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Full Orlando flight arrives in GB to pomp and pageantry

ZNS Bahamas - Ven, 01/07/2022 - 7:40pm

The return of the direct Bahamasair flight from Orlando to Grand Bahama arrived on Thursday, June 30, 2022 shortly after 11:00 a.m. to a water salute, smiling dignitaries and the pulsating sounds of Junkanoo. The weekly direct flight was introduced to the travelling public prior to Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and following the devastating hurricane, there was the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than three years later, the flight arrived with not one empty seat. On hand to welcome the visitors were Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey; Senator the Hon. Kirk Russell; Senator the Hon. James Turner; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Harcourt Brown; Managing Director of Bahamasair, Tracy Cooper; Steven Johnson of the Ministry of Tourism; Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce President, James Carey among others.

Minister Moxey, who is also celebrating her birthday, noted that it was a special day in Grand Bahama and “we’re back”. She continued, “Today is another grand day for Grand Bahama Island and we’ve been through it all, as you would know, and Orlando service to Grand Bahama Island is a big deal.”

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey on Thursday was pleased to announce that Grand Bahama is back when welcoming a full Bahamasair flight from Orlando, Florida to Freeport, Grand Bahama. The weekly direct flight has now been reintroduced following Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19 pandemic. Shown are Tracy Cooper, Managing Director of Bahamasair; Senator Kirkland Russell; Senator James Turner and Steven Johnson of the Ministry of Tourism. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

She said the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, in conjunction with the Ministry for Grand Bahama, has worked tirelessly to get people back to the island.

“We’re so happy to have this direct flight here today and there’s more to come.” Referring to the added flight direct from Raleigh, North Carolina, Minister Moxey emphasized that the government is focusing on Grand Bahama.

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Categorie: Bahamas

Scotiabank Bahamas donates $10K to Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation

ZNS Bahamas - Gio, 30/06/2022 - 5:26pm

Scotiabank Bahamas continued its support for the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation (BPSSYF) through a donation of cash scholarships and book vouchers for its annual awards ceremony. The annual academic recognition programme, which prepares sixth graders for their transition into secondary level education, through financial aid, was held on Saturday, June 11, at Church of God Auditorium, Joe Farrington Road. One hundred and two students from public and private schools around The Bahamas were recognized for both their academic and extracurricular prowess, with Jerlea Adderley being named Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year.

Scotiabank presented awards totalling $10,000 inclusive of $3500 scholarships to the 10th and 11th place finalists and book vouchers valued at $100 for the top 30 students overall.

“ Our contribution to this hallmark event signifies our ongoing commitment to support to the students of the Bahamas on their educational journey and is an ongoing investment in the development of the future leaders of The Bahamas . We also laud organizations like the
BPSSYF for their efforts to motivate and recognize our children to aim for highest honour,” said Roger Archer, Managing Director, Scotiabank Bahamas. Archer also extended special congratulations to young Priya Beneby – 2nd runner up and a student of the Xavier Lower School, Arianna Miller of the Queen’s College Primary School-10th place finalist and Malaya Gordon of the Eva Hilton Primary School who was the 12th place finalist – all of whom are the children of Scotiabank team members.

Archer was joined by Deno Moss, Director of Investment Advisory to present the awards to the students.

Thanking Scotiabank for its contribution as one of four major donors was Ricardo Deveaux, President & CEO of Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation, who said “this is truly an exciting day for Scotiabank and The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year. We are excited to have formed this partnership to assist in making a difference in the lives of so many students.”

The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation, which was founded in 1997, has, to date, awarded $1.5 million in scholarships and prizes to hundreds of students nationwide.

The awards ceremony was televised on Cable Bahamas Channel 212 and streamed live on Facebook on the BPSSYF and Education Spotlight pages.

More photo highlights below:

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Categorie: Bahamas

Grand Bahama Minister invites residents to enjoy the Independence Celebrations

ZNS Bahamas - Gio, 30/06/2022 - 12:26am

Residents and visitors alike were on Wednesday, June 29 encouraged by Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey to participate in the upcoming Independence celebrations during a press conference at the Ministry.

Being held under the theme “Proud To Be Bahamian” Minister Moxey said with this theme in mind, she thinks of the many Bahamians proudly displaying the colours of the flag while excelling in their various sporting disciplines such as NBA stars Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield, track sensations Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Ubo, professional baseball player Jazz Chisholm, along with others making contributions in the areas of music, film, visual arts, science and others.

“These proud Bahamians unapologetically represent the 242 on the global stage, and they remind me how blessed this nation called The Bahamas truly is.”

The Minister continued, “This year’s Independence Celebrations are very special for several reasons; firstly, the residents of Grand Bahama will unite as a community to give praise and thanks to God for His grace and mercy, and His continued guidance and protection, after everything this island has been through.

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey on Wednesday, July 29
announced plans for the upcoming Independence celebrations. Minister Moxey is seen with the committee members. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

– After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey on Wednesday, June 29 announced plans for the upcoming Independence celebrations being held under
the theme, “Proud to be Bahamian.” (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

“Secondly, we are officially on the road to marking our nation’s 50th year of Independence, The Bahamas’ Golden Jubilee!

“For this reason, we proudly celebrate our culture and heritage, and my Ministry in conjunction with the Independence Committee will kick off Independence activities this Thursday June 30th (my birthday) at the Eight Mile Rock Fish Fry and Unity Rush Out in Sunset Village, Eight Mile Rock at 7pm.”

The four, Category (A), Junkanoo Groups participating in the rush out are The Swingers, Classic Dancers, Superstar Rockers and Platinum Knights. During the press conference, the Swingers presented Minister Moxey with a special junkanoo piece as an early birthday present.

Events are scheduled for East to West Grand Bahama, beginning Thursday with the Eight Mile Rock Fish Fry and Unity Rush Out in Sunset Village, and ending on July 11 with the return of the Pelican Point Coconut Festival in East Grand Bahama. The public is advised that as a matter of importance, for the public’s safety, COVID-19 Protocols will be enforced at all events. Event goers are encouraged to wear their masks at all the events to ensure their safety.

“So, this is a clarion call to the public to get involved; pull out those flags, those Bahamian colors; because YES! WE PROUD TO BE A BAHAMIAN!!,” she said.

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Categorie: Bahamas

Participants in the first Bahamas Public Service Institutional Capacity Building Programme receive awards

ZNS Bahamas - Gio, 30/06/2022 - 12:09am

Graduates of the inaugural session of the Bahamas Public Service Institutional Capacity Building Programme were recognized and celebrated for their efforts Friday, June 24, 2022. The program was put on by the Bahamas Government in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and facilitated by University of The Bahamas through the Government and Public Policy Institute (GPPI) and Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Centre (CLEARN).

Forty-two employees representing a cross-section of the public service participated in the nine months’ leadership training program for public officers who might be prospective candidates for further advancement as leaders within the service.

The program was delivered through a series of modules, seminars, projects and group activities. It incorporated the latest knowledge and best practices in the various areas of study and embraced the most current developments in the Bahamas Public Service environment.
The objectives of the program: develop clear knowledge and understanding of public policy and administration; enhance self-management skills for greater productivity; acquire task specific skills in the areas of statistics, public procurement, performance monitoring, public finance, and executive leadership; and develop systemic approaches to capacity building.The closing ceremony was held at the University of The Bahamas.

In attendance: The Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; the Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; permanent secretaries including Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr. Rodney Smith, President of UB; Zhivargo Laing, Executive Director of GPPI; Dr. Linda Davis, BTVI interim- president; Dr. Iva Dahl, Senior Policy Fellow; and Daniela Carrera-Marquis, IDB Country Representative (virtual appearance).

Congratulating the participants, Minister of State Glover-Rolle expressed confidence that the lessons learned will help them to make more positive contributions to the public service. She thanked them for taking the initiative to invest in themselves and become “better” equipped to become “better” public servants. She applauded UB and the GPPI for taking the initiative to launch the program. State Minister Glover-Rolle commended the organizers for their efforts in focusing on the “critical” areas of need.

“We all know that data collection and statistics is an area that needs much work locally. We also must build capacity when it comes to using statistics to inform our policies.

“Public procurement and financial management are essential to effective, transparent policy execution; and there will always be a need for executive leadership development,” she said.

“Failure to invest in the leaders of tomorrow will defeat any momentum that we are able to generate today.”

Mr. Laing said throughout the program the officers have been “attentive, engaged and committed”.

“You will be ultimately the testament to the test of the program. It is our intent to monitor your performance going forward for a period of time and to document that performance for the benefit of evaluating the outcome of the training.

“We look for your cooperation in this regard. This will allow us to obtain the necessary data to make proof of the effort of our program.” Dr. Smith wished the cohort every success. He said, “We are confident that this cohort of participants who are already active participants in nation building have further honed their skills to become not onl better but elite employees of the Bahamas Public Service.”

In a video presentation Ms. Carrera-Marquis congratulated the participants for their accomplishments. She said, “The IDB is proud to sponsor the public service institutional capacity building program in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas under the capable instruction of the University of The Bahamas and the GPPI to support the advancement and training of public service officers.” The graduates were awarded certificates for their achievements.

More photo highlights below:

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Categorie: Bahamas

Senate President Adderley addresses Bahamas Academy Class of 2022

ZNS Bahamas - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 9:57pm

Members of the board of directors of Bahamas Academy of Seventh-day Adventists (Secondary Division), administrators, faculty, staff, parents, family and well-wishers witnessed as the 50-member Elite Class of 2022 accepted diplomas, awards and gifts at the school’s Commencement Exercise Monday, June 27, at William Thompson Auditorium. Senate President the Hon. LaShell Adderley gave the Commencement Address. Participants also included Juliette Sands, Principal; Kaitlyn Forbes, Class of 2022; Anthony Burrows, Education Director; South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Musicians Joshua Stewart and Hudson Sterlin of the Class of 2022
provided entertainment.

Prayer, meditation and faith in God are among the keys to success offered by the Senate President to the Elite Class of 2022. To these three she added the following traits of great leaders from David Rubenstein’s bestselling book “How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEO’s, Founders and Game Changers.” They are: a desire to succeed, pursuit of something new and unique, hard work/long hours, focus, failure, persistence, persuasive, humble demeanor, credit sharing, consistent learning, integrity and response in a crisis.

Said President Adderley, “I trust that you would stem the brain drain and consider serving this progressive country in some capacity. It is my sincere hope that The Bahamas lingers in your heart and resonates in your mind as the best little country in western hemisphere. No matter where you go, we are still the best.

“Our people – good natured, our islands – vast, our waters – unmatched, our democracy-stable, our dollar – strong, our proximity – enviable, our neighbour – the United States, our economy – vibrant, our freedoms – preserved, our potential – limitless, our faith – God and our opportunities – endless.”

She noted the diverse professions available to qualified individuals throughout The Bahamas. “The emerging trend is that The Bahamas will no longer be Nassau centric but provide stellar opportunities across the Family Islands in the blue, green and orange economies. There is a need for further expertise in Forensic Science, Digital Assets, Crypto Currency, Blockchain Technology, IT Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Agriculture, Education, Allied Health, Economics, research in cancer and infectious diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDs and now Covid-19.

“There is also a need for environmental scientists. However, each one of us must do our part to address the critical issue of climate change. Climate change is real, caused by humans but it is solvable.

“Rising sea levels, fires, droughts and hurricanes such as Dorian are not taking a break so neither can we. We need to ensure that we leave a sustainable planet for future generations. We must act now to save this planet. We cannot wait,” she said.

She urged the female graduates to consider “giving back through the political arena”.

“As Senate President of a small developing country, I recognize the need for increased diversity and inclusivity of female representation in our Parliaments. In so doing, women will be better placed to provide strong sensitive leadership on critical issues facing women, youth, and children, influence change and break the bias which all provides for a sustainable tomorrow.

“It is my firm held belief that when women are underrepresented in areas of democracy, women are ignored and inequality is actively deepened.

“The hotly contested September 16th 2021 General Elections ushered in 7 out of 39 or (17 %) seats in the House of Assembly to women. The Prime Minister invited 5 of the women to sit in his Cabinet, representing the largest number of women serving at one time in Cabinet in Bahamian history. In addition, for [the] first time in our Commonwealth two women are simultaneously sitting as Speaker of the House (in the presence of the Hon. Patricia Deveaux) and President of the Senate (yours truly) another historical moment in [a] young democracy.

