Bahamas Prime Minister Addresses The Bahamas Ship-owners Association AGM
Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, brought brief remarks during the event. After welcoming the delegation to the country, Prime Minister Christie spoke about the recent Ebola outbreak and the role that the shipping industry would play in order to curb the spread of the disease.
“Ladies and Gentlemen: I want to turn briefly to a matter of current concern and one which has gripped the attention of the world and that is the Ebola outbreak,” said Prime Minister Christie. “As persons engaged in international shipping and trade you are acutely aware that the security of all nations of the world is threatened by the Ebola Virus Disease. The Bahamas Maritime Authority’s Technical Alert has provided you with guidance to be adopted as a matter of urgency on all Bahamian ships in the affected areas. Collectively, we must define measures to reduce the risks of exposure of crews and citizens alike.”
He said that the Bahamian government has taken the matter very seriously due to the negative impact it could have on the economy if a case presented itself in the country.
“We here in The Bahamas have not taken this matter lightly as we know that any reported incidences of this virus can have a deleterious effect on our economic lifelines,” said Mr. Christie.
Consequently, Mr. Christie said that the Government has established an Ebola Task Force, with the objective of ‘responding at a moment’s notice’ to any real or suspected cases of the Ebola Virus from a public health and medical standpoint.
Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Perry G. Christie, chats with Chairman, Bahamas Ship-owners Association, Mr. George Pateras, and Chairman, Bahamas Maritime Authority, Mr. Anthony Kikivarakis, during the Bahamas Ship-owners Association Annual General Meeting held at the British Colonial Hilton. (BIS Photo/Peter L. Ramsay)
Furthermore, Mr. Christie said that protocols have been established to ensure port and airport safety and notification protocols for ships at sea whether they are traveling to Bahamian ports or sailing through The Bahamas.
“I am certain that these protocols and new standard operating procedures will be made available to you in the interest of public safety and to protect the shipping industry,” he said.
Mr. Christie also spoke of the ever-increasing interest that ship-owners are expressing in the Bahamas Registry. He said that this trend reflects ‘the reliability, high standard and integrity,’ which the Bahamian flag has been able establish over the last three decades based on the political and economic stability that has become the hallmark of doing business in The Bahamas.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin, welcomed the delegates and said that the Government has recently completed the framework for a Maritime Policy, which once adopted, will inform policy and will guide and foster growth of the maritime sector and maximize the sustainable exploitation of water as an important natural resource occurring in abundance in The Bahamas.
“This is an important piece of work of which I am very proud as it allows for a comprehensive framework for planned development which will aid in positioning the maritime sector as a defined and fully established pillar in our economy,” said Minister Martin. “The policy touches and concerns the entire spectrum of water from shipping and fishing to energy and science and technology and industry. The BMA has been very instrumental in facilitating the groundwork for this initiative.”
During the meeting, several topics will be covered including: The role of the Port Department in The Bahamas; The Lowell J. Mortimer Maritime Academy; Promoting best shipping practices to protect the Wider Caribbean Region; and Lloyd’s Register, North America, Inc.