helped over 250 students pursue their sports dreams abroad. Rebranded as Blazer Elite Sports Academy in 2023, they officially opened a preparatory component for Grades 7-12.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas Celebrates 51st Independence – ‘United In Love & Service’



Bahamas Information Services

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Commonwealth of The Bahamas celebrated 51 years as an independent nation on July 10, 2024.

A Calendar of Events planned and managed by the National Independence Secretariat focused on the theme: ‘One People United In Love & Service,’ an excerpt from the National Pledge.

An Ecumenical Service and Cultural Show was held July 9, 2024 at historic Clifford Park, where the Flag Raising segment stirred emotions from spectators – many of whom were at that same spot when the birth of the nation happened in 1973.

The 51st Independence Anniversary celebrations kicked off with a number of leadup events: beginning with ‘National Flag Day’ on June 28, during which Bahamians throughout the country donned the national colours of aquamarine, gold and black and held brief ceremonies marked by singing of the National Anthem, reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, and solemn Flag Raising.

The traditional Independence ‘Beat Retreat’ was held in Rawson Square, downtown Nassau, June 30, where a joint uniformed branch band wowed dignitaries and scores of spectators with their skillful drills and upbeat music.  This year, young people were added to the mix and drew thunderous applause as they sang the songs of local artists.

On July 1, a National Time Capsule Packing Day was coordinated, which involved all Family Islands, and New Providence.  Residents gathered historic items unique to their specific communities and placed them in time capsules.  All capsules will be unsealed in 2049 during the country’s Diamond Jubilee independence celebrations.

The week leading up to Independence was filled with activities aimed at bringing people together right where they live — their communities.  It called for Bahamians to focus on heritage, culture, love and commonalities as opposed to differences.

The main event on Tuesday, July 9, at Clifford Park drew many who donned fashionable clothing in the national colours, waved pompoms, blew whistles, and held flashing lights as they experienced from 7:30 pm to 12:00 midnight aspects of the spiritual and cultural Bahamas.

The Ecumenical Service sermon was delivered by Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander – who called into focus the theme of unity, love and service.  The gospel singing by Bishop Denczil Rolle & Friends added to the worship mood throughout the park and the vicinity of Fort Charlotte.

Following on, the cultural segment showcased folklore dance, performances by artists who evoked crowd excitement, Junkanoo, skits in which young actors dreamed of their future, and interviews with Bahamians who have beaten the odds.

Minutes before midnight, Her Excellency Dame Cynthia Pratt, Governor General, inspected the Honour Guard; members of the clergy gathered around the National Flag as it was being hoisted and offered prayers for various segments of the community; and as the Flag reached the top – the National Anthem was played followed by a burst of fireworks bringing in July 10, 2024 – the 51st Independence Anniversary of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

In those early hours, starting at 1:00 a.m. the celebration continued with ‘The People’s Rush’ Junkanoo extravaganza.

On the afternoon of Independence Day, a ‘Family Fun Day’ was held at Clifford Park, where all manner of activities, games, foods, drinks and entertainment were available for families to enjoy.

That evening, a State Reception at Government House, Mt. Fitzwilliam, was hosted by Governor General Dame Cynthia Pratt in celebration of Bahamas Independence.

Photos show the 51st. Anniversary of Bahamas Independence Ecumenical Service and Cultural Show celebrations at Clifford Park, July 9-10, 2024.  (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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