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  • MINISTER DAMES OPENS STAN PATROL USER GROUP MEETING

    Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames on Wednesday thanked the organisers and sponsors of the 3rd Annual Stan Patrol User Group (SPUG) Meeting, and associated events and all of the presenters and participants whom, over the following two days “will have the opportunity to discuss and share experiences in the operation and maintenance of these vessels that play a pivotal role in the execution of our individual and collective mandates, in maritime law enforcement, search and rescue of lives at sea and disaster relief and recovery, to name a few.” “My government remains committed to safeguarding the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and this is evidenced through a number of initiatives including the procurement of more than nine patrol craft since 2014; continued development and improvement of military bases here on the island of New Providence, Matthew Town Inagua, and Gun Point, Ragged Island,” Minister Dames noted, at the Official Opening Ceremony, held at the Paul H. Farquharson Conference Centre. Among those present for the Opening were Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel, Director of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Captain Stephen Russell, and Conference Chairperson Captain Adrian Chriswell. Taking part in the two-day meeting were representatives from the following: Barbados Defence Force; Belize Defence Force; Canadian Coast Guard; Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard; Ecuador's Armada del Ecuador; Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard; Mexico's Secretaria de Marina; Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard; other Officers, Warrant Officers and Senior Rates of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; and Conference Sponsors – Damen, Pon Power Caterpillar and Alphatron Marine.

    Minister Dames said that he was pleased to note the inclusion of The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency at that edition of SPUG, as the lead agency in The Bahamas for the coordination of disaster preparation, relief and recovery. “NEMA works closely with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and regional and international agencies in the coordination and execution of pre-, peri- and post- disaster relief efforts,” he said. As an archipelagic nation, Minister Dames pointed out, The Bahamas relies heavily on maritime assets to enhance the interconnectivity of the islands. “To provide a bit of historical background, on March 31, 1980, the RBDF was created to patrol and guard over 100,000 square miles and 2,000 rocks and cays of territorial boundaries initially monitored and guarded by the Royal Navy prior before our Independence in 1973,” he said. “Since the inception of the RBDF over 37 years ago, the Force has grown and transitioned into an inclusive sea, air and land based military with a modernised fleet of vessels,” Minister Dames added. “With a primary mission to defend the sovereignty of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and an encompassing mission of assisting other law enforcement agencies as required, the RBDF is also mandated to perform humanitarian tasks, at home and abroad.” With the requirement to expand the operations of the RBDF into the Family Islands, Minister Dames said, The Bahamas Government approved the capital investment for the Sandy Bottom Project in 2014 with the Dutch shipbuilding company, Damen, and the Dutch Dredging company, Van Oord. Nine of the vessels built by Damen had been delivered, he continued, eight of which have been commissioned into service; and the dredging works and quay wall construction projects by Van Oord Bahamas were nearing completion.

    Minister Dames said that he was advised that the first User Conference was initiated by the Coast Guard for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean (KWCARIB) three years ago in Curacao, and was attended by seven countries - Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, The Bahamas, Barbados, the USA and the KWCARIB. “Their exchanges and shared experiences on the use of their larger patrol vessels was significant and the conference has continued to grow, with some 13 member countries, nine of which are represented today,” he said. The objective of that initial meeting was to subsequently transfer knowledge concerning operations, maintenance, engineering, design, logistics and customer relations between Damen vessel owners to further enhance the reliability of the Stan Patrol vessels, Minister Dames said. “Initiator KWCARIB is one of the oldest users of this type of vessel,” he noted. “Damen – design, build, Pon Power Caterpillar – engines and powerplant – and Alphatron Marine – bridge components – supported the discussions. The intention is to hold this conference annually, alternating between the national Coastguards, Defence Forces, Navies, and now, with the addition of Montserrat to the group, Police Marine Units.” It was not fortuitous that The Bahamas had consented to co-hosting the current event for several reasons, Minister Dames noted. “Firstly, our newly acquired fleet of vessels are all Damen built and are powered by Caterpillar and Alphatron Marine components; secondly, and unfortunately, during the past three years, The Bahamas has not been spared the wrath of disastrous Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew and Irma, of which each individually caused extensive damage to some part of the archipelago, inclusive of New Providence in 2016 which suffered significant damage, including the RBDF Coral Harbour Base, resulting in the cancellation of this event at that juncture,” Minister Dames said. “Thus, the second iteration of this event was successfully hosted by Mexico instead, for which we were grateful.”

