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Despite Hurricane Dorian Devastation, Carnival Cruise Line Reaffirms Commitment to Major Project in Grand Bahama

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Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson (third from left) thanks Giora Israel, senior vice-president of Global Port and Destination Development, for reaffirming Carnival’s commitment to the construction of a cruise port in Grand Bahama. Joining Israel were (from left) David Candib, Marie McKenzie and Carlos Estrada (right). (Photo Credit: BIS/Lisa Davis)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Tuesday September 10, 2019 – In spite of the devastation unleashed on the northern Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian, Carnival Cruise Line is still committed to its major project on the island of Grand Bahama.

That commitment was confirmed by Giora Israel, senior vice-president of Global Port and Destination Development.

“I’m here to advise that Carnival was committed, is committed and re-committed to the Port project,” he said. “As soon as is practically possible, we will finalize the paper work with the government and we want to do it here in Grand Bahama, with the Prime Minister, so that we can go to work. We remain committed to this project.”

“Just ten days ago, or more, the Prime Minister and Minister Thompson, in Nassau announced that an agreement has been reached and finalized for the construction of a major cruise port in Grand Bahama, which we had announced in February of this year.I just want to reaffirm that we are still committed to that project,” Israel added.

Israel, along with Marie McKenzie, vice-president, Global Ports and Caribbean Government Relations; David Candib, vice-president, Development & Operations, Global Port and Destination Development Group; and Carlos Estrada, director of Commercial Home Port Operations, made a special trip to Grand Bahama last Friday to not only get a firsthand look at the devastation that Hurricane Dorian left behind, but they also came with supplies for the residents of Grand Bahama.

Before meeting with the media, the Carnival executives held a private meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest and Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson, to discuss the purpose of their trip to Grand Bahama.

“A part of our goal in providing help to Grand Bahama is to do our part to help bring the economy back on its feet, and quickly, and to bring hope back to the people of Grand Bahama,” said Israel. “Carnival has a long, great relationship with The Bahamas that spans many decades and so in line with that relationship, we feel that it was not even a question of whether or not we would step in and do our part to help Grand Bahama.”

Senator Thompson said the announcement by Israel was an important one for the island, which is reeling from the blow that was delivered by Hurricane Dorian. He noted that while, on the surface, such an announcement may not seem directly tied to the recovery efforts presently going on in Grand Bahama, it provided a hope for the future growth of the Grand Bahamian economy.

“We are very pleased that Carnival has confirmed their commitment to the cruise port,” said Minister Thompson. “That message is essential for the relief, the recovery and the comeback. I think that message is one which all Grand Bahamians will take note of and would be pleased about.

“I want to thank Carnival Corporation and the entire team for their decision to come to Grand Bahama at this time, which confirms their partnership and commitment to Grand Bahama. They didn’t come empty-handed, but they brought with them loads of relief items, essential medical supplies and personnel. So to them we say ‘Thank you’. In fact, we want to say how much we appreciate the entire cruise industry. They have really come together, have been committed and they were some of the first groups of people to come in and bring relief for the whole island of Grand Bahama.”

Israel said Carnival is also looking at the medium and long term of re-establishing Grand Bahama’s economy, which includes the re-opening the Grand Bahama Shipyard as soon as possible.As one of the original Founders of the Shipyard over 20 years ago, Israel says he understands the importance of the industry, as it is one of the largest in the hemisphere.

“It would be good if the Shipyard could be opened quickly,” he said. “We (Carnival, the Government and executives of the Shipyard) are in discussions about what it would take to make that possible in a matter of days. Not only does the shipyard create jobs for those who work there, but it creates a lot of auxiliary contributions to the economy, from airlines, port agents, hotels and restaurants. We want to make sure that businesses are coming back, that the economy rebounds; that beyond the most urgent and immediate help, we are looking to the future.”

Minister Thompson concurred, adding that getting the shipyard up and running is critical to re-starting the economy of Grand Bahama, particularly following the negative effects of Hurricane Dorian.

“That’s obviously important for employment, it’s hugely important for visitors coming in and for the industry,” he said. “That move also helps to solidify Carnival’s commitment to the island of Grand Bahama.”

