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Family Island News
New BTC flagship store for Long Island
Submitted by Chauntez Wilson   
Saturday, 27 September 2014 11:42

LONG ISLAND, The Bahamas -- BTC is continuing its commitment to expand its access to high quality service and products to all of the nation’s major islands with the launch of a new flagship store in Deadman’s Cay, Long Island this coming Monday, September 29th. The flagship store, which was previously a cashier and bill-pay station, will now offer a wide product range and full slate of services and customer help options in addition to its previous bill-pay services.

Since 2012, with the launch of the first flagship full-service store at the Marathon Mall in Nassau, BTC has systematically converted its original bill-pay stations into full retail experiences. Long Island joins New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, and Exuma as the latest Bahamian island in BTC’s push to increase the company’s footprint and improve services offered customers. The launch will also be the first in a renewed focus on Family Island customers, with the company also rolling out stores in Harbour Island, Spanish Wells, and Bimini throughout the month of September.

According to BTC Retail Lead, Bob Gill, says that the entire effort represents a modernisation of the telecommunications sector in the Bahamas, and more importantly a concerted effort on the part of the company to be accessible to all of its customers, particularly Family Island clients.

“By the end of November, Bahamians will have thirty-four BTC access points to BTC products and services, including the flagship stores and the independently owned franchises,” said Mr. Gill.

“We are dedicated to reaching out to our customers, expressly in the Family Islands. BTC’s investment to completely transform bill-pay centres across the country into open retail environments demonstrates this. All the new stores have fully interactive frontline mobile devices, a dedicated broadband area, and a private consultation room. We want to make doing business with BTC an enjoyable, exciting customer experience. Ultimately we think Long Islanders will be pleased with the new store.”

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U.S. Embassy law enforcement officials strengthen cooperation with Bahamian counterparts during OPBAT training in Exuma
Submitted by the US Embassy Nassau   
Friday, 26 September 2014 08:22

The U.S. Government provided Royal Bahamas Police Force Officers advanced tactical training September 9-11 in Exuma. EXUMA, The Bahamas -- As part of continuing U.S.-Bahamian bilateral cooperation under Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the United States Embassy’s Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, and the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Section teamed up to provide more than twenty Royal Bahamas Police Force officers from the Drug Enforcement and Marine Support Units advanced tactical training from September 9-11, 2014 in Exuma.  

Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson welcomed attendees to the OPBAT event, where officers received emergency medical training, discussed helicopter operation strategies, and participated in a mock drug interdiction exercise at sea—all alongside their U.S. law enforcement counterparts. 

Drug Enforcement and Marine Support Unit officers participate in a mock drug interdiction exercise with their U.S. law enforcement counterparts.The skill building opportunity was well received by newer officers in the drug and marine units.  It also provided important refresher training for the more seasoned officers in the group, some of whom have up to twenty years of experience combating drug trafficking in The Bahamas.  

“This training shows the strong partnership and cooperation between The Bahamas and the United States,” one officer remarked, adding that he enjoyed getting to know is counterparts in the training setting.   

OPBAT is a 35-year old, multi-agency, international drug interdiction effort focused on stopping the flow of illegal drugs from South America and the Caribbean to The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States. 

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BNT encouraged by Bahamian rock iguanas release
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Thursday, 25 September 2014 15:17

BNT Encouraged by Bahamian Rock Iguanas Release - Now that the recently poached Bahamian rock iguanas are not only back in The Bahamas, but also back in the wild, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is reminding Bahamians to be extremely cautious when it comes to interaction with our rare Bahamian wildlife.  Pictured is BNT Education Officer, Scott Johnson preparing one of the iguanas for its release. (Photo courtesy of BNT for Barefoot Marketing)NASSAU, Bahamas – Now that the recently poached Bahamian rock iguanas are not only back in The Bahamas, but also back in the wild, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is reminding Bahamians to be extremely cautious when it comes to interaction with our rare Bahamian wildlife.  

“The BNT is extremely pleased that these rescued endangered iguanas have found a home in the Moriah Harbour Cay National Park in Exuma,” said Eric Carey, BNT Executive Director. “It is our hope that these iguanas will be part of the establishment of another population of this critically endangered subspecies. The fact that they are now protected within a national park gives them a much better chance of long-term survival.”

Carey noted that The Bahamas and our wildlife are very vulnerable to these poaching events and it’s up to us to be alert in our surroundings and be on guard when we encounter persons seeking to visit or be taken to these locations where these rare iguanas are found.  Although many people are aware of poaching in our waters, poaching our wildlife on land is also an issue and the BNT reminds Bahamians to be vigilant.

