The Government of The Bahamas has begun piloting free Wi-Fi Zones at certain parks in the Fox Hill, Gambier Village and Bain and Grants Town Communities. The Free Wi-Fi Zones will allow residents of those areas – particularly school-aged children -- access to the worldwide web. Controls have been implemented to block certain content. The provision of the Free Wi-Fi Zones is part of an overarching plan by the Minnis Administration towards the establishment a modern telecommunications infrastructure for all Bahamians – particularly school-aged children living in the country’s Inner-cities, many of whom attend public schools from preschool to secondary level, and who do not have access to the internet while at home. As part of the plan, the Government recently allocated $2 million during the 2017/2018 Budget for the purchase of electronic notepads and the supporting training and infrastructure for two of its government-operated preschools in order to provide more Bahamian children with the educational tools they need.

    This initiative is geared towards helping preschoolers with literacy, numeracy, speech development and computer literacy. Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Alexander Minnis said under the new initiative allocated for in the 2017/2018 Budget, preschoolers will learn about the responsible use of computers. “We will further build on this important initiative as we move ahead. It is but one of many innovations we will use in our programme of social development and social inclusion. “We are committed to bridging the digital divides between government-operated and private schools so that every child has the opportunity to thrive in a modern Bahamas,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “We look forward to ensuring that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is strengthened from preschool through tertiary and vocational education.”

    The establishment of the free Wi-Fi Zones fulfills two promises made by the Minnis Administration for the provision of free WIFI services in certain communities and to ensure greater equity and broader access to technology by all Bahamians, regardless of economic standing. It is also one of the many innovations Prime Minister Minnis has vowed to use in the Government’s “programme of social development and social inclusion” in The Bahamas. “The introduction of free Wi-Fi to certain parts of New Providence will help to expand access to communications and Internet Technology for those who cannot easily afford such access,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “We are working to have widespread access to Wi-Fi services in the parks and public spaces within the inner-city of New Providence with a view to free Wi-Fi in certain communities,” Prime Minister Minnis added.




    A Passport Issuance Centre has been instituted on the campus of the Anatol Rodgers Junior High School on Faith Avenue off Carmichael Road. During a tour of the facilities on Thursday, July 20, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren Henfield urged Bahamians to make use of the service. “You might be aware that February 2016 was the International Deadline for all Hand-Written Passports,” said Minister Henfield: “This created a rush at Passport Offices throughout the Commonwealth for all persons still not in possession of the Electronic Passports, since inception of the Government's e-passport system December 2007.” He said that this ‘urgency’ coupled with the normal last minute summer rush, prompted the birth of the Anatol Rodgers Passport Issuance Project.

    He said that during the months of July and August 2016, three thousand six hundred and sixty-four e-passports were successfully issued to the Bahamian Populace. He said that this year, a decision was made to provide an alternative site for the collection of passports. “Similarly, during the year 2017 it was discovered that in spite of every effort by Passport Staff to prompt recent e-passport applicants to retrieve their documents from our Thompson Boulevard/University Boulevard Location, over 3,269 e-passports remained at Passport Office awaiting collection by members of the Public,” said the Minister. He said bearing that in mind, the Government decided to once again initiate the Anatol Rodger's Gymnasium Issuance Centre on 3rd July, 2017 for the sole purpose of issuing New E-Passports.

    “To date, we have successfully issued 1,516 e-passports since opening our doors over the past two weeks,” said Minister Henfield. We anticipate operating at this location, throughout the month of July and quite possibly into August 2017. This decision will be based on customer/citizen response. The public will be informed accordingly.” Minister Henfield also thanked the Minister of Education for the use of the gymnasium, the Minister of National Security for providing security personnel, and Chief Passport Officer Clarence Russell and his staff at the Passport Office for their outstanding work in providing the service to the public.




