News Archives

NEMA Readies Country for 2016 Hurricane Season

NEMA Readies Country for 2016 Hurricane Season

Tue, May 31st 2016, 05:56 PM

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, kicked off National Disaster Preparedness Week with a Service of Thanksgiving as it prepares the country for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The service was held Sunday, May 29, at Kemp Road Ministries. Pictured among the congregation are representatives of NEMA: Captain Stephen Russell, Director, NEMA; Glenn Miller, COB; Trevor Basden, Department of Meteorology; and Bradley King, Ministry of Works and Urban Development. (BIS PHOTO/Patrick Hanna)

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) kicked off National Disaster Preparedness Week with a Service of Thanksgiving as it prepares the country for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs June 1 to November 30.

The service was held Sunday, May 29, at Kemp Road Ministries, during which the Hon. Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing, delivered remarks on behalf of the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, who has responsibility for disaster management.

The National Disaster Preparedness Committee is tasked with ensuring that Bahamians and all individuals within our archipelagic nation are made aware of preparedness measures in the event of a hurricane and other hazards, which may affect the lives or livelihood of those within our nation.

The Committee has embraced Comprehensive Disaster Management in seeking to strengthen institutional capacity while embracing the need to mitigate, manage and coordinate response to natural and technological hazards. The Committee is also seeking to inform the community of the scope of disaster management and mitigation, climate change and environmental sustainability, and other related areas.

The National Disaster Preparedness week is May 29 to June 4, 2016, under the theme: “A Comprehensive and Collaborative Approach to Disaster Management for a More Resilient Bahamas.”

Minister Dorsett said: “We also start this week remembering all too well the massive devastation caused by the Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin, which wreaked havoc on the Central and Southeast Bahamas Family Island communities of Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.

“Some eight months later, here we are, recommitting ourselves to restoring to normalcy the lives of hundreds so horribly impacted by that devastating hurricane.”

The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs June 1 to November 30. For the 2016 season, the Colorado State University (CSU) group, now headed by Dr. Phil Klotzbach, is predicting 13 named storms of which 6 are expected to develop into hurricanes of which 2 are expected to become major hurricanes.

The Weather Channel experts are predicting 14 named storms of which 8 will develop into hurricanes and 3 of these hurricanes expected to become major hurricanes.

All of these predictions include the out of season Hurricane Alex that formed in January 2016 and affected the Azores but posed no threat to The Bahamas.

The 2016 named storms are: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie, and Walter.

Captain Stephen Russell, Director, NEMA, addressing The National Emergency Management Agency Service of Thanksgiving kicking off National Disaster Preparedness Week, in preparation for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The service was held Sunday, May 29, at Kemp Road Ministries. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Over the years, NEMA has been relentless in its efforts to ensuring that The Bahamas has the capability and capacity to adequately respond to disasters. Minister Dorsett reiterated, as announced in the 2016/17 National Budget Communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, May 25, delivered by the Prime Minister, the Government’s renewed commitment to make available, resources for the continued objective to building disaster resilient communities.

One of these measures outlined in the Budget is enhanced technology through an upgrading of the Trunking system, which allows for continued communication in catastrophic situations.

To date, the new technology includes a state-of-the-art, multi-agency Smart-Net Integrated Trunking Communication System, which is designed for Public Safety. The system is shared among 18 government agencies and also serves as an emergency communication system for the National Emergency Management Agency.

Another measure is under the Sandy Bottom Project, an estimated $232 million earmarked to equip the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, with state-of-the art vessels to tackle one if its mandates -- disaster management and mitigation.

The HMBS Lignum Vitae and HMBS Lawrence Major have both intercepted and apprehended undocumented migrants and have provided vital assistance in bringing relief to persons affected by Hurricane Joaquin in the Family Islands.

The Hon. Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Housing and the Environment, addressing The National Emergency Management Agency Service of Thanksgiving kicking off National Disaster Preparedness Week in preparation for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The service was held Sunday, May 29, at Kemp Road Ministries. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

“I wish to extend my profound thanks and gratitude to the Pastors, Deacons and members of the Kemp Road Ministries for affording us the opportunity to come together in this beautiful edifice to thank and glorify the Lord for all that He has done for this country and for all of us as a whole.

“I wish also to publicly thank and give recognition to Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell, his staff and members of the National Disaster Preparedness Consultative Committee for their stellar performances and commitment in assisting to keep The Bahamas safe,” Mr. Dorsett said.

He also thanked such organizations such as Head/Knowles, Arawak Port Development, the Red Cross, USAID/ODFA, PAHO and many others for rendering assistance to the hurricane victims.

By Lindsay Thompson, Bahamas Information Services

Butler-Turner: Party is not as strong as it should be

Butler-Turner: Party is not as strong as it should be

Tue, May 31st 2016, 05:37 PM

Loretta Butler-Turner

LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner admitted yesterday that the Free National Movement is “not as strong as it should be so close to the next general election” but said she hopes an early convention can bring “unity”.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mrs. Butler-Turner said “thousands” of persons are depending on the FNM to take them out of the hands of a failing PLP government, but the party’s internal issues may be causing some persons to doubt the Official Opposition.

Going into the next convention, Mrs. Butler-Turner said she hopes members vote based on “what is good for the party” and not based on “personality”.

“The party, the FNM is not as strong as it should be less than a year out of the general election. All we are requesting is that Dr. Minnis as a good leader move the convention date up so that the party can heal, regroup and unify and be strong,” Mrs. Butler Turner said.

“No one is trying to get rid of Dr. Minnis - maybe Dr. Minnis may need a new mandate, maybe we need to regroup. We need to look at how we are going to make this party stronger. If Dr. Minnis goes into the convention and prevails then maybe he should surround himself with those who he feels can make him stronger because he hasn’t been able to unify the party thus far. At the last convention they said it was me. I ran, I lost and I moved out of the way but the party still hasn’t gotten to the point where we are gaining traction.”

Mrs. Butler-Turner said no one in the party is discussing challenging FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis for his post until he announces a new convention date.

At the party’s last convention in November 2014, Mrs. Butler-Turner was unsuccessful in her bid to unseat the Killarney MP.

Last week, The Tribune reported that the majority of the FNM’s parliamentary team threatened to petition Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling to have Dr. Minnis removed as leader of the Official Opposition unless an earlier convention was held.

This latest effort from the parliamentary team has the support of six of the opposition’s 10 MPs, The Tribune understands.

This includes St. Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly, Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, Mrs. Butler-Turner and Dr. Andre Rollins.

Last year, it was reported that a group of FNM MPs had drafted a letter to the governor general to have Dr. Minnis removed, however that letter was never sent.

If such action were successful, Dr. Minnis would still remain leader of the FNM.

Earlier this year, the FNM announced it would hold a convention in November.

By Sancheska Brown, Tribune Staff Reporter

A New Queen is Crowned Miss Teen Bahamas International

A New Queen is Crowned Miss Teen Bahamas International

Tue, May 31st 2016, 04:42 PM

2016 Miss Teen Bahamas International, Ariannah Wells-Bain

The Bahamas has a new teen Queen. Ariannah Wells-Bain was crowned Miss Teen Bahamas International (MTBI) Sunday night after impressing the crowd with her unshakeable stage presence and unmatched wit.

Ariannah made a lasting impression on the judges and the audience with her short stature and unique - for local pageantry - Rastafarian background. The high school student, whose platform was “Overcoming Discrimination”, walked away with a handful of trophies and a scholarship to Liberty University worth $90,000.

“I am absolutely thrilled, exhilarated and excited, I can’t wait to begin my reign” said Ariannah.  “I am humbled by the faith all of the judges had in me, and i’m already excited to represent my country, myself and God. It honestly feels as though my soul has prospered through the 12-week programme. Everything that Mr. Smith has done for me, it’s astounding.”

Runner-up, Lezlia Jones, received a $30,000 scholarship to Liberty University, and second place winner Marechan Burrows received $20,000. All of the other young ladies also received partial scholarships.

Anthony Smith, MTBI’s National Director, said the academic partnership with Liberty University has added a priceless component to the pageant. Not only has MTBI become an enrichment programme that teaches the young ladies makeup application, self-defense, counseling, fitness, communication, videography - and more - but, it has now become an important gateway to tertiary education for the young ladies.

