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An International Coastal Cleanup wave on Grand Bahama
Submitted by Brooke Sherman   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 10:24

GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas – This Saturday, September 20th, 2014, environmentally-minded advocates, from non-profits to private companies, across Grand Bahama Island will partner with the Ministry of Tourism’s Sustainable Tourism Unit to assist in solving the ever-looming problem of coastal pollution through the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), one of the world’s largest volunteer efforts to help protect the ocean and wildlife. The ICC, which the Islands of The Bahamas have participated in over 25 years, is a key part of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash-Free Seas initiative, and focuses not only on collecting trash from the coastline, but recording what is collected to identify the source of the trash.

During last year’s ICC, volunteers from around the world collected more than 12 million pounds of trash. The impact and potential threats of trash in and around our oceans require serious attention. Trash in the water compromises the health of humans, wildlife and the livelihoods that depend on a healthy ocean; threatens tourism and recreation, and the critical dollars they add to our local economies; complicates shipping and transportation by causing navigation hazards; and generates steep bills for retrieval and removal.

In a country where tourism is the #1 industry, the protection of our precious coastal environments is essential for economic sustainability of our destination. In the words of Betty Bethel, Director [in charge of Grand Bahama] of the Ministry of Tourism, “Our environment is a precious resource and the number one product that drives guests to our shores annually. It is therefore imperative that we participate daily to keep Grand Bahama Island’s land and sea experience clean, green and pristine...because tourism is EVERYBODY’s business!”

Join a cleanup near you this Saturday, September 20th, from 8:00 AM until 11 AM, at High Rock Beach, Barbary Beach, Fortune Beach, Silver Point Beach (east of Williamstown), Xanadu Beach, Lewis Yard Coast, Lover's Beach/Hepburn Town Coast, Bootle Bay Beach or West End Coast. Pencils, data sheets, gloves, garbage bags, and water will be provided to volunteers. This year’s sponsors, whose donations are essential to a successful cleanup, include Polymers International Ltd.; Freeport Oil Co. Ltd.; Grand Bahama Shipyard; B.W.A.; Halt Industries Ltd.; and Caribbean Bottling Ltd. Register today to be a part of the next wave of volunteers. Contact: Andre Cartwright at (242) 350-8611 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Ministry of Tourism.

For more information on Coastal Awareness and the International Coastal Cleanup contact the Ocean Conservancy

Public Service Week celebration plans gear up in Grand Bahama
Written by BIS   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 09:02

Standing from left: Gerald Rolle, Parliamentary Registration Department; Janet Russell, Port Department; Elkenny Lockhart, Retiree; Donna Bastian, Post Office; Sandra Smith RBPF; John Fraser, Grand Bahama Health Service; Lotoya Mcphee, Judical Department; Patrice Gibson, Department of Agriculture; Dorothy King Rolle, Immigration Department.  (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)FREEPORT, The Bahamas – The Northern Region Public Service Week Planning Committee, in celebration of the 15th Annual Public Service Week and Recognition of Retirees under the theme, "Charting the Course, Serving the Nation, Securing the Future" held a press conference at the Public Service offices, National Insurance Building, September 17.  

In observance of national Public Service Week, October 14-26, 2014, the Planning Committee announced that this year the over 25 years of dedicated service of 18 retired public officers will be celebrated. They also announced that on September 20, 2014 there will be a Fun Run/Walk & Health Screening.  

On Sunday, 28th September 2014 at 10:00am a Service of Thanksgiving, is planned for the Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King, and afterwards, an Appreciation Luncheon under the patronage of the Hon. D. Shane Gibson, Minister for Labour & National Insurance and the Ministry of the Public Service, in the National Insurance Building.  

Planning Committee members are seated from left: Patrice Johnson, Department of Social Services; Laurie Bullard, Ministry of Public Service; and Lady Naomi Wallace Whitfield, Ministry of the Public Service.  

Photo: Standing from left: Gerald Rolle, Parliamentary Registration Department; Janet Russell, Port Department; Elkenny Lockhart, Retiree; Donna Bastian, Post Office; Sandra Smith RBPF; John Fraser, Grand Bahama Health Service; Lotoya Mcphee, Judical Department; Patrice Gibson, Department of Agriculture; Dorothy King Rolle, Immigration Department. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

Finance confirms VAT applies to GBPA taxable services
Submitted by BIS   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 18:20

FREEPORT, Bahamas -- As a result of recent press reports that suggest possible ambiguity as to the VAT treatment of supplies of services made in the Port area between Grand Bahama Port Authority licensees within the backdrop of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, the Ministry of Finance has issued this response:  

“The Ministry of Finance wishes to reaffirm that the VAT Act that was recently passed by Parliament clearly sets out the VAT treatment of such supplies.  Specifically, section 3.(3)(a) states that the VAT Act does not apply where: ‘a supply of goods within the Port Area is made by a taxable person who is a Port Licensee to another Port Licensee and the goods are of a kind and for a use within the customs duties exemptions in clause 2 of Hawksbill’,” said Bahamas Financial Secretary, John Rolle.  

“It is to be noted, in this context, that the VAT Act excludes the application of VAT specifically in the case of goods that are of a kind and for a use within the customs duties exemptions of Hawksbill, thereby explicitly excluding services from the non-application of VAT.”  

Mr. Rolle said that the Ministry of Finance recently issued a Guidance Note on VAT and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.  He said it provided further clarification on this matter.  

“In the section entitled ‘What if I provide services to another Port licensee, will they be subject to VAT?’ it is explained that: ‘Services provided by a Port licensee are subject to the general VAT rules and therefore services provided by one Port licensee to another Port licensee will be subject to VAT’,” said Mr. Rolle.  

Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce responds to local VAT concerns in the business community
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 10:40

FREEPORT, The Bahamas --- After recent meetings in Freeport and after much local commentary about the upcoming implementation of VAT, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce commented that while Government legislation to some extent recognizes Freeport’s “tax free” status under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA), it does not go all the way in addressing its members’ concerns.

While the GBCC appreciates the Government’s VAT Team’s meeting with its members, at a recent lunch and a following Town Meeting, the feedback to the Chamber from Freeport licensees and members is that the presentation raised more uncertainty than it clarified.  As a result, the Chamber will seek to gain clarification from the Government on various points raised in the meetings and in subsequent discussions and calls from members.  

Some of their concerns were:

1. The principle of charging Value Add Tax (VAT) at the border on value added external to The Bahamas.  This appears merely to be customs duty re-packaged under another name.  

2. The intent to charge VAT at the border on costs that includes customs duty paid (which is simply a form of Government tax and clearly not a value added input). This viewed, purely and simply, to be taxation of taxation.

Bluegreen Outdoor Tours finds a nature niche on Grand Bahama
Submitted by Yasmin Popescu   
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 08:33

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Answering a call for more diversified tours for our visitors on Grand Bahama, entrepreneur/birder H. Rudy Sawyer saw an opportunity for eastern Grand Bahama.

Started more than a year ago, this beautiful tour begins at a location of your choosing.  Bluegreen Outdoor Tours has a van that picks up tourists or interested persons from their hotel or the boat and takes them on a lovely journey through the eastern side of Grand Bahama to an office in McLean’s Town.

There are many birds on the way and host/tour guide Mr. Sawyer points them out all the way as he also gives a brief history of the country and the island. Once prepared for the beautiful walk, the tour guide takes you through a walking path along the shoreline of East Grand Bahama pointing out the various birds that are indigenous or visiting as he gives more information on this very old settlement in Grand Bahama.

The walk ends at Crabbing Bay and if you think you have had enough, this trip is not for you. The beautiful Crabbing Bay with crystal white sand on the beach is the launch pad for the next part of this tour, which takes the guests kayaking over blue holes off the shore.

It’s a great workout for those used to just sitting at a desk but it is sheer fun being out on the water blue-green waters showing all the wildlife in its transparent depth.

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