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  • BULLYING IN SCHOOLS

    The Ministry of Education's School Psychological Services Unit, comprising of 17 psychologists in total across the country, continue to be extremely busy. Their educational support, includes ensuring the social and emotional needs of school aged children are met. Senior school Psychologist, Dr. Novia Carter, heads that department. she says the level of bullying is so serious, that in 2015, they were forced to team up with the National Child Protection Council in its launch of the Stop n' Think Campaign, of which Dr. Carter has since written a book to address the issue.

    In her book that's circulated in the public education system, Dr. Carter, highlights the many aspects of bullying which includes: physical, verbal, emotional and cyber. Further, she says there are 6 or 7 cycles.

    "A bully would be a person who uses force, to threaten, abuse, coherce, intimidate and just basically aggressively control someone. And so the term itself has basically mushroomed over the last 10 years in terms of what all it entails. Sadly so with the increase in technology we have a whole new element of bullying; cyber bullying.

    Chief School Attendance Officer, Mr. Anzlo Strachan, describes the problem as prevalent. He estimates, 1 out of 5 children are bullied. Mr. Strachan says "the best way to deal with the problem is through education and teaching your child to stand up for themselves.Just about every school has a guidance counsellor , there are programs in place to teach children how to deal with the problem of bullying. When we talk about the bullying cycle, there are about 6 or 7 other persons who play a role. Not only is it the person who is bullied, or the person who is the bully, but you have to watch out for the persons standing around even those persons are impacted.

    These educators are advising parents to be more vigilant of what their children are doing, who they are interacting with and their whereabouts. They say they seek to create safe schools, in order for learning to take place, they say the environment must be conducive.

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  • P.L.P CHAIRMAN ON F.N.M ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

    The Progressive Liberal party has clapped back at F.N.M anniversay celebrations saying that the party has a right to celebrate its first election victory in 1992 but that its social policies over the years have led to mass social dislocation and a precipitous rise in crime and general social decay. In a statement released late yesterday, PLP Chairan Bradley Roberts said Minnis could blame crime on the 1980's drug trade all he wants but the vast majority of the perpetrators and victims of crime are young black males in their twenties who were born during the 1990's. One of the most glaring failures of the F.N.M he says is their social policy that continues to cause this country great harm. He referenced the first 100 days of the Minnis Administration pointing out the arrests and detention of B.A.I.C workers and former P.L.P Parliamentarians. Mr. Roberts says none of the promises he made to the poor were kept; not on vat elimination and not on tax exemptions for inner city communities to facilitate the development of those vulnerable areas.

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  • 47th ANNUAL ADMINISTRATORS CONCLAVE

    Minister of Education, The Honourable Jeffrey Lloyd, says the Government is focused on paving a proper pathway for educational development in the country. In highlighting the way forward the Minister says, it involves a renewed focus on several key areas including, early life and pre-school education. The Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd says "it is the commitment of this government to mandate by law, when capacities are available, that all 2.5 to 3 year olds must be in a Ministry of Education approved preschool prorgamme. Currently, preschool education is offered through public and private institutions on all major islands. However, presently, records show that more than half of the pre-schoolers do not attend preschool prior to first grade. In fact, there are only 550 pre-schoolers registered in the public system.

    Minister Lloyd reasons this it is necessary as literacy, numeracy, oral literacy and cognitive skills, are the basic cornerstone of education. He notes the proven scientific benefits of pre-school education of children in the early years, before aged five, are more successful in the academic setting. In keeping with this mandate to enhance preschool education along with increasing the use of technology in the pre-school classroom, the government is committing two million dollars in the 2017-2018 budget for the introduction of a pilot programme in two New Providence pre-schools, which will provide tablets for each student to be used for the delivery of instruction. We're going to monitior and evaluate this programme then we're going to spread it to all of the pre-schools then the elementary schools.

    The Minister of Education, says other fundamental improvements to the education system, will include revising the Bahamian curriculum. Over the next two days, educators will discuss these and other forecasted changes in detail.

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  • B.P.L C.E.O TERMINATED

    CEO of Bahamas Power and Light Pamela Hill has been terminated and removed from the board. A board meeting was held to confirm the move and Power Secure will inform the company of her replacement. Executives have met with Management and the various Unions following those meetings and the board is continuing meetings with Power Secure regarding the next move for the company.

    Last week Wednesday three line staff employees were terminated following the results of a forensic audit into missing funds at BPL. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Darnell Osbourne indicated in a statement that the investigation was not completed.

    Osbourne said over the ensuing weeks based on the evidence there will be further terminations as Management properly considers the evidence gathered. She also said those three employees who were terminated tare not the only ones involved in the scheme. Any individuals who may be higher up in the organisation and found to be culpable wil also be terminated. Responding to the Union she said they should have confidence in Management and the Board that everyone who actively conspired to defraud B.P.L will be terminated, irrespective of who they are.

    The reason for Hill's termination has not yet been disclosed; zns news will continue to follow this story.

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  • F.N.M 25TH ANNIVERSARY CHURCH SERVICE

    34-15; those were the results of the 1992 General Election that put the Free National Movement in Bahamian history. Then party leader Hubert Ingraham became the second Prime Minister of The Bahamas beating the 25 year run of the Progressive Liberal Party led by former party leader and former Prime Minister the late Rt. Hon Sir Lynden Pindling. 25 years later, the free national movement made history again by securing the 2017 General Election in another landslide victory. Party Leader, Prime Minister Dr. The Hon Hubert Minnis credits the 1992 election win for laying the foundation saying "I salute my predecessor for his service to our country and to our party".

    Prime Minister Minnis pointed out that the party's founders purposefully chose the word "free" in the establishment of a new movement for freedom and social justice. He said this is why after the 1992 election victory, the Free National Movement saved our country and democracy, the Free National Movement leader acknowledged that the parallels between 1992 and 2017 are extraordinary.

    P.M Minnis further went on the say "once again, the Free National Movement has the awesome responsibility to rescue an economy that was on the brink of collapse. We must once again restore the good name, international reputation and public finances of The Bahamas. Once again, our task is to clean up the massive and pervasive corruption that was bankrupting our democracy and devastating the public treasury. Once again, we must be the beacon of hope, economic opportunity, social progress and social justice. But, for all the parallels to 1992, we are in a new age in terms of technological innovation and prospects for human development as we approach the third decade of this century.

    The Prime Minister made it clear that although the election is over, it's still the people's time and the people and party must always put God first. "As we do the people's business, we must ever remember to act with humility. any arrogance shown to the people, including public officers, is unacceptable and goes against the spirit of our victory. We must remain humble in victory and in the many days ahead. I especially remind my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues to address others graciously and in the proper tone, we must be men and women for others. We are not masters of the country as some others might believe, we are servants of the aspirations and well-being of the bahamian people".

    Rector of St. Barnabas Anglican Church Canon Basil Tynes sermon focused on the biblical text in Deuteronomy chapter 17 which stated that the King should serve God and remain humble. The Anglican Priest spoke directly to the Free National Movement government by declaring that the current situation of the country is extremely complexed and appealed for help for all Bahamians. "God kept his promise, the people were expected to keep their promise; but i might as well tell you the King and his administration were expected to keep their promise if they were to keep the trust of the people.

    After the service, the Prime Minister led a march from St. Barnabas Anglican Church to the Free National Movement's Mackey Street Headquarters.

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  • MINISTER DAMES ANNOUNCES CRIME FIGHTING INITIATIVES

    During a press conference on the Execution of Crime Fighting Initiatives of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), on August 19, 2017, at the Paul Farquharson Conference Center, Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin H. Dames dispatched a stern message to criminals operating in The Bahamas. "I will like to send a warning out to all those persons who continue to live a life of crime -- moving forward we intend to make your life very uncomfortable," Minister Dames said. "We will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that you are made to account for your wrongdoings. "This is a promise." Minister Dames stated that, after getting the news of another murder that morning, he decided to convene a meeting with RBPF Commissioner Ellison Greenslade, along with his executive team and divisional commanders to review their current strategy. He said that, after hearing from them and knowing what we are up against, he requested of them the need to redouble their efforts. As a result of the meeting, Minister Dames said, they had decided to execute a number of initiatives. "While efforts in tackling crime are static in many ways they are also fluid as our approach is based on what is occurring," Minister Dames said. "Towards this end, they are further enhancing senior command at a divisional level on a 24-hour basis."

    Minister Dames pointed out that they will be taking a more aggressive approach to handling drug peddling and shutting down drug houses in communities throughout New Providence, Grand Bahama and across the Family Islands, as they are the source of many of the crime problems that exist. "They will be increasing their intelligence and operational efforts to identify and disrupt gang activities, wherever they may exist," he said. "From an intelligence perspective, there will be an increased focus on firearm traffickers with a view to bringing them to justice." Minister Dames said that RBPF officials informed that they have conducted a review of persons on bail who are not in complying with their bail conditions. Further, he said, they had discovered that more than 50 persons were not in compliance and that they had already arrested a number of those persons and subsequently their bail was revoked. "At present, there are 268 persons currently being monitored for various offences," he noted. "Out of that number, 70 are being monitored for homicides, 18 for attempted murders, 102 for armed robberies and 59 for firearm offenses."

    Police intelligence has also revealed, Minister Dames added, that the murders have occurred in what we term, ‘hot spots’ -- Pinewood, Kemp Road, Bain Town, Yellow Elder and Carmichael Road communities. Police will increase vehicle and foot patrols and will be using all of the technology available to them including increased monitoring of CCTV and their all of their resources to curtail these violent crimes, he stated. "The efforts of police have yielded some results but as I have explained there is more that we should be doing; but there is a need to improve technology and build capacity," Minister Dames said. "As we have promised in our Manifesto, we will immediately commence with the establishment of the National Crime Prevention and Neighbourhood Watch Council to grow community involvement in the fight against crime," he added. "We have identified Senior Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dean to lead that effort."

    That council, Minister Dames said, will establish crime watch groups in every community and these groups will endeavour to establish commonality and examine community prevention measures. The council will study the feasibility of citizen patrols working with police to improve relationships and prevent crime, he added. Additionally, the council will collaborate with multi government agencies and non-governmental agencies. Minister Dames noted that the Government will review the establishment of the Royal Bahamas Police Force as we feel that this is one of those areas that if we get right, should go a long way in reducing high levels of crime in our communities. This review will determine what is the requisite number of officers at any Division which was not yet been established," Minister Dames said. "I suspect that shortly we will run a pilot programme in terms of addressing this issue to determine its level of effectiveness." "We will also move to de-centralize, once again, the central detective units," he added. "The purpose of de-centralization is to have detectives at stations to readily respond to serious matters on a timely basis."

    Minister Dames pointed out that the detective units were dismantled under the last administration. "I want to use this opportunity to personally and publicly thank the fine men and women of the Royal Bahamas Police Force for their tireless efforts to keep the people of this country safe," Minister Dames said. "Yours is a job that is accountable to the Bahamian people; but one that is often without thanks." He said that it should be noted that the job of law enforcement officers is the prevention and detection of crime and the apprehension of offenders. "The government intends to produce very shortly its legislative agenda which will have a number of Crime Prevention Bills, including the National Anti-Corruption Agency and the establishment of the National Intelligence Agency -- among others," Minister Dames said. "We are more determined than ever and stronger in our resolve to keeping this Bahamas safe for all citizens."

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  • SOLAR ECLIPSE ADVISORY

    The Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health wishes to advise the general public that on August 21st, 2017 between the hours of 1pm to 5pm the Bahamas will experience a Partial Eclipse.

    A Partial solar eclipse happens when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth, but the Moon only partially covers the Sun's disk.

    The Ministry of Health wishes to further advise that while enjoying this event, looking directly at the sun without the correct eye protection, even for a short time, can cause permanent damage to your retinas, a light-sensitive part of the eye that transmits what you see to your brain. Damage can occur without pain, and it can take a few hours or even a few days after viewing the eclipse to have symptoms of damage. The damage may include not being able to see colors as well and loss of central vision, with only side vision remaining.

    If you notice any symptoms after viewing the solar eclipse, seek immediate help from your eye care professional.

    Prevention

    1. Goggles, homemade filters, or sunglasses, even very dark lens will NOT protect your eyes;

    2. The only way to look directly at the sun when it is eclipsed or is partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer; and

    3. Always avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, smartphone, telescope, or any other optical device. You’ll need to add a certified solar filter to these devices to safely look at the sun.

    Safely enjoy this exciting solar eclipse by taking the time to protect your eyes.

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  • NEMA REMINDS PUBLIC TO REMAIN VIGILANT AS PEAK HURRICANE SEASON APPROACHES

    Good afternoon Bahamas, as you are all aware, we are approaching the peak time of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. You should all be aware at this time that there are a number of tropical systems in the Atlantic Ocean, and one or two are projected to cross over, or come near The Bahamas during the upcoming week. Even though the systems have not been named, I would like to urge all residents throughout The Bahamas to continue to monitor these systems as we go into the weekend.

    We are all aware that in 2015, Tropical Storm Joaquin, rapidly intensified and became a major hurricane, which impacted islands in the Central and Southeast Bahamas. As long as the current system (Invest 92 –L) is projected to pass through The Bahamas, I would like to urge all residents to make those final preparations to protect homes, businesses, check your family disaster plan, family emergency kits, and your communications plans.

    Finally, please stay tuned to the local radio and television stations, The Bahamas Department of Meteorology and NEMA’s social media platforms for updates on the approach of these and any systems, which might impact this country.

    Captain Stephen Russell

    Director, NEMA

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  • PM PRAISES GIRL GUIDES OFFICIALS FOR ‘OUTSTANDING WORK’

    Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis met with officials of the Bahamas Girl Guides Association (BGGA) Thursday (August 17, 2017) during a visit at the BGGA’s Headquarters, located Marcus Bethel Way and West Bay Street. The BGGA is a non-profit, voluntary organization for girls and young women. Prime Minister Minnis was accompanied by His Excellency, Joshua Sears, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister. The Girl Guides Movement has been in existence in The Bahamas for more than 100 years (102 to be exact). Prime Minister Minnis lauded the organization for the “outstanding work” they have done, and continue to do, in training and developing thousands of Bahamian girls and young women into productive, responsible and contributing members of society. The leadership of the BGGA has managed to keep Guiding “relevant” in The Bahamas over the many years despite the many social, cultural and other changes that compete for the attention of girls and young women since the Movement first hit our shores 102 years ago. “This Programme remains relevant because it is predicated on the premise of the girls learning social and survival skills, through a number of activities including camping, hiking, sports, community service, songs, fun and games,” Guiding officials said. “Not only are these activities fun, but embedded in them also are opportunities for the girls to learn through the Patrol System for the girls to develop leadership skills and responsible citizenship at an early age.”

    Guiding in The Bahamas has produced many outstanding women who have risen to the top of the Bahamian society in areas such as religion, education, administration, politics, public service, the judiciary, the legal profession, banking and finance, sports, business and industry and culture. The list reads like a Who’s Who in Bahamian history and includes Her Excellency, Dame Ivy Dumont, GCMG, the first female Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; Retired Chief Justice, Dame Justice Joan Sawyer, DCMG; Mrs. Anita Bernard, CMG; Miss Marjorie Davis, OBE; the Hon. Janet Bostwick; Dr. Gail Saunders; Mrs. Clarice Granger, Mrs. Wendy Craig; Retired Justice, Mrs. Claire L. Hepburn; Mrs. Elma Garraway and Mrs. Constance Miller among many, many others. A number of them will forever be imbedded in the annals of Bahamian history as having served as “the First Female” Governor-General (Dame Ivy Dumont); first female Governor of the Central Bank (Mrs. Wendy Craig); first female elected to the Bahamian Parliament (the Hon. Janet Bostwick); First Bahamian female Magistrate and Judge (Mrs. Stephanie Unwala); First Female Director of Education in The Bahamas (Ms. Marjorie Davis) and Mrs. Keva Bethel, the First President, female or otherwise, of the College of The Bahamas (now University of The Bahamas).

    The list of “First Female” title holders involved in Guiding does not stop there and goes on to include Dr. D. Gail Saunders, first female Archivist of The Bahamas; Ms. Melanie Roach, First Bahamian Female Civil Engineer and Director of Public Works; Mrs. Joy Jibrilu, the First Bahamian Female appointed as Director of Investments, Bahamas Investment Authority; and The Reverend Angela Palacious, First Female Deacon and First Female Priest in the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands and others. Guiding officials say the principles and values that are taught and adhered to, have made “an indelible impact in positively influencing lives and molding the characters of thousands of girls and young women, not only in The Bahamas, but indeed worldwide.”

    The BGGA promotes a wide range of skills and interests through education, games, outdoor activities, survival skills training, healthcare, arts, crafts and culture. Fundamental objectives of the Association are to provide girls and young women opportunities for self-training and discipline in the development of good character through service to God, country and fellowman, and to foster and promote a full sense of citizenship through community service and international goodwill. The Girl Guide Movement was started in The Bahamas in 1915 and was incorporated as the Bahamas Girl Guides Association by an Act of the Bahamian Parliament on May 4, 1975.

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  • LABOUR MINISTER ON UNEMPLOYMENT

    Minister of Labour The Hon. Dion Foulkes says he is pleased with the drop in unemployement revealed by the Department of Statistics Friday, but says many of those people employed at the time of the survey are now unemployed because they held temporary positions. The period for this survey was the last week in April right before the election. A significant amount of those jobs were temporary jobs related to the carnival, the 52 week programme and election hiring. The survey indicates that unemployment dropped 9.9 percent nationally, down from 11.6 percent at the time of the last survey, with figures now at 10.4 percent in Grand Bahama, and 7.8 percent in Abaco. Acknowledging the need for increasing employment, the Labour Minister says Prime Minister Dr. The Hon. Hubert Minnis has instructed ministers to do what they can to create permanent jobs. Not necessarily government jobs, but private sector jobs. Our economy is generally driven by small businesses and by large businesses so we are trying to do everything in our power to encourage the business community to employ Bahamians.

    He says"Government is looking to expand the role of the National Training Agency and will work with the business community to prepare the workface and create employment. We have established a working policy to deal with the training of Bahamians as opposed to having an ad hoc approach to it. If we can train Bahamians in the areas where the jobs are that is less foreigners coming into the country to work".

    The labour minister adds that Baha Mar will employ another 2,500 when it fully opens providing a further economic injection, and the re-opening of the Grand Lucayan on Grand Bahama will be key to increasing employment. There are some big plans that are going to be announced shortly about Grand Bahama. I am not at liberty to say. The appropriate Minister will make the announcement shortly. there are a lot of good things happenign as far as the economy is concerned. The Labour Minister says with the bold initiatives planned by the Minnis administration he is certain by the time of the next survey, unemployent will have decreased further.

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