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ELCOTT COLEBY REVIEWS THE WEEK’S ACTIVITIES (23 – 27 FEBRUARY 2015)

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best viagra physician times;”>elcottThe conclusion of the midyear budget debate; the tabling of the much anticipated “Belonger’s Permit” Regulations and the meeting of CARICOM government heads dominated the news this week in The Bahamas.

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sickness times;”>Midyear budget debate concludes

As debate on the midyear budget statement continued in the House on Monday (23rd Feb), Labour Minister Hon. D. Shane Gibson informed House members that the National Insurance Board is discontinuing the practice of accepting contributions from illegal immigrants. This new policy is part of the overall and far reaching immigration policy reforms designed to set out the terms and conditions under which non-Bahamians live and work in The Bahamas.

 

Health Minister the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez revealed that National Health Insurance (NHI) is still on schedule for implementation in 2016, but told House members that the exact cost to each taxpayer has not been determined.

 

Education, Science and Technology Minister Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald reaffirmed the government’s commitment to establish the University of The Bahamas by 2016. He further reported on the five areas of intervention to improve scholastic performance in the public school system: School Leadership, Teacher Training, a new achievement unit, Special Education and the expansion of pre-schools.

 

 

Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis touted BEC’s readiness for Baha Mar’s increased demand upon its March opening as “a major achievement.” BEC is currently installing a permanent power supply to Baha Mar’s core project site. He further stated that the overhauled engines are part of BEC’s preparations for the increased summer demands for power so that load shedding will be avoided. The reduction in oil prices have driven down BEC’s surcharge to its customers by 20.6 percent, 27.7 cents/KwH in October 2014 to 22 cents in February 2015 said the Deputy Prime Minister.

 

In his wrap up of the resolution to approve the midyear budget statement pursuant to the Financial Administration and Audit Act, Prime Minister Christie predict between 7,500 to 8,000 additional jobs to be added to the Bahamian economy in 2015 and he delivered a detailed account of investment projects by island – from Abaco in the north to Mayaguana in the south.

 

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. speaker, the side opposite continues to suggest, despite evidence to the contrary, that promised jobs are not being realized” said the Prime Minister as he said that more than 8,800 jobs have confirmed created to date. Touting hundreds of jobs created and forecasted in Abaco, Grand Bahama, Exuma, San Salvador and Andros, the Prime Minister confidently predicted that more than 20,000 jobs will be added to the economy over the next two years.

 

 

Much anticipated “Belongers Permit” Bill tabled

The much anticipated Immigration Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday of this week. The bill would provide a status for persons born stateless in The Bahamas by circumstance and for a person otherwise constitutionally entitled to apply for registration as a Bahamian citizen between the ages of eighteen and nineteen.

 

“Many people have been asking about this category of persons between zero and eighteen” said Immigration Minister Mitchell.

 

Under the new regulations, the permit will be valid for three years at a cost of $25 and a $100 processing fee. Permit holders will be able to legally live and work in The Bahamas.

 

The bill will also provide for the establishment of Immigration Reservists who would undergo the training and possess the same arrest powers as substantive Immigration Officers. They are to assist Immigration Officers in the execution of their duties.   

 

 CARICOM Agriculture Ministers tour BAMSI

Ministers of Agriculture of the Caribbean Community toured the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BASMI) just prior to CARICOM’s opening of the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean in Nassau, February 26-27.

The Bahamas Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray thanked the agriculture representatives for taking the tour of the North Andros agricultural institute with him.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Labour and Social Security in Jamaica the Hon. Luther Buchanan spoke on behalf of his fellow Caribbean Ministers and praised the Bahamas Government on the project, stating: “It is indeed impressive and I commend the Government on this initiative and I implore the people of this land to support wholeheartedly this programme of sustained agriculture, sustained because agricultural education is important; it is the nerve centre of appreciating the eat what you grow concept. It is the nerve centre of the development of any country.”

The group to North Andros was accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Rene Glinton; President, BAMSI and the Bahamas Ambassador to FAO Dr. Godfrey Eneas; Executive Director, BAMSI, Dr. Rovenia Roberts Hanna; Mr. Benjamin Rahming, General Manager, the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation and Omar Thomas and Project Director and Consultant for the Tutorial Commercial Farm at BAMSI.  

 

 

26th CARICOM conference of heads opens in Nassau

In his first official address to “colleague heads” as CARICOM Chairman, Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie called for the development of human capital and natural resources to spur regional growth; a greater thrust in youth development; gender equality and greater regional food security.

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