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    Tourism Minister joins Sandals executives at travel event in Los Angeles
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    Fallen American and Bahamian members of the armed services honoured during wreath-laying ceremony on Memorial Day
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    Fishermen's bounty enjoyed at Romora Bay
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    U.S. Embassy sponsored leadership development workshop attracts youth
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    Game of Thrones fans compete in short film competition presented by Cable Bahamas & HBO
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    BTC, PMH and Doctors Hospital team up for World Blood Donor Day
  • Culture rocks the opening of IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014
    Culture rocks the opening of IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014
  • HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna first thrust in ‘new strategies’ against transnational crime
    HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna first thrust in ‘new strategies’ against transnational crime
  • BTC awards $5,000 scholarship to Primary School Student of the Year
    BTC awards $5,000 scholarship to Primary School Student of the Year
  • 'Wearable Art meets Wall Art' shows off unique styles at event opening
    'Wearable Art meets Wall Art' shows off unique styles at event opening



Cruising yachtsmen encounter hundreds of illegal Dominican poachers at Cay Sal Bank
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   

Poaching has long been a problem in The Bahamas, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  During a boating trip last week, Joseph Ierna Jr and his wife Nicola of   Ocean CREST Alliance, a Bahamas Based non-profit Ocean Conservation group and two other US couples encountered and were approached by Illegal Dominican Republic   poachers while cruising the Cay Sal Banks.  The poachers which numbered in the hundreds were not only working off of two very large vessels of 150' to 200' in length, but there   were also about thirty poachers camping on the west side of Cay Sal island.  Pictured are some of the poachers who approached the group offering fish and lobster for sale.   (Photo courtesy of Joseph Ierna Jr for Barefoot Marketing)CAY SAL BANK, The Bahamas -- Poaching has long been a problem in The Bahamas, and recent incidents seem to suggest it isn’t slowing down.  During a boating trip last week, Joseph Ierna Jr. and his wife Nicola of Ocean CREST Alliance, a Bahamian based non-profit Ocean Conservation group and two other US couples encountered illegal Dominican Republic poachers while cruising the Cay Sal Banks, closest to Bimini.

The poachers which numbered in the hundreds were not only working off of two very large vessels of 150' to 200' in length, but were also camping on the west side of Cay Salisland. The large amount of poachers, including the ones camping on the island gave the group a very uneasy and unsafe feeling; which prompted them to depart The Bahamas ahead of their planned itinerary. As they were departing, four separate Dominican fishermen in two dinghies even approached the Yacht to sell the cruisers some illegal lobster and fish, which they held up and displayed.

"We have heard of armed confrontations at sea between poachers and Bahamian commercial fisherman, so we were very concerned to keep our distance and to not hang around too long," said Joseph Ierna.  “As experienced cruisers of The Bahamas for over 30 years and passionate conservationists, this was a very disheartening and fearful experience, to know that there were hundreds of Illegal fisherman in the area with no one around if there was a situation that may have occurred.”

Once they returned from their trip, Ierna immediately contacted the Department of Marine Resources and the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) to raise awareness of the large numbers of poachers.  “This incident is just a further reminder that this poaching problem is still very much with us and that the national dialogue must continue, but lead to action,” said Eric Carey, BNT Executive Director. “From a conservation perspective, more and more our Bahamian fishermen are becoming aware of and supporting conservation efforts, but they get really discouraged and lose heart, when they see these brazen incidents of disregard for our laws and our marine resources by these foreign poaching terrorists.”

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BNT educates future environmentalists with various presentations
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   

Photo 1: The Bahamas National Trust wishes to encourage the youth of The Bahamas to conserve and protect their environment. Over the last few weeks, Director of Parks, David Knowles have been speaking to students throughout the Bahamas on the importance of national parks and other protected areas. Below is Knowles and a group of students who are currently enrolled at at the Friends of the Environment Abaco Research Center (ARC) in Marsh Harbor, Abaco. (Photo Courtesy of The Bahamas National Trust for Barefoot Marketing) ABACO, Bahamas - The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is on a mission to educate the youth on conservation and the environment, throughout The Bahamas and internationally with the help of BNT’s Director of Parks, David Knowles.  

Knowles has been working with the BNT for more than six years and is proud to be apart of an organization that strives daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas, through stewardship and education for present and future generations.  

Just recently, he gave a presentation to students who are currently enrolled in summer courses at the Friends of the Environment Abaco Research Center (ARC). Friends of the Environment have been in operation for almost thirty years, but the ARC has just recently been established in Marsh Harbor. The center is used for hosting high school and University programs, conducting field courses and presents opportunities to partner with scientists on long-term research projects. The summer courses will help students take a more in depth look at diverse ecosystems and marine life.  

In his presentation, Knowles covered an array of topics such as habitat conservation, environmental careers and opportunities, as well as Abaco’s Protected Areas and the BNT’’s role in managing and establishing protected areas. When asked about the experience, he commented, “It was great to present at this workshop for Friends of the Environment, particularly where Bahamian students are involved. These students are the future leaders of our country and their knowledge is critical to the decision-making process that they will be involved in the future.” Data gathered in the courses will also be used to assist on-going research and support other conservation programmes.  

