Friday, December 6, 2019

#242NewsBahamas Newsletter Edition: December 5th, 2019

Dear Reader,

This week we want to remind ALL residents and especially small business owners to the RISE Initiative launched by Mercy Corp and the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Invest Team, on Tuesday. We encourage ALL Grand Bahamians who are in need of assistance to apply for this help, as many businesses like our own, are always in need of assistance. Most especially after a hurricane. 

In fact we also remind citizens in all effected areas (GB, The Abaco's, The Berrys and Bimini) to also seek assistance that the Government is giving to small business. It is our hope we will soon learn about grants for the people of these islands who are trying to rebuild their homes as well. We feel everyone is entitled to this help, and as tax paying citizens it is their due as well.
GBPA and Mercy Corps Launch Grant Programme to Help Local Economy RISE again
Micro, small and medium businesses now have access to much-needed funding as they prepare for the upcoming holiday season. The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), today, announced the “Restoring Industries and Sustaining Employment (RISE) Initiative, in collaboration with Mercy Corps (MC), a leading global humanitarian and development organization.

The RISE initiative will offer grants to at least 100 qualifying local businesses from across Grand Bahama, which have suffered losses as a direct result of Hurricane Dorian. Grants up to $10,000 will be offered, with applicants having access to Mercy Corps’ ground-breaking MicroMentor programme, that pairs business owners with mentors in their sector, to help guide them forward.
According to GBPA Director Henry St. George, the RISE initiative comes as a direct result of GBPA’s post-Hurricane Dorian assessment of nearly 2,000 Licensees.

“Our post-Dorian SME assessment revealed some very sobering data. We learned that nearly 70% of licensees were either uninsured or underinsured; 55% suffered significant damage due to flooding, and while 60% of businesses have re-opened, they continue to struggle to acquire new inventory, replace damaged equipment, and operate in this testing environment.”
Nearly 20 Leading Journalists and Social Media Influencers Attend Familiarization Trips to Tell The Bahamas’ Open For Business Story
Nassau, Bahamas,– In the months following Hurricane Dorian, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) has mobilized and set up a steady stream of group and individual familiarization trips to continue telling the world that The Bahamas is “Open For Business.” From November 2019 into the New Year, top-tier media and social influencers are coming to The Islands Of The Bahamas to discover the country’s culture, cuisine and communities and help spread the message that most of the islands are welcoming visitors.
The trips will drive positive and educational coverage of the destination, in print, online and social media, during the critical travel-booking season.
“With more than 700 islands and cays, there is so much to discover in The Bahamas,” said Mrs. Joy Jibrilu, Director General at The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. “Hosting influential media and storytellers to deliver our ’Open For Business’ message in a way that resonates with their readers and followers is a key part of our multi-phased post-hurricane campaign. The coverage we receive from these visits will be crucial in inspiring travel to our country, speaking to all the important reasons why now is the time to visit.”
Littlest heroes capturing hearts for saving their land
In a country whose heroes are usually those who run faster, sing better or earn more, four children are capturing hearts and attention for their heroics of a different kind – protecting the land they will inherit.
They’re the winners of the Ministry of Environment’s Be A Hero program and along with Adelaide Primary, they demonstrated to judges that individual stewardship and action can make a difference.
Meet Olivia Cambridge, 11, Elrine Bongon, 11, Taran Thompson, 7, and Demarco Darville, 4, champions of clean beaches, streets and school grounds.
Olivia and her godbrother Taran led the efforts at St. Cecilia’s Catholic School to keep their school and its surroundings spotless, getting faculty and other students onboard to become trash troopers, taking to Carmichael Road and side streets armed with large garbage bags, disposable gloves and determination. For months last year they kept the area spotless and posted their pics on Be A Hero’s social media pages. Minister of Environment Romauld ‘Romi’ Ferreira visited St. Cecilia’s and applauded their efforts.
“We took this campaign to 19 primary and junior high schools, talking to thousands of students for sim months this year in an effort to change the mindset and the culture of young people,” said Ferreira. “We know that if you get to the age of 35 or 40 and you are throwing a fast food box out your car window, there is little we can do to change your behaviour. But if we can get the message through to the young ones that this is their land, we are just borrowing the use of it, and it is their individual personal responsibility to protect it, then we will make The Bahamas a better, greener, safer place for them and for generations to come.”

Prime Minister Minnis announces leadership of Reconstruction Authority
Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis today announced members of the leadership team that will head up The Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority.
The Hon. Kay Forbes-Smith will serve as the Authority’s Managing Director. Mr. John-Michael Clarke and Mr. Algernon Cargill will serve as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Authority’s Board of Directors.
“I thank both [Mr. Clarke and Mr. Cargill] for agreeing to serve in these capacities and for their work in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “I am pleased that the Hon. Kay Forbes-Smith has agreed to serve in this capacity.”
The Authority will work with the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction to continue the reconstruction program for Grand Bahama, Abaco and the Abaco Cays.
The Prime Minister made the announcement on Sunday 1 December during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister. He also provided an update on the progress of reconstruction on Grand Bahama and Abaco.
Progress highlighted by the Prime Minister included the restoration of power at Green Turtle Cay, the Marsh Harbour International Airport and the Government Complex and hospital in Marsh Harbour.
Happy Staff, get a much-needed Break off the Rock!
It takes a lot to make the staff at Grand Bahama’s Happiest Hotel un-happy but the passage of Hurricane Dorian came very close. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, however, the Pelican Bay family banded together to support each other through this time of transition. Once the all-clear was given Pelican Bay Resorts opened immediately with every useable room made available to accommodate relief and essential services workers from around the world.
“The impact of Hurricane Dorian was undeniable, many of our staff were directly affected but they left their homes and families and showed up to work, immediately, working through difficult conditions, and doing so with a smile on their faces, it was a truly tremendous effort” explained Pelican Bay Operations Manager, Della Bridgewater.
The efforts of the dedicated staff did not go unnoticed by management who immediately started planning ways to reward their loyal employees and help them take to recover and restore themselves.
“Conditions on the island were not the best, many persons had lost creature comforts, access to water, and even a warm bed to sleep in,” stated Pelican Bay General Manager, Magnus Alnebeck. “We wanted to help replace those things, even if just for a short time – to let them know, we noticed their efforts, and we are thankful to them.”
The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation’s Religious Tourism Department recently welcomed 60 gospel artists to Grand Bahama for an afternoon of music, dining and fellowship at the Manta Ray Beach Club. The group comprised recent winners in the Prayze Factor Awards, a global initiative that recognises and promotes the best unsigned gospel talent around the world.

The visit marked Prayze Factor’s fifth consecutive trip to Grand Bahama. Each year, following the awards ceremony, the winners are invited on a tour across the U.S. that culminates in a cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Lines to The Bahamas. Dubbed the “Inspirations at Sea” cruise, the voyage brings the group to Grand Bahama and Nassau, where the artists spend their time on island performing for locals.

This year’s delegation included performers from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They embarked on a very brief tour of Grand Bahama, en route to the Manta Ray restaurant, where they not only enjoyed some authentic Bahamian cuisine, but also performed a number of uplifting songs intended to give residents a sense of hope and joy. The visitors also got a chance to learn about Junkanoo, bush medicine, and other aspects of Bahamian culture from local tourism practitioners.

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