A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recently visited Nicholls Town to distribute vouchers under the Hurricane Matthew Fisheries Relief Programme to fishermen who were adversely impacted as a result of the devastating storm of October 2016.

    Some 28 vouchers were distributed amounting to $104,600, to assist the fishermen in becoming operational again. Damage from the hurricane comprised mainly to loss of small fishing boats and loss of outboard engines.

    The vouchers were distributed at the Magistrate's Court in the Government Complex in Nicholls Town on Monday, March 6, 2017.

    The delegation, which was led by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources, Rena Glinton included: Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA; Ronald Thompson, Hurricane Coordinator for North and Central Andros; Jacqueline Fox, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources, and Gregory Bethel, Senior Economist in the Department of Marine Resources.




    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Davis said, on March 11, 2017, that the ceremony that day for the ground-breaking for Phase II proclaimed the $200-million Pointe Project, an upscale lifestyle, residential and retail development over seven acres of Nassau’s waterfront. "We are happy to have with us the principals of New World One Bay Street, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Construction America, Inc.," Deputy Prime Minister Davis said, during the ceremony held at the Bay Street property. "I am particularly pleased to welcome here on this occasion Mr. Xue Xian Zheng, Vice-President of China State Construction and Engineering Corporation, who is accompanied by a familiar face, Mr. Ning Yuan, President of China Construction America (CCA), and other members of his delegation."

    Deputy Prime Minister Davis pointed out that as Minister of Works and Urban Development, he was very pleased when China Construction completed Phase I of "this exciting development" in 2016. That provided a 900-space Parking Garage, he said, with a phased opening, giving priority to its Annual Pass holders, as well as tenants of the Commerce Centre and Fort Nassau buildings -- all already open to public access. "Phase II of The Pointe will encompass development of a 100-room, eight storey condominium complex with Oceanfront Residences, which is slated to open in September 2018," Deputy Prime Minister Davis said. "The 150-room branded resort and spa with business centre, dining and retail amenities will open shortly thereafter in November 2018."

    On its completion, Deputy Prime Minister Davis noted, The Pointe will include a marina and yacht club, 50,000 square feet of retail and office space, restaurants, upscale shopping and exciting entertainment venues -- such as a performing arts centre, state of the art movie theatre, nightclub and roof top bar. Some of those entertainment experiences are slated for opening in November that year, he added. "In addition to the 277 employees at the existing hotel and Commerce Centre, 200 Bahamian construction employees will be engaged by the developer during this phase of development," Deputy Prime Minister Davis pointed out. "On completion, an additional 500 permanent employees will be hired at the resort."

    Deputy Prime Minister Davis stated that the developer had also agreed to partner with the Government to enhance the Lighthouse Beach, just west of the property, and to ensure that "an attractive pathway" would connect access along the promenade to Arawak Cay. "The Bahamas Government is very appreciative of the commitment, resolve and cooperation demonstrated by CCA," he said. "In its role as General Contractor for the completion of construction at Baha Mar added to this development, we thank CCA for its demonstrated confidence in the Government and people of The Bahamas."

    "We are very excited by the opening of the mega Baha Mar Resort this year, with the first phase opening next month," Deputy Prime Minister Davis added. "We eagerly anticipate the transformative impact of The Pointe development on the City of Nassau. With construction thus far, we can already see its potential fruit.

    "I extend best wishes on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas for success in these endeavours."




    Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said, on March 9, 2017, that the renaming of the North Eleuthera Primary School to the Laura L. Anderson Primary School is quite fitting as it commemorates the contributions of a "dedicated educator in our system." "This practice is one that was implemented to herald the effective and efficient work of many unsung heroes in our country," Prime Minister Christie said at the Official Renaming Ceremony at the school in The Bluff, Eleuthera. "It is one way of ensuring that those educators who displayed stellar leadership are forever remembered in the annals of the history of The Bahamas." He acknowledged the presence of her family, friends, former colleagues, students and church members who came to endorse the naming of a public building in her honour. Prime Minister Christie added that Laura Louise Anderson, a daughter of the Bluff, now 99 years old, one of the oldest residents living in the township of The Bluff, was a "teacher extraordinaire" for more than 35 years and an educator all of her life. Present at the event was 104-year-old oldest living native of the settlement Samuel Neely: her brother.

