Samples of Press Releases
BFN distributes food vouchers to local organizations to assist with food distribution programs to persons in need.
Freeport, Bahamas – More than sixteen nonprofit feeding centers and church outreach programs on Grand Bahama were the recipients of some much-needed assistance from the Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) recently. Representatives gathered at The Voice of Deliverance Church in Freeport, to receive food vouchers to Abaco Markets Limited (AML Foods) which were distributed by BFN Executive Director, Phillip Smith.
During the presentation, Smith reaffirmed the Network’s commitment to working closely with feeding organizations on the island and noted that BFN was making plans to assemble a local team in the second city.
“BFN is very pleased to carry out this distribution to feeding centers on Grand Bahama,” said Smith. “We have heard a lot about the state of the economy on the island and it is obvious that persons are experiencing difficult times. The food vouchers are redeemable at AML Solomon’s and Cost Right stores and we have carefully selected organizations to distribute the vouchers in their respective areas. Moving forward, these feeding programs will be the nucleus of BFN distributions on Grand Bahama.”
For the last three years AML Foods Ltd. carried out an initiative called “Feed the 5000” and invited Bahamas Feeding Network to partner with them. Last year $134,000 was raised, of this amount $20,000 was donated by AML Foods Ltd. For the last two years a large portion of the total amount raised was distributed in Grand Bahama due to the state of the economy in Grand Bahama.
The Network recently received a financial boost from Royal Caribbean International for a commitment to fund all the food needed by the Bahamas Feeding Network in 2019. Mr. Smith is encouraged by the new partnership and is hopeful that it will extend to Grand Bahama as well.
“Our aim is to solicit donations from additional companies and establish a formulated distribution process on the island, working in conjunction with the great organizations who are working daily to help others” he said. “I am hopeful that partnerships like Royal Caribbean and others will continue to assist us in accomplishing this mission.
Visiting Pastor Emmanuel Maroa, of Voice of Deliverance Church in Nairobi, Kenya, attended the voucher distribution and was impressed by the effectiveness of the organization and the dedication of representatives in attendance. Pastor Maroa expressed his desire to introduce a similar program in Kenya, to assist persons living in extreme poverty.
“This program would definitely make a difference in the villages of Kenya. Many people are suffering daily and the level of poverty is very high. I know a program such as this will not be able to feed everyone, but if we can reach those in dire need, we will make a difference in the lives of people.”
In a Labour Force Survey conducted by the Department of Statistics in November 2018, it was reported that 11.9% or 3,900 persons residing on Grand Bahama were unemployed.
Sets The Bahamas as a flagship destination in global effort to restore dying reefs
Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – Coral reefs are dying around the world, with over half being lost since the early seventies. Based on current trends, scientists predict that ninety percent of coral reefs are on track to die by 2050. This ecological tragedy is also a serious socio-economic problem; reefs support one billion people and an estimated 25% of marine life while generating conservatively $30 billion annually through tourism, fisheries, and coastal protection. The Bahamas, who welcome over six million visitors a year to their islands, beaches, and crystal-clear waters has embraced a new dynamic adventure they hope will change this outcome.
Coral Vita is a mission-driven company dedicated to restoring dying reefs, with a vision to create a global network of projects to sustain reefs into the future. They have started by creating the world’s first land-based commercial coral farm for restoration located in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Using cutting-edge ‘Microfragmenting’ technology, they accelerate coral growth up to 50x faster than normal rates, translating into months instead of decades while increasing species diversity and cost effectiveness. Combined with ‘Assisted Evolution’ methods, they also strengthen coral resiliency to threats like climate change.
