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Majestic Beachfront Estate In The Bahamas Is On The Market For $32 Million – Forbes

Luxury abounds at this exquisite waterfront property in the Bahamas.

Remote work and virtual school during the pandemic have triggered a sharp increase in urban dwellers seeking a quieter, slower lifestyle in less densely populated areas. But escaping to the suburbs or countryside might not be good enough for some people. Instead, a gated community surrounded by water would seem like the ideal safe haven right now.

Youre in luck. A stunning beachfront residence called the Krystal House is on the market for $32 million in Old Fort Bay, an exclusive community of 250 homes on the northwest coast of New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas. Built in 2016, the palatial 20,000 square-foot residence blends Tuscan-style spirit with a breezy tropical lifestyle.

The ideal buyer is a boater and beach lover, said listing agent Martina Reichardt of H.G. Christie Ltd. in Nassau. Its the perfect place for a businessperson to live and work at home. Plus, the home is a smart house that can easily be managed from abroad.

The home takes the concept of luxury waterfront living to a whole new level.

A high ceiling adds drama to the grand foyer.

The three levels of luxury include eight bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, three half bathrooms, two family rooms, two custom kitchens and a home theater. On the lower level, two large game rooms with billiards invite family entertainment. The ground level has a large wine cellar, while each room on the first level leads to beautiful outdoor patios for entertaining on a grand scale and relaxing in peaceful surroundings.

Master bedroom

Five en-suite bedrooms, each with walk-in closets, can be found on the second level, including the master suite with a sitting area, home office and a bathroom covered in white marble and flanked by two master closets.

Contemporary kitchen

Two bedrooms and two bathrooms for the staff are on the ground floor. The western side of Krystal House can be converted into a two-bedroom guest house, with its own separate entrance and fully equipped kitchen. An ocean view loft, with a half bathroom and two balconies overlooking Old Fort Bay and the canal, is an added feature.

Cozy living room

The home offers panoramic views and dazzling sunsets throughout and access to the crystal clear waters of Old Fort Bay Beach. Rounding out the amenities are an elevator, four-car garage, exterior balconies, covered patios, childrens play area, heated infinity pool, outdoor kitchen and grill, wet bar, Jacuzzi and a gazebo.

The pool deck and beach are the perfect spots for family lounging and entertaining as well as the indoor wine cellar and dining and living areas, said Reichardt.

Other conveniences include a water treatment system, impact-resistant windows, automated outdoor storm shutters, a generator and smart security system that can be controlled by a smart phone remotely.

Krystal House occupies just over an acre, with 150 feet of beachfront and 150 feet of canalfront, including a large protected dock. The property is near fine dining, shopping and entertainment, international airports and a short flight from Florida. The closest airport is just seven minutes away.

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Majestic Beachfront Estate In The Bahamas Is On The Market For $32 Million - Forbes

From The Bahamas to St Kitts, 7 Places to Go in December – Caribbean Journal

When the first Caribbean destinations began reopening in June, the travel world was filled with uncertainty. But in the six months since, the Caribbean has sent a message to the world that tourism reopenings can largely be done in a safe, effective manner an important step for the future of the most tourism-dependent region on earth.

Of course, not everyone is returning to traveling, and every traveler needs to carefully consider their trip and the risks.

But a growing number of visitors are returning to the Caribbean and thats why weve brought back our monthly edition of Places to Go.

If you decide to go, make sure you do so while being conscious of everyone around you most importantly, the people of the communities youre visiting.

And when you travel, wear a mask, practice safe hygiene and please comply with each destinations health protocols each of which weve linked to below.

The Bahamas Last month, The Bahamas entered the newest phase of its tourism reopening, one that eliminated the quarantine requirement and opened up most of the countrys hotels (and its ever-popular boating sector). It should be noted that the reopening is country-wide, meaning all of the major islands are ready to welcome you back, with a different island for every type of traveler.

For adventure, make the journey to Andros and the Small Hope Bay Lodge; for a cosmopolitan getaway, try Nassau (where top hotels like Atlantis and the Baha Mar reopen this month, along with already-relaunched mainstays like Graycliff) for undiscovered beaches and private villas, theres Grand Bahama. For historic charm, theres Harbour Island. For boating, get a charter boat in Abaco.

You can find the countrys travel protocols here, headlined by negative PCR result within five days of your flight to The Bahamas.

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From The Bahamas to St Kitts, 7 Places to Go in December - Caribbean Journal

Commission: UN vote signals new line of thinking for The Bahamas on marijuana – EyeWitness News

Public Domain contracted to conduct marijuana commission survey

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNMC) Chairman Quinn McCartney said yesterday the United Nations (UN) removal of cannabis from its list of dangerous drugs signals the likelihood of the global legalization of cannabis.

McCartneys comments follow a historic vote at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs on Wednesday,to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from its list of the worlds most dangerous drugs.

The commission voted 27-25, with one abstention, to follow the World Health Organizations recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, where it was listed with heroin and several other opioids.

The Associated Press noted, however, that the vote does not clear UN member nations to legalize marijuana under the international drug control system.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, McCartney said the vote was consistent with the commissions view to prioritize medicinal marijuana.

The commission supports the view that our law should be amended to facilitate easy access to medical cannabis products for use in The Bahamas, he said.

It didnt go as far as full-scale legalization and thats kind of consistent, too, with the views of some of the commissioners Certainly, it changes the dynamics or it will cause, most likely, The Bahamas to rethink its views on this topic.

McCartney noted that countries to the south and north of The Bahamas are moving towards legalization and that will have to be taken into consideration as the country rethinks its position on a number of things.

Its a historic vote. Its an interesting vote and I suspect its the first step of an international journey towards the global acceptance or global full legalization of cannabis.

Among the 24 recommendations put forth in the BNCMs preliminary report tabled last year January, the commission has suggested cannabis possession be decriminalized up to one ounce or less for personal use for people 21 years or older, and laws would be amended for the immediate expungement of small possession criminal records.

The commission stopped short of recommending the legalization of recreational marijuana, insisting the issue needs to be explored further before a consensus can be garnered.

While the prime minister has publicly voiced his support for the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, the attorney general has advised that The Bahamas remains challenged on the issue as long as the drug remains illegal at the United States federal level.

McCartney noted yesterday that full-scale legalization in the US remains an important factor, given concerns of banking with the country.

There must be that ability to freely exchange and do transactions in the global market and so as long as the United States is not synchronized with the rest of the world or the rest of the world is synchronized with the United States, there may be some challenges, he said.

Im certain it will cause the US to also rethink its federal position.

The commissions final report was expected to be presented following a national survey to codify the views of the Bahamian public on the matter, however, the local spread of the novel coronavirus has derailed most of the governments plans.

McCartney advised yesterday that that survey has been implemented and is underway withBahamian market and opinion research firm Public Domain.

He, however, could not indicate when the data would be analyzed and completed.

McCartney noted that while the commission had initially proposed the survey be conducted by the Department of Statistics, that plan was no longer feasible given the current pandemic.

He would not reveal how much the commission paid Public Domain to conduct the survey.

Itll be worth the cost and I think we will get value for money.

Seventy-one percent of respondents who participated in a June 2018 Public Domain survey said they believed marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes.

Public Domain has released two surveys to date surrounding marijuana legalization.

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Commission: UN vote signals new line of thinking for The Bahamas on marijuana - EyeWitness News

‘My win isn’t just for me – it’s for The Bahamas’ – Bahamas Tribune

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

LOCAL environment activist Kristal Ambrose has won a 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize for her work, which she credits as a win for The Bahamas and black women of the Caribbean.

