The Eleutheran Newspaper March/April 2021 Issue

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Real Estate


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Volume 14, 03/12, March/April Issue

Eleuthera, Harbour Island & Spanish Wells, The Bahamas

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Pivoting to Adjust

Harbour Island, Spanish Wells, & Eleuthera - North, Central & South BACK COVER: Damianos Sotheby’s Int’l P 3: Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty P 5: HG Christie


Awe Inspiring

Dubai, UAE

Lion King!

Young Eleutheran to showcase his burgeoning skills Twenty-six year-old culinary arts student and aspiring chef, Palmetto Point native, Devante Grant, is looking forward to the opportunity-of-alifetime, having been selected to join a group of Bahamians scheduled to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates during August 2021, in preparation to take part in the WORLD EXPO 2020, taking place there from October 1st, 2021 until March 31st, 2022.

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Restaurateur shares his decision to “Pivot” and Stay Positive. ADVICE - 14 Hindrance or help...

Read More On Page 26


ADVICE - 13 CMA vs Appraisal ...

Three-Day COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout in The Eleutheras as an Uptick in Reported Cases Noted

OPINION -12 Collective CARICOM Voice...








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Pivoting to adjust: Da Perk Cafe, Positive Vibes Only

Da Perk Cafe, perfectly tucked along the picturesque waterfront in the heart of Governor’s Harbour on the main thoroughfare, weathered the pandemic storm of restaurant closures and lockdowns during much of 2020, and ‘full of life’ Bahamian chef and owner, Horatio Smith, says he has noted the lessons learned, and pivoted to adjust to the fledging recovery of the restaurant and tourism industry of the island that began as visitors started to return during the holiday season in December 2020. Along with tweaking the operations of the cafe, private catering has become an important focus in his cadre of services offered - and in addition to adjustments in inventory management and re-envisioning service delivery strategies, he shared that he’s added a new tier of expectations, “I’ve asked of my clients to be more loving, we don’t have the space for negativity anymore - we don’t have the space. It’s true, and I honestly feel when you are transparent about how you need to be handled and how you are going to handle people, your experience turns into as good an experience as the customer’s. Horatio, who was one of many young entrepreneurs thriving in the growing Eleuthera economy of 2018 and 2019, with the Da Perk Cafe - offering an inspired menu and events venue,

as well as private catering and vacation rental experiences, described the jolt to the business in March one year ago. “2020 was a pause, a literal ‘stop’, a peP47



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Eleutheran young man Sets His Sights on the WorldExpo to be held In Dubai, UAE Twenty-six year-old culinary arts student and aspiring chef, Palmetto Point native, Devante Grant, is looking forward to the opportunityof-a-lifetime, having been selected to join a group of Bahamians scheduled to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates during August 2021, in preparation to take part in the WORLD EXPO 2020, taking place there from October 1st, 2021 until March 31st, 2022. The Bahamas and more than 190 countries will be on showcase during the six-month event. The Bahamas’ promotional website ( about its upcoming participation in WorldExpo 2020, describes, “Located in the Sustainability area of Expo 2020, The Bahamas Pavillion will not only highlight the still pristine beauty of our country showcasing our sun, sand and sea but all of its natural ecosystems and biodiversity as well as its cherished

traditions, ancestral heritage, rich history and delicious cuisine... It will be inspirational and will seek to give visitors a Taste of The Bahamas with culinary delights and quality, authentic Bahamian merchandise for purchase in the retail section. “The Pavillion will bring to life the tropical beauty of our country and showcase the resilience of the Bahamian people, our mitigating strategies to curtail the ravages of climate change as well as to make the case to the World that The Bahamas is open for business and investment like never before in the aftermath of Dorian and Covid 19.” Devante, now a senior in his program of study with just a few classes to go, before he graduates in the summer of 2022, shared that the WorldExpo was an amazing opportunity for him to begin to have travel experience in his intended career, and he was also excited about being

Devante Grant. able to use this Dubai trip as the internship element of his Associate Degree in Applied Science (Culinary Arts). “I am hoping that this experience jumpstarts my dream to start traveling more. That’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and always is my inspiration, especially in culinary. I want to travel to experience different cultures and countries and what they have to offer first-hand - and live it like a local,” said Devante as he chatted with The Eleutheran in early April about his upcoming trip. “I also look forward to later bringing those experiences to Eleuthera, because I can see the future Eleuthera has a lot of potential. I hope to be a part of further developing the island’s food culture,” he added. Grant, whose love of cooking he said originated with helping and watching his mother - who he lauded as still being a better cook than he was, despite his

professional and now technical experience - described his approach to food, saying, “I love fusing flavours - that, I would say is my definition of being a chef to never get comfortable. So, I’m always looking for something different to add - discovering what complements another.” Devante, says he would like to eventually attain his Bachelor’s Degree, and encourages other young Eleutherans to also step out, “The experience that I’ve had in leaving home (Eleuthera) and coming to Nassau to get my degree has allowed me to learn so much, and not just about culinary. University life on the whole showed me that there is more to life than just staying at home there is a bigger world out there. So, I would encourage everyone to aim to get their degree, to focus on their education, and to be humble on their journey, being always ready to learn.”



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Changes On The Way for another of the Eleuthera

based Int’l Bank branches: RBC Gov. Harbour In recent years the options of banking on the island and throughout the region, have changed significantly as International Banks who dominated the industry, announced closures of consolidations throughout various localities. Scotia Bank during Q2 of 2015 closed its branches in North Eleuthera and Rock Sound. In May of 2017 the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) closed its branch in Spanish Wells. Subsequently the Bank of The Bahamas opened a branch in Rock Sound and Commonwealth Bank established a presence in Spanish Wells. In March 2021, rumours surfaced of the impending clo-

sure of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Branch in Governor’ Harbour. For clarity, The Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce’s president, Thomas Sands, reached out to the bank’s managing director, Lasonya Maycock, who responded with a correspondence detailing future plans for changes at the branch. In her letter to The Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce, dated March 22, 2021, she thanked Mr. Sands for his inquiry on RBC’s decision to consolidate the Governor’s Harbour branch into their Harbour Island location, and described the bank’s steps to take on a digital relationship banking model, saying, “Our branch network

transformation decisions are not taken lightly, and we will continue to evolve our channel footprint in The Bahamas market as we move ahead on our digitally enabled relationship bank journey. “We are pleased to share with you that through a unique banking partnership, we are seeking to provide our clients within the Governor’s Harbour community with solutions to conduct their banking activities. The current location will be fully equipped to offer RBC clients fast, convenient, and reliable access to several day-to-day banking services including the ability to conduct cash transactions and ATM services to assist clients with their financial needs. Additional information will be shared to the community over the coming weeks. “Here are some highlights of recent and upcoming investments we are making to evolve our network and be on our clients’ path to best meet their needs in the region: 1. It is our intention to extend our hours and days of business at our Harbour Island branch to be open later during the weekday and on Saturdays. 2. Leveraging our mobile sales force to continue to grow and retain our client relationships. Our mobile sales specialists are ready, willing, and able to meet clients at a time and place that suits their needs – where major financial decisions are taking place: at the realtor’s office, at the car dealership, or at their kitchen tables. 3. Our team in Eleuthera will be hosting advice events and product knowledge sessions to support our clients through this transition. 4. Continued focus on building a leading-edge online platform and mobile application for both business and personal clients. 5. We introduced new capabilities and technologies to our Caribbean Advice Centre which provides 24/7 service to clients in The Bahamas at

242-356-8500.” She concluded, saying, “RBC is committed to ensuring a seamless transition for our clients. We are also committed to being present in our clients’ lives and anticipating how their banking needs and preferences continues to evolve, so we can best serve our clients today, and in the future.”

New travel requirements announced for Eleuthera and Harbour Island Without any specific reasoning being mentioned, and coinciding with the arrival of the Vaccines (Covid-19) on the island, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Dr. Hubert Minnis, announced on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, the following new travel requirements for the islands of Eleuthera and Harbour Island. Spanish Wells was not specifically mentioned in the PM’s statement or the revised Order. Full statement below: “In accordance with the Emergency Powers (COP45



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BTVI to Offer Hospitality Program starting summer 2021 The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) will begin offering a Hospitality Certificate, approved by City and Guilds, starting summer 2021. The pilot program will offer introductory courses in Hospitality, Hospitality Management, Tourism Marketing, and Strategic Tourism Marketing. Each course will be delivered through the virtual learning platform for up to 48-guided learning hours for four weeks. Digital badges are attached to the certificates. The programs’ development took place over six months, with BTVI’s Dean of Student Affairs, Racquel Bethel, serving as the Instructional Design Lead. She and her team worked along with the City and Guilds Assured Consultant, stationed at the Trinidad office. “It was a very arduous process which required a comprehensive assessment of BTVI Quality Standards. I commend President Robertson for insisting that BTVI accel-

erated the program’s development to assist with the upskilling of hospitality workers that may have been laid-off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 closures. The program also targets small boutique hotel and AIRBNB owners, who could also benefit from training during the slow periods caused by the global pandemic,” said Dean Bethel. The courses met the City and Guilds’ Assured Benchmark Standards, which included, but were not limited to health and safety, academic resources, teaching/learning assessments, management systems, recruitment, and support services. According to the Assured Benchmark report, BTVI has a “well-established quality management system which has allowed for the incorporation of the Assured program to model best practice.” It confirmed that this is P13

BTVI’s Dean of Student Services Racquel Bethel



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Airbnb and The Caribbean Tourism Organization launch campaign to promote tourism to The Bahamas and other

Caribbean destinations After almost a year of intermittent travel restrictions, Airbnb, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and The Bahamas are collaborating to amplify the country’s recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 by promoting responsible travel to the destination across Airbnb’s vast global community. As part of this alliance, Airbnb and the CTO are launching a campaign leveraging Airbnb’s robust media platforms to market The Bahamas and other CTO member countries to millions of engaged Airbnb users. The campaign rollout includes a series of email newsletters, a landing page, and ads on social media showcasing Airbnb listings in The Bahamas, as well as the existing protocols for safe travel during this time. The promotional landing page for this partnership will be unique to others worldwide. It will integrate multiple CTO member countries, promote homes in each destination, and links to each

country’s website. Airbnb has also pledged to share data with the CTO, including travel trends, to facilitate informed marketing decisions during this recovery period. “In The Bahamas we have always prided ourselves on offering accommodations that best suits every type of traveler including stunning Airbnb properties right on the beach,” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “After establishing streamlined health and safety protocols in 2020, we also now pride ourselves on ensuring that our destination is safe for visitors and locals alike as we continue to navigate and adapt to the everchanging world of travel today. From all of us in The Bahamas, we cannot wait to welcome you to our shores.” This joint undertaking with the CTO builds on Airbnb’s commitment to help strengthen communities in the Caribbean in tough times. “With the Caribbean continuing to re-open, we’re helping to usher in the safe return of travel to this wonderful region by shining a light on the many places to see and things to do,” stated Carlos Munoz, Airbnb Policy Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “We’re also excited to promote the important economic impact driven by hosting on Airbnb.” This partnership is one of the many initiatives in the CTO’s ongoing programme to help its members rebuild tourism in their destinations. “The partnership with Airbnb will help us to promote the region responsibly by providing our members with a platform to showcase their destinations while at the same time highlighting the health safety measures that each has implemented to ensure that visitors can enjoy a safe

Caribbean experience during this time,” shared Neil Walters, Acting SecretaryGeneral of the CTO. This partnership joins previously announced collaborations with organizations, including the Tourism KwaZuluNatal (South Africa), the National Parks Foundation, and Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Lo c a l PUBLIC NOTICE PM Updates Protocols for the holding of Funerals and Wedding Services ref. COVID-19 The Office of the Prime Minister released a statement on March 18th, 2021, on changes in protocols according to the Emergency Powers Order, for funeral and wedding services which increased the permitted number of individuals at the grave-side for funerals, and in a religious facility for weddings. The full statement reads as follows: “In accordance with the Emergency Powers (COVID 19 Pandemic) (Risk Management) (No.4) (Amendment) (No. 9) Order, 2021, the following changes to funerals and weddings take effect Thursday 18 March 2021: A grave-side service or internment may now be held with a maximum of 40 persons, not including the officiant and mortuary workers, on all islands of The Bahamas. On the islands of New Providence, Abaco (mainland), Exuma (mainland) and Eleuthera (mainland): A wedding may now be held in a religious facility, provided that the number of attendees is limited to one third of the capacity of the facility and that physical distancing, mask wearing and sanitization protocols, and protocols issued by the Bahamas Christian Council and approved by the Ministry of Health are followed. Physical distancing, mask-wearing and sanitization protocol requirements remain in place for all islands of The Bahamas. All other provisions related to funerals and weddings remain the same. For the complete Emergency Powers (COVID 19 Pandemic) (Risk Management) (No.4) (Amendment) (No. 9) Order, 2021, visit www.”

European Regulator links AstraZeneca vaccine to blood clots The European Medicines Agency (EMA) head of vaccines Marco Cavaleri on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, said that they have seen a potential link between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and increased risk of blood clots, according to news reports. “In my opinion, we can say it now, it is clear there is a link with the vaccine. But we still do not know what causes this reaction,” Cavaleri is reported to have told the Italian newspaper, Messaggero. The EMA however, went on to stress that the benefits of the shot still outweigh possible risks - a position taken by the EMA, World Health Organization and a number of other regulators, though noteworthy: many European countries and Canada have suspended or restricted the use of the vaccine.

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Collective CARICOM voice for recovery at IMF-World Bank meetings

By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are entirely his own) The response by policy makers of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to the depth of COVID-19’s effects on Caribbean economies needs to be urgently reviewed, particularly regarding debt. An unduly optimistic assessment of the extent of damage to economies and an overly confident expectation of how long the effects

will last, have resulted in inadequate instruments to help Caribbean countries get out of the hole into which they have been sunk through no fault of their own. Caribbean countries did not create the pandemic and they have been among the most successful in containing it at great cost to their Treasuries. The staff of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) and the Directors on the Boards, representing CARICOM countries, deserve credit for advancing the region’s interests. The inadequacy of the IFIs response is not their fault; it is entirely due to Board directors of some larger countries who remain stuck to mistaken policy positions whose failures have enlarged the harmful effects of the pandemic. One of these continuing unhelpful policy positions is the application of per capita income as a criterion to deny high income Caribbean countries access to concessionary loans, even though these countries are subject to the same vulnerabilities as lower income countries. Something of a breakthrough might have occurred. The World Bank Board has approved the preparation of loan documents of $100 million each for the Bahamas and

Barbados – two of the countries with the highest per capita incomes in CARICOM – “due to their heavy reliance on tourism”. This is an admission that the Board of the Bank has accepted vulnerability as a criterion, that is superior to high income, as a qualification for concessionary loans. It is to be assumed, therefore, that, if these loans are approved by the Board in the coming weeks, this criterion can now be applied to other high-income CARICOM countries such as Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts-Nevis. CARICOM Finance Ministers at the Spring Meetings of the Bank and Fund should raise this issue collectively. Doing so, is especially relevant since countries that might have been “high income”, according to IMF/ WBG measurements, in 2019, are certainly not so today. High unemployment, resulting from the pandemic, has shaved as much as 30 % from per capita income in some countries and is likely to reduce it even more as unemployment increases and poverty expands. Amid all this, the IFIs response to high and crippling debt in many CARICOM countries that has spiralled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased their debt service burdens. While the Bank and Fund have explicitly stated that debt levels were, for some, more than 100 % of GDP prior to the pandemic, the debt instruments that they have provided are burdensome. As an example, the IMF’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative is only temporary. It is also applicable only to the poorest countries. Therefore only 5 CARICOM countries qualified. The initiative is supposedly to help them cope with the economic and fiscal constraints caused by the COVID-19 crisis. But it gives only a one-year grace with repayment having to be made over 5 years. Clearly, there will be an increase in the debt service burdens of these countries. The duration of the pandemic’s effects on CARICOM economies and its severe impact, will be longer than anticipated. Countries, such as Guyana and Suriname, with their oil and gas resources will be better placed, but Post-COVID, many CARICOM countries will have much reduced economies, high debt, diminished revenues, and little capacity to recover. The UN has already said that the Caribbean will face ‘a lost decade’ with economies and per capita income declining to 2010 levels.

