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Family Island News
NEMA continues to encourage safer building practices
Written by BIS   
Monday, 24 March 2014 08:42

 Facilitators, presenters and participants at the Safer Building Code Course held March 21to 22, 2014 at the Old Bight High School in Old Bight, Cat Island. Pictured front row seated from left to right are: Ricardo  Woodside, Bahamas Red Cross; Alexander Darville, Dean of Construction, Trades and Workforce at BTVI; Gayle Moncur, Senior Assistant Secretary of NEMA and  programme coordinator; Godfrey Forbes, Bahamian Contractors Association and Charlene Collie, Bahamas Electricity Corporation. (Photo: NEMA/BTVI) OLD BIGHT, Cat Island -- The National Emergency Management Agency is continuing its programme of promoting disaster resilient communities throughout the islands.

In this vein, NEMA, in conjunction with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute held a Safer Building Code Course on the island, which was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

On Saturday, March 22, the importance of preparedness to respond to any emergency was underscored by facilitators and presenters to the 30 participants residing on the island.

Senior Assistant Secretary of NEMA and Gayle Moncur, the programme coordinator said that a goal of NEMA is to not only encourage participants to hone their skills but enable them to make a sustained living.

She said after the passage of Hurricane Sandy, and based on the level of devastation, it was just a matter of the relevant organisations coming together to facilitate the workshop.

The Safer Building Course is being supported through the Comprehensive Disaster Management Harmonised Implementation Programme: Phase I (CDM HIP) and is aimed at enhancing resilience and building a culture of safety at the community level in CDEMA Participating States.

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Marine biologist: Research shows significant effects of Bimini development on marine environment
Submitted by Alex Dorsett   
Friday, 21 March 2014 14:49

An excavator digs near mangroves in Bimini as mega-resort construction continues.  A 14-year study has revealed startling mangrove and marine degradation over the course of the development, including loss of nurseries for fish, conch and crawfish and a survival rate of newborn lemon sharks that plummeted to 26%, according to a well-known marine biologist. Dr. Kristine Stump presented the findings at the recent Bahamas Natural History Conference in Nassau. (Photo by Dr. Kristine Stump)BIMINI, Bahamas -- Research from a long-term study reveals that the year mega-resort construction in Bimini deforested almost half of a lagoon’s mangrove shorelines, the survival rate of newborn lemon sharks plummeted to only 26%. The startling statistic was revealed during a presentation on the closing day of last week’s Bahamas Natural History Conference in Nassau.

During the presentation, marine biologist Dr. Kristine Stump demonstrated that successive developers of the ongoing project, currently operated by Resorts World Bimini, have failed to use mitigation measures such as silt curtains while dredging and filling, sending plumes of dangerous silt into the lagoon, an important nursery ground for sharks, conch and lobster. The loss of important submerged mangrove habitat and accompanying siltation can have negative effects on the marine community, and results from her study showed declines in several important fish species that occurred after mangrove deforestation.

Local environmental advocate Joseph Darville, education officer for the fast-growing Save The Bays environmental advocacy movement, said he was overwhelmed by Stump’s presentation.

"Save The Bays has been saying this all along. And now we have the proof, now we have the science. There can be no backtracking from here,” he said.

Save The Bays has been a strong advocate for the creation of several additional marine protected areas around the Bahamas, including a North Bimini Marine Reserve.

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One Eleuthera Foundation & Cancer Society of Eleuthera encourage healthy eating habits through new farm grand opening
Submitted by Gacintha Gordon   
Friday, 21 March 2014 12:54
ELEUTHERA, Bahamas – Healthy eating is an essential part of building and maintaining a healthy body and a strong immune system. This can lead to the body being able to prevent and better combat certain illnesses and ultimately longer life.  