    Minister Dames pointed out that, in 2015, the most impactful of those storms to The Bahamas, Joaquin, propelled the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to deploy its Container City, which is a system of Containerized Equipment and Facilities designed to self-sustain troops in a disaster area whilst they effect clean-up, provide humanitarian aid and conduct needed assessments required for recovery and rebuilding. “This equipment was initially transported utilizing multiple private chartered vessels at significant cost to Government; however, the following year, with the delivery and commissioning of a Damen-built roll-on/roll-off platform HMBS Lawrence Major, the Defence Force realized the capacity to mobilize this equipment, and regrettably had need to, following Hurricane Matthew – which caused extensive damage in the Central Bahamas,” he stated. “This year, as we continuously forge the way ahead, the RBDF, along with local, regional and international partners, has deployed HMBS Lawrence Major – along with several components of the Container City to the Eastern Caribbean – providing needed humanitarian aid in cooperation with Jamaica and other CARICOM members to our brothers and sisters in Dominica, following the ravages of Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” Minister Dames said. Minister Dames re-iterated that disaster relief and recovery is heavily dependent on the maritime environment to be facilitated, especially in small island nations, as, following hurricanes, airports are sometimes mostly inaccessible due to infrastructural damage and flooding, and require assessments prior to re-establishing air traffic. “Maritime assets close this gap by allowing for bulk transport of supplies, man-power, and other required assistance, in an effort to restore normalcy in the shortest possible time,” he said. “Utilising even the smallest of these Damen platforms, the RBDF has been able to provide assistance in the form of establishing communication hubs, and the provision of potable water and food and medical supplies to residents immediately following the passage of a hurricane.”

    Minister Dames said that having the ability to deploy assets simultaneously to multiple affected areas is key to responding in the aftermath of a disastrous storm. NEMA, as well, had established storage facilities in north, central and southern Bahamas, making the required emergency relief supplies available at multiple locations for ease of transshipment, regardless of which islands are affected, he added. “Continuing to have these maritime assets Fully Mission Capable, with the ability to respond quickly to provide needed assistance, therefore, is paramount,” Minister Dames said. “This is achievable with a sustained and proactive approach to maintenance, training and operation, to increase longevity, functionality and utilization of these assets.” “I am advised that Damen has offered The Bahamas a package which includes a controlled version of maintenance which will enable the RBDF through training to balance attrition of skilled personnel with the development of new technicians, who will ensure that these current assets achieve maximum service life, and beyond,” he added. “As this is our ultimate goal I can assure you that it will receive my government’s full attention.” Minister Dames said that he was also advised that resulting from previous SPUG conferences were joint training opportunities that assist in lowering the cost for professional technical training for the operators and maintainers of these vessels to be conducted regionally. “SPUG is a good example of how Defense, KWCARIB and the Dutch industry can help units in the region to deploy more efficiently and cost effectively in the joint fight against transnational threats, as well as to assist in times of disaster,” he said.

    Minister Dames stated that The Government of The Bahamas acknowledged the significance in being a part of those information and experience sharing sessions as beneficial to planning when it does return to “the drawing board” to design more vessels and procure equipment for our particular needs. “I welcome you all again to The Bahamas and look forward to hearing of your individual experiences with the Stan Patrol Craft,” he said. “I believe it is important for us to engage in such forums to identify trends and common threads of challenges that we all face, and to be enlightened on how we individually and collectively solve these issues. “Think-tanks like these, with focus group discussions play a key role in solving global issues, or at least make them known, so that solutions can be found.” “Finally, as you are here in The Bahamas, do not allow the seriousness of your discussions to dampen the opportunity to partake of the Bahamian hospitality, which you will undoubtedly find all around you,” he added.

