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PM Davis: Loftus Roker embodied the ideals of a statesman

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By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services

Hon. Philip Davis


NASSAU, The Bahamas
– During his remarks at the state funeral for the Hon. A. Loftus Roker, on May 31, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis raised the question as to what was a statesman, as all in attendance reflected on the life and legacy of “one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants.”

“A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the event held at Christ Church Cathedral.  “Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.”

“Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress,” he added.  “His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work – an ethos that defined his entire career.”

Prime Minister said that Mr. Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his “bold and transformative” policies.

“His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation,” he noted.  “He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets – some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques – a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.”

Presentation of National Flag to family by PM Davis

Prime Minister Davis noted that, reflecting on his “incredible” journey and contributions, they recalled his early foray into politics – “a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so.”

“This bold move was not just a youthful transgression, but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that it was his profound privilege to stand with Mr. Roker in Pompey Bay, Acklins, in August of 2023, where his Government recognized his lifelong service to The Bahamas by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour.

“This act not only commemorated his legacy, but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace – tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived,” he stated.

Prime Minister Davis added: “Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

“So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as they said farewell to “this stalwart of Bahamian history”, they should remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to their beloved nation.  Mr. Roker’s legacy, he added, will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

“Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker – a man whose life answered that question resoundingly,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.”

Governor General, HE the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt

“He was not just a part of our history; he helped to write it,” Prime Minister added.  “As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation.”

He stated that Mr. Roker’s memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always “illuminate the path forward.”

“Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.”

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival, and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem,” he added.  “May you rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Davis continued: “On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper and his wife ; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of this great patriarch.

“May he rest in peace.”

 

(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Bahamas News

Minister Moxey says AAM2024 is significant to the country

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – Making an address on the first day of Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings (AAM) and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2024 on Wednesday, June 12, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey pointed out the significance of the meetings in The Bahamas, and the impact on Grand Bahama.

It is the first time AAM is held in the Caribbean region.  The 31st AAM sessions run June 12 – 14, 2024 at Baha Mar Resort, Cable Beach.  The theme for the event is: “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.”

She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this AAM and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum is critical for nurturing the relationship we have intentionally progressed over the last few years, including the historic signing between Afreximbank and CARICOM, unlocking an astounding $1.5 billion in funding; the many trade missions between both regions; and tomorrow the signing of a Project Preparation Facility with Afreximbank and the Government of The Bahamas on the development of an Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center on Grand Bahama Island – my island — a magnificent center for the promotion of tourism, commerce and trade between both regions.

“As we contemplate the historical ties that bind us, may we recognize the significant role of trade and the immense opportunities that lie before us.

“Trade has always been the lifeblood of economies, and as we join hands to explore new avenues, great things will happen.”

Minister Moxey continued, “The Bahamas, with its strategic location and well-established infrastructure, stands as a gateway…and it is at the crossroads of two-way trade.

“Our beautiful country has emerged as a major transshipment terminal, facilitating the seamless flow of goods and creating linkages across continents.”

The Caribbean region is focused on trade and investment opportunities with Africa, and the meeting in Nassau demonstrates the importance of the matter, she said.

In closing, she said, “The Afro-Caribbean Marketplace and Logistics Center will not only boost economic growth but also strengthen the bonds of friendship and cultural understanding between both regions.”

 

PHOTO CAPTION

1st insert –  At the Welcome Reception for Afreximbank’s 31st Annual Meetings (AAM 2024) at Baha Mar Resort, Wednesday, Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Ginger Moxey, at podium, gives an address on the importance of the meetings.

2nd insert – In photos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper chats with Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Mottley.

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs and Eric Rose)

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Disaster Risk Management Authority streamlines response agencies for greater effectiveness; this year, very active hurricane season predicted

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By BETTY VEDRINE
Bahamas Information Services

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The newly formed Disaster Risk Management Authority (DRM Authority), held a press conference, June 4, 2024 to mark the official opening of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season. This season — which commences June 1 and ends November 30 — is anticipated to be the most active one seen in decades.  The press conference took place at the Disaster Risk Management Operations Centre, formerly NEMA, on Gladstone Road.

State Minister Leon Lundy

In attendance were: Minister of State in the Office of the Prime with the Responsibility for Disaster Preparedness and Management, the Hon. Leroy Lundy, along with several officials, DRM Authority Managing Director Aarone Sargent; DRM Authority Chairman Alex Storr; Director/former National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Captain Stephen Russell; and Permanent Secretary, Marcellus Taylor.

Delivering brief remarks, Minister Lundy assured the public that the government is taking every precaution to ensure the safety and welfare of Bahamians during the season.

“Our vision is clear: to have a country where every citizen and resident feels secure in the face  of a storm.  The government, along with our dedicated agencies, has been working relentlessly to enhance our disaster preparedness and response capabilities.  Central to these efforts is the establishment of the Disaster Risk Management Authority (DRM Authority), a body created to streamline and strengthen our disaster management functions,” said Mr. Lundy.

“The formation of the DRM Authority represents a pivotal change in our approach. By merging NEMA and the [DRM Authority], we have created a unified entity focused on preparing for, mitigating, and responding to disasters with unparalleled precision and efficiency. This consolidation ensures a comprehensive and cohesive framework for disaster risk management, embracing innovation to fortify our resilience.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA) projects 8 to 13 hurricanes, with 4 to 7 of those being major hurricanes.  Mr. Lundy said that this ‘sobering’ forecast requires the highest level of preparedness and vigilance.

