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  • P.M MINNIS TO APPOINT DELIVERABLES UNIT/BEGINS FULFILLING PROMISE OF QUARTERLY MEETINGS WITH CABINET MINISTERS

    The Minnis Administration will establish a Deliverables Unit that will be responsible for tracking projects and initiatives set out and agreed to by the Prime Minister, Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Anthony Newbold said Tuesday (November 14). The Unit will also be responsible for establishing timelines for the completion of those projects and initiatives set out by the Prime Minister and will have the further responsibility for “various ministers and ministries.” The establishment of the Deliverables Unit is part of the Minnis Administration’s overarching plan to ensure that good governance and accountability remain key priorities of its administration. “Good governance and accountability are hallmarks of this government of Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis,” Press Secretary Newbold said Tuesday during his regular weekly press briefing. “This Unit will be handpicked and will be a combination of the best and brightest minds from the public and private sectors.”

    The Unit is expected to begin its work as early as January 2018. Press Secretary Newbold further reported that the Prime Minister has begun to fulfill his promise of quarterly meetings with individual Cabinet Ministers with a view to assessing the work of individual ministries while helping to improve the effectiveness of each ministry in carrying out the Government’s policies. The decision is part of the Minnis Administration’s programme of reform and transformation in governance as foreshadowed in the Speech From the Throne during the Opening of Parliament (May 2017). As part of the programme of transformation and reform, each government ministry will be asked to develop a multi-year plan with clear, annual, metrics for that ministry, and in keeping with available finances and resources. “These plans will be developed by senior staff and technical officers in each ministry in accordance with my Government’s Manifesto commitments and related objectives. These plans will be developed with reference to the National Development Plan. My Ministers will be held accountable for these plans,” Prime Minister Minnis said at the time of the announcement. Prime Minister Minnis has already met with Cabinet Ministers the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd (Minister of Education); the Hon. Romauld Ferrreira (Minister of the Environment and Housing) and the Hon. Lanisha Rolle (Minister of Social Services and Urban Development).

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  • GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT NEW ACCOUNTING SYSTEM IN ORDER TO BETTER MONITOR COUNTRY’S FINANCES

    The Government of The Bahamas is in the process of moving away from the cash-based form of accounting it presently employs to an accrual based accounting system, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said Monday. The move, which is foreshadowed to be implemented at the end of June, 2022 for full central government transitioning to accrual accounting and then 2023 for the public sector at large, is expected to better strengthen the Government’s accounting framework by ensuring greater transparency and accountability in public sector finances, while allowing officials to better monitor government debt and liabilities. An accrual method of accounting records revenues and expenses when they are incurred, regardless of when cash is exchanged. The term "accrual" refers to any individual entry recording revenue or expense in the absence of a cash transaction. Prime Minister Minnis said the new system would also allow for government’s use of high-quality information to make informed and sound spending decisions, while properly managing the nation’s assets and liabilities.

    Addressing a Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants Seminar Monday (November 13, 2017) at Melia Nassau Beach resort, Prime Minister Minnis said the current system of accounting employed is “woefully lacking” in providing government with a complete and accurate view of financial activities and reporting. “As many of you know, the Government still uses the cash basis of accounting in compliance with IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards); cash basis is woefully lacking in providing us with a complete and accurate view of financial activities and reporting,” Dr. Minnis said. “As policymakers, we value the importance of financial reporting that meets international standards. It is essential that we are in a position to utilize high-quality information to make informed and sound spending decisions, while properly managing our assets and liabilities. “This is critical to us securing more sustainable public sector finances, achieving greater credibility in policymaking and building a more durable economic future for our country. It is also vital to delivering on acceptable levels of transparency and accountability in government’s financial management,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

    Dr. Minnis said the Government’s resolve in this regard is underscored by the prominence it has given to fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability in its governing mandate. “To provide an update to our efforts, the Government’s Working Group produced a concept paper outlining the road map for the implementation of accrual-based accounting and the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards for budgeting, accrual accounting and financial reporting. “Moving to accrual-based accounting will ensure greater transparency and accountability in public sector finances, as well as, a better monitoring of government debt and liabilities. “The potential harm of the absence of these prudent practices were exposed in our recent assessment of the fiscal outcome for Fiscal Year, 2016/2017. As you know, high levels of unbudgeted expenditure arrears are poised to elevate the actual overall fiscal deficit some five times higher than originally budgeted. The lack of transparency and accountability inherent in cash basis accounting is unsustainable and breeds mistrust,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