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  • FAKE REPORT ON SOCIAL MEDIA CONCERNING IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

    We have become aware of a fake report circulating on social media which purports to communicate certain new rules related to Immigration Enforcement. Among its claims are that all Bahamians must now produce their Bahamian e-Passport upon demand; that foreigners must be able to produce passports with an entry stamp; and that spousal permits and residency certificates of foreign nationals will also be compulsorily examined. The message claims that accordingly, legal residents are being asked to have the relevant documents on their person at all times and that anyone who fails to comply be detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

    The message is totally false. No new rules related to Immigration Enforcement have been issued: The public is assured that the Department of Immigration continues to reply on the Immigration Act to govern all of its operations. It is unfortunate that irresponsible individuals, under the cloak of anonymity, have sought to confuse and mislead the public. Nevertheless, the Department of Immigration remains committed its mandate to regulate the movement of people across the borders of The Bahamas through the collaborative efforts of relevant government and private sector agencies both nationally and internationally.

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  • GOVERNMENT SUCCESSFUL AT ISSUING A BENCHMARK US$750 MILLION BOND ISSUE

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Peter Turnquest gave details in the House of Assembly of the Government’s recent success at issuing a benchmark US$750 million bond issue, which has been opened to the markets and priced, and is expected to close on November 21, 2017. He made the statement on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. DPM Turnquest also took the time to set the record straight in response to numerous reports in the Press and social media about the transaction, which characterised it as “lacking in transparency and fiscal prudence.” “Nothing could be further from the truth. There was absolutely nothing devious, surreptitious or imprudent about this transaction or the manner in which it was handled. There are certain ways these transactions are handled in the international market, and we are appropriately guided by our investors in this regard,” he told the Members of Parliament. DPM Turnquest explained that all of the Government’s financing activities are conducted within the constraints of its approved borrowing authorities, and shaped and informed by pragmatic debt management strategies. “These strategies, for example, take into consideration the size and currency composition of the Government’s financing requirements; the identification, analysis and preferences of potential funding sources—whether it is best to source the debt in domestic or foreign currency; and, of course, with due consideration to market liquidity, cost and risk factors. “To be sure, such analysis and evaluation requires interaction with other agencies—especially our bankers, and most certainly the Central Bank. As is customary, we collaborate very closely with the Central Bank, which manages the issuance of government paper in the domestic market, for advice on domestic liquidity conditions—how much excess loanable funds are in the system, and what is the appetite of the main investors in government paper—the banks and institutional investors (pension funds and the insurance companies) to increasing their holdings.”

    He said these factors, including foreign reserves considerations, not only influence the timing and size of potential issues, but also determine decisions on whether borrowings are undertaken in domestic or foreign currency. Such decisions involve serious and considered deliberations by the Government in managing the country’s debt. The DPM noted that during the 2017/18 Budget Communication, two borrowing resolutions were approved by the House. The first covered the additional funding approval of $400 million to settle the outstanding arrears for FY2016/17 and the second was in respect of FY2017/18, and provided for financing to cover the overall budget deficit, estimated at $322.3 million, and refinancing/debt repayment obligations, which are now projected at $600.2 million. He said, “Therefore, while the total borrowing envelope under these two approved resolutions totaled approximately $1,322.7 million, the increment to the outstanding debt was and remains $722.3 million, as the $600.2 million in refinancing/debt repayment would have a neutral impact on debt levels.” DPM Turnquest also noted that it is instructive to mention, that, at the beginning of each Fiscal Year, one of the first things that the Government sets out to do, through its Treasury Department, is to develop monthly cash flow projections—based on how it perceives the evolution of revenue performance and the timing of its outlays. “These projections are calibrated, on an ongoing basis, to ensure that there are sufficient funds available to meet the Government’s budgetary requirements, as and when needed. “It is now common knowledge that there were pressing funding needs at the end of the past fiscal year and the outset of the current period, which placed an urgent requirement on policymakers to identify immediate funding sources to meet these obligations.”

    He said after an evaluation of the funding options, the Government moved expeditiously to source several short-term bridging facilities, which included US Dollar bank credits ($450 million) and domestic treasury bills and bank advances ($300 million). “I want to emphasize that these facilities were always contemplated to be short-term in nature, with a subsequent “terming out”, i.e., lengthening of the maturities to achieve a more favourable debt servicing profile. And having considered conditions in the domestic market, and the number of significant rollovers contemplated, the intention was to explore the possibility of rolling up these short-term credits into an international bond issue.” The bonds, characterized as a 10-Year weighted average life bond, was priced at a coupon or interest rate of 6.00 per cent, which is some 250 basis points above the pricing obtained in the Government’s last bond issuance in 2014 when it enjoyed investment grade credit status. It is to be repaid in three equal annual installments, commencing on November 21, 2026, and with a final maturity on November 21, 2028. The 6.00 per cent yield is equivalent to a spread of 362.1 basis points above the US Treasury’s 10-year benchmark bond. The Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and RBC Capital Markets, LLC. managed the offer as joint book runners.

