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Family Island News
Post-Joaquin: Long Island slowly returns to normal
Written by BIS   
Thursday, 17 December 2015 07:50

LONG ISLAND, The Bahamas - Some two months after Hurricane Joaquin devastated Long Island, displacing residents and debilitating the economy, the southeast island is slowly returning to normal operations.

Work teams busy on roof tops, congregations worshipping in church, children riding bicycles and seniors relaxing outdoors are all evidence of the comeback of the island witnessed by the team including Jack Thompson, administrator of the government’s National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit; Captain Stephen Russell; members of the National Disaster Reconstruction Committee along with a team from Bahamas Information Services who recently travelled through the settlements.

Island Administrator Theresa Boodle-Bethel said the residents have awakened to their realities and are slowly “coming out of it.”

“They’ve assessed the damage and I’m satisfied that they’ve come to grips with their losses, especially those near the coastline. Some of them are in shells, but they are in good spirits,” said the administrator.

“A number of them who could afford it took advantage of the exigency order. A number of them could not afford it because of the complete washout of their coastal homes. Surprisingly they seem to be holding up given the magnitude of their losses. Some residents’ entire homes were underwater. In Grays so many of the families had to rescue each other and swim to safety so the magnitude of their losses was tremendous.”

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Cape Air partners with Resorts World Bimini to bring seaplane service after 10 year absence
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 08:22

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Cape Air has partnered with Resorts World Bimini (RWB) to bring regularly scheduled commercial seaplane service back to North Bimini, a service that has not been available since 2005. Under the new partnership between Cape Air and RWB, scheduled flights will begin December 21, 2015 with two daily flights between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Bimini’s North Seaplane Base (NSB) at Resorts World Bimini. Beginning January 18, 2016, four daily flights will operate between Fort Lauderdale and North Bimini. In addition, two daily flights will operate between Watson Island Seaplane Base in Miami and Bimini.

“We are thrilled with these additions to our Caribbean route map and look forward to continued growth in the region,” said Linda Markham, President of Cape Air. “Cape Air is delighted to serve Florida and the Bahamas by providing additional transportation options that will benefit travelers and locals alike.”

RWB President Ed Farrell said the resort is pleased to be able to offer such an important service to the people of Bimini and to those wishing to visit the island. “Regularly scheduled sea plane service was an important service for the island, and the absence of this service created a degree of hardship for its people,” he said. “Resorts World Bimini is pleased to be a part of this new partnership which will provide another travel option, making life that much easier for the people of Bimini, and offering a unique experience for visitors who wish to vacation there.”

“The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is pleased to welcome Cape Air’s service to Bimini” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “The island offers so much for visitors to see and do, particularly in terms of its water activities, which makes the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show such a perfect backdrop to kick off this exciting news. We hope that travelers from the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market will take advantage of this new air service,” she added.

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Proposed South Cat Cay development indicates foreign investor confidence, says PM Christie
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 11:11

NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said the proposed $94 million luxury resort development project on South Cat Cay, in the Bimini Islands chain, is "another manifestation of the confidence of foreign direct investors in the Government and future of the Bahamian economy."

"It represents a wonderful addition to the attractive Bahamas tourism product, with very close proximity to the affluent South Florida market, and a large number of other wealthy residents and visitors being attracted from South America and Europe to Florida," Prime Minister Christie said December 14, 2015 at the signing of the Heads of Agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and South Cat Cay Properties (Bahamas) Limited, at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Also present were members of the Government's Cabinet.

Prime Minister Christie pointed out that the project will comprise a 53-room, five-star branded boutique hotel with related amenities; 29 marina condo units; 37 residential units; a 137-slip marina; restaurants; shops and recreational facilities. The resort will also include an "upmarket" residential community.

Partners in the project are Floridians Dr. and Mrs. Enrique Murciano and Mr. Ernesto Andrew Estrada Fernandez Salvador, a citizen of Ecuador. Prime Minister Christie noted that the latter partner's family has a "40-year history in The Bahamas," with a home in Lyford Cay and extensive assets in The Bahamas.

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Louis Bacon’s Moore Bahamas Foundation announces major donation to BREEF for re-supplying schools in the southern Bahamas
Submitted by DP&A   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 10:36

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Louis Bacon’s Moore Bahamas Foundation announced Monday that a substantial share of its $250,000 commitment to the islands of the southern Bahamas devastated by Hurricane Joaquin would go to helping children and teachers return to the classroom and begin to regain a sense of normalcy by supporting the replacement of destroyed school supplies.

“In the weeks following the hurricane, it became apparent that to regain any sense of normalcy it was critical to get children back into classrooms,” said Bacon. “While the Government of The Bahamas was and is doing all it can, one of our long-time partners in the conservation movement, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF), proposed assisting officials by providing chests of supplies and we are very proud to support them in this effort.”

The Foundation will award $50,000 to BREEF to re-equip students with individual supplies and re-stock classrooms in Acklins, Crooked Island, San Salvador, Long Island and Rum Cay with collateral including marine-related posters, books and information intrinsically linked with lives on islands where fishing and the surrounding waters are critical to livelihood and at the core of the island culture.

