Samples of Press Releases

Eleuthera students’ artwork featured in international calendar – RELEASED FOR BAHAMAS NATIONAL TRUST

TarpumBayPrimary_KW calendar_02

In 2016 the artwork of five young Eleutheran students will be featured in the International Kirtland’s Warbler Calendar. Recently, the students’ artistic work was acknowledged when Camilla Adair, Deputy Manager of the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in Eleuthera, visited their schools to present them with the newly printed calendars featuring their drawings.

This all stems from a visit last year from Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Education Officer, Scott Johnson, who gave them lessons on the Kirtland’s Warbler and then invited them to participate in a poster competition where their art could be featured in the calendar. To everyone’s great delight the children’s works were featured in the calendar, they include: Nahjee Symonette – Grand prize winner (front cover), Candon Farrington – Runner-up (August 2015 cover page), Abigail Ramnarine- Runner-up (May 2016 cover page), Tyesha Morley – Runner-up (bottom March 2016 page) and Javanna Rankine – Runner-up (bottom September 2016 page) all from Tarpum Bay Primary School.

Additionally, Kaidyn Auguste, Makena Alleyne, Mashana McCardy and Selena Ingraham from Tarpum Bay Primary School, Gia Morley and Nathalia Saunders from Rock Sound Primary and Cortez Brown and Kevaughn Burrows from Green Castle Primary received Honourable Mentions in the competition and are listed in the back of the calendar along with their photos.

TarpumBayPrimary_KW calendar_01

“The Kirtland’s Warbler Calendar contest highlights and features drawings from students in both The Bahamas – specifically the Island of Eleuthera – and Michigan, USA” said Johnson. “The contest is an annual way to educate both Bahamian and American students about the once endangered and now threatened Kirtland’s Warbler, as well as the other wildlife the bird lives with and the habitats that this very special bird lives in.”

Students on Eleuthera drew pictures of the Kirtland’s Warbler on its wintering grounds, which are exclusively in The Bahamas; and Michigan students depicted the bird on its breeding grounds, which is Michigan, lower Ontario, and Wisconsin.

RockSoundPrimary_KW calendar

Eleuthera was selected as the main Bahamian island featured in the competition because of research work that has been conducted on the Warbler, Johnson noted, “The contest is a great way to bridge the gap between scientific research and the communities understanding of the amazing wildlife found in The Bahamas.”

The competition was just one of the ways that the BNT hopes to get students involved in conservation and that these same students will protect the Bahamian ecosystems and wildlife for future generations. Calendars may be purchased online through the Eastern National Forests Interpretive Association on their website at enfiamich.org.

First Underwater Atlas of the Bahamas published

Dr Andy Bruckner Showing Off the Atlas to the Prime Minister

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, along with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), recently presented a new Underwater Atlas of The Bahamas to the Right Honourable Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas and the Honourable Khaalis Rolle, Minister of State for Investments.

This is first underwater Atlases published from the world’s largest coral reef study, The Global Reef Expedition, that was launched right here in The Bahamas in 2011.

The Atlas of Shallow Marine Habitats of Cay Sal Bank, Great Inagua, Little Inagua and Hogsty Reef, Bahamas is a result of months of underwater research to survey and map the seafloor.

Guests at the Cocktail Reception

In 2011, scientists and divers from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Bahamas National Trust, the Department of Marine Resources, The Nature Conservancy, the National Coral Reef Institute, and the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program joined forces to complete comprehensive scientific surveys of Bahamian reefs. The research was part of the Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition, a six-year study to map and characterize coral reefs around the world.

The Expedition was launched in The Bahamas. Captain Philip Renaud, Executive Director of the Foundation said, “The Bahamas was the first country to participate in our Global Reef Expedition program and we hold their conservation efforts in high esteem. Our hope is that this atlas will be vigorously used to stimulate new initiatives for the preservation of the amazing water-world of The Bahamas.”

Hon Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing Giving Remarks at the Cocktail Reception for the Living Oceans Foundation

He continued, “We’re proud to present our atlas of Cay Sal Bank and the Inaguas to the Government of The Bahamas. The Atlas contains detailed maps and descriptions of the marine environment, so essential to resource management efforts.”

The Living Oceans team met with the Right Honourable Perry Christie, Prime Minister, to present him with a copy of the Atlas, as well as discuss the value of the results of the research to providing governments work and decisions regarding Bahaman coral reefs.

“I am fully supportive of the efforts being made, said Prime Minister Christie. “Because the bottom line is that what we do today will affect what we see 100 years from now, that is why I thank them for helping us advance our knowledge of what exists in our country.”

Khaled Bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation Atlas of Shallow Marine Habitats of Cay Sal Bank, Great Inagua, Little Inagua and Hogsty Reef, Bahamas

The Atlas combines advanced satellite imagery, aerial photography, and data from hundreds of research dives into the first-ever high-resolution coral reef ecosystem maps of many of Bahamas reefs. At a reception at The Bahamas National Trust to celebrate the publication of the research Minister of the Environment and Housing, Honourable Kenred Dorsett, BNT President Larry Glinton and BNT Executive Director Eric Carey brought remarks.

The Foundation presented copies of the Atlas to Minister of the Environment, Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Hubert Minnis; Former Minister of the Environment, Honourable Earl Deveaux; CEO of Save The Bays, Vanessa Haley-Benjamin; Executive Director of BREEF, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert; Executive Director of FRIENDS of the Environment, Kristin Williams; and The Nature Conservancy’s Bahamas Country Representative, Shenique Albury-Smith.

Living Oceans Foundations Presenting Atlases to Bahamian NGOs

“The BNT is proud to have been a part of this remarkable expedition, and especially pleased to have hosted the inaugural leg of this journey,” said Eric Carey, BNT Executive Director. “The data and information that the Expedition has produced, such as this Atlas, will be invaluable to not only the management of national parks and other protected areas, but also in helping The Bahamas better understand the challenges our reefs will face, as a result of impending climate change.”

Small businesses in Grand Bahama get VAT return ready

returnboot1-b

The latest ‘bootcamp’ presented by 2B’s Productions was successfully completed last week at an all-day seminar held at the Pelican Bay Resort.  Local Grand Bahamian businesspersons learned how to complete their first VAT return, which for most small businesses will be after the first quarter of the year.

The bootcamps were started by businesswomen and entrepreneurs, Sarah Kirkby of Barefoot Marketing and Leigh Termath of Bahama Buy and Sell, in response to the need for practical information about VAT.

In the first part of the seminar, Chartered Accountant Christopher Baker, a local accountant and VAT expert, went over the official VAT return forms, which must be filled out online on the Government of the Bahamas’ website. He showed all the various requirements that are needed in order to successfully and correctly complete the forms.

It became apparent to all attending the seminar, that completing the forms required careful record-keeping and analysis of a company’s accounting, along with creating and maintaining worksheets in order to create accurate figures for the VAT returns.

Given that most businesses in Grand Bahama operate within the confines of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, as a Licensee of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, they learned that completing the forms required different reporting than the rest of the businesses in The Bahamas. Baker showed examples of worksheets companies could create in order to arrive at the information needed to complete the VAT returns.

One of the facilitators of the bootcamp, Leigh Termath said, “Even though I am very well versed in most things VAT, I learned so much with the morning accounting session. I was very surprised at how much information the Government is requiring from us. It is quite amazing the level of detail they are expecting. It has caused a complete shift in the way I do my accounting and definitely requires more work than before.”

In the afternoon, Termath outlined the latest information from the government about fines; compliance and specific procedures a businesses should review in order to ensure that they are operating correctly under the new TAX regime. The attendees, comprising of businesses owners, managers and their accountants, were able to ask questions and share their experiences with VAT so far.

Sarah Kirkby, the moderator for the seminar, felt that this setting enhanced the learning experience. “We were able to have good back and forth dialogues between the presenters and the audience and this enabled the attendees to learn even more through each other’s experiences. It was a very supportive environment and we certainly need that in order to navigate through the VAT process.”

The session also included a visit by leading GB broker, Merrill Dorsett, of M and M Brokers, who used his experience as a former Customs Officer, to lend insight into how Customs works. He explained that businesses should become familiar with rates of duties, certificates of origin, and all the rules surrounding importing in order to ensure they are being charged the correct amount of duty and VAT on their imported items.

The Government’s VAT department is currently offering seminar’s on VAT return on various islands and 2B’s Productions references the VAT’s interactive website as an excellent reference tool. The bootcamp series focuses on practical and thorough information that not only includes the financial information of how to “do VAT”, but also best business practices on how to implement it into your business so that you can ensure its future success.

While an additional date has not been set for a repeat of this seminar, interested person can register on a waitlist at Barefoot Marketing at 352-4578.

New Bootcamp Seminar: Learn How to File your VAT Returns

Sarah and Leigh

Now that the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) has commenced, from January 1, 2015, businesses have been dealing with this new regime, with varying levels of success. Their direction is now focused towards filing the first VAT return, which, for most, will be in April.

To this end, a new VAT “Bootcamp” is being held on Thursday February 19, to facilitate this process. This is part of the popular Bootcamp Series, which started in November 2014. The Bootcamps were started by 2 B’s productions, comprising of Sarah Kirkby of Barefoot Marketing and Leigh Termath of Bahama Buy and Sell. These two business women were responding to the needs of their clients who were looking for practical information about VAT.

To date, over 100 businesses have attended their seminars and have been armed with the information needed to register for VAT and implement it within their company’s operations.

The implementation of VAT has been met with varying levels of success, when companies were faced with specific instances that did not necessarily fit the standard regime of VAT. There have been, across The Bahamas, thousands of instances of concern by businesses, which probably could not have been known until they saw how VAT calculations would affect their pricing and daily operations.

The cry for help continues, especially when being faced with the first VAT Return, where businesses must file a return that details their Input Tax paid and Output Tax charged. Many people are concerned about whether they have been keeping their records correctly.

The VAT Returns Bootcamp will address these issues. The full day seminar will start with updates that have been implemented since January 1, that businesses may not be aware of.

Then, accountant Christopher Baker of HLB Galanis & Co., will go over accounting records to ensure that attendees are doing everything correctly. It is especially important to be addressing this now, so that when it comes time to file a return, all information is in place. It would be very inconvenient if people discovered that they were keeping inaccurate records and have to go back and correct three months worth of information. Mr. Baker is a UK trained chartered accountant who has immersed himself in the VAT process for his local clients in Grand Bahama. The seminar is a great opportunity to have the consultancy of a top accountant on the island to address any particular issues.

Attendees will also be guided through the process of filing a return, step by step, using Bahamas Government videos and real examples to help them see how they will use their own records to complete a return.

In addition, a top broker will be on hand to discuss how Customs duties and the implementation of them have changed.

The seminar is limited to 75 spaces. The first seminar, held in November, sold out, and this is expected to as well, as most of those same people are expected to continue their VAT education with this one. Interested persons should contact Barefoot Marketing at 352-4578 to find out more and to register.

Seats are limited but space is still available, interested persons should contact Barefoot Marketing at 352-4578 or email contact@barefootmarketing.net .

Mini-Bootcamp To Address VAT Confusion

Sarah and Leigh

Since the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) on January 1, there has been a lot of confusion about how it works. Many consumers and business persons alike have not been able to get a handle on how the tax should be added and charged.

In response to this confusion, the Practical VAT Bootcamp is back with a mini-camp. This training series, which started last November, offers practical advice for businesses on how to correctly implement Vat into their businesses.

Almost 100 people have attended the bootcamps, which is presented by 2B’s Productions, comprising of business owners and entrepreneurs, Sarah Kirkby of Barefoot Marketing, and Leigh Termath of Bahama Buy and Sell newspaper.

Termath found that, over Christmas, as she was interacting with her own customers, many small businesses were still unprepared, even just days before the enactment of VAT on January 1. “I was very surprised that many businesses still had unanswered questions. In addition, many of them were under the threshold for mandatory registration of $100,000 in sales and they wondered if it was a good business decision for them to register for VAT. Still others had registered but were unsure as to whether they had set up their systems correctly.”

It was then determined that even though 2B’s had presented two very successful bootcamps, still more education was needed, particularly to address the needs of small businesses.

“A very important thing that needs to be addressed,” stated Sarah Kirkby, who, as the President of Barefoot Marketing, has guided many businesses towards successful customer communications, “is how businesses are relating to their customers and advising them how the process works. None of us like the tax, but businesses can help by making sure their signage is correct, processes run smoothly and their staff are trained.”

In addition, last minute revisions to the Tax Guidelines were published right up until the last day of 2014. Some of these changes will cause businesses to adjust the plans they already made. Other changes had not even taken place yet and updates were, and still are being made almost daily.

The VAT Mini-Bootcamp will address these issues and help business owners and their staff move forward confidently with the new tax regime. In addition, the presenters will provide the tools for persons to find out more, keep learning and make practical decisions about their business.

“This is not an accounting seminar” says Kirkby, “But rather a practical discussion on how to operate your business correctly in this new environment.”

“Every business is different.” adds Termath. “This mini-bootcamp will help attendees figure out the solutions to their problems so that owners and managers can comply with all government requirements and continue to operate their businesses profitably and keep their customers.”

The Mini Bootcamp will be held on Friday January 23rd from 10am-12pm and the cost is $35 (VAT Inclusive). You may register by calling Barefoot Marketing at 352-4578 or Bahama Buy and Sell at 351-9157. The seminar will be held at The Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce’s meeting room and space is limited. Advance Registration is required.