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ELCOTT COLEBY ON THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (8 – 12 JUNE 2015)

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cialis sales online times;”>elcottThis week in Parliament

sovaldi sale times;”>The budget debate continued this week in Parliament.

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Social Services Minister Hon. Melanie Griffin heralded the government’s disability legislation, the automated social assistance program involving debit cards and the IDB funded safety net program involving the Conditional Cash Transfer system as just some of the major achievements of her ministry and the government in bringing greater relief and dignity to those who use the country’s welfare system.

 

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Transport and Aviation Minister Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin advised that the audit of the aviation sector was complete and the latest cost to upgrade the sector is around $179 million. She expressed great pride in her participation in the completion of the second and third phases of the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). She further advised that the $11 million state of the art radar system is complete along with the 3D Tower Simulator at a cost of $2.5 million at the LPIA making the Bahamas a potential regional training hub for Air Traffic Controllers. The FIR negotiations with the US government are nearing completion noted the Transport Minister and a pilot test run of bus routes ahead of the projected unified bus system is set to commence in the coming months. Hanna-Martin also foreshadowed a compendium of bills designed to strengthen the management of the more than 18,000 registered marine vessels and jet-ski operations throughout the country. Additionally, the eyesore that is the Potter’s Cay Dock will soon be no more as the Minister outlined the multi-phase upgrade of that iconic marine gateway to the Family of Islands. She also advised the House that the Road Traffic Department, the Port Department and the Post Office are all being upgraded through process automation.     

 

Speaking extensively about the roll out of the government’s much touted National Health Insurance plan in January of 2016, Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez announced that as of the 1st July, there will be a medical doctor on each of the 30 inhabited Islands to provide health services through the 98 satellite health clinics in the public health system. He further advised that Bahamians can begin the process of selecting and registering their primary healthcare provider during the first quarter of 2016. He addressed the House on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Education Minister Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald told House members that the government was still on schedule to have the enabling legislation before the House to facilitate the transition of the College of The Bahamas to university status by the end of the year. The National High School Diploma, the bipartisan education plan, increased subvention, the automated tracking system as part of the Student Achievement Unit and the building of capacity at Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) were just a few of the initiatives highlighted by the minister as evidence of the government’s commitment to reform and expand education, improve the academic performance outcomes and reduce the dropout rate in the public school system.  

 

The Environment Minister Hon. Kenred Dorsett pointed to the impact of the Derelict Vehicle Bill that resulted in the removal of more than 2,000 vehicles; the systematic elimination of shanty towns; and the commissioning of the $7 million Renew Bahamas waste recycling facility as measures necessary to create a cleaner and healthier environment. The new operation together with a new weight bridge will save tax payers $6 million per year said the Minister. The environment is further protected by the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund. The Self Generation Energy Program and the amended Electricity Act both allow for privately sourced alternative energy to be placed on the national electrical grid, reducing the cost of electricity across the board. The Minister touted the five new pieces of legislation that will modernize oil exploration in the country together with the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act that will outline how revenues generated will be allocated for the benefit of all Bahamians. The National Energy Policy that was released in September 2014 called for at least 30% of the energy produced the year 2033 to be from renewables and alternatively sourced. The Minister argued that these policy measures were building a stronger Bahamas and moving the country in the right direction.

 

The budget debate continues in the House on Monday, 15th June 2015.

 

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