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Family Island News
Department of Inland Revenue staff to travel to Bimini
Submitted by Sasha Lightbourne   
Thursday, 29 October 2015 07:13

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- The Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) will be in Bimini next week to allow business owners to have the opportunity to meet with them and discuss the new Business Licence online system which is part of the existing Online Tax Administration System (OTAS).

The team will be in town from Monday, November 2nd to Wednesday, November 4th, 2015.

OTAS will provide businesses with a simple, user-friendly, online application and payment system. This is the same system currently being used for Value Added Tax (VAT).

The addition of the business licence section to OTAS creates a convenient online experience for business owners and taxpayers. OTAS users can easily complete business licence and VAT registrations in one online environment, at any place and anytime with internet access.

This system will also provide an easy online form that requests similar information/documentation as the paper application. It will generate an automatic e-mail response confirming submission of an application and/or payments.

No more waiting in lines; this online system will significantly reduce your wait-time. All inquiries can be made directly through the portal and will allow receipt of electronic updates. The business licence will be e-mailed directly to the registrant!

For further information, visit our website, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call toll free at (242) 225-7280. You can also call the Administrator’s Office directly at 347-3222.

Cat Island students participate in student exchange trip to Washington, DC
Submitted by Pam Armbrister   
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 07:44

Principal Forbes of Old Bight High School, Cat Island students and their American hosts at the Air and Space Museum, Washington DC.WASHINGTON, DC -- Principal Jerome Forbes and three students from Old Bight High School (OBHS), and one from Arthurs Town High School (ATHS), Cat Island, arrived October 16th in Washington DC for a two-week high school exchange with Bell Multi-Cultural High School (Bell). The Exchange was organized by Cat Island United and made possible by the generous support of the US Embassy in Nassau.

The exchange brings together Cat Island and Washington,DC students to share learning around environmental conservation, culture and opportunities for advanced education. The Cat Island students are living with American host families, follow their host’s academic day and have started SAT preparatory classes.

The students walked the civil rights walk in Harlem, New York City, toured museums on the National Mall, met with college admissions officers and will be visiting the White House, Howard University and the Kennedy Center. Cat Island students participate in environmental conservation activities including student-run recycling, community garden and farmers market. They also are joining in American activities-- football games, horseback riding and trick-or-treating on Halloween-- and sharing their own culture through a Rake’ n Scrape performance and a presentation to the student body on Cat Island and the Bahamas.

Principal Forbes is meeting principals and proctoring classes to gain exposure to advanced teaching techniques and resources, which he intends to share with principals throughout the Bahamas and to help take education on Cat Island to the next level. Mr. Forbes reports that this has been a priceless experience. And, while he and the students were already motivated, he says they now understands what it takes to be the best.

Exuma's tourism product continues to diversify, says PM Christie
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 07:17

GEORGETOWN, Exuma -- Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said, at the 9th Annual Exuma Business Outlook, that Exuma's tourism product has continued to diversify, attracting a wider cross-section of long-term investors and the travelling public.

"Over the course of the last several years, over 200 second homes, which have been constructed on Great Exuma, Little Exuma and the Cays, are now operated as vacation rentals, which provide opportunity for even greater contributions to this Island’s economy in such areas as construction, real estate and furniture and retail sales, home insurance and maintenance, housekeeping, landscaping, property management, farming, fisheries, and handicraft," Prime Minister Christie said at the event held at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort, on October 22, 2015.

Prime Minister Christie noted that, according to the Department of Statistics, during the same time period the year before, Exuma’s tourism economy had recorded a 15 percent growth in arrivals over 2013, with five percent growth experienced in hotel occupancies and 15 percent in rooms’ revenue.

"I am pleased to see that Exuma continues to do well, having recorded a 16 percent increase in air and sea arrivals this month over last year," he added. "Exuma’s hotels also continue to receive positive reviews and are highly rated on TripAdvisor, the pre-eminent online source of consumer reviews for the hospitality industry."

However, Prime Minister Christie said, as with all Family Islands, stronger gains in economic growth will only be realized when there is "critical mass" of commercial enterprises offering art, entertainment, retail shopping, sports, restaurants, tours, transportation and other activities, which cater year-round to the 7,000 permanent residents and 35,000 transient visitors annually to Exuma’s shores.

