Nassau Guardian Stories

Looking for the best and brightest
Looking for the best and brightest

April 02, 2014

The best and brightest graduating high school female students from throughout the country will convene in New Providence this week for the 36th Annual Eta Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated's Honour's Day Program, with one young lady walking away with the title of Most Outstanding High School Female Student in The Bahamas...

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Philanthropy broadening COB students' perspectives
Philanthropy broadening COB students' perspectives

April 02, 2014

Adrianna Knowles, a Ministry of Tourism Cacique Award Scholarship recipient at The College of The Bahamas (COB), traveled to New York last June to compete in a sustainable tourism competition; In fall 2013, Phylicia Romer and Myran Sands lived and studied in Mexico on a study abroad opportunity, made possible through the Santander Study Abroad scholarship...

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Discover Providence, discover the world
Discover Providence, discover the world

April 02, 2014

As students around the country prepare to wind down their school year, the principals at Providence School, one of the newest academic ventures in the country are excited about the new institution that promises to be an inclusive, creative and nurturing community, that will offer a challenging and project-based curriculum to preschool and primary school students, when it opens its doors in September.
Scores of parents with their children seeking admission, and dozens of educators in search of employment as well as Providence well-wishers attended a recent open house at the Rainforest Theatre in the Wyndham Nassau Resort where they were introduced to the institution's curricula and programs. Showcased were the plans for what is expected to be an energetic academic community where global education, character and service learning are expected to be paramount. It's a school at which educator and Head of School Shacantila Hall-Briggs hopes to create a more curious, creative, confident, considerate and engaged student.
Hall-Briggs told parents that there were perhaps few decisions more important than choosing the right school for their child, and asserted during the open house that choosing Providence School located on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway would ensure that their children start out on their path towards lifelong learning, building a strong character and a successful academic experience.
She said while core subjects like Mathematics, Language Arts, Social Sciences, and Religious Studies are fundamental to the tenets of the school, it was her belief that there is nothing extra about technology, world languages, fine arts, character and service education and health and wellness. She billed the co-curricular activities as vital parts of Providence's holistic approach to education.
She also told parents that Providence students would be given the tools to exceed academic standards, that Providence teachers would be offered the support to connect their students to a world beyond the halls of school and that parents of Providence students would be integral to every aspect of their child's education and development.
Bishop Simeon B. Hall, religious leader, former vice-principal of Prince Williams High School and chairman of the Providence Hall Foundation, moderated a six-member panel of professionals during the open house. Participating in the discussion were retired justice Rubie Nottage, former Supreme Court Justice and lecturer at The College of The Bahama; Father James Palacious, former rector at St. Matthew's Church and former lecturer at The College of The Bahamas; Arlene Nash-Ferguson, principal at Educulture and former principal at St. John's College; Philip Haven, Scotiabank manager and Bishop Victor Cooper, pastor at New Bethany Baptist Church and former president of the Primary Principals Association.
The panel members offered parents insight into the importance of family involvement in early childhood education, the critical role the church and the community play in childhood development, and the importance of investing in a child's educational future as well as best practices for financing a child's education.
Discussions also included embracing global languages and culture, methods to ensure that students are leaders in information and communication technology, the downfalls of traditional Bahamian educational philosophy and curricula, and how Bahamian students are faring at the regional and international levels and how to narrow any disparities.
The panel members stressed the importance of moving beyond traditional education and embracing character education and service learning, as well as the importance of disciplining children without damaging the spirits of children.
Noting that global-mindedness will be weaved into every learning experience at the Providence School, Sandiria Hall, said that in addition to teaching students both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, that the school's program would incorporate field trips, annual international travel and co-curricular activities to complement the academic curriculum, and to transport Providence students beyond the brick and mortar classroom.
Chef Simeon Hall who highlighted the importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle and eating to children from an early age, showcased the school's unique lunch program which would be prepared under his guidance, with food from the school's on-site garden.
Students whose parents had already signed on for the Providence experience come September, wowed the audience with a fashion show displaying the school's formal uniform in blue and white gingham tops and navy sweaters and blazers. Other children adorned the informal uniforms -- kelly green, turquoise blue and sunkist orange polo tops with khaki bottoms. Adult models walked the catwalk displaying the teachers' and administrators' attire.
Providence School's philosophy is based on its core tenets of love, honor, integrity, charity and courage.
Parents or educators interested in joining the energetic Providence School where global education, character and service learning are paramount and are prepared to add to the school's efforts to develop future leaders can visit the school's website at www.theprovidenceschool.org or its Facebook page for more information.