    Prime Minister Christie related that the story of Laura L. Anderson began when she was born in The Bluff 1918, a few years after the First World War, "when life was much simpler." Her role at this school also began "many moons ago" when the North Eleuthera Primary School was called The Bluff All Age School, he said. Mrs. Anderson was just five years old, he added, when she first attended the All Age School. He was advised that in 1922, and records indicated, she was a stellar student, earning five BJC’s and five GCE’s, which she had to travel to Nassau to take. Prime Minister Christie noted that Mrs. Anderson began teaching at the school, as a monitor, when she was 12 years old, under Mr. Mervin W Gibson, from Savannah Sound. She also taught under Principal C.W. Sawyer some years later. "Ms. Anderson then went on to become a staple in the community by serving as the public librarian, registering births and deaths, for more than 28 years, however she did much more than that during her time at the library," Prime Minister Christie said. "The library became a homework help centre for many of the children in the community, and Mrs. Anderson would also teach many boys and girls how to read."

    "She was also an active member and leader of the Red Cross, participating in first aid and health lectures and also visiting the sick and the shut ins," he added. "She also assisted in the collection of old age pension and food stamps for the elderly in the community for more than 12 years. "This is an extraordinary testimony to community contribution. " Prime Minister Christie said that he called Bahamians like Mrs. Anderson "pioneering, patriotic and progressive educators." "She paved the way for the many teachers who served after her," he said. "She set a precedent that made it difficult for them to perform at anything but a high level of competence.

    "Her dedication to her country and its most valuable resource, our youth, is a testament to her patriotism," he added. "She went beyond the call of duty to expose them to national educational opportunities." The Government of The Bahamas is committed to providing quality education for all of its students, Prime Minister Christie said. The development of children and young people involves education, training and refining social skills, he noted. It is a shared responsibility of the family, the church, schools and civil society, he said.

    "In short, all of us are responsible for offering guidance and assistance to our nation’s youth so that they are equipped to become the leaders of tomorrow," Prime Minister Christie pointed out. "Each generation must prepare the generation that follows for a smooth transition of leadership to occur. "Persons such as Laura Anderson understood what had to be done to preserve a heritage of excellence, good work ethic and productivity in our nation," he added. "She epitomizes what it means to be a true nation builder. She understands that it takes hard work and a strong conviction to accomplish your goals. "I’m therefore, honored to be here today to see her rewarded for her dedication and for her sacrifice."

    Prime Minister Christie stated that Mrs. Anderson had won many awards during including the following: a Music Award and General Community Service Award, in 1987; a Medal of Honor from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in 1996; the First National Heroes Award in 2003; and the first National Bahamas Award, he presented to her, for her "spirit of togetherness for selfless, noteworthy invaluable contribution to the people of The Bahamas."

    To the administrators and teachers, Prime Minister Christie said that he hoped that they were inspired by her "stellar performance" and that they were motivated to continue to support their students who were “Reaching For the Stars,” as their school motto stated. "You are charged with the task to prepare our students for life in the 21st century," Prime Minister Christie said. "This is no small feat. The challenges are many, but if you work together, the mountains will seem like molehills." "Parents, the Almighty has blessed you with the great responsibility of rearing your children to be productive citizens," he added. "You must give the love, care and discipline that is necessary to make this a reality. I implore you to cooperate with the teachers as they seek, like you, the best for your children."

    Prime Minister Christie told the students of North Eleuthera Primary School, that that was the last day when they would be referred to in that way. They would be students of the Laura L. Anderson Primary School from that point on and their patron was an educator who cared about the well-being of children and wanted to see them succeed, he said. "Take your education seriously and always try to do your best -- that was her mandate, her commitment," he said. "Uphold the name of your school -- that was also what she stood for -- and let it be known as a school where excellence and hard work and discipline is always practiced."

