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Ministry of Finance holds VAT legislation presentation for the press
Written by BIS   

Financial Secretary, John Rolle, led the discussion on the new legislation at a July 25, Ministry of Finance ‘Meet the Press’ presentation at the Gladstone Road Freight Terminal. (BIS/Gena Gibbs)NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Educating the consumer about the benefits of the new Value Added Tax legislation should ease the public's fear of the Government's needs to control its spending.  Financial Secretary, John Rolle, led the discussion on the new legislation at a July 25, Ministry of Finance "Meet the Press" presentation at the Gladstone Road Freight Terminal.  

Mr. Rolle explained that VAT is a broad based consumption tax, applying a 7.5 percent rate in the price of most purchased goods and services.  He said the tax would be collected by businesses and passed along to the Government to provide a stable source of revenue and support the broader strategy to reduce the Government's debt burden.  FS Rolle said less debt would free up more resources to spend on basic services such as police protection, education, medical facilities and social services.  

"Some services like school fees, residential rent, land purchases, home sales, interest payments on loans, and life insurance, for example, will be VAT-exempt.  The impact on the cost of living is estimated at less than five percent," said FS Rolle.  

"At the cash register, the VAT is the same as a sales tax.  However, there are differences that make it less risky for the government to collect.  The extra security for the government is that it is collected in stages, whenever businesses make purchases or sales.  After the final sale, businesses pass the tax on to the government, after claiming credits for VAT paid earlier.  With sales taxes consumers may be charged even higher prices instead so that businesses can recover these same charges."  

The Ministry of Finance wants the public to know the Government of The Bahamas introduced VAT to apply on goods and services imported into The Bahamas to be purchased locally.  It will be implemented under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance's VAT Department and handed over to Central Revenue Administration (CRA), which will centralise collection of several other important domestic taxes including Business Licence and Real Property Tax.  

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Going Green: Local students travel to Andros to experience BNT’s Eco Camp

By Cheri Wood

 The Gibson sisters from Grand Bahama enjoy the view at the Joulter Cays.On July 19, 2014 four students returned to Grand Bahama after spending a week at the Forfar Field Station in Fresh Creek, Andros at The BNT’s  (Bahamas National Trust’s) annual Eco Camp. This all expense paid trip was truly an experience the students will remember for a long time to come.

The camp is beyond awesome, the rewards are plentiful and the activities are unprecedented, but you must be willing to give up some things in order to be a part of this incredible experience.

Stripped of their cell phones, computer games, television and outside amenities such as air conditioning, snacks, soda, and Facebook, the children are immersed in an environment that fosters socialization, self awareness, survival skills and an appreciation for nature.

Upon arrival the children are assigned sleeping quarters which are equipped with minimal bare necessities. Up to eight people can share one cabin with four bunk beds and one bathroom. Since the field station is eco-conscious, the plumbing is very crude and saving water is not suggested-it is mandatory. You can use your imagination to figure out what that might mean.

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Melia Nassau Beach does it again – supports local fishermen
Submitted by DP&A   

Snapping up local flavour – Melia Nassau Beach Manager Andrew Tilley, left, listens to Executive Sous Chef Sidney Bullard explaining how the eyes of fish are more than mirrors of their soul – they’re a dead giveaway to how fresh the catch is. In this case, the red snapper is as fresh as can be, directly from Mayaguana to Nassau the same day as part of Melia’s and Tilley’s commitment to source as much product locally as possible for all the hotel’s needs. (Photo by Kovah Duncombe for DP&A) NASSAU, Bahamas -- It started with sweet potatoes, onions and peppers, expanded to soursop and limes, and now the hotel that serves local produce to guests is redoubling its efforts to support Bahamian business by purchasing fish, conch and when crawfish season opens, fresh crawfish, from local fishermen.

Andrew Tilley, General Manager of Melia Nassau Beach, explains.  “It makes all the sense in the world to buy as much as you can locally,” said Tilley. “It pleases the guests who enjoy tasting true local fare. It is especially appealing because what you are serving is fresh and is being served the same day it was caught. And it supports local business which is very important to the Melia brand.”

It’s important to companies like Dad & Lad, who supply conch, grouper, red snapper and hope to expand to crawfish when season opens in August.  “It’s not often that you find foreign companies wanting to deal with Bahamians,” says Dwight Higgins, one half of the Dad & Lad father and son fishing duo, Dad in Mayaguana, Dwight in Nassau.

Dad fishes early, then packs the coolers and loads them aboard a plane. The catch arrives fresh and is never frozen, says Executive Chef Sidney Bullard, who recently won an honorable mention for Leader of the Quarter, a high honour considering competition was 500 strong, the number of staff members at the hotel on Cable Beach.   

The younger Higgins, 43, has been fishing since he was in his late teens and this is only the second time he’s had an opportunity to supply catch to a local establishment.

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Miss Universe Grand Bahama, Tomacina Culmer, wins Top Model competition
Submitted by Nikia A. Wells   

(From left to right) First runner up, and Miss Universe Long Island, Ominique Burrows, winner and Miss Universe Grand Bahama, Tomacina Culmer, and Second Runner Up, Miss World Ocean Cay, Chantal O'Brien. NASSAU, Bahamas -- The 7 contestants competing for the Miss World Bahamas title and 6 contestants vying for the Miss Universe Bahamas crown, modeled fashions by local designers in the Miss Bahamas Top Model Competition, on July 25, at the British Colonial Hilton.

Tomacina Culmer, Miss Universe Grand Bahama, was named the winner after strutting the runway in three fashion scenes, and has won a contract and six page spread with Profiles 98 Magazine, in addition to international training in the United Stated and Jamaica.

Ominique Burrows won first runner up, and Chantal O'Brien was the second runner up. The Miss Bahamas double header will take place on Aug 3 at the Atlantis Resort.

Photo: (From left to right) First runner up, and Miss Universe Long Island, Ominique Burrows, winner and Miss Universe Grand Bahama, Tomacina Culmer, and Second Runner Up, Miss World Ocean Cay, Chantal O'Brien.

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Grand Bahama tourism team visits Memphis and Nashville
Submitted by Brooke M. Sherman   

GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas -- The Vacation Express/ Bahamasair summer flight program, fueled by the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, continues to soar to greater heights. The initial eight city non-stop service program has now picked up two additional cities with flights originating in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee commencing August 11th and September 5th, respectively.

The introduction of this program increases the average length of stay for the destination with its rolling four (4 nights with departures on the 5th day) flight schedule. Visitor spend on tour excursions, dining experiences and shopping among others aids the Ministry of Tourism’s goal of achieving the widest possible distribution of the benefits of tourism throughout the island.

A team of representatives including Carmel Churchill, Director for Marketing Services, Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, Jeannie Gibson, Communications Manager, BTO, Antoinette Neely, District Manager BTO, and Brooke Sherman, Communications Senior Executive BTO set off on a weeklong media and sales blitz throughout Memphis and Nashville, July 22nd- 26th, 2014. The team paid courtesy calls on Mayors A C Wharton, Jr. for the City of Memphis and Karl F. Deal for the City of Nashville in addition to meetings with local TV, radio and communications agencies to promote the new direct service to Grand Bahama.   

Watch TV interviews by the representatives of the team:

http://www.wkrn.com/story/26108733/nashville-airport-will-soon-offer-direct-flights-to-bahamas

http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/26084333/international-air-travel-returns-to-memphis

 
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