    Minister of Agriculture & Marine Resources, the Hon. Renward Wells toured the 2017 Cooperative Youth Entrepreneur Summer Programme, an initiative of the Ministry's "Youth Embracing Excellence Successfully," also known as the (YEES) Project, which was held at C.I. Gibson School, Marathon Road. The summer programme has been an ongoing initiative in the Ministry, since 2015, and has proven itself to be popular and successful, after it was rebranded from just being referred to as "School Co-ops."Minister Wells embraced the opportunity to meet the 35 teenagers, now eager to start their own businesses, and learn more about the micro-economic impact of local souvenir making. He understood that these students have been developing these emerging cottage industries, since they started in 2015 when the program had only 19 participants.

    The Ministry's Department of Cooperatives, spearheaded by its Director, Dr. Judy Simmons, has familiarized the Ministry with the importance of developing youth entrepreneurial initiatives, sponsored by the Ministry, to encourage young people leaving school to create jobs for themselves and help others create their own jobs to be their own bosses. Ms. Simmons said the students have "learned about business planning, customer service, and have even conducted field studies in an economic environment; they were also exposed to 19 different cottage industry business ideas, where they applied theory to practical applications during 2016. All participants were certified in CPR and First Aid as well. "This year", said Ms. Simmons, "the senior participants that have been in the programme for three years have indicated they are ready to start their own businesses, selecting from diverse micro business areas of handicraft bag making, candle making, condiment food processing, soap making, and upholstery, to name a few."




    Some 100 plus children are enrolled in Fort Charlotte’s Urban Renewal Summer Camp and although now into week two, the numbers continue to swell. Led by a team of 11 leaders, the children take time out of their 4-hour day to focus on the Urban Renewal Summer Camp theme “It’s a Bahamian Thing”. “During the downtime we try to hone in on Bahamian culture to make the kids more aware of our culture and the meaning of what it is. We are starting from young so we can mold them into their culture so they can understand who they are and build national Bahamian pride. Not knowing their heritage is like a tree with no root,” said Christina Sweeting, coordinator for the Camp. Ms. Sweeting indicated that the children take a daily walk through the Bahamian islands in the classrooms at Greater Chippingham Church of God. Billboards erected in the classrooms are fully decorated with Bahamian crafts depicting national heroes, Bahamian artwork and more. This allows them to make the journey around The Bahamas.

    The children also participate in devotions, make crafts and are instructed in subjects including sports, English Language and History. Pep talks on bullying, nutrition and dos and don’ts about summer are presented. Weekly field trips, T-shirts and fully balanced meals are also provided for the children. They were busy rehearsing a musical selection for the Closing ceremony when the team from BIS stopped by on Thursday.

    “Every Camp is expected to give a presentation at the Closing Ceremony. Our contribution is the choir,” said Ms. Sweeting. “We are trying to build a Fort Charlotte Community Choir so we are beginning with the kids who come to the Camp.”

    Superintendent Dencil Barr said as a result of the formation of the choir, the children are able to show they have developed synergy from what they have been exposed to in such a short time. Visitors including the Hon. Mark Humes, Member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte, and representatives of Baha Juice and Beverages also visited the happy campers on Thursday. Baha Juice donated several cases of fresh, natural, organic juice to the camp. Director Levin Wilson said his company was “excited” about giving the product to the children. On the other hand, Mr. Humes plans to direct the campers in a few songs.

    The children who range in age from 5 to 15 represent neighborhoods including Fort Charlotte. According to Superintendent Barr, many of them were enrolled as a result of recruitment exercises undertaken by his staff members. “We did walkabouts throughout the neighborhoods and urged parents to enroll. The parents know of the positivity of Urban Renewal. That is why we have such a great response.” The Urban Renewal Summer Camp is sponsored by the Urban Renewal Commission of the Ministry of Social Services.




    The Government of The Bahamas’ intention to launch “an ambitious, solarization programme” in The Bahamas over the next five years is expected to result in numerous benefits for The Bahamas as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) as well as assist in slowing adverse effects of climate change which include more extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels. Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Alexander Minnis said the Government, through its Sustainable Nassau Project (in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank - IDB) will “better integrate Smart Technology” to ensure that Bahamians use less energy in public buildings, schools and for street lighting. “As a low-lying nation chain, our development strategies must be smart and sustainable,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Eighty per cent of the landmass in The Bahamas will be threatened by a one meter rise in the sea level. “Even as we urge the larger nations of the world to reduce their enormous carbon footprint, and to help Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to mitigate the effects of Climate Change, we must play our part in developing sustainable energy,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

    Bahamian and United Nations Officials say Climate Change is now affecting every country on every continent of the world, disrupting national economies and affecting lives, while increasing costs on global citizens, communities and countries. UN Officials say greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change. Those emissions continue to rise and are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius (or more than 37 degrees Fahrenheit) this century—with some areas of the world expected to warm even more. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.