Bahamian rock iguanas thrive in dry areas where there are sandy patches for breeding and limestone that provides the rock iguana with holes to retreat in.  There are seven subspecies of the rock iguana in The Bahamas: Bartsch's Rock Iguana, Allen Cays Rock Iguana, Exuma Cays Rock Iguana, Andros Rock Iguana, Acklin’s Rock Iguana, San Salvador Rock Iguana and White Cay Rock Iguana.  All rock iguanas in The Bahamas are protected by the Wild Animals Protection Act, and currently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists all Bahamian populations of rock iguanas as “rare”.  There is also the Wildlife Conservation and Trade Act of 2004 where the penalties for poaching the iguanas are greater.

The iguanas that were recently released in Moriah Harbour National Park were found earlier this year by UK Border Force officers at London Heathrow Airport after being poached from The Bahamas.  Originally there were thirteen iguanas stolen, but through the travel process, only nine of the iguanas survived.  Once the iguanas were returned to The Bahamas, they were rehabilitated at the Gerace Research Center in San Salvador until they were well enough to return to the wild.

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Save The Bays urges government to announce Bimini Reserve to protect the island’s unique marine ecosystem
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Thursday, 25 September 2014 06:48

 PM urged to officially announce Bimini reserve - Agriculture and Fisheries Minister V. Alfred Gray’s claimed conservationists have yet to decide on the boundaries for the North Bimini Marine Reserve. In fact, its parameters have long been agreed, with requests for a slight expansion ignored by the Christie Administration. Calling for immediate action, stakeholders insist the ball is now firmly in the government’s court. (Photo courtesy of Save The Bays)NASSAU, Bahamas -- Environmental advocate Lindsey McCoy has called on government to immediately announce the establishment of the North Bimini Marine Reserve (NMBR) to protect that island’s unique ecological heritage.

Noting that more than two months have passed since Bimini’s local council sent a letter asking the Christie administration to honor this longstanding promise, McCoy said there has been no response amid growing fears that the island’s sensitive mangrove forests may be under threat from development.

“A recently released image showing a golf course located within the NBMR boundaries has caused serious concern among Biminites,” McCoy said. “This is an area of unparalleled ecological importance, the mangroves providing a nursery for the marine life throughout the northern Bahamas.

“It must be protected at all costs, and I call on the Prime Minister to respond to the council and immediately grant their requests.

In the letter, the council asked that the Christie administration commit to ensuring developers do not construct a golf course on the island, prevent any further development on the northern tip of North Bimini, and move swiftly to establish the NBMR.

It added: “It has become commonplace that major developments occur on our island without notice to its residents or to this elected council. We therefore respectfully ask that you respond to these requests as quickly as possible.”

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Cat Island delegation headed to Richton Park, Illinois, for Sister Cities negotiations
Submitted by Yolanda Hanna   
Tuesday, 23 September 2014 08:07

IMG Cat Island Richton Delegation: Cat Island and Bahamas delegation left Nassau on Monday September 22nd for Richton Park, Illinois to attend Sister Cities negotiations. Pictured are Jackson McIntosh, Cat Island Administrator; Danson King, Chairman, Cat Island Sister Cities Association; Ginger Moxey, President & CEO of Immerse Bahamas; Melvin Seymour and Garth King, members of the Cat Island Sister Cities Association. (Photo by Immerse Bahamas)  NASSAU, The Bahamas -- A delegation from Cat Island and The Bahamas is headed to Richton Park, Illinois, for Sister Cities negotiations.  The group will be in Richton Park from September 22nd - 25th, 2014 to further explore the reciprocal benefits to be achieved as a result of the sister cities relationship.

Ginger Moxey, President and CEO of Immerse Bahamas, is among the delegation travelling to Richton.  Immerse Bahamas, a destination and project management company that aims to promote culturally-immersive programs, has partnered with Sister Cities International to develop sister city relationships intended to enhance cultural, educational, tourism and business exchanges for the islands of The Bahamas.

Cat Island is one of the first islands under this initiative to cultivate a sister city relationship with the Village of Richton Park, IL.  The Village of Richton Park is a small community located 30 miles from the City of Chicago in northeast Illinois and is home to about 13,500 residents who are looking to engage in cultural, tourism, business, educational and youth exchanges, as well as humanitarian projects.  Education has been identified as the initial area of focus with virtual class exchanges and scholarship opportunities.

Cat Island is positioned in the centre of The Bahama Island archipelago, 325 miles southeast of Miami, Florida and has a population of approximately 1,600 people. Its history is rich in Bahamian culture and tradition while the island’s industries include agriculture, tourism, sports and weaving straw hats and bags.

Immerse Bahamas’ mission is to empower groups to experience the splendor of The Bahamas: its culture; with music, dance, cuisine, arts and craft, and the unadulterated charm of the islands, which is the beauty and hospitality of the people.  At the opening of Immerse Bahamas earlier this year, Moxey pledged to further propel The Bahamas as a destination ripe for those seeking the authentic experiences that The Bahamas has to offer.