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Woodcock Primary School students tour U.S. Coast Guard Cutter
Woodcock Primary School students tour U.S. Coast Guard Cutter

April 02, 2014

A class of fifth grade students at Woodcock Primary School got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity recently when they were invited to participate in a tour onboard the visiting U.S. Coast Guard Cutter GANNET while it was docked at the Prince George Wharf...

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Family Island student makes history
Family Island student makes history

April 02, 2014

Taliah Cooper made history when she won the Jr. Minister of Tourism competition and became the first Family Islander to capture the coveted title...

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Take the label off

April 02, 2014

Joel Osteen gave a very enlightening talk on television recently when he was discussing a subject which I write about a whole lot, and that's the FACT, that how we see ourself in our Mind's Eye, contributes to how we actually perform on a daily basis...

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NPBA semifinals heating up

April 02, 2014

On Monday night, the Mailboat Cybots delivered a 106-92 statement to the Real Deal Shockers. The New Providence Basketball Association hosted game three of their semifinal series at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium. The series was knotted up at a game apiece and both teams knew how pivotal a game three win would be.
Eugene Bain was a multidimensional force against the Shockers, that now trail 2-1, collecting a game high 21 points, 19 rebounds and six assists. Mitchel Bain added 20 points, four assists and three rebounds.
Both teams were slow out of the gate, failing to convert on easy opportunities. Stagnant ball movement and bad shot selection crippled both teams offenses early in the quarter.
The Bots carried a one-point lead into the second, but would soon find their bearings after Bain came and sparked his team off the bench.
The Bots bench played a huge roll in the game; they outscored the Shockers second unit 68-22.
Midway through the second quarter the Shockers would begin to fall apart, which allowed the Cybots to take a 56-33 lead into halftime. During one wild stretch, Bain sank three consecutive three-pointers. The Cybots also tightened up their defense in building the 23-point lead.
A bright spot in the Shockers dreadful first half was the inspired play from their point guard, Floyd Armbrister, who finished the game with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists. He pressured the ball handlers of the Cybots and constantly scored points off fast break opportunities. Salathiel Dean finished the game with 20 points but shot just 4-15 from the field. Bain and the rest of the Bots defense forced him into taking difficult shots all game. They double-teamed him on almost every possession, which prevented him from finding any kind of offensive consistency.
Both teams struggled from behind the three-point line in this game, shooting a combined 9-40, just 22 percent from long range.
In the third, there was cause for concern as Bots guard David Taylor went down hard after a flagrant foul by Dean. Taylor left the game but would later return.
In the midst of all the physical play the Shockers began to mount a comeback by making aggressive drives and getting to the foul line. The Shockers shot 45 free throws in the game compared to the Bots 31. In the fourth, they managed to cut the lead down to just ten, but time was not on their side. The bots managed to hold on for the win and the advantage in the series.
The other game played on Monday featured the Commonwealth Bank Giants against the PJCS Stingers. The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the series after trampling the Stingers 93- 71. Giant's wingman Mark Hanna led all scores in the game with 23 points, he also pulled down 12 rebounds. Gamaliel Rose added 13 points and 10 rebounds in the win for the Giants.
Able Joseph finished with a Stingers' team high 14 points and nine rebounds.
Both series will continue tonight starting at 7:30 p.m. The games will be held at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.

