News Archives

Local Technology Pioneer Shocked at 'Antiquated Paper-based' Business Processes

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 07:05 PM

Jason McDowall, CEO and President of the country’s largest and most used website,, yesterday welcomed initiatives announced recently by government to lift The Bahamas out of what he called “an antiquated paper-based” business platform and transport it into the 21st century.

“In an age when the largest retailer in the world is an online business, Amazon, official business in The Bahamas is still being conducted by paper transactions,” said McDowall.

“That’s like choosing to use a rotary dial phone in a smart device era.”

McDowall’s comments came after Prime Minister Hubert Minnis acknowledged the country must step up its game, reeling off one stunning low ranking after another on the World Bank’s most recent Ease of Doing Business Report.

Out of 190 countries, the prime minister noted, The Bahamas ranked 119th overall in ease of doing business, 106th in obtaining a building permit for a simple warehouse structure, 142nd for obtaining credit and 167th in registering property.

Jason McDowall, CEO and President,, (left) welcomes initiatives to ease doing business, offers technology assistance and says current methods of piles of paper make The Bahamas a dinosaur in an age when the biggest retail business in the world, Amazon, is an online entity.

“The Bahamas should be in a leading position as a great place to do business, both for locals and for foreign investors, but over the years we slipped further down the scale of places friendly to business,” said McDowall.

He is keeping a particularly close eye on regional rankings as he gets closer to launching CaribbeanLocal, expanding the concept that has made the Google of the Caribbean.

“The Bahamas has everything going for it. Geographically we are the closest country to the largest markets, U.S. and Canada.

We have an English-speaking population, our currency is on par with the U.S. dollar, we have a highly skilled and professional labour pool.

“Despite all that we are falling behind. Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Cayman are all ranked higher and moving higher as we continue to slide. We have to ask ourselves why.”

The answer, said McDowall, is “right before our eyes in nearly every government office where there are piles of paper and people moving the paper around. We are a dinosaur in a space travel age.”

In recent months, the cry for change has amped up as a backlog of letters of good standing from National Insurance Board offices have increasingly held up business license renewals, Customs bonds and other matters related to conducting what should be routine business affairs.

Shortly after coming to office, the prime minister noted the roadblocks.

“The age of advanced computer algorithms and Smart Technology, waiting weeks or even months for the processing of certain documents or approvals must be a thing of the past.

The business license process takes too long and must be shortened,” he said. “The inertia in the process must be removed.”

Earlier this month, he revealed initiatives to lessen those roadblocks including business license application handling within seven days.

“We live in an electronic world,” said McDowall. “Our ad banners are shown over 400 million times per month, our business listings are clicked on more than 1.5 million times per month and our pages are viewed over four million times per month.

But at NIB it still takes more than a dozen people, I am told, to handle a single request for a letter of good standing that should be automatic and instantaneous upon online request with a check that the account is up to date.

I am thrilled to hear that the Prime Minister and others, including the Ministers of Tourism and Financial Services, Trade and Industry, are on board and understand what our antiquated way of doing business is doing to our international reputation and to local frustration.

I offer my technology services to the government and will be happy to assist in any way I can.”

20th Grand Bahama Business Outlook

20th Grand Bahama Business Outlook

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 03:46 PM

The 20th Annual Grand Bahama Business Outlook will take place Thursday, February 22, 2018 at The Grand Lucayan Resort, Freeport. Of note, the Hon K Peter Turnquest, M P, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance will be the Keynote Speaker.

Making the announcement was Joan Albury, President of TCL Group and founder of the seven-island Business Outlook Series.

In addition to the Deputy Prime Minister, forum presenters will include Sen. Hon. Kwasi Thompson, Minister for Grand Bahama; Mick Holding, President, Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce; Ian Rolle, President, Grand Bahama Port Authority; Erica Paine, Partner and Head of Graham Thompson’s Grand Bahama Office; Christina Alston, Chief Operating Officer, BPL; Andre Knowles, Chief Commercial Officer, BTC; Dennis D Deveaux, Head of Management Consulting and Data & Analytics, KPMG; Joy Jibrilu, Director General, Ministry of Tourism; Charlene Lewis-Small, Lead Investment Officer, IDB; Paul Wynn, Chief Executive Officer, The Wynn Group. Zhivago Laing, Radio Talk Show Host, Z Live: Off The Record will moderate the day-long programme and give the “Vision” presentation.

Mrs Albury spoke to the composition of the speaker panel:

“We are truly grateful to have assembled a powerful slate of speakers, who are well able to speak directly and comprehensively on Grand Bahama’s issues and what is the works as regards improving the island’s prospects in the short and long term.

The group is heavily weighted towards presenters who are deeply invested in bringing to fruition the island’s vast potential and creating a stable economy.

“Among them are two Parliamentarians, none other than the Deputy Prime Minister Mr Turnquest, Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama and the Minister of State for Grand Bahama Hon. Kwasi Thompson.

We will also have input from representatives of institutions and companies that play an integral role in the economy of Grand Bahama—the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Grand Bahama Chamber, the Ministry of Tourism, the Inter-American Development Bank and several key investors.

Moderating and presented the Vision will be Zhivago Laing, Radio Talk Show Host, Z Live: Off The Record grew up on Grand Bahama and is a former Member of Parliament for the Marco City Constituency.

“As we believe strongly that committed, positively involved youth are vital for a better Bahamas, we are proud to be featuring the Grand Bahama Children’s Choir singing the National Anthem and the Lord’s Prayer,” Mrs Albury noted.

For more information, interested persons may contact Margaret Albury at The Counsellors Ltd, e-mail, Tel. (242) 322-7505 or register online at In Grand Bahama, contact.

Click HERE to print GBBO Form 2018.

Government is preparing a travel letter for Jean Rony Jean-Charles

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 02:40 PM


FOREIGN Affairs Minister Darren Henfield has confirmed the government is preparing a travel letter for Bahamas-born deportee Jean Rony Jean-Charles today. Mr Henfield, and Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette, said the document will be issued "as soon as possible..."

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Darren Henfield has confirmed the government is preparing a travel letter for Bahamas-born deportee Jean Rony Jean-Charles today.

Mr Henfield, and Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette, said the document will be issued "as soon as possible..."


Hanna Martin named and suspended from House

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 11:52 AM

BTVI Salutes Retirees
BTVI Salutes Retirees

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 10:16 AM

RBC executive: Bank making 'hard choices'
RBC executive: Bank making 'hard choices'

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 10:06 AM

Omni expanding throughout Family Islands

Omni expanding throughout Family Islands

Wed, Jan 31st 2018, 10:03 AM

Founding Partner of Omni Financial Group Limited Dr. Kenneth Rodgers revealed yesterday that the organization will be expanding its services throughout the Family Islands to offer residents banking services in the wake of commercial banks exiting those islands. The company currently offers its services on [...]