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see times;”> Covering a wide range of international themes on Thursday was Bahamas Foreign Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell as he addressed the 70th Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, juvenile gangs, irregular migration, firearms trafficking, the economy, gender equality, the disabled and climate change were just a few of topics and existential threats covered in a speech that lasted less than twenty minutes.

While acknowledging the enormous value of tourism to the continued viability of Caribbean economies, Mitchell pointed out the urgency in seizing control of some of the existential threats that feed criminality in The Bahamas and the region.

“The Caribbean region including The Bahamas provides a tourist experience unparalleled in the world.

“But the world must pay attention to the underlying development issues that face the region, lest that benefit be threatened. We must stop the escalating crime and violence from drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling, and juvenile gangs. That is why we have been so strong in our support of the Small Arms Trade Treaty. The carnage of our young people because of the easy availability of guns to young males in particular, is not acceptable and is unsustainable.

“The Bahamas was pleased to have participated actively in the recent First Conference of States Party to the Arms Trade Treaty held in Mexico in August last. While we are disappointed that the ATT Secretariat will not be located in our region in our sister CARICOM country of Trinidad and Tobago, we nevertheless, are committed to the full and effective implementation of the ATT. We call on the producers of these weapons to do more though to stop their illegal export to your region and end the carnage. As Mr. Manley rightly pointed it out, the developed world will not be immune if the matter is not brought under control,” said Mitchell. 


North Andros became the first Family Island community to receive Pre-Paid Visa Cards Tuesday, when 168 clients who have qualified for the Department of Social Services Food Assistance Programme received their cards “fully loaded and ready to be used immediately.”

North Androsians joined more than 6,000 persons in New Providence and Grand Bahama who currently receive this assistance.

Launched in New Providence in November, 2014, the reloadable Pre-paid Visa Card is the first phase of the Government of The Bahamas’ Social Safety Net Programme.

Persons with enduring and genuine economic hardships, low-income wage earners, senior citizens, persons with disabilities on a fixed income, and the unemployed qualify for this public assistance.

Tuesday’s launch in Morgan’s Bluff, allows the Government of The Bahamas, through the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development and the Department of Social Services, to move another step closer towards its goal of ensuring timely access to this assistance while streamlining operations and reducing operating costs.

“The Pre-Paid Card offers clients the opportunity to shop with dignity while empowering families to lead a better way of life,” Mrs. Griffin said. “We have partnered with industry professionals and merchants to offer our clients a variety of shopping options when using the Pre-Paid Card.

Used in many countries in the region and around the world, the pre-paid debit card forms part of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program. It is a component of the reformed Social Safety Net Programme, intended to modernize the entire social assistance delivery machinery.


Minister of Financial Services Hon. Hope Strachan addressed an international consultancy on standards and quality this past Monday. She pointed out that the development of the Bahamas Bureau of Standards Quality (BBSQ), updated legislation and a strategic plan were consistent with the government’s mandate to meet international standards, reduce technical barriers to trade; comply with the WTO membership requirements and modernize the sector’s infrastructure in support of the economic growth and development of The Bahamas. The second consultancy is scheduled for Friday, 2nd October 2015.

Specifically, the updated legislation is designed to comply with World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT) Agreement and international best practices and finalize the three-year (2016-2018) Strategic Plan for the BBSQ. Both consultancies are focused on strengthening the institutional capacity of the BBSQ.


Sunday past, the 27th September was World Tourism Day and under the theme “one billion visitors, one billion opportunities,” Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe extolled the virtues of sustainability as he urged Bahamian entrepreneurs to build greater linkages between other industries such as agriculture and our fledging lumber industry and tourism to further diversity The Bahamas’ economy. He characterized the turnaround in tourism in just three short years as “meteoric” and thanked all of the relevant stakeholders who made it possible. He also applauded their “no-quit” attitude and “indomitable spirit” in building the country’s tourism plant, product and securing the country’s “Top Brand” award.

In his effort to use his international platform to promote religious tourism, Bishop Neil Ellis invited twenty journalists to The Bahamas to experience firsthand our country’s product offerings, including a trip to the place of his birth, Bimini. The journalists report for media outlets serving a predominantly African American readership and audience. The journalists along with Ms. Sherri Shepard, one of the hosts of The View, met with Prime Minister Christie recently an ahead of the release of her latest movie.

The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) International conference was held in The Bahamas on Thursday of this week and marks the first time this conference was held outside of the United States and Canada. The LETR campaign is the largest of its kind that raises funds for the Special Olympics. On hand to show his support was Prime Minister Christie.

The Straw Market Authority held its 3rd annual Vendors Appreciation and Recognition ceremony on Thursday, 1st October at the Authority on Bay Street. In attendance to pay tribute and thank the vendors were Prime Minister Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis.

Princess Ann made an official visit to The Bahamas this week. She met with the Head of State, the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling and was feted to a reception at Government House attended by the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Youth and Sports Minister. She also participated in the gold youth awards ceremony there. Princess Anne is the president of the Caribbean Canada Emerging Leaders’ Dialogue (CCELD). Her arrival in The Bahamas on Sunday, 27th September 2015 marked the first stop of her tour.

With voter registration for the 2017 general elections set to begin on Monday, 5th October 2015, Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall said he expects as much as 20,000 up voters to be placed on the new register. More than 176,000 voters are on the current register which expires in July 2016.

Good news came out of a plane crash on Monday in waters near Chub Cay when all four of the male passengers onboard the plane survived. The men were onboard a Piper Aztec that crashed one half mile off Chub Cay near Diamond Rock after the aircraft experienced engine trouble. In other news, another small plane crash landed at the Grand Bahama International Airport on Wednesday.

Local businessman, philanthropist and former president of the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association, Kenneth Vernon Perigord passed away on Monday afternoon at the age of 68. May his soul rest in peace.

A welcome reception was held on Tuesday at Government House for the chair of the African Union Commission and South Africa Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma. The South African Foreign Minister was visiting The Bahamas. Also in attendance to welcome Mrs. Dlamini-Zuma were the Prime Minister Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Davis, Foreign Minister Mitchell, Attorney General Maynard-Gibson, Minister for Financial Services, Hon. Hope Strachan and Parliamentary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Cleola Hamilton.

Campbell Shipping Company Limited received delivery of a new 37,500 dead weight ton dry-bulk carrier, September 29, 2015. Wife of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Mrs. Bernadette Christie, sponsor of the new vessel, was invited to break a bottle of champagne and officially name the vessel at the Imabari Shipyard of Imabari, Japan. After the ceremony Mrs. Christie toured the vessel with Company officials and other special guests.

Tourism Minister the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe revealed this week that the government, via the Gaming Board, will issue conditional gaming licensees on the 15th October 2015. Nine companies have applied for licenses and the ones not issued licenses on October 15 will have to shut down.

A three-year Industrial Agreement was signed between the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and the Bahamas Communications Public Managers Union (BCPMU) on September 28th at the BTC Headquarters on JFK Drive, Nassau.

National Youth Month was announced this week by Youth and Sports Minister, Hon. Daniel Johnson. A number of activities are planned to highlight the contributions of youth to the development of The Bahamas.