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COB receives generous book donation

April 02, 2014

The College of The Bahamas (COB) library received a generous donation from the Bahamas Olympic Committee yesterday. President of the committee, Wellington Miller, and vice-president, Iram Lewis, presented the books to COB Librarian Berthamae Walker in a special presentation at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Center. Some of the books awarded to the college included "Captain Of Industry", the new title by two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Sir Durward Knowles, as well as "The Top 40 Women in Bahamian Sports History".
"I don't think people in the country really get the full meaning of sports in The Bahamas. I would like for the students to take special attention to these books, especially the one about bidding for the Olympic games, because soon The Bahamas will be in a good position to host one of the international events, whether it be the Central America and Caribbean Games (CAC) or Pan Am Games," said Miller.
"Your students might be the first to set out all the diagrams and understand how these things are bid for, and the way to bring these things to life is by reading a book like that. Especially when it comes to hosting events like sailing."
All of the books donated have to do with sports in the Bahamas, and ways to grow the various sports, or sports nutrition.
"This adds well to our special collections, which focuses on Bahamian material. Once the students come in and want to know about these athletes, and the work the association does, we will have the resources to refer them to," said Walker.
"I think you will see an ever greater focus on sports as the college transitions over to a university, because I think that's one of the areas where we need to have a little bit more input and try to build up. We are introducing our students to the business of sports and competing professionally, and this is a sound beginning. We want to see more COB people on the map so we will gladly publicize and make these available to the students."
COB has a history with Olympians. There are several Olympic sports practiced at the college where many athletes got their start.
The COB's Wellness Center is growing and providing a solid foundation for the athletes training there; some are even fortunate enough to have three time Olympian Bradley Cooper as a coach.
"I started COB after I left Grand Bahama and then went on to Tuskegee University. I started my athletic career after I received my master's degree and was fortunate enough to make it to two Olympics. I have always made mention that I started at COB and if I had to do it over again, I would," said Lewis.
"It is a good training ground, academically I was able to dominate in the United States, and with Bahamian talent I was able to do the same athletically."
The committee has vowed to refresh the college library with new books every three months.

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Batelco Radars back In spotlight with noble gestures to stalwarts

April 02, 2014

I remember quite well, the period during the 1960s when the Batelco Radars was one of the best softball teams in the country. It was a pivotal era. The ethnic gap in the game of softball was about to be totally bridged. Traditional softball competition at Garfunkel Field, that saw the participation of few black players, was transforming into league play at the new John F. Kennedy Drive Park.
Prior to that change, the Southern Recreation Grounds (now Cannon William Thompson Park) was where a large number of black players performed. On Sundays, the Southern Recreation Grounds (SRG) was one of the main venues of activities for black athletes.
At the same time, many of them were playing cricket or soccer at Clifford Park, Windsor Park or St. George's Park. The SRG enjoyed that kind of popularity and the Radars were the softball darlings of the time. The top players evolved as stars, household names. When visiting the SRG, most often, fans watched Brian "Boldie" Gibson, the last of the great underhand delivery specialists.
He was the star pitcher of the Radars. Then, there was Russell Franks who was an avid athlete and a bit of a socialite. He was one of the original Radars. The peers of Gibson and Franks included Anthony "Boots" Weech, Keith "Muggins" Archer and Audley "Congo" Williams, who also thinks of himself as one of the better whist players in the country. Well, the jury remains out on that one.
They were a part of the catalyst group that contributed to etching the name Batelco Radars into Bahamian softball history.
A few years behind the aforementioned stalwarts but significant, nevertheless, to the tradition of the Radars, was Charles "Chuck" Mackey. The 1960s and 1970s were special decades in the development of softball in the country. The Radars, through the outreach connections of it players, had much to do with the expansion of softball into commercial and recreational play.
These days, Williams is still as boastful as ever, Weech remains quiet but profound and Muggins forever the supreme unionist, all of them still in love with the game of softball. Boldie gave us a scare a while ago. He was fading rapidly, but through the power of the Almighty, he is back, seemingly as vibrant as ever.
The same can't be said for Franks and Mackey. They are both facing challenges and are greatly incapacitated in comparison to the active individuals we once knew.
It was thus a fitting gesture, when the Radars decided to pay tribute to their colleagues. Weech first mentioned the plan to me and I thought it a great idea. This past weekend a social bash was held at the home of Archer, in Imperial Park, and it was a great reunion of Radars, honoring two of their very own.
This is a special moment in time in Bahamian sports history.
More and more, organizations are recognizing the importance of connecting the generations by bringing back into the spotlight those who made a positive sports difference. Now, a little bit more is known about Franks and Mackey.
Best wishes to them!
o To Respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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Quarrie says Jamaica shouldn't rest on its laurels