“I highly commend this vortex of invincible Bahamian trailblazers for wanting more. They wanted diversity, representation and inclusivity,” she said. Senator Adderley remarked that while in office it is her hope to appeal to young adults, children, (especially young ladies and little girls) that they can put God first, bloom and ascend to any high political office.

“Upon my departure from the Upper Chamber, I intend to leave the door open so that the women who follow would not only smash the glass ceiling but exist and thrive in a political atrium of limitless possibilities and boundless opportunities.” She congratulated the graduates and advised them that the road to success is not always easy.

“You will encounter adversity. Challenges make you stretch and stronger but it is your response to obstacles that will make the difference. Obstacles will make you better or bitter — the decision is up to you. Your attitude determines your altitude.

“Graduates, turn your obstacles into victories. God will turn your pain into something beautiful. Trust the Process.” Astra Bowlin and Yannik Gibson are the valedictorian and salutatorian respectively for the Class of 2022.

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Categorie: Bahamas

New UK High Commissioner Designate

ZNS Bahamas - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 9:42pm

Mr Tom Hartley has been appointed British High Commissioner (designate) to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in succession to Mrs Sarah Dickson OBE who is going to another Diplomatic Service appointment. High Commissioner Dickson is due to leave The Bahamas at the end of July and Mr Hartley will take up his appointment during August 2022.

Mr. Hartley said that he is “looking forward to taking up this post and experiencing first-hand the warmth, beauty, hospitality, and energy The Bahamas are known for the world over.”

“It is my honour to be appointed as the next British High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. I pay tribute to my predecessor, Mrs Sarah Dickson who was rightly recognised in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours with an OBE for services to UK-The Bahamas relations; I look forward to building on her excellent service to continue to strengthen the British-Bahamas partnership in security, climate change, education, and much more.”

Her Excellency Sarah Dickson OBE said how sad she was to be leaving the country. She commented on how proud she was to reopen the High Commission in Nassau and reflected on the difficult circumstances of the past three years with hurricanes and pandemics.

“It has been a privilege to serve in The Bahamas. Setting up a new High Commission from scratch was always going to be a challenge. Doing so at the same time as the most extreme hurricane, followed by a global pandemic made the situation even more complex. I have
been blessed by a terrific team at the High Commission who have found solutions at every turn.

I am grateful to all the allies and friends of the High Commission who have helped us out. I am fortunate that my family and I have managed to visit so many islands. Our travels from Crooked Island to Bimini; from Cat Island to Andros and so many other places; have allowed me to see the real beauty of The Bahamas and meet some terrific people.

There are lots of things that bind our two countries together and we are always stronger when we share our views and experiences.”

She commented that she was sure Mr Hartley would enjoy The Bahamas as much as she had and wished him every success in his posting. She hoped to see as many people as possible who had supported her and the High Commission before her departure at the end of July.

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Categorie: Bahamas

Min. of Social Services Host Reception for Special Olympians & Olympic Gold Medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo

ZNS Bahamas - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 9:35pm

Friday, 24th June 2022 the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development’s National Commission for Persons with Disabilities hosted a reception for returning Special Olympics Medalists and Athletes who competed at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida. At the games more than 5,500 athletes and coaches from all 50 States and the Caribbean gathered in competition in front of a spectator audience of 125,000 people.

The reception in celebration of the 2022 Special Olympics Team was held at Superclubs Breezes (Nassau). The event, attended by the Special Olympics’ Athletes, Coaches, Family and Friends, Government Officials, NGO’s and Supporters. The highlight of the evening for the team was a surprise visit by Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo. Miller-Uibo made tribute to the achievements of the Special Olympians and took photos with them prior to her appearance at The Bahamas Nationals Track and Field events.

“It is indeed an honor for me to be amongst our Special Olympians and to show them my love and recognition for their achievements,” said Miller-Uibo. “They have achieved world-renown recognition for their performances in the same way that all Olympians do for our country,” said Miller-Uibo. Special Olympics ‘Team Bahamas’ won individual medals, two team medals, and six other medals: four gold and two bronze.