Ms Ambrose, 29, convinced the government of The Bahamas to ban single-use plastic bags, plastic cutlery, straws, and Styrofoam containers and cups. The ban was announced in April 2018 and went into effect in January of this year.

The Goldman Environmental Foundation, the worlds foremost award for grassroots environmental activists, announced six recipients of the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize yesterday.

It is not just a win for me, but a win for The Bahamas, for the children that I work with, for the cause against plastic pollution and ocean protection and conservation in The Bahamas, said Ms Ambrose of her win.

This is a win for the black women in the marine sciences, black women in the Caribbean who were taking up space and pushing this work forward. So Im very humbled and proud and motivated to continue doing the work.

The Goldman honour is awarded annually to environmental heroes from the six inhabited continental regions. The Goldman Environmental Prize honours the achievements and leadership of environmental activists, while inspiring all of us to take action to protect our planet. The prize was founded in 1989 in San Francisco by philanthropists and civic leaders Rhoda and Richard Goldman.

This year marks the tenth death anniversary of founder Mr Goldman.

These six environmental champions reflect the powerful impact that one person can have on many, said John Goldman, president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation. In todays world, we witness the effects of an imbalance with nature: a global pandemic, climate change, wildfires, environmental injustices affecting those most at risk, and constant threats to a sustainable existence.

These are six of those environmental heroes, and they deserve the honour and recognition the Prize offers themfor taking a stand, risking their lives and livelihoods, and inspiring us with real, lasting environmental progress.

Winners of the Goldman Award are usually awarded in-person at a ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House in April, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were awarded virtually.

Once, while working at an aquarium Ms Ambrose spent two days helping to pull plastic out of a sea turtle that had internal blockage. After this experience, she took up the cause to have plastic banned from the country.

At age 22, Ms Ambrose joined an expedition to study the Western garbage patch, the mass of marine debris that is part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Ocean.

When examining the waste, she realised that all the debris were things that were found in the home plastic bags, Styrofoam, plastic cutlery, straws. She returned from the expedition inspired to tackle plastic waste and, in 2013, founded the Bahamas Plastic Movement to develop solutions to plastic pollution and educate the youth of the country.

A native of Eleuthera, Ms Ambrose, through the Bahamas Plastic Movement, created numerous programmes to engage, empower, and educate local youth, including tuition-free youth camps to train the countrys next environmental leaders. While in the camp, students conduct surveys of plastics on beaches, trawl on boats measuring micro-plastics on sea surface, dissect mahi-mahi fish to determine stomach plastic content, and learn how lifestyle on land impacts ocean health.

Its not something that I applied for, Ms Ambrose said of the process to winning her prize. Someone nominated me secretly and after a six-month process then I was contacted. They go through all these judges and they really look at your background and the essence of your work and you have to get strong character references and they put it before a jury and the jury selects you.

When I found out I got the award, I cried, because it was a powerful thing and it was realisation that the work has not gone unnoticed; that it hasnt been in vain. And, it wasnt a moment to spot, but it was hearing that I was being recognised, it was motivation to move the goal post and keep this work going even further.

Asked how she felt about being a global environmental hero, Ms Ambrose admitted that she was just beginning to feel the joy of the win. To sum up how I feel about it, it still hasnt totally hit me yet, she said. Its starting to hit me now, because when I found out I was like, Okay great, but back to work.

Now as the press is rolling in and people are rolling in and seeing it as a win for The Bahamas, it makes me very humbled, very grateful and very proud. Those are the three emotions that I resonate with. I am very grateful to be acknowledged by this organisation on this platform, on this international stage.

Ms Ambrose spoke to The Tribune from Sweden, yesterday, just hours before accepting the Goldman Award. Other winners this year include residents from Mexico, Ecuador, Ghana, Myanmar, and France.

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'My win isn't just for me - it's for The Bahamas' - Bahamas Tribune

Petition launched to protest Disney’s plan for cruise destination in the Bahamas – NYCaribNews

By ohtadmin | on December 04, 2020

NASSAU, Bahamas, Dec. 3, CMC A petition that has been launched as part of a campaign to Stop Disney-Last Chance for Lighthouse Point has collected close to 400,000 signatures.

The petition was launched by environmental activists to protest against Disneys plans to construct a multi-million-dollar cruise destination in South Eleuthera.

Were looking to reinvigorate the campaign and continue pushing out the fact that we do need answers to our questions, re-Earth president, Sam Duncombe told The Tribune newspaper.

Disneys pages on Lighthouse Point talk about how theyre going to be respectful to the environment and on one hand, they push out a lot of good information but then theyre not walking the walk when it comes to their own development, said Duncombe.

The environmental watchdogs are concerned about the negative implications that the project could create for the areas environment and want more sustainable development options for South Eleuthera and its residents.

We are deeply concerned about Disneys plans for a massive cruise ship port at Lighthouse Point that threaten this unique natural place treasured by generations of Bahamians and visitors from around the world. This is not the place where an environmentally-responsible corporation would choose to develop a massive cruise ship port, Duncombe said.

In 2019, the government and Disney Island Development Ltd signed a Heads of Agreement for the construction of a US$250Mto US$400Mcruise port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point.

The deal allows for the conveyance of 190 acres of land along with the southernmost point of the property a $6.29m value to the government for the establishment of a national park.

Some 120 Bahamians are expected to be employed directly during the construction of the project, which will begin after the Environmental Impact Assessment which was submitted last Decemberand Environmental Management Plan has been approved by the government.

Public consultation must also be completed, and all other necessary government permits and approvals granted.

Giving an update on the process during a Ministry of Environment press conference in September, officials said they were still in the process of finalizing the document, noting it will be released to the public soon.

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Petition launched to protest Disney's plan for cruise destination in the Bahamas - NYCaribNews

Junior Scott plants a firm foundation in The Bahamas – Jamaica Star Online

An unexpected job opportunity steered Portland-raised musician Junior Scott into establishing a new career and life in The Bahamas as a minister of music for the Golden Gate World Outreach Ministries.

Scott says that he was ready to take what he calls "a leap of faith", having completed studies at the Edna Manley School of Music and having the experience as a touring musician.

He has served as a backing musician for Nadine Blair's Perpetual Praise, as well as for gospel megastars Kevin Downswell, Prodigal Son, Chosen Vessel and Jermaine Edwards.

"I didn't see myself going into music production before relocating to Nassau. Back in Jamaica, most of my time was spent on stage, performing live; but moving to a smaller island, there was the realisation that lots of gospel artistes existed in a place that there weren't a lot of producers," Scott told Gospel Spotlight. "It was like finding untapped, fertile ground, and when you happen upon that, you see how best you can supply what is lacking to make something flourish."

Scott has made his mark producing for some of the premier musical ministers in The Bahamas, like Lynn Terez Nixon and Anna Clixte, and this year, was nominated 'Music Producer of the Year in The Bahamas' popular Elevation Awards.

Scott said, "I never thought that when the opportunity presented itself for me to go and do music full-time, I'd be where I am today, from living in rooms provided by a church, having to learn contentment and humility with whatever God gives you to be happy for it, to being blessed with a wholesome career and fulfilled life and love."

A multi-instrumentalist, Scott says that crossing over into production demanded a lot of his time and marketing. "Trial and error became a way of learning and to perfecting the method employed ... I am still perfecting it," he said.

After a year, he returned home to "tie loose ends," he said, which included ending a relationship. On his flight back to The Bahamas, he met the woman who would become his wife and mother of his two daughters.

