bahamas

Sunday, January 17, 2021

bahamas

Smith Asks Court For Adjournment Due to Pain in Oil Drilling Case

The Supreme Court was expected to hear the matter involving lawyers fighting and defending the exploratory drilling by Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC, today.

However, it was adjourned after Fred Smith QC, who represents the environmental groups, Waterkeeper Bahamas Ltd and Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, said he was in pain due to an injury he suffered last year. Smith dislocated and shattered his left ankle, broke his left tibia, dislocated and sliced his right ankle, and broke two vertebrae while paragliding in the Dolomite mountains of the Italian Alps in 2019.

Why it matters

Bahamas Petroleum Company has begun drilling for oil just 40 miles of Andros. The exploratory drilling has faced major opposition from environmentalists who argue that the drilling risk harming the country’s marine environment.

Justice Petra Hanna-Adderley was to hear if BPC should be allowed to continue the oil drilling.

Attorneys for BPC is skeptical of Smith

Though Counsel for the BPC did not object to an adjournment, they questioned Smith’s motive, expressing concern that Smith may use the time to file more paperwork to help his case.

But Smith responded, “This is not a trick I am attempting to pull off to file more documents.”

But he did say that during the proceedings other matters may arise, adding that the main documents for the judicial review application have already been filed.

The parties will return to the Supreme Court for adjournment at 10 am Wednesday.

Minnis Imposes Strict Measures for Exuma Too

Exuma’s COVID-19 cases are spiking, and like Eleuthera, restricted measures will be imposed to contain the spread of the infectious virus, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced on Wednesday night.

Why it matters

Thirty new cases of the virus were recorded for the week. As of November 10th, 79 total cases were recorded for the island, 29 are active cases, 2 individuals are hospitalized and one death was recorded due to COVID-19.

What are the new measures for the island?

The cays are excluded.

  • The 24-hour weekend curfew will be implemented beginning Friday 13th from 6 pm to 5 am.
  • During the weekend lockdown, businesses will be closed.
  • Weekday curfew is 6 pm to 5 am beginning Thursday 12th.
  • Businesses are permitted to open during the weekday, but Fishfry, bars, and restaurants connected to bars are not allowed to operate.
  • Domestic travel is prohibited in and out of Exuma.
  • A negative PCR test is required if an individual must travel from Exuma.
  • Grave-side funerals are permitted, only with a limited number of 10 people, excluding the officiant.
  • Weddings are limited to 10 people, excluding the officiant.
  • Repass and receptions are forbidden.
  • Churches can hold virtual services.
  • 10 people allowed in-person church services.
  • No in-person class sessions.

What PM Minnis said

  • Dr. Minnis said the data show that the situation in Exuma needs urgent action, thus officials have increased the nursing team on the island. A team will visit the island to further assess the situation.
  • He said the measures are short notice but they are essential to curtailing the spread on that island

 

All You Need to Know About New Restrictions for NP, Abaco and Eleuthera

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis loosened restrictions for New Providence and Abaco, while tightening measures for Eleuthera.

Why it matters

The number of COVID-19 cases in New Providence and Abaco has slowed and health officials say they are encouraged by the decrease, while cases have heightened in Eleuthera, causing concern as the island battle 117 cases.

Key points

New Providence and Abaco

  • The 24-hour weekend curfew was lifted on New Providence and Abaco, replaced with a 6 pm to 5 am curfew on weekends.
  • Beginning tomorrow, Monday 9th, a new weekday curfew imposed from 9 pm to 5 am  in NP and Abaco. The curfew will be implemented in Grand Bahama on weekdays and weekends.
  • Retail businesses and pharmacies can begin in-store services, Monday to Saturday.
  • Grocery stores can reopen to the public on Saturdays, restocking on Sundays.
  • Arawak Cay can restart outdoor dining Monday to Friday.
  • Hotels can resume in-door dining.
  • Beaches and parks are opened to the public on weekends from 5 am to 6 pm. Groups are still limited to 5 people.

Eleuthera

Excludes Spanish Wells and Harbour Island

  • Effective this week, a 24-hour weekend curfew will begin at 6 pm every Friday to 5 am every Monday.
  • A daily curfew will be imposed from 6 pm to 5 am.
  • Businesses can operate during the week but can not operate on weekends.
  • Bars and restaurants will be closed.
  • Funerals and weddings are restricted to 10 people, excluding officiant; graveside services permitted only; no wedding receptions permitted.
  • No indoor church services allowed.
  • No in-person classes permitted.

