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Category Archives: Bahamas

What’s New In The Islands Of The Bahamas This Winter – PRNewswire

Posted: November 24, 2020 at 8:55 pm

NASSAU, Bahamas, Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --It's Better in The Bahamas this winter as the country welcomes international visitors to enjoy the sun, sand and sea. From hotel reopenings with exciting deals to the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board's $500 air credit, The Bahamas is the perfect destination for travelers seeking an escape from the cold this holiday season.

NEWS

Ministry of Tourism Launches Interactive Island Guide In an effort to make planning a safe, much-needed Bahamian getaway more seamless, the Ministry of Tourism introduced an interactive map that provides visitors with an island-by-island guide of the most up-to-date guidelines, including business hours of operations, beach access and more.

Hotel Reopenings Across The Bahamas Atlantis Paradise Island is scheduled to reopen on December 10, 2020, and Eleuthera's French Leave Resort is set to reopen December 15, 2020. Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and Exuma's Grand Isle Resort & Spa are both scheduled to reopen December 17, 2020. Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort will reopen January 28, 2021, while Sandals Emerald Bay will reopen February 1, 2021.

Exuma and Long Island Airport Expansions Exuma International Airport is getting a major upgrade. The project, which is slated to begin next month, will expand the terminal from 2,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet. The country is planning additional airport expansions for Long Island, which is expected to be completed in March 2022. The project will expand the airport's runway from 4,000 feet to 6,500 feet.

PROMOTIONS AND OFFERS

For a complete, up-to-date listing of deals and packages for The Bahamas, visitwww.bahamas.com/deals-packages.

Out Island Black Friday Air Credit The Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board is offering a $500 air credit this Black Friday to help travelers plan their next Bahamian vacation. Credit is applicable when pre-booking an air-inclusive 7-night package at a participating Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board member hotel. Travelers must book by November 30, 2020 and travel by January 31, 2021. Blackout dates apply.

Atlantis First Night Free Package In celebration of the resort's reopening, Atlantis is offering guests their first night free with a two-night minimum stay. Bookable between November 10 22 and valid for stays between December 10 17.

Baha Mar Dream Away and Getaway Package Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is offering guests 20 percent off just in time for the resort's December 17 reopening. Book by December 6, 2020 for stays through April 4, 2021.

Coral Sands Resort Credit - The beloved Harbour Island resort is offering a $100 resort credit inclusive of daily continental breakfast for two and access to all non-motorized water sports when staying for a minimum of two nights. The offer is valid through December 15, 2020.

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES

Travel Weekly'sMagellan Awards Recognizes The Bahamas' Still Rockin' Campaign The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation's Still Rockin' campaign was awarded the best destination advertising/marketing campaign. In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the campaign highlighted The Bahamas' 14 major islands unimpacted by the storm, which contributed to the country's record-breaking year of 7.2 million visitors in 2019. The awards also recognized the Ministry's From Bahamas With Love campaign, which was awarded silver in the destination marketing TV commercial category.

ABOUT THE BAHAMASWith over 700 islands and cays and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, offering an easy fly away escape that transportstravelersaway from their everyday. The Islands of The Bahamas have world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the earth's most spectacular water and beaches waiting for families, couples and adventurers. Explore all the islands have to offer atwww.bahamas.comor onFacebook,YouTubeorInstagramto see why It's Better in The Bahamas.

PRESS INQUIRIESAnita Johnson-PattyGeneral Manager, Global CommunicationsBahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation[emailprotected]

Weber ShandwickPublic Relations[emailprotected]

SOURCE Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation

https://www.bahamas.com

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What's New In The Islands Of The Bahamas This Winter - PRNewswire

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INSIGHT: From persecution to prison to poverty a political refugee’s five-year ordeal in The Bahamas – Bahamas Tribune

Posted: at 8:55 pm

By FREDERICK SMITH, QC

Fleeing his native Gambia in fear of extra-judicial execution, Ousman Bojang accepted a friends invitation to take refuge in The Bahamas. Expecting safety and protection in accordance with our international obligations, he was met instead with arbitrary detention, false imprisonment, inhumane treatment and shocking conditions. Then he was released, only to be forced into poverty by a cruel and spiteful government.