"My wife, Deceya, a classically trained musician, is Bahamian-Jamaican and she, too, was moving to Nassau to begin a new chapter. Our story is one of fate, of course," he said.

After exchanging numbers, they learnt that her late mother was born on the same day as his father. "In some strange way it was like God was playing with us," Scott said.

In memory of his father, Wilbert Scott, he produced Thank You Lord, which did well on the gospel music circuit.

"In my journey, I have not forgotten the values instilled in me during my upbringing in Fellowship district. I have also had a lot of good male role models, from my dad, who was a deacon, to my primary-school teacher Herman Reid, and Devon Richards, a foundation drummer with We The People Band, all of whom helped mould me into the person who I am," he said.

His most recent work, The Choir Project, has been dubbed a 'comeback' for church choirs.

"As much as I used to play for choirs as a child in Jamaica, I never took a lot of it seriously, and I had to grow up very fast, especially when I began exploring music at the level of production and again with this project, which was my first time working on a choir album," he said. "I've just been here for 10 years, (so) I never knew the history of choirs recording being dormant as far back as the '90s. I was afraid to do the project based on the magnitude of work around it, and the pressure to deliver, but I am happy with the outcome."

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Junior Scott plants a firm foundation in The Bahamas - Jamaica Star Online

The Carnival Corporation completed routine embarkation of their ships in Bahamas – WIC News

Nassau, Bahamas: The Carnival Corporation completed routine embarkation of some 160 crew members onto 13 of their ships offshore Nassau Harbour.

As per the Ministry of Transport, every aspect of this operation was carefully planned to assure safety and health safety.

The operation was examined and approved in accordance with the Cruise Ship Protocols in effect following the Emergency Order, in accordance with all other related health and safety protocols, and by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, the Port Department and by the Bahamas Maritime Authority.

For this operation, the crew members arrived at 6.30 am on a private charter flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands and complied in all regards with all of The Bahamas medical, immigration and customs requirements including the production of a required individual negative Covid-19 test before the entry.

As per the officials, They were transferred nonstop directly to the Harbour, where waiting chartered launches ferried them directly to their ships.

They also added in the statement that The entire operation from arrival at the airport to embarkation aboard their ships took little more than eight hours, and has been completed safely.

The official pointed out that All measures, including hygiene, masking, distancing, disinfection, cleaning, were specified and compliance, was carefully monitored.

They also said that the operation was for crew embarkation only. No existing crew or shipboard personnel were allowed to leave any ship or to have any contact with any shore-side personnel. During this operation and at no time has any permission ever been given for the ships to undertake discharges in Bahamian waters.

Due to Covid 19 restraints, many crews have been unable to move from their ships for protracted periods of time. The provision of fresh crew assures continued smooth service in accordance with international standards and requirements.

The statement continued: We are also gratified of the fact that The Bahamas has played a role in complying with the United Nations call for the essential step of seamen, and that we have done so in such a safe, rapid and effective manner. We thank our citizens for their continued vigilance in enquiring concerning this operation.

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The Carnival Corporation completed routine embarkation of their ships in Bahamas - WIC News

Oil explorer: Just 20% of opponents from the Bahamas – Bahamas Tribune

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The oil exploration battle further heated up last night after Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) sought to discredit an activist petition by asserting just 20 percent of signatories were local.

The explorer, which almost certainly faces a legal challenge to its bid to start exploratory drilling on December 15, said in a statement that research it commissioned by a "sophisticated data analysis" firm suggested that the Our Islands, Our Future coalition was using overseas signatories to skew the results of a petition that has attracted more than 50,000 backers.

BPC added that, in so doing, it was "trying to turn the view of Bahamians against this potentially transformational project" by giving the appearance that more of their countrymen are against exploratory drilling than there actually are.

Suggesting that the petition was being hosted by an online California-based business that specialises in these issues, BPC said: "Data collected on behalf of BPC by a company specialising in sophisticated data analysis indicates that the vast majority of these signatures are from persons not in The Bahamas, but rather are overseas parties with no obvious connection to The Bahamas...

"As of 30 November, 2020, data analysis shows that only 20 percent of the self-identified signatories were from inside The Bahamas, with the other 80 percent of such signatories based outside of The Bahamas. This directly contradicts the Our Islands, Our Future suggestion that the online petition represents the views of the Bahamian people.

"Indeed, rather than accurately reflect the view of Bahamians, it suggests more that Our Islands, Our Future is using a common global platform to recruit signatories from overseas so as to skew the results of the petition in support of their agenda in trying to turn the view of Bahamians against this potentially transformational project."

Reiterating its argument that the Government has "a legitimate sovereign right" to determine if commercial quantities of oil exist beneath the Bahamian seabed, BPC said: "BPC holds a valid authorisation from the Government to proceed with the exploration well and should not have an independently monitored process distorted by an external pressure campaign funded by already wealthy influencers from outside of The Bahamas.

"BPC strongly urges the public to find out more about the facts of the Perseverance One exploration well, the potential economic boost its success offers Bahamians, and the extensive environmental authorisation process completed with, and approved by, the Government of The Bahamas."

Fred Smith QC, the Our Islands, Our Future lead attorney, last night blasted back at BPC that, even if their 20 percent claim was true, this percentage still represented "thousands of Bahamians" who were opposed to the company's plans for waters 90 miles west of Andros.

Describing his response as "so what?", Mr Smith suggested that the lengths BPC had gone to in hiring a data analyst to discredit the coalition's position showed it was rattled by the threat of imminent legal action that will include an attempt to secure a Supreme Court injunction to halt all drilling activity.

"There are over seven million people that visited The Bahamas pre-COVID, so there will obviously be a strong international contribution to the petition," Mr Smith argued. "The Bahamas is an island location that millions of people come to every year, and they are interested in protecting the Bahamian environment so we can continue to have tourism as the mainstay of the economy."

Warning that any major oil spill or accident would "sound the death knell for The Bahamas as an absolutely beautiful location that people desire to come to," he added: "I am pleased to see that BOC are taking Our Islands, Our Future seriously because they should. We are a domestic and international coalition, and have a lot of support. BPC should, as they are doing, be taking us seriously because we are a serious crew."

The executive director of the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, last night said all signatories to the petition "need to be heard" with some 130 Bahamian and international groups now part of Our Islands, Our Future.

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Oil explorer: Just 20% of opponents from the Bahamas - Bahamas Tribune

What will 750,000 buy in the Hamptons, Spain, Clontarf, London and the Bahamas? – The Irish Times

IRELAND: DUBLIN 3

This four-bedroom semi-detached house (below) at 21 Victoria Road in Clontarf, for sale through Karen Mulvaney Property, occupies the largest site on the road. Currently extending to 102sq m (1,097sq ft), there is scope to develop the 100-year-old house into a spectacular family home subject to planning.Price: 750,000Agent: kmproperty.ie

This two-bedroom condominium is in a gated complex with a pool and manicured gardens, and features a dock for mooring boats. Dating from 1970, and extending to 223sq m (2,400sq ft), the bedrooms have uninterrupted views of the water and the property is accessed by a private entrance through a walkway lined with fruit trees.Price: 741,166 ($890,000)Agent: christiesrealestate.com

This three-bedroom wooden house is on a 1.27-acre site at 190 Town Lane East Hampton. The Hamptons, a series of beach towns dotted along easternLong Island, New York, are known for being a summer retreat for the wealthy and famous of New York and represent some of the most expensive property in the Unites States. There is huge scope to extend and room for a pool on the site which is hidden by surrounding trees.Price: 755,170 ($900,000)Agent: sothebysrealty.com

A new development of apartments that overlook the Thames and Linear Park is a joint venture by Ballymore and Eco World. The 160 units, made up of one- and two-bedroom apartments, with three-bedroom penthouses, were designed by Benningen Lloyd and feature a sky deck, orangery, rooftop bar, private cinema and meeting rooms. In addition, new residents have access to two swimming pools, one of which is transparent and floats between the two buildings at a height of 35m.Prices: From 773,000 (695,000)Agent: savills.com

This newly-built three-bedroom villa is located in Denia, Costa Blanca North, an area characterised by fertile land and hilly terrain, making it a perfect spot for walkers. Costa Blanca North is less developed than other areas in Costa Blanca, and the 207sq m property lies close to many local beaches and offers great sea views.Price: 730,000Agent: bullmannproperties.com

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What will 750,000 buy in the Hamptons, Spain, Clontarf, London and the Bahamas? - The Irish Times

The first human settlers on islands caused extinctions – UC Riverside

Though some believe prehistoric humans lived in harmony with nature, a new analysis of fossils shows human arrival in the Bahamas caused some birds to be lost from the islands and other species to be completely wiped out.

The researchers examined more than 7,600 fossils over a decade and concluded that human arrival in the Bahamas about 1,000 years ago was the main factor in the birds extinction and displacement in recent millennia, although habitat fluctuations caused by increased storm severity and sea level rise could have played a role.

Many spectacular species, such as a colorful parrot, a striking scavenger called a caracara, and a number of hawks, doves, owls, and songbirds, were still found as recently as 900 years ago, and may have overlapped with people by a century before disappearing or retreating to only one or two islands in The Bahamas. No other environmental change could explain their loss, said study co-lead Janet Franklin, a distinguished professor of botany and plant sciences at UC Riverside.

Full results of Franklins study were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For example, the Abaco parrot is now only found on two islands in the Bahamas. There are many islands in between the two where the parrots now live that have the same habitat.

We wondered why those parrots arent found in the middle islands, Franklin said. It turns out, they were, not that long ago. Franklin and her collaborator, ornithologist David Steadman of University of Florida, found Abaco parrot fossils were on all the islands until 1,000 years ago.

The study was also able to identify losses of bird species that lived in the Bahamas since the end of the last ice age, more than 10,000 years before people arrived. These species included a giant barn owl and giant eagle predators whose prey also disappeared from the islands after people arrived.

More than two thirds of the 90 bird species identified in the fossils that date from the end of the last ice age. Either they have gone altogether extinct or now only persist outside of the Bahamas.

The Bahamian islands are treasure troves of fossils because the limestone caves and flooded sinkholes there act as natural traps and are highly effective at preserving bones. Because theyre relatively small land areas lacking mountains or steep, remote areas where plants and animals can retreat to avoid people, the islands are also places where humans can have a big impact.

Giant predator birds likely competed with people for food such as giant tortoises now extinct and hutia, the only native land mammal in the Bahamas, which resembles a large guinea pig. In addition, humans hunt birds that eat fruit, because they tend to be fatter and more delicious.

It isnt clear how much of the effect on birds is attributable to habitat change caused by people settling on the islands and how much was due to direct human predation. But Franklin said the wild habitat requires protections to preserve the animals that remain.

The species here are the ones that survived, Franklin said. They might be more adaptable than other birds, and less dependent on a niche or habitat thats strongly affected by human activity. But they are still vulnerable and worth conserving.

Furthermore, the researchers note in the study that the related futures of biodiversity and humanity perhaps never have been at a crossroads more than now. The transfer of a zoonotic disease from wildlife to humans, which has resulted in a global pandemic, is directly linked to biodiversity loss.

In other words, as humans increasingly take over wild habitat, particularly rainforests, there are more opportunities for diseases to jump from wildlife to people.

Protecting rainforests and regulating wildlife trade helps the animals and is also a component of preventing pandemics, Franklin said.

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The first human settlers on islands caused extinctions - UC Riverside

Facing Loss of Tourists, Bahamas Resorts Give Back to Their Communities – Barron’s

During the coronavirus pandemic, any country relying on the tourism industry finds itself on an economic islandisolated from the income that maintains a tax base and social services.

The Bahamas faces the Covid-19 crisis as a literal island, cut off from the outside world via every airport or sea lane. At the archipelagos heart, Nassaus 275,000 people confront health crises, poverty, and unemployment without financial assistance from fellow Caribbean venues who also battle the same challenges.

Currently, the Bahamas remain at Level 3 or High Risk for Covid-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the islands own government took the step of stopping all flights or cruise ships visits. Hotels remaining open can accept only Bahamian visitors.

But as the struggle against the virus continues, Nassaus most famous luxury destinations are assisting locals in need until faster tests and successful vaccines restore the travel flow.

The resort of Graycliff started life in 1740 as the pirate fortress of Captain John Howard Graysmith and the schooner Graywolf. Jump ahead to 2020, and the quiet, palm-covered colonial estate is home to 18 guest rooms, a gourmet restaurant, a cigar company, a chocolatier, and one of the worlds largest wine collections (with more than 250,000 bottles in their dungeon cellar). During more carefree times, Graycliff serves gourmet food and the finest spirits to celebrities and presidents alike.

As the virus first shut down the island earlier this year, owner Enrico Garzaroli decided to use the downtime to renovate the property until reopening briefly in July. A spike in cases closed the island again mid-summer, and Garzaroli realized this crisis would last longer than anyone expected.

When it became clear that the coronavirus was a long-term health crisis threatening the livelihoods of Nassaus tourism workers, Garzaroli and Graycliff stepped up to help feed anyone struggling with unemployment. Every Friday for 10 weeks beginning in April, Graycliff distributed free meals for Nassaus hungry.

We gave out around 42,000 hot meals, Garzaroli explains. The cars would line up. We had the kitchen going with about 15 volunteers, and blocked the street off with the help of the local government. We would make sure the homeless got fed first, and some people began camping out every Thursday night.

Graycliff also reserved some meals for local charities, hospitals, and shelters. The donated food and drink came together through partnerships between Garzaroli, food suppliers, Coca-Cola, and other Nassau entities.

We decorated the street and had bands playing, Garzaroli adds. Even with what we were facing, I wanted people to be in a good mood.

With the islands public schools still closed, Graycliff is confronting the educational crisis amid its underprivileged by transforming its Humidor Churrascaria into a distance-learning classroom for children ages eight to 12.

Monday to Friday, we have a rotation of 26 kids at a time here for virtual school, Garzaroli says. Were welcoming the neediest kids as vetted by government officials.

Classes were underway as of Oct. 5. Using donated tablet computers, the students interact with four teachers from two local schools. Garzaroli includes lunch for all in attendance. Finally, when class isnt in session, Graycliff volunteers will teach the children how to swim in the resort pool.

Across the island, another high-end property confronted Nassaus medical needs. When Covid-19 cases began to overwhelm the citys limited treatment facilities, the luxurious Breezes Resort and Spa Bahamas turned an entire buildings worth of hotel rooms into hospital space.

According to John Issa , owner of Breezes and Chairman of SuperClubs, the property was originally approached as the largest hotel in the Bahamas by government officials to provide a portion of its 400 rooms as 14-day quarantine facilities for Bahamian nationals returning home from abroad.

We gave them the whole buildinga separated wing with its own entrance and exit to maintain quarantine, Issa says. Once the hospitals became overburdened with coronavirus cases, we were then asked to house non-Covid hospital patients until the infection rate slowed down.

Issa and his team allowed medical professionals to take charge of the donated Breezes building. Those doctors and nurses maintained hospital services out of the space for almost four months. In addition, Breezes management made donations of toiletries, garments, and other essentials to patients throughout the crisis.

