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Passport Office opened in Bimini

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Grand Cay, Bimini, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially opened the Bimini Passport Office on Friday, August 11, 2023 in the George Weech Complex, Alice Town, Bimini, to bring ease of access and relief to the residents of Bimini and the surrounding cays.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, the Hon. Frederick A. Mitchell was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and pointed out that Government is aware of the process residents in the Family Islands face when applying for a Bahamian passport.

The opening of the fully-equipped passport office in Bimini marks another step forward in the Government’s decentralized approach and mandate to provide all of the government’s essential services to the Family Islands.

“I am pleased that one more aspect of the inconvenience has been removed and the expense of getting a passport by removing the add-on requirement to fly to Nassau, get a car, spend the night, spend the day — It’s just too much in a modern age,” Minister Mitchell said.

Minister Mitchell noted that as society is becoming more sophisticated and complex in Bimini, the services the government offers should match the needs.

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development and Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe is cognizant of the financial challenges Bimini residents have endured over the years in their attempts to obtain a passport or make application for renewal.

Having a satellite office in Bimini to meet the needs of the residents in obtaining a passport is crucial.

“It reduces the difficulties that Biminites have had for many years, as is in most islands, when you travel to New Providence or to Grand Bahama for passports. What we’re trying to do is slowly, but surely cause for the growth and the development of each island,” he said.

Minister Wilchcombe stressed that part of that growth and development is socio-economic growth, and the government is ensuring that all of the infrastructure is in place to allow for Bahamians to have access to government offices and agencies to gain immediate service.

Minister Wilchcombe further pointed out that the government has made a number of improvements in essential services on the island of Bimini alone over the last 22 months with the inclusion of a Road Traffic Office, Fisheries Office, and now a Passport Office in addition to the other government offices already on island.

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Bahamas Development Bank Launches 50th Anniversary Celebrations  

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Nassau Bahamas, 3 March 2024- The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) recently commenced its golden anniversary celebrations with special church services held at Freeport Bible Church and Golden Gates Native Baptist Church, in Grand Bahama and New Providence respectively. Both services marked the beginning of a year filled with commemorations of the bank’s 50 years of financial service and national development.

Bahamas Development Bank Managing Director, Nicholas Higgs, said, “As we launch our 50th anniversary celebrations, we are reminded of our journey fueled by an unwavering commitment to our country. As we look forward to the next 50 years and beyond, we remain dedicated to fostering economic growth, supporting local entrepreneurs, and building a prosperous future for The Bahamas.”

The New Providence service was led by Pastor Alonso Hinsey Jr., who serves not only as the senior pastor of Golden Gates Native Baptist Church but also as an executive at BDB. In his sermon, Pastor Hinsey emphasized the importance of trusting God and being trustworthy as two sides of the same coin.

“Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship and our relationship with God is no exception. When we trust God, we believe who He says that He is, what He is going to do, and that He will do what He says He will do. We rely on Him to guide us, protect us, and to provide for us. Being trustworthy is just as important. When we are trustworthy, others can rely on us to keep our promises, can rely on us to tell the truth, and act with integrity.”

He referenced the story of God ordering Abraham to sacrifice his promised son Isaac.

“Trust is not easy when facing challenges. However, even in the midst of our doubts and fears, God is faithful and trustworthy.  When we are trustworthy, others know they can rely on us and that they will not be let down. When we are trustworthy, we are reflecting the character of God who faithful and true,” Pastor Hinsey added.

Hinsey also stressed that, “Trustworthiness is essential for building strong relationships and creating a just and harmonious society.”

The Bahamas Development Bank has been instrumental in providing financial solutions and expertise to Bahamian businesses and entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and sustainability across the country. The 50th anniversary marks a significant milestone in the bank’s history and will be marked by a variety of events, including community outreach initiatives, competitions, and celebrations that both reflect on the bank’s past accomplishments and outline its way forward.

Pastor Hinsey’s powerful message can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/live/c0FxUErI65o?si=em2vTZ7AfPIZklNk.

 

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Abaco Hurricane Shelter ‘progressing’ despite inherited delays

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Bahamas Information Services

March 3, 2024



Central Pines, ABACO, The Bahamas – The new, State-of-the-Art Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre currently under construction in Central Pines, Abaco, is scheduled to be fully completed by November 2024, despite some inherited delays.