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  • BAHAMAS PRESS CLUB PAYS COURTESY CALL ON THE GOVERNOR GENERAL

    The Bahamas Press Club paid a courtesy call on Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling at Government House on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Pictured from left are: Anthony Newbold, Former President of the Club, and Press Secretary/Office of the Prime Minister; Lindsay Thompson, Secretary; Gena Gibbs, Member; Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling; Anthony Capron, President; Deandre Williamson, Member; and Vincent Vaughn, Treasurer.

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  • MINISTER PINTARD GIVES REPORT ON COMMONWEALTH YOUTH MINISTERS' MEETING

    Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard said in the House of Assembly, on November 15, 2017, that shortly after his appointment as Minister responsible for Youth Affairs, he received an invitation by the Commonwealth Secretariat to attend the 9th Commonwealth Youth Ministers’ Meeting, held in Kampala, Uganda. “This invitation permitted me along with members of my delegation Mr. Darron Turnquest, Director of Youth Affairs, and Ms. Keturah Babb, Youth Delegate – to explore opportunities for strategic partnerships,” Minister Pintard said. Minister Pintard noted that it was important that public officials and those who are sponsored by the “People’s Money” provide the basis for expenditure on travel to such meetings.

    “We are further obligated to report on the outcomes we expect and what the terms of reference were for the meeting,” he added. “Please note that the representation by the Government of The Bahamas in this forum provided an opportunity for my Ministry to develop and adopt, based on the Government’s agenda, clear, transparent and Commonwealth-endorsed approaches to youth participation, youth empowerment and development.”

    Minister Pintard said that they also explored how to create youth networks, inclusive of utilizing national youth councils. “Furthermore, we were able to increase our capacity to improve and/or create guidelines for partnerships between my Ministry, representatives of youth organizations and other youth governing bodies within and outside of The Bahamas,” he stated. In addition, to the previously stated objectives, Minister Pintard said, the purpose of the meeting was three-fold. The first objective, he said, was to review and assess programs in national youth development; share, celebrate and adopt good practice strategies, solutions and models; and identify new priorities for action to advance youth development in the Commonwealth – in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015. The second broad objective, he said, was to explore the holistic potential of youth and their role in national development and in the youth sector. “Furthermore participants at this conference gathered to consider emerging youth themes, and how they might contribute to the global youth development agenda,” Minister Pintard said.

    Thirdly and finally, he said, the meeting gave participants an opportunity to engage with international organizations and the private sector on strategies for technical and financial support for national and regional youth development. “I am happy to report that this meeting of Youth Ministers, and Youth Stakeholders and International Organizations achieved this,” he said. Minister Pintard pointed out that during the meetings, members of the Bahamian delegation were able to review current youth development tools used internationally, pursue resources and learn about potential access to professional support available to member states, which are affiliated with Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP). These meetings, he said, proved to be successful for the entire team. “We in the Ministry were able to secure numerous professional partnerships and strategic alliances with other Member States and International Organizations,” Minister Pintard said. “The Bahamas delegation had an opportunity to critically assess its own initiatives and the others presented, that we thought might be useful in The Bahamas. “We were able to determine how we could better equip youth practitioners, young people, themselves, and, of course, how to guide the implementation of the National Youth Policy – which has been entrained for at least a decade.” “Further opportunities were granted to investigate various avenues for technical assistance from represented agencies and further assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat,” Minister Pintard added. “I am happy to report that significant inroads made during the recent trip to Uganda.”

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  • THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANNOUNCES THE APPOINTMENTS OF THE BAHAMAS’ HIGH COMMISSIONER TO CANADA, AND THE BAHAMAS' AMBASSADORS TO THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, AND HAITI

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to announce the following appointments:

    Mr. Alvin Smith, former Educator, Member of Parliament and Speaker of The House of Assembly, has been appointed The Bahamas’ High Commissioner to Canada.