We hoped this would be over by now, but I dont think the flights will return until the biggest resorts reopen.

As the pandemic reaches into autumn, Issa expects the Bahamas troubles to continue until medical realities allow the islands mega-resorts to do business again.

Were still open for business for locals here, he explains. We hoped this would be over by now, but I dont think the flights will return until the biggest resorts reopen.

The islands here are under great financial stress, Issa adds. When tourism is down, taxes are down and unemployment benefits are up. When hurricanes Irma , Jose , and Maria hit the Caribbean in 2017, those islands that were unaffected came together to help those that were damaged. There are no islands untouched by this crisis.

Frank J. Comito , CEO and director general of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, reports his organization is in contact with public health agencies across the Caribbean to coordinate education in dealing with the coronavirus.

Were sharing a lot of information between the islands, Comito says. Weve trained thousands of employees in the best practices and looked to put in place stringent guidelines across the region. We come together remotely as best we can, and everybody follows what everybody else is doing to handle the virus.

As properties like Graycliff and Breezes try to assist their community while running at reduced capacities, Comito insists theres no firm plans yet for when and how the region could reopen on a larger scale.

The large resorts in Bermuda, Jamaica, or the Bahamas will reopen when they believe the protocols allow them to operate safely. We are seeing booking on the luxury end remaining stable. Still, the bigger properties need to see the return of flights and cruise ships to provide an adequate number of potential bookings before reopening.

We are seeing some hopeful signs, Comito adds. There is a healthy level of bookings coming in for Christmas and forward into the winter season.

Continued here:

Facing Loss of Tourists, Bahamas Resorts Give Back to Their Communities - Barron's

Grand Bahama Island ready to welcome visitors on October 15 Skip – eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News

After a phased opening in July, the Government of The Bahamas closed the islands borders in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases, to bring the infection rate under control and protect the health of locals and visitors.

Beginning October 15th, Grand Bahama Island will enter Phase 3 of The Bahamas Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan, ahead of the busy holiday season. Beaches and major hotels will reopen across the island, with a 14-day (or length of stay) Vacation in Place (VIP) for all guests through October 31st. Vacation in Place (VIP) means that guests must remain on the hotelproperty, where all amenities, including hotel spas, gyms, bars and more will be accessible.

On November 1st, The Bahamas will remove the mandatory VIP requirement for all visitors, returning citizens and residents, which will allow everyone to explore and enjoy the island. Attractions, excursions and tours are also set to reopen on November 1st as part of the Phase 3 plan.

A variety of establishments on Grand Bahama Island are fully operational and eagerly awaiting visitors in order to display their special brand of island hospitality.

Acurfew is still in place from 10 PM to 5 AM, but social events such as Weddingsand Receptions are now allowed both outdoors and indoors as long as they are inaccordance with the guidelines and protocols set forth by the Ministry ofHealth. This bodes well for guests who travel far and wide to the islandthat has a reputation for romantic escapes and destination weddings.

Throughoutthe lockdown period, the International Airport at Freeport, which is in themidst of a terminal expansion project, remained open and was fully operational,receiving cargo, private flights, emergency and humanitarian flights. Theairport is now accepting international flights such as Silver Airways out ofFlorida; American Airlines returned on October 8th. Bahamasairhas been in operation domestically, but they are yet to announce when they willresume international flights.

TheMinistry of Tourism continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health toestablish and evaluate protocols and timelines with respect to the RT-PCR testingin advance of travel and curb any potential spread of the virus.

As areminder, the Bahamian governments new entry requirements for visitors, whichcame into effect on September 1st. 2020, include:

Theonly applicants who are not required to provide a COVID-19 test are:

Inaddition to the above protocols, a rapid antigen test will be conducted uponarrival, and then again four days (96 hours) after arrival in The Bahamas. Therapid tests are quick and easy with the results being provided electronicallyin less than 20 minutes. All visitors who are leaving on Day Five of theirvisit will not be required to take the second test. The cost of the rapidtests on and after arrival will be included in the cost of the visa.

All persons arriving by yachts or other pleasure craftswill be able to make arrangements for their mandatory rapid tests at the portof entry.

It is recommended that all travelers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their party before booking a trip, to determine what steps need to be taken to be granted entry.

Excerpt from:

Grand Bahama Island ready to welcome visitors on October 15 Skip - eTurboNews | Trends | Travel News

Bahamas’ ‘Sad Hunk’ Lives Up to Its Name – Exclaim!

Published Oct 08, 2020

7

Despite his change in scenery, Sad Hunk features Jurvanen's regular collaborators (Don Kerr, Felicity Williams, Christine Bougie and Mike O'Brien) along with new addition Sam Weber on guitar musicians whose gentle, precise playing combines perfectly with Jurvanen's laid-back energy. Their prior LP, 2018's Earthtones pushed the band in new, unexpected directions in their collaborations with James Gadson and Pino Palladino, the legendary rhythm section from D'Angelo's Black Messiah (2014). Here, they return to their trademark soulful indie folk, a sound that is easily recognizable yet never formulaic.

Sad Hunk is perhaps the perfect title for this record, encapsulating Jurvanen's sweetness and sense of humour ("I'm not looking for another wife / I'm just looking at you, babe") as well as his melancholic edge and thoughtful nature. The album's first single, "Own Alone," is a shuffling, almost frantic groove on which Jurvanen proposes a toast to "cold and broken, lonely me," proclaiming himself "Too old to understand that selfie / Too far gone for you to help me." Jurvanen alternates between lighthearted and ponderous on songs such as the twangy "Done Did Me No Good" and "Up With the Jones," a plucky tune punctuated by handclaps and guitar tones that evoke Fleetwood Mac.

A running lyrical theme throughout, perhaps related to the question asked in "Trick to Happiness," is the value of economic security and cultural capital, touched upon in "Own Alone" ("Too broke to feel so wealthy") and "Not Cool Anymore," and directly addressed in both "Can't Complain" and "Fair Share." The latter two songs trace Jurvanen's feelings toward his career as a successful musician with Bahamas, wherein he expresses gratitude for being able to make a living with his art but asserts his wish to avoid a "bad deal with Warner" and symbols of wealth such as pension plans and private schools. Williams' lovely, gentle backing vocals provide a perfect counterpart to Jurvanen in the bluesy "Fair Share," in which Jurvanen offers advice to young musicians, in turn prompting him to ask the question, "Where does all of that leave me?"

The questions posed throughout Sad Hunk are perhaps unanswerable, yet reflect Jurvanen's deceptively complex, philosophical lyricism. Unassuming yet laid-back and confident, Bahamas have quickly become one of Canada's most beloved folk staples, as evidenced by a multitude of JUNO Awards and nominations. Sad Hunk captures the band's lively chemistry, proving that five albums in, Jurvanen and company are still finding ways to make "something new for all of you with some old refrain."(Brushfire)

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Bahamas' 'Sad Hunk' Lives Up to Its Name - Exclaim!

Central Bank of Bahamas : and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce to Co-host a Virtual Presentation 14th October, 2020 – Marketscreener.com

Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce to Co-host a Virtual Presentation - 14th October, 2020 Published: Wednesday October 7th, 2020

The Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers' Confederation (BCCEC) will host a virtual presentation on Wednesday, 14th October, 2020. The virtual event is a followup to the BCCEC's February Power Breakfast, hosted by the Central Bank under the theme, 'PROJECT SAND DOLLAR: A Bahamas Payments System Modernisation Initiative.'