April 02, 2014

With a focus of promoting Caribbean athletics globally, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is spearheading a 'Day in the Life' Series, featuring some of the best athletes in the region. The first stop on the regional tour is the island nation of Jamaica. Our man Sheldon Longley is with the IAAF team, and will be bringing daily updates here in the Sports section of The Nassau Guardian.
KINGSTON, Jamaica - One of Jamaica's most legendary athletes, Donald Quarrie, said the country is experiencing its best era in track and field, and for that to continue, they must not get complacent.
In an exclusive interview with the IAAF 'Day in the Life' Team, Quarrie said that it is incumbent among former athletes such as himself, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the coaches in Jamaica, and sports enthusiasts in general, to continue to hold the sport to a high standard. They must continue to move forward in their ideology and training techniques and programs, said Quarrie.
To this day, almost 30 years after ending his career, Quarrie remains passionate about the sport that has taken him around the world. He is a five-time Olympian, finishing his Olympic career with a gold, two silvers and a bronze, and has won nine gold medals between the Pan American and Commonwealth Games combined. For his exploits on the track, Quarrie has a high school named in his honor in east Kingston, and statue in front of the national stadium. He held the Jamaican national record in the men's 200 meters (m) for 36 years before Usain Bolt finally broke it in 2007, and he owns the 1976 Olympic gold medal over that distance. Quarrie's personal best time in the 200m was 19.86 seconds. Other than Bolt, the only Jamaicans who have ran faster over that distance are Yohan Blake, Warren Weir and Nickel Ashmeade.
Quarrie likes where they are now, and is hopeful for continued progression.
"I think we always had good sprinters. We didn't win a lot of medals, but we were in a lot of finals," said Quarrie. "What is happening now, is something that could have happened before, but nothing happens before its time. At this point, we're setting a standard for others to follow. The competition among ourselves has produced top level athletes. We're at the top now, but the world is continually spinning. One day, we might not be at the top. For anyone to pass us now, they have to be prepared to take the leadership role. When you look at the rest of the Caribbean, they are coming. We can't take anything for granted. We have to continue our progression as well.
"I was very happy when Bolt broke my national record because it shows that we are progressing. He carried it to what it should be. If you look at our high school system, we are producing a lot of athletes, but it is mostly just sprinters. Hopefully, for the most part, our junior athletes could have a successful transition to the senior level."
Even today, Quarrie at 63, still runs on a regular basis. He said that he enjoys running, and will continue to do so to maintain a level of fitness. He said that Jamaicans, on the whole, have a culture of running.
"If you look at our daily activities, there is something that involves running," he said. "I was fortunate in that my father was a policeman, and when they had their police sports meets, there was a race for children and I got into running. In every area of our society, you find kids running, and they do it for fun. They develop fundamentals at a very early age, and it helps them in their athletic careers.
"When our young athletes look at what is happening today, they want to be the next Usain Bolt. They know now that it is achievable, and then when they go to CARIFTA, and the world juniors and excel there, they get that confidence that they could continue. The junior program is very successful, and it is benefitting us so much."
Even though Jamaican athletes have achieved great success by training at home over the past 10 years, Quarrie is a huge proponent of them going to the American colleges to further their education.
"We have been pretty successful with athletes staying at home, but they should embrace the opportunity to go to the states if it is presented to them, to further develop themselves both academically and athletically, because not everyone could be that super athlete," said Quarrie. "The U.S. system has helped a lot of our athletes, not just track-wise, but also to be what they normally wouldn't have become had they stayed in Jamaica. If they want to come back after their degrees, by all means do so, but you should utilize the opportunities that are presented to you."