As Bojangs quest for justice finally approaches resolution, this 40-year-old father-of-two, formerly a truck driver and engineering student, is hunkered down in a friends derelict car, where he has lived for the past two years in an increasingly desperate struggle to survive. Unable to support himself following his court ordered release in 2017, because the government has refused to give him a work permit.

Bojangs ordeal began in 2015 during a very difficult political period in his country. As a youth leader for the opposition, the United Democratic Party (UDP), he was falsely arrested for organising political meetings. He was held for three days without charge before being released. But, then came a tip that he would soon be rearrested and possibly killed.

It is apparently common for the authorities in Gambia to release political prisoners publicly, then recapture and disappear them quietly while claiming they have gone into hiding. The authorities also falsely accused Bojang of being a homosexual, a crime in his country that carries a minimum sentence of 14 years and makes one a target of violence and even death at the hands of fellow citizens.

He had no choice but to flee, leaving his young family behind, first to Dakar in Senegal and then, upon the invitation of a friend, to The Bahamas where he entered - legally - on a 14-day visa on December 5, 2015. After several attempts to find a UN High Commissioner and apply for political asylum, he presented himself to The Bahamas Immigration Department, but was told they were too busy during the holiday season to help him.

When, after several attempts, he finally got before an immigration officer on December 30 and explained he was in The Bahamas to apply for asylum as he feared for his life in Gambia, instead of being offered help as mandated by international law, he was summarily taken into custody without explanation.

Held for 531 days, between December 30, 2015 and June 16, 2017 in terrible and inhuman conditions at both Fox Hill Prison and the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, Bojang was never charged with anything, never convicted or even brought before a court of law.

In sworn evidence, he told of the horrifying treatment and conditions to which he was subjected while in custody. Overcrowding at the Detention Centre was endemic, with his dorm occupied by 300 to 400 people and not enough beds to accommodate them. For the first two weeks I slept on the floor until I found a dirty old mattress which I used after that, he said.

Bojang had little to eat, was forced to drink stinking tap water and had to endure terrifying nighttime drills. Every night we were awakened at around midnight by the Defence Force officers and we all had to stand outside, sometimes for hours, sometimes all night. The defence force officers didnt care whether it was cold or not, he said.

Then, the government sought to rid itself of this asylum seeker in the most shocking and cynical way. On May 25, 2016 they tried to forcibly return him to Gambia back to the very country where he had been persecuted and from which he fled in fear. They did this without a Deportation Order, even though required by law. Instead, they tried to trick Bojang, falsely claiming his family had sent him a ticket home.

The truth is that Immigration hadnt even bothered to secure a ticket for his first leg of his journey, much less a connecting flight to Africa. Instead they just bundled him on a plane to Havana. When the Cuban authorities realised this, they sent him immediately back to The Bahamas.

He was returned to the Carmichael Detention Centre, but soon moved to Fox Hill Prison, as the authorities said a hurricane was coming. The first night I was placed in a small balcony room with no beds with 14 other men. The room had no walls. It was like a balcony with iron bars around. The area was flooded so we had nowhere to sleep. The following night I was placed in a small cell approximately 3x8 square feet with over 20 other prisoners. There were no beds, mattress or blankets. We had to sleep on the concrete floor. The cell was hot and had no windows.

We had two buckets in the cell, one for urine and one for faeces. All 20 of us had to share the two buckets to defecate and urinate. The buckets remained in the cell until the were taken out the following day. I could not eat as the stench in the cell was so bad that it was impossible for me to eat in that condition.

He was kept in prison for four weeks before being sent back to the Detention Centre back to the hot, overcrowded, stinking dorms, clogged toilets and showers filled with up to a foot of dirty water.

