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US Representative to UN Agencies in Rome, HE Cindy McCain makes official visit to Grand Bahama

US Representative to UN Agencies in Rome, HE Cindy McCain makes official visit to Grand Bahama

GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas — Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting escorted Her Excellency Cindy McCain, United States Representative to the United Nations Agencies in Rome on what was her first official visit to Grand Bahama on Monday, January 30, 2023.

Ambassador McCain and a delegation of officials from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Permanent Mission to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) arrived in The Bahamas on Sunday, January 29, 2023 with a mission to tour several agricultural and food processing sites throughout the country.

The objective is to promote cooperation on climate change, food security and sustainability matters between the US and The Bahamas.

Minister Sweeting and His Excellency, The Bahamas Ambassador to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Winston Pinnock led the delegation to Grand Bahama, following their earlier visit to Eleuthera on Monday, 30 January 2023, and were joined by Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey and Senators James Turner and Kirk Russell and other senior government officials.

Minister Sweeting noted that Ambassador McCain and Pinnock have established that both countries are making climate-smart agriculture a priority and are strategizing on ways to get young people involved in the industry.

In Eleuthera, Ambassador McCain was able to view the progress that has been made at The Island School, Symonette’s Farm and One Eleuthera, where cooling houses are being utilized.

Minister Sweeting pointed out that Ambassadors McCain and Pinnock have also been in discussions on how to work together to find grants that will assist in the farming sector.

“We share the same initiatives, we share the same thought processes on where we need to go and how to get there,” Minister Sweeting said.

While in Grand Bahama, the delegation were given an extensive tour of Coral Vita, a reef restoration solutions company, and visited the memorial site of the Hurricane Dorian victims in the High Rock community.

That community had the greatest loss of residents to the killer storm in 2019.

Ambassador McCain, while pointing out that the agency she represents
concentrates primarily on food, food security, agriculture and climate change, deemed her trip to both islands a significant one, adding that she has a great deal of wealth to take back to Rome.

“This has been a remarkable day. It’s been uplifting in many ways because I’ve seen schools and projects and things that are really moving forward,” she said.

Ambassador McCain also paid her respects to the victims of Hurricane Dorian at the High Rock Memorial Site.

“It’s was heart-wrenching to see what’s occurred to this island and it is also heart-wrenching to see that we’re not as far along as we should be in the help that we should be supplying to this particular part of The Bahamas,” she said.

She also gave insight on recommendations she would make on the assistance that can be given to Grand Bahama.

“From what I understand, the majority of the farmland was lost here and so that would be something that I think that we could take to FAO and other organizations within the UN system and outside the UN system. Also public-private partnerships to help rebuild the land and rebuild the agriculture that was going on here to do exactly what these two (Ministers Sweeting and Moxey) have been wanting to do and that is to make these islands sustainable.

Ambassador says she looks forward to being of any kind of help that she can be and has already proposed a few ideas.

“I think if we work together, the United States is a good partner here, and we’d like to work together with The Bahamas to continue the success and also help alleviate some of the tragedies that have occurred,” she said.

Cognizant that the memorial site is the only place the family can go to to mourn the loss of their loved ones after the storm, Her Excellency said avoiding another devastating tragedy is the goal.

“If we can work together to work on climate change, hurricanes like Dorian that hit these islands, and others that have been devastating around the world, we can perhaps even lighten the load. We probably won’t ever stop them, but we could at least lighten them to the point that we don’t have this. We’ll have a heavy storm, but not a devastating storm, which is what this was, and climate change is a large part of that reason,” she said.

Ambassador McCain said she intends to work closely with Prime Minister Philip Davis on climate change, and is working with Ambassador Pinnock on issues that face, not only The Bahamas and the United States, but the world.

Minister Moxey revealed that visiting the memorial site was a request of Ambassador McCain, after seeing the documentary of Hurricane Dorian.

“It’s really a humbling experience. Of course, so many people are trying to recover and so we have discussed ways that we can partner. Everything that we spoke about on our Blueprint for Change was based on public-private partnerships and so we intend to do that,” she said.

Minister Moxey was delighted the ambassador accepted the offer to visit the nation’s second city.

“She saw, I believe, we she needed to see. She saw the impact of climate change; we’re a model for it, Abaco also is a model for it, and so she has recognized that, yes, we do need additional support here and she will be working with us in that regard,” Minister Moxey said.

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