During One Eleuthera Foundation’s (OEF) inaugural Pathway to Wellness Symposium in 2012, it was noted that 60% of all deaths in The Bahamas are a result of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) and account for half of all deaths of people 45 years and older. The most prevalent illnesses seen in all clinics on Eleuthera and in the Health facilities throughout The Bahamas are Chronic Non Communicable Diseases (CNCD), namely Hypertension and Diabetes. Such illnesses are preventable and controllable through the implementation of daily exercise, diets rich in fruits and vegetables, and a reduction in the intake of salt, fats and sugars.  

Through its Health and Wellness Initiative, The Pathway to Wellness, The One Eleuthera Foundation in conjunction with its partners, is working to reduce the prevalence and negative effects of CNCDs by facilitating programs that encourage and provide avenues for people to take better care of their health.  

In partnership with Cancer Society of Eleuthera, OEF will celebrate a milestone as they invite the public to join them on Saturday, April 5th, 2014 for the opening of Eleuthera Community Farms (ECF). The farm is located at the Society’s Wellness Center in Palmetto Point. This grand event will be fun and entertaining for the entire family and will include: tours of the farm and nature trail, cooking demos, great food incorporating produce from the farm, homemade juices, bouncing castle, face painting, music and much more, all at one small flat fee.  

Through the kind generosity of Sameer and Tricia Bhatti of Philadelphia, USA, the vision for a more healthier Eleuthera is fast becoming more and more a possibility. Under the skilled management of Sherry Fax, who is an avid farmer herself, a vast variety of organically grown fruit and vegetables can now be accessed at the new Eleuthera Community Farms.  ECF successfully reaped its first harvest of greens (kale, arugula, spinach and lettuce) last week, published in a previous article by The Eleutheran. All items sold out almost instantaneously.  

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Baha Mar continues Family Island recruiting
Submitted by Royann Dean   
Friday, 21 March 2014 06:56

Lashanta Smith, the recruitment supervisor at Baha Mar Academy speaks with students at Old Bight High School during a previous visit to Cat Island.NASSAU, The Bahamas -- With December 2014 fast approaching, Baha Mar is well into its recruitment efforts to staff the resort with morethan 4,000 jobs by its opening. In addition to meeting with just under 500 Bahamian students and professionals throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, Baha Mar Academy, the recruitment and training arm of the company, has meet with more than 3,000 local high school and college students throughout the country.

Beginning in March, Baha Mar Academy representatives Vonya Ifill and Lashanta Smith, along with Benjamin Sims, Human Resources Director at the Mondrian at Baha Mar, will continue the recruitment outreach across the Family Islands.They will be meeting with high school seniors and recent graduates as well as professionals to discuss career opportunities, the recruitment process and the experience of working at Baha Mar. Potential candidates will also be invited to interview during these visits which are scheduled to occur on a monthly basis.

“We are looking for people who have an aptitude for service, even if they don’t have experience in the hospitality industry,” said Kristen Wells, Director of Baha Mar Academy. “What is important to us is that they embrace the Baha Mar Standard of service excellence and attention to detail.”

Interested candidates should complete applications at www.bahamar.com/careers/opportunities. To request an interview with the recruiters please send an email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with ‘Dream Team Search - (Your Island’s Name) 2014’ in the subject line. Previously uploaded applications should be updated before requesting an interview.

Baha Mar Academy will visit Abaco during March 27 – 29. Other islands on the tour include Grand Bahama, Bimini, Exuma, Eleuthera and Long Island.

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Substantial security upgrades at Family Islands airports
Submitted by BIS   
Thursday, 20 March 2014 15:37

By: Ministry of Transport and Aviation

In fulfilment of its mandate and the country's obligation to bring Bahamian airports in line with international standards for safety and security, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glenys Hanna Martin advises the  public of the following  security and safety upgrades at selected Family Island Airports to date.