Just last week, the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) wrapped up one of its most productive Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, commonly known as 'Champs', in recent memory. Over 20 records were broken at the five-day high school meet. Quarrie said that there is no doubt that the juniors are excelling, but added that the next challenge for them is to nurture that talent in preparation for the senior level.
"One of the issues that we have in Jamaica is glorifying our high school athletes, but once you leave school, you get into a system where you are no longer the person," he said. "You have to be able to mix it up with others and sometimes it is a matter of how you adjust that will tell how you would fare on the senior level. It has a lot to do with the program that you are in, how you are coached and the discipline that you have instilled in you from your parents, your school and your coach. That tells if you are going to make it or not.
"In the sprints, it comes down to the dedication and the desire of the athlete to become number one. It's one thing to be running fast, but it is certainly another to be able to maintain a certain level of performance. When you are at the top, there are going to be 10 guys coming after you every day - you don't get to the top and relax. You have to be aware that there is always someone wanting to knock you off. In the other areas, it's going to come down to the coaching expertise and the amount of facilities that we have."
Quarrie is one of the meet directors for the Jamaican International Invitational, set for Saturday May 3 at the national stadium in Jamaica. Already, a number of world-class athletes have confirmed participation. Scheduled to compete are Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Allyson Felix, LaShawn Merritt, Felix Sanchez and Justin Gatlin, just to name few.
"We're going to have some outstanding athletes here," assured Quarrie. "A number of top athletes are already confirmed, and a lot of people are looking forward to it."
As far as the world relays and the Commonwealth Games are concerned, Quarrie said that he is excited about both events.
"When you look at the Commonwealth Games, I got my start there so that holds a special place in my heart. Some of the top Jamaican athletes have shown an interest in competing there, so we should be able to field a strong team. With the world relays, I think that it is good that they are having it. It should be different from the regular competitions. This event has the potential for a world record. I'm looking forward to it."
The inaugural International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, in The Bahamas, and the 20th Commonwealth Games will be held July 23 to August 3, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Quarrie also spent some time in Beijing, China, coaching some of its young sprinters prior to the 2008 Olympic Games, and then moved on to Thailand in 2010. One of the Chinese sprinters even credited Quarrie with his sudden progression in the sprints.
"Coaching is a lot of fun. Maintaining discipline is important," said Quarrie. "I never push an athlete to the point where I think they can't make it. As an athlete, you have to have the mental ability to deal with the pressure. That will take you a step further. You have to stick to your pattern, and prepare yourself consistently and get to a certain level.
"In Beijing, before the Olympics, I was working and advising their sprinters and coaches. If you can spread the knowledge it only helps to improve the sport worldwide. It is a lot of fun as a coach seeing an athlete performing well. The IAAF encourages it."
Quarrie first qualified at the Olympic level as a 17-year-old sprinter. He eventually developed to point where he was widely considered the best half-lapper in the world, tying the world record in 1975. He also tied the 100m record with a hand-timed mark of 9.90 seconds in 1976 at the California Relays at Modesto Junior College, thereby becoming one of only a few athletes to have held these records simultaneously.

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Developer: Demand shows economy 'all up from here'
Developer: Demand shows economy 'all up from here'

April 02, 2014

The developer of a $36 million upscale office complex near Lyford Cay set to employ about 200 workers in its construction phase said the serious demand for and response to the proposed investment shows "it's all up from here" for the economy...