    Mr. Sterling Quant, Attorney at Law, former Registrar General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, past Managing Director of the Bahamas Development Bank and a basketball pioneer for Bahamians internationally, has been appointed The Bahamas’ Ambassador to The People’s Republic of China.

    Mr. Jeffrey Williams, international expert in Foreign Exchange Debt, former Vice-President of Deltec Bank & Trust and past Commissioner of the Baseball and Football Association of The Bahamas, has been appointed The Bahamas’ Ambassador to The Republic of Haiti.

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  • CTI PAID COURTESY CALL ON MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

    Members of the Convention Against Torture Initiative (CTI) paid a courtesy call on the Hon. Darren Henfield, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and senior Ministry officials on Monday, November 13, 2017 at the Ministry's offices. The delegation was headed by H.E. Ib Petersen, Danish Ambassador to the United Nations, along with Dr. Alice Edwards, H.E. Sammie Eddico, Sebastián Cabezas Chamorro, and Stefanie Engelberg.

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  • GOVERNMENT PURSUES FISCAL PRUDENCE AND EASE OF PROCESS TO FUEL ECONOMY

    In a bid to counteract the effects of the current economic crisis and to stimulate economic recovery in The Bahamas, the government is ‘aggressively’ pursuing ways to boost the economy. This, according to the Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration, the Hon. Brent Symonette is an objective that is of top priority to the government. Minister was speaking to stakeholders during the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) ‘Accountants Week’ Opening Ceremony. The event was held at Melia Nassau Beach, November 14, 2017. “Our plan is to reinforce the principles of strong leadership, based on ethical governance, that is transparent and accountable, and which applies firm and prudent fiscal responsibility and management,” said Minister Symonette. “These elements are vital to the financial stability and future growth of the Bahamian economy.”

    He said that the country’s fiscal deficit is estimated to be 5.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fiscal year ending June 2017, up from 3.5 percent of GDP in FY2016, due to sharp increases in the wage bill, post-hurricane cleanup and reconstruction spending, temporary tax reliefs, and disruptions in revenue collection. The central government debt-to-GDP ratio, he explained, is estimated to have increased to 73 percent of GDP in FY2017. “This was incurred in the previous five years under the former administration,” he said. “What this means is that we are in pretty bad shape! And it will take tough decisions to steadily reduce the annual deficit and decrease government debt.” He said that these dramatic actions would have long lasting implications for all investors and citizens. “In order for The Bahamas economy to compete and prosper in [the] global environment, we must create conditions that facilitate the “ease of doing business” in an open, innovative, productive and competitive environment. “The Bahamas ranks 121st place among 190 countries on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index,” said Minister Symonette. “The government has embraced this idea, with the understanding that we must be forward thinking if we are to advance ourselves as a nation, and continue to compete in the global economy.

    The IMF October 2017 reported that The Bahamas has had a prolonged period of stagnation, resulting in declining income relative to neighboring countries; concerns about fiscal sustainability; and a severe household debt overhang problem.” He pointed out that they also cited elevated public debt, limited external buffers, and a pegged exchange rate regime, as constraints to the policy space to allow response to shocks.

    “For its part, the government is committed to creating favorable conditions by building an efficient public sector and investing in public infrastructure to sustain, support and spur economic growth,” he said. “Currently in progress is the drafting and tabling of legislation to streamline procedures and improve the ease of doing business.” As well as, the enhancement and reconfiguration of government agencies to facilitate ease of process and sharing of information between agencies (companies registrar, business license unit, NIB, BIA, regulatory agencies), the Minister said that the government has already begun to implement changes to immigration processes for tax residency, work permit relaxation for certain classes of persons, economic permanent residency and threshold for purchase of a residence to $750,000.

