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Leave the clocks alone, switching times is bad for your health, says leading doctor

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#TheBahamas, November 10, 2023 – A leading physician who specializes in wellness is urging the Bahamas government to stop switching between Eastern Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time, citing medical evidence that switching to Daylight Savings Time leads to a broad spectrum of health issues ranging from poorer sleep habits due to extended daylight hours to increased stress, a higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes.

Dr. Arlington Lightbourne, President and CEO of Bahamas Wellness Health Systems which operates four clinics in Nassau and Eleuthera, said The Bahamas is one of only a handful of countries in the region to continue what he called the “artificial clock, asking our brain to battle prolonged evening sunshine and wake up an hour earlier than its biological design for 7 months each year.

“Most other countries in the Caribbean region have either never used or have abandoned this unhealthy pivot between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time,” he said. “The Bahamas, even to our detriment tends to mirror many of the lifestyle behaviors of America whether it is healthy for us or not. I am calling on health & wellness professionals and advocates throughout the Bahamas to stand with me and lobby against daylight savings time because of the very clear evidence of how it negatively affects human wellness. We need the courage to say to our leaders that our health is more important than the economic benefit of working longer hours in the daylight or not having to turn on lights so early.”

The health consequences, says Dr. Lightbourne, have been documented repeatedly which is why countries as dependent on tourism as Mexico have banned extended daylight.

“Late last year Mexico adopted standard time permanently, citing health benefits and improved productivity and energy savings,” he noted. “What happens when your body’s circadian rhythm is interrupted is not one of those things that we think about enough – unless, of course, you are in the medical field and you see the almost immediate impact it has on your patients.”

Part of the problem stems from the fact that the brain has a harder time releasing melatonin which induces sleepiness when the sun is still shining and light is pouring into what is supposed to be a bedroom. The longer you stay up with the sunlight, the less time melatonin has to kick in as your natural bedtime drowsiness sedative.

In his practice, Dr. Lightbourne said, he’s seen almost immediate cases of depression, overeating, restlessness leading to sleeplessness, fatigue, higher blood pressures and blood sugars.

“There is also a reported eight percent increase in strokes and heart attacks in America,” he said.

According to a Reuters report that has been widely reaffirmed nearly a decade after it first appeared, the loss of one hour of sleep from switching to Daylight Savings Time raised the risk of having a heart attack by 25 percent by the following Monday, two days after the clock ticked the extra hour of daylight.

By contrast, the report stated, “heart attack risk fell 21 percent later in the year, on the Tuesday after the clock was returned to standard time, and people got an extra hour’s sleep.”

Says Dr. Lightbourne, “Our brains and bodies have evolved over thousands of years in relationship with the sun, and to continue this unhealthy pivot adds to many health challenges humans already face.”

While debate on time change continues in the U.S. with two-thirds of the population saying they don’t look forward to the Spring forward, Fall back routine, the item does not appear to be on the Bahamian agenda, said Dr. Lightbourne who recently marked 15 years in practice and seven with Bahamas Wellness, which has owned and operated the Eleuthera Medical Center for the last five years, now the gold standard comprehensive and 24/7 urgent care facility for that island. The clinic recently added advanced digital mammography to its growing list of specialized services including 24/7 x-ray, ultrasound, and full lab facilities. With a staff complement of about 45 and rotating specialists serving Central Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Lower Bogue, Bahamas Wellness growing list of services on Eleuthera now include specialists in emergency and trauma care, primary wellness care, gynecology, pregnancy care, pediatrics, nutrition, cardiology, colonoscopy, vision, dermatology, foot and ankle and its most recent addition, dentistry.

 

Photo Caption: Dr. Arlington Lightbourne, President and CEO, Bahamas Wellness Health Systems with four clinics in The Bahamas, urges The Bahamas to stay with Eastern Standard Time, citing medical evidence that switching to Daylight Savings Time with extended light in the evenings disrupts natural sleep patterns and results in a range of health issues from depression to increased stress and higher incidence of heart attacks.

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124 HAITIAN NATIONALS REPATRIATED TO CAP-HAITIEN, HAITI

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#TheBahamas, May 21, 2024 – On Wednesday, May 15, the Department effectively executed the repatriation of a group of illegal migrants from the Lynden Pindling International Airport, New Providence to Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

At approximately 9:11 a.m., a Bahamasair chartered flight departed New Providence en route to Haiti with one hundred twenty-four (124) Haitian nationals onboard; a hundred and eight (108) adult males, thirteen (13) adult females and three (3) minors. The Department’s Deportation and Enforcement Units led the escort.

