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Family Island News
Nine distinguished Bahamians honoured in Andros
Submitted by Revd Jude Edomwonyi   
Thursday, 02 October 2014 07:25

ANDROS, The Bahamas -- The Parish of St. Margaret, encompassing St. Margaret’s Parish Church, Nicholl’s Town, Andros and St. Mary Magdalene Church, Mastic Point, Andros celebrated its first Recognition Service on Sunday, 28th September, 2014 at 3:00 P.M..  Prior to the special service, the parish hosted a gala banquet as a vital ingredient of the recognition festivities on Saturday, 27th September, 2014 at the North Andros High School Cafeteria.

The Rt. Rev’d. Laish Boyd Sr, Bishop of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, in his keynote remarks, offered tribute and accolade to the honourees for their priceless contribution to the parish and their participation in nation building. He also offered congratulations and encouragement to the priest in charge of the parish, the Reverend Father Jude Edomwonyi and his parishioners.

The honourees were Rev’d. Dr. Roland Hamilton, Fr. Shazzabazzar Turnquest, Catechist Clara Evans, Catechist Mildred Munnings, Mr. Alphonso Smith, Miss Branhilda Hutchinson, Mrs. Merline Mackey, Mr. Mitchell Martin and Mrs. Rosalie Minus.

Yoga retreat to be held in Eleuthera
Submitted by Kendea Smith   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 11:26

GOVERNOR’S HARBOUR, Eleuthera -- Yoga is simply better in The Bahamas. Yoga enthusiasts will have the opportunity to stretch their legs while taking in the most beautiful of settings, thanks to the first annual Lighthouse Center (TLC), a health and wellness business, which will host a yoga retreat at Pineapple Fields Resort scheduled November 5-9, 2014 in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera. Featured yoga instructors include Kerri Verna and Irene Pappas who have a combined social media presence of over 1 million followers.

“I’m excited to share my passion for yoga and wellness in my home”, said Kalin Griffin, Owner of The Lighthouse center. “I look forward to partnering with local Bahamian businesses to stimulate our island economy from the ground up.”

What makes this yoga retreat so special is the destination’s rich history and culture that yoga fans get to experience through the five-day retreat.

Interested participants can register for the retreat online at

Cat Island and Richton Park, Illinois, forge ahead with Sister Cities relationship
Submitted by Lededra Marche   
Monday, 29 September 2014 10:52

The Cat Island, Bahamas delegation paid a courtesy call on Bahamas Honorary for Mid-Western United States to Chicago Michael Fountain last week during a visit to Richton Park, Illinois to discuss forging a Sister Cities relationship between the two countries. From left are Cat Island Sister Cities Association Chairman Danson King; Melvin Seymour, member; Immerse Bahamas President and CEO Ginger Moxey;  Chief Councillor Kevin Brown; Honorary Consul Fountain; Mayor Rick Reinbold; and Cat Island Administrator Jackson McIntosh.  (Photo by Immerse Bahamas)CHICAGO, Illinois -- After a fruitful four days in Richton Park, Illinois, a delegation from Cat Island and The Bahamas have set the wheels in motion for a mutually beneficial Sister Cities relationship with the people of Richton.

Cat Island Administrator Jackson McIntosh, Chief Councillor Kevin Brown, Superintendent of Education Garth King, Cat Island Sister Cities Association Chairman Danson King and member Melvin Seymour, along with Immerse Bahamas President and CEO Ginger Moxey, travelled to Illinois from September 22 to 25 to meet the people of Richton Park and develop a synergistic relationship.  The move was also to discover mutually beneficial opportunities between the two countries, meet potential investors, promote Cat Island and The Bahamas as a vacation destination and develop educational exchange programs.

Mayor Rick Reinbold led the delegation on a tour of Richton Park, the Public Library, Southland College Prep Charter High School, Governors State University and the St. James Hospital.  The group also travelled to Chicago to tour the Navy Pier before paying a visit at the Consulate to Michael Fountain, who was recently appointed Bahamas Honorary Consul for Mid-Western United States to Chicago.

Mr. Fountain revealed it was a history-making moment as the delegation was the first to call on his office since his appointment.

“You are very precious to me. …Your being here is very important,” he said.  “Obviously, I don’t have to tell you that.  I’m honored that you guys get to step foot in the Consulate; the first Bahamians to do that, that’s a very important thing.  I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to be a brief part of what you have going on and to introduce you to what’s brand new in all of our endeavoring.”

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.”

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. 

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.

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.”

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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