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Disney Cruise Line expands @ to supporting food security across The Bahamas



ADO Bahamas partners with cruise line to build school gardens and inspire students to explore farming

Eleuthera, THE BAHAMAS (Oct. 25, 2023) – Students across The Bahamas now have the opportunity to learn first-hand how to grow their own fruits and vegetables. The Agricultural Development Organization Bahamas (ADO) and Disney Cruise Line (DCL) are teaming up together in a multi-year project to build gardens across schools in Abaco and Eleuthera.

“Disney is proud to invest in youth programs in our port communities that provide students with tools and hands-on experiences to learn new skills,” said Joey Gaskins, Public Affairs Director for The Bahamas and Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line. “Supporting this initiative is an extension of our longstanding conservation work in The Bahamas and helps us educate students about building sustainable communities and inspire them to explore careers in farming.”

Earlier this week, ADO, DCL VoluntEARS and dozens of students came together at Preston Albury High School in Eleuthera to kick off the program, planting a variety of seedlings and building irrigation systems to start their new garden.

In addition to Preston Albury, ADO and DCL will partner to plant gardens at Central Eleuthera High, North Eleuthera High and Harbour Island All-Age School, all in Eleuthera, and Patrick J. Bethel High School in Abaco. Throughout the school year, students will maintain their gardens with help from their assigned ADO field officer, who will visit the students regularly to provide guidance and mentorship. ADO provides each school with planting exercises, supplies, soil, irrigation materials and a shade house.

“When we began providing backyard farming kits and as we expanded to school farms, we knew that it was one thing to give a person supplies and wish them luck, but another thing to help them succeed,” said Philip Smith, Executive Chairman, ADO. “That is why with each garden kit we provide comes the assignment of a field officer who will be present for the soil preparation and initial planting and visit every property with a monthly follow-up.”

The ADO’s Micro Gardens and School Farming Project provides schools with tools to teach students how to grow sustainable, healthy foods and manage their own garden. As part of its commitment to inspire the next generation while creating lasting, positive impact in The Bahamas, DCL contributed nearly $100,000 in support of the program, which will help provide tools and equipment to build new gardens at each school.

Principal of Preston Albury High School Kenneth Roberts said he was “elated beyond words” to have DCL and ADO partner with the school in its agricultural program. 

“Once upon a time, Eleutherans used to export agricultural goods to the United States and Europe. We’d like to see agriculture restored on the island to allow our students to see they can have a viable, financially stable future in various fields in agriculture,” he noted.

The school’s Agriculture Science teacher, Perez Armaly, who has spent the last three years developing the farming program at Preston Albury High, said ADO and DCL’s help would go a long way.

“For the past three years, our agriculture program has been progressing slowly. With financial contributions from Disney Cruise Line and the Agricultural Development Organization, we’ve been able to purchase equipment, soil, seedlings, etc., and will now introduce elements of vertical hydroponic farming,” said Armaly. “Now students will plant sweet peppers, onions, lettuce, beets, cabbages, coconuts, and mango trees, and once harvested, they will develop business skills on how to trade their goods in the local market. They will learn that discipline and hard work pay off while helping The Bahamas achieve its goal of food security.”

Earlier this year, ADO worked with DCL VoluntEARS to build a backyard garden at the Ranfurly Homes for Children in Nassau, a local non-profit foster care organization. Since the Micro Gardens and School Farming Project’s launch in January 2022, the ADO has distributed more than 2,500 backyard farming kits in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera and has supplied 21 schools with starter farms.

“The school initiative is so important because we have the chance to impact the minds and hearts of young people, watching as they discover the joy and satisfaction of growing what they eat and eating what they grow,” said ADO’s Smith. “If we continue to grow and harvest in this way, we will reap a healthier and more food secure Bahamas.”


Photo Caption: 

Header: Joey Gaskins, Disney’s Public Affairs Director, along with Philip Smith, Executive Chairman of ADO, Disney VoluntEARS, and representatives from CTI.One Eleuthera and Cape Eleuthera, celebrate the official launch of Preston Albury High School’s community garden.  Pictured L-R: Perez Armaly, Agriculture Science teacher (4th from left), Joey Gaskins (5th from left), Philip Smith, Kenneth Roberts, Principal (center), students and VoluntEARS.

Insert: Walt Disney Imagineer volunteers, Angela Wu and Jack Bodien, get their hands dirty planting seedlings at the launch of Preston Albury High School’s Community Garden, Eleuthera.

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The Bahamas Records a “Smashing Eight Million Plus” Tourist Arrivals



NASSAU, The Bahamas — Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. I. Chester Cooper announced that The Bahamas has recorded a smashing eight million plus tourist arrivals.

“In 2019, a historic year for Bahamas tourism, total visitor arrivals amounted to 7.2 million.  Last year, total tourist numbers matched the 2019 record year total and today we are over eight million,” the Acting Prime Minister said during a press conference and brunch at Margaritaville Beach Resort Meeting Room Ballroom on Monday, December 4, 2023.

He pointed out that the Ministry still has not counted the months of November and December.

Acting Prime Minister Cooper said the explosive numbers places the country on the trajectory to continue the upward trend well into 2024.

“For the first 10 consecutive months, January to October, total air and sea arrivals were higher when compared to the same months in 2022 and in 2019 which was then, our banner year of tourism.  We have now moved the goal post.”

He said, “In fact, foreign air and sea arrivals in October increased by 45.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2022 and surpassed 2019 levels by 32 per cent.”

The Acting Prime Minister explained that the US remains the top performing stopover market with the Latin American market gaining momentum in its steady return to pre-pandemic stopover levels, while increased visitor arrivals are coming from Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and as far as Australia.

He said foreign air arrivals for October year-to-date were up by 19.7 per cent for the same period last year and also surpassed 2019 levels.

Acting Prime Minister Cooper said cruise arrivals were up 54 per cent over 2022 levels and 43.2 per cent over 2019 levels.

“We estimate that direct visitor spending in the Bahamian economy as a result of these arrivals will far exceed $6 billion.  That’s right, more than $6 billion of new money injected directly into the economy, and this is also up compared to 2019 and 2022.”

He also noted that the nation has seen increased airlift including first time routes.

“Last month, we welcomed the first ever direct non-stop flight by Jet Blue connecting passengers from Los Angeles to Nassau.

“In less than two weeks, Alaska Air will service four weekly flights from Los Angeles International Airport and three times weekly flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport.”

The Acting Prime Minister said The Bahamas Government has launched a public private partnership airport infrastructural project for 14 Family Island airports to increase both domestic and international travel.

He explained that less than a year ago, the $2 million renovation was completed at Great Harbour Cay International Airport and a new terminal was opened in Ragged Island.

“More recently, a management agreement was signed by The Bahamas and Bimini Airport Development Partners Limited to renovate South Bimini Airport to the tune of $80 million.”

Acting Prime Minister Cooper said the $300 million Nassau Cruise Port renovation was completed and the port is now fully opened.

“The port already surpassed its previous record at the end of November and will host at least a projected 4.2 million cruise passengers by the end of the year, setting a new benchmark for Nassau cruise passenger arrivals.”

He also noted that the Ministry of Tourism has intensified its strategic marketing efforts and last year launched the successful “Bringing The Bahamas to You” campaign to more than 15 cities in the USA and Canada to recapture market share and generate new leads.

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One Day Married, Woman dies after shark attack in Nassau, Bahamas



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – A newlywed American woman is left dead after a tragic shark attack in The Bahamas on Monday, December 4th, in New Providence.

The deceased, 44 years old and visiting from Boston, Massachusetts, was paddle boarding with her husband when she was attacked, reports say.

The woman, who remains unidentified at this hour had just gotten married on Sunday, making her passing, shortly after 11:00 am Monday, even more heartbreaking.

According to initial reports, she was with an unidentified male relative, paddle boarding about “3/4 miles out from the shoreline, when she was bitten by the shark.”

Her husband was unhurt in the rare attack in waters just off their resort, Sandals Royal Bahamian.

The Royal Bahamas Police was on site in full force; offering support and launching an investigation into what precisely happened.  Police informed that the newlywed died due to serious injuries sustained in the attack and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“CPR was administered to the victim. However, she suffered serious injuries to the right side of her body, including the right hip region and also her right upper limb.”

The incident took place near the Sandals Resort on Cable Beach.

Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in a statement, commenting on her death said, “we are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of a guest while on a paddle boarding activity nearly a mile from the shore. We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the guest’s family and loved ones. We remain in close contact with them and are providing all support possible during this difficult time.”


Photo:  Courtesy of The Bahamas Tonight, ZNS Bahamas

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Bahamas went into COP28 with BIG GOALS in mind



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

#TheBahamas, December 5, 2023 – The Bahamas government highlighted its intentions for the upcoming Cop28 conference which includes taking part in the negotiation process, advancing investment programmes and the launching of major projects.

According to Dr. Rochell Newbold, Climate Advisor, for  negotiations, there are three potential outputs the country is looking to follow and they include loss and damage, the technical assistance that will be offered to countries within the loss and damage space and following up on the issues of global stocktake.

For the loss and damage fund, she speaks to the efforts of small island developing states since Cop27, to enhance matters relevant to the loss and damage fund.

This intention, that is to encourage dialogue around this issue, comes as there are geopolitical issues going on globally and global finances are going to those issues and not to global issues of climate change.

In fact, referring to actual statistics, she expressed that in as little as a few months, more than $200 billion dollars were raised and distributed to the issue of war and yet, for years there has been talks around $100 billion needed to address the climate agreement.

For issues of investment opportunities, opportunities which Newbold says would bring great success for The Bahamas, she referred to a current investment project in the country that is a financial grant to address energy and water needs on nine islands within the archipelago, which they are looking to expand.

Furthermore, at Cop28, The Bahamas will launch its BlueCo Caribbean project, driving the blue economy and investment strategy, Newbold said.

This program comes after a regional meeting last year where it was highlighted that the region needs a program to address the needs of island states as well as the fact that less than 0.1 percent of global investments go to the marine environment.

Regarding global stock take, it addresses everything related to the world’s position on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working to chart a better course forward to accelerate climate action, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Additionally, Newbold made another revelation that they will be unveiling The Bahamas Sustainable Investment programme, which has been worked on since Cop 27.

Described as a sleek and tactical delegation, the advisor said  less than 20 people will be attending Cop28 including the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister with Responsibility for Energy and Transportation.

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