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More jobs and investments heralded for Bimini
Written by BIS   
Monday, 22 September 2014 07:05

Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie addresses attendees during the official opening of the Port at Resorts World Bimini on September 18, 2014.  (BIS Photo/Peter L. Ramsay)BIMINI, The Bahamas – Resorts World Bimini Resort has seen a 30 percent increase in occupancy since its opening and is currently constructing a new 300-room hotel. Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie made the statement during the official opening of the Port at Resorts World Bimini on September 18.  The majority of his cabinet ministers accompanied him.  

Mr. Christie said that this signals more opportunities for Bahamians.  

“I would like for you to listen very carefully to the jobs and economic impact of the Resorts World development,” said Mr. Christie. “Some 480 persons have been involved in construction and to date 488 persons are employed at the resort. When the new hotel opens some 800 persons will be employed permanently at the resort.”  

The Prime Minister said that several infrastructural projects are also scheduled for Bimini and will take place during the upcoming months. 

“Phase 1 of the cruise pier is now completed, and I am advised that the temporary Customs and Immigration building will be operational within one month,” said Mr. Christie. “The permanent Customs & Immigration building will be completed in six months time and will have space for a Tourism desk, tour operators as well as check in counters.”  

In addition, the Prime Minister said that other amenities including a straw and craft market for local vendors, transportation pick up area, a beach restaurant, and a warehouse for local freight will be located landside of the deep water jetty. He said that the new jetty would facilitate more visitors to Bimini, and allow more of them to spend more time in the local community and more opportunity to stay over in local resorts. Further, Mr. Christie pointed out, there would be additional benefits.  

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Iguanas released back into the wild
Written by BIS   
Monday, 22 September 2014 06:48

SAN SALVADOR, Bahamas -- Since the return of the Bahamian Rock Iguanas taken from The Bahamas in February 2014, nine of the thirteen animals that were smuggled out of the country, survived.

These nine remaining iguanas were housed in specially-built quarantine facilities under the care and supervision of Dr. Thomas Rothfus and the team at the Gerace Research Center in San Salvador since July 9th, 2014. The animals were repatriated during the week of The Bahamas’ 41st Independence celebrations.

The Bahamas Environment Science & Technology (BEST) Commission, in consultation with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and a team of Iguana Specialists coordinated by Mrs. Sandra Buckner, herpetologist, ensured that the critically endangered species were allowed to naturally reacclimatize to the Bahamian environment.

Further, the Commission and the Ministry of the Environment and Housing in discussions with the Office of the Prime Minister, the Department of Lands and Surveys and The Bahamas National Trust, mounted efforts to assess possible relocation sites for which these animals could be released back into the wild. A team led by Mr. Philip Weech, Director of the BEST Commission, Mrs. Sandra Buckner, Lindey Knowles and Dr. Ethan Freid of BNT visited and assessed various sites to determine their suitability for release of the iguanas.

The iguanas were released back into the wild, following their transport from San Salvador on Saturday September 13, 2014.

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Resorts World Bimini partners with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for teen summit; donation of school supplies
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 18:15

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Resorts World Bimini (RWB) has partnered with the South Broward Alumnae Chapter (SBAC) and the Grand Bahama Alumnae Chapter (GBAC) of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated to donate school supplies for the children of Bimini. RWB donated $2,500 to the Sorority’s educational outreach program, covering the cost of text books in the subjects of Social Studies, English Literature, History, Geography, English Language, Mathematics, Science, Religious Studies, and Physical Education for students of the Louise McDonald High School in Alice Town.

While extoling the importance of a good education, President Dana Leibovitz said RWB was happy to assist in the advancement of the island’s youth.

“They say success comes when preparation meets opportunity,” he said. “This donation will help the students of Bimini to receive a good education, which is the foundation of the preparation that will be required to take advantage of the opportunities that will propel them to excel. We wish the students all the best in this school year.”

“We have a wide variety of trinkets given to us by the Miami Heat and some of our members for the students,” said South Broward Alumnae Chapter President Cassandra Joseph, “but the Resorts World Bimini donation will be used to purchase some much needed books for the students.”

In addition to the donation of text books, the South Broward chapter is planning to stage a Teen Summit/Workshop on Saturday, September 20th, 2014 for the island’s students and teachers, in conjunction with the sorority’s Grand Bahama Alumnae Chapter. The summit will be held under the theme, “There is more to me than what you see” and will cover topics such as self-esteem and empowerment; college readiness; parental relationships, and an Educator Exchange with SBAC Educators, Bahamas faculty, staff and parents.

 
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