Some schools were totally destroyed, others suffered roof damage or windows blown out. Even in school buildings still standing and in need of basic repairs, almost all equipment was flooded or washed away.

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Heads of Agreement signed with South Cat Cay Properties for $94 million luxury resort
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 10:07
Remarks by Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry Christie
at signing of Heads of Agreement
December 14

Salutations

The Government has today concluded and executed Heads of Agreement with South Cat Cay Properties (Bahamas) Limited for the development of a $94 million luxury resort at South Cat Cay.

Partners in the project are Dr. Enrique Murciano and Mrs. Murciano, wealthy residents of Florida and Mr. Ernesto Andrew Estrada Fernandez Salvador, a citizen of Ecuador. The Ernesto family has a 40 year history in The Bahamas, with a home in Lyford Cay and extensive assets in The Bahamas.

The project will comprise a 53 room five star branded boutique hotel with related amenities, 29 marina condo units, 37 residential units, a 137 slip marina, restaurants, shops and recreational facilities. This high end resort will also include an upmarket residential community.

Building designs will combine the unique features of Bahamian and modern architecture. Both the construction and landscaping will be carried out in accordance with the highest international environmental standards. Comprehensive environmental impact studies and environmental management plans will be implemented and carefully monitored.
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Acklins slowly bouncing back after Hurricane Joaquin
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 09:24

ACKLINS, Bahamas -- “I was frightened!” said Acklins’ Administrator Harvey Roberts of Hurricane Joaquin, which slammed into the southeast Family Island in October.

Mr. Roberts expressed sentiments similar to that of many other testimonies shared by residents who experienced the wrath of Joaquin as it stalled over the island for some 48 hours wreaking havoc and unleashing its fury.

“Captain Russell (Director of the National Emergency Management Agency) keeps instilling in us to be prepared, but we could not prepare for this,” said the administrator who took up the post in Acklins in February.

The administrator served as bus tour guide for a delegation including Captain Stephen Russell; Jack Thompson, administrator of the National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit members of the National Disaster Reconstruction Committee who visited Acklins and Crooked Island Sunday, December 6 on a fact-finding trip.

As the bus travelled through the settlements including Spring Point, Hard Hill, Lovely Bay Chester’s and Snug Corner, Mr. Roberts recounted his harrowing experience and others shared by some of the 600 residents who live there.

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Vitamalt shipped to 1,000-plus southern island children
Submitted by Serena Williams   
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 08:45

Dozens of cases of the nutritional beverage, Vitamalt, are being shipped to the 1,000-plus children and their families in the Hurricane Joaquin impacted areas.  Vitamalt has also donated $10,000 to HeadKnowles Christmas Toy Drive for the children of the affected Southern islands.  $10,000 aid-boost donated to HeadKnowles toy drive

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Vitamalt has come to the aid of children in the recently devastated Southern Islands with a shipment of the popular beverage and made a financial donation towards toys for the HeadKnowles Christmas Toy Drive.

A special shipment of Vitamalt is on its way to 1,000-plus children in the Hurricane affected Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador. Vitamalt has also made a $10,000 donation to be used to buy toys for the HeadKnowles Christmas Toy Drive for some added Christmas morning excitement for the children.

Non Alcoholic Beverage Brand Manager Stacy Mackey explained the sentiments behind the Vitamalt beverage and financial donation.

“For us, the adage, ‘Vitamalt takes care of you’ is not an understatement, but a substantial statement of importance that we value. We take seriously our commitment to The Bahamas, and in this season of giving, we are cognizant of the fact that this Christmas will not be the same as last year for the families impacted by Hurricane Joaquin. While we are sharing our family dinners and opening gifts, we wanted to ensure that these families too, have a sense of normalcy in keeping with our Bahamian Christmas-time traditions.”

Ms. Mackey said that HeadKnowles had identified 1,000-plus children in Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador. Each child will receive a Vitamalt box containing a toy and a six pack of Vitamalt.

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Deputy PM updates on action of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin
Submitted by BIS   
Wednesday, 09 December 2015 07:37

Hon. Philip E. Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister

Recent media commentary constrains the following statement by my Ministry in respect of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).

In early October, Hurricane Joaquin caused significant damage to BEC’s infrastructure on several Family Islands including San Salvador, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Rum Cay, Long Cay, and Long Island. Within hours of the storm’s passage, BEC commenced assessment and repair work; however, in many of the islands, there was a need for additional manpower and resources to complete that work.

By the end of October, all of the affected islands’ electricity was restored, with the exception of Crooked Island and south Long Island, where there was large-scale damage. On of both these islands, localised flooding weeks after the storm made it extremely difficult to access certain communities. In fact, in Crooked Island, the storm destroyed roads and completely decimated BEC’s infrastructure. The infrastructure had to be rebuilt in order to restore electricity service to residences and businesses there.

At the end of November, repairs were complete on all islands. Service was restored to all customers that were able to connect to BEC’s grids. It is important to note, though, that the storm caused severe damage to a number of homes and businesses on the island making them uninhabitable and/or unable to receive supply from BEC. BEC crews in the Family Islands and teams from New Providence have conducted assessments and informed available property owners why they were unable to reconnect to BEC’s grid. Once repairs were made, BEC teams were able to restore supply to some of these affected structures.

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