The Department of Civil Aviation has successfully installed recently acquired security equipment at selected Family Island Airports at a cost of over $1.3M. These security equipment upgrades have substantially advanced the security status of the following airports:

  • Rock Sound Eleuthera Airport
  • Governors Harbour Eleuthera Airport
  • North Eleuthera Airport
  • Moss Town Exuma Airport
  • South Bimini Airport
  • San Salvador Airport

Additionally, security equipment in the form of hand-held detectors were delivered to airports on the following islands:

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Mega-resort policy branded a threat to Family Island way of life
Submitted by DP&A   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 07:49

Save The Bays director says governments must stop siding with foreign-owned developments at the expense of local communities

NOT JUST TREES AND FISH – Fred Smith, QC, Save The Bays Director of Legal Affairs, said the group is fighting not just to protect the environment, but also to prevent the culture and identity of island communities from being destroyed by unregulated development. Smith (left) discusses Save The Bays’ aims and objectives with Love 97 radio host Wendell Jones on Monday as the fast-growing environmental advocacy group celebrates its first anniversary.NASSAU, Bahamas -- Mega-resorts are being allowed to threaten the culture, society and identity of small island communities around the Bahamas, a veteran social and environmental campaigner warned.

Fred Smith, QC, director of legal affairs for Save The Bays, said successive governments have shielded the developers of mammoth ‘Anchor Projects’ from scrutiny at the expense of both the environment and local populations.

“Governments have been taken in by the glossy brochures, by the jewels and trinkets put in front of them by the foreigners,” he said.

“The result is that developments which destroy the environment, and overwhelm local society and culture, have been imposed from above on small communities in a way that shows a profound lack of respect for those who live there.”

Smith said this arrangement works well for both the developers, who are granted numerous concessions to build in the Bahamas, and the politicians, who can announce that they have created jobs. It is only the country’s natural and cultural heritage that suffers.

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EARTHCARE speaks on impacts of the Resorts World Bimini cruise ship terminal
Submitted by EARTHCARE   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 10:06

Full text of presentation by Gail Woon, Founder of EARTHCARE to Information Session at Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, Alicetown, Bimini on March 15th, 2014.

Resorts World Bimini Cruise Ship Terminal Master Plan.Good evening,

The cruise ship terminal for Resorts World Bimini has been described as “necessary” to the business plan. I will outline here several reasons why that is a ludicrous statement.

First, let me outline what the cruise ship terminal plan entails:

The plan is to build a 1,000 foot pier terminal that will be wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other comfortably. At the end of this 1000 foot long structure will be the manmade “island”. The island will be made from 220,000 cubic yards of your Crown Land prime ocean bottom that just happens to be right next to 14 of your “prime dive sites”. The reason for the idea is to let their too large for the island, cruise ship to be able to come right up to the so-called island, which will house the Customs and Immigration and a “beach club” house.

The MAIN reason this delicate site was chosen, and the only reason that this incredibly valuable biologically diverse site was chosen for destruction is simply because it is closest to the casino and to the main road of Resorts World Bimini.

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Cape Eleuthera Institute students tour Baha Mar
Submitted by Royann Dean   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 18:32

Kendria Ferguson, aquarist at Baha Mar (far left) and DeShawn McGregor, environmental specialist at Baha Mar (far right) with visiting graduate students on the nature walk at the resort.NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Baha Mar recently hosted an environmental sustainability tour for students enrolled in a joint Master of Professional Science degree in Coastal Sustainability from the Cape Eleuthera Institute and the University of Miami.

According to Geoff Walton, Director of Facilities at the Institute, there is an interest in how Baha Mar’s conservation initiatives will be integrated into its operations.

During the tour, Kendria Ferguson, the aquarist at Baha Mar and DeShawn McGregor, Baha Mar’s environmental specialist, shared the environmental team’s efforts to preserve environmentally sensitive areas such as delicate mangroves in Hobby Horse Pond and to enhance the marine life around the Cable Beach shoreline by installing coral reefs. The students also learned about how social aspects of sustainability such as reducing food waste and conserving natural resources will be implemented at the luxury resort.

Photo: Kendria Ferguson, aquarist at Baha Mar (far left) and DeShawn McGregor, environmental specialist at Baha Mar (far right) with visiting graduate students on the nature walk at the resort.

 
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