March/April, 2021 They will need access to low-cost financing and grants from both IFI’s and donor governments. Immediately, they need debt relief in the forms of write-offs and deferral of repayments on easier terms. If these initiatives are not taken, Caribbean economies will be caught in a poverty trap from which they will not emerge for a generation and, even then, only if they experience no disasters such as hurricanes, prolonged droughts, or flooding – all of which have a high probability of occurring. The governments of CARICOM countries are struggling to keep their economies afloat with policy initiatives either to revive dormant activities, such as agricultural and fisheries production, or to encourage new technology-based endeavours. These will help with economic diversification over time, but they will not be immediate large contributors to economic growth or replacements for industries such as tourism. The Spring meetings of the Bank and Fund are an opportunity for robust presentations of the plight of CARICOM countries, always recalling they did not originate or spread COVID-19. They are in their current situation because of their vulnerability to their trading partners which, without exception, enjoy relatively large trade surpluses with the region. Some of these same trading partners are among the most vociferous in the continued application of mistaken criteria that disqualify many CARICOM countries from concessionary financing and debt relief. At this month’s meetings of the IMF/ WBG, Caribbean representatives have an opportunity to advance proposals for support. One of the points that should be made is that, since the huge balance of trade surplus that rich countries enjoy with CARICOM states runs into billions of dollars perennially, giving them revenues and employment, they should regard debt forgiveness and rescheduling, as well as concessional financing, as investments in CARICOM countries from which they derive considerable benefits annually. If the economies of CARICOM countries are not helped to recover, there will be a corresponding contraction in their ability to continue to buy goods and services from the rich. Efforts must be made to create a framework that integrates debt sustainability, growth-investment, and building resilience for CARICOM countries. Such a framework must also take full account of the region’s vulnerability to destructive forces they do not create, such as Climate Change. CARICOM countries should speak with a collective voice in proposing such a framework to the IMF/WBG meetings, omitting no country. Responses and previous commentaries:


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evidenced by the institution’s, “… continuous improvement in strategies, policies, procedures, and practices within the organization.” Dean Bethel pointed to the significance of the Tourism Marketing certificate, which provides an overview of the role marketing and promotion play in the hospitality industry’s strategic plan. It outlines the marketing fundamentals required in the planning and promotion of an event or a destination. “Since the COVID-19 closure, many new entrepreneurs have emerged. We want to provide the emerging entrepreneurs with the tools to market businesses and their wares for themselves. Meanwhile, a lot of people are out of work. The program will allow them to upskill and retool at home.

By Mike Lightbourn

A Happy Marriage:

flect the differences between the CMAs and appraisals, married homes being compared. together, typically produce a Before you start looking at So CMAs guide both sellers and homes or vacant property, your buyers in terms of prices in their happier experience for both the buyer and seller. BREA agent should compile a particular markets. Priced correctly, the bank exComparative Market Analysis of perience for a borrower should the properties you’ll view. The Appraisal: be smoother. In a nutshell, a The analysis, called a CMA, If you go to a lender for a mortwill help you determine a home’s gage, you’ll be asked to get an ap- CMA takes the guesswork out of what price a home will likely sell market value. The market analy- praisal on the property. for. An appraisal determines the sis is not to be confused with an Appraisals are produced by liappraisal. While a CMA and an censed and experienced bank- amount a mortgage lender will appraisal both help pinpoint a approved professionals. Apprais- let you borrow for the property. An appraisal protects the buyhome’s market value, they have ers must be licensed by BREA. er from paying more than the different purposes. If the sales price is higher than home is worth and it protects the appraised value, a bank will the lender from providing more The Market Analysis: lend a qualified buyer on the lowmoney than it’s worth. A CMA will compare the price er of the two values. of the home you’re interested in Again, the appraiser looks at with similar homes that have sold homes that have most recently or are for sale in the area. It will sold in the area that are similar in guide you in terms of what you terms of square footage, condishould offer for the home. tion, features and price range and BREA agents should also pre- make the necessary adjustments pare a Comparative Market Anal- up or down to reflect the differysis to help a seller come up with ences. a realistic listing price. Appraisers must follow bank Again, this will compare the guidelines to minimise risk to seller’s home to homes that have both the lender and the borrower. sold in the area that are similar The guidelines were tightened as in terms of square footage, con- a result of the 2007-2008 global dition, features and price range. financial crisis. Obviously adjustments have to be made in the sales prices to reBy Mike Lightbourn

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Through the virtual platform, BTVI can expand its reach to include family islanders as well,” said Ms. Bethel. BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, lauded Dean Bethel for what he considered “stellar representation” of the institution is bringing the City and Guilds’ offerings to BTVI. “It was no doubt a grueling process, which required lots of research and person-hours. We’re very pleased with the work put in by Dean Bethel and in an area fundamental to The Bahamas – tourism,” said Dr. Robertson. “These short, power-packed courses address the skills gaps within our community. The fact that we live in a digital revolution in a global economy; hence, to assist with the sustainability of the tourism industry, BTVI is doing its part to assist those who are furloughed, in between jobs, or eventually looking to enter the industry, to improve on or learn new skill sets,” he stated.

Questions or comments? Contact me at Mike Lightbourn is president of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty.


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Education - Is it A Hindrance or A Help?

Teri M. Bethel There was a time when people pulled their children out of school to work their fields or care for their younger siblings. In their minds, it was for the betterment of the family. A strong child in school was considered a loss of manpower in the field. Some realized, however, that education became their family’s elevation. We hear stories of children who walked miles barefoot and alone to go to one-room schools because they were smitten with knowledge and the promise for a future of unlimited possibilities. Families realized that the more they invested in development for themselves and their children, the more advancement opportunities seem to become available. Though it might have caused hardship at the onset, their future and children’s futures were considerably improved. Not too long ago, the scholastic focus

was reading, writing, and arithmetic, 3 critical pillars. These grew into a musthave foundation for confident communication and the ability to do light trading and some business. As needs arose, development and fine-tuning of skills became necessary. Traditional learning institutions became the norm, but many fell through the cracks realizing they did not fit the mold. Today we see career opportunities arise in many areas, yet they have remained vacant. Non-traditional learning institutions focusing on specific skills development are on the rise to help people refine their expertise.

Shortsightedness- A Plaguing “I” Disease People who are shortsighted about the importance of education or furthering it shortchange themselves immensely. As a result, they live well below their potential. The fundamental reasoning behind becoming educated is to become equipped with skills to solve problems and meet

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needs. Many people bypass this to select careers that look impressive and make them feel good. This leads to a host of people being skilled for jobs that are not in demand. Rather than finding out what the prevailing needs are in society and seeking to become equipped to fill them. Another common problem in today’s society is placing pleasure above character development and productivity. Some business executives have noted the need for skill and character, as the two go hand in hand for the successful development of a workforce. The word “educare,” where education is derived, means to train or to mold, and “educere,” means to lead out. Rather than development, society has allowed itself to be dumbed down by its focus on entertainment. Instead of building and sustaining, there is stagnancy. There is no leading out without education; instead, there is hemming in, a lock-down of the mind and productivity. Video games and social media have replaced reading a book, learning a skill or trade, or simply engaging in healthy sporting activities. Unfortunately, this time robber is not something that just affects the more modest income bracket of society.

A Privileged Generation Some parents have not required their children to do what they had to do growing up because they have become financially wealthy. Their mindset of having it so rough growing up and swearing their family would never have to go through the same challenges has hurt more youngsters than it has helped. Incidentally, those very things they went through helped to build character and work ethic in them. Responsibilities like making your bed, washing the dishes, cleaning the yard and the car, taking care of the pets, and helping to care for your grandparents, and the like are life preparation lessons. Not allowing your children to participate only creates a deficit in their ability to effectively care for themselves and others. The result, they become a burden to the family and a bump on society’s back. Those families who value education and home-training see that their children participate in school. Those who require their children to participate in family responsibilities by doing their chores invest in their family’s well-being and would like to see their children succeed. They are mature caregivers to their children and have not sought to raise fanciful buddies.

Tarpum Bay Primary School in South Eleuthera, turned heads and hearts with her youth initiative. This young pioneer took her love of reading to the next level by inspiring fellow schoolmates to join her in their pursuit to explore the world and elevate their learning through reading books. This initiative birthed her “Love to Read” virtual book club. Another featured student making his mark in history is Geyon Mullings from the Harbour Island Green School. Described as a clever, focused individual, Geyon put his smarts to good use by winning the North Eleuthera Spelling Bee Competition. Having dedicated leaders in the school system like his principal, Mr. William Simmons, whose innovative approach to learning has proven to bolster the children’s desire to learn, has inspired students to take their education seriously. A flurry of challenges was ushered into our classrooms by the renegade pandemic last year. It has not been an easy time for students, their families, or their teachers. Nevertheless, the District Superintendent of Education in Eleuthera, veteran educator Mr. Michael Culmer and his staff have pulled out all the stops to ensure students receive the best education possible. Though many on the frontline of education are not visible to the public, some teachers stretch themselves daily to care for our children without applause. Many of those stories we may never hear about, yet they have impacted and transformed numerous little lives into responsible leaders.

An Opportunity for Students to Shine Recently,, a website featuring the published works of Bahamian authors, broadened its scope to celebrate and showcase (free of charge) the writing talent of young writers in the country. While not every student will want to be an author, many have creative writing ability and may someday become teachers, scriptwriters, speechwriters, journalists, influencers, or world changers. By showcasing our students, they are given a platform to shine among their peers without competing or waiting until they publish a book. Like reading, writing stories allows students to explore their talents and take readers on an imaginative journey. The first student to be featured is Eleuthera’s own homeschooled resident student Nicoletta Matera Szczesniak, a 12th-grade student who presents her compelling short story entitled The Piano.

Local Unsung Heroes In last month’s edition of the Eleutheran, De’Anntae Hepburn, a 6th grader at the

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Teri M. Bethel is a publisher and author of relationship enrichment books, Bahamian inspired romance, and adventure novels for children that share our islands’ history and culture. She is also an artist and purse making instructor. Her books and DVD tutorials are available where good books are sold in Eleuthera and New Providence and on Teri and her husband have two adult sons. Website:



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Advice - education

Read her story here:

Local Training Opportunities There are several opportunities on the island for those wishing to build or improve a skill beyond the traditional classroom. They range from free to paid. The Center for Training & Innovation (CTI) in Rock Sound has a host of face-to-face developmental programs, seminars, and virtual training programs. Some of their workshops are free of charge, while others offer a minimal fee for optimum service. Another non-traditional Bahamas-based training opportunity is an online website, The website established by this writer provides free video tutorials for persons who want to learn how to paint on fabric for clothing, handbags, shoes, and craft and make structured and straw handbags. High school students have used these techniques to supplement their skillsets for their National Examinations over the years. Its goal is to provide insights for product enhancement for students, artisans, and DIYers. Further south, another innovative learning facility, the Island School, receives students from around the world who want to learn outside the classroom’s four walls. Their laboratory—none other than the beautiful (unnamed) waters of the Bahamas. New Business Opportunities With the introduction of new opportunities on our doorstep, it seems prudent to prepare ourselves and our product offerings. The cry of business owners has been the same for years. Job opportunities are available. However, there are very few who care to become qualified to fill them. When opportunity knocks and the doors to our country are fully opened, the question is, will we be ready, or will we be stuck in an old routine that will hamper our future? Will we ensure that our children stay on the right track to benefit from the many opportunities that require a sound education? Will we, as adults, position ourselves for growth and a better future by enhancing our skillsets? While looking through the window of life, one may feel that education is a hindrance, but don’t be fooled; it most assuredly is a help and one of the keys to a better future.

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An Eleutheran Profile: Rev. Mrs. Remelda Carey (80) BY elizabEth bryan

“Sometimes things come your

way, and knock you flat, but you have to know in whom you believe. That is my guide and my strength and my everything.”

of 2020, that she had been selected to be conferred with the Award of Member of the Most Excellent Order of The British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 New Years Honours - in recognition of her long and dedicated service in the field of community involvement to the people of The Bahamas. In March of 2020 ‘The Eleutheran’ sat and talked with Reverend Carey about her life and times.

Memory Lane: Young Remelda Patricia Sands was born in the township of Palmetto Point to her parents, Mr. Hezekiah Jack Sands and Mrs. Viola Patricia Sands on June 6th, 1940. She was the third child, in the family, and remembers being groomed and raised in a loving home, and one where her parents reared them in the reverence and admonition of God.

Reverend Mrs. Remelda Patricia Carey, MBE.

Introduction: Now at 80 years of age, Reverend Remelda Patricia Carey has been making quiet, yet powerful waves all of her life. Currently, a Methodist pastor of two congregations in South Eleuthera for the past 26 years Rev. Carey broke the mold when she was installed as the first female pastor in the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church in 1994. A tour-de-force with her husband and life partner in business since 1968, as well as full-time mother of eight children, Mrs. Carey took life on. Most recently she was informed by the Governor General in December

Some of her earliest memories of growing up in Palmetto Point were in school. “I attended the Palmetto Point public school, and in those days I did very well...,” said Mrs. Carey, walking back through the years to the early days of her childhood. “Everything has changed, the building was different, and the arrangement was different. We had a principal, Mr. Sawyer, who was there for many, many years. He was well groomed, well-educated and was very understanding, so, we learned a lot. We had monitors, who were mostly male in those days and you learned self-discipline and how to govern yourself, and to get along with others. There were times when turbulences came up, but Mr. Sawyer was always there to reprimand or sort things out. In those days you went up until age 14. We had to walk to school, not the luxuries of today where everybody’s got a car - we had to use ‘taxi 11’ - your legs,” laughed Mrs. Carey, enjoying her young memories. “School life was alright, under the circumstances - we didn’t have running water and all the things that children enjoy nowadays - we didn’t have that. At home, you had to learn your chores and you had to learn how to make things work. We had a well, the well is still in the yard up to today by the house where I was born and grew up - we would draw water from the well. Most people had wells in those days. We didn’t have electric irons, you had to take the iron and put them on the fire and heat it like that. We also cooked on the fire in the little old kitchen,” she recalled. “So, you learned how to cook and you learned how to wash and iron and clean, and you had to learn manners. You had to go to church [Palmetto Point Wesley Methodist Church] - sometimes to morning Sunday school, then the 11am church, then afternoon Sunday school, and in Palmetto Point we used to have a 3pm afternoon service - we don’t anymore, but that is as it was, because back then - Southside people used to have to walk a distance, and would stay over the whole day. So, they would have the afternoon service to make sure they could get home before dark, because there were no lights in those days,” shared Mrs. Carey. The church would play a major role in Remelda’s life, P18


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First Time Ever National Census Data to be captured digitally - all buildings and dwellings in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands will be listed by Enumeration District

For the first time in census history, the Department of Statistics (DOS) will introduce online options for the completion of a digital census questionnaire. After unavoidable delays due to Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19, pre-census activities are finally getting underway for the 2021 Census of Population and Housing scheduled for September. The DOS will be conducting a Listing Exercise during the months of April to July to establish a listing database that will allow for the digital and online census taking. During the Listing Exercise, all buildings and dwellings in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands will be listed by Enumeration District. The Listing will be compiled to create a comprehensive National Register of

Households, which will be utilized during the official census exercise. “This year signals a landmark accomplishment for The Ministry of Finance through the Department of Statistics. For the first time in The Bahamas, the Census of Population and Housing will be conducted electronically. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 environment, the Department plans to introduce alternative methods of data collection namely, Online, Telephone and Personal Interviews”, said Ms. Leona Wilson, Acting Director of the Department of Statistics. “In addition to the building and dwelling data, the Department will be collecting contact information for every dwelling, which will enable us to give the householder access to the web in order to complete their census

questionnaire online”, said the Acting Director. The Department of Statistics intends to hire approximately 170 Listers (field workers) on New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands to assist with this exercise. These Listers will canvas every Enumeration District throughout the Bahamas to collect GPS coordinates, the dwelling description and the contact for each dwelling. The public can be assured that the information provided will be kept in strictest confidence and used only for statistical purposes. In adherence to the established health protocols, there will be no in-house visits.

ment and bearing the signature of the Acting Director along with a vest with “The Department of Statistics” printed on the back. Finally, each household will be given a letter signed by the Acting Director of Statistics regarding the Listing Exercise. --Source: Central Communications Unit, Ministry of Finance Date: March 18, 2021

Further, Ms. Wilson said that each Lister will be required to wear a photo identification issued by the Depart-

Picture this All Women! Palmetto Point Dump Site Verges get a much needed Clean Up The group began there, but says that the overall goal is to revitalize, rejuvenate, and beautify the island for a ‘clean, green and pristine’ Eleuthera. Jacqueline Gibson, Manager with the Ministry of Tourism, commented saying, “We look forward to buy-in from civic organizations, churches, schools, business houses and the entire island population.”

What a difference a day made! The Staff at the Ministry of Tourism partnered with the local Urban Renewal team, a determined crew of all women, as well as the Pal-

metto Point Town Council (which supplied soft drinks and Clean Up campaign items) to clear away the unsightly litter along the highway near the Palmetto Point Dumpsite.

Urban Renewal staff expressed their thanks to the local Ministry of Tourism for their support in the clean up initiative and pledged to assist and partner with them in future efforts for the island, saying, “Please call on Urban Renewal, and we will be available to assist at any time. We are here to be a part of it - One Island, One Bahamas.”

Women from Tourism, Urban Renewal and Local Govt. Council team up to clean up.


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An Eleutheran Profile

from her youngest days beginning the tradition with her family, to her ground breaking leadership later on. One of her first steps as a young leader, happened unceremoniously, but saying yes to challenge would form a pattern in her life - and it began with music. “This was something I enjoyed, because I went to music lessons at an early age, and by the time I was eleven I began to play in the church. An old man, who passed away a long time now, he came up to me one Sunday morning when the organist didn’t come to church, and he asked me, ‘Melda, can’t you play the organ’? I remember reluctantly saying, ‘yes sir’. So, he said okay, and the choir master then, Earnest Clarke he told him to let me play. You know I was a little nervous, but I went, and it started from there. I was eleven.” She remembered visiting other churches regularly as a young child as well as the disciplined lifestyle expected of children back then, “Sometimes we would go to the Brethren church Sunday school at the Bible Truth Hall, because that was right close to where our house is, and they would have Bible Sunday school... In those days, the girls were taught to sew, and went to music lessons, and the boys were taught a trade of some kind - so, it was a different kind of upbringing then.” The island economy was much simpler back then re-

called Mrs. Carey, with farming and fishing as the mainstays, however, as a young girl, tourism and foreign homeowners were in Eleuthera. “When I was young, we did have some tourists and home owners who came and built houses, because my Daddy use to caretake for a premises for a good part of his life, the place they call ‘Spanish Main’. We lived there for a time, so we had to walk from there up to Palmetto Point school every day and go back in the evening. But it’s all different now - commercialized and modernized. That was a way of life, and we accepted that, and it was good.” She continued, “It was an interesting life, because you didn’t have all the things that children have today, so you got used to what the trend was and you joined in. I shared in youth groups, and in bible study, and a group called Young People’s Christian Endeavor formed by Rev. Harold Ward. We participated in whatever was there, and didn’t have much time for nonsense... If you were a girl, your life was monitored. You couldn’t go where you like and stay as long as you like, and dress how you like - not in those days. Anything after dark, your brother or somebody had to go - and any activities, you had to be monitored and chaperoned.

Transitions: Although, not installed as

a pastor until 1994, Mrs. Carey began her ‘work’ in the church at a much earlier age, she shared. “Reverend Harold Ward was very evangelistic, and with the Young People’s Christian Endeavor group we would interact with Governor’s Harbour, and all the churches. There were only trucks then, but they would do it in the evening time when you could go and come. So, this is the way we did it. Rev. Ward would have many evangelistic revival meetings, youth meetings and challenges for your life and your future. I was converted under that particular ministry. Seemingly, he watched me and other young people in my age bracket. When I was sixteen, I remember one morning he came up to the house where we lived, and he said he wanted me to be put on the ‘preaching plan’ at the Methodist Church, along with one or two other young people. I felt that the call was there, and I didn’t want to go away anywhere, so I went.” Still a young teenager, Methodist Minister Rev. Ward appointed 16-year-old Remelda as a Lay Preacher in the Methodist Church, where she continued to participate in youth groups, evangelistic missions, Sunday school, and many other activities that kept her

involved in growing in her Christian walk. “As time went on, I met this young man who was looking for a wife,” smiled Mrs. Carey. “He used to come to Palmetto Point, for a ride with his friends.” She had caught the eye of an industrious, ambitious young man from Tarpum Bay by the name of Alexander Dewitt Carey, and from there the couple’s love began at an early age. Known better as Mr. Dewitt Carey, her future husband, she said, was determined to make her his own, and after a year of ‘courting’ they were married in Palmetto Point, on September 10th, 1958. Mrs. Carey was eighteen, when she moved to Tarpum Bay with her new husband. Mrs. Carey quickly acclimated to her new home. “I became active in the church activities, and I brought my preaching with me at the Methodist church in Tarpum Bay. It went on and then I began to produce babies. But in between I stayed active in Women’s Group, prayer meetings and the like.” Their loving union was blessed with 8 children, the eldest a daughter, followed by 7 boys. Sadly, 3 P19

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couple. Mrs. Carey’s hands, which were full with motherhood, church ministry and soon business, would take her children everywhere she went, including choir practice, youth meetings, and every other service that the Methodist church had at that time, raising them to be respectful, hardworking, honest, mannerly and reverent to the God she serves.

Enterprise: In 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Carey opened a variety store in the heart of Tarpum Bay where they lived, she shared, “It was challenging, but things then were not like it is now. At times things got a little slow. But, at that time the hotels were beginning to open, and that’s where people worked, and that’s where you went. I went all over the island, ‘door to door’, Cotton Bay, Winding Bay, Islandia, Windermere, and to homes door-to-door trading, first from my car - a wagon, and eventually we bought a bus, and it was me and the children. I would go from Cape Eleuthera - that’s when that was booming with the hotel there, and would go ‘down’ as far as Bluff.” Over time the business flourished and prospered as a team effort by the couple along with the children, with Mrs. Carey loading her vehicle with all the items that the store would offer, loading the children along with the items and go trading - selling these goods to nearly every settlement in Eleuthera. The shop became a household name and as the business grew, in 1973, the family moved just outside of Tarpum Bay on the highway to open the Tarpum Bay Shopping Center. Remelda would continue her trading while Mr. Dewitt would stay and run the business. The business still stands today, said Mrs. Carey as a testament to their hard work and the foundation set along with their children. As she and her husband grew their business, Remelda continued her ministry in every capacity in Tarpum Bay and the surrounding settlements, taking part in women’s ministry, women’s groups, playing the organ, bible study, choir practice, outreach and missions.

Mission: Her dedication was formalized, when on Sunday, February 27th, 1994, Mrs. Remelda Carey was installed as the first female pastor in the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church under the leadership of Dr. Collin Archer and Rev. Charles A. Carey, who was then in charge of the Ministry Division. Following her installation, she was nominated and commissioned to pastor two Methodist congregations - in Wemyss Bight and Deep Creek. Both churches were in dire need of repairs. “There wasn’t much going on there, at the time. People had died and moved away, and the old church

was dilapidated. Some people may have wondered why I accepted the commission,” shared Mrs. Carey, adding, “Deep Creek’s little old church, had probably been there for a couple hundred years, and it’s still there, but I was determined to make it better... and God put people in my life who were interested in seeing God’s work grow.” The Wemyss Bight church was renovated and then a hall added for social gatherings. Now the church is air conditioned, comfortable to worship in and serves the public for special events, she said. Mrs. Carey and her team broke ground for the construction of a new Deep Creek Methodist Church building in October of 2009 and it was finished and dedicated on September 9th, 2018 - with the help of a team from South Carolina along with other donors. This church, she said, was able to hold 200 people during its’ dedication and people came from near and far to celebrate this accomplishment. The brass band from Central Eleuthera High School, she said, ceremoniously marched the congregation from the old building to the new building. Rev. Carey envisions the new Deep Creek church as a pillar in their community to support any social needs that the settlement may have. Started just a few years into her pastorship, an event Mrs. Carey holds dear, that has now been hosted by each congregation alternately on the first Sunday in March, annually for the past 23 years, is the Wemyss

Bight and Deep Creek churches prayer breakfast. The annual Prayer Breakfast event, she shared, draws people from as far north as Hatchet Bay, in the early morning hours. Church members from many other denominations also come to join in prayer and worship to God without discrimination. Again, her children take part, with her son Julian, and the help of his brothers and other friends - who cook, she said, and serve the crowd a hearty and tasty Bahamian breakfast. Through all of her challenges, and her many blessings - her opportunities to lead and positively impact the lives of others, and her close bond with her life’s soulmate - surrounded now by her supportive and loving family, Mrs. Carey says that she is deeply grateful, and always focused on her source, saying, “I thank God for the life that he has given me and my husband and my children. Sometimes at night, you lie down and you wake and just say ‘thank you God for your blessings on me’. Sometimes you have a lot of opposition - but with God on my side, whom shall, I fear. Over the years, some may try to knock you down - however, you have to fix your eye on the prize - and the prize is Christ Jesus, and the life that you live, because He allows you to live that life. Sometimes things come your way, and knock you flat, but you have to know in whom you believe. That is my guide and my strength and my everything.”

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Broadway in Briland: HIGS Brings the Lion King Jr. to Life with Bahamian Junkanoo flavours.

The Harbour Island Green School, with Principal William Simmons, staged a two-night production of the stage play version of Disney’s the Lion King Jr. on Friday, March 26th, and Saturday, March 27th, 2021, bringing to life the vibrant array of the story’s characters through the enthusiastic student actors and actresses, detailed costuming, using the junkanoo tradition, creative live music, as well as help from an actual Broadway puppeteer and fashion designer, and scores of parents, staff and community volunteers making the audio/visual feast a possibility. Johnathan Kelly, production coordinator for the event and also a young local Brilander,

In the photos: Students of the Green School, in the Junkanoo influenced costumes, put on a wonderful performance of their version of Disney’s The Lion King Jr.



was Incredible, I wish my school could do that”

remarked a young audience member after taking in the evening performances.




The Eleutheran


Silent Killer Spreads -

Deadly Coral Disease Out of Sight, Out of Mind for Many

Above: The symmetrical brain coral, Pseudodiploria strigosa in New Providence, healthy (left) and affected by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (right). The white area of the coral is already dead as the disease advances throughout. The time lapse between the first and second photo is approximately one month.

Above: Recently dead grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis. Recently dead is defined as corals that have been dead within the last two-three weeks. First verified in The Bahamas a year ago, the deadly Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) continues to plague Bahamian waters, traveling up to 50 meters (55 yards) per day, killing hundreds of corals in its wake. Specifically, scientists from the Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) have confirmed the presence of SCTLD on reefs off Grand Bahama, New Providence and North Eleuthera. Early assessments done by PIMS suggest that some species are more susceptible than others; brain corals, for example, are particularly susceptible to infection and often die within weeks. “The reality is, the disease is spreading and it’s spreading very fast,” said Dr

Valeria Pizarro, a coral reef specialist and senior scientist at PIMS. “If we lose those species which build up coral reefs, we might lose coral reefs in the long term with profound ecological impacts,” she said. The lethal reign of SCTLD: Although evidence suggests the outbreak of SCTLD began off the coast of Florida in 2014, the first case of the disease was not confirmed in The Bahamas until March 2020. That’s when PIMS scientists discovered SCTLD had already killed a wide range of corals off Grand Bahama, including some species listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Less than three months later, PIMS confirmed the presence of SCTLD in coral colonies off New Providence. There, many corals harbored the tell-tale signs of white, exposed, skeleton patches associated with the disease. SCTLD has also been reported but not verified in Abaco and the Exumas, said Dr Pizarro who in 2019, worked in Eleuthera as a partner in The Bahamas Coral Innovation Hub, a project that aims to expand and improve coral restoration in The Bahamas. Worse still, the disease affects more than 20 hard coral species in the Caribbean. “I’ve been diving since I was a teenager and I’m now in my 30s, and I’ve never seen so much coral death,” said Dr. Krista Sherman, a fellow senior scientist at PIMS. “It’s depressing.” Glimmers of hope: The recent discovery of an underwater treatment for SCTLD, however, gives hope to ocean conservationists like Dr. Pizarro. In Florida, coral researchers are already administering

life-saving antibiotics onto struggling corals, with high rates of success. Once PIMS receives approval from the Bahamian government, Dr. Pizarro will train local partners and begin the same treatment here in The Bahamas. Currently, there are enough doses to treat 1,000 infected corals, but time is quickly running out. “Our supply of treatment is about to expire, so we really can’t wait much longer,” Dr. Pizarro said. The team also has another challenge – deciding which corals will receive treatment. “The only limitation is that we can only treat so many corals. We cannot say that we are going to treat every single coral because not only does it get expensive, but it’s also labor intensive. There are hundreds of thousands of corals and we can only treat so many. A team of six trained persons could treat “a couple hundred” corals per day. So, we will have to prioritize where we are going to deliver treatment and which species we are going to target. This is being discussed within the SCTLD Task Force.” While coral diseases are not uncommon in the tropics, SCTLD is in a league of its own because it spreads rapidly, kills quickly, and many coral species are susceptible to it. According to the Reef Resilience Network, it has spread to nine countries and territories in the Caribbean region. Coral reefs are home to 25 percent of the ocean’s fish and provide essential coastal protection from hurricanes and storms. Aside from antibiotic treatments, some regions are racing to outplant thousands of low susceptibility corals onto local reefs to thwart the negative impacts of SCTLD. “Another strategy that has been effective in other places, especially in Florida, is to create lab-based nurseries or use biosecure facilities where you can rescue and safely house hundreds or even thousands of corals that you can use to later repopulate coral reefs.” How can you help? In the meantime, Dr Pizarro urges “everyone that’s getting into the water to get involved.” To prevent further contamination, ships should discharge ballast or bilge water where they picked it up or far away from shore to avoid reef contamination. Other preventative measures include treating bilge water to kill all microbes and decontaminating fishing, diving and snorkeling equipment to avoid the spread of SCTLD by humans. “We need as many people as possible sending us photos and information so we can prioritize which places we need to visit. We have to stop the spread.” To report SCTLD in The Bahamas, visit PIMS’ website at

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Broadway in briland

who grew up attending and later volunteering with Simmons’ long running ‘Space To Create’ summer youth program, shared that putting on the show was akin to nothing he had done before. “It was hectic, it was shell-shocking. I’m used to the Space To Create thing, but I am now seeing how much work show production really is - and it’s almost nothing like what we do for ‘Space’. It was like Space To Create on steroids.” “Work began in midFebruary, and it didn’t proceed without hiccups, but, we assessed, adapted and overcame each situation and made it work. I am very happy and proud of the children. They did very well, even better than

“This builds on the work that was done in ‘Space To Create’ and we are looking to also create an Art Center here at the school, that does arts and crafts, visual arts and junkanoo sewing, and the like.”

I could have hoped they would do. So, I am very happy,” smiled Johnathan. Catching up with Principal Simmons following Saturday’s close-out performance, he talked about it all coming together, saying, “We had an awesome time. The really cool thing about this project was finding a way to connect the broadway play to junkanoo, and do something fresh, but authentically Bahamian. As always it was all about the community that we build, with the rehearsal process - getting the kids in, and teaching them some of the art. “They worked with the puppeteer, Anne Salt, who came from ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway, and they worked together also with

Commenting also on the challenges faced and overcome by the young school, which opened its doors for the first time during the Fall of 2019 Principal Simmons shared, “You know when the pandemic hit, it was our first year, and the school year ended the day the lockdown began. We also first opened on the day that Dorian hit, so, it was a rocky start. I would say what my grandmother said, and that is ‘a kite des not fly without wind against it’. “I think in the darkest times you have to be the most ambitious and the most hopeful and say ‘in spite of everything, we are going to try to find ways to create light, bring people together and to adapt’... I’m blessed to have a family that really supports, and our students are blessed to have families P43 Article continues

Left: Coco Fitzek plays the famed villain ‘Scar’ in the HIGS Lion King Jr. some of the parents, and our school teachers. The process of creating a theater production, I have always found is one of the most exciting ways to bring people together, and just celebrating life. Even in a time of darkness and crisis, the fact that we can still find ways to pull our community together is really inspiring.

Additional scenes

Above: Younger students at HIGS during the Lion King Jr. performance display the colour and beauty of the Savannah.



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Above: Young talents blossom as students of the Harbour Island Green School bring to life the well-known characters of the Lion King Jr. story, with vibrant, junkanoo inspired costuming, live music and song, and colorful dances. Below: Appreciative audience of community members and parents enjoy the stage production. Stunning costumes portray the Lion King Jr. characters like never before with Junkanoo infusion. Principal William Simmons highlights the contributions of the many volunteers, as well as the parents and staff members of the Harbour Island Green School. Beautiful smiles convey how much the younger students enjoyed their roles in showcasing the Lion King Jr. to Briland.

Featured: Shown above far right is puppeteer and fashion designer, Anne Salt, who works with the Lion King production on Broadway. Principal Simmons shared that with Broadway on hold, Ms. Salt took the time to come and share her expertise with the students and parents at HIGS. Here she is gifted with an authentic Bahamian straw bag to add to her fashion collection.

Bluff, Eleuthera Tel: 242-335-1880 Email:

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Three-Day COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout in The Eleutheras as an Uptick in Reported Cases Noted On Monday, March 29th, 2021, the National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee (NCVCC) announced that a vaccination rollout would begin in Eleuthera on Tuesday, March 30th for three days, until the end of day on Thursday, April 1st, 2021. The following day, on Tuesday, March 30th, as the vaccine rollout began in Eleuthera, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis marked the arrival of the first batch of vaccines into The Bahamas from the COVAX Facility, some 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca jab. The Bahamas received its first set of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines on March 10th - a batch of 20,000 doses, donated by the Government of India to the Bahamas. As of March 30th, the country had received 53,600 vaccine doses. Another 67,200 doses are expected to arrive in country via the COVAX Facility during the next several months. Ministry of Health teams out of New Providence, along with local health teams effected the rollout across mainland Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells. The Ministry of Health’s surveillance team was also on the ground in North Eleuthera/ Harbour Island to assess contact tracing, safety measures enforcement, and if there was a need for more widespread testing - in response to an uptick in confirmed cases - with efforts directed in Harbour Island in particular by health officials. In his speech as he marked the arrival of the first COVAX vaccines in New Providence on Tuesday, March 30th, PM Minnis commented, “At this time, health officials are managing outbreaks on Eleuthera and Grand Bahama. The vaccination program will be accelerated to address the increase in cases. Surveillance efforts will also be stepped up on islands where an increase in the number of cases is being recorded... “We want to contain those who have the virus and offer the best care to the population so that they won’t have to be hospitalized...


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Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera

Health officials are closely monitoring developments and assessments are being carried out on islands where outbreaks have been recorded... Following various assessments, which should come in early next week, we may take further steps based on the findings... Vaccinations will continue this week on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera leading up to the Easter holiday.” He continued, “Vaccinations will resume on Wednesday, April 7th. At that time, those with disabilities, teachers and hospitality workers will become eligible to receive the vaccine.” Before mid-March 2021, the last confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with the Eleutheras was reported on February 26th, 2021, and the island grouping stood at a total of 167 confirmed cases reported during the past year, since March of 2020. After two weeks of having no confirmed cases reported (between Feb. 26th and March 13th), Eleuthera saw one additional case reported on March 14th, 2021, bringing the island total to 168 cases. Four days later on March 18th, another two cases were reported, beginning a gradual increase of confirmed cases reported over the two weeks that followed. Between March 18th and April 1st, 2021, 31 confirmed cases were reported for The Eleutheras, with 16 of those cases classified as imported cases or cases with a history of travel. As of April 1st, 2021, the total number of confirmed cases reported since March 2020 in The Eleutheras, stood at 199. Vaccinations during the rollout in Central and South Eleuthera took place at four public clinic locations, in: Hatchet Bay, Palmetto Point, Rock Sound and Wemyss Bight. Vaccinations at these locations in Central and South Eleuthera began at 10:30am each morning (Tues, Wed. and Thurs.) until 3pm in the afternoon. The groups eligible for vaccination during this three-day roll-out on the mainland, included healthcare workers, members of the uniformed branches, people 60 years and older, eldercare workers, and those under 60 with co-morbidities (in consultation with a local doctor). The activity at the beginning of the roll-out on Tuesday in South Eleuthera was described as robust by medical personnel on the ground, who commented that 100 plus vaccinations could be completed at each of the Central and South Eleuthera clinic sites daily. Vaccinations in North Eleuthera took place at three locations, with one day allocated for each site, beginning in Spanish Wells on Tuesday morning, March 30th - where more than seventy residents received the Astrazeneca jab. On Wednesday, the vaccination site moved to the Methodist Church in the Bluff - with one hundred and twenty plus residents getting inoculated, and on the Thursday,

Photo caption: Health care worker receives jab in South Eleuthera - Nurse Nell Johnson

vaccinations took place on Harbour Island at the public clinic location - which saw more than two hundred and sixty residents receiving the vaccine. The groups eligible for vaccination in Spanish Wells and North Eleuthera mainland, included: healthcare workers, members of the uniformed branches, people 60 years and older, eldercare workers, and those under 60 with co-morbidities. In Harbour Island vaccinations were also extended to the general population. Medical personnel reported approximately (460) inoculations given across North Eleuthera during the three-day vaccine rollout. According to officials, vaccination efforts throughout Eleuthera would continue on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021, following the Easter holiday weekend. Several hundred doses were stored by the Ministry of Health in Harbour Island to continue to service Spanish Wells, Harbour Island and mainland North Eleuthera populations. Members of the public, interested in receiving the vaccine, are asked to call their nearest clinic to make an appointment for service. People vaccinated during the three-day rollout were informed by medical personnel that a second dose would be administered within eight to twelve weeks of this first shot.



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Search for two ensues after discovery of $3 million cocaine stash near Airport GHB. have reasonable cause to suspect that they are the ones responsible.” “We’ve dispatched a team of forensic officers to Eleuthera from our scientific support section and our ‘scenes of crimes’ experts, who are also assisting us with this investigation,” he added. As of Wednesday, March 31st, police in Eleuthera had taken one person into custody, who was described as having, “some involvement”. This person was transported to New Providence for further investigation.

[$3 million cocaine stash found in Eleuthera] Four hundred and three pounds (403 lbs) of suspected cocaine, with an estimated street value of $3.1 million, were found in Central Eleuthera, during a joint operation on Monday, March 29th, 2021. Two men, a 28 year-old and a 37 year-old are being sought by police as persons of interest with respect to the investigations into this large drug find. The suspects arrived in Eleuthera, on a blue and white Piper Aztec twin engine aircraft, midday on Sunday, March 28th, 2021, and disembarked at the Governor’s Harbour airport. This aircraft is believed to be connected to the discovery of the drugs, say police. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Solomon Cash, in a press briefing in New Providence on Monday evening, March 29th, 2021, commenting on the suspects, said, “What we are saying to the two individuals who disembarked the aircraft, is that they should surrender to the police... I can assure you, we are following very significant leads as to who they are, and they are being sought at this time... We suspect they are still there (in Eleuthera).” ACP Cash informed that the drug find began with a tip-off, “On Sunday, March 28th, 2021, Police received intelligence concerning an aircraft in-bound to the Bahamas, with suspected cocaine on board. As a result of that information, assisted by national law enforcement agencies, US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), as well as local Eleuthera Division Police Officers, launched a comprehensive investigation, concerning this aircraft.” The joint agencies, said Cash commenced a surveillance exercise on Sunday near the Governor’s Harbour airstrip, and observed two individuals leaving the suspected aircraft, after it landed at noon. The individuals, he continued, were searched, however, nothing was found in their possession. The operation was said to have continued into Sunday evening. A surveillance team as well as a search team continued the operation in the area of the Governor’s

---Multiple local and US law enforcement partner agencies took part in the joint operation in Eleuthera, leading to the $3.1 million drug find on Monday, March 29th, 2021. Photo caption: After the count, 155 individual packages of suspected cocaine were found in six multi-colored duffel bags, near the Governor’s Harbour airport in Central Eleuthera on Monday, March 29th, 2021.

Harbour airport on Monday morning, March 29th, 2021, conducting a search among the trees along the landing strip and sometime after 9am, said ACP Cash, the teams recovered six multi-colored (duffel) bags - each containing a large quantity of suspected cocaine, from an area just north west of the airstrip. On completion of a count, he said, 155 packages were found inside the bags, with an estimated street value of $3.1 million. The cache of drugs was transported from Eleuthera to New Providence on Monday evening by sea, arriving sometime after 7pm at the Police Harbour Patrol docking facility on Bay Street. When questioned about the nationality of the two wanted suspects and the nature of the drug find, ACP Cash shared, “”We are not certain of their nationality at this time... We believe this is a transnational crime, based on our information - a transhipment originating outside of the jurisdiction of The Bahamas and into The Bahamas.” He continued, “When we searched them (the two suspects), we did not find anything in their possession. But, as the investigation unravels and we gain additional information, we

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March/April, 2021

Open House Celebrates LLNP’s First Decade On Eleuthera

Above: BNT Exec. Director, Eric Carey toasts to 10 successful years of the Levy Preserve in Eleuthera. Left: Guided tour along the mangrove boardwalk through one of LLNPP’s many nature trails. Eleuthera’s first and only national park, The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (LLNPP), managed by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), celebrated ten years in Eleuthera during the month of March, with a free admission, Open House event on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 - marking the first opening of its gates on March 24th, 2011. Management and staff at The Preserve got the celebratory ball rolling with a special cake cutting and anniversary toast ceremony during the mid-morning, joined by a small group of guests from the Ministry of Tourism, local residents, and returning visitors to the island at the park’s welcome pavilion. Eric Carey, Executive Director

with the Bahamas National Trust, remarked briefly before the toast, saying, “This has been a joint partnership, where you benefit us, and we benefit the community. It has been an incredible conservation success - with the awards we have won, international and national, our botany programs, and the capacity we are building by training young Bahamians who are now leading major initiatives. We would like to thank all of the staff, as well as the visitors and volunteers that continue to stop by. As we think about what is next for this Preserve, there are so many things we are going to be doing. Sweetings Pond (in Hatchet Bay, Central Eleuthera) - I just had a wonderful chat with colleagues at the Ministry of Tourism about the importance of Sweetings

Above: Staff at the Leon Levy Nature Preserve raise a celebratory cupcake in recognition of its 10th anniversary.

Pond to the economy and the ecology of Eleuthera. So, that’s going to be part of what happens next.” He continued, “We are celebrating today, and we wish that Shelby White was here, who was our founder, benefactor - who did it all in Leon Levy’s memory - I know she is here in spirit... We wish we could have more people from our Nassau office here as well, but we know what this pandemic has done - making it really difficult, but we are here. Let’s celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve!” Glasses and cheers were raised as the group toasted to the first decade of The Preserve in Eleuthera, followed by a ceremonial cutting

of the cake. As the commemorative toast wrapped up, Open House visitors began arriving to take in the 30-acre world-class, botanic garden. The Preserve, which serves as a research center for traditional bush medicine; a facility for the propagation of indigenous plants and trees; and an educational center focusing on the importance of native vegetation to the biodiversity of The Bahamas, also features exploration trails through wetlands and native coppice, as well as special areas highlighting medicinal plants/’bush medicine’ and plants that are a part of our edible history.



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Bahamas National Exams Begin Mid-April, Moratorium Lifted on International Scholarships

Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd discusses plans for the upcoming National Exams during a live broadcast. The Minister announced that national exams are scheduled to commence on April 13th, 2021 and that the moratorium on international scholarships has been lifted. The event was held on Friday, March 19th, 2021 at the Sybil Blyden Centre, Stapledon School. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

Bahamian students wishing to pursue studies abroad this year were given a brief window of opportunity to do so, as Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd announced on March 19th that interested students would have the opportunity to make application for international scholarships during the final weeks of March - with a deadline of March 31st, 2021. The Minister also discussed plans for the National exams, which are scheduled to begin on April 13th, 2021. He made the statement during a live broadcast at a press conference held at Sybil Blyden Centre, Stapledon School, on March 19th, 2021. “My Ministry has lifted the moratorium on international scholarships,” he said. “Our Bahamian students can now apply for scholarships to study internationally. Obviously, we must use all means necessary to ensure that the selection process is fair and equitable. The BGCSE results will allow us to do just that, so that our selection will reflect us having chosen the most qualified applicants to receive scholarships such as the All Bahamas Merit Scholarship to study internationally.” The Minister said that the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic have touched every country, not only The Bahamas. Consequently, educational systems worldwide have had to make adjustments. Universities in the United States, had made some allowances -- such as foregoing the need for SAT exams for the 2020 school calendar -- however, he explained that all indications point to the reimplementation of those admission processes. As a result, it has become even more important for students wishing to pursue tertiary education abroad to sit national exams, in addition to required exams by other countries, namely the

United Sates and Canada. “The educational and instructional challenges we have encountered in The Bahamas, imposed by Covid-19, are not unique to this country,” said Minister Lloyd. “It bears repeating that this Pandemic is a global one, disrupting every Educational system on earth. None of us alive today have ever seen anything like it. Every school system in all countries have had to forge new courses of action because of Covid, particularly when it came to their university or college admissions process. Their answer was to make it optional for students to submit standardized test scores. In the United States of America and Canada, where the majority of our students often matriculate, it was reported that there was a significant increase in university applicants and this was attributed to the fact that popular college admissions exams such as SAT and ACT scores were not required, due to the pandemic.” He said that naturally, without the standardized exams, universities faced an even more daunting task of identifying the best candidates to fill their spots. “At Harvard University alone, there was an increase of about 42 percent of applicants or 57,000 students applying for January 2021 intake, according to the university,” he noted. “The upsurge in university applications resulted in delayed decisions. Some may question whether the most qualified candidates had a fair chance to gain a spot, when one considers that a major measuring yardstick -- the SAT -- had been omitted from many universities’ selection processes.” Those necessary entry requirements are also being adhered to by the University of the Baha-

mas for 2021 admissions. “Our own University of The Bahamas also relaxed its 2020 standard admission requirements of 5 BGCSE passes, with a ‘C’ Grade in Math and Language Arts. However, this year, and beyond, the University has now reverted to its initial position of requesting the BGCSE national exam results. Additionally, the BGCSE examination is considered to be a uniform assessment taken by all students exiting high school in The Bahamas, and there is no guarantee that the international institutions will continue to make it optional for our students to submit them, in order to gain entry.” The Minister said that when the Examination and Assessment Division developed the Examination Schedules/Timetables, several factors were considered including markers being able to mark the exams and subsequently provide results for students wishing to pursue tertiary education here and abroad. Additionally, having the results ready in time so that students would have sufficient time to qualify and apply for scholarships. Other factors included giving students sufficient instructional time; and giving markers, who are practicing teachers, time to take a needed break. The Minister said that as of Friday, March 12th, 2021, five thousand and eight seven (5087) were registered for the BGCSE Examination and nine thousand three hundred and eightytwo (9382) candidates were registered for the BJC Examination. By Betty Vedrine, BIS

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PC Renardo Brown Honoured For Stellar Work in South Eleuthera Communities

During Police Month, March 2021, communities within South Eleuthera came together at a ‘Service of Honour & Salutation’ for their community Police Officer, PC 1311 Renardo Brown in recognition of his ‘exemplary service and unselfish commitment’. During the special service, hosted on Sunday, March 28th, 2021 at the Mount Zion Baptist church in Deep Creek, Officer Brown was praised for his work and exceptional representation of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. He was awarded by a number of individuals and groups including the Deep Creek Neighbourhood Watch (NNWC), the Kiwanis Club of South Eleuthera, and the Tarpum Bay Police Station. Officer Brown, who was said to have been ‘moved to tears’ by the outpouring, expressed his sincere appreciation to the audience for their support and gratitude. The Deep Creek Eleuthera National Neighbourhood Watch Council, prepared a profile description of how they viewed Officer Brown as a true ‘Officer and a Gentleman’, and highlighted some of his ongoing work among the communities in South Eleuthera. The following is an excerpt of their profile: “Police Constable 1311 Renardo Brown is civicminded person with a heart of gold who wears his love for his community on his sleeve.

Above: Police Constable Renardo Brown, emotional as he receives an outpouring of love and appreciation from members of the South Eleuthera community in recognition of his dedication, involvement and commitment. Top: PC Brown surrounded by friends and community members, out in support of him being honoured.

He is an officer and a gentleman who continues to endear himself to the people of Deep Creek and South Eleuthera through his firm handling of his law enforcement duties and his unselfish community involvement. Officer Brown, as he is affectionately known, is a native of South Eleuthera who grew up with his grandparents in Wemyss Bight before moving to New Providence where he joined the Royal Bahamas Police Force some thirteen and a half years ago. He is recognized as a dedicated veteran of this institution who is diligent and astute and serves with humility. Officer Brown is one of the founding members of the Deep Creek Eleuthera National Neighbourhood Watch Council (NNWC), attending our very first meeting held on July 28th, 2020. He has been instrumental in this organization since its inception and participates in as many of the activities as possible. He leads our community exercise initiative, is in charge of our Citizens-On-Patrol unit, and our signature Car Wash event was his brainchild. Officer Brown currently assists as an NNWC liaison officer for the settlements of Deep Creek, Waterford, Wemyss Bight, Bannerman Town, John Millers, Green Castle, Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay. He works along with South Eleuthera Urban Renewal where he as-

sists with after-school programs and he formulated a youth drill team. He was also instrumental in establishing a mentorship initiative for at-risk youth at the Preston H. Albury High School. He helped the Deep Creek Middle School with preparation for their junkanoo participation, and he has a constant presence at Deep Creek Primary School where he lends assistance with the physical education program. Officer Brown regularly visits various churches and schools on the island speaking to young people about issues they face such as bullying and peer pressure. He strives to be a good role model for them, and he also often meets with parents to give them guidance and advice. Officer Brown serves as the mascot for the Kiwanis Club of South Eleuthera, and he is a member of Toastmasters. He performs above and beyond the call of duty and is a stellar example of what it means to be a great police officer. Officer Brown is married to the love of his life, the former Lashande Forde, attorney-at-law, and he is the father of one son, Roston. The Deep Creek Eleuthera National Neighbourhood Watch Council honours and salutes our Community Police Officer, Police Constable 1311 Renardo Brown.”



Wemyss Bight Teacher Shortage Sparks Parent/Student Protest A small, frustrated but determined group of concerned parents and students staged a protest at the gates of the Wemyss Bight Primary School in South Eleuthera on Wednesday morning, March 17th, 2021, to shed light on the plight of several classes, which despite the resumption of school, did not have teachers. As the protestors shared, the grades 2, 5 and K3 at the school, since October 2020, had been without teachers, and parents, they said, were not being satisfactorily informed, as to when or even if, the situation would be addressed before the end of the current school year. “We have no other option. This is our school,” expressed one parent passionately. “We need to stand together. Knowledge is power, and this is the education of our children. We will stand together and let all know that we are not going to sit down and take it, because it is not okay!” Another parent pointed out that the Wemyss Bight primary school was not a small school, with students attending from other settlements throughout South Eleuthera, including Waterford, Deep Creek, Green Castle, John Millars and Bannerman Town. Commenting on the current situation in the

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Above: Parents and Students stand together to bring attention to their plight.

grade 2 classroom, where the school’s principal was said to be substituting as a teacher, parent and PTA president, Edranique Thompson shared, “Our principal, who already has a full workload - how is it possible to give our students the sufficient instruction time and education that they need, and what is the reason? Our children deserve the same opportunities as any other student in the South Eleuthera District or on the island of Eleuthera... “We have excellent teachers and support staff here at Wemyss Bight primary school, and they have done their endeavour best. So, we cannot continue to let them suffer. We cannot continue to let our children suffer. We have to stand up as a community and as parents to do better for our children.” Police and Covid Ambassadors were on scene, monitoring participants for adherence to health and safety protocols. Daniel Smith, Chairman with the Wemyss Bight Local Government Town Council as well as Deputy Chief Councillor for the South Eleuthera District Council, and Covid Ambassador on the day, commented, “We all know that education is key and in this day and age it is of great importance, so, the lack of teachers makes a sad statement within the community, and the district. I have nieces, nephews, cousins all here at the Wemyss Bight primary school. I am hoping that the Ministry of Education hears the cries of the people, weighs the options, and despite the pandemic, try their best to see what can be done.” By the end of the morning on the same Wednesday, the situation had been resolved to some degree, after District Superintendent of Education, Mr. Michael Culmer, visited the school and met with concerned parents. He discussed both short term and long term resolutions, including the placement of a

trained generalist supply teacher in the grade five class, as early as the following day, as well as the longer term prospect of two additional teachers added to the school roster before the end of the current school year. The resolutions presented by the District Education Office were accepted by the protesting body of concerned parents for the time being, allowing the protest to come to an end.

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March/April, 2021

Picture This - International Carnival Hosted by The Children’s Place The ballpark in Spanish Wells on Friday morning, March 12th, 2021 was a splash of colour as The Children’s Place school hosted an ‘International Carnival’. The school which grew from a kindergarten into one that now instructs children from pre-k up to grade 12 during 2020, with 40 plus students currently enrolled, took advantage of Commonwealth Day celebrations marked earlier that week to highlight the international nature of their student body, while expanding their students’ knowledge about the world around them. Vice Principal, Ashley Knowles, shared that students with the help of their teachers and parents created presentation tables representing different countries. On the day, the display of countries varied with tables from Jamaica, Russia, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Honduras, Canada, Colombia, Haiti and more - showcasing posters of researched country-specific information, flags, cultural trinkets, as well as food from the country. “The whole idea with the International Carnival was that with Covid, we can’t go to the world, so we brought the world to everybody here on Spanish Wells,” said school principal, Sandra Knowles. She continued, “The children did alot of research, finding out about things like the national bird, flag, historic places, the population - it gave the kids a chance to educate themselves on these countries. So, even though they haven’t physically been there, they have all the knowledge.” Many of the parents and students had relatives or were directly affiliated with some of the countries on display, said Mrs. Knowles - pointing out the Canada table hosted by a family of Canada and Current mix. A Bahamian table was also in the mix with down home goodies. The Japan table featured the popular ‘sushi’ dish. There was also coffee from Colombia, and Indian curry, spicing up the morning. Mrs. Knowles added, “The kids I think really enjoyed it, and the parents as well - it gave the parents and the children

a reason to work together at home, instead of just writing, or listening to somebody speak - they were actually able to get involved.” Along with the country table displays, highlights during the morning’s International Carnival included a flag parade featuring the countries on showcase, and cultural dances from the country of Haiti. Upper school teacher, Courtney

Above, below and on facing page: The Children’s Place in Spanish Wells brings the colours and flavours from countries around the world to the local ballfield in the township, where students showcase cultural dances, foods and cultural items, along with presented research information on highlighted countries in an enjoyable and informative ‘International Carnival’. A parade of flags highlights the morning event.



Kemp, who joined The Children’s Place school in September of 2020 lauded the Montessori based curriculum used by the school, as well as its’ ethos, saying, “I love it here, I love it in Spanish Wells, I love it at the Children’s Place. They really do put the child first, and it’s evident in the way that all of the staff treats the kids with anything they need from educational to physical and emotional, and mental needs - they put them first and that’s their top priority.”

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March/April, 2021

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Reflects on an Unprecedented Year and an Optimistic Future (One year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Tourism moves steadily towards a rebound) NASSAU, Bahamas, March 24, 2021 – After enduring one of the most challenging years in history, which devastated The Bahamas’ vital tourism industry and resulted in an unprecedented financial deficit, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation remains unwavering in its commitment to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and help the country move forward to brighter, more prosperous days. While this past year has shaken the tourism economy to its very core, a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan and streamlined travel protocols have enabled The Bahamas to rebuild traveler confidence that a seamless and safe vacation is within reach. Nimble marketing and digital initiatives allowed the destination to remain competitive, even within a new virtual landscape, and efforts have led to an average of over 2,000 travel applications a day, a number that is steadily increasing. With vaccine distribution ramping up both in The Bahamas and abroad, major hotel reopenings and the return of cruising in The Bahamas on the horizon, there is steadfast optimism that the country will once again achieve recordbreaking tourism levels. Several key factors are contributing to the destination’s collective commitment to safety and a successful return of tourism: Tourism Recovery and Readiness Plan: The country pivoted quickly to adapt to the new normal, engaging 30 sub-committees and over 150 contributors to thoroughly prepare to protect residents and welcome back visitors safely. Through compliance workshops, over 10,000 tourism professionals were trained in COVID-19 health protocols over the course of three days. To date, the vast majority of the Bahamian hospitality sector, upwards of 40,000 participants including hotel staff, cab drivers, tour operators and more —have been trained and are adhering to the new streamlined protocols. These protocols continue to be enforced through the Clean & Pristine Certification program, ensuring all entities are following the government mandated health and safety guidelines. Streamlined Health Visa and Entry Protocols: The Bahamas developed a system that would assist in the return to travel in as safe a manner as possible. The Health Visa platform was brought to market quickly and continues to turn around speedy approvals - often in as little as six hours. The proof of this effort is in the numbers as we continue to see increase in travel applications. For the past four months, the Ministry has received over 125,000 travel applications from both visitors and returning residents and since the New Year, is currently averaging over 2,000 applications each day -- and growing. Pre-arrival PCR testing, fifth day rapid test requirements and daily online health questionnaires allow visitors and residents to enjoy the

MOT: A couple enjoys the stunning beauty along a shore in The Exumas. country more freely without the need to quarantine, and with vital peace of mind that all proper precaution is being taken. COVID-19 Case Management: With strategic testing, literal case-by-case island restrictions and Health Visa requirements, the country was able to reopen its borders to tourists. Typically, the number of positive cases is less than 5% of those tested as case numbers to date remain low. This is not only due to the implemented protocols, but also to the vigilance of Bahamians who embraced the new normal to minimize spread and keep one another safe – contributing to the imperative containment of the virus throughout the islands. Going Virtual: Virtual consumer trade shows allowed The Bahamas to maintain high visibility and promote increased stakeholder engagement at key events like the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and World Travel Market, while hosting a number of owned virtual experiences such as the Virtual Diving Pavilion and “From The Bahamas With Love” Virtual Romance Expo. These experiences allowed The Bahamas to not only grow databases and maintain competitive edge and awareness, but also created more personalized opportunities to connect with clients. Industry Accolades: In recognition of these efforts, The Bahamas received the “Innovative Destination of the Year” award in the Caribbean Journal’s 7th annual Travel Awards for continued flexibility throughout the pandemic and for setting a regional standard for destination entry practices. The Bahamas has also received a “SafeTravels” stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council, which acknowledges the governments and companies that have implemented global standardized protocols for health and hygiene.

“These efforts have set the destination up for success as we move forward. The comprehensive COVID-19 response has reassured future visitors that they can enjoy their time throughout our islands with the peace of mind that the health and safety of visitors and residents has been and will continue to remain the top priority,” said the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism & Aviation. The Bahamas is uniquely positioned as travelers look to book vacations given the country’s close proximity to the U.S., outdoor activities readily at their fingertips like fishing, boating, diving and a vast number of secluded beaches and Family Island offerings perfect for a socially distant escape. As cases decline and more people become vaccinated, we are seeing COVID-19 slowly begin to loosen its grip on the world tourism industry. In order to bring back tourism, staying the course will remain important as current protocols continue to prove successful in minimizing the spread and instilling traveler confidence. While vaccines bring a dose of hope and protection, precautions need to remain in place as experts urge vaccines provide a high amount of protection against contracting the virus and/or developing life-threatening symptoms. There is simply not enough data to date around the ability to protect the transition of COVID-19 to others who might not yet be vaccinated. While the past year has been one of the most challenging yet, the country has overcome similar challenges before – and will do so again. The Ministry is confident if case numbers remain low, and the population gets vaccinated, we will welcome more visitors and income and employment from tourism, and will bounce back to record 2019 levels.