All security and health protocols were observed as the safety and welfare of our officers, law enforcement counterparts and migrants remain the highest priority.

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Introducing The Bahamas Cannabis Authority; Marijuana Bill tabled by Darville

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, May 20, 2024 – A medical marijuana industry is set for establishment in The Bahamas, following the tabling of the Cannabis Bill, 2024, in the House of Assembly, by Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Dr Michael Darville, May 15.

The Minister said objective of legislation is to set up a framework to establish The Bahamas Cannabis Authority, and to regulate the of importation, exportation, cultivation, processing, manufacturing, producing, sale, possession, distribution, and use of cannabis.

He told the Assembly that the law represents a thoughtful and balanced approach and was driven by a duty to act as he referenced the number of Bahamians who are battling cancer and in need of alternative treatments for pain management and other related issues.

“The legislative package, the Cannabis Bill, 2024 is designed to introduce a controlled system of cannabis use in medical treatments. The bill establishes the Bahamas Cannabis Authority.  A regulatory body overseeing all aspects of cannabis management and cultivation and distribution.  The authority’s mandate is to ensure that cannabis production and use are safe, controlled and effectively integrated into our health care system,” Minister Darville said.

Adding that the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that he also tabled, reclassifies cannabis by removing it from the dangerous drug list, now recognises its potential for medical use, he said the change aligns “our nations laws” with evolving global perspectives on cannabis.

The new law makes provisions for the licensing of cannabis handlers across various aspects of The Bahamas, and Dr. Darville said the licensing is structured to prioritise Bahamian ownership, with provisions ensuring that significant control remains in the hands of Bahamian nationals, fostering local entrepreneurship and economic benefits “for Bahamians across the country.

“We are here to make a difference, to enact change, remove years of stigma and transform lives by offering alternative treatments by way of medical cannabis.  The legislation before us offers a careful, considerate approach ensuring that we prioritize the wellbeing and safety of our citizens. Let us move with compassion,” he said.

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Pinder announces Trial by Judge Alone, New Courts, Harsher Penalties in Judicial Reform legislative Package

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, May 20, 2024 – The Bahamian Government has moved to open new courts, increase penalties for serious and violent crimes, as part of its reform of the judiciary to create efficiency in the system, and gang reduction efforts.

Outlining the administration’s legislative agenda on crime reduction, and judicial reform, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator, the Hon. Ryan Pinder said in the coming months there will be the opening of the juvenile and family courts allowing “us to bring on new judges for criminal and civil matters.

“We also anticipate establishing this year a commercial court that will be focused on hearing commercial disputes to ensure that the pace of business is not impaired by delays in trials,” the Minister said while addressing the Senate on May 15.

He was presenting the second reading of the Trial by Judge Alone (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2024 and The Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which allows for the Supreme Court (Criminal Case Management) (Amendment) Rules, 2024.

Senator Pinder said the bills are in line with the commitment of this Government to ensure that the necessary laws are in place to facilitate the “timely and effective” administration of justice.

Stressing that the administration have been working hard this legislative session to put in place the improvements in law to address the judicial system as well as the treatment of bail for an accused, and ensuring stiff penalties for major criminal violations, he said  the Government have passed a series of legislation to facilitate trials and prosecution of criminals.

“I would suggest that we have done more on the legislative front than any former administration to address crime, and we are not done.”

“The Magistrates (Amendment) Bill increased the financial thresholds of the jurisdiction of a Magistrate to hear certain matters and adjusted the maximum penalties. The broadening of the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court is intended to rebalance cases between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court in order to relieve the volume of minor disputes from the calendar of the Supreme Court,” he said.

For the magistrate’s court, he said, it is many instances the primary court for many civil and criminal cases, and especially in civil matters operating more of a small claims court, and the jurisdictional limits increased had not been adjusted in many years, and the operation of society has outpaced their limits.

The Court Services Bill empowers the judiciary to operate autonomously from an administrative point of view, by taking away oversight by central Government, thereby removing the bottleneck caused by the current system and providing further judicial independence.

For the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill, it increases the maximum number of Supreme Court judges from 20 to 25, increasing the capacity to conduct trials in the Supreme Court by 25%.

“It is the Government’s intention that this not only contribute significantly to concluding the backlog of cases but will also give the Chief Justice the flexibility he requires to better allocated judges through the courts,” the Minister said.

The Trial by Judge Alone (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2024, to grant a right of election to persons charged with indictable offences in the Supreme Court to be tried by a Judge alone.

“We believe this is a positive legislative reform to provide yet more support for timely trials in criminal matters,” the Minister said.

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