“MTBI attracts a specific type of lady,” said Mr. Smith. “Some of these young women were already leaders in their schools and communities, and some of the others chose the enrichment programme because they want to become leaders.

“So, what’s unique about this year is this academic partnership with Liberty University, which has given us scholarships that are retroactive to our 2014 and 2015 pageant contestants. This Says a lot about the impression we’ve made on them with this enrichment programme.”

Ariannah said the scholarship to Liberty University has eased at least one worry for her family.

“That’s the most exciting part,” she said. “I’ve taken such a burden off my mother. It's incredible for me to know I was able to help with my own education. She is happy, and that makes me happy.”

The field of 18 young women was an impressive mix of public school, private school and college students. The talent and brilliance of each of the ladies gave the judges a tough two days of scoring. The private judges’ interview accounted for 40 percent of the overall score for each contestant, while evening gown, fitness, and fashion couture each accounted for 20 percent.

“This year was exceptional. A lot of the young ladies who participated in this year’s pageant demonstrated their capacity for research and retention of information on their various platforms,” said Mr. Smith. “They were all very prepared to perform on pageant night, and it was a difficult decision the judges had to make. All the young ladies came highly qualified, and all were very impressive.”

Ariannah will go on to represent The Bahamas in Jacksonville, Florida this summer at the Miss Teen International competition; meanwhile, Lezlia will represent The Bahamas at Miss Teenager Universe in Guatemala. Marechan, and special category winners Duranique Minus and Ashley Thompson, will represent The Bahamas at Miss World’s Perfect Jr. Teen.

“I’m most looking forward to sharing my platform on an international level,” said Ariannah. “Now that I have the opportunity to take it to an international arena, it will be so exciting to share my knowledge, and gain knowledge from other people.”

By Chester Robards

Record warm ocean temperatures kill large portion of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef

Tue, May 31st 2016, 03:38 PM

In March, coral reef scientists first raised the alarm about the third-ever global coral bleaching event reaching the iconic Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Now, following detailed surveys of 84 of those coral reefs, researchers say mass bleaching due to record warm ocean temperatures has killed 35% of corals on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef, while southern areas have seen much lighter damage.

The Great Barrier Reef is listed as a World Heritage Site and is a major tourist draw to Australia. The Australian government is extraordinarily sensitive about the ongoing bleaching, having lobbied to take the reef out of a recent report on the effects of climate change on World Heritage sites.

For this survevy, researchers from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies took to the air and sea to determine the health of corals that comprise the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for 2,300 kilometers, or 1,430 miles, from the northeastern tip of Queensland south to Townsville.

The same reef in American Samoa before, during, and after a coral bleaching event. (Image: XL Catlin Seaview Survey)

The scientists found that the hardest-hit reefs are located from Cairns to north of Cooktown.

“We found on average, that 35% of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea,” said Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, in a statement.

The reefs surveyed from Cairns southward were in far better shape, Hughes said. The average mortality of surveyed reefs south of Cairns was estimated to be just 5%.

The reefs in the southern parts of the Great Barrier Reef fared better because the ocean temperatures there were not as unusually mild.

Hughes said the coral bleaching event is a sign that global warming threatens the iconic but fragile Great Barrier Reef ecosystems.

Water temperatures in the Coral Sea, which encompasses much of the reefs, was record warm in March of this year.

The coral bleaching event is still underway in Australia and other parts of the world, and has been tied to the combination of human-caused global warming and an El Niño event that added more heat to Pacific Ocean temperatures, although that is now waning.

Coral bleaching occurs when coral expels the algae, known as zooxanthellae, that lives in its tissue, giving it color and nutrients. This action, caused by stresses such as increased water temperature and pollution, leaves the coral skeleton exposed, making it more susceptible to heat stress, disease and pollution.

Sea surface temperature departures from average in March 2016.

Click here to read full article.

By Andrew Freedman

Source: Mashable

Three accused of sex attacks on minors
Three accused of sex attacks on minors

Tue, May 31st 2016, 03:16 PM

July date possible for FNM convention

Tue, May 31st 2016, 03:12 PM