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WMO Hurricane Committee retires some tropical cyclone names and ends the use of Greek alphabet

Geneva, 17 March 2021 - The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) Hurricane Committee has retired Dorian (2019) and Laura, Eta and Iota (2020) from the rotating lists of Atlantic tropical cyclone names because of the death and destruction they caused. It also decided that the Greek alphabet will not be used in future because it creates a distraction from the communication of hazard and storm warnings and is potentially confusing. The Hurricane Committee, which serves North America, Central America and the Caribbean (WMO Regional Association IV), agreed to the changes in its naming convention at its virtual session from 15 to 17 March. The meeting reviewed the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic season and fine-tuned preparations for 2021, including the provision of forecasts and warnings, as well as impact assessments, for wind, storm surge and flooding hazards. Members of the Hurricane Committee, who are from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services throughout the region, discussed the formation of named storms prior to the official start of the hurricane season on 1 June. But the committee agreed that there will be no changes to the official start date of the Atlantic hurricane season in 2021. The 2020 season got off to an early and rapid start with a record nine named storms from May through July. It ended late, with two major hurricanes in November for the first time on record and at a time when the season is normally winding down. The season was so active that WMO’s 21-name rotating list was exhausted and the Greek alphabet was used for only the second time (the first time was in 2005). “The RA-IV Hurricane Committee’s work is critical to keep our nations

coordinated well before the next storm threatens”, said Ken Graham, Hurricane Committee Chair and National Hurricane Center Director. “Hurricanes don’t care about international boundaries. We all face similar dangers from tropical systems. Impacts from a single storm can affect multiple countries, so it is critical we have a plan, coordinate our efforts, and share challenges and best practices”. Although the naming convention is only a small part of the Hurricane Committee’s life-saving work, it attracts the most public attention. Atlantic tropical cyclone name lists repeat every six years unless a storm is so deadly or costly that its name is retired from future lists. In total,93 names have now been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named under the current system. The Hurricane Committee agreed on the retirement of names from 2020, along with 2019, because this was not on the agenda of last year’s Hurricane Committee due to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis. “Developing countries and small islands in the Caribbean and Central America are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones, which can overturn years of socio-economic development in a matter of hours. In 2020, we saw this once again with tragic effect,” says Evan Thompson, President of WMO’s Regional Association for North America, Central America and the Caribbean. “We cannot prevent this incredible force of nature, but we do have the power to minimize the loss of life and property through cutting-edge forecasts and warnings and strong regional coordination and cooperation,” said Mr. Thompson, who head’s Jamaica’s national meteorological service.

2019 - Dorian Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) and the strongest hurricane to hit the northwestern Bahamas in modern records. Dorian caused catastrophic damage mainly in Abaco and eastern Grand Bahama Islands with total damage estimated at $3.4 billion (USD). More than 75 percent of all homes on the island were damaged. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), an agency which the government of the Bahamas asked to conduct a study following Dorian’s trail of destruction, stated that the hurricane left 29,500 people homeless and/or jobless. Dexter will replace Dorian on the list of names in 2025. 2020 - Laura Laura was a powerful category 4 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, accompanied by a devastating storm surge of at least 5 meters (17 feet) above ground level. It was responsible for 47 direct deaths in the United States and Hispaniola, and more than $19 billion in damage. Leah will replace Laura on the list of names in 2026. 2020 - Eta & Iota Hurricanes Eta and Iota both made landfall less than two weeks apart during November 2020 in the same area of the Nicaraguan coast just south of Puerto Cabezas. The two powerful tropical cyclones caused extensive flooding in Nicaragua, Honduras and other adjacent Central American countries, resulting in at least 272 fatalities and damage losses of more than $9 billion. Greek Alphabet The annual name list has been exhausted on two occasions during the past 15 years, and it is likely that this will occur again in the future. Hurricane Committee members agreed to create a supplemental list of names A-Z (excluding Q, U, as well as X, Y, and Z on the Atlantic list) that would be used in lieu of the Greek alphabet when the standard list is exhausted in a given season. Names on this list could be retired and replaced, when required. Names beginning with Q, U, X, Y and Z are still not common enough or easily understood in local languages to be slotted into the rotating lists. The 2020 season showed that

there were a number of shortcomings with the use of the Greek alphabet. • There can be too much focus on the use of Greek alphabet names and not the actual impacts from the storm. This can greatly detract from the needed impact and safety messaging. • There is confusion with some Greek alphabet names when they are translated into other languages used within the Region. • The pronunciation of several of the Greek letters (Zeta, Eta, Theta) are similar and occur in succession. In 2020, this resulted in storms with very similar sounding names occurring simultaneously, which led to messaging challenges rather than streamlined and clear communication. • Impacts from Eta and Iota were severe enough that those names have formally retired by the Hurricane Committee. There was no formal plan for retiring Greek names, and the future use of these names would be inappropriate. A supplemental list of Atlantic tropical cyclone names in lieu of using the Greek Alphabet was agreed by the committee. Supplemental list of names of tropical cyclones To be used in the event that regular rotating lists are exhausted and in lieu of the Greek Alphabet Atlantic tropical cyclone names Adria Braylen Caridad Deshawn Emery Foster Gemma Heath Isla Jacobus Kenzie Lucio Makayla Nolan Orlanda Pax Ronin Sophie Tayshaun Viviana Will Source: NOAA/NHC

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March/April, 2021

PAHO Director warns of COVID-19 surge in the Americas As COVAX delivers 2.2 million doses of vaccine and cases rise, particularly in South America, Director describes spread as ‘an active public health emergency.’ Washington, D.C. March 23, 2021 (PAHO) -- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne applauded the arrival of over 2.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines procured through COVAX but warned that the virus is surging dangerously in many countries in the region. COVAX, the global alliance to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, has helped deliver over 2.2 million doses to the region so far, including more than 1 million doses that arrived in hard-hit Brazil on Sunday. More doses are expected to arrive this week in Suriname and Belize, and an additional 1.2 million doses have been procured through COVAX. But “the COVID-19 virus is not receding, nor is the pandemic starting to go away,” Dr. Etienne warned in her weekly media briefing. “Vaccines are coming but they are still several months away for most people in our region,” she said, urging people to continue to respect public health measures – masks, hand washing, and social distancing – especially during upcoming holidays. “People cannot let down their guard by engaging in close contact with others.” “Although scale-up has begun, we

know it’s not enough,” she continued. “We do not yet have the vaccines we need to protect everyone. It’s what happens when the whole world must rely on too few manufacturers. We must also find ways to share vaccines more equitably among countries.” As the recognized procurement agent for COVAX in Latin America and the Caribbean, PAHO’s Revolving Fund negotiates, purchases, and handles shipment logistics on behalf of the 36 countries participating in COVAX. In the past week, over 1.2 million people were infected with COVID-19 in the Americas, more than during the previous week, while 31,272 people died of the virus, Dr. Etienne reported. The pandemic is particularly dire in South America, where infection is reported to be spiking in Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. “In Paraguay, a majority of ICU beds are occupied, and the health system is buckling under the pressure,” Dr. Etienne said. “The virus continues to surge dangerously across Brazil,” she continued. “Cases and deaths are increasing, and ICU bed occupancy is very high in many states.” In neighboring Venezuela, infection is on the rise, particularly in the border states of Bolivar and Amazonas. Bolivia has reported an increase in cases in the Pando department, while “ICU bed occupancy remains very high in Loreto, Peru.” The pandemic is accelerating else-

where in the Americas, including Guatemala, where increasing cases and hospitalizations are “straining hospital bed capacity due to the influx of patients,” Dr. Etienne said. In the Caribbean, cases are increasing in Cuba, Aruba, Curacao, and Antigua and Barbuda, she said. In Jamaica, cases have risen steadily for several weeks. In Canada, Ontario state has reported increased cases in the last two weeks while the U.S. states of Minnesota and West Virginia have reported rising deaths. “What I’ve just described is an active public health emergency,” Dr. Etienne said. “As the virus surges and hospitalizations rise,” she continued, “we urgently need to scale up vaccination among our most vulnerable populations.” Over 155.8 million doses of the vaccine, including the COVAX deliveries, have been rolled out in the Americas, and in the Caribbean and Latin America, immunization campaigns are underway in 33 of the 35 countries that are members of PAHO. PAHO is assisting the two countries, Haiti and Cuba, that have yet to start immunization. “The doses that were delivered are helping us start to protect health workers and other vulnerable communities, and we expect more doses to arrive every week,” Dr. Etienne said, reporting that acceptance of vaccines has been high. “These WHO-approved vaccines are safe, and they work,” she said. “When it’s your turn, don’t hesitate. Get vaccinated.”

Pointing out the Americas’ long history of successful immunization against polio, measles, flu, and yellow fever, she said, “once our supply increases, there is not another region in the world better prepared to deliver vaccines swiftly and safely.” “Our health workers have special expertise driving large-scale vaccination campaigns that cover diverse geographies.” “PAHO has been providing training and technical support to countries so they have stronger capacity to track adverse events, which will be critical as new vaccines are developed and introduced into the region,” Dr. Etienne highlighted. “This is a remarkable achievement, and a credit to countries for making vaccination a priority and to health workers for their commitment to keeping our region safe.” She also reminded countries of Tuberculosis Day in March, a global event to raise awareness about the devastating impact of TB and embrace the WHO goal of eliminating the disease by 2050. “We need to uphold our commitments to reduce the burden of TB in our region and around the world,” she said. “If there’s one thing I hope we take from this pandemic, it’s an appreciation for the power of health – and how good health is central to the well-being of societies…. Equal access to good health. That should be our focus. That’s how we end TB. That’s how we beat COVID-19.”

Rock Sound Commercial Dock on Target for May 2021 Completion With a formal completion date of May of 2021, work on the commercial dock within the Rock Sound community has been progressing steadily. The dimensions of the new dock said project manager, Larry Knowles, with subcontractors D&L Construction out of New Providence, are 125 ft by 150 ft, with a 40 ft wide ramp, and concrete and steel construction that will last a

long time, he highlighted. Leroy Sands, a Rock Sound native who has been working with the project since it began during September 2020, commented, “I love it. Working with this dock project has been a real joy for me.” As the commercial dock nears completion, work on the fisherman’s dock in the same township has now ramped up.

Workmen busy completing the final stages of construction at the commercial dock in Rock Sound.

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Educated (Originally published - January 2017)

I was looking out of the window this morning and noting how green and lush the bushes were, and that caused me to think of what we should be growing for ourselves to eat. Our trash cans are full to capacity with the wrappers, bottles and cans that were used to feed, clothe and sustain us; so I pondered the subject of education. When I was in school in the mid – last – century we had a head teacher who taught us to use whatever we had to make what we needed; he was one–of–a–kind. I thought of what is being taught in schools today and wondered just how prepared are the children of today to live in the real world! What are the goals of the schools? There is a lot of fanfare at graduation time, but are those students truly ‘educated’, and if so ‘to what’? What are the essential things that a young man or woman need to be all around successful, and did they get it from school? I am convinced that rather than being educated our students are being cloned and manipulated to follow orders, codes and uniformed, instead of being educated to live and prosper in

this world, especially right here where we live. The Bible instructs parents to ‘Train up a child in the way he should go’. Every child that goes to school is ‘unique’, there is no one test or exam that can determine the potential of a person, NONE! In the Bible we are also instructed to encourage children to question everything, so that we have opportunity to instill in them the reason why things are what they are, and there is a reason for that, we are preparing the next generation to take over from us. When I look at our young children in their well pressed uniforms marching off to school, with their back packs stuffed with books and supplies, and think of what it is our educational system is doing to the next generation of people, it scares me. Instead of teaching them to think and reason, to seek out the purpose for everything; they are being indoctrinated into a system of acceptance, where you take what is because you as an individual does not matter, you are just another spoke in the great wheel. In the book of Proverbs we are urged to seek out wisdom, and to buy knowledge. There is nothing in this world that was created by Jehovah God all Mighty that is simple. All things are intricate and complex, and if our children are to live and be successful they need to be thoroughly

March/April, 2021


informed of how life works for their good. Instead we see year after year our young people being fast tracked on to the ‘Job’ market with no skills and no motivation to become builders and owners of their country. I grew up amid a generation of people who were poorly schooled and most had little or no goals for success. Many of the people I knew achieved very little and died leaving nothing or very little behind. Both of my parents were schooled in the settlement of Governor’s Harbour and never saw a College or University, but they were not satisfied with the meager level of public education of the day; they went on in their own way to educate themselves and became teachers and instructors of others. My mother was a true Proverbs 31 ‘Wife of Noble Character’ who took care of the needs of her family and also reached out to assist others, and while mothering fifteen children she taught us to think independently and to work hard with both our minds and hands. When a people become wholly dependent on a government educational system to prepare their children for life, that generation will stumble and slide, be given over to sports and amusement, suffer from obesity and drunkenness, and will self-destruct. Parents must not commit the unpardonable sin of not teaching their chil-

By: Andrew L. Burrows dren to live in the real world. There is a reason why some people succeed in life, while others fail; it is all a matter of ‘Inheritance’; this generation is responsible for the next one, parents are responsible for their children, and not the other way around. God’s blessings are on the children whose parents take time to ‘train them up in the way they should go’ and not rely on the system.

Cuban Nationals apprehended by USCGC in Bahamian waters & handed over to RBDF Coral Harbour Base, 02 APR. ‘21 (RBDF): Another group of Cuban Nationals were intercepted off Anguilla Cay, Cay Sal Banks by the United States Coast Guard and subsequently handed over to Bahamian authorities. While conducting patrols on Wednesday, March 31, the United States Coast Guard Cutter USCGC CHARLES DAVID JR. discovered and picked up the group of Cuban nationals from Anguilla Cay. They were subsequently handed over to Her Majesty’s Bahamian Ship LEON LIVINGSTON SMITH, under the command of Senior Lieutenant Ricardo McQueen. The Cuban nationals were transported to New Providence arriving Thursday 1 April 2021 and were handed over to the relevant authorities. The Cuban Embassy has since been notified. This is the fourth group of Cubans

to be apprehended in recent months. USCGC Charles Sexton apprehended several Cuban nationals onboard a small wooden sail vessel during the past weekend in the Cay Sal banks. On Wednesday 3 March, six Cuban nationals were taken aboard a US Coast Guard cutter after they were captured on Anguilla Cay, and on Thursday 4 March, HMBS DURWARD KNOWLES spotted a capsized vessel in waters approximately 3 nautical miles south of Cay Sal and retrieved thirteen Cuban nationals, including a deceased male. The foreigners were all handed to the relevant authorities for further investigation.

38 www. EleutheraNews . com

Crime News

March/April, 2021

Select police reports, shared by the RBPF

D/DRUG Reports • On Friday 2nd April 2021 at 4:40pm officers came in at the Governors Harbour Police Station with an Adult male reporting arresting him while on mobile patrol in the area of Pinder’s Lanes, Governor’s Harbour reference to Possession Dangerous Drugs, he was subsequently interviewed and charged with the matter. • On Thursday 1st April 2021 sometime around 6:00 pm Officers while on mobile patrols in the area of Main Street Hatchet Bay had cause to stop and search an adult male whom they suspected of being in possession of Dangerous Drugs. During the search a small quantity of marijuana was discovered, as a result the male was arrested and cautioned reference to Possession of Dangerous Drugs. He was subsequently interviewed and charged with the matter. • On Wednesday 31/03/21, sometime around 11:00pm, Officers while conducting a road check along Bay Street, Harbour Island arrested and cautioned an Adult female, reference to Possession of Dangerous Drugs, namely a quantity of suspected Marijuana which was found in a Brown handbag she carried. She was transported to the Harbour Island Police Station where she was later interviewed and charged with the matter. • At about 11:19 pm on Wednesday 31st March 2021 officers arrested and cautioned an adult female reference to possession of dangerous drugs after she was searched and found to be in possession of a small quantity of suspected marijuana while at Bay Street, Harbour Island. She was later interviewed and charged with that offence. • On Saturday 27th March, 2021, at about 7:05 pm, Officers while on mobile patrols at North Shore Drive Palmetto Point arrested an adult male after he was found in possession of a quantity of suspected marijuana. He was later interviewed and charged with the offence. • On Thursday 25th March, 2021 sometime around 8:02pm, officers while action on intelligence executed a search warrant on the residence of an adult male. During the search officers discovered a quantity of suspected dangerous drugs, as a result they arrested and cautioned this male reference to possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply he was later interviewed and charged with the offence.