Contractors add that the dual Shelter/Community Centre, which is anticipated to be a prototype for the future design and construction of shelters in The Bahamas, will have an “occupied date” of early summer, meaning that the facility should be available to host those persons requiring assistance at that time, if the need arises.  This is good news as the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 and runs through November 30.  Abaconians will continue to have access to a host of other approved shelters throughout the island, and not just rely on the prototype alone, however.

Disaster Risk Management officials further say the dual Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre will be “one of a kind” in the region in terms of its construction and design. The building is being constructed under “a new building code,” that calls for its structure – doors, window, roof — to withstand hurricane force winds of up to 250 miles per hour (Category 5 Hurricane and higher).

Its mechanical systems are designed to accommodate diverse loads, including an industrial kitchen, communication systems, air-conditioning system, male and female bathrooms and showers, office spaces for emergency personnel, in addition to storage areas.

Standby generators to ensure continuity with communications, water, sewerage, air-conditioning, refrigeration, safety and security, will be installed in order to mitigate the impacts of disruptions in power.

A ramp that was not included in the original design, was added to allow persons with disabilities and the elderly — considered two of the more vulnerable populations particularly during natural disasters such as tropical storms and/or hurricanes — easy frontal access to the facility under the protection of a canopy.

“Construction is going very well, particularly now that we are back on schedule,” said Mr. Chris Symonette, Project Manager. “We had lost almost a year due to some faults that we found in the ground, and in the foundation, we met in place when we assumed responsibility for the project. These corrective measures took us about 9 months to resolve.

“The building is one of a kind in the region. As a matter of fact, this will be the first 250 miles-per-hour hurricane shelter design in The Bahamas. We had to exceed the ratings while ensuring that we have redundancy upon redundancy,” Mr. Symonette added.

Raeh Williams, a Director, with Wilkem Solutions, a Bahamian-owned entity that specializes in development, civil works and waste management, among other services, said the construction team has been “pushing every day” to ensure that they meet the projected dates. The company took over construction operations a little over one year ago.

“We met a lot of challenges that were a real test of our skill and tenacity because there were caves, holes and a lot of other issues that basically caused us to have to perform a lot of corrective work to get us where we are today. The scheduled completion date is November 2024, but we are anticipating having an occupied completion by June/July which is right at the beginning of the Hurricane Season so that if there is some need to use the shelter, it will be available. That is our push and we are pushing every day to make sure that we stick to that.”

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS

Header: Minister Lundy and delegation reviewing building plans for the multi-purpose Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre. (BIS Photo)

1st insert: Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre Project Manager Chris Symonette (right) updates Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Risk Management, the Hon. Leon Lundy (second right) during State-Minister Lundy’s Official Visit.  (BIS Photo)

2nd insert: Minister Lundy (second right) and team conduct a walk-through of the multi-purpose Abaco Hurricane Shelter and Community Centre under construction in Central Pines.  Also pictured (from left) are: Mr. Kirk Cornish, Member of Parliament, North Abaco, and Mr. John H. Pinder, Member of Parliament for South and Central Abaco and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation.  Project Manager, Mr. Chris Symonette is at far right. (BIS Photo)

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Over 9.6 Million Tourists for The Bahamas, 38 percent jump

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, March 3, 2024 – The Bahamas has again positioned itself as a top destinations within the Caribbean with record breaking tourism arrivals in 2023, an unprecedented milestone as announced by the Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation

A massive 9,654,838 visitors arrived in The Bahamas, indicating a 38 percent increase from 2022 as well as 33 percent rise from the previous record of 2019, before the pandemic.

Delving into the details of this surge in arrivals, air arrivals increased by 17 percent with 1,719,980 visitors up from 1,470, 244 in 2022.

Cruise arrivals went up significantly by 43.5 percent at 7, 934,858 up from 5,530,462 in 2022.

According to reports, New Providence saw 4,441,540 visitors, a 36 percent increase from 2022 while Grand Bahama attracted 559,812 visitors, a 44 percent increase.

The Family Islands brought in 4,653,486 tourists which is a 40 percent increase from 2022.

Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism Investments and Aviation and Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism, as featured in reports, expressed great pride in this achievement, marking it as an indicator of The Bahamas’ hard work and dedication to foster and maintain tourism growth.

“This record-breaking year is a clear indication of the Bahamas’ position as a top-tier destination for travelers seeking unparalleled experiences. Our islands offer a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, making it a favorite of visitors from around the world,” said Cooper

Duncombe referred to future success for The Bahamas, with this development as a stepping stone.

“With our commitment to excellence and innovation in the tourism sector, the Bahamas is poised for even greater success in the years to come,” she maintained.

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