The Central Bank of The Bahamas will gradually release a digital version of the Bahamian dollar nationally outside of the pilot regions of Exuma and Abaco, through authorised financial institutions (AFIs), beginning on 20th October, 2020. This initiative has acquired the name Project Sand Dollar, with the sand dollar also being the name assigned to the central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The first phase of the national rollout, is focused on the immediate readiness within the private sector. As part of its engagement and outreach effort with key private stakeholders, the Central Bank and the BCCEC invite the Bahamian business community and other stakeholders to participate in the virtual session. This webinar aims to provide an overview of the gradual release of Sand Dollar, detail the requisite steps to ensure Sand Dollar readiness, and provide a forum to pose related questions directly to the Sand Dollar project leaders. Dedicated breakout sessions are available to merchants desirous of a one-on-one virtual meeting with the Central Bank.

The event will be moderated by Chairperson, Royann Dean, BCCEC Digital Transformation Committee. The panellists and representatives of the Central Bank are: Cleopatra Davis, Head of Department (Banking), Kimwood Mott, Project Manager Digital Currency Implementation, Sametria McKinney, Chief Information Security Officer, and Bobby Chen, Assistant Manager eSolutions.

The digital currency initiative has the support of the financial community, which welcomes the opportunity for financial inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked residents that Sand Dollar will provide. The AFIs currently participating in the project include clearing banks, money transmission businesses (MTBs), and payment service providers (PSPs). As the project expands, additional AFIs are expected to be on-boarded as Sand Dollar wallet providers.

The intended outcome of Project Sand Dollar is that all residents in The Bahamas would have use of a central bank digital currency, on a modernized technology platform, with an experience and convenience-legally and otherwise-that resembles cash. It is expected that this will allow for reduced service delivery costs, increased transactional efficiency, and an improved overall level of financial inclusion.

To register in advance for this webinar, please use this Zoom link(https://bit.ly/3iw1NZT). The event will also be carried live on the BCCEC's Facebook pageand shared on the Central Bank's Facebook pages, including SandDollar.BS.

Disclaimer

Central Bank of The Bahamas published this content on 07 October 2020 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 07 October 2020 19:19:04 UTC

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Central Bank of Bahamas : and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce to Co-host a Virtual Presentation 14th October, 2020 - Marketscreener.com

Bank of The Bahamas hit by Central Bank’s 3-year bar – Bahamas Tribune

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Bank of The Bahamas top executive admitted its risk management had been poor as he revealed the Central Bank has blocked it from taking on new business borrowers for three-plus years.

Kenrick Brathwaite, the BISX-listed institutions managing director, told Tribune Business that events before his appointment meant it was unable to currently rebuild a commercial credit portfolio that he believes remains really critical to the banks future prospects.

We still have a restriction from the Central Bank with regard to new commercial credit. The restriction has been in place for the last three years, and we cannot take on any new commercial clients. Thats still continuing, he disclosed.

That part of the business, which is really critical to us in my evaluation, were not able to build. Thats because of history, and history suggests that weve not done the things we should have done with regard to risk. Wed like to start building more commercial relationships, but were still seeking the Central Banks authorisation.

Mr Brathwaite, who was appointed to the post some years after Bank of The Bahamas required two taxpayer-financed bail-outs to survive, is the first senior executive or board member at the government-majority owned institution to admit that risk management practices may have been at fault in the run-up to those events in 2014 and 2017.

Many observers, especially the Bank of The Bahamas minority shareholders who collectively hold just under 18 percent of its equity, will though likely regard Mr Brathwaites comments as an understatement given the spectacular destruction of investor value that left more than $144m in accumulated losses on its balance sheet at end-June 2020.

Besides risk management, the Central Bank also previously took Bank of The Bahamas to task for its heavy credit exposure to politically exposed persons or PEPS such as ex-Cabinet minister and MP, Leslie Miller, with whom it is locked in a court battle over $30.6m it alleges he owes over loans secured on the Summerwinds Plaza.

The taxpayer has also, at a conservative estimate, spent over $300m in propping up Bank of The Bahamas through a combination of the two bail-outs, which injected government bonds worth $100m and $167.6m, respectively, into its balance sheet, plus a $40m rights offering that had to be 100 percent acquired by the Public Treasury. The latter, together with the National Insurance Board (NIB), owns 82-plus percent of the bank on the governments behalf.

Bank of The Bahamas commercial loan portfolio shrunk by almost $5m during the 12 months to end-June 2020, according to its recently-released unaudited financial statements, finishing the year at $70.556m compared to $75.385m.

Mr Brathwaite said the bail-outs, which transferred many delinquent borrowers to the Bahamas Resolve work-out vehicle, had enabled Bank of the Bahamas to get rid of a lot of the toxic loans that previously plagued it.

That recent past has likely encouraged the Central Bank to keep the bar on new commercial lending in place, even though it restricted the banks loan book growth prior to COVID-19. And, while the BISX-listed institution has returned to regular - albeit reduced - profitability in the years following the 2017 bail-out, the pandemic and its fall-out threaten to reverse such gains.

Some $15.348m worth of loan loss provisions, in anticipation of COVID-linked borrower defaults, and a $6.316m impairment to the value of its government debt holdings due to the Moodys downgrade, produced a more than-$10m bottom line reverse that plunged Bank of The Bahamas into a $7.384m bottom line loss for its June 2020 financial year.

Mr Brathwaite said that while an economic rebound would enable Bank of The Bahamas to recover at least some of these provisions, he did not expect one to occur before the April-June 2021 quarter - the fourth in the banks financial year - at earliest.

He added that a significant chunk of the $1.85bn worth of commercial bank loans placed on deferral due to COVID-19 earlier this year, representing around one-third of all outstanding credit, could fall into default if the hotel and tourism industry did not rebound soon.

Were hoping at some point in time well be able to put this back, Mr Brathwaite said of the banks provisioning, noting that the $6.3m impairment related to Moodys would likely take longer to reverse given that this depends on an improvement in the Governments fiscal position. Were hoping that when this economy spins around well be able to reverse most of that provisioning thats affecting us tremendously.

Forty percent unemployment is going to be around for a while, he added. The hotels seem as if theyre not going to open up. We havent even begun to think of what it will look like in the banking industry if those hotels do not open.

Youre talking most of the $2bn becoming non-performing. A lot of that $2bn is government employees. I dont think its as critical as we think it is, but a lot of that $2bn will be hotel borrowing and its going to affect delinquency numbers for the entire industry.

Mr Brathwaite voiced hope that Bank of The Bahamas will be able to start reversing some of the loan loss provisioning during its 2021 financial years fourth quarter, but it remains the most vulnerable and exposed commercial bank due to its pre-COVID-19 problems.

For removing the $162.803m worth of bonds injected into its balance sheet would leave it with an $8m solvency deficiency, where liabilities exceed assets. Accumulated losses are again moving in the wrong direction, while almost one-quarter of its loan portfolio - some 23.78 percent - remains non-performing or more than 90 days past due.

Mr Brathwaite said Bank of The Bahamas loan portfolio will look a lot different once it either restructures delinquent loans or sells the residential properties that act as collateral for these mortgages. He added that the bank was gaining a windfall from its improved collections effort and sale of delinquent properties, and said: Were well on our way to improving the numbers.

The challenge is the percentage [of delinquent loans] is not changing because the portfolio is not growing. The lack of growth is keeping the percentage high even though the actual number as a dollar value is reducing.

The Bank of The Bahamas chief also pledged that COVID-19 will not derail the institutions turnaround strategy, although he acknowledged it had been set back by three to four months. He added that it remained focused on automating its systems, such as loans, debt management and accounting, as well as various credit and debit card-related plans.