    Prime Minister Minnis said coincident with the exercise to improve financial reporting, the Government also has a roadmap to modernize and align the existing chart of accounts (COA) with best practices and the International Monetary Fund’s Government Finance Statistics reporting standards. Work on the COA re-design, which commenced in 2014, is expected to be completed and fully implemented, for July 1, 2018. (A chart of accounts [COA] is a financial organizational tool that provides a complete listing of every account in an accounting system.) “In the 2017/2018 Budget Communication, the Government announced plans to introduce fiscal rules as a means of achieving a credible and sustainable reduction in the fiscal deficit and the debt position,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “With the assistance of the IMF, we are making progress in defining a sound framework that will include controls on certain recurrent expenditures; taking more decisive steps with pension reform and better managing subsidies to our state-owned enterprises. “Successful implementation of this framework depends on our ability to measure our performance which is contingent upon having the proper financial management systems to provide the data needed for analysis, but transitioning public financial reporting to accrual-basis accounting is no small feat. We have targeted a date of end of June 2022 for full central government transitioning to accrual accounting and then 2023 for the public sector at large,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

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  • BAHAMAS AND UAE PARTNER TO BUILD 1MW SOLAR CAR PARK AND ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING STATIONS AT SPORTS CENTER

    The Bahamas Government, through the Ministry of the Environment, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in a ceremonial signing held at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, November 13, 2017 forging an agreement to reduce our collective dependence on fossil fuels. The initiative plans to introduce the construction of a large-scale solar car park, which will be connected to the national grid, supplied at the Queen Elizabeth II Sports Center on Thompson Boulevard, and funded by a regional grant from the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund. “In addition to the high cost of fuel, countries like The Bahamas are experiencing the negative effects of climate change; even now as our sea levels rise, our oceans acidify, and as temperatures rise, we can still shine as a beacon for others to see as we move to mitigate these effects and reduce our carbon footprint,” said the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment & Housing. “This project, approved by both governments for funding, will diversify our energy supply through the introduction of approximately 1 Megawatt of solar power to the national grid. Although we may seem as far as east is from west, both countries have come to the same conclusion, that reliable renewable energy consistently lowers power costs, as well as provides job creation to truly create sustainable development and reduce our negative impact on our global shared resources.”

    Minister Ferreira added that this is “one of the many pipelines to introduce safe, affordable, renewable energy across The Bahamas” by beginning with solarizing government assets. “We must lead by example. With over 300 solar ray days, The Bahamas is perfectly positioned to sustainably resource one of our greatest assets, the sun, to reduce one of our greatest liabilities, our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Minister Ferreira. “Partnerships like these remind us that while some may wish to stick the proverbial head in the sand, there are others who will stand with us to address one of this generation’s most complicated issues: that of climate change. We look forward to forging stronger alliances with the UAE and partners like them and to the successful completion of this 1 MW solar car park and electric car charging stations.”

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  • BAHAMAS REPRESENTED AT AFRICAN, CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC STATES CULTURE MINISTERS MEETING

    (From left) Director of Culture Rowena Poitier Sutherland, Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture the Hon. Michael C. Pintard, Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) Dr. Patrick Gomes, and Assistant Secretary-General (Political Affairs and Human Development) Ambassador Léonard-Emile Ognimba pose with a commemorative copy of "From Georgetown to Sipopo and Beyond: The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group at 40," during the recent 4th Meeting of ACP Ministers of Culture, held in Brussels, Belgium. (MOYSC Photo)

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  • THE BAHAMAS PREPARES TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL WOMEN’S WEEK

    The Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Lanisha Rolle, has proclaimed November 26th through December 9th, 2017, ‘National Women’s Week 2017’ in The Bahamas. To commemorate this period, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs has organized activities to reflect on the progress of Bahamian women, celebrate their accomplishments and address social issues impacting them in The Bahamas. Minister Rolle announced plans at a press conference at the Ministry, Aventura Plaza, JFK and Bethel Avenue, Friday, November 10th. Among those present were: Cora Bain-Colebrooke, Acting Permanent Secretary; Lillian Quant-Forbes, Acting Director of Social Services; Gaynel Curry, Director of Gender and Family Affairs; Coralie Adderley, Chairperson of the National Women’s Advisory Council; and representatives of non-governmental organizations and partners including Zonta Clubs of The Bahamas. The theme for National Women’s Week is “Strong Women, Strong Communities, Strong Families.”

    Minister Rolle, who is the Chairman of the local branch of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Association of the Americas and the Atlantic Region, said National Women’s Week is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women who have and continue to embed indelible marks in the history of the Bahamas Parliament and the nation. “It is also an occasion where we must remind ourselves that while we are not there yet, we are well on the way,” she said. Activities include the following: A forum on women’s issues, special school assemblies at primary and secondary schools throughout New Providence and the Family Islands at which sitting female parliamentarians will speak. Sunday, November 26th – Church Service at Most Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Stapleton Gardens, Trinity Way, 9 am

    Tuesday, November 28th – Awareness Raising/Report Sharing Session on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in the Department of Physical Planning Hearing Room (Aventura Plaza; JFK Drive and Bethel Avenue) 10 am-2pm. Mrs. Marion Bethel, the first Bahamian to serve as a member of the Expert Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women will give an address. Monday, December 4th – CWP Introductory Luncheon – Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians will hold an introductory luncheon at Luciano’s Restaurant, West Bay Street for sitting female Parliamentarians and the wives of male parliamentarians. The theme is “Strong Women, Leaders United”.