    Prime Minister Christie thanked the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, the Hon. Jerome K. Fitzgerald, the Permanent Secretary, Donella Bodie, the Director of Education, Lionel K. Sands and the personnel of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for their commitment to the children of our nation. He acknowledged the Principal, Vernita Thompson, and the administration, teachers and staff for the fine effort expended in organizing that day’s festivities. "Once again, I am delighted to pay tribute to a legendary educator who facilitated the education of our nation’s children with diligence and perseverance," he said. "It is therefore left for me, in accordance to all of the powers and privileges and benefits that enable me -- on behalf of the people of The Bahamas at this stage in our history -- to declare that the North Eleuthera Primary School is now the Laura L. Anderson Primary School."




    A team of 20 dentists and dental students from the University of Florida, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Public Hospitals Authority and the Ministry of Education, is bringing oral healthcare to students in North and Central Andros. The initiative is part of the Adopt an Island program spearheaded by Dr. Mitchell Lockhart, Director of Oral Health at the Ministry of Health, which began in 2014. According to Lockhart, “what we have done is recruit tertiary dental institutions to assist us in each of the Family Islands. This project in particular was the first one, and it’s been on-going for the last three years.” The team, which began seeing students in Andros on Sunday, March 5th, is comprised of six professors, ten students and a few Bahamian dentists who maintain practices in the United States; and has already seen 300 students. Dr. Lockhart expects that they will see and serve more than 500 students in North and Central Andros by the end of the week. According to Michelle Bowleg, Chief District Education Officer, this would account for about fifty percent of the current student population in the district. The team focuses on oral hygiene education, cleanings and general dentistry for primary school and high school students. The estimated value of the dental services provided total roughly $400,000.

    Dr. Ronda Moore, Faculty Member at the University of Florida and practicing paediatric dentist in Gainesville Florida, shared that the team is very happy with the progress they have seen over the last three years of visiting Andros. Moore stated, “we are very happy that the community has invited us back so that we can treat the children and serve the community. We have seen a progression between 2014 all the way down to 2017, there’s been a great improvement in the oral health of the kids, we’re very happy.” The Adopt an Island initiative has also run successful programs on Eleuthera and Bimini. Dr Lockhart forecasted that based on the success of these programs to date, he would hope that by next year the initiative would provide up to $1 million in treatment through tertiary partnerships. He stated that the goal of the program is to partner each Family Island with a tertiary dental institution going forward. He noted that talks are already on-going with Harvard University and with Nova South-eastern University.

    Dr. Lockhart also acknowledged the partnership and support of the Ministry of Local Government, and the Administrator, Mr. Ivan Ferguson, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Finance, which authorized the import of the team’s equipment and supplies duty free. Western Air was singled out by Dr. Lockhart for their contribution, “Western Air has been so key for us as well, because they allowed us bring in all the overweight equipment and supplies at no charge, so they have been an excellent corporate partner.”




    Women remain under-represented in many sectors of society despite their increasing achievements in areas such as education and health, Minister of Social Services and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie Sharon Griffin said Wednesday. This is especially so at the global, political level where Mrs. Griffin said only 10 of the more than 190 countries recognized by the United Nations currently have female leaders. That is roughly 5 per cent of all world leaders. “This is a far cry from the 50:50 by 2030 that is envisaged in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Mrs. Griffin added. Planet 50:50 by 2030, is a United Nations initiative that speaks to among other things, the equal representation of males and females around key decision-making tables, including the highest level of political leadership. The initiative promotes gender equality around the globe. Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development -- the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges countries face with regards to gender equality. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls – a call that has been described as being “central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs.”

    Addressing the Closing Ceremony of the Women in Leadership and Decision-Making Course facilitated by the Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Unit of the University of The Bahamas and the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development on March 8, Mrs. Griffin said the course was designed, developed and implemented out of the recognition that women remain under-represented in many sectors - particularly the leadership and decision-making arenas at the political and business levels. Minister Griffin said facilitation of the Women in Leadership and Decision-Making Course is one of the primary ways in which her Ministry – through the Department of Gender and Family Affairs – plans to address the leadership gap.

    “To all of the women who have completed the course and to all in this room who aspire to leadership, I say lead on and stay strong. I say lead purposefully, faithfully, passionately and fearlessly. Persist in your efforts to achieve the vision of 50:50 by 2030. It will not be easy; it will not be simple, but it will certainly be worth it.”