Featured image: OPM Communications Unit

The Fight for Aragonite. Is it Worth Billions?

A group of Bahamians led by Lincoln Bain, and backed by Centerville MP Reece Chipman assembled in Parliament Square on Wednesday morning, calling for the government to open investigations into the exportation of aragonite out of the country.

The big picture?

It is alleged that governments over the years have permitted only foreign companies to benefit from the sale of aragonite, which some people claim is worth millions of dollars and can add to the country’s economy, creating a new industry.

What they say

  • In its first gathering Down Town, group leader Lincoln Bain said the government should do what is right, saying, “We come in peace. When we come back, it will be a different story.”
  • He held up a black folder, containing what he says is, “evidence of the proposed document.”
  • He continued, “We know the value of our natural resources. You have been exploiting it. You have been mining it. You have been spending millions of dollars behind these same natural resources. And we know the truth.”
  • He said some U.S companies “may have been doing some things they should not have been doing” and the government should release reports on what companies have been mining.
  • Bain said he reported the matter to the Federal Trade Commission of the Federal Bureau of Investigation because he could not get help from the Bahamas government.

What Environment Minister Romould Ferreira has said

  • In 2018, a white paper was to be presented to Cabinet on aragonite. He said a study was to be conducted to determine the economic value and sustainability of the product.
  •  Ferreira said recommendations for the sustainable use of aragonite will be put forth because it is not sustainable over a human life span, saying it takes 100-2000 years for a grain to form.
  • He said the Bahamas can make more royalties from aragonite, but it will not make everyone a billionaire.

Ferreira explains the process of development of aragonite

US Company Dillingham Corporation mined since 1970’s

By-products of aragonite

  • limestone
  • chalk
  • pearl
  • bio-plastic

Trump or Biden? What the US Election Means for the Bahamas

The world is watching the U.S presidential race. The Bahamas too, is keeping a close eye on the 2020 elections.

We care about who will win the election set for Tuesday because the next president impacts the Bahamas’ relationship with the world’s ‘superpower’ and it affects our economy.

President Donald Trump represents a different type of leader, who is unorthodox and is not considered a ‘politician.’

And we’ve been introduced to Joe Biden as President Barak Obama’s vice president, described as a moderate politician but fast becoming a leftist, based on some people’s opinion.

The USA’s economic influence on the Bahamas

The United States provides the Bahamas with 80% of its tourism market, greatly influencing the economy of this small island nation where the sector is our primary industry. The millions of tourists that visit the Bahamas from the United States each year, help with the circulation of the American dollar into our economy.  And, jobs in the Bahamas are created from our dependency on tourism.

But COVID-19 has shutdown our tourism market as countries like the US are lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. The fewer people travel from the U.S.A, the greater the negative impact on our economy.

Both presidential candidates have a different perspective on the economy and the handling of the virus in the United States.

President Trump’s loose approach invites the reopening of the country and the end to lockdowns against the advice of the CDC and health officials. He predicts that the economy will rebound and touts that a vaccine will soon be available.

Trump rallies thousands at Miami-Dade County airport | Miami Herald
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Miami. Photo credit: Miami Herald

On the other hand, Vice President Biden has cautioned against reopening the US. He says if elected as president, he will follow the advice of health officials advising against reopening. In fact, Biden said the US economy cannot recover until the virus is contained.

Joe Biden's low-key campaign style worries some Democrats – The Denver Post
President candidate Joe Biden speaks to a small crowd as he practices social distancing. Photo credit: USA Today

The decision made by the next President of the United States directly affects the Bahamas, one way or another.

On November 2nd, the Bahamas moved forward with reopening to tourists, hoping that more tourists will visit sooner and regrow the economy.

Here’s What to Know About Sir Sean Connery’s Link to the Bahamas

James Bond legendary actor Sir Sean Connery had strong connections to the Bahamas, having lived in the country for nearly 30-years before his death on Saturday.

His son, Jason Connery revealed that Sir Sean died “peacefully in his sleep” being “unwell for some time.”

