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U.S. Agencies ‘Handover’ disaster response equipment



#NASSAU, The Bahamas – Officials of the United States Embassy, Nassau, and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), presented counterparts at The Bahamas’ Ministry of Disaster Risk Management and its agencies with several critical pieces of disaster response equipment in a move that is expected to further boost the nation’s capability to better respond to natural disasters.

The Handover, which took place on the grounds of the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Compound, Gladstone Road and NEMA Way, is in line with the Davis Administration’s year-round focus on mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The equipment consisted of a water truck, septic truck, two trailers, two forklifts, and hydro tail, valued at approximately $1.05M and is a continuation of the longstanding partnership between The Bahamas and the United States Government and its agencies such as the US Embassy, Nassau, and USNORTHCOM.

The value of the equipment goes beyond its dollar amount. The availability of a septic truck, for example, is immeasurable in the aftermath of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane, as heavy rainfall and storm surge associated with the two events have the potential to cause significant issues for septic (sewage) systems — particularly in low lying, coastal and flood-prone areas associated with The Bahamas – and by extension can cause environmental and public health issues: Compromised septic/sewage systems can lead to contamination which can then lead to disease transmission.

Forklifts, on the other hand, have become a major player in the relief and recovery efforts following a natural disaster as they have the ability to speed up the removal large amounts of debris from impacted areas in a shorter space of time, while also improving delivery times of critical emergency supplies through the loading and off-loading process. The versatility of forklifts in the aftermath of a natural disaster have made them an invaluable tool in the response and recovery efforts.

The U.S. Handover contingent was led by Mrs. Usha Pitts, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy, Nassau; and Major General Constance L. Jenkins, the Director of Logistics and Engineering, J4, Headquarters, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.  Major General Jenkins is responsible for integrating, collaborating, and executing strategic logistics capabilities to provide viable solutions to homeland defense, theater security cooperation, and providing rapid/flexible response to civil authorities. They were joined by other Embassy/USNORTHCOM/US Government officials.

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the Ministry of Disaster Risk Management, the Hon. Leon Lundy, led the Bahamian delegation. He was accompanied by Dr. Marcellus Taylor, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Risk Management; Captain Stephen Russell, Director, National Emergency Management Agency; Mrs. Gayle Outten-Moncur, Deputy-Director, National Emergency Management Agency and officials of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority, the National Emergency Management Agency, and the Disaster Management Unit.

Officials said the Handover further highlights the strength of the U.S.-Bahamas relationship and reinforces the United States’ commitment to “our Bahamian neighbours, who are key partners in responding to disasters.”

(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Caribbean News

RBC donates $175,000 to Hurricane Beryl relief efforts



PORT OF SPAIN — In the wake of Hurricane Beryl, RBC Royal Bank (RY on TSX and NYSE) (“RBC”) and RBC Foundation USA announced a donation of C$175,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and the American Red Cross in support of Caribbean and U.S. relief efforts.

The devastating hurricane impacted several Caribbean and U.S. communities where RBC operates, including Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and Tobago.

RBC’s contribution will support emergency relief efforts, including shelters, hygiene kits, and social assistance to those in the affected communities.

“The intensity of Hurricane Beryl this early in the season is concerning and our thoughts are with the individuals affected in the Caribbean communities as well as in the U.S.,” said Chris Duggan, Head of RBC Caribbean Banking.

“At RBC, we believe it is our responsibility to support our communities in times of need. Our donation to the Red Cross, will provide immediate assistance to those impacted, ensuring they receive the necessary resources to recover and rebuild.”

Commenting on the Caribbean generosity as well as that of our larger RBC community, Duggan added: “The response of the RBC Caribbean Banking employees, as well as that of our larger RBC community has been generous and unhesitating. In response to the disaster, our colleagues are coming together in many unique and incredible ways and donating personally to help those affected.”

Those that would like to support the relief efforts can donate to the Canadian Red Cross at or the American Red Cross at

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PM Proposes Municipal Status for Negril



#MontegoBay, Jamaica, July 13, 2024 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has highlighted the need for Negril to have its own local authority, which will enable the town to better manage its affairs.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking to members of the Negril business community and other stakeholders on July 12, said the resort town has outgrown its current governance structure, posing challenges both to infrastructure and administration.

“Negril as a town is growing far beyond its infrastructure, it is also growing far beyond the system set up for local governance. Our system is that the towns are within a parish and the boundaries determine which local authority has control over the town,” Mr. Holness said.

“We will now have to do the necessary consultations and make the necessary legislative changes to give Negril its own Municipality. Towns and cities must be managed and managed from a local level,” he added

The Prime Minister said that due to the growth and expansion of Negril, the town has crossed over from Westmoreland into Hanover, leaving the question as to who is in charge.

“Based on all the communications I have received the stakeholders want to do things for themselves in Negril. I know there will be a challenge because of the parish boundaries, but we will have to work that out. Currently both Westmoreland and Hanover can take ownership, leaving the question as to who really is in charge,” he added.

Mr. Holness said that while there have been discussions on the matter in the past, it was time to give Negril its own Municipality.

“I know when we talk about this, especially for those who don’t live in Negril, there are indeed questions as why we would want to do this and upset the governance architecture that currently exist,” the Prime Minister added.

“Where the problem lies is where the solution should be. If the proper structure is put in place, I am convinced you could see an improvement in how the town is managed. Negril is going through what Portmore went through…to manage its own affairs. Any superior authority should empower the residents to do things for themselves. Negril has also outgrown not only it’s physical infrastructure but its management structure,” Mr. Holness further noted.

Negril, renowned for its stunning beaches and vibrant tourism industry, has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years.


Contact: Garwin Davis

Release: JIS

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Repair Bill for Trelawny Estimated at $30 Million



#MontegoBay, Jamaica, July 13, 2024 – The Trelawny Municipal Corporation is reporting a preliminary repair cost of $30 million, due to the impact of hurricane beryl on the parish.

Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Collen Gager made the disclosure during the Corporation’s monthly meeting held on Thursday (July 11).

He said that the damages were minimized due to the massive drain cleaning work carried out early in the hurricane season, across the nine divisions in the parish.

He stated that emphasis was placed on the clearance of storm drains, culverts and sink holes, particularly those in flood-prone areas.

“I must emphasize that we were well prepared…and we must also note… how quickly the roads …were cleared,” Mayor Gager stated.

He credited the relatively low repair bill to the work done by the Corporation’s Disaster Preparedness team, other members of staff and volunteers before and after the hurricane.

“I could see the councillors…from all nine divisions …out working after the storm…seeing to the welfare of residents,” Mayor Gager said.

He also informed that major damage was done to the Trelawny Infirmary, the nearby building which houses the Poor Relief Department, the roof of the Falmouth Market, and the recently established Falmouth Transportation Centre.

The Mayor however said that repair works were already underway.

He projected that ongoing sanitizing of the male and female wards, kitchen and bathrooms, as well as repairing the perimeter fence to the infirmary property should be completed within days.

Meanwhile, Mayor Gager said he was pleased that Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie has committed funds for repairs to the market.

This, he said, would contribute to maintaining public order in restricting the selling of agricultural produce and other consumer goods to that space.


Contact: Sharon Earle

Release: JIS       

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