    “Climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders,” UN Officials report. “Emissions anywhere, affect people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.”

    Officials say affordable, scalable solutions – such as renewable energy -- are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. Renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts are available options. Prime Minister Minnis recently called on CARICOM Heads of Government (during the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community - CARICOM) to embrace the United Nations protocols on Climate Change because the livelihoods and existence of regional citizens demand that they do so.

    “Our region is dependent upon the resources of the sea, the blessings of the Trade Winds, and year-round ambient temperatures,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Accordingly, we must continue to embrace the UN Climate protocols because our livelihoods and existence demand regional and global action to address Climate Change generally, and threats such as rising sea levels, depleted fish stocks, and the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. “We should be diligent in putting in action, plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency from the sun, wind, the oceans, rivers and lakes,” Dr. Minnis added.




    Commonwealth Youth Games Queen's Baton Team tours some of the Historical Sites of New Providence.




    While our Commonwealth athletes compete in nine areas of sport in New Providence, the Queen's Baton has been carried through the island to bring people closer to its meaning. On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 carriers of the Baton toured Bahamas Historical Landmarks, starting with the Bahamas Sailing Association, through Fort Montagu, Parliament Square, the Queen's Staircase, Arawak Cay and the Straw Market. Photos show some of the stops.




    The Government of The Bahamas will assist wherever possible to ensure that the opportunities that lay within the shipping industry at the global level are taken advantage of. Addressing members of the media following a tour of the LJM Maritime Academy Monday (July 17, 2017), Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis said the global shipping industry is a “new frontier” with untapped potential for The Bahamas. Prime Minister Minnis said the industry does not only provide great opportunities for economic development for The Bahamas, but can also create “great job opportunities” for untold numbers of Bahamians. International shipping experts say they expect a shortfall of 147,500 in the number of Officers needed onboard these ships by the year 2025. Officer categories that are in short supply include engineer officers at management level and officers for specialized ships such as chemical tankers and LNG and LPG Carriers.The Report further said that from 2005 to 2015, the total number of seafarers grew from 1,187,000 in 2005 to 1,647,500 in 2015.

    “This is a great market, but we have not tapped into the shipping industry the way we should have,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “All of the facilities are here for training and the students -- after completing the course -- are well qualified and can perform on any of the ships that are registered or ships that travel throughout the world.“When you look at the type of income that they make, great resources and income can be sent back to The Bahamas as remittances and that will help to grow our economy,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

    Prime Minister Minnis said the Government will do all it can to ensure that Bahamians are given every opportunity for employment in the shipping industry.“What I would ask the Institute to do is to keep a record of the number of students who enter and the numbers who are successful in job placement because once you have those statistics available and at your disposal, [and] once that percentage is high, then not only the government, but the private sector will be more inclined to sponsor and assist students from within The Bahamas to enter the Institute, because they will know that the employment success rate is so high that you are essentially guaranteed those individuals will be employed upon completion. “We see a new employment frontier and we will most certainly take advantage of this new frontier,” Prime Minister Minnis added. According to International Maritime officials, the international shipping industry is the “lifeblood” of the global economy, responsible for the carriage of around 90 percent of the world trade. “Without shipping, intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials, and the import/export of affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible -- half the world would starve and the other half would freeze,” those officials say.“Thanks to the growing efficiency of shipping as a mode of transport and increased economic liberalization, prospects for the industry's further growth continue to be strong.” Bahamian officials at the LJM Maritime Academy said Maritime Affairs could soon rival both the tourism and financial services sectors, the original mainstays of the Bahamian economy. “This, together with the country’s absence of income tax and corporate tax means that The Bahamas’ Register sits very comfortably alongside a wide range of other offshore activities,” they added.