On June 16, 2017, after his lawyers applied for Habeas Corpus Bojang was finally taken to court. He was given no notice of where he was being taken or why, and after being manhandled and dragged to a car like a criminal he was shackled to prisoners who he later found out were charged with murder.

Chief Justice Isaacs determined he had been wrongfully imprisoned and granted his immediate release pending a response from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to his application for political asylum. He was not immediately released, but rather unlawfully detained once again, re-shackled to accused murderers, and brought to a police station to spend the next four hours in a cell with nothing to eat or drink.

In January 2018, Bojang applied for a work permit to sustain himself while in The Bahamas and paid the relevant fee. They government has refused to even acknowledge his application for three years, leaving him penniless and desperate.

Ever since he was freed, Bojang has been seeking justice for the violation of his constitutional rights, but this has been delayed and resisted at every turn by the Attorney Generals office. When the matter finally came to trial on November 17, 2020 the only position put forward by the government was to flatly deny that he was ever falsely imprisoned and assert his treatment was humane. They have provided no documents concerning his detention, despite the court ordering discovery..

The Supreme Court concluded trial on November 18, and is considering Bojangs request for damages for false imprisonment and inhumane treatment. On 5 August 2020, Bojang learned that the UNHCR had upheld his refugee status, giving him the right to be protected from forcible return to the Gambia until such time as he is able to return safely and with dignity.

The Bahamas became a signatory of the United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1993. The main thrust of this agreement is the principle of non-refoulement, which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. This is now considered a core rule of customary international law.

On December 10, 2018, the Bahamas became one of the 153 signatories to the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), which emphasises the safety, dignity, and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status.

The government claims on its website that it seeks to adhere to these agreements, adding that in the identification and protection of asylum seekers, the Immigration Department maintains a transparent process, which conforms to international standards.

To say that The Bahamas violated both its own Constitution and its international obligations with regard to Bojang would be an understatement of epic proportions. In his and so many other cases related to migration, the government routinely tramples upon its responsibilities, acting as if basic human rights and international law simply do not exist. The harrowing tale of his treatment echos that of countless poor souls who have the bad luck to end up in the hands of Bahamian authorities.

Meanwhile, at the same time that this government continues to abuse Bojang, it is bringing legislation to codify the asylum seeking process into law, whereby anyone unable or unwilling to return to his country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or because he holds a particular political opinion is to be granted asylum and have the right to live and work in The Bahamas. No more and no less than Ousmane Bojang asked for.

His ordeal is about far more than immigration laws or UN standards; it speaks to who we are as a nation. To whether or not we have a fundamental regard for fairness, justice and basic human decency. In essence, laws are only as good as a societys willingness to enforce them.

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INSIGHT: From persecution to prison to poverty a political refugee's five-year ordeal in The Bahamas - Bahamas Tribune

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Joe Giudice Is Headed to the Bahamas in the New Year for Celebrity Boxing! – WSMV Nashville

Posted: at 8:55 pm

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Joe Giudice Is Headed to the Bahamas in the New Year for Celebrity Boxing! - WSMV Nashville

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US Donates Additional $20K to COVID Fight in The Bahamas – US Embassy in The Bahamas

Posted: at 8:55 pm

Commander Sonia Miller of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (left) greets U.S. Embassy Senior Defense Official, Commander Kevn Self (right), upon receiving $20,000 in equipment to aid in the fight against COVID-19 in The Bahamas| November 20, 2020 | Nassau, The Bahamas

On Friday, November 20, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau delivered $20,000 in additional equipment to help the fight against COVID-19 in The Bahamas. U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) donated six custom-made internal partitions for mobile shelters being used to screen COVID-19 patients, allowing them to better isolate patients and prevent the spread of the virus.

U.S. Embassy Senior Defense Official, Commander Kevin Self, delivered the donation to Commander Sonia Miller of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and Captain Stephen Russell, Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), at the South Beach Clinic on New Providence.