• On Saturday 27/03/21 sometime around 12:40am, officers while conducting special patrols in the area of Bay Street, Harbour Island had reason to conducted a search of an adult male suspect and found him in possession of a quantity of suspected marijuana. He was transported to the Harbour Island Police Station where he was later interviewed and charged with that offence. • Sometime around 9:51pm on the 24.3.21 Officers acting on intelligence, executed a search warrant on the residence of an adult male at Cupids Cay, Governor’s Harbour. During the search they discovered a quantity of suspected dangerous drugs. As a result, the suspect was arrested for Possession of Dangerous Drugs with intent to supply he was later interviewed and charged with the offence. • On Wednesday 24th March, 2021 at around 10:55pm officers while at Colebrook Street, Harbour Island had cause to stop and search an adult male reference to dangerous drugs and firearms. During the search, the suspect was found with a quantity of suspected marijuana. As a result, he was arrested, cautioned and later interviewed and charged with that offence. • On Wednesday 24th March, 2021 at around 11:05pm Officers while in the area of Munnings Street Harbour Island had cause to search an adult male reference to Possession of Dangerous Drug. During the search the suspect was found in possession of a quantity of suspected marijuana. As a result, he was arrested and was later interviewed


and charged with that offence. • On Tuesday 23/03/21 sometime around 10:55 pm officers while on special patrol in the area of Colebrook Street, Harbour Island, reported stopping and searching an adult male who acted in a suspicious manner. As a result of the search the officers recovered a quantity of suspected marijuana. He was later transported to the Harbour Island Police Station, where he was later interviewed and charged with the matter. • On Monday 22/3/21 at 11:12pm while at Bay Street, Harbour Island cautioned and arrested an adult male while in the area of Beyond the Reef Night Club reference to possession of dangerous drugs namely Marijuana suspect was later interviewed and charged. • On Tuesday 23/3/21 officers while in the area of Colebrook Street, Harbour Island cautioned and arrested an adult male reference to Possession of Dangerous Drugs namely Marijuana. The suspect was later interviewed and charged with the matter. • On Sunday 21st March, 2021 sometime around 9:10am, officers while at the Public Dock Harbour Island cautioned and arrested an adult male reference to Possession of Dangerous Drugs with the Intent to Supply after he was found in possession of a quantity of suspected marijuana. He was later interviewed and charged with the matter. • On Thursday 18th March 2021 sometime around 1:30pm officers acting on intelligence proceeded to the Public Dock in Harbour Island where the M/V Ba-

Feb - March 2021. hamas Daybreak III was moored offloading freight which had arrived from New Providence. After conducting surveillance, Officers intercepted (10) boxes they suspected contained drugs. Upon inspecting the same Officers found (12) large packages of suspected marijuana, the drugs were transported to Harbour Island Police Station for further investigations. • On Thursday 18th March 2021 at 6:45pm officers acting on intelligence proceeded to an unfinished building located on Chapel Street, Harbour Island where Officers conducted a search of the building and discovered a transparent bag containing a quantity of suspected marijuana. Investigations continue.

Shop Breaking Particulars: On Tuesday 16th March, 2021, sometime around 11:58pm, an adult female contacted the Rock Sound Police Station via phone and reported that she was contacted by a witness near Wemyss Bight Clinic who informed her that an unknown male was seen leaving the Clinic after hours. He had gained entry by damaging a deadlock on the rear eastern door to the Clinic. However, nothing was missing. The suspect was subsequently apprehended and charged with this offence. Attempted House Breaking On 1st April 2021 at 3:30am an Adult female contacted the Governors Harbour Police Station and reported they were awakened by an unknown person attempting to break into their home via the front door. However, he ran upon seeing them. Officers visited the scene investigation are ongoing.

Commissioner’s Commendations

Twenty Eleuthera Division Police Officers during March 2021’s Police Month were awarded with a Commissioner of Police Commendation for demonstrating outstanding performance and making lasting contributions during the 2020 year while serving the Eleuthera community. The Eleuthera Division commendees included: ASP Nigel Rolle, ASP Anthony McCartney, Inspector Kelsey Farquharson, Inspector Julian Newbold, Inspector Jerry Oldham, Inspector Sharico Farquharson, Sergeant 44 Anderson, Sergeant 234 Taylor, Sergeant 241 Leary, Sergeant 1401 Carey, Sergeant 2175 Larrimore, Sergeant 2746 Clarke, Sergeant 28506 Hield, Sergeant 3258 Albury, Corporal 63 Frazier, Corporal 1930 Grant, Corporal 3044 Lockhart, Corporal 3471 McKenzie, Corporal 1311 Brown, and Corporal 3616 Austin.


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Tragic Boating Accident in Harbour Island Takes Three Young Eleuthera Lives A tragic boating accident took place in waters between Harbour Island and Man Island sometime after 9pm on Sunday evening, March 14th 2021, which involved two vessels and eleven (11) people and left two (2) women dead and one (1) man missing at sea. The two young women who lost their lives as a result of the collision were both from the North Eleuthera area – 22 year-old Leanna Cartwright of Gregory Town, and Candice McDonald of Lower Bogue. The body of the young man, Jose ‘Jay’ Roberts Jr., reported as missing on Sunday evening in the boating accident was discovered on Monday morning, March 15th, 2021. Reporting on the police investigation following Sunday’s collision, RBPF Assistant Superintendent Audley Peters, relayed, that in his account of Sunday evening’s deadly incident, the captain of one of the vessels involved - a 28 feet Bertram, which was used as a Ferry Boat - stated to police that he was travelling enroute to Man Island, when he heard and felt a loud bang. The captain continued, saying that he assumed his vessel had hit a rock, but later realized that it had col-

lided with a 17ft Boston Whaler. The passengers of the Boston Whaler were said to have been ejected from their vessel and into the water. Officers from the Harbour Island Police Station, according to Peters, led a search and rescue party to the scene of the accident, and investigations determined that eight (8) people were on board the Boston Whaler, and three (3) people on the Bertram vessel. The captain and two passengers on board the Bertram were all accounted for. However, of the eight (8) people that were on board the Boston Whaler, ASP Peters reported that the rescue team found seven (7) people - two (2) of whom were females who were pronounced dead at the Harbour Island Clinic, another two (2) females were airlifted to New Providence for medical treatment, also one (1) male and two (2) females were treated at the Harbour Island Clinic and discharged. He further informed that following Police investigations, the matter will be forwarded to the Coroner for a Coroner’s Inquest. On Friday, March 19th, 2021 the two captains of the vessels involved, namely, Marvin Minnis Jr. (the captain of the 28 ft. Bertram)

and Renaldo Grant (captain of the 17 ft Boston Whaler), from Harbour Island were arraigned in court in New Providence, both charged with negligent manslaughter in the deaths of McDonald, Cartwright and Roberts. The men were also charged with grievous harm of another two young women on board the Boston Whaler, who were seriously injured in the collision. Mr. Grant who operated the Boston Whaler without a license, was also charged with that offense. Both men were remanded. Grant was later granted bail on successful application by the Supreme Court.

Photo by Donna Decosta

Social media photo

Above: Mr. Jose ‘Jay’ Roberts Jr. & Ms. Leanna Cartwright Left: Ms. Candice McDonald

Social media photo

Snapshot Covid -19

As it was April 5th, 2021

For more information visit

World Data


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March/April, 2021

Celebrating Youth

CEHS installs its Prefects for remaining School term

Senior Mistress, Mrs. Sands does the honours of pinning the new peer leaders. With face-to-face instruction finally returning to classrooms across Eleuthera in February, schools began to get back into the swing of things, despite not being able to participate in a number of regular activities normally held throughout the school year. During the week of March 22nd, the Central Eleuthera High School pinned their chosen student leaders including a Head Boy, Head Girl, Deputy Head Boy and Girl, Prefect Captains, as well as Class Prefects. Sharico Farquharson was selected as Head Boy, with Alia Albury as Head Girl. Medwick Rolle was pinned with responsibility as Deputy Head Boy, and Kyla Sands as Deputy Head Girl. Prefect Captains chosen were, Hance Deal and Kiante Davis. The following students were then pinned as Class Prefects from grades 11 and 12; Andreon Gardiner, Don-Alex Alcime, Mya Rolle, Neva Dorvilus, Kamesha Carey, Bithiah Rahming, Ricardo Belle, Torii Knowles, Wallace Sineus, Savannah Munroe, Vonzell Fox, Jahzarah Taylor, Sereneld Meme and Alyssa Rolle. A number of parents were present during the mornings’ pinning ceremonies (held on Monday and Tuesday - to accommodate the hybrid model’s on campus student rotation schedule) to celebrate their children’s achievement, and recognition as peer leaders.

Head Girl, Alia Albury with her Mom.

Student leaders taking the Prefect’s Oath.

Prefect, Andreon Gardiner with his proud Mom.

Head Boy, Sharico Farquharson with his Mom.

Deputy Head Girl, Kyla Sands with her Mom.



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The Eleutheran


PM tables Resolution for

establishing a community in West New Providence for young Bahamians

(The resolution – a measure by the government to address the growing problem in Bahamian society of young people facing shrinking access to affordable land – includes lots for $40,000, customs duty waivers on building materials and appliances and tax waivers.) Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis tabled a resolution for the development of an upscale community in western New Providence that will offer lots for $40,000$50,000 to 18-45-year-olds. The development is part of the Government’s effort to increase access to affordable housing and prioritize and support young Bahamians, said Prime Minister Minnis on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021 while tabling the resolution in the House of As-

PM Hubert Minnis. sembly. “When we came into office, we made a commitment that every Bahamian would have the opportunity to participate in what we then termed the Bahamian Dream,” said the Prime Minister. The lots, valued at $150,000 each, will be available for purchase at a cost of $50,000 for multi-family lots, and $40,000 for single-family lots, said the Prime Minister. The first area identified consists of 83-acres in the vicinity of the Baha Mar resort and will incorporate walking paths, a community center and a swimming pool. To maintain low costs for aspiring homeowners, the Government will grant customs duties waivers on all building materials and appliances and stamp

tax, and real property tax for a minimum of two-years post construction, said Prime Minister Minnis. Landowners will also be able to purchase preapproved architectural designs at a cost of $1,000. Construction must be completed within a twoyear time frame to ensure a timely development of the community, said Prime Minister Minnis. The Government has identified two additional parcels of land in Western New Providence, areas in Southern Eleuthera, Exuma, and future development plans throughout the Family Islands. More details of the phased affordable housing plan will be provided in the upcoming Budget Debate.

Selected student leaders for the remainder of the 2020/2021 year at Central Eleuthera High School stand with Principal Galanis, Vice Principal Sweeting and teacher Mrs Knowles.

42 www. EleutheraNews . com

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March/April, 2021

Poster competition winner, Persais Boothe.

Poster Competition Bolsters Message of the Importance of Safety Measures for South Eleuthera Youth Students in South Eleuthera during March 2021 took actions to encourage their peers in school as well as their community members to make it a regular practice to observe health measures for their safety. After face-to-face learning successfully resumed in February for students to continue to receive a quality education amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the students of Deep Creek Primary School, Green Castle Primary, and Wemyss Bight Primary School accepted the challenge to take personal ownership of the safety rules; and found creative ways to encourage the public to do so also.

It all began on February 23rd, 2021, as an initiative by the Guidance Counselor, Ms. Rashida Murray, to encourage students in the three schools to study, and learn their school’s safety rules; and decide which one they wanted to promote in their prospective communities. The students were encouraged to note that some creatures naturally use protective shields against threatening forces and to see that Covid-19 was no different. As a reference point, Ms. Murray likened the turtles’ need for a shield to advocate that ‘the best shield is your facial mask’ to her students. This was the onset of the “Mask On, Poster Up” Challenge. The students were shown a sample poster to inspire and drive their own creative initiatives using their unique talents, skills and wit to promote one chosen safety rule of their choice. It did not matter if the poster was hand-drawn or printed, or if a person from the community assisted in providing materials, but the conceptualized idea had to be originally their very own. Persais Boothe, a 5th Grade female student at the Wemyss Bight primary school emerged as the selected winner among the many bright ideas. She decided to appeal to the wisdom of the owl’s character in nature and advocated for us all to… “Be wise, wash your hands and sanitize.” Mrs. Murray extended congratulations to Persais for inspiring everyone. After she was informed of her win, Persais explained, “Since Corona is around, I just wanted to encourage everyone. It’s teaching you how to wash your hands, be safe and stay six feet away. Since school is open I wanted to do this to help everybody to know that you always have to wash your hands no matter what and every time when you eat; wash your hands!” She also specially thanked her parents, Stephanie Boothe and Javon Richards, and her Aunt Angie for supporting her with her

school work and her creative projects. Ms. Murray commented that both the District Superintendent for the Ministry of Education, Mr. Michael Culmer as well as the Principal of Wemyss Bight Primary School, Ms. Katrina McKinney, were very pleased with the clever message of the young 5th grader. Principal McKinney further commented that she was very pleased with the student body’s compliance with all the safety rules on campus, adding that they have been doing an excellent job observing the new protocols since returning to the school environment.

Poster competition winner, Persais Boothe stands with Guidance Counsellor, Rashida Murray, showcasing the winning poster.


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Broadway in briland

that support them, and we’ve got to work together... We follow protocols, space people out, do things outside - whatever we have to do. Life has to keep going, and our children need these types of things, these types of memories in their life. That’s what I think.” Ithalia Johnson, local musician and performer in Harbour Island, as well as a parent and Co-Musical Director for the show, expressed her appreciation for how everything had come together, “It was so worth it, and the children loved it. Everything worked because teams worked together.” She echoed Simmons’ sentiment of the Green School’s ethos of being a community of teachers, parents and students, working together to make each of their goals happen. The Cast of student actors and actresses included: Jacob Elison as young Simba, Geyon Mullings - adult Simba, Ariel Percentie - young Nala, Kelis Johnson - adult Nala, Ava Charles - Mufasa, Akeelah Sawyer - Sarabi, Coco Fitzek - Scar, Geneva Elison - Zazu, Aisha Percentie - Rafiki, Aria Simmons - Kiki, Lalah Bastian - Tiki, Jeremy Davis - Makiki, Michael Johnson Jr. - Banzai, Danejo Murray - Shenzi, Nyeema Brown - Ed, Makayla Johnson - Timon, and Aria Simmons as Pumba. Younger students also played their parts as groups making up the jungle scenery, birds and lionesses, bumble bees, antelope, alligators, gazelles, zebras and parrots. The production coordinator was Johnathan Kelly, with Yanni Giannakopoulos, and Ithalia Johnson - the musical directors for the show. Choreographers were Lana Barry-Cash and Cielo Molinaro, with Anne Salt as the costume director, and Travis Dean on lighting. Ben Simmons and Little Island Design were responsible for the set design and William Simmons was the creative consultant. Volunteers included Jamie Leonard, Pip Simmons, Lulu Murray, Tiffany Lighbourne, and Shantina Munnings. Associate Producers were Allie Evered, Kaitlin Lederer, Laura Lowe, Naomi Doerge, Savannah Cambridge, Octavia Rolle, and Shemiar Saunders. Special thanks were also given to costumers and puppet masters, including: Paul King, Jaimie and Pam Hanson, Antony Beck, Martine Head, Jenny Dyer, Judith and Peter Stanton, Steven Cartwright, Natasha Sheperd, Kate Brown, Dake Gonzales, Chris Prapha, Noreen and Mark, Vicky Parmetier, Linda Griffin, India Hicks, Terrence Davis, Willie Miller, all Parents of the school, and community volunteers. Right: Students at the Harbour Island Green School participate in a stage production of The Lion King Jr. with vibrant costuming and colourful dance and song.