As Bahamians, he said, the nation has “faced the wrath of nature time and again” with hurricanes such as Frances, Joaquin, Matthew, and Dorian, which “have tested our resilience and left indelible marks on our history. However, it is from these trials that we draw our strength and resolve. Today, I  stand before you with an unwavering determination to outline our vision for a resilient and prepared Bahamaland.”

He explained that the DRM Authority is tasked with developing and implementing the National Disaster Risk Management Plan and the National Disaster Emergency Plan. These strategic blueprints, he said, cover risk assessment, disaster risk mitigation, preparedness measures, financial safeguards, and the strengthening of governance frameworks.

“Our ultimate goal is unequivocal: to enhance the  safety and security of our citizens in the face of hurricanes,” he said. “Our nation sits in the heart of Hurricane Alley, and the predictions are daunting. Yet, I have  complete faith in the dedication and capability of the agencies represented here today to  protect our people and our future.  The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Royal Bahamas  Police Force, the Water and Sewerage Corporation, BPL, BTC, Aliv, The Department of  Meteorology, The Department of Family Island Affairs, our Emergency Support Function  Groups (ESFs), and the DRM Authority all stand ready to meet the challenge.”

DRM Authority Chairman Alex Storr

He said that each agency plays a critical role in disaster preparedness and response strategy. He said that the government has been fortifying its ability to meet the requirements to meet its objectives, including upgrading the incident command systems for more effective coordination during disasters and deploying satellite data  systems throughout the Family Islands to provide real-time, high-quality insights for decision making. “Additionally, we are partnering with regional allies to incorporate advanced  technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Systems for rapid damage assessment and AI-driven early warning systems, thereby enhancing our ability to respond swiftly and effectively,” he said.

Mr. Lundy pointed out, however, that the government needed every Bahamian to take personal responsibility for their own preparedness. “Our message is simple and urgent: Don’t wait! Get  storm-ready now! Take the necessary steps to protect your home, your family, and your business. Ensure you have your supplies: stock up on canned goods, shutters or plywood, extra prescriptions, and other essentials. Make a plan and communicate it with your loved ones.  Knowing what to do in the event of a hurricane can save lives,” he said.  “Let us draw from the hard-earned lessons of past storms. We have harnessed those  experiences to strengthen our disaster management approach, and now we must apply that knowledge to prepare for what lies ahead.”

Representatives from a cross-section of agencies also gave preliminary reports on the progress in their respective areas. Those contributors included: Senior Officer, Bahamas Department of Meteorology, Jeffrey Greene; Chief Welfare Officer, Department of Social Services, Andrea Newbold; Officer in Charge of Communication in the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Superintendent Marlon Grant; and Officer for Training, Development and Disaster Management in the Department of Public Works, Bradley King.

(BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)

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Grand Bahama as Center for Innovation says Minister in Budget presentation

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, June 18, 2024 – The Phillip Davis administration in The Bahamas is moving to establish Grand Bahama as the “center of innovation” for the Caribbean, with focus on digital nomads, tech campuses, incubators, and an innovation fund.

Making the disclosure during her contribution to the 2024-2025 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly, recently, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey said the main driver to build the economy of the area will be the Innovate242 Incubator, which has been set for completion by the end of the year.

The Minister who is serving as the co-chair of the Innovate242 Cabinet Subcommittee which was designed to establish the area as a showpiece for innovation in the Caribbean, said the Incubator will serve as a creative business center to cater to entrepreneurs as a ‘one-stop-shop” for business development from concept to launch.

“Of the four pillars, because of the immediate impact that it will have on empowering Bahamian entrepreneurs, the incubators have been made top priority. In the first instance, the islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma have been identified for Incubators.  The second phase will include the islands of Cat Island, Eleuthera and Andros,” the Minister told the House.

She said the Incubator will be spearheaded by the Tourism Development Corporation, in collaboration with the Ministry for Grand Bahama, and will include representation from organisations such as the Bahamas Development Bank, Small Business Development Center, Inland Revenue, Bahamas Invest, Licensing Department of Grand Bahama Port Authority, Invest Grand Bahama, the Bahamas Trade Commission; a creative producer, and a technology-based provider.

Adding that the facility will house the centre for sustainability, to create an ecosystem for organisations, international and local, she said it will focus on research and development innovation, Climate Change, sustainability, inclusiveness, and will also converge and collaborate to create sustainable master plans for each island, with the capacity to expand to the rest of the region.

Ather aspects of the development will include the launch of the Young Innovators Club, through Innovate242, geared at inspiring innovation among the young people, while encouraging them to become involved in the sustained growth and development of The Bahamas.

“The focus areas of the Club will include themes of empowerment of the Bahamian people, sustainable development goals, the creation and promotion of Bahamian products, boat building competition, and the innovation and green technology competitions,” the Minister said.

The Minister further said the Innovate242 Incubator initiative will be utilised as a space for the young innovators where their creative juices can follow, and there are more to come, and that the people of Grand Bahama have advocated from then to now for the development.

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