NEMA gets six trailer homes from Island Luck for temporary housing after Hurricane Joaquin
Submitted by BIS   
Monday, 26 October 2015 09:22

NEMA receives six mobile homes from Island Luck to provide temporary housing for the Hurricane Joaquin victims on the impacted islands. The homes were handed over during a presentation on Friday, October 23, 2015 at Arawak Cay. Pictured from left are Barbara Burrows, National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit; Sebas Bastian, CEO, Island Luck; and Captain Stephen Russell, Director, NEMA.  (Photo/NEMA/Island Luck)NASSAU, The Bahamas – The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, received six trailer homes donated by Island Luck gaming house CEO Sebas Bastian to the tune of $65,000, for temporary housing for victims of the recent devastating Hurricane Joaquin.

During the presentation ceremony on Friday, October 23, 2015 at Arawak Cay port, Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell was certainly delighted the corporate sponsor “showed in a tangible and fantastic way” what he promised he would do.

Captain Russell said the mobile homes would provide for the need and bridge the gap in those islands where the homes of residents were severely damaged or totally destroyed by the Category 4 storm.

The mobile homes are outfitted with living quarters, bathroom, and a kitchen with stove and fridge, carpeted floors and air conditioning. A full technical team from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force would carry out an inspection before the homes are shipped where needed.

Captain Russell said already on order are additional mobile homes at an estimated cost of $200,000, which are expected to be shipped next week.

DPM travels to Rum Cay to see the work being done after Hurricane Joaquin
Submitted by BIS   
Monday, 26 October 2015 08:47

NASSAU, Bahamas -- During a visit to Rum Cay, Thursday, October 22, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Brave Davis thanked The Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd. team headed by CEO Leon Williams for the use of the Company’s office space for the students of the Rum Cay All Ages School. In addition, he greeted the workmen from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and their colleagues from the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas – two of the islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are working to bring electricity back to the residents of the island. (BIS photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Prime Minister Christie gives address at 9th Annual Exuma Business Outlook
Submitted by BIS   
Monday, 26 October 2015 08:16

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I am delighted to be in Exuma today to address this 9th Annual Exuma Business Outlook and to congratulate the organizer for again mounting this commendable forum.

As a tourism destination Exuma continues to demonstrate strong gains in tourism arrivals, product enhancement and visitor satisfaction.

This achievement is the result of the hard work and dedication of all of Exuma’s stakeholders working cooperatively and in concert with the Ministry of Tourism to promote the destination and improve the visitor experience.
Role of Foreign Service highlighted at speaking tour of the Family Islands
Written by BIS   
Monday, 26 October 2015 07:48

NASSAU, Bahamas – Heads of Mission of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas visited several schools around the country to educate students on the role of the Bahamian Foreign Service on the world stage during a Speaking Tour of Grand Bahama, Andros, Abaco, Cat Island and Eleuthera.

Consul General to Miami Ricardo Treco with Principal Galanis of Central Eleuthera High School and students of the school band. (MOFAI Photo/Charles Walkine)

The Speaking Tour is one of the activities organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MOFAI) in recognition of the 2nd Annual Diplomatic Week, October 18-24, and serves as a forum to strengthen and deepen bilateral and multilateral relations with some 70 countries. The special week also provides an effective arena to extend The Bahamas’ campaign for election to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council and re-election to the International Maritime Organization.

Cable TV services free to islands impacted by Joaquin until January 2016
Friday, 23 October 2015 08:26

Cable Bahamas' restoration programme is progressing smoothly, according to technicians working on islands affected by Joaquin. Here, a brand new satellite dish is being prepared for shipment to an area hit by the storm.Cable Bahamas' restoration programme makes progress

NASSAU, Bahamas -- As residents in south and central Bahamas work to rebuild their lives after the devastation caused by Hurricane Joaquin, Cable Bahamas has stepped in to offer some relief by suspending billing for cable television services on those islands through to January 2016. This offer from the company coincides with its ongoing restoration programme targeted at restoring its services on islands hit by the storm.

"We understand that this is a difficult time for residents in the southern and central islands of The Bahamas and we wanted to assist them in a meaningful way," Cable Bahamas Vice President of Marketing David Burrows said. "Our efforts not only include restoring our services on those islands and reconnecting them to the rest of the country through communications, but we know that these residents are facing a number of challenges, so we've decided to provide our REVTV service free of charge for the remainder of the year to allow them to focus on what's really important at this time."

Mr Burrows added that, according to daily updates from company technicians, efforts to restore infrastructure damaged by the storm are progressing smoothly.

The company commenced its restoration programme shortly after the storm's passing, addressing significant damage to its aerial and ground structures caused by high winds and flooding.

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