Samples of Press Releases
Abaco, The Bahamas – In the nearly two months since Hurricane Dorian
blew through Grand Bahama and the Abacos, the Bahamian Brewery &
Beverage (BBB) Company has remained determined to keep its business
afloat despite major setbacks. With an all hands on deck approach, the
the company continues to make enormous strides toward the full restoration of it’s Grand Bahama beer operations and is set now to rebuild their retail store and warehouse.
Jimmy’s currently boasts one of the largest inventories of wines and spirits
in the country with nine locations across the island chain. Along with its
locally produced beer, the brewery, through its Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits
operations, is also the primary distributor for Anheuser-Busch, Philip Morris
International, and other leading brands such as Tito’s Vodka, Macallan
Whiskey, and Jackson Family Wines.
The company’s Abaco operations, located in Marsh Harbour were all but
leveled by the monster storm, which left behind nothing more than a shell.
“Abaco holds a special place in my heart, the people, the land, and the
community brings a lot of warmth and great memories for me,” said BBB
General Manager, Gary Sands. “My ancestors are descendants of
Abaco, and holding this connection to the community is extremely important to me. The customers of Abaco also need to see companies
reopening to create a positive impact on the communities, and to assure
them we support their rebuilding efforts.“
In early October, teams began the work of refurbishing the building that housed the company’s Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits retail store. “We had to cut
out all the water-logged infrastructure and clear out all the damaged
product to prepare for reconstruction” explained Gerry Summers BBB
Abaco Sales Manager. “We’ve begun the process of ordering what we need and we’re anxious to reopen our doors and serve our customers, but when that happens will depend on the overall restoration of the island” he explained. “Until power is restored island-wide we’re likely to be operating
purely on a generator and so there are certain considerations that will have
to be made.”
In the interim, the company’s Abaco employees have been integrated into
its Nassau operations – a testament to the company’s promise of avoiding
layoffs during this time of transition.
“Some of our Abaco staff members have been working with us for 8 plus years and others worked for my grandfather at Butler and Sands for 20 plus years,” said GM Sands. “This type of dedication and commitment to the
the company makes me motivated to reopen the Abaco store as soon as
possible to restore some type of normality to their lives.” Five of the seven
Abaco staff are now currently employed within the Brewery’s Nassau
offices, with two staff choosing to move onto other opportunities.
In addition to preserving its workforce family in Abaco, the company has
also adopted new canine members into its fold. Clare and Jimmy – named
for the company’s CEO and his wife – were rescued in the aftermath of
Hurricane Dorian and relocated along with the company’s employees to
“BAARK had set up a temporary shelter in AIP for the rescued animals”
explained GM Gary Sands, “and we thought it would be great to give these
loveable guys a home.”
The pair have become the official mascots of the Bahamian Brewery’s AIP
Warehouse acting as both pets and security at the facility. “We prepared a
safe kennel, grassed area, and lots of chew toys make up their home in the
back” noted Warehouse Manager Brian Thurston, “we all pitch in to make sure they are well taken care of.”
Freeport, Bahamas – In the weeks since Dorian’s passage, Grand Bahama and its residents have made remarkable strides toward the Island’s recovery. The focus of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and its partner service companies has been on restoring essential services – from electricity to water and sanitation – and increasingly more businesses are reopening their doors. Thus the airport re-opening to international commercial traffic is the next milestone.
With both the Domestic and International Airport facilities severely compromised due to flooding, the Grand Bahama Airport Company, owned and managed by Hutchison Port Holdings with Port Group Ltd. as joint venture partners, are working to open this key gateway for tourism, personal travel, returning evacuees and business flights. “Thankfully, the airport’s runway sustained no damage, but that does not mean that resuming operations will be an easy task,” explained Godfrey Smith, CEO of Hutchison Port Holdings, Bahamas.
“A fully functional airport is vital to our recovery as an island,” noted Smith. “Not just from the traditional tourism standpoint, but also in getting Grand Bahamians back to work and giving them the means to participate in their own personal recovery.”
In the coming days, modular buildings for both international and domestic terminals will be procured and outfitted with the necessary equipment required to meet international standards. On November 15, Grand Bahama is expected to welcome its first international commercial flight post-Hurricane Dorian.