    Minister Griffin said her vision for Planet 50:50 by 2030 in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is to have more women “at the table,” working collaboratively with men to address those socio-economic challenges and gender inequality concerns “that we as a country currently face.”

    United Nations officials have proposed under the initiative to have 30 per cent of women occupying political leadership roles by 2030 in Member States. The Minister of Social Services and Community Development would like to see that figure even higher. “While the United Nations proposes 30 per cent of women occupying political leadership roles by 2030, I optimistically would like to see even more. But let me be clear, it is not just about the numbers; it is about ensuring that we have an inclusive, participatory development process that involves the active engagement of both women and men at all levels of society. “Of course, such goals cannot be accomplished without laying the requisite foundation to achieve them.” Minister Griffin challenged women attending the Closing Ceremony to continue to work together for the advancement of women in The Bahamas. “On this International Women’s Day, let us remember that there is more that binds us, than what separates us,” Mrs. Griffin added. The Closing Ceremony was planned to coincide with the global observance of International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8. “I think it is most fitting that we have merged these two events – both of which celebrate women in The Bahamas and aim to build support for their participation as leaders and decision makers in arenas across this country,” Mrs. Griffin said.

    “Recognizing that women remain under-represented in many sectors, the course focused on strengthening women’s roles as leaders and decision-makers in business, politics, civic service, policy development, education and international affairs. “Admittedly, with respect to women’s participation in the political arena in The Bahamas, we have come a long way. Since the mid-1900s – the height of the Women’s Suffrage Movement – women in this country have made significant strides. To date, The Bahamas has seen two female Governors-General (Her Excellency Dame Ivy Dumont, the country’s first female Governor-General and Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, the current Governor-General); we have also had a female Deputy Prime Minister (the Hon. Cynthia “Mother’ Pratt); and a Speaker of the House of Assembly (the Hon. Italia Johnson). “Currently, we have five women in the House of Assembly and five in the Senate. Among this latter group (Senate), we have a female President (Mrs. Sharon Wilson) and for the first time in the history of the country, a female Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly, Mrs. Loretta Butler-Turner. Just recently, Mrs. Monique Gomez was appointed as Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate.”

    Mrs. Griffin said while these “excellent accomplishments” must be commended, efforts must continue to be made “to cohesively to remove all the remaining obstacles that limit women in their pursuit of a career in politics.”“On this International Women’s Day, let us remember that there is more that binds us, than separates us. If we want to achieve Planet 50:50 by 2030, let us continue to work together for the advancement of women in our country,” Mrs. Griffin said.




    The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture began its adjudications for the 2017 E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival earlier this week. The Festival, which takes place at Holy Trinity Activity Centre, and the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, highlights the talent of students in the Primary, Junior and Senior school levels in fields of drama, dance, music, and the visual arts. Adjudications will also take place on Grand Bahama and the Family Islands culminating with an awards ceremony at Government House.




    Over 100 submissions from across the country were entered into the "Da Bahamian Ting” 2017 Song Competition, with 20 semi-finalists being revealed at Happy Hour on Friday afternoon, March 3, at Pompey Square, Downtown Nassau. The semi-finalists will receive the benefit of much musical promotion and exposure through the Ministry of Tourism.

    Director of Culture, Heritage and Entertainment at the Ministry of Tourism, Arlene Nash-Ferguson applauded the level of interest and was inspired by that fact that Bahamians are exploring local musical genres, and continuing to innovate. Contest rules require songs to be Bahamian style, such as Rake ‘N’ Scrape, Goombay or Junkanoo, and those songs can be no more than three minutes long.

    “Da Bahamian Ting” first prize winner will receive $25,000, second prize will be $20,000, third prize will be $15,000, fourth prize will be $10,000 and fifth prize through 10th place prizes will be $1,000 each. The public is invited to choose the top 10 by online voting, at http://www.bahamas.com/webform/da-bahamian-ting-song-competition-voting-page. The winner will be announced April 21.




    Bahamian women have done a “phenomenal job” as joint partners in building a better, stronger, more modern Bahamas, utilizing their roles in the workplace, sports, the family, culture, education, religion, business, politics and at the community level to help do so, Minister of Social Services and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie Sharon Griffin told Parliament Wednesday. Mrs. Griffin said their increasing educational advancements have also had the domino effect of resulting in not only increased economic opportunities for women and their families, but have also lead to increased gains in health outcomes for women and children – particularly with regards to reduced maternal and infant mortality rates.