On hand to officially open the facility was Deputy Prime Minister the Most Honourable Peter Turnquest, stepping in for Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis who was unable to attend. “Dr. Minnis asked me to convey his best wishes for the success of this project, and the Government’s full commitment to the preservation of our natural Paradise through environmental protection and conservation.” Speaking the opening’s audience, the Deputy Prime Minister also spoke to the importance of environmental change. “Unless countries around the world take serious and deliberate action, in less than a generation the reefs – which help feed the fish and conch that end up on our dining tables – could be gone! In The Bahamas, we’re doing what we can and must to play our part.”
The farm will not only restore the island’s decreased corals reefs, which were featured in the Netflix film ‘Chasing Coral,’ but will also serve as a tourism attraction and education center, offering reef restoration opportunities to visiting guests, residents, and young students. With the ultimate goal to work in conjunction with other scientists, communities, coral farmers, businesses, investors, and governments around the world, Coral Vita plans to provide restoration projects with more diverse, rapidly grown, and hardier corals.
Welcoming everyone to the event was Coral Vita Co-Founder, Sam Teicher, who noted his company is focused on preserving coral reefs for future generations. “It’s an amazing feeling that after just a few years on from a back-porch idea in grad school with my co-founder Gator Halpern, Coral Vita is today opening the world’s first land-based commercial coral farm to restore dying reefs. We’re so grateful to countless members of the coral farming community, partners, and supporters who played a role in our journey, most especially the Grand Bahama Port Authority who took a huge step and partnered with us to support this model to protect and restore coral reefs here in Grand Bahama and soon globally.”
The introduction of Coral Vita to Grand Bahama is a foundational building block towards diversifying the island’s economy, an accomplishment the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GPBA) and Grand Bahama Development Company (GBDevco) are proud to be a part of. “Coral Vita’s opening signals the start of a new and exciting era in Grand Bahama’s evolution,” said Rupert Hayward, Executive Director of the GBPA. “This project not only opens up a new sector in The Bahamian economy but also starts the process to repair one for The Bahamas’ most precious resources – our coral reefs. The project has global significance and the rest of the world is watching what happens here in Grand Bahama and I know I speak for The GBPA and GBDevco, when I say we are extremely proud to partner with Coral Vita on this project.”
Attending the opening were Government representatives, GBPA and GBDevco Executives, several schools, international environmental representatives like Mission Blue and Save the Bays and a multitude of local companies who helped build the farm. Now open to fully start work on coral restoration, the team also planted its first coral in the canal that the facility overlooks. “We’re so excited to be working with the community of Grand Bahama to bring the island’s reefs back to life.” said Gator Halpern, Coral Vita Co-Founder, “While growing corals to restore reefs, our farm will also be an education centre for local students as well as tourists, where guests learn about the importance of keeping corals alive and helping to restore and revitalize the ecosystems that sustain us all.”
Nassau, NEW PROVIDENCE – With more than a decade of partnership between them, the relationship between Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend and New Providence’s leading waste management company is primed for even greater things. During a special ceremony held last week, Bahamas Waste Ltd. was awarded a plaque of appreciation to commemorate its long-time sponsorship of the annual event.
“Bahamas Waste has been with us since the very beginning,” explained Assistant Race Director, Tonique Williams who praised the company for its consistent support over the past ten years.
“We have always been able to count on them as a major sponsorship partner” she noted, “and we’re looking forward to continuing this partnership well into the future as well.”
Over the years, Bahamas Waste has lent both financial and physical support to Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure and Marathon Bahamas. Since its inception in 2009, the company has provided invaluable support to these races; support which has helped them grow in both local and international awareness and status.
In accepting the award, Bahamas Waste Managing Director Francisco de Cardenas pledged the company’s continued support of the event which he explained is more than just a sport. “We are extremely thankful to receive this recognition,” he said. “I want to personally encourage anyone that can support the races to do so by participating and by sponsoring too.”
As the country’s foremost race events, Marathon Bahamas and SGK Bahamas has helped raise hundreds of the thousands of dollars to fund the fight against cancer, a cause which is near and dear to the Bahamas Waste family which prides itself on being a real community partner.
“We all have someone we know who has been affected by Cancer,” said Francisco de Cardenas. “We’ve seen this disease ravage members of our own staff, our owners, our families. So we jumped at the opportunity to support these races when they started 10 years ago. We know the funds raised will help those who do not have the finances to get the testing they need or the treatment they deserve.”
Having exceeded expectations for its ten-year milestone of Marathon Bahamas, organizers of the annual event are already working to make the 2020 experience one for the record books.
Williams and her team have already begun the work of planning next year’s race itinerary in hopes of making the upcoming races one of the largest SGK Bahamas and marathon events to take place in this hemisphere. In the interim, pre-registration has already gotten underway via the Marathon Bahamas website www.marathonbahamas.com
Grand Bahama to see next forum of town halls and pop ups.
Marsh Harbour, ABACO – Abaco residents got the opportunity to share their thoughts and to discuss concerns with URCA representatives in a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday April 17th, as the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) continued their campaign of public consultations across the northern islands.
Carlton Smith, URCA’s Director of Electronic Communications and Shevonn Cambridge, URCA’s Director of Utilities & Energy, sat down with residents in a public town meeting to discuss various concerns related to consumer protection, alternative energy, disaster preparedness and management, and several electronic communications projects; all done as part of the authority’s initiative to promote transparency with consumers.
During his review of the Electricity Sector projects, Mr. Cambridge addressed URCA’s upcoming campaign on Small-Scale Renewable Generation. He noted that while flying into Abaco he saw solar panels installed on a number of homes, however the regulator has no record of any applicants or approved and registered users on the island.
“It is a matter of safety, first and foremost,” Cambridge explained. “As the regulator we want to ensure that the systems, whether grid-tied or not, are properly installed and if they are grid-tied that we have record of them on file.”
He went on to explain that this knowledge helps to ensure the safety of the homeowners as well as BPL employees who may have to work in and around such systems when performing their duties. He also spoke to the importance of the application process in regards the government National Energy Policy (NEP).
“One of the other reasons it is important for the registration is our ability to track progress towards the goal of 30% renewable generation by 2030,” Cambridge added. “It is difficult to fully understand how we are performing and progressing towards that goal if consumers aren’t applying and getting registered.”
The town hall meeting continued with Mr. Smith presenting the authority’s focal areas for 2019 in the Electronic Communications Sector. One of the key components of this discussion, which resonated with attendees, was disaster preparedness and management.
“We recognize the challenges that have faced family island consumers during and in the aftermath of natural disasters,” Smith acknowledged. “One of our key projects for 2019 will be speaking to our providers’ ability to maintain services during disasters and more swiftly restore services if they do fail.”
This particular point raised questions for some residents regarding the application process and requirements for obtaining ham radio operating licenses. Mr. Smith advised residents that any reason for denying an application would have and should have been communicated by the authority. He further addressed the matter advising residents that URCA would take a look at the applications in question to determine if there is room to reconsider.
Smith continued the discussion by speaking to URCA’s plan to publish updated Consumer Protection Regulations as one of its projects for 2019. He reminded residents that URCA’s decisions are based on consultation with all of its stakeholders, including the general public.
“All of our decisions are made through consultations, so we take it to the public and say, these are the things we are looking at, what do you think,” he explained, “URCA comes to a final determination based on the consumer input on what they believe is best for the public sector at that time.”
Smith’s explanation came after residents brought up major concerns about internet service providers (ISPs) and their obligations to provide quality based service to consumers. One resident cited the non-guarantee of optimum service from the country’s telecommunication providers and the lack of protection for its customers.
The Director spoke to the concerns, explaining the guidelines between ISPs and customers for proper solutions. “If people believe that they’re not getting the value for the money that they’re spending… then that’s reason for concern,” Smith stated “If you’re not getting the satisfaction, then you bring it to us and we’ll investigate it and find out why these services consistently are at a certain level.”
The Director also gave details surrounding a partnership for an updated Electronic Communication Sector Policy. “The government, in collaboration with URCA develops the Electronic Communication Sector Policy to set out the government’s sector objectives for a 3-year period,” he revealed.
“That document is extremely important because it helps us to determine what priorities [and] issues we’re having to address [as well as] those critical areas that would impact the stakeholders and consumers.” Smith revealed that the new policy is not only fundamental for the advancement of the electronic communication sector in The Bahamas, but that a draft of the document has been submitted for review which expects to garner public feedback.
The Directors addressed attendees about several other initiatives and also reviewed URCA’s 2019 budget. Chamber of Commerce President, Ken Hutton was also present at the town hall meeting and urged URCA to attend upcoming meetings to discuss disaster preparedness and management initiatives for the island.URCA executives will head to Grand Bahama next month (May 7-9th) for a series of Town Hall Meetings and “Pop Up” office hours at the GB Chamber of Commerce. Both Nassau and Abaco meetings were live-streamed and can be viewed on URCA’s Facebook page, the Freeport Town Hall will also be live-streamed, and meetings will also take place in Eight Mile Rock and High Rock.
FREEPORT, Bahamas – The Bones Babes, an all Bahamian female fishing team, are preparing to head back on the boat for the 2019 Harbourside Marine, Tuna Classic. This year, they plan to fish while raising money for a great cause and showing the guys that they can fish too!
The 2019 Tuna Classic, a fundraiser for the Bahamas East Rotary Club, will be held over two days, May 24th and 25th. With six weigh in stations throughout the islands of Nassau, Abaco, Freeport, Eleuthera, Bimini, and the Berry islands. There is an official start of 6am on the Saturday morning, and fish must be weighed in by the Weighmaster at each island’s station. Over thirty teams will compete for the largest: Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo, Snapper/Grouper categories, with overall points determining the winning boat.
The ‘Bones Babes’ team consist of Captain Siobhan Antoni-Bates, Nikki Waugh, Kristi Long, and Nikki Rose who performed well in their first event last year. “We love fishing,” said Mrs. Bates. “It’s a bonus to raise money for a good cause so this event is a perfect fit. We’re up and out early, cut our own bait, and have always come back with fish in the boat. This year we plan to do the same and come home with the big one!” With each of their husbands also fishing the tournament on different boats, they are eager to make their mark and show The Bahamas that ladies can fish too.
Bones Bar is the official weigh in station for Freeport, and the bar has also been their lead sponsor. “We have always tried to be out of the box, and a little quirky,” said Bones Bar Owner, Jason Franklin. “ A hard-working mums fishing team ticks all the boxes in what a male dominated sport is. I’d love to see them bring in a large haul and I am so pleased that the ladies are rallying even more support.”
Proud to be sponsoring the team are also Wave Life, Panama Jack, Kelly’s True Value, Senor Frogs, Del Sol, Bahamian Life, Freeport Ship Services, Katy’s Equipment, the Antoni family, Freeport Vet Hospital, Barefoot Marketing, and 242NewsBahamas. “Many of these companies sponsoring us also have Female Presidents or Owners,” said team organizer Waugh. “It’s great to get the support of fellow women in this community. Due to the great response on sponsorship the ‘Bones Babes’ are also hoping to give back in a huge way, to the Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas, with more than just an entrance fee.”
For the last several years, Freeport boats have swept the awards for this annual event, and the ladies hope to bring home some prizes this year as well. “Over the past few years we watched our husbands plan for and participate in this tournament” explained Bones Babe, Nikki Rose, “Until we thought, why not us? We love to fish, and this is a great way to show our sons and daughters – MOM’s can do it all!” Tournament results will be announced during special ceremonies at Green Parrot on June 1st. To learn more about the Tournament, visit the Rotary’s official website at www.bahamasrotaryfishing.com or follow Harbourside Marine via their Facebook page.