As it stands now, tented facilities provided by NEMA at the airport have allowed travel in and out of Freeport for NGOs, aid and other personnel, as well as a multitude of urgently needed relief supplies. Both Bahamasair and Western Air have resumed services in temporary facilities for domestic travel, which are running well as an interim solution.
“Our main goal is to reopen the International Airport facilities and welcome international commercial flights again,” explained GBPA Acting Chairman Sarah St. George. “The work has been difficult but we are excited to let the world know that Grand Bahama is once again ready to receive them.”
Economic recovery is another significant goal. Just three weeks after Dorian’s passing, the Government of the Bahamas signed a major Heads of Agreement with Carnival Cruise lines to construct a new cruise port in Grand Bahama, a project that is expected to provide a significant boost to the Island’s tourism.
“This major project, the new Carnival Cruise port, which I and the GBPA group are very proud of, is ongoing,” noted St. George. “After 40 days and nights, Grand Bahama is emerging from Dorian’s wrath with patience and a positive approach. It is always our goal in storm recovery and restoration to “build back better”.
Deep Water Cay, East End, Grand Bahama – The owner of Deep Water Cay (DWC) – the country’s first and oldest bonefishing lodge – has announced plans to cease operations immediately. The difficult, but necessary decision comes following the passage of Hurricane Dorian, which caused widespread damage across parts of the Northern Bahamas.
For the past month, the team at DWC has been providing emergency aid and supplies, raising charitable funds, assessing the catastrophic damage to DWC, and liaising with insurance adjusters. The cleanup of the island homes, lodges and guest facilities will require barges and heavy equipment, but the island lost its docks to facilitate this work. Additionally, the cay is far from safe or habitable, with only the runway clear of debris for landing aid planes.
“Expected clean-up of the cay is estimated at well over a million dollars,” said Paul R Vahldiek, Jr., president of DWCH and a major shareholder. “It will take at least six months and require heavy equipment, operators, and proper disposal of many tons of debris to clean the cay. With no idea when power will be restored to East End, and no structures that can be connected on the island, no housing, offices, functioning water or sewage treatment plants in place we have simply been forced by mother nature to close.”
Last week, all staff and management positions at the property were made redundant. Moving forward, all of our company’s valued employees will receive generous distributions via a GOFUNDME Charitable Corporation account (gofundme.com/f/deep-water-cay-family) set up by the company’s US-based team. The combined GOFUNDME account and other donations via checks deposited into the Florida Charitable Corp account should hold close to $500,000 by next week’s end, noted Vahldiek.
“We hope that the GOFUNDME distributions will at least help get folks started down the road to recovery,” said Vahldiek. “We are also working with a placement company to try and help some of our employees with work in other locations for this upcoming season. Additionally, we have been in contact with Matt Wideman at the Love and Light Foundation out of Orlando to provide temporary shelter.”
Over the past ten years, the owner of the DWC property has invested over $44 million dollars to create an environment that visitors have come to know and love. It is with heavy heart that they will cease operations, but DWC is engaging with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) – Sean Penn’s charitable organization – to provide sustainable long-term on-the-ground support and building in the communities of Sweetings Cay, McLean’s Town and Pelican Point. That effort is already underway. Vahldiek will continue to work daily on matters relative to the restoration of Deep Water Cay and jobs for these communities.
Florida’s AVE International School Students Send Messages of Love & Hope in the wake of Hurricane Dorian
Freeport, Bahamas – In the month since Dorian ravaged both Grand Bahama Island and Abaco, the islands have received countless donations in support of the ongoing restoration efforts. Through the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF), donations have been received at their shipping address from near and far, providing much-needed relief items to the families and individuals most severely impacted by the storm. “This has been a truly trying time for residents here on Grand Bahama,” said Cheri Wood Warehouse Coordinator with the GBDRF. “We are eternally grateful for all the support and the many donations of food, water, and supplies that have been a great help to local communities.”
Over the past 30 days, the foundation’s warehouse teams, led by Wood have had the daunting task of sorting through the thousands of donations, coordinating volunteers and arranging care packages so imagine Cheri’s surprise when she found tucked inside one donation shipment from Florida, a stack of brightly colored cards and personalized art plates from the students at the Ave International School in Florida. Having gone through a similar experience with hurricane Irene just two years ago, the school’s administration jumped at the opportunity to not only provide donations but offer a sense of hope to affected residents as well. More than forty students, drew, painted and colored personalized messages of love and support.
“Our students are very young but they can draw, paint and send their love to all of you with those cards and plates,” said School Director Alexandra Castro.
“Finding the cards was an emotional experience,” said Wood, “it’s nice to know that people care for us during this very difficult time.”
As the GBDRF continues the work of distributing the aid it has received, the personalized cards have also gone out as part of those care packages. Just this week, up to 50 donated mattresses were inflated and distributed along with food, water, and coconut water all of which were accompanied by the tender messages from the young students of the Ave School.
“Most families who received these beds were sleeping on their floors so these were greeted with enormous smiles.” The organization’s website and social media platforms have, and will continue to provide daily reports on how all donations are distributed as well as provide details on how others may continue to support the effort. Persons interested in making donations or volunteering are encouraged to visit www.gbdisasterrelief.org for more information.
Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation Receives Largest Single Donation of In-Kind Relief from Amazon
Freeport, Bahamas – On Monday the 23 rd of September, two Amazon Air
flights loaded with hurricane relief supplies landed at the Grand Bahama
International Airport – the latest in a series of aid drops benefitting the
Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF). Through its network of local and international donors, the GBDRF has already overseen the import and distribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars in relief aid to the Grand Bahama community. Now, the foundation has incredible assistance from Amazon, receiving its largest single private donation of in-
kind relief through Amazon’s Disaster Relief program.
“The moment the hurricane Dorian passed, we immediately reached out to
Amazon to request assistance for Grand Bahama. The reaction of the
Amazon team was incredible, offering support straight away. This donation and the support of Amazon has been a God-send,” said GBDRF organizer
Henry St. George.
“At Amazon, we leverage our vast logistics network, operational excellence,
and technology leadership and innovation to provide support for
communities in immediate need after devastating natural disasters,”
explained Bettina Stix, Sr. Manager & Founder, Disaster Relief by Amazon.
“In our response to Hurricane Dorian, our efforts were strengthened and
supported by the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation, and we were
proud to work alongside them to send tens of thousands of relief items
donated by both Amazon and Amazon-customers to the Bahamas.”
In addition to Amazon’s in-kind donations, Amazon launched a wishlist
campaign, specifically curated by its nonprofit partners including GBDRF,
where customers from around the globe had the opportunity to make
donations to those in immediate need. Both Amazon and its customers
donated essential relief supplies such as shelf-stable food, clothes, and
personal hygiene necessities like toilet paper, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
“Amazon and its customers have been so generous to the people of Grand
Bahama, and coordinating such a large drop off of air freight would simply
not have been possible without the logistical support of the Disaster Relief
by Amazon team throughout,” noted St. George. “Seeing the Amazon
aircraft arrive at our makeshift airport was astonishing and will provide our
entire island with much-needed relief and hope.”
Upon arrival, scores of volunteers made themselves available to provide
the necessary manpower needed to unload the relief flights. Planning and
logistical support was led by Glennett Fowler CEO of local business
FowlCo supported by the team at Grand Bahama Airport Company, with
additional expertise provided by NGO Team Rubicon UK and the Special
Projects Head from Maersk, Rob Townley. The collaborative effort has
meant that the relief items from two enormous aircraft were offloaded
safely, quickly and transferred to a secure warehouse.
The pallets of relief items will be distributed as part of the GBDRF’s
distribution partnership with more than 130 churches and relief
organizations on the island. The churches are able to identify the specific
needs of the individuals and families in their respective congregations and
prepare relief packages to address those needs.
The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation continues to provide relief to the community throughout Grand Bahama and is proud to have been identified by Amazon as a partner for its charitable initiatives. Persons interested in making donations or volunteering are encouraged to visit
www.gbdisasterrelief.org for more information. To learn more about the
Disaster Relief by Amazon team, visit www.amazon.com/disasterrelief.