    The newly appointed members of the National Women’s Advisory Council, headed by Coralie Adderley, were introduced. Minister Rolle thanked them for accepting their appointments. Their duties include recommending programs that will enhance females, monitoring the status of women and providing recommendations for improvements to legislation that affect women and their families. The Bahamas will celebrate International Day to end Violence against women on November 25th and International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2018.

    National Women’s Week commemorates the anniversary of women who, for the first time in The Bahamas, exercised their right to vote equally with men. The right to vote was attained on November 26, 1962 as a result of the efforts of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The week incorporates the annual observance of National Women’s Day on November 26, which began in 1985 with the recognition of the 25th anniversary of that day. This year in The Bahamas, the observance has been extended to an additional week. The color for the 2017 celebrations is orange.

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  • CONDOR AIRLINES INAUGURAL FLIGHT FROM GERMANY RECEIVES BAHAMIAN WELCOME

    The sounds of Junkanoo drums blared through the halls of Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) In Nassau to welcome passengers from Condor Airlines’ inaugural flight from Frankfurt, Germany on Monday evening. Condor Airlines has made a substantial investment in the Bahamian economy with the reintroduction of direct flights between Germany and The Bahamas for the first time in over ten years.

    Forty-four passengers arrived on the Boeing 767-300 series aircraft and 120 passengers are scheduled to arrive on next week’s flight. The seasonal flight will be offered once a week until April 30, 2018.

    Tyrone Sawyer, Senior Director of Airlift Development at the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA), said that visitors will not only experience the best of Nassau, but they will also be introduced to as many Islands of The Bahamas as possible during their week stay. “Because of the partnership not only with Condor but the various tour operators, we will now have the ability to bring people from places like Munich, Berlin, Milan,

    Copenhagen, Denmark and other areas in Germany. We will also have representation from the various Out Island, Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Promotion Boards, and through an interline arrangement with Bahamasair, passengers will have the opportunity to go to every single island in The Bahamas. This allows us to spread tourism not only to Nassau but throughout The Bahamas, which meets a very important

    objective of the ministry,” he said. It is estimated that the flights from Germany will total approximately 5,387 stopover visitors at an 80 per cent load factor resulting in an estimated 18,855 room nights with an average of seven night stays. Tourism officials are looking forward to 8.1 million in visitor spending with an average spend of $1,504 per visitor. “This flight is the beginning of what’s going to be a significant increase in the number of stopover visitors.

    We’re hoping that while this is seasonal, it will eventually become a year-round routine and will result in other flights directly from Europe bringing the tourists and visitor spend that we need,” said Frankie Campbell, Acting Minister of Tourism and Aviation Campbell. “It’s very important for us, we’re happy to be here again. I think it’s the first flight in over ten years and it’s very important to have direct flights here to The Bahamas. We have the cooperation of Bahamasair so we are happy that our passengers will experience other islands like Freeport,” said Captain Sebastian Schoggler who piloted the inaugural flight. Condor and Bahamasair have an Interline Agreement that ensures visitors are able to visit Nassau/Paradise Island, Grand Bahama Island and the Family Islands.

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  • PRIME MINISTER MINNIS LAID WREATH AT THE CENOTAPH ON REMEMBRANCE DAY

    Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in the Garden of Remembrance in observance of Remembrance Day on Sunday, November 12, 2017.

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  • PARLIAMENTARIANS AT THE REMEMBRANCE DAY SERVICE AND MARCHING IN THE PARADE

    Parliamentarians attended the Remembrance Day Service at Christ Church Cathedral, November 12, 2017. In church, from left: Minister of National Security Marvin Dames; Minister of Health Duane Sands; Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd; and Minister of Transport and Local Government Frankie Campbell, and Mrs. Campbell. They also marched to the Cenotaph in the Garden of Remembrance -- walking in the Parade are, from left, Minister Dames; Minister Sands; Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield; Minister Campbell; and Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira.

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  • THE GOVERNOR GENERAL AND THE PIRME MINISTER AT REMEMBRANCE DAY CHURCH SERVICE

    Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling and Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis are pictured in the front pew at the Remembrance Day Church Service at Christ Church Cathedral this morning. The church service was followed by a march of a number of civic organizations through Bay Street to the Cenotaph in the Garden of Remembrance, where wreaths were laid.

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  • ST. AUGUSTINE'S COLLEGE ANNUAL FLAG DAY CEREMONY

    Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling and Minister of Education the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd attended the St. Augustine's College Annual Flag Day Ceremony on Friday, November 10, 2017. Catholic Archbishop of Nassau, the Most Reverend Patrick Pinder was also in attendance. The Governor General is pictured during the Flag-raising; Minister Lloyd addressed the students and faculty.

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