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44 www. EleutheraNews . com

Government Moving Forward with Efforts to Expand Passport Services Throughout the Islands, Eleuthera Next? The government is moving forward in its efforts to provide and extend passport services and facilities in the country. During his contribution to the mid-year budget communications on Wednesday, 10th March, Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield said that the online portal has been a success. He also said that the government is expanding services for Family Islanders with the opening of several passport offices on a few of the larger islands. “I am pleased to report that our online services at the Passport Office has not only eliminated the debilitating and long lines at the Oakes Field Headquarters, but has also essentially nullified the impact of the Pandemic upon the delivery of Passports to Bahamians,” said Mr. Henfield. “I wish also to commend the managers and staff of both the Passport Office for their commitment to duty and the Bahamian people, as a core team remained on duty throughout the three-month emergency lockdown period to ensure that our online services continued unabated.” He said that in December 2020, an additional feature was added to the online platform, which now allows for the renewal of E-passports for minors between the ages of 15-17 years. He noted that for the period of 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021, the Passport office generated revenue amounting to six hundred and fifteen thousand, two hundred and fifty-five dollars (BSD 615,255).” Further, he stated that the government has embarked on an aggressive mission to

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March/April, 2021

PM opens new passport office in Inagua on Friday, March 12th, 2021.

open up passport offices on several islands to boost services throughout the country. “As an Island Boy, I am very pleased and gratified that on 12th February past, the Prime Minister officially opened a passport office in Exuma, allowing Exumians to stay at home and receive their Passports, resulting in tremendous savings to these families,” he said. “This is the first of several offices slated to be opened in other Family Islands in very short order.” On Friday, 12th March, the Prime Minister, along with Minister Henfield officially opened the Matthew Town, Inagua, Passport Office. Another office was opened in Clarence Town, Long Island on Thursday, March 18th. “Mr. Speaker, that will only leave the Eleuthera office to be opened in the coming

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Observes 41 Years As Official Entity Defence Headquarters, 31 MAR. ‘21 (RBDF): On March 31st, 1980, an act of Parliament was tabled by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Lynden Pindling, laying the framework for a Defence Force that will patrol and defend the territorial integrity of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Thus, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force became an official entity. The mandates of the organization include, but are P45 not limited to: Providing assistance in

weeks,” explained the Minister. “It is this government’s desire to further the decentralization of passport services by making Passports readily available and accessible to our brothers and sisters in the Family of Islands scattered across this archipelago of ours. More importantly, immediate access to passport services on our Family Islands significantly reduces and in many cases eliminates the costs and burdens associated with travel to New Providence to access such service.” Source: Bahamas Information Services Written By Betty Vedrine


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travel requirements

Eleu & Briland VID-19 Pandemic) (Risk Management) (No.4) (Amendment) (No. 10) Order, 2021, persons traveling from Harbour Island and Eleuthera will now be required to undergo a RTPCR COVID-19 test in order to obtain a travel health visa. The requirement is effective Thursday, April 1st, 2021 and applies to persons older than 10 years of age traveling from Harbour Island and Eleuthera, to other parts of The Bahamas. This does not apply to travel between mainland Eleuthera and its surrounding islands and cays. Travelers from Eleuthera and Harbour Island will also now be required to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on the fifth day after arrival to their destination within The Bahamas and submit the results to the Ministry of Health online via the health travel website. The inter-island testing requirements are expected to be eased with the acceleration of the

COVID-19 vaccination roll out. To read the complete Order please visit” North Eleuthera’s Office of the Administrator, posted the following advice to travelers shortly after the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office was released: “RTPCR Testing informationNorth Eleuthera District If you received a PCR prior to visiting Eleuthera from another island, your result is good for 5 days. If you are returning to your island of origin during that 5 day window, you do not need a new test. If you stay past the 5 day window, you must have a rapid test on day 5 and a PCR prior to returning to your island of origin. Persons traveling from Eleuthera direct to the USA must have a rapid test which is a part of the USA Government’s requirements.”

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times of disaster; maintaining order in conjunction with the law enforcement agencies of The Bahamas; assisting with search and rescue; and maintaining navigational aids. In its short history, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has seen eight Commanders Defence Force, who have all played integral roles in moving the organization through formation, capacity building, pioneering, infrastructural upgrade and expansion, reconditioning refocusing, welfare and organizational development, and operational transformation to high level of efficiencies and responsiveness and a vibrant multimissioned force that stands shoulder to shoulder with its international counterparts. In more recent times, after the passage of the destructive Hurricane Dorian in 2019, RBDF personnel were deployed to Abaco and Grand Bahama to assist in the aftermath, and later in the security and recovery efforts on those islands. Additionally, during the current global pandemic, the organization’s duties have also included, curfew enforcement, National COVID

taskings, security operations, sentry detail at the National Vaccine Laboratory, law enforcement/civil authority support, and border protection. Forty-one years later, with Commodore Dr. Raymond King at the helm, the organization is steady on the pursuit of excellence, focused on organizational decentralization, agility, transformation, and sustainment. The Officers and Marines continue to guard and protect over 7,000 square feet of territorial waters, exclusive economic zones, archipelagic baselines, and a purported 2,222 islands, cays, and rocks. The organization salutes the men and women who have helped establish the mainframe for a successful entity, and congratulates those who continue to perform their duties in “The Pursuit of Excellence in Guarding our Heritage”. Caption: Captain Derek Matthews, Captain Coral Harbour leading Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling on tour of the Defence Force Base, which served as the Coral Harbour Resort and Marina that had been closed since 1971. In the background is HMBS FLAMINGO.

The Government Develops Electronic Payment Platform for Cashless Transactions By Llonella Gilbert NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Government has developed an electronic payment platform for cashless transactions across all government agencies. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Sen. the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson explained that the Government’s official DigiPay platform allows for real time integration into The Treasury Financial Management System and ease of balancing at an Agency level. “The DigiPay Platform has allowed for collection of government revenue by debit and credit card in agencies and online. As the Central Bank rolls out the country’s first Digital currency The DigiPay platform will allow for acceptance of Sand Dollars across government for payment of government revenue,” Sen. Thompson said during a press conference to announce the Platform being fully integrated into the Courts, Thursday, March 25, 2021.

“As the government streamlines its financial processes Digi Pay’s ability to record revenue in real-time into the Treasury Financial Management System increases accountability and transparency in reporting of government revenue. DigiPay’s ability to record transactions in the accounting ledger of The Bahamas Government facilitates ease of reporting and reconciliation to align government revenue streams with best practices.” The Senator stated that however most importantly, for the public and Bahamian citizens, the DigiPay payment platform facilitates ease of doing business where clients have three options of payment for government services. Online payments, Payments in Agency or Payment at a third party vendor. He said long lines for obtaining government services are being eliminated by DigiPay’s flexibility with payment options. It seeks to make doing business with the government faster and easier.

Sen. Thompson noted that as the economy continues to rebound revenue collection is a critical component for the government. The DigiPay platform and ease of payment for citizens will allow for increased flow of revenue streams as clients will have less wait times, shorter lines and online payment access. These benefits will encourage citizens to engage in more timely revenue generating services for the government. “Without a doubt, DigiPay is the future of revenue collection for The Bahamas Government! It is another major milestone on our journey towards a digital Bahamas. He said, “Today, we are not only celebrating the launch of DigiPay, we are also recognizing a major accomplishment for The Office of the Judiciary, which has fully integrated the DigiPay platform. This allows the Court system to now accept not only cash payments, as previously required, but also debit or credit card payments, thus improving upon the ease of doing business within the

government. This is only one of a number of digital advancements by the Chief Justice and the Office of the Judiciary. “As Minister with responsibility for Digitization I applaud their modernization efforts including moving quickly to virtual hearings and obtaining court dates and filing documents online.” Sen. Thompson applauded the hard working professionals at the Ministry of Finance and The Office of the Judiciary on the successful implementation of DigiPay. He said, “I am elated to see the third branch of government adopting this innovative solution to expand its payment receipt options. The Department of Immigration was the first institution to go completely cashless via the DigiPay platform in October of last year. Since then, it has seen a steady flow of revenue with over 23,812 payments transacted over the new system as of March 24, 2021.”

46 www. EleutheraNews . com

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March/April, 2021

Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty Grows Sales Team In Key Markets (March 17, 2021) — George Damianos, Chief Executive Officer for Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, and Lana Rademaker, Chief Brokerage Officer, are pleased to announce the addition of three new estate agents: Colleen Carey, who will be based in the Harbour Island office in Eleuthera, Scott Ferguson, who will be based in Treasure Cay, Abaco, and Candis Lakin who will join the sales team in Nassau. “We’ve seen an increase in activity in all markets since travel restrictions began to lift in January,” Rademaker said. “Eleuthera, including Harbour Island and Spanish Wells, has been a particularly active market over the past six months with a strong demand for turnkey beachfront homes and oceanfront estates. We are also very encouraged by the surge of interest in Abaco properties which will contribute to the ongoing rebuilding efforts post-Hurricane Dorian.

Handy Tip! DIY Painting & Purse Making Tips Each month, learn a bit about do-it-yourself painted designs and purse making with valuable tips and expert advice: TIP 8. While you can sew a bag, especially totes and clutch purses with just about any sturdy sewing machine, you may also want to consider using a walking foot attachment. This attachment is handy for sewing smoothly over thick layers or painted surfaces with no resistance.

Formerly a co-owner of Studio Ohana in Nassau, Carey has returned to The Bahamas after spending a period of time in the U.S. “The Harbour Island market is a unique one, even among other luxury markets,” Rademaker said. “It’s an intimate, sophisticated community where discretion and curating long-term relationships are highly valued. Colleen’s natural ability to make deep connections with those around her and her knack for instantly making them feel comfortable make her an excellent fit for this tightknit community. ” Ferguson, also a native Bahamian, has been a longstanding successful member of the Abaco business community for decades taking part in a variety of industries including retail, passenger marine transport and construction/development. “Scott has an extensive personal and professional network and is wellrespected as a businessman throughout The Bahamas,” Rademaker said. “He sincerely enjoys being involved in his community and is extremely focused on helping businesses rebuild and thrive throughout Abaco.” Lakin has spent the past 10 years

cultivating her knowledge of Nassau’s highest-end luxury markets while managing marketing strategy and client relations as an Executive Assistant for company owner and Chief Executive Officer George Damianos and top producer, Nick Damianos. “Candis’ daily interaction with some of our company’s most high-net-worth clients over the years has offered her a unique perspective on our business and the relationships we’ve spent decades nurturing,” Rademaker said. “Her insight into this unique segment of our client base and her extensive understanding of their needs means she’ll hit the ground running as a sales agent. We’re extremely supportive of this new career path she’s chosen.” Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty has been an industry leader since 1945 specializing in the listing, marketing and sale of luxury and waterfront properties. With 11 offices throughout The Bahamas, Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty boasts the most experienced and successful team of real estate professionals, consistently ranking among the top producers in The Bahamas real estate industry.



Author’s Note: Teri M. Bethel is an artist, handbag designer & virtual instructor. Her books and instructional DVDs are available on and in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera., email:

The Department of Marine Resources wishes to advise the general public that the Crawfish Open Season came to a close on the 1st of April 2021 and will reopen on the 1st of August, 2021. During this time the capture of crawfish or any other marine resource with the use of air compressors is prohibited and should not be found onboard any vessel at any time. All crawfish traps must be stored on land and all processors, owner or operator of every hotel, restaurant, supermarket or grocery store who buys or sells crawfish must file a report with the,Department of Marine Resources declaring the quantity in weight of frozen crawfish in their possession at the date of closure. Further note, All trapping permits, and permits authorizing the use of air compressors expires on the 31st of March. Violators will be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 244 Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) and Regulations.


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rough,” smiled Horatio, as he shared, but with his infectious spirit, he continued, “The good thing though is that we made it over, and the thing that helped me so much was perspective positivity - it’s the name of my game. At the end of the day we need more love. Eleuthera is a vacation town, and what do you want when you are on vacation, but happiness, and joy.” “Here at Da Perk, we have this beautiful ocean, and this beautiful view - that’s part of the reason why I bought the shop. It would be a sin for this view to be in the hands of some grumpy person - who wants that,” he grinned with a big smile. Da Perk’s push right now, said Horatio, is geared toward more grab-n-go items and about six months into the pandemic, their open sign, he chuckled, was changed to a note on the door that said, ‘positive vibes only’. “What happened was, people knocked, and they called, and we accommodated them, and we do accommodate people. If we can, we will. That is where I feel the trend for this island is going.”

He also described how his bulk buying went away during 2020, with purchasing taking on a much more local focus - from stores, vendors and farmers on island - and although some bulk buying has resumed, he aims to source as much as 60% of his ingredients and supplies on Eleuthera. Building on the strong relationships and networks cultivated during his time on the island since 2018, Horatio looks to continue to grow and foster partnerships throughout Eleuthera and beyond, “We are also launching a new membership program for ‘The House’ - and have started with events and dinners there, and we are adding a family farm... We are also restructuring our business model to allow people to buy-in to Da Perk.” “At the end of the day, Da Perk,” said Horatio, “isn’t for everybody,” then he clarified, smiling, “I am positive, and I want to have positive people. Positive vibes only...”

Horatio Alexander Smith.

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Pivoting to Adjust

riod on everything that we wanted to do. I consider myself blessed that I was on a rythym in 2018/2019, working hard to do something that was already positive - and that was the vibe we were working on. 2020 stopped it all - not a scrap and throw away stop, but it put a pause on everything, and made me really look at the systems that I had, the systems that I needed to implement, the scalability of the operation, the need in the marketplace for something like this, how secure and financially feasible was it going to be - and I am so happy to report, that it all made sense.” Expressing his awareness of ‘connection’ being brought into sharp focus, he added, “I feel that this Covid experience has proven why

you need to have systems that work all together, supporting each other, and supporting the community. If Eleuthera fails, we all fail. My business is all about showing anybody that comes in, whether they are from Eleuthera, Nassau, or wherever in the world - this is where you get your handshake in Governor’s Harbour where you get your smile, where you get your perk, to be able to go and do what you’ve got to do... In that, here at Da Perk, we are a resource, we provision, we are concierge, and we will book your birthday party.” “People all around the world, we’ve all been through a rough time - 2020 was like a dragon fight, all the way up a hill, down a mountain and into a burning fire - it was


Horatio topping off one of his culinary creations. Article photos provided by Horatio Smith.

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