In September of 2020, the U.S. Embassy donated ten mobile shelters to NEMA to aid in disaster relief, and the Ministry of Health (MoH) expressed interest in using some of the shelters in the fight against COVID-19. Within weeks, the MoH had begun using two of the shelters at the South Beach Clinic to screen patients and conduct testing. However, Minister of Health Renward Wells asked whether it would be possible to create partitions inside the shelters that could help more effectively isolate patients and prevent infection.

Exemplifying the ongoing partnership between the United States and The Bahamas, Commander Self took Minister Wells request to NORTHCOM, who then then worked with Regulus Global (the company that originally manufactured the shelters) to create custom-made partitions for the shelters. When installed, the partitions create three smaller rooms within the larger shelter, keeping patients isolated from one another and preventing the spread of infection.

NORTHCOM provided six partitions, giving Ministry of Health officials the flexibility to meet current and future needs.

By U.S. Embassy Nassau | 24 November, 2020 | Topics: Events, News, Press Releases

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Bahamas To Buy Off Hurricanes With Sand Dollars. – The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

Posted: at 8:55 pm

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson got an opportunity to inform Latin America countries, as well as a number of Caribbean nations about the Bahamas strides thus far in the countrys digital transformation, as well as the plans to expand that transformation as time goes on.

Minister Thompson, who is also responsible for electronic communication and the governments Digitization program spoke at the 14th annual meeting of Red GEALC Sixth Ministerial Meeting of Digital Government, which was hosted by Costa Rica and held virtually.

The virtual conference, brought together ICT Ministers from the Caribbean and Latin America.

During his presentation Minister Thompson pointed out that The Bahamas took on its digital journey with the overarching goal of delivering services and programs that would foster transparency, effectiveness, efficiency and cost reduction.

He noted that a focused approach on what the user/customer says would make their experience better, and programs that would achieve this is the key.

So we focused on streamlining (1) to reduce or remove the movement of paper or documents between customer and government, and agency-to-agency (2) to reduce or remove the need for the public officer to review and approve where it adds no value, said Minister Thompson.

Our challenge was to get public officers to un-think how things are done and to rethink a better way for themselves and their customers.

Our Bahamas Electronic Cabinet Management Information System (BECMIS) is a good example of our focused approach. It is a six-month project with releases in six-week intervals. Users, from clerks in the Cabinet Office to my cabinet colleagues, are involved from the design to testing.

We are successfully battling through the elimination of steps, the rethinking process flow, and redesigning documents. When completed, there will be end-to-end handling of information and proceedings electronically. We will see digital collaboration between agencies and collaboration between cabinet colleagues.

The Minister noted that The Bahamas is excited about its Proof-of-Concept Interoperability Platform which is currently in beta test mode. This platform, he added, is allowing government services to share information from disparate data sources, securely.

Due to built-in verifications and validations, the user provides little to no information for renewal services and in most instances, public officers will only have to review and approve requests or transactions that are an exception, explained Minister Thompson.

To reach this level of automation the IT agency worked closely with the service provider to streamline processes, engaging them from design to testing. The platform in its POC stage will allow for renewal of drivers license, renewal of passport, a request for customers own birth certificate or marriage certificate.

Also in pilot mode is the launch of the Sand Dollar, The Bahamas digital currency. The Central Bank in partnership with authorized Payment Service Providers reaches the banked and the unbanked. The government has also put forward the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill 2020 (DARE) aimed at establishing the framework for regulation of the issuance, sale and trade of digital assets in and from within The Bahamas.

Minister Thompson said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies have accelerated their digital programs, including the Food Assistance program, the Bahamas Feeding Network, virtual school and parks and public spaces are being equipped to provide internet access.

He added that through all of these ICT initiatives there is a strong realization of the need for growing capacity in various specialized fields, in application development and IT operations, but also in business analysis, change management, procurement, and public relations.

What is Project Sand Dollar?

Project Sand Dollar is the initiative embarked by Central Bank of The Bahamas to issue its own digital version of the Bahamian dollar as well as implement the appropriate digital payments system infrastructure to sufficiently underpin the operation of a digital currency ecosystem.

Hurricanes have been ravaging the Bahamas for centuries.

According to travel advice website TripSavvy,a hurricane passes close to the Bahamas every other year on average. In addition, a hurricane makes a direct landfall on the islands once every four years on average. Natural disasters can be a big-time hassle for tourists. Whats worse is that these storms often devastate the Bahamas ability to conduct trade and commerce.

On Sept. 1, 2019 the Grand Bahama Island and Abaco Islands were struck by one of the strongest hurricanes in history. Hurricane Dorian was a category five storm that packed sustained winds that reached 185 miles per hour. In addition to the strong gusts of wind, Hurricane Dorian summoned storm surges that formed water walls as high as 20 feet. According to Hubert Minnis, prime minister of the Bahamas, thestorm system left a generational devastation on the islands.

Although Sand Dollar is a cryptocurrency like bitcoin or Ethereum, it offers unique characteristics.

According to officials, Sand Dollars will be introduced in the form of a digital wallet or e-wallet. Users will be able to access it through a smartphone application. The digital wallet will also offer security features that enable users to safely save payment details as well as passwords for various payment methods.

These functionalities allow users to complete transactions using near-field communications technology. Central Bank Governor John Rolle said Project Sand Dollar can potentially improve the resilience of the country when facing natural disasters.

The central bank governor has said that Project Sand Dollar would offer the following benefits:

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Bahamas To Buy Off Hurricanes With Sand Dollars. - The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

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Limeade Bahamas provides breakfast for 400 in the Englerston community – EyeWitness News

Posted: at 8:55 pm

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Bahamian-owned company Limeade and The Munroe Foundation, along with Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin, hosted Community Cares at the Montell Heights Community Centre on Mantol Street on Saturday to distribute breakfast and Limeade to residents of the area.

Limeade owner Joshua Miller stated, We realize the impact that weve had on the residences in the previous communities and we will continue the initiative with the goal of reaching as many communities as we can. As many people prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we would like to continue doing our part and spreading joy through helping others. Knowing that you have made a difference in some way to someone is a good feeling.

At the launch of the initiative, the statement noted, 250 lunches and gallons of Limeade were distributed and as a result, several additional partners have agreed to join and continue to join the initiative.

Miller continued, Thanks to our partners, on our second initiative, residents in the area were able to come to the community center and 400 plates of food and gallons of Limeade were distributed. Today (Saturday, November 21), we are able to yet again distribute 400 plates of food and limeade beverages.

He added: Today would not have been possible without our partners and we are grateful to those that assisted in any way to make it happen. I would like to recognize and say a special thank you to Purity Bakery, Bakertilly, Bahamas P and L Bakery, Chef Lorre, Alfredo Foodie, U Stream Us radio station, Believe Wines, Bahamas Medical and Surgical Supplies, Green Thumb Group, Morning Moves with Bowflex Barbie and Jay Fitness.

The statement also read: With community partnerships being one of their main initiatives, The Munroe Foundation continues to play a major role through their generous contributions and their time.

Its core focus, according to the statement, is to continue to have a heart for people; a goal which it states always has and always will be what the Munroe Foundation stands for.

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BPC urged to stand down, warned of possible legal action – EyeWitness News

Posted: at 8:55 pm

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) was put on notice today that its plan to drill an offshore exploratory well will be hit with legal action if the company does not agree to halt all activities pending a court review of its environmental authorization process.

In an update to its investors yesterday, BPC confirmed it is on track to spud its exploratory well within six weeks, with the company indicating that it plans to complete all well activities prior to mid-April 2021.

But oil drilling opponents say they will apply for an injunction that bars the company from starting to drill at the same time as they ask the local court to vet the circumstances under which BPCs licences were granted, a legal process known as a judicial review.

In the meantime, they urged BPC to cease and desist from its plan to immediately mobilize the drill ship Stena IceMAX, currently in the Canary Islands but set to head for The Bahamas before the end of the month.

According to grassroots coalition Our Islands, Our Future, BPC has now officially been warned that its environmental approvals are being challenged and the company should not insist on launching the IceMAX or taking any other steps towards drilling in defiance of the judicial review process.

To be clear, we intend to stop BPC from drilling in Bahamian waters, said Rashema Ingraham, executive director of Waterkeeper Bahamas and a member of the coalition steering committee. We are very encouraged by the huge support, both local and international, that we continue to receive. Over 100 businesses and organizations have joined the Our Islands, Our Future coalition, and 40,000 concerned individuals have signed the change.org petition. The petition numbers are growing every day.

At the same time, we are disappointed with the lack of dialogue with the Bahamas government and are finding it necessary to ask the courts of law to step in and examine the approvals process. The company has been duly put on notice; any further actions to pursue or accelerate its plans will be undertaken at its own risk.

The coalition had hoped to avoid legal action, which is why we wrote to The Bahamas Prime Minister about our concerns several times but got no response. Now, as the drill ship is about to sail, we have been left with no choice.

Fellow steering committee member BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation) Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert said the group believes there were certain fundamental flaws in the approvals process so far, including a deficient environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a lack of proper consultation at various stages, which means that BPCs approvals need to be revisited.

She emphasized that the coalition is only asking BPC to respect the legal process in The Bahamas.

We have asked repeatedly to be consulted on the details of the deal, to see the drilling licenses themselves, for access to more information on BPCs insurance coverage and the environmental sensitivity maps they have supposedly compiled. It seems appealing to the courts is the only way to achieve some transparency, said McKinney-Lambert.

For example, we are being asked to take their word that the company has adequate insurance. What does that even mean in this context? The Deepwater Horizon disaster took place while BP was trying to cap the exploratory well and it cost $65 billion to clean up. We find it highly unlikely that BPC has insurance coverage to that level, and if they do, why wont they simply come out and provide proof of coverage?

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BPC urged to stand down, warned of possible legal action - EyeWitness News

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Forbes: We are not out of the second wave yet – EyeWitness News

Posted: at 8:55 pm

NASSAU, BAHAMAS With continued double-digit cases of the novel coronavirus, The Bahamas has not emerged out of the second wave, according to Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme at the Bahamas Ministry of Health.

The curve is not exactly flat, she told Eyewitness News.

The cases are not exactly low.

If we go and look at this whole epidemic curve from the beginning from March, you will see there were periods where we enjoyed no cases and cases in the single digits.

We are not there yet, so we have to keep in mind if we put our guard down, cases could start to go up again.

And this is the thing, I have heard other [health] professionals say, when we think about waves, we have to think about when waves are over.

The wave is not over yet; cases are coming down, but it is largely dependent on our actions.

New COVID cases fell 29 percent last week compared to the week prior.

New Providence also experienced a 42 percent drop in cases last week, the fifth straight week of declines.

Additionally, the positivity rate in The Bahamas the percentage of people who test positive out of total tests completed has dropped from over 22 percent in September and October to as low as eight percent in recent days.

According to Erin Bromage, a comparative immunologist at the University of Massachusetts, adequate testing and tracing take place when test rates remain around five percent or lower for two weeks.

To the recent trend, Forbes said this is promising, but added that the race is not won yet.

She pointed out that more antigen testing is available and people have been opting to have those tests, which have yet to be included in the overall testing figures.

We ought to continue to be cautious because we have not eliminated COVID-19, so things could go up if people are gathering together, Forbes said.

If there is no change in the mobility of people, and people are not following public health guidelines, then cases can easily start to increase again.

So, we definitely have to have learned lessons and following the prevention measures.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season, which health officials recognize could incentivize residents to gather, Forbes said: All we can do is urge caution and ask people to keep in mind that COVID spreads easily its very contagious and people gathering closely together, and their masks will be off while eating, and holiday parties, drinking and so on, that would be all that would be needed for COVID to be transmitted, and quite a number of people can get sick.

Forbes referenced the case of a 57-year-old man in Arlington, Texas, who attended his nephews small indoor birthday celebration with 13 other relatives earlier this month.

No one wore masks.

All 15 family members contracted the virus.

Relatives took to social media to encourage others to avoid gathering outside their immediate household.

At least one family member required hospitalization.

Yesterday, Forbes said residents in The Bahamas could face a similar fate if they take the chance to gather and have events in close spaces, forgetting the public health guidelines.

Asked whether the health team expects an increase in cases as a result of holiday gatherings, Forbes said while it is challenging to predict what sort of increase could be observed, there are those who have not followed the guidelines and will continue to do so.

In that vein, we might start to see an increase in the number of cases

It would be hard to predict what kind of percentage rise you would see, but keep in mind this is reliant on individual and collective action.

So, if a few cases that transmit COVID go into the workplace and the community, and there is community spread if people are largely not following public health guidance, then cases will go up and surge and we saw that happen not too long ago in July.

After The Bahamas reopened its borders to international commercial carriers on July 1, cases surged from 104 into the thousands.

The government attributed the increase in large part to residents traveling to hotspot areas and returning to the nation.

At the time, citizens and residents traveling within a 72-hour period were not required to obtain a COVID-19 negative test, a policy that has long been reversed.

As of Sunday, 18 more cases of COVID-19 were recorded in The Bahamas, pushing the total cases to 7,431.

Of these, 1,562 remain active, while another 5,652 or 76 percent have recovered.

The Ministry of Health reported 212 tests were conducted on Sunday, including five repeated tests.

This places The Bahamas daily positivity rate at 8.6 percent.

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Bahamas Paradise confirms the sale of Grand Celebration – Seatrade Cruise News

Posted: at 8:55 pm

'After evaluating the current climate and conducting an in-depth review of the incredibly strict protocol now being imposed on cruise operators by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have concluded that we should start sailing again in a controlled and thoughtful manner. To this end, we have sold Grand Celebration, and when we resume cruising, we will do so with a focus on our core two-night Grand Bahama Island micro-cation cruises on board one ship, Grand Classica,' the company said in a statement.

'The decision to focus on one ship will make it easier for us to implement all necessary safety protocols and ensure that our business is sustainable long-term, so that we can continue providing a safe and enjoyable vacation to our guests well into the future,' the statement continued. 'We continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and remain in constant communication with the World Health Organization and the Bahamian government, in addition to the CDC.'

Bahamas Paradise did not disclose the buyer or answer questions aboutreports that the ship was going to the breakers, which CEO Oneil Khosa has denied to other media. Sources also told Seatrade Cruise News that demolition is not planned.

The 1,900-passengerGrand Celebration joined the newly formed Bahamas Paradise in 2014 and has sailed from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida, since then, on short jaunts to Freeport.

It undertook humanitarian relief missions following Hurricane Dorian in 2019and two years earlier offered housing and meals to those affected by Hurricane Irma and was chartered by the US Federal Emergency Management Agencyto house the National Guard and first responders in the US Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria.

In August reports emerged that some crew alleged they'dbeen working without paysincethe suspension of service due to COVID-19, triggering a lawsuit and an investigation by the Bahamas Maritime Authority.

Grand Celebration was built in 1987 as Celebration for Carnival Cruise Line. In 2008, it went to another brand in the Carnival Corp. family, Spain's Iberocruceros, sailing as Grand Celebration for several years before transferring to Costa Cruises as Costa Celebration.

With Bahamas Paradise it underwent enhancements in late 2017, shortly before another former Costa ship, neoClassica, joined the fleet the following spring as Grand Classica.