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  • B.A.I.C EXECUTIVES VIEW ITS INVESTMENT PROJECTS AND INTERESTS IN ELEUTHERA

    The Hon. Renward Wells Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources and the Mrs. Miriam Emmanuel Executive Chairman of The Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation (BAIC) led a delegation to Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera from October 26 th to 27 th October 2017, to conduct site inspections on BAIC’s land inventory and proposed investment projects in the pipeline for the island of Eleuthera. Accompanying the Minister and Chairman were Ms. Phedra Rahming Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Mr. Troy Sampson General Manager of BAIC, BAIC Board of Directors Keith Carroll and Jameel Lightbourne, Senior Fisheries Official Mr. Gregory Bethel along with Senior Officials from both agencies. Both Members of Parliament Mr. Hank Johnson and Mr. Ricky Mackey, along with Administrator Gilbert Kemp, Chief Councillors and Local Government officials joined the Ministry of Agriculture,BAIC and potential investors to participate in the orientation tours. In keeping with the proposed BAIC work programme for the 2017-2018, Deputy General Manager Mrs. Judith Thompson, who has the responsibility for Family Island Development projects, noted the importance of the incoming Administration conducting the inspections ‘on the ground’ as it would give the officials an opportunity to see firsthand the layout of the proposed projects.

    As a part of its mandate, BAIC oversees one of the largest portfolios of land under management in The Bahamas. These properties are located in New Providence, Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera, Spring City, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Norman’s Castle in Treasure Cay, Abaco, Grand Bahama and North Andros. Under the direction of Minister Wells and Chairman Emmanuel geared toward fulfilling the mandate of the present government; the two agencies are to ensure joint collaborative efforts in the creation of sustainable economic development on the Family Islands and to assist in the development of commerce and industry within The Bahamas. The touristic and agricultural projects under review range from boutique resort hotels, fast ferry

    high-speed operations, ship yard and marina development to large scale organic farms and housing

    projects. It is anticipated that the final review of the processing of all projects will be carried out in

    the ensuing weeks.

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  • B.A.I.C ON THE MOVE TO NORTH ANDROS

    In continuing their efforts to collaborate on the agenda of the new government in the fields of agricultural

    development and research, Mrs. Miriam Emmanuel, Executive Chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural and

    Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and Mrs. Phedra Rahming, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources travelled to North Andros on Monday, 30 th October 2017 to visit the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) , North Andros Packing House and North Andros Agro- Industrial Park . Also in attendance were Hon. Carlton Bowleg, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources and Member of Parliament for North Andros and the Berry Islands, Mr. Alassis Braynen, General Manager of BAMSI and Dr. Jason Sands, Chief Operations Officer of the Gladstone Road Agricutural Center (GRAC). The Board of Directors of BAIC, Deputy Chairman Mrs. Debbie Mott- Strachan, Mr. Bernard Adderley, Mr. Keith Carroll, Mr. Jameel Lightbourne, Mr. Vernal Martinbourough, and Mr. Mark Turnquest also accompanied the delegation.

    Mr. Troy Sampson General Manager of BAIC and Mrs. Judith Thompson Deputy General Manager, along with Mr. Alphonso Smith Domestic and Investment Officer for BAIC North Andros Office coordinated the one-day tour of BAMSI and BAIC facilities. The visit also afforded other team members of BAIC to be a part of the planning committee for ongoing projects in North Andros. Some of the projects are in the areas of agri-business, farming, food processing and general business. As the Government of the Bahamas forges ahead with the development in the agricultural and marine sectors, continued focus will remain on BAMSI to ensure that the necessary linkages are made to assist the future development of the sectors. Executive Chairman and Permanent Secretary Rahming opined that the site inspection presented an excellent perspective for the two agencies, as it was easier to make decisions having been “on the ground” and seeing firsthand, the entire layout of the BAMSI. In the coming weeks, Permanent Secretary Rahming added that her primary goal was to sit with the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Agriculture technical teams in an effort to conclude and to restore all outstanding matters which pre-empted the opening of BAMSI to the agricultural entrepreneurs.

    The delegation toured BAMSI Buildings under construction, the main faculty building, the newly planted

    papaya and banana fields and the livestock area. The tour also included the viewing of crops being grown

    using the technology of hydroponics, a process that reduced the normal production time of some crops.

    Before returning to the capital, Chairman Emmanuel and her delegation were able to tour the Red Bays

    proposed Handicraft Center which is expected to house all artisans and local residents interested in

    displaying their handicraft items to Bahamians and tourists visiting the Red Bays area.

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