Originally posted here:

Bank of The Bahamas hit by Central Bank's 3-year bar - Bahamas Tribune

Moore Bahamas Foundation announces next round of grants – EyeWitness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS The Moore Bahamas Foundation (Moore Bahamas) yesterday announced new grants for Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery, bringing their contributions thus far to more than $700,000 as part of a million-dollar pledge by conservation philanthropist, Louis Bacon, for hurricane recovery.

Previous recovery grants focused primarily on emergency aid and relief, as well as rebuilding resilience.

The round of donations announced yesterday focuses on essential needs such as jobs and small business relief in Grand Bahama, food security in Nassau and Grand Bahama, and remote, at-home education tools for students.

The people of The Bahamas show amazing resilience as they continue to recover and rebuild from 2019s Hurricane Dorian, said Bacon, chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and Moore Bahamas, its local affiliate.

We are uniting as a global community to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The added stresses of COVID-19 on businesses, livelihoods, families, and students have reinforced our commitment to supporting The Bahamas recovery efforts during this trying time.

Hurricane Dorians aftermath has been compounded by the impact of COVID-19.

Hunger and food security are the main threats to full recovery from the storm for both families and the broader economy. A grant was made to the Grand Bahama Food Distribution Task Force, a working group of the National Food Distribution Task Force organized by the Government of The Bahamas along with private sector partners.

The Grand Bahama Food Distribution Task Force is pleased to receive this generous donation from Moore Bahamas Foundation on behalf of the Feed Grand Bahama Program, Senator Kwasi Thompson, Minister of State for Grand Bahama.

Post-Hurricane Dorian many families have been challenged and with the Coronavirus pandemic and it has increased the vulnerable among us. It is the mandate of the Grand Bahama Food Task Force to assist the vulnerable and Moore Bahamas donation will help the Task Force in fulfilling this commitment.

Thompson continued: The Feed Grand Bahama Program started in late June and has issued over 26,000 food assistance vouchers. This donation will aid in meeting the increasing demand for food assistance.

We encourage others to contribute to this ongoing effort. No donation is too small. Once again on behalf of the people of Grand Bahama, I say thank you to the Moore Bahamas Foundation for their generous donation.

Support was also provided for small business relief through RISE Grand Bahama, a cooperative project of Mercy Corps, the American Red Cross, Bacardi, and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

This support will allow the RISE (Restoring Industries and Sustaining Employment) Grand Bahama Initiative to provide bridge grants to particularly small and vulnerable businesses so they can stay afloat despite these extremely difficult operating circumstances, said Paula Miller, Mercy Corps Country Director in The Bahamas.

Moore Bahamas generosity will allow these businesses to continue to support their community with essential services and feed their own families.

In addition to the Grand Bahama Food Distribution Task Force and Mercy Corps, Dorian relief grants were made to Lend a Hand Bahamas, the Ranfurly Homes for Children, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Bahamas, Water Mission, the Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF), and the Briland Aid Foundation.

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Moore Bahamas Foundation announces next round of grants - EyeWitness News

CULTIVATE: Agriculture minister to lobby for local production of industrial hemp, CBD – EyeWitness News

Lets deal with what should not be a controversial issue, says PintardMinister: The longer we wait, the longer we miss opportunities

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Michael Pintard said yesterday that he intends to lobby Cabinet to move forward with plans to cultivate industrial hemp and CBD in The Bahamas.

Pintards comments come amid longstanding public debate over the governments plans to decriminalize cannabis in The Bahamas following more than two years of consultation and a preliminary report by the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana.

When asked about the matter during a press conference on his ministrys efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pintard said the marijuana issue is under the purview of the prime minister and the commission.

He noted however that the opportunities for industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis sativa used for industrial uses of its derived products, and CBD, derived from the hemp plant, is non-controversial and advantageous.

That is something that has massive potential, Pintard said.

Weve had numerous meetings on it with investors, Bahamians and otherwise with respect to industrial hemp.

That is not what you smoke. You dont get highIt is used to produce a wide range of everyday products that you and I would use.

It is my intention to ask Cabinet that we proceed in terms of separating that until the question of cannabis has been settled.

The minister noted that similar opportunities exist for the cultivation of CBD anonintoxicatingcannabinoid found in the plant.

He said: We need to move on the things that are not controversial to a large extent, that have the potential to generate revenue, that others are taking advantage of, and the longer we wait for the longer we miss opportunities.

The commissions preliminary report on marijuana was leaked to the media in January and later tabled in Parliament in early February.

Among its 24 recommendations, the BNCM has advised the government to allow that prescribed medical cannabis to be able to grow sufficient plants for their use; to allow tourists who are prescribed medical cannabis in their countries to obtain it in The Bahamas, and to allow the importation of regulated cannabis products for ailments.

Cannabis possession would be decriminalized up to one ounce or less for personal use for people 21 years or older and laws would be amended for the immediate expungement of small possession criminal records.

The commission stopped short of recommending the legalization of recreational marijuana, insisting that the issue needs to be explored further before a consensus can be garnered.

Its final report was expected to be presented following a national survey to codify the views of the Bahamian public on the matter, however, the local spread of the virus has stalled the commissions work.

Eyewitness News reported on Wednesday thatthe commission will perform an extensive review on the 24 recommendationsas part of its final report.

Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana Co-Chair Quinn McCartney said: So, we will be looking at that in much more detail, those recommendations where there was clear support, certainly from the commissioners.

He continued: The commissioners are relooking at these 24 recommendations to provide more substance to what we have recommended in our preliminary report, supported by additional information that we may obtain, [and] certainly, information that we hope to garner from our survey.

We definitely still want to do the survey even though it may take a different [direction] in terms of how it is administered this time because of COVID-19 and the safety protocols.

The commission has been reconstituted until the end of June 2021.

Attorney General Carl Bethel told Eyewitness News recently that draftspersons were working on marijuana legislation.

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CULTIVATE: Agriculture minister to lobby for local production of industrial hemp, CBD - EyeWitness News

‘You can’t turn tourism on and off like the tap’ – Bahamas Tribune

'Mixed message' fear for November 1 re-open

COVID lockdown/curfew will 'sow visitor doubt'

Hotelier urges: 'Develop strategy and stick to it'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A major hotelier yesterday voiced concern over the "mixed message" sent by the latest COVID-19 restrictions for November 1's re-opening, arguing: "You can't turn tourism on and off like a tap."

Magnus Alnebeck, the Grand Bahama-based Pelican Bay resort's general manager, told Tribune Business the weekend lockdown and extended curfew imposed on New Providence and Abaco by the Prime Minister were likely "to sow a little bit of doubt and confusion" in the minds of potential visitors mulling whether to travel to this nation once the 14-day quarantine is eliminated.

Arguing that the situation again highlights the need for The Bahamas to develop a clear strategy for its tourism re-opening "and stick to it", Mr Alnebeck said the tighter restrictions unveiled by Dr Minnis were likely to cause some discomfort in the global travel marketplace.

"Turn it around. Imagine you as a Bahamian are considering going to Fort Lauderdale on November 1, and tomorrow you see Florida has a 24-hour curfew this coming weekend two weeks before you are going to go there," the Pelican Bay chief explained. "Would you go ahead with your plans? You would say: Let's wait and see."

Suggesting that the measures unveiled yesterday "definitely do no good" for The Bahamas' ambitions to fully re-open its borders to international travellers on November 1 with the elimination of the mandatory 14-day quarantine, Mr Alnebeck said the strength of any rebound will depend heavily on how the tourism market react.

