Thursday, June 18, 2020

There is NOTHING NORMAL about the NEW NORMAL and Other News


Dear Readers,

As we enter into three months of dealing with the new COVID life, we like all countries, seem to be struggling with the NEW NORMAL. Do we open our borders, do we test, do we not test? Do we hug, do we shake hands, do we show our face? WHO KNOWS!

There is one thing we are pretty sure about – who would want to be in charge right now?

On a typical week, our Government is questioned about every decision it makes, from media, opposition politicians, and those trying to lobby for change. But in this new normal, where everyone in the country is watching every press conference, like the moon landing, there is even more intense scrutiny.

Ensuring Safety Measures For the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

NASSAU, The Bahamas - Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Iram Lewis stated that his Ministry is ensuring that appropriate measures are in place for the safety of all during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

He made his contribution to the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly on Monday, June 15, 2020. The government last year established the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction to bring new focus to the handling of disasters, natural or manmade.

In this vein, the Ministry has oversight of the newly instituted Disaster Reconstruction Authority, which is responsible for repairs and rebuilding in a declared disaster zone, and the National Emergency management Agency, responsible for preparation, mitigation, and coordinating immediate response plans.
GBPA Assisting in Bringing GB Children’s Home Residents Back in July

Grand Bahama residents continue to recover from the extraordinary impacts of Hurricane Dorian. Sadly, with extensive damage to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home (GBCH), thirty-two youngsters experienced some of the storm’s worst impacts.

“Thankfully, full restoration of the Home is underway,” said Sarah St. George, Acting Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA).

The Grand Bahama Children’s Home, which was submerged in the rising floodwaters caused by Hurricane Dorian, was officially opened on November 4, 2003. It was built by the GBPA at a cost of $2.5 million, under the Patronage of Lady Henrietta St. George. The Government of the Bahamas and other donors also contributed funds toward the facility.

“We sustained significant damage and the Home was in need of a complete rebuild,” explained Executive Director of the GBCH, Sheila Johnson-Smith. “What wasn’t totally destroyed by the three to four feet of water was mould-infested, so we discarded everything and started from the ground up.”
Campbell Commends Government’s Response to Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, commended the Government of The Bahamas for its response in the aftermath of the monster storm, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and to the COVID-19 Pandemic this year.

Minister Campbell said the 2020/2021 National Budget proves that hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

Minister Campbell announced that the Department of Social Services has been identified to receive $60,362,205.00 (sixty million, three hundred and sixty two thousand, two hundred and five dollars) for the 2020/2021 Budget, an increase of approximately 65 per cent over the allocation for 2019/2020. The proposed allocation is expected to continue to assist persons affected by Hurricane Dorian, COVID-19 and the regular clients of the Department throughout the country. It will also fund the digitization of the Department by way of the ProMis System and the delivery of services through the electronic digital wallets.

Happy Hotel Staff Prepare for the “New Normal” in Post COVID-19 Environment

Freeport, Bahamas – In a few short weeks, The Bahamas will reopen its borders, welcoming in thousands of travel-happy visitors to our shores. In anticipation, Grand Bahama’s Happy Hotel is taking steps to prepare its staff members to operate in a post-COVID-19 environment. As many as forty Pelican staff members - all adhering to preset social distancing protocols - recently participated in the government-mandated tourism business compliance training sessions held at the hotel’s canal house meeting spaces.

“We are elated and excited to welcome both our Bahamian and International guests back to our Happy Hotel, and we want them to know that their health and safety is a priority to us,” said Pelican Bay’s Operation’s Manager Della Bridgewater.
RBC Royal Bank Launches Second Phase of Client Relief Options

Today, RBC Royal Bank (RY on TSX and NYSE) (“RBC”) announced a second phase of financial relief options for its Caribbean clients impacted by the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Effective immediately, RBC Personal Banking clients in the Caribbean will be able to apply for payment deferrals on auto loans, instalment loans, and mortgages. Clients may defer their payments for up to three months. Clients can participate in the deferral programme by applying online through their web browser at RBC FINCO mortgage clients must call our Bahamas Advice Centre at (242) 356-8500 or speak to their FINCO representative. Clients must apply for deferrals by 11:59pm EDT / AST on July 15, 2020.

Business Banking and Corporate Banking clients may also apply for financial relief, following individual eligibility assessments with a Relationship Manager.

To be eligible for the programme, client accounts must be current and in good standing as of February 29, 2020. Clients who participated in the first phase of automatic payment deferrals are eligible to apply for these additional deferrals. Clients who are already participating in non-coronavirus RBC relief programmes are excluded from this programme.
EU AML/CFT Listing Of Countries Among The Priority Issues Of OACPS-EU Post Cotonou Negotiations

A series of virtual negotiation meetings held between the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union (EU) more specifically the European Commission during the week of 8 through 12 June 2020 featured prominently the unilateral action of the EU and its publication of a listing of High-Level Third Risk Countries due to strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regimes.

