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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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Nassau Cruise Port Donates Nearly $2 Million Towards Food Security

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Nassau, Bahamas: The Nassau Cruise Port has donated $1.95 million towards
projects that will assist the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources in its aim
to increase food security for The Bahamas.

The donation officially occurred at the Ministry’s offices recently, where Minister
of Agriculture and Marine Resources Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of Labour
Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Permanent Secretary Neil Campbell and Nassau Cruise
Port CEO Mike Maura listened to a number of presentations including one for a
poultry programme for schools, a chicken broiler production programme, the
redevelopment of the Blue Hill Road Farmers Market and an Authentic
Bahamian Cultural Concept Store,

Mr. Maura said he was impressed by the presentations.

“I had the privilege to listen the presentations and review presentations that
touched on food security and the need for us to be self-sufficient, which as a
Bahamian I support completely. At the Nassau Cruise Port, we get excited
about the prospects of offering more authentic food to the millions of visitors
that we have each year,” he said.

“And then, in addition to that, we had presentations around the further
development of our artisans, which is so important to us as well. The guests
visiting our shores are looking for something that really touches The Bahamas
and can’t be found somewhere else. The Nassau Cruise Port has made a pledge to BAIC and its affiliates. We will be supporting the projects that were presented and we can’t wait to get started.”

Minister Glover-Rolle, who is also the Member of Parliament for Golden Gates,
hailed Nassau Cruise Port as a “great community partner.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to not only present but agreeing to participate.
Our Minister of Agriculture has a goal of reducing food imports by 25 percent by
the year 2025 and our project in the Golden Gates Community speaks to that,”
she said.

“We have a number of backyard farmers, farmers and fishers in our community
in Golden Gates. Being able to use the Blue Hill Road Farmers Market, which is
going to be dubbed the ‘Fish Fry of the South,’ as a hub for food security but
also a hub where artisans and handicraft persons can come and sell their wares
is wonderful. So, we are happy that you have agreed to partner with us and we
look forward to a partnership and we hope to welcome some of your visitors
when this amazing renovation is done.”

Minister Campbell also lauded the Nassau Cruise Port for its efforts.

“I would like to say thank you to the presenters for the presentations that are
several steps in the right direction for our country, to Mr. Maura and his board at
the Nassau Cruise Port and I would like to say thanks to God for this partnership
and bringing us all together as we move forward, upward, together in building a
better, brighter, future for The Bahamas,” he said.

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Career Symposium 2024 Connects University Students with Successful Professionals

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Nassau, THE BAHAMAS — Some of the most successful and accomplished professionals and business leaders in the country recently shared their experiences and nuggets of wisdom with students at University of The Bahamas (UB) about thriving in a wide range of careers.

The University Centre for Counselling and Career Services and the Career and Job Placement Advisory Unit collaborated to host the 2024 Career Symposium which brought students face to face with leaders in the careers to which they aspire.

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Maria Oriakhi, said the symposium was key to developing potential as university students strive to leave their mark on the world.

Ms. Rickell Curry

“In the spirit of collaboration and growth, let us engage in meaningful dialogue, cultivate relationships, and harness the power of collective wisdom to shape our futures,” said Dr. Oriakhi. “Together, let us embark on this journey of exploration and discovery, united in our commitment to realizing our fullest potential and making meaningful contributions to our communities and beyond.”

Promoting careers in psychology, Ms. Curry noted that psychologists are equipped with the ability to help others, troubleshoot areas of weakness within themselves, and become better people and professionals in the process.

“The floor is yours to be able to explore. There’s no job where you don’t have to deal with people, so learning, even if you get a bachelor’s in psychology, is a great grounding,” she said.

Dr. Darville, one of few interventional radiologists in The Bahamas, offered another nugget of advice on choosing an area of study.

Dr. Elizabeth Darville

“It is important to know enough about yourself in order to make the decisions you want to make,” said Dr. Darville. “You have to work on yourself first and know what you want to do. Radiology gives you a chance to have fun. It gives you a chance to mold your career closer to your personal life than other medical specialties might.”

Another growing field is project management which Mr. Hepburn called a life skill. He also urged a commitment to lifelong learning.

“Individuals that continue to learn become unstoppable, period,” said Mr. Hepburn. “It is so true. When you learn, you become unstoppable because nothing can stop you in your process of development.

Mr. Wellington Hepburn

“The more you know, the more valuable you are. We need individuals who are cross functional—that can operate in different capacities. So please understand that your learning should never stop.”

With small and medium-sized businesses helping to drive the economy at an incredible rate, Ms. Rolle affirmed the importance of entrepreneurship in any economy.

“When we talk about entrepreneurship, we usually look at it from a myopic standpoint,” she said. Ms. Rolle. “What do I mean by that? Small, but usually about self: ‘how do I make more money?’ And in some cases, some look at entrepreneurship as a way of survival. ‘I need to make a couple extra dollars, I have this bill to pay’. Those types of things.

Ms. Samantha Rolle

“But entrepreneurship really, in its truest form, is about innovation, whether it’s a new concept or any existing concept that you innovate new ways, or help expand the economy.”

The career symposium was held at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre and is held every academic year.

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS

 

  • Career Symposium 1: UB Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Maria Oriakhi, delivers the opening address at the 2024 Career Symposium.
  • Career Symposium 2: Students and guest speakers enjoy a lighthearted moment during the 2024 Career Symposium.
  • Career Symposium 3: Ms. Rickell Curry speaks to students during the 2024 Career Symposium.
  • Career Symposium 4: Dr. Elizabeth Darville delivers remarks during the 2024 Career Symposium.
  • Career Symposium 5: Mr. Wellington Hepburn educates students on the importance of project management during the 2024 Career Symposium.
  • Career Symposium 6: Ms. Samantha Rolle talks about the role and importance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in any economy.

 

Office of University Relations

University of The Bahamas

2nd Floor, Michael H. Eldon Complex

Oakes Field Campus

P.O. Box N-4912

Nassau, The Bahamas

Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4365

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$36 Million Dollar Upgrade for World Athletics Relays in Nassau, Bahamas

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#TheBahamas, April 15, 2024 – After years of thorough maintenance, The Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in The Bahamas is finally getting a multi-million dollar makeover, readying the 10-year old facility ahead of the World Athletics Relays on May  5, 2024; it is being staged in Nassau for the fourth time.

This $36 million refurbishment is being funded by the Chinese Government, as part of a vision to enhance the country’s sport infrastructure to benefit youths in athletics. The stadium was gifted to The Bahamas in 2012 by the Chinese.

The relay is the qualifying event for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and there will be 32 national teams, in each relay event, and 20 races on both days of competition, according to World Athletics.

Day 1, will have 20 heats across the five Olympic-calibre events (4 heats each for 4×100, 4×400, men, women and mixed) and will qualify 40 teams for the Summer Olympics.

Distinctly, the top two teams from each heat will directly qualify for the 2024 Games.

On day 2, 30 more national teams will be qualified through 15 heats and five finals, across those five events.

The upgrades which include new trusses, rooftops, seats, the lawn, score boards, LED displays and more, are expected to be complete at least two weeks before the relays, being held under the theme: ‘Chase the  Sun’.

In a special ceremony on Monday April 8, The Bahamas Prime Minister, Philip Davis said:

In December 2023, our shared vision took shape, as the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and the government of the People’s Republic of China, inked an implementation agreement for the renovation of the stadium. This gesture of goodwill and friendship, from the Chinese government to undertake the China Aid Maintenance and Renovation project of our national stadium, stands as a testament to the strong bonds that unite our countries. This project, executed by China Urban Construction Research Institute Company Limited, and the China Machinery Industry Construction Group Company Limited, reflects our shared commitment to excellence, innovation and mutual development.”

Additionally, H.E Dai Qingli, outgoing Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas who also attended that ceremony, spoke.

“At the end of the project, the Bahamian people will get a fully renewed and modern world class stadium because everything is going to be either renewed or repaired,” she said.

Some 1,600 athletes will be in The Bahamas for the World Athletics relays, with five events.  The Bahamas won the bid over Lausanne, Rome in 2022.

Mario Bowleg,  Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture in reports, thanked China for their contribution to the redevelopment of the stadium.

“We thank them for their commitment to ensuring that they bring this facility back up to A1 standard so that we can continue holding international events and using these facilities as a development of our young people.”

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