"The question of whether this hampers it or not, it's too early to tell," he added. "But as a consumer it must sow a little bit of confusion and doubt. To think we can turn this on and off like a tap, it doesn't work like that.

"People are very reluctant to travel, and the mixed messages about the situation doesn't make them any more comfortable. Let's try and come up with a plan we can stick with, and let's stick to it. Changing things too rapidly has been a problem for us over the last eight months. Open/close, change this, change that. I think we need to find out whatever our plan is and stick with it."

Giving specific example of where The Bahamas' messaging has been less than consistent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Alnebeck added: "We've had a problem in Grand Bahama where for weeks we are open and people who come to the island and want to go to the beach cannot do so after 12pm because they are told the beach is closed.

"Some of the things we are doing, like keeping the beaches closed, makes no sense. We all know what happened in July when we opened up for tourists but closed the beaches. The concern is how difficult it will be to send out the message that in three weeks we will be opening up now that Nassau is under weekend lockdown and curfew. Have we shown in the past that we stick to what we actually say?"

The Pelican Bay chief added that his resort had suffered cancellations as a result of the Government and Ministry of Tourism promoting the Bahamian hotel industry's re-opening on October 15, as this created the impression the Grand Bahama resort, tool, was closed even though it had remained open throughout the pandemic.

Pointing out that persons planning to come to The Bahamas in early November 2020 will be making their plans and bookings now, just as the Prime Minister announced new restrictions for New Providence and Abaco, Mr Alnebeck also questioned how comfortable travellers to the Family Islands will be transiting through Nassau.

Dr Minnis has given himself just three weeks to bring New Providence's COVID-19 surge under control as he yesterday reaffirmed that the November 1 deadline for re-opening The Bahamas' borders to international tourism, and the elimination of the 14-day mandatory quarantine, remains intact despite the new measures.

With timing rapidly running out, and new infections on New Providence running at between 50 to 100 per day or 500 per week, some observers believe with hindsight that the Prime Minister may have been correct to try an August lockdown.

However, its botched handling, which have residents too little time to prepare, resulted in the Government rapidly reversing course and re-opening the economy. After suggesting that no more lockdowns would be employed, and that COVID-19's so-called second surge was coming to an end, Dr Minnis has now performed yet another u-turn with the imposition of more restrictive measures.

As reported by Tribune Business on Tuesday, the Prime Minister yesterday opted for weekend lockdowns and an extended, earlier curfew on weekdays that begins at 7pm rather than the current 10pm on New Providence and Abaco with effect from this Friday.

While sea and airports will be allowed to operate normally, and travel continue uninterrupted with no disruption to flights, Dr Minnis said: "No food stores, pharmacies, gas stations, construction sites or laundromats will be permitted to operate during the full 24- hour weekend curfews.... Gas stations are not permitted to provide in-store services.

Calling on all Bahamians who can work remotely from home to do so, he added: "We have many reports of individuals in offices not wearing masks and not maintaining physical distancing, proper sanitisation and other health measures. Such practices are helping to spread the virus.

"I again make a strong appeal to those businesses that are not complying with health and safety guidelines to do so immediately..... As a part of our enforcement efforts, all fines for breaching health protocols, except for the mask violations, will be doubled.

"To encourage compliance with public health protection measures, there will be an amendment to the Emergency Powers Order that causes businesses to be closed for business on their second violation of the Orders. They will be closed for 14 days.

"If a business or construction site has an infection rate of ten percent of the full staff complement, the business or construction site will be closed, and all staff members will be quarantined for the prescribed incubation period of 14 days."

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'You can't turn tourism on and off like the tap' - Bahamas Tribune

Early Human Impact: First People In Bahamas Caused Bird Extinctions, Displacement – International Business Times

KEY POINTS

Did the early humans really have a more harmonious relationship with the environment? A new study found that human arrival in the Bahamian islandsactually led to the loss and displacement of several bird species.

Humanity today is facing an extinction crisis, which many believe is caused by human actions quite unlike the previous mass extinctions that were caused by natural events. These actions include overfishing, deforestation, pollution and the burning of fossil fuels.

Does this necessarily mean those earlier humans without the tools for massive deforestation and harnessing fossil fuels were more harmonized with the environment? According to a newstudy, maybe not.

In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a pair of researchers studied over 7,600 fossils from 32 sites on 15 islands in the Bahamian Archipelago, logging a total of 137 species of migrant and resident birds.They found evidence that human arrival in the Bahamas some 1,000 years ago contributed to the displacement or evenextinctionof several bird species.

For instance, many bird species in the islands were still present about 900 years ago and possibly coexisted with humans for some time. But some of them eventually disappeared while others, such as the Abaco parrot, were kept to just one or two islands even when there are other islands in the area with similar environments, a University of California-Riverside (UC Riverside) news releasesaid.

Pictured: Bahamas coast. Photo: Yolanda Rolle/Pixabay

"We wondered why those parrots aren't found in the middle islands,"study co-lead Janet Franklin of the UC Riverside said in the news release. "It turns out, they were, not that long ago."

Based on the fossil data, the Abaco parrots were actually present on all the islands until 1,000 years ago, around the time when the humans arrived.

"Across the Bahamian Archipelago, at least 30 species and 62 populations of landbirds were lost during the dramatic climatic and environmental changes of the Pleistocene-to-Holocene transition,"the researchers wrote, noting human impact as the "most likely culprit"for the latest Holocene losses in Bahamian birds.

Rising sea level and storm severity could have also played a role but it's possible, researchers say, that predatory birds competed with the humans for food while the fruit-eating birds could have been hunted for food.

"The species here are the ones that survived,"Franklin said in the UC Riverside news release. "They might be more adaptable than other birds, and less dependent on a niche or habitat that's strongly affected by human activity. But they are still vulnerable and worth conserving."

Today, the bird communities in the Bahamian islands are rather fragmented and unfortunately still face an "uncertain future"despite having survived for many years. In more recent years, threats to the bird communities include severe hurricanes and more direct human impacts such as the building of infrastructure on their habitats. And with more and more people in the archipelago, the human impact continues to increase while non-native species are also being introduced.

Although the researchers note that it is "difficult to be optimistic"about the future of these birds, there are measures being taken to protect them.

"To end on a positive note, however, a solid system of national parks and nature reserves exists in the Bahamian Archipelago, thereby enhancing the overall resiliency to habitat loss,"the researchers wrote. "Furthermore, the populations of birds that still exist on Bahamian islands have a 1,000-y tradition of surviving alongside people. We wish them luck."

Link:

Early Human Impact: First People In Bahamas Caused Bird Extinctions, Displacement - International Business Times

PM: Unemployment benefits extended to December, another $45 million for COVID-19 support – EyeWitness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis today revealed that the government-funded unemployment benefits program will continue through December, adding that an additional $45 million has been allocated to COVID-19 support initiatives.

During a national address, Minnis said $10 million has been allocated to support the second phase of the national food program until the end of December.

This government-sponsored program is to ensure that Bahamians receive food assistance in a timely and responsible manner, he said.

Some $146 million has been poured into the domestic economy via unemployment assistance.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest told Parliament last month that $15.4 million had been paid out under the unemployment assistance program to support self-employed persons. Those individuals would not ordinarily qualify for the unemployment benefit under the National Insurance Board (NIB).

The government also funded a special extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed persons who had exhausted their standard NIB benefit, with payments totaling just under $40 million.

The National Insurance Board has paid out over $90 million to-date.

More:

PM: Unemployment benefits extended to December, another $45 million for COVID-19 support - EyeWitness News


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