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Grand Bahama cases double in two weeks Eye Witness News – EyeWitness News

Posted: at 8:55 pm

NASSAU, BAHAMAS Cases of COVID-19 on Grand Bahama increased from 49 between November 1 and November 7 to 99 in the last week, a more than 100 percent increase.

The island, which has the second largest number of infections, recorded a combined 41 cases over the weekend, outpacing New Providence where the majority of the population resides.

New Providence recorded 25 confirmed cases six on Sunday, 11 on Saturday and nine last Friday.

Grand Bahama recorded 11 new cases on Sunday, 23 on Saturday and seven cases last Friday.

The island recorded 19 cases last Thursday.

During a Ministry of Health press conference last week, health officials attributed the recent increase to exposures at an industrial job site.

A reported 26 of the 38 cases on the island last Wednesday originated from employee interactions in the workplace among an electrical team.

Three of the remaining 12 cases originated from another business on the island, four had no origin linked to a workplace or any other cases and five cases were being sought after as there were gaps in their contact information data.

When asked whether the island was undergoing a cluster of cases or community spread, Dr. Frank Bartlett, head of the GB COVID-19 Task Force, said: It is a mixture of both and one of the what I would have mentioned in the beginning we have defined clusters within different workplaces. But we still dont have a clear-cut explanation for the ones that we are seeing coming into the Accident and Emergency room.

He said more data and analysis is needed to conclude whether there is community spread, which will determine the way forward with potential restrictions.

Bartlett said: The important thing about establishing whether or not you have community spread is that is going to be the determinant as to what type of restrictions you are going to be putting in place.

Cases have been on the rise on the island since early-October.

During the period October 11 to 17, Grand Bahama recorded 23 cases.

In the following week, the island saw 59 new infections.

There were 32 confirmed cases during the week October 18 to 24, and 49 new infections in the next week.

When contacted yesterday, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine said while he does not believe a lockdown should be imposed for the island, the governments testing protocol should be expanded and made free for Grand Bahamians.

He also opined that while Grand Bahamians have generally been disciplined, some have become more relaxed or fatigued with the emergency orders of late.

We have to ask our people not to become wary and well-doing and to continue to wash their hands, social distance and wear face masks, he told Eyewitness News.

I dont know if it is because there has been a global spike that we, too, are experiencing it. Then of course, there has also been a change in the weather, so it is imperative for the people of Grand Bahama and throughout the country to recognize that despite what we feel, that we must try to continue to follow the protocols.

There still seems to be a lot of social gatherings. I am seeing videos on my phone in the north relating to people just clustering together and those are things we should be avoiding as a people in order to move forward.

The deaths are also unfortunate because if you have a high spike or a renewed spike in this pandemic, then it also calls for a spike in our deaths as well.

Asked whether restrictive measures should be returned to the island, McAlpine said: I am not sure if the lockdowns are working, I have always said that. I am an advocate [for] more testing and there should be free testing. I dont subscribe to this lockdown

Grand Bahama has a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and limitations on weddings and funerals, which have been limited to 10 people.

The emergency orders allow churches to conduct services, schools to offer in-person learning and restaurants to allow patrons in premises with 50 percent of the maximum occupancy.

Social gatherings have been capped at 20 people at a private residence or facility, though health officials have encouraged the avoidance of such gatherings.

The island last underwent a lockdown between July 23 and August 19 amid a surge of cases.

By mid-August, cases slowed on the island, dropping from high double-digits per day to single digits.

To date, a total of 915 cases and 17 deaths have been recorded on Grand Bahama.

Seven of these deaths were confirmed on Saturday.

The ministry confirmed the death of a 42-year-old woman on Grand Bahama on November 1 and also classified six other deaths that were under investigation.

Of those deaths, there were five men, aged 54, 52, 42, 78 and 83; and one woman, aged 33.

The deaths occurred between October 21 and November 9.

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