The official Medal count breakdown for the 2022 Special Olympics Team is as follows: –

  1. Athletics – Deron Forbes, 400m gold. 200m 5th place.

  1. Bowling – Bronson Aranha – bronze (singles), division M12. Austin Green – 4th place (singles(division M5) 7th place doubles.
  2. Bocce – Vashni Thompson – bronze (f singles). Stephen Russell ( Grand Bahama) – gold (m singles). Doubles – gold (Vashni/Stephen).

Mr. Gilbert Williams, National Director of Special Olympics said the “Soccer Team (mostly Grand Bahama Delegates): win/loss record 2-2. The Team played earlier in the day and defeated the Special Olympics from Ohio 4-3, giving them the Gold Medal in their division.”

Williams said “This recognition of our Athletes’ achievements is a long time in coming! It only marks the beginning of greater things to come in the spirit of equality and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.” The National Director said “It is hoped that The Bahamas will soon be the host country of several Regional, Special Olympics competitions.”

In attendance at the reception honoring and celebrating the performances of The Bahamas 2022 Special Olympics Team was: The Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, who also represented the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Brave Davis, The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technology, The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Housing and Transport, and Senator Kirk Russell from Grand Bahama.

“I am so very proud of our Special Olympics Athletes and Coaches and I congratulate each and every one of them,” stated Minister Wilchcombe. “It is their hard work, perseverance, dedication and love of the sport that has led them to become international champions, and this is a proud day for us all in The Bahamas, as we celebrate their victory.” Minister Wilchcombe said “I want to especially thank Mrs. Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who should be commended for taking the time to celebrate with us this evening and show the Special Olympians that they are included as part of the Bahamian Athletic Community.”

The 2022 Special Olympics Team comprised nine delegates and fourteen athletes who competed internationally, representing The Bahamas on the world stage at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida 5th to 11th June 2022.

More photo highlights below:

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Categorie: Bahamas

PMH Diagnostic Services Restricted to Emergencies Only

ZNS Bahamas - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 9:24pm

The public is advised that effective Wednesday June 29th 2022, the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Diagnostic Services of ECG, EEG and ECHO have been suspended and will only be available to emergency services.

As a result, patients with appointments, walk-in or new referrals should call or message the PMH Scheduling Unit at 808-9972 for assistance. Persons requiring elective diagnostic service will be required to visit the Hospital’s Business Office for further instructions and documentation to receive the service at an outsourced facility.

Ultrasound services will now be conducted in the X-ray Department of PMH at this time.

Management apologizes for any inconvenience caused.

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Categorie: Bahamas

Blue Carbon Project being developed for The Bahamas

ZNS Bahamas - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 9:16pm

A Blue Carbon Offset Project is currently being developed for The Bahamas, which will support the financing of mangrove restoration efforts and coastal community resilience. Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Hon. Vaughn P. Miller, speaking at the United Nations Ocean Conference, said data collection and development of a pilot project are now underway. The project is a result of a partnership between the Government of The Bahamas and the Nature Conservancy. An assessment of the opportunities and enabling conditions for the development of the project was recently completed.

“We have prioritized coral reef conservation by endorsing long-term initiatives that facilitate the development of investment projects and businesses that contribute to the resilience of coral reefs and surrounding communities in The Bahamas,” Minister Miller told the conference.

“We are using science and technology applications in the fisheries management processes around our main commercial fisheries of queen conch, snapper, grouper and others. We expanded our near-shore Marine Protected Area Network by over 5 million acres last July and we increased the capacity of the Government to enforce the regulations.

The goal is to reach complete overall compliance and reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by 2025. We are meeting the challenge of this declared decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development head on.”

Under the theme: “Save Our Oceans, Protect Our Future”, the 2022 UN Ocean Conference is taking place in Lisbon, Portugal from June 27 to July 1. The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference will seek to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global oceanaction.

Minister Miller called on countries to become “singular in focus” in order to increase shared equity in the green and blue economy, guard against environmental harm, create good jobs and build resistance against the negative impacts of climate change.

“Greater climate adaptation and resilience will help countries like mine, mitigate and recover quickly from natural disasters and extreme weather events,” Minister Miller told the conference.

