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Family Island News
Friends of Exuma build two homes for Long Island victims of Hurricane Joaquin
Written by BIS   
Saturday, 05 March 2016 08:04

One of the homes constructed in Dunmore, Long Island, by builder Clayton Smith and friends of Exuma from the United States. The donors constructed two homes, which were destroyed by Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015. Pictured out front are students of the Morrisville Primary School, who sang, 'It’s a great day to serve the Lord,' during the handover ceremony on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (BIS Photo/Lindsay Thompson) DUNMORE, Long Island -- Receiving the keys to newly-built homes, mortgage free, was a great day for two residents of this settlement whose homes were destroyed by the catastrophic Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015.

Lee Wallace, 89, and her granddaughter Melony McIntosh, a 40-year-old mother of two, were the recipients of homes built by Four Cs Adventures of Exuma and friends from the United States of America.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, a team comprising the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Local Government officials, the contractor, builders from Exuma and other guests assembled for the ‘handover of keys,’ deemed “It’s a great day to serve the Lord.”

Since the destruction of their homes during the passage of Hurricane Joaquin through the Central and Southeast Bahamas last year, the grandmother lived with family members and her granddaughter in one of the mobile homes sent to alleviate temporary housing discomfort.

It was quite obvious that walking through the doors of their two-bedroom homes was the silver lining to the dark clouds, which engulfed Long Island during and after the storm as residents tried to get back to some sense of normalcy.

NHI Secretariat concludes successful week of meetings in the Family Islands
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Friday, 04 March 2016 08:02

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Public consultations regarding National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas were held this week in Eleuthera (Rock Sound and Governor’s Harbour), San Salvador, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island, to educate and engage residents about the modern, affordable and accessible healthcare system that NHI aims to deliver for Bahamians.

Damara Dillett and Kathy Smith, representing the NHI Bahamas Secretariat, led the community meeting at Rock Sound Primary School where 41 local residents attended and asked questions about the cost of NHI, the timing of the programme’s implementation and what the programme intended to accomplish for Bahamians. Ms. Dillett and Ms. Smith fielded participants’ questions and spoke about the importance of national health insurance, clarified eligibility requirements and outlined the benefits of primary care.

Meanwhile, Catherine Weech and Charles Hamilton of the NHI Bahamas Secretariat travelled to San Salvador to engage the residents for a community townhall meeting at the Idell Jones Community Centre. The event was attended by 45 residents, whose questions covered a variety of issues, including the preparedness of the system for implementation of NHI in San Salvador, the impact of NHI on private health insurance, access to services on the island, clarity around registration versus enrolment, and NHI tax information.

In Governor’s Harbour, close to 40 residents participated and discussed the current state of the health system in Eleuthera and how NHI will improve health care services on the island. Similarly, two meetings were hosted in Spanish Wells where the majority of questions raised related to how NHI would affect services for local residents. In response to these questions, Ms. Dillett explained that with NHI and capitation, there will be more incentive for health professionals to set up on the Family Islands and to provide better care outside of Nassau.

Businesses open, boats re-floated, hundreds back at work thanks to Rebuild Bahama
Submitted by DP&A   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 07:43

Five months after Hurricane Joaquin brought the islands in the southern Bahamas to a near standstill, hundreds are back at work, thanks to a united effort by the Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation along with volunteers. The economic rejuvenation – still far from complete – was revealed at a press conference at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce this week when the Rebuild Bahamas team presented its first progress report, noting it had raised more than $828,000 and spent more than $350,000 with applications still under review. Picture l-r, Frank McGwier, Rotary Clubs of Nassau, Shana Edgecombe, Bahamas Chamber. Edison Sumner, Chamber CEO, Diane Phillips, Co-chair Rebuild Bahamas telethon, Roderick Simms, Bahamas Chamber Family Island director, and Sean Brennen, Deputy Chair, Bahamas Venture Capital Fund. NASSAU, Bahamas -- The famed Long Island fishing fleet is slowly returning to the sea, businesses are opening their doors and stocking their shelves, contracts are being let and hundreds of men and women are back at work as commerce begins its welcome recovery from the worst hurricane to hit the southern Bahamas in history.

The positive report detailing how far the work has come – and how far it still has to go -- was revealed at a Rebuild Bahamas press conference today at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce.

Rebuild Bahamas, a powerful partnership formed in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin between the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) and the Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas, was announced within days of the hurricane’s devastation.

It flew into action with fund-raising, needs assessment and negotiations with government for tax relief during the rebuilding of businesses. Five months later, Rebuild Bahamas spokesman and Chamber CEO Edison Sumner said, the organization had raised $828,529, just over one third of the $2.2 million needed to help 117 businesses get back on their feet or fishing vessels back in the water.

With long-term attention focused on commerce, clean water and education supplies knowing NEMA and others were working to meet urgent needs and were assisting with housing, Rebuild Bahamas launched an intensive fund-raising drive ignited by a star-studded live telethon that raised $221,000. The Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas raised another $357,000 including a single donation of $150,000 from Louis M. Bacon’s Moore Bahamas Foundation, and the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund offered to match $250,000 in business loans or advances.

Work on San Salvador International Airport progressing steadily
Written by BIS   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 07:39

Kirk Williams of World Construction and Development Company is pictured making a point to the Hon. Philip Davis, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development during a tour of work on the San Salvador International Airport.  (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)SAN SALVADOR, Bahamas – San Salvador’s tourism industry is anticipated to get a major boost with the expansion and upgrade of San Salvador International Airport, the island’s main gateway.