    Addressing Parliament Wednesday on the annual global observance of International Women’s Day (March 8), Mrs. Griffin said the observance of International Women’s Day allows United Nations Member States such as The Bahamas, the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the progress made on women’s rights, and observe the day to call for the end of gender inequality around the globe. Mrs. Griffin was joined by Parliamentary colleagues -- including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development, the Hon. Philip Davis -- in signing a mural created by officials from the Department of Gender and Family Affairs. The signing, which took place during the afternoon break of the House of Assembly, demonstrated their support for ‘Planet 50:50 by 2030’ which is a United Nations initiative that promotes gender equality around the globe.

    United Nations officials say Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development -- the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges countries face with regards to gender equality. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls – a call that has been described as being “central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs.” The focus – particularly on education – is significant as women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school, for example, is projected to add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.

    U.N. statistics show that when women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Closing the gender gap in employment could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. They say increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits entire societies. “To achieve the vision of an inclusive, equitable, stronger, violence-free nation by 2030, it is imperative that we include women as partners and leaders and that we celebrate them for their tremendous roles in building stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger Bahamas,” Mrs. Griffin said. “Can we just imagine a day where women decided not to take on their roles at home and in the workplace? Their role in the family, workplace, sports, culture, religion, business, politics and in their communities is significant and cannot be overstated,” Mrs. Griffin added.

    Minister Griffin said local statistics indicate that women account for more than 50 per cent of the graduates at the secondary and tertiary levels. Mrs. Griffin said success “at all levels of the educational system” has resulted in increasing numbers of women in the workforce in addition to enhancing the economic empowerment of women. “(Greater success in) Education has also resulted in more positive health outcomes for women and children, including reduced maternal and infant mortality rates. Women in The Bahamas have indeed done well in education and health.”

    Mrs. Griffin said officials “would want to see” similar gains across all sectors of society. She said officials in the Department of Gender and Family Affairs are working to achieve this reality for women by promoting women in leadership and economic empowerment; by looking at the gendered dimensions of disaster preparedness and response; and by working to end all forms of gender-based violence. “As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s day, I pay tribute to women everywhere and in every walk of life – including women who continue to lead in their churches and communities, particularly in service to the elderly and the poor.

    “We saw the revival of this community spirit in the wake of Hurricane Matthew where women in many communities across the country ramped up their roles by providing shelter for relatives and neighbours, cooked hot meals and cleared debris. It is this spirit of community building, uniting and supporting, that we envisaged maintaining well beyond 2030 – a spirit that embraces all members of society and recognizes those most vulnerable and marginalized among us,” Mrs. Griffin said.




    The National Insurance Board and the Public Managers Union signed an industrial agreement that calls for a performance management system with merit-based compensation, among other things. The agreement was signed during a press conference at the NIB in the Clifford Darling Complex on Blue Hill Road on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. “We are pleased to be gathered today to execute the new industrial agreement between the National Insurance Board and the Public Managers Union,” said NIB Chairman Felix Stubbs.

    The agreement brings to conclusion many months of negotiations between the two parties. He commended both teams for their “professional representations” and for conducting efficient proceedings during the deliberations. Abraham Butler, consultant, headed the team for NIB and Leslie Munnings, president of the PMU, headed that team for union members during the negotiations, which both sides confirmed reached an amicable conclusion.

    The new pact is in its nascent stage at NIB. The pilot phase of implementation, which was launched January 2017, is underway and the programme will continue to be fully phased in over the ensuing 12 months. The agreement, said Mr. Stubbs, shall have effect upon registration by the Registrar of Trade Unions and Industrial Agreements and shall expire December 31, 2019. Terms of the new agreement will be retroactive to April 1, 2015.“We are delighted to be concluding this new industrial agreement with the Public Managers Union and look forward to our continued cooperation and collaboration, as we work together to strengthen NIB for the future,” Mr. Stubbs said.