    The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development officially launched its Summer Camp program Tuesday, July 11, during a ceremony at Evangelistic Temple, Collins Avenue.

    The fun-filled adventure will run for three weeks at nine Urban Renewal Centres throughout New Providence.

    Campers between the ages of 5-15 will engage in wholesome activities including pep talks, needlework, ceramic painting, sports, decorative arts and field trips.

    Among the officials attending the opening ceremony were the Hon. Lanisha Rolle, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Halson Moultrie, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Reece Chipman, His Excellency Reuben Rahming, Shonel Ferguson, Mark Humes and Shannondon Cartwright. Also present were Phedra Rahming, Permanent Secretary and Patricia Francis, Deputy Permanent Secretary.

    Pastor Vaughn Miller, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, said the camps were designed to give the children something constructive to do.

    Mr. Miller reminded the facilitators and instructors to be positive models because the children are watching them. He urged them to arrive on time, to be mannerly and to dress the way they would like to be addressed.

    Minister Rolle assured the campers that they their experience will be filled with lots of fun. She said in addition to Math and Reading lessons, the camp will focus on character building, discipline, respect and reverence for God. She encouraged the children to participate and to become involved in the activities that will be offered to them.

    The Urban Renewal Band and the Centreville Urban Renewal dance group provided entertainment for the event.

    The theme for the 2017 Summer Camp is ‘It’s a Bahamian Thing.’

    The following are Urban Renewal Summer Camp Centres:

    Englerston East – E.P. Roberts Primary School

    Englerston West- Yellow Elder Primary School

    Kemp Road Centre - Pilgrim Baptist Church

    Fox Hill Centre – Fox Hill Community Centre

    Fort Charlotte – Chippingham Church of God

    Nassau Village – Sadie Curtis Primary School

    Pinewood – Cleveland Eneas Primary School

    Bain and Grants Town – Woodcock Primary School

    Centerville – Centreville Urban Renewal Centre, Deveaux Street




    Rawson and Parliament Squares in the city centre bubbled with Bahamian pride in celebration of the 44th Bahamas Independence Anniversary National Pride and Flag-Raising Ceremony on Friday. Bahamians of all ages gathered in “the square” dressed in their Bahamian colors to enjoy the formalities, sights, sounds, and fanfare. The House of assembly and all of the surrounding area was also adorned in the national colors: black, aquamarine and gold. Moderated by eloquent child speakers Sara Williams, Reio Darling, Reanno Todd and Anthony Eccleston, the opening ceremony of National Pride Day was gracefully and effortlessly facilitated. Elegantly styled in an aquamarine Bahamian Androsia print gown, Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling delivered beautiful and encouraging remarks on behalf of the event. She reminded all, “National unity is the awareness of a common identity and purpose among the citizens of a country” and that, “Much more work remains to be done for nation-building is an endless task.” It is indeed an endless task as new generations of Bahamians will continue to shape the bright future of The Bahamas. As The Governor General commented, “They too must share in the process of continuing the building of our nation, and it is our duty to pass on to them the established values and principles of our Nation.”

    The magnificence of young Bahamian talent was sufficiently showcased as participants and audience enjoyed cultural musical selections by The Bahamas National Youth Orchestra and The National Boys Choir. As Bahamian pride filled the atmosphere, Dame Marguerite advised, “We must fully commit ourselves to maintain this precious land as a free and Independent nation where we live together in love and unity.” She ended by heartily wishing The Bahamas a happy 44th Independence Anniversary. In closing, Dame Marguerite, in the company of the young Bahamian moderators, was ceremoniously greeted by members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force carrying the Bahamian Flag. Together, they hoisted the Flag in the centre of the square. Everyone in attendance then sang the National Anthem. There could be no confusion as to what all the celebration was about: The delicious smell of Bahamian dishes on sale was not easy to pass by. Both local residents and tourists alike were captured by the sweet aroma of Bahamian food. Even homemade ice cream was crafted in the Bahamian national colors. There was also an array of festive Bahamian-coloured garments on sale along with unique accessories and trinkets to choose from.







The Youth Zone

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