Knowles then traveled to the Cape Eleuthera Institute, to present at the school’s Research Symposium. This event was a culmination a semester-long research class, where students became involved in all aspects of research. His presentation covered National Parks with a specific focus on Marine parks, BNT’s conservation goals and the research needed to help with national park management. 

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Independence Anniversary Message From The Prime Minister
Submitted by BIS   
It is with great pride and honour that I congratulate Bahamian people everywhere on the occasion of the country’s 41st Independence Anniversary.

As we celebrate this milestone in our country’s history, we must reflect on our past journey to appreciate what we have been able to achieve.

It is also a time when we must look forward to a new era with new opportunities and embrace the opportunities that are sure to come as we proceed with the development of this nation. As our country matures, we must be more cognisant of the responsibilities that we bear and ensure that every aspect of who we are as a people is recognised and appreciated.

As such, I have declared 2014 as the Year of Culture with a view to celebrate our cultural identity, which defines us as a people. We have chosen to celebrate this our 41st anniversary under the theme, “Celebrating our culture: A commitment to peace,” This gesture is intended to symbolise the significance of our cultural identity and give rise to highlighting those icons who would have been instrumental in personifying the ethos of Bahamianism.

Our cultural legacy is a direct result of the many contributions made by a plethora of personalities who interpreted their understanding of Bahamian culture via their writings, music, storytelling, art and dance. We must, therefore, find opportunities to honour those whose lifelong journey was, and is to express their understanding of our culture, using their talents as a vehicle to transmit their message. This is important because culture is the bedrock of a people’s identity.

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Ministers laud Junkanoo Commandos UK tour
Submitted by BIS   
Photo 1: A representative group of the Junkanoo Commandos pose at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, on July 2, 2014, before heading to their extended tour of the United Kingdom.  The performers will be in Scotland and England performing and holding introductory workshops on Junkanoo culture.  (Photo: Antonio Saunders / Pinnacle Photography)NASSAU, The Bahamas -- As representative group of members of the Junkanoo Commandos performed in the United Kingdom, on July 3, 2014, Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. the Hon. Danny Johnson commended the organisation for representing the culture of The Bahamas through Junkanoo.  

The Junkanoo Commandos will be performing throughout Scotland and England until July 21, and will hold several introductory workshops (starting July 4) on the various cultural aspects of Junkanoo.  

Minister Wilchcombe said the group's international performances were important and he congratulated them on their 2014 UK tour.

"We saw their performance in the United States last year, when the Prime Minister spoke on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech", Minister Wilchcombe said, referring to a Junkanoo Commandos performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. that was carried live via satellite around the world. "The truth is we say an incredible performance."

"I think the ability to travel abroad to get the message out about The Bahamas, about our culture and what has made us who we are -- and culture is what knits us all together."

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Tilloo Cay Reserve provides a great habitat for seabirds
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Photo 1: Tilloo Cay Reserve Provides a Great Habitat for Seabirds: The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) has a keen interest in protecting and conserving the birds in The Bahamas, and to aid in this mission, the BNT recently did an assessment on the White Tailed Tropic birds in Abaco.  The assessments were done on Tilloo Cay Reserve last month, and several nests were found.  Pictured is the BNT team surveying one of the nests that were found. (Photo courtesy of BNT for Barefoot Marketing)ABACO, Bahamas – The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) has a keen interest in protecting and conserving the seabirds of The Bahamas. To help advance in this mission, the BNT recently conducted an assessment on the White-Tailed Tropic birds in Abaco. The assessments took place in the Tilloo Cay Reserve, one of 6 national parks on Abaco. The team located several successful nests during the exercise.

“These assessments are conducted on an annual basis during breeding season to assess the breeding population and determine nesting successes of the White-tailed Tropic bird” said David Knowles, Director of Parks. “This assessment provided a great deal of insight on the birds, and is confirmed that there is still successful breeding occurring in the Reserve.”

During their assessment, the BNT team found eight active White Tailed Tropic bird nests with pre-fledging chicks and adults. The nests were found under coastal scrub vegetation and overhangs, and in stone crevices and in the Reserve.

Tilloo Cay Reserve was established 1990 to protect a pristine natural environment including important nesting habitats for seabirds. This recent assessment shows that the reserve is serving its purpose, as the birds are nesting successfully. In addition to being an important breeding and nesting site for the White Tailed Tropic, Tilloo Cay Reserve is also a breeding ground and nesting site for other tropic birds, the yellow-crowned night heron, several species of terns and other seabirds.

“Despite this good news, BNT concerned about the predation. While it is possible this may have been natural from a bird of prey, it is also possible that feral cats may still be on the island and are attacking the birds. We are asking all residents to help us preserve this sanctuary and to advise us if they see any cats in the area where the birds nest,” said Knowles. “Abaco residents are keen to support our parks and we hope together to keep Tilloo Cay’s birds breeding successfully.”

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