    The Public Managers Union has been in existence for over two decades; its aim to defend the rights and benefits of middle managers at NIB, Bahamasair and University of the Bahamas. The agreement also entrenches health and safety standards, supports intellectual development through tuition assistance provisions, and provides relief at the top of their salary scale. NIB’s Negotiating team comprised Chief Negotiator Abraham Butler, Coral Woods, Sr. Manager, Human Resources; Sherelle Saunders, Chief Manager, Human Resources; Darrin Culmer, Sr. Manager, Human Resources; and Huedley Moss, Labour Consultant.




    At the State Dinner in Honour of President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana His Excellency Brigadier David Granger and his delegation, on March 3, 2017, Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie lauded The Bahamas' long, close and productive relationship with the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and spoke highly of the nation-building role many Guyanese played in The Bahamas, whether it be as teachers, police officers or other civil posts.

    "My predecessor, and our Founding Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling was great friends with the former President of Guyana, Forbes Burnham, and it was a personal friendship that duplicated itself in the relationship of our nations," Prime Minister Christie noted, during the event held at the British Colonial Hilton. "It is fitting that our brother, Brigadier Granger, is now in turn playing a leading role as the Chair of CARICOM; and we congratulate him on that."

    In terms of Independence, Prime Minister Christie said, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana was actually a "big brother," having celebrated its 50th anniversary of Independence the year before. "Further, we remember respectfully and with a sense of gratitude that Guyana was among the four founding countries, among the four original signatories of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, that gave us the Caribbean Community of which we are a part today. We thank them for their foresight and their commitment to the idea of Caribbean unity," he added.

    In addition to offering deserved tribute to Guyana for its role in the creation of CARICOM, Prime Minister Christie pointed out that they were pioneers of the outreach to Cuba, which had ultimately and properly resulted in tremendous forward motion for that country in regional affairs. "In that spirit of Caribbean unity, let me begin this evening by saying, by reiterating really, because this is a stated position and known position of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, that we stand in complete and utter rock-solid solidarity with our brothers from Guyana in their international dispute with their neighbour Venezuela," Prime Minister Christie stated. "We have worked with them through CARICOM as much as is possible to foster an amicable and equitable resolution to their dispute, and we will continue to lend our best offices in this regard."

    Prime Minister Christie said that as CARICOM's lead Prime Minister on the issue of Tourism, he had been delighted to show the visiting delegation, both, in Nassau, and earlier that day, in Grand Bahama, some of the "exciting things that we're working on in the industry of tourism." "I continue to believe that there are some striking areas of co-operation that we in the Caribbean can accomplish in the field of tourism that will multiply the benefits of the industry exponentially for the region at large," he said. "I hope that among the benefits of this visit will be the vibrant and growing seeds of such synergy and co-operation.

    "I reiterate a sentiment that I shared earlier with our guests that in The Bahamas, we have learned that it is possible to offer tourists a wide and engaging possibility of different experiences from island to island, within our archipelago."Prime Minister Christie pointed out that it was for him to get those in attendance to imagine how much more effective that concept could be when offering different and varying experiences from Caribbean island to Caribbean island.

    He added that he wished to adopt the view of the President that the region should explore synergies with the product of sun, sand and sea on the one hand, and the wonderful flora, fauna and waterfalls of the continent on which stand Guyana, Suriname and Belize. "I pointed out to the business community of Grand Bahama that Guyana's close co-operation in matters of trade should be of particular interest to the business community here in The Bahamas and I encourage exploration in this regard," Prime Minister Christie said.

    "The idea is to explore and expand contacts and synergies in as many areas as possible between our countries that are of mutual benefit."

    He also related that there were a number of Guyanese teachers present during their visit to that island. Prime Minister Christie acknowledged that the President and his delegation had "come a long way to be here."

    "You said it was 2,800 kilometers which is, in fact, 1,700 miles to come here," he said. "We are pleased that you have made the journey and we hope that your stay has been an informative and productive one." Prime Minister Christie also took the opportunity to thank President Granger and his delegation for coming to The Bahamas and wished them a safe onward journey as they returned home the following day. "I thank you all for coming to visit our Bahamas, and I again acknowledge the lasting and vibrant commitment we share in our Caribbean heritage," Prime Minister Christie said.





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