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WSC 'can't afford to maintain sewer system'

April 02, 2014

As the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) forges ahead with $81 million in improvements to the country's water supply infrastructure, the general manager of the corporation has admitted that the WSC simply cannot afford to maintain its sewer system or fund what would be a $400 million to $600 million cost to extend the system throughout the whole of New Providence.
Glen Laville, general manager of the WSC, said that while the corporation is making significant progress in its Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded project to overhaul the infrastructure in the country, major challenges remain in the areas of sewerage and the further development of Family Island water supply infrastructure.
"The fact of the matter is we do not make sufficient money from the sewer sector in order to maintain and operate the collection system or the treatment system. So together we can't basically maintain any of them properly. That's just a reality. One of the big questions will be what do we do in terms of a master plan. It's been estimated in the past that to sewer New Providence is about $400 to $600 million, and then the thing is if you are going to put in a capital investment like that the customer ends up paying.
"And so when you do a master plan you have to look at different technologies, or whether or not we may have to stay with a septic tank system, it may just not be economically feasible. We may just have to tighten up on the monitoring and construction methods for septic tanks. It may end up being that you can't do a soakaway anymore, you may have to do a septic well."
Laville noted that the corporation generally receives around $5 million in revenue annually from providing sewerage services. With the entire sewer system worth around $160 million, the IDB has noted that The Bahamas is applying only about 1.5 percent of the value of its sewer assets to repairs and maintenance, something the bank says is "way too low," said Laville.
"The inevitable happens: Over the years because of the lack of maintenance things get worse and worse, breakdowns increase, service levels decease, and so what we are doing with this project is trying to address all of the critical needs first," said Laville.
Eventually, the corporation will have to look at increasing the prices charged for sewerage services, said the general manager.
Meanwhile, also outstanding is the issue of the further development of the Family Islands from a water and sewerage perspective.
Presently, if the WSC was to recover its costs via the tariffs charged in the Family Islands, it would have to immediately increase what it charges for the service by 170 percent, said Laville. Instead, he suggested that a more "transparent" subsidy should be implemented which takes into consideration the amount of economic activity on the island in question, and therefore to an extent, the ability of residents to pay, among other things.
While there is a $110 million Family Islands development plan already before the government to upgrade its provision of water, including providing a supply of potable water to each island, the general manager said that at present, there is "no way (the WSC) can finance" that.
Instead, a financial plan must be put in place if the government is to ensure that the Family Islands have a "good, reliable water supply", noted Laville.
"So what they would do is have the government allocate a certain amount each year to start upgrading the Family Island. But in terms of priority that will be a combination of economic, political, financial and we know politics plays a very large part in that."
In a recent interview Laville indicated that the WSC is making headway towards its goal of weaning itself off what is presently a $30 million-plus government subsidy within three to five years, based on improvements in the water system such as a major reduction in non-revenue water. The $81 million IDB-funded initiative is expected to pay for itself within a 10-year timeframe.

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Staff without pay as Hard Rock Cafe enters liquidation

April 02, 2014

Over 30 staff of the Hard Rock Cafe were up in arms yesterday after being called into a meeting where they were told that the downtown restaurant/store would be going into liquidation effective immediately, and there are no funds available to provide them with severance pay.
This development comes as Guardian Business has confirmed with Hard Rock Cafe International, the franchisor, that it terminated the Nassau franchise agreement and the rights of its Nassau franchisee to operate under its brand on January 6 of this year, and has since this time been "pursuing its available legal rights to protect the famous Hard Rock Cafe brand in the Nassau market" as the business continued to operate without its blessing.
A dispute with the parent company is not the company's only source of difficulty at present, however.
Appointed liquidator, Paul Gomez, who was called upon to hold the meeting with staff yesterday morning when the business' closure was announced, revealed that the company may owe around $100,000 in rent to its landlord, a company said to be owned by attorney and businessman Marvin Pinder.
The closure of the themed restaurant/store came a day after Guardian Business reported that the future of the over 30 staff who work at the restaurant was uncertain in light of evidence that Kevin Doyle, one of three shareholders in the Bahamian franchise, had run into financial and legal difficulties with Hard Rock Cafe International in relation to his Cayman Islands Hard Rock franchise.
Those challenges led to the agreement behind the George Town Hard Rock Cafe being terminated last June.
It has now transpired that the three shