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More murders happened in The Bahamas in March 2011 than in any other month in the country’s recorded history, according to police statistics.
A total of 16 murders were recorded last month.
According to police statistics, the highest number of murders in one single month previously stood at 12 and before that the record was 11.
As noted by Sergeant Chaswell Hanna of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in his recently published book — “Reducing murders in The Bahamas: A strategic plan based on empirical research” — the previous record of 11 murders was achieved four times: October 2005, December 2006, November 2007 and September 2009.
In January of this yea ...
Although it has been published by Etienne Dupuch Jr. Publications for more than half a century, The Bahamas Handbook always comes up with fascinating and little- known facts about The Bahamas, its people, culture, economy and history.
Now fresh off the press and available in stores throughout The Bahamas, the Handbook for 2012 is no different. At 626 pages, the Handbook is filled with insightful features on The Bahamas, beautiful four-color photographs and rich illustrations that bring the stories to life.
This year, readers will read up on Hobby Horse Hall, a racetrack on Cable Beach that once brought droves of celebrities and royalty to The Bahamas for the fashionable winter season.
Discover how German and Italian U-boats stalked and torpedoed Allied freighters in Bahamian waters during the Second World War, trying to prevent them from carrying war materials to Britain, and how islanders of high station and low helped to rescue and care for the survivors.
Relive the anger and resentment that led to the General Strike of 1957 and how the Bahamian police force was issued with weapons for the first time in history - as seen through the eyes of a gazetted police officer of the day.
Despite decades of heat, humidity and hurricanes on San Salvador, a plantation owner's meticulous diary somehow survived to the present day, giving Handbook readers an unvarnished picture of the high emotions that prevailed among slaves in the early 19th century, on the eve of emancipation.
Ever wondered how Wallace Groves was able to build an entire industrial city in the pine barrens of Grand Bahama in less than 10 years? A Handbook story clears up some of the mystery and explores the techniques he used to build Freeport, as recalled by his contemporaries and closest associates.
As always, The Handbook has a strong section on business and finance. There's a penetrating look into the economy's ability to withstand the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, along with updates on the innovative funds that put The Bahamas ahead of its offshore financial competitors, along with a new look at the country's booming maritime and shipping industries.
In this year's Handbook you'll learn about neem, an ancient healing tree from India that is producing a host of health and beauty products in Abaco; about the strange new creatures that scientists are discovering in the depths of the Tongue of the Ocean, thanks to space-age diving technology; and about the forward-thinking politicians and academics who helped to create The Bahamas' vibrant black middle class.
As well as these articles, The Handbook's authoritative Blue Pages delve into the country's most important vital statistics, providing every-day useful information arranged alphabetically, from art galleries, business and the economy, to free trade, national parks and tax benefits for foreigners.
The Year in Review chronicles the major events of the previous 12 months and the government section includes bios on all members of Parliament, along with top civil servants. All this and much more await readers in The Bahamas Handbook for 2012.
With sections devoted to Features, History, the Family Islands, Business and Freeport, Grand Bahama, this year's Handbook lives up to its reputation as the leading journal about The Bahamas, of interest to everyone who lives in, visits or invests in the country.
oFor more information, promotional copies or to send press releases to the publisher, please contact the editorial dept. at 1-242-323-5665 or e-mail email@example.com.
The governor of The Central Bank of The Bahamas has said she is "unaware of how" a senior economist with RBC Royal Bank calculated a critical statistic and determined Bahamian external reserves are at a "critical" level.
Responding to emailed inquiries sent by Guardian Business in light of comments by Marla Dukharan, RBC group economist for the Caribbean, indicating that The Bahamas' "import cover" levels are the lowest in the region, Central Bank of The Bahamas Governor Wendy Craigg said this is not accurate.
The governor suggested that Dukharan seemed to have failed to take into account the "significant foreign direct investment activity in The Bahamas", which is accompanied by a boost in related imports, such as in the case of Baha Mar.
"We are unaware of how Ms. Dukharan calculated this very important statistic, which the Central Bank monitors on an ongoing basis, along with other key reserve adequacy indicators," said Craigg. "However, one has to be very careful about the use of the import data in the balance of payments statistics to calculate this indicator of reserve adequacy.
"It cannot be ignored that whenever there is significant foreign direct investment activity in The Bahamas, this is accompanied by a corresponding boost in imports utilized in the completion of these projects.
"A current case in point is the Baha Mar project, which has sizeable imports of both goods and services, which are clearly not funded by the country's external reserves, but by foreign resources, which are captured in the capital account.
"As such, one cannot simply take the import figure and use it to calculate the import cover ratio - a point which was acknowledged by the IMF in The Bahamas' 2012 Article IV report.
"When imports were adjusted for these FDI-related transactions, the import reserve cover stood at approximately four months (16 weeks) at end-2012, and we know that projects such as Baha Mar continue to have a major impact on imports throughout 2013."
In a presentation to Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) members on Wednesday on value-added tax (VAT), Dukharan made the case that such tax reform is critical at this juncture for The Bahamas, if the country is to avoid much more painful and possibly externally-imposed adjustments in the future.
She said The Bahamas' level of external reserves equates to just seven weeks of import cover - the lowest in the region and behind "international prudential benchmarks" of 12 weeks. Dukharan linked this "structural current account deficit" to a "primary fiscal deficit" that sees The Bahamas borrowing to pay the interest on existing debt - a situation which she suggested has the possibility to cause Bahamian debt-to-GDP to "spiral" into the zone where it breaches the "debt sustainability" threshold and increased borrowings only cut back on growth.
In her response, Craigg said that while there has "admittedly" been very little rebuilding of Bahamian foreign reserves this year due to weak tourism performance and the impact of the Baha Mar project on reserve levels, the bank takes note of the fact that Baha Mar's domestic benefits "are expected to come at the back-end" and proposed that reserve levels are experiencing a "normal seasonal dip as inventories are being replenished".
"Reserves currently stand at $704.8 million or approximately 14.2 weeks of import cover, and we expect to maintain a comfortable level through the end of the year."
The governor added: "Clearly, these continue to be very challenging times for small economies like The Bahamas, as is also the case for many large economies, where growth conditions remain tepid. Just recently, we had this outlook confirmed by the IMF, which lowered its forecast for a number of economies, The Bahamas included. Despite the dimmer prospects, however, we remain in the positive, although mild, growth zone, which compares favorably with many of our regional counterparts."
MIAMI BEACH, Florida — The $80 billion that Americans spend annually on medical tourism represents an opportunity for offshore financial centers (OFCs) such as The Bahamas, according to an expert in the field.
The market size estimate came from statistics generated by financial services/advisory firm Deloitte, F. Ron Jenkins of the Meridian 361 International Law Group said Wednesday during a presentation at the 9th Annual Offshore Alert Conference in Miami Beach, Florida. He painted a picture of an embattled offshore financial industry, soaring medical costs in countries like the U.S., and a place of opportunity between the two.
“Many of these offshore centers are going throu ...
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes reported that unemployment benefits totalling some $30 million have been disbursed to more than 19,000 Bahamians to date.
While in Grand Bahama on Thursday, Mr Foulkes released statistics and gave an update on the government's Unemployment Benefit and National Prescription and Drug Plan.
Of the 19,738 unemployment claims, 4,153 were from Grand Bahama.
The minister noted that while there are still some economic challenges in Grand Bahama, the economy is doing much better nationally.
He noted that unemployment benefit statistics show a significant decrease of 68 per c ...
The Bahamas welcomed around 5.8 million visitors in 2012, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Tourism, representing a six percent rise over the previous year.
During a press conference at Caribbean Marketplace, a marquee event for the tourism industry across the region, the government pegged air arrivals at just under 1.3 million last year and cruise arrivals at roughly 4.5 million.
David Johnson, the director general at the Ministry of Tourism, answered questions from the international media concerning the rise of the $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort in December 2014.
"Plans with Baha Mar dictate for optimum occupancy. We'll need 500,000 additional seats. A committee has been meeting with airlines to plan that, which includes a combination of larger aircraft and adding new destinations and cities," he said.
While the need for more arrivals has been well documented, Johnson's comments appear to have upped the ante from earlier estimates by Baha Mar officials.
Back in May, former President of Baha Mar Don
Robinson, told Guardian Business that the country needs about 400,000 more seats to sustain all of the tourism players.
Baha Mar is poised to add more than 2,000 new hotel rooms in less than two years.
Johnson said an expected revamp of Bahamasair, the national flag carrier, is also expected to help drive more tourists to the country. At present, the airline has been criticized for not contributing enough to inbound visitors.
When asked if the government will provide a revenue guarantee for international carriers into the country, the director general said: "We will do what is necessary to ensure the economy grows in partnership with the private sector."
A weekly direct flight from Chicago has recently come online from United Airlines, an official with the Ministry of Tourism noted during the press conference. However, Johnson alluded to a "much bigger announcement" with United Airlines in the near future, which will be made in collaboration with government officials.
Turning to the Family Islands, Johnson assured international media that Sandals in Exuma is committed to the destination. The statement follows well-documented concerns on the part of the resort chain on the unsustainable costs of doing business in the Family Islands.
The director general told Guardian Business yesterday that occupancy is up in Exuma and government is working with the resort to ensure it's longevity on the island.
He reported a 30 percent rise in destination weddings in Exuma, which is a key product offering for the Sandals brand. Vacation home visits are also up 45 percent, according to Johnson.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - State Minister of Finance Zhivargo Laing says he is not "delusional" about the uphill climb for the Grand Bahama economy.
The minister served as the opening speaker of this year's Grand Bahama Business Outlook at the Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort. This year's event, he said, comes at a critical time. Laing believes it will be remembered as the turn of the tide for this struggling economy.
He told Guardian Business the island will begin to recover by the fourth quarter of this year, and by early 2013, the unemployment rate should fall below 20 percent.
"I'm not delusional," he said. "Grand Bahama's economy is significantly challenged. I think people do not realize for about 10 years this has been going on. That is the closest to a recession you can get.
"But I remain bullish on the future."
The minister began his speech by looking back over the last 10 years. In May 2002, he said, unemployment stood at 6.4 percent. By 2007 it had risen to 8.8 percent, caused by a lack of significant investment, the impact of hurricanes and in particular the closure of the Royal Oasis Resort.
Of course, next came the recession in 2008. The GBPA was also plagued with ownership and managerial issues at this time and there was limited promotion of the island.
Millions upon millions of dollars in government subsidies, he claimed, "stopped the island's economy from collapsing".
According to the latest numbers from the Department of Statistics, the unemployment rate on the island stands at more than 21 percent. Investment, both foreign and domestic, has remained stagnant and uninspiring.
After acknowledging the past, Laing announced to the crowd that the future holds a different story.
Continued government subsidies to the tune of $17.3 million this year, rising airlift from Bahamasair and "aggressive intentions" from the GBPA "will begin a renaissance of this island", he said.
Last week, Guardian Business reported that Bahamasair plans to inject at least $25 million into the Grand Bahama economy through significantly expanded airlift.
Through an initiative with the Ministry of Tourism, direct service from Baltimore, Raleigh, Louisville, Richmond and Fort Lauderdale will all begin in a matter of weeks.
Bahamasair is investing in new, more efficient planes for its fleet and will enlist a sub-service operator to assist with the service.
According to David Johnson, the director general in the Ministry of Tourism, airfare will be slashed 50 percent and travel time by 70 percent.
"I think we're going to gain serious momentum in the tourism sector as Bahamasair follows with this arrangement," Laing added. "I expect it will create results."
The minister said the "fullness" of the Job Readiness Programme should be felt a little later this year as spending works its way through the system. He told Guardian Business the intention is to improve the economic outlook and generate enthusiasm for those on the island.
Another concern for business interests in Grand Bahama is the future of the shipping industry.
Over recent months, Hutchison Port Holdings has laid off dozens of workers as Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), its sole client, continues to move operations over to Panama.
The booming South American nation has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the region, offering high efficiency, low prices and convenience.
Hutchison Port Holdings owns a significant stake in the Grand Lucayan, which has also experienced major struggles in recent years.
Laing said that with light at the end of the tunnel, stakeholders in Grand Bahama will stay the course.
"The one thing I am confident about is those who made an investment here are interested in protecting it. They have the ability to be creative and innovative," he said. "The government is prepared to do what it can to provide support. I think GB is ready for the turn and things will get better."
Over the past 11 months, police have confiscated 445 guns in The Bahamas, according to statistics released by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Additionally, 6,232 rounds of ammunition have also been confiscated.
Among the firearms that have been seized, there were revolvers, shotguns, pistols, rifles, prohibited firearms and imitation firearms, according to the statistics.
One hundred and ninety-one pistols and 134 shot guns were confiscated.
Pollice Commissioner Ellison Greenslade said ground intelligence led to the discovery of 283 or 63 percent of the guns seized.
Greenslade said the police force is working to improve public participation in that regard.
"If our communities are fully accepting that they should be a part of what we do to help to keep the communities safe, well ring us up and say 'I'm going to tell you where a gun is'," he said.
"The information comes in to us and the majority of the weapons that we recovered have been recovered as a result of community support."
Up to the same time last year, police had seized about 500 weapons.
Police had also recovered more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition.
Last year, the government had a gun amnesty period. During the month-long amnesty 75 guns were turned in.
The amnesty period came as the government introduced mandatory minimum sentences for firearm offenses.
Now anyone convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm or ammunition is imprisoned for a minimum of four years.
Nassau, Bahamas -
Heart disease is the number one killer of persons in The Bahamas and
around the world. According to statistics from The Department of
Statistics over 24% of all deaths in the Bahamas are directly related to
February is celebrated annually as Heart Month. The Sir
Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and The Bahamas Heart
Association want you to get involved.
The Sir Victor Sassoon
(Bahamas) Heart Foundation is a non-profit entity that helps to repair
the hearts of children in The Bahamas. The Heart Ball Committee is the
fundraising arm of The Heart Foundation...
With the noise for the Bahamas to do something about its national debt reaching a crescendo, none of the three major political parties set to contest the 2012 general election inspire much confidence that they will be able to address the situation
Wall Street set the ball rolling. It gathered pace with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And by the time the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had finished, the momentum pushing the Bahamas to immediately deal with its growing national debt pile had become a runaway train.
None of this is surprising to astute observers. A look at the headline statistics shows reason for their concern: A $4.25 billion national debt that contin ...