The negotiating meetings held between the OACPS and EU were towards concluding a New Partnership Agreement, also known as the Post Cotonou Agreement to replace the expired 20-year Agreement.

In his opening statement at the virtual 7th Meeting of OACPS-EU Chief Negotiators, the Chief Negotiator of the OACPS, the Honourable Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of the Republic of Togo drew attention to the action of the EU as being “counterproductive to the spirit of partnership and cooperation between the two entities particularly in light of the COVID-19 crisis”. He highlighted the lack of response from the EU to correspondence from the Secretary-General urging a postponement of the listing of countries and appealing for consultations with the countries concerned under the terms of the Partnership Agreement.

Spreading Belief Across The Bahamas

Mainly known for gracing local and international stages, Julien Believe, is part of a new school of Bahamian creatives and musical performers bringing the unique Bahamian sounds of junkanoo, rake n scrape, soca, and goombay to the world stage. With hit records like Live and Wine, Goin’ Down on Bay, and She Gat That Junkanoo Julien Believe is using his many talents to shine an international spotlight on the country he calls home.

For the popular singer/songwriter, however, nothing is more important than connecting with his audience off the stage. “My mother was a teacher, my father was a policeman, and watching them really gave me an appreciation for the men and women who are the unsung heroes of our society,” he says. Inspired by that parental influence Julien has used his musical platform to not only celebrate the Bahamian cultural experience but highlight the efforts of the people who often work behind the scenes.
UB’s First Cohort of Students in BA Architecture Programme to Graduate by End of Year

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The first cohort of students in the Bachelor’s of Architecture Programme at the University of The Bahamas (UB) are scheduled to graduate by the end of 2020.
Education Minister the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, made the announcement Tuesday, June 16, 2020 during his Contribution to Budget Debate in the House of Assembly.
Minister Lloyd described the 5-year professional programme in the faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences as an “investment” that will pay tremendous dividends.
“This is a part of a long term “build back better” programme in which the university will contribute to providing solutions to the social, environmental and economic challenges associated with climate change, extreme weather and flooding.
“UB’s Architecture students were able to engage meaningful projects onEleuthera, Grand Bahama and at the University of Miami.”
Government signs $4.5 Million worth of contracts for school repairs in Grand Bahama

The Government of The Bahamas has committed to some $4.5 Million of construction for major repairs to all 15 schools in Grand Bahama.

The announcement was made by Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd during a press conference in the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, June 11, 2020, during which a number of local contractors signed agreements with the government to carry out those repairs.

Also in attendance for the contract signing were Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson and Minister of State for the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Iram Lewis.

Minister Lloyd noted that the contract signing signified the government’s commitment to the on-going construction and restoration of Grand Bahama in general and to provide and restore the physical plant of the ministry of education in earnest.
CGI Donates $15,000 to PHA

The Colonial Group International (CGI) family of companies has donated fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) to the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) to help in the fight against Coronavirus.
Consultant Oncologist and Surgeon at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Dr. Wesley Francis, officially accepted the generous donation on behalf of the PHA and PMH surgical team. The donation was used to purchase protective eye wear for members of our Surgery Team at PMH and to procure PPEs through the PHA’s Supplies Management Agency.

CGI is a leading regional insurance provider serving The Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean region; and is comprised of the following companies in The Bahamas: Atlantic Medical Insurance Limited, Security & General Insurance Limited, Nassau Insurance Brokers Agents Limited and Colonial Pension Services (Bahamas) Limited. Representing CGI were Paulette Turner, General Manager, Security & General Insurance, May-Kui Butler - Agency Manager, Nassau Insurance Brokers & Agents Co Ltd (NIBA), and Shantel Saunders, Business Development Manager, Colonial Pension Services (Bahamas) Limited.
Ministry will Adapt to New Environment, says Minister Rolle

While making her Contribution to the Budget Debate for the 2020/2021 Fiscal Period, in the House of Assembly, on June 11, 2020, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Lanisha Rolle said that her Ministry understands that its role and mandate is to lead in shaping the nation’s youth ideology, sporting methodology and cultural philosophy.

“Significantly, we recognize that we must do this with a great degree of adaptability in these ever changing times,” Minister Rolle said as she addressed the speaking point of the new environment post COVID-19. “‘Adaptation’ or the ability to change in response to one’s environment is one of the greatest characteristics of a human being.

“How we come out of these experiences or whether we allow them to propel us forward or hold us back I believe, will be determined by the extent of our ability to ‘adapt’.”
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The Bahamas - Virtual Events
  • 24 June: Transitioning to the post pandemic world: a review of Special Purpose Organizations (SPO), KPMG Website
  • 2 July: Maintaining robust governance on cash-flow and pandemic expenditures, KPMG Website
  • 8 July: Creating a glidepath to economic recovery: attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and mitigating Supply Chain Dynamics, KPMG Website
  • 15 July: P3 Contract Reconfiguration, KPMG Website
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