During a recent stopover visit, the Hon. Philip Davis Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development inspected the $1.5 million construction work being carried out by Kirk Williams of World Construction and Development Company. The airport received extensive damage when Hurricane Joaquin devastated the island some 5 months ago.

The Deputy Prime Minister is satisfied with the steady progress of the work carried out to date. “We decided to do the expansion to accommodate the traffic that is expected through the direct flights from France and elsewhere. I’m pleased to see the kind of workmanship by Mr. Williams and his contractors.

“For many years the airport was not accommodating to our guests. Very often about 300 persons were landing and lining up on the tarmac in the hot sun from a ten-hour flight from Europe. That was uncomfortable. Now as you can see the expansion will accommodate these passengers as they come into a comfortable venue to clear Customs and Immigration,” he said.

In addition to an expanded check-in counter, the state-of-the art facility will feature an expanded waiting area and a more user-friendly Immigration and Customs venue.

Contracts issued to repair Government facilities post-Hurricane Joaquin
Written by BIS   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 07:34

Pictured from left are Francita Neeley, Island Administrator, Crooked Island; Melanie Roach, the National Repairs and Reconstruction Unit; the Hon. V. Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources and Member of Parliament for MICAL; the Hon. Hope Strachan, Minister of Financial Services and Local Government and Captain Stephen Russell, Director, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA.  Contractors seated from left are Lorenzo Moss, Whitney Scavella, Clinton Scavella and Ernel Heastie. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)NASSAU, The Bahamas – More than $500,000 in contracts were issued to contractors for the repairs to Government buildings severely damaged by Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin, which passed through the Central and Southeast Bahamas in October 2015.

A team comprising the National Emergency Management Agency, the National Repair and Reconstruction Unit, the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Minister of Financial Services and Local Government, recently visited Crooked Island and Acklins to issue the contracts.

In Crooked Island, contracts totaling $255,051.84 are to repair the Environmental Health Services Building; Colonel Hill School principal’s residence, Colonel Hill Clinic, the Administrator’s residence, and the Landrail Point Clinic.

And in Acklins, repairs to the Local Government building, Department of Environmental Health Services building, Social Services, Mason’s Bay Clinic, the Post Office, Court Building, Administrator’s Office, the Consumer Affairs building, Spring Point Clinic and Doctor’s Residence cost an estimated $526,455.71.

Family Island Administrator for Acklins Francita Neely underscored the importance of getting repairs to her office and residence completed.

Workshop held on ecosystem-based development for Andros
Submitted by BIS   
Thursday, 03 March 2016 07:29

Participants and instructos pose during a training workshop on Ecosystem-Based Development for Andros Island, at the Harry C. Moore Library, College of The Bahamas, on February 24, 2016.  (BIS Photo/ Eric Rose)NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Andros is getting a lot of attention these days. It has become the focus of an ecosystem-based project that may be the model that is needed to move the island into an upward economic spiral for years to come with a focus on preservation and protection of the natural environment as an income generator for local residents and potential investors alike.

The project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and is spearheaded by the Office of the Prime Minister. The final goal of the project is to develop a Master Plan for the island with input from and consultation with the local residents. The project consists of several components to ensure an integrated approach:

1. Data collection of ecosystem services;

2. Analysis of future development scenarios;

3. Outreach and capacity building;

4. Production of a Master Plan.

A team headed by Stanford’s University Natural Capital (NatCap) Project leads the data collection and analysis of future development scenarios. SEV Consulting Group, a local environmental consulting firm is leading the outreach components of the project and facilitates the local community meetings and training workshops, both in Andros and New Providence.

Funeral held in Harbour Island for late 'Ma' Ruby Percentie
Submitted by BIS   
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 09:24

HARBOUR ISLAND, Eleuthera -- Funeral Services were held for well-known Harbour Island community activist, businesswoman and matriarch, the Late Nola Ruby Hanna Percentie, affectionately known as “Ma,” on Saturday morning at St. John’s Anglican Church, Harbour Island, officiated by Father Kirkland Russell. Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling attended. Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie gave a tribute at the funeral, and so did Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe. A number of Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, and officials also attended.

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Photos show officials attending the funeral. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

February Point re-development takes shape in Exuma
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 08:31

February Point Investor John McGarvey, centre left, directs a tour of the re-developing property with Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, centre right, and Government Ministers Hope Strachan, Kenred Dorsett, Khaalis Rolle, and other officials.  (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)GEORGETOWN, Exuma -- Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Perry Christie said Friday that he was delighted to see the progress that has been made at February Point Freestyle Exuma, in such a short period of time, and that it was just a over two years ago that developer John McGarvey spoke about his vision and what he would like to do.

"We are here to witness today a state-of-the-art newly constructed Welcome Centre, with all of its features," said Prime Minister Christie during the Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Welcome Centre, Restaurant and Spa at the property near Georgetown, Exuma. "We have seen the small boat marina, which is about 80 to 90 per cent completed. Construction has begun on the 20-unit condominium complex; and plans have been completed to begin construction of six penthouses and four estate homes."

Among those present at the ceremony were Cabinet Ministers Hope Strachan, Ken Dorsett and Khaalis Rolle.

Prime Minister Christie said that one of the unique features of February Point is that it is within hailing distance of the community of George Town and this gives the development an added dimension -- it is as private as any development could be; but, at the same time it has a real, live dynamic connection to a real bustling and thriving Bahamian community.

"Today, we share in the celebration of February Point’s milestone achievement in completing the initial stage of its re-development into this, what I sincerely hope reflects a commitment to a, five-star luxury residential and marina resort," Prime Minister Christie said.

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