“For better or worse, we are inextricably linked to the ocean, in times of calm and calamity. We have built sustainable industries that are now in jeopardy of collapse, due to loss and damage and the negative impacts of climate change, poaching and unjust transitions in the global economy.”

The Bahamas has implemented several environmental laws, including an Environmental Planning and Protection Act that introduced criminal penalties for environmental destruction.

There is also a nationwide Ban on Selected Single-Use Plastics and Styrofoam that phased out the import of single-use plastic bags, food utensils, and styrofoam food containers. The Bill also made it illegal to release balloons into the air. The passage of the Biological Resources and Traditional Knowledge Act will regulate marine and other types of research and ensure the fair and equitable sharing and benefits arising out of the use of natural resources and traditional knowledge.

“Mangroves are now a protected species and we have modernized our Fisheries Act to provide for mandatory reporting and universal licensing,” he said.

“No climate change, no loss, no damage will retard our advancement in this space. We have come this week, as a part of a coalition of the willing, to lend our support and voice to your efforts and seek support on behalf of the resilient people of The Bahamas.”

Writer: Felicity Darville

The Hon. Basil McIntosh, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; Mr.Jerome Fitzgerald, Senior Policy Advisor, OPM and The Hon. Vaughn P. Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources

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Categorie: Bahamas

RBDF & BNT Sign MOU Signifying Partnership to Protect Bahamas’ Natural Resources

ZNS Bahamas - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:25pm

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signifying the longstanding partnership between the two organizations to protect The Bahamas’ natural resources. As the stewards of The Bahamas’ national parks, the BNT’s mandate includes managing national parks to protect The Bahamas’ invaluable natural resources through science, education, conservation, and enforcement. The RBDF has long played an integral role in supporting the BNT’s mission by assisting with enforcement in national parks. In particular, the MOU recognizes the continued presence of the RBDF at the historic Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park (ECLSP), the oldest land and sea park in the world and one of the first marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Caribbean.

The ECLSP serves as a reservoir for marine biodiversity and a sanctuary for some of The Bahamas’ most economically, ecologically, and culturally significant marine resources. Its 174,194 acre boundary protects some of the healthiest reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, and other ecosystems in the country. The park is a complete no-take zone – meaning under no circumstances is any fishing, conching, shelling, or lobstering allowed – and requires high levels of patrolling and enforcement. Despite the RBDF’s well established presence at the ECLSP, working alongside the BNT, an MOU has never been officially signed between the two organizations until now.

BNT Executive Director Eric Carey said, “National parks are sanctuaries for some of The Bahamas’ most invaluable and unique natural resources. Many species depend on these areas, like the ECLSP, in order to survive; and we as Bahamians depend on these species as well. That makes the management and enforcement of these areas critically important. It’s our job as the stewards of national parks to protect The Bahamas’ natural treasures for now and tomorrow, but there are 32 national parks across the country and it would be impossible to do it all on our own.

“Our very important mandate would not be possible without the assistance of the RBDF, whose own work is also vital to the integrity of our country. One of our goals for the ECLSP for this year and beyond is to create capacity for enhanced enforcement of the park, so we’ll be relying on the RBDF even more. In light of that, this MOU signing comes at an opportune time in our plans. We thank the RBDF for their service in support of protecting national parks, and we’re happy to finally officially have this MOU signifying our commitment to working
together after all these years.”

Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King, noted during the ceremony that he has been involved in the BNT-RBDF partnership since its inception. He advised that some time ago when he was a young sublieutenant and captain of one of RBDF’s smaller vessels, he met with then-ECLSP Warden Ray Darville. Commodore King said that there and then, he realized there was an opportunity and a need for RBDF to support the BNT. And that was the beginning of the two organizations working together in support of each other’s goals.

Commodore Dr. Raymond King said, “We thank Mr. Carey and the BNT for agreeing to partner with the RBDF through the signing of this MOU. It is seen as a vital tool to the RBDF as we continue in the execution of our duties of enforcing the laws of The Bahamas with respect to our wildlife and natural resources.

“We also see this as an opportunity for the RBDF to gain more training and education in wildlife enforcement and conservation; and for us to continue in the mandate of guarding our heritage. We’re most grateful.”

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Categorie: Bahamas