DR. MICHAEL DARVILLE, Minister for Grand Bahama officially opens STEMSO 2014 Conference at the Grand Lucayan Resort, February 20, 2014. BIS Photo
Freeport, Bahamas – Minister for Grand
Bahama, Dr. Michael Darville, on Thursday, February 20 officially welcomed stem
cell experts from around the globe to Grand Bahama Island.
Dr. Darville was
bringing remarks at the opening of STEMSO 2014 Conference, which got underway
at Grand Lucayan Resort.
International Stem Cell Society, was formulated to facilitate the common
economic interests of its regenerative medicine industry member organisations.
As a trade
organisation, STEMSO is the mechanism by which positive change may be
implemented, work toward cogent regulatory pathway and public awareness and
education concerning adult stem cells may be accomplished.
endeavors to convey information concerning timely events within the stem cell
industry, business collaborations, and legislative changes through access to
conferences, publications, seminars and digital media.
Dr. Darville told
Thursday’s gathering that as Minister for Grand Bahama and member of the local
medical fraternity, that is was a privilege for him, as a strong advocate for
stem cell research and therapies in The Bahamas, to bring welcome remarks at
the historic conference.
He pointed out that
upon coming to office 18 months ago, the newly elected government embraced the
idea of establishing the country as a highly respected, world class
jurisdiction for medical tourism and a leader in stem cell research and
comprehensive parliamentary assessment of the benefits that adult stem cell
research and therapy would have on our citizens and country, the government
established a national task force on stem cell therapy to explore the positive
and potential negative effects of the application of this science to human
confirmed that with proper monitoring, The Bahamas, through stem cell research
and therapies, would not only find itself on the cutting edge of good science,
but this science would open doors to therapies that could treat and possibly
cure many of the chronic debilitating diseases that currently affect our
population,” he stated.
Minister for Grand Bahama noted that the implementation of adult stem cell
research in The Bahamas has been described as the opening of the flood gates to
a cutting-edge technique with serious medical tourism potential.
“As a result, the
government concluded that it was essential to pursue and regulate this industry
in order to reap its many benefits to our country and its people,” he said.
Further, Dr. Darville
said they are pleased with the Stem Cell Research and Therapy Bill 2013, which
facilitated the establishment of three important committees, The Scientific
Review Committee, The Ethics Committee and The Compliance Committee which will
ensure that all stem cell research and therapy conducted in the Commonwealth of
The Bahamas meet best practices and international standards and that strict
policies are put in place to ensure that all medical practitioners and research
scientists are held accountable to the highest ethical standards by local and
international experts from around the world, thus protecting the industry and
the integrity and reputation of the country.
The minister said he
was also excited about the possibilities of foreign direct investment for the
island of Grand Bahama, but specifically as it relates to stem cell research
“I truly believe that
we can attract scientists and medical practitioners to live and establish
research institutions, medical centres and health care facilities on Grand
Bahama, which will fuel the growth of our economy through medical tourism.
“It also allows
Bahamian physicians, nurse and other medical professionals to have the
opportunity for training and research and in the final analysis, create
sustainable well paying jobs,” he said.
Dr. Darville also
stressed that Grand Bahama Island is just 60 miles off the coast of Florida and
has a state of the art infrastructure and duty free environment with many tax
benefits for investors, which makes it an ideal destination to live, work and
He said the island has
all the ingredients for tourist to have access to world renowned regenerative
medicine, treat chronic degenerative diseases and be rejuvenated while working
towards achieving optimal health.
The Minister for Grand
Bahama also informed that his ministry in conjunction with the ministry of
health has been assessing the primary and tertiary healthcare needs for Grand
Bahama and that the government is fully committed to the construction of a new
state of the art hospital in the city of Freeport.
He said that through a
public/private partnership model, they intend to improve the present medical
infrastructure and current medical services in order to efficiently cater to
the medical needs of locals and medical tourists alike. He anticipates that
this new facility will be completed by early 2017.
Dr. Darville again
assured participants that The Bahamas is committed to stem cell research and
therapy. Also, that his ministry has responsibility for attracting new
investments and to work closely with the private sector to diversify the local
remains a huge market throughout the region, and generates billions of dollars
annually worldwide. For that reason, the Government of The Bahamas is heeding
the advice of the chairman of the Stem Cell Task Force, who admonished us to
aggressively pursue the stem cell industry throughout our country,” he stated.
Stem Cell Conference Underway in Grand Bahama