Jason said his father was surrounded by some family members when he died overnight in Nassau in his Lyford Cay home.

Back in 2003, Sir Sean said the Bahamas became home to him. He said he enjoyed the anonymity of living in the country. “I don’t have a problem when I go out now. I walk everywhere, I don’t have a bodyguard, don’t have a minder.”

Sean was an actor for nearly 50 years, winning an Oscar in 1988 for his role in The Untouchables.  Other films include:

  • Dr No (1962)
  • From Russia with Love (1963)
  • Goldfinger (1964)
  • Thunderball (1965)
  • You Only Live Twice (1967)
  • Diamonds are Forever (1971)
  • Never Say Never Again (1983)

 

1. Sean Connery recorded the dialogue for From Russia with Love video game in the Bahamas

In 2005, Sean Connery recorded the lines for the video game From Russia with Love, based on the likeness of the 1963 film, from his home in the Bahamas.

Sean Connery said, “As an artist, I see this as another way to explore the creative process. Video games are an extremely popular form of entertainment today, and I am looking forward to seeing how it all fits together”.

2. Sir Sean Connery supported Save the Bays

Sean voiced his support to protect the marine environment threatened by Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s proposed development in the Lyford Cay Community. Sean with other members of Save the Bays filed a lawsuit to force a review of the plans, claiming environmental damage to Clifton Bay which includes a beach where a James Bond film was set.

Sean said, “As a longtime resident of the Bahamas, a country whose beautiful waters and beaches have been featured in a number of my films, I am proud to be a supporting member of Save The Bays, and to urge all Bahamians, citizens, and residents, to support our effort to defend Clifton Bay along with all the natural resources of this country.”

3. Sean bunkered in the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian

When Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas, Sean rode out the storm at his home in Lyford Cay with his wife Micheline.

Sean said he prepared for the storm as his ‘hurricane-experienced staff’ assisted him to make preparations for the storm, securing windows, and moving furniture inside.

The Scottish actor said in 2019, “We are both fine. We were lucky compared to many others and the damage here was not great. We had been prepared for the storm, everything was ready in advance – we weren’t taking any chances and knew what to do.”

5 Key Takeaways From PM Minnis COVID-19 Address

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis appears to be loosening COVID-19 restrictions after three weeks of 24-hour weekly lockdown and changes to the daily curfews.

In a rare appearance at a health conference, he appeared with his health adviser Dr Merceline Dahyl-Regis, implementing new and less restrictive measures, before taking questions from the press.

1. Minnis started on the toll of the virus on everyone and the country.

He highlighted that the pandemic is causing physical, spiritual, emotional, and economical stress. These stresses have been caused by lockdowns and closure of businesses as nearly 25,000 people are without jobs and rely on National Insurance for financial assistance.

2. Tourism hit hard

The tourism industry is the country’s number one industry and remains non-existent as countries around the world, battle with the rising of cases in their country. The United States, which supplies nearly 80% of our tourism market, is struggling as more than 8 million people have had the virus, more than 225,000 have died and thousands are reported each day.

“The major slowdown in global travel continues to devastate our tourism-based economy.”

But the country is expected to welcome tourists without the requirement of a 14-day quarantine, beginning November 1st.

3. Virus will worsen during colder months

Minnis said experts indicated that the next few months will be a “dark winter.” He said the northern hemisphere is likely heading into the worst period of the pandemic with fall already here and winter coming, colder countries face a very challenging winter.

Due to the cold, more people will be inside their homes. Scientists say the virus spreads easier indoors where there is poor ventilation.

4. Expect on-and-off measures

Minnis knows the complaints of some Bahamians that the lockdowns seem to be done halfway and restrictions may not be consistent, but he warned in his speech that we must “get used to the cycles of tightening and loosening restrictions.”

He said the decisions will depend on the lowering and rising of cases in the country.

“Let me be very clear, all indications are that the pandemic will be with us well into next year.

“When cases go up on a particular island, we will have to increase restrictions if necessary.
But if cases are low on other islands, they will remain open, with less restrictions.”

He reminded the public that restrictions are not punishments but simply a public health tool to promote more physical distancing, which can save lives.

5. New Measures

  • Curfew changes take effect October 30th–8 p.m. to 5 a.m in New Providence, Abaco, and Grand Bahama.
  • On Grand Bahama, weddings will now be limited to 10, not including the officiant.
  • On Grand Bahama, funerals will now be limited to 10, at the graveside only, not including the officiant and mortuary workers.
  • On Abaco, food stores may now open on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Following this assessment, a determination will be made on what specific measures may be needed for Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island.

House Speaker Gets No Sympathy From the Public

As House Speaker Halson Moultrie awaits for government to address a litany of concerns at his office, such as no running water, no bathroom facility, a leaking roof, and the presence of moulds, the public shows no pity.

In recent days, House Speaker Halson Moultrie decried the condition at his office, warning that if the government does not address his concerns, he would “turn in the keys,” by the end of October.

How did that come about?

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis addressed a structural issue at Cabinet saying that his government hopes to relocate soon due to a leaking roof at Charlotte’s House, as the building where ministers meet, has already been condemned.

Moultrie then raised his concerns and rebuked the government for overlooking his office. He said if the executive branch will not work in his best interest, he will not be attending the office space.

“A man should never respect any other man above himself. So God is not a respect of persons. I will not sit and accept such a circumstance,” he said.

Should we feel sorry for Moultrie?

Some social media users showed no empathy for Moutrie, saying Bahamians have been dealing with situations like his for many years.

Shane McDonald said, “I’m glad that’s happening to him. Now he will see just how the Bahamian people feel.”

Scott Lowe said, “How many Bahamians have to walk to the corner pump to get water every day and this man wants fancy kitchen and private bathroom, all because he holds a ceremonial position in a farce of the government.”

One person identified as Monique Pratt-Ferguson said, “Ok, now it’s a big deal. Persons have been working in government facilities for years in those conditions. Now it hits home, it’s a problem.”

Bahamians Advised to Take Additional Funds When Traveling for Unforeseen Expenses Related to COVID-19 Protocols

Bahamians traveling abroad should carry sufficient funds to cover unforeseen additional COVID-19 expenses, advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Why?

  • A large number of Bahamians are approaching Bahamas embassies and consulates overseas requesting financial assistance related to COVID-19 testing, quarantine, accommodations, and airline ticket changes.
  • Overseas missions do not have sufficient discretionary financial resources to accommodate and maintain persons who find themselves stranded because of a lack of funds.
  • Persons traveling in this COVID environment should anticipate that there will be delays and interruptions in their schedules that may result in them having to remain in these overseas jurisdictions longer than they had intended.

What’s the procedure for help?

Request for assistance is considered on its own merits. The general policy governing the award of financial assistance to Bahamians in foreign jurisdictions is to have a family member, etc, deposit with the Consular Division of the ministry an amount equivalent to the amount requested of the Overseas Mission by the person who, because of unforeseen circumstances resulting from COVID-19 protocols requires assistance.

The funds will then be advanced to the individual by the nearest Consular Office, whose funds will then be reimbursed by the ministry.

3 Islands In Exuma Chain Selling for $15 Million

Little Hawksbill Cays in Exuma are up for sale.

The private chain comprises of three islands and is on the market for $15 million.

Private Islands for Sale at Exuma Cays, Exuma Bahamas
Photo credit: Damianos Sotheby International Realty

Why it matters

Interest in private islands has increased as the global pandemic continues, creating an urgency for these private islands. People from big cities want to retreat to places of little to no population.

The big picture

The Bahamas has more private islands on sale than anywhere else in the wider Caribbean region.

Private Islands for Sale at Exuma Cays, Exuma Bahamas
Photo credit: Damianos Sotheby International Realty

What we know

  • The Little Hawksbill Cays are located south of Hawksbill Cay in the Exuma Cays National Park.
  • They are listed with George Damianos of  Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty.
  • The 3 Islands have a freehold title, totaling 54 acres, consisting of 39, 10, and 5 acres of island.
  • All of the islands have beaches and protected anchorage.
  • A fabulous place to develop and create your family retreat. The Exuma Cays have long been a cruising destination, perfect for world-class diving, fishing, and snorkeling.

What they’re saying

George Damianos told Caribbean Journal Invest, “An opportunity like this comes once in a lifetime–it’s protected, beautiful beaches and clear waters.”