He noted that Carlos Estrada, who was also traveling with the team, was already making connection with officials at the Port, to work with the agent to assess whether or not they can bring in the people. They will have further talks with the taxi association, tour operators over the next several days to decide when would be the right day to bring in cruise ship passengers.

“Let’s show the people of Grand Bahama the love and they will appreciate it,” said Israel.

Minister Thompson, along with Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest and other Parliamentary colleagues spent most of Friday meeting with international volunteer groups coming in and seeking ways to assist in the restoration efforts.

Thompson said that the invitations to assist and the volunteers coming in from out of town has been tremendous.

“The Prime Minister himself noted that one of the best ways that a person can show his/her way of bringing relief is to continue to do business with the Bahamas,” he said. “So, Carnival’s commitment to continue to bring cruise ships to Grand Bahama is what will help us a lot.

“One of the things that we have to rebuild quickly is the business sector of Grand Bahama, which was hugely affected by severe flooding. So to have partners that come and say that they are fully committed and on the ground early, is very important,” he added.

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Hurricane Humberto Getting Stronger as it Nears Bermuda

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Wednesday September 18,
2019
– Hurricane force winds are expected
to reach Bermuda this evening, as a larger and stronger Humberto moves
closer to the island.

The impending hurricane, at Category 3
strength with maximum sustained winds now near 120 miles per hour, has forced
the closure of government offices and schools and cancellation of evening
flights at the airport.

In its 11 a.m. advisory, the National
Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Hurricane Humberto was located 195 miles west of
the island, and was moving towards the east northeast at 16 miles per hour.

It is expected to remain a major
hurricane through early tomorrow. And the core of Jerry is expected to pass
just to the northwest and north of the island tonight. The Bermuda Weather
Service has forecast that its closest point to the island will be 101 miles to
the northwest at 8 p.m.

“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during
the next day or so, but Humberto should remain a powerful hurricane through
early Thursday while it passes close to Bermuda.  A steady weakening trend should begin later
on Thursday,” the NHC said.

Humberto is a large hurricane and continues to grow
in size. Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 105 miles from the centre
and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles based on reports
from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

The NHC said a prolonged period of dangerous winds
is expected on Bermuda from late this afternoon through tomorrow morning, with
hurricane-force winds expected overnight tonight.

It added that storm surge and dangerous breaking waves could cause coastal flooding tonight and tomorrow along the southern coast of Bermuda.

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Eastern Caribbean Embarks on Strategy Towards a Blue-Green Economy

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The Caribbean green-blue economy strategy and action plan will make the most of the sub- region’s strengths, harnessing these to create economies that are environmentally friendly and at the same time more socially equitable. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Eames Roebling/IPS)

In this Voices from the Global South podcast, IPS takes you to the Caribbean where correspondent Jewel Fraser learns how micro, small and medium enterprises hold the key for building economies that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

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Tropical Storm Jerry Forms East of the Leeward Islands

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FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday September
18, 2019
– Tropical
Storm Jerry formed this morning, becoming the 10th named storm of
the Atlantic hurricane season. And by the time it’s near the Leeward Islands in
the next day or two, it’s expected to have strengthened into a hurricane.

The National
Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami reported in its first advisory on Tropical
Storm Jerry at 5 a.m., that it was located about 960 miles east of the Leeward
Islands and moving towards the west northwest at 13 miles per hour.

Maximum
sustained winds were at 45 miles per hour, and additional strengthening is forecast
during the next couple of days. A west-northwestward motion at a slightly
faster forward speed is expected over the next few days. 

“On the
forecast track, the system will be near the northern Leeward Islands Thursday
night or Friday…. Jerry is expected to become a hurricane by the time it moves
near the northern Leeward Islands,” the NHC said.

It added
that although it is too soon to determine if there will be any direct impacts
on the islands, interests in the northern Leeward Islands should monitor the progress
of this system and have their hurricane plans in place.

Apart from Hurricane Humberto which is expected to pass just to the northwest and north of Bermuda tonight, there are two other areas of interest in the Atlantic.

A tropical
wave located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing
disorganized cloudiness and showers. Some development of that system is possible
over the weekend while the system approaches the Windward Islands or across the
southeastern Caribbean Sea early next week.

A tropical wave is also forecast to move off of the west coast of Africa tomorrow.  Development, if any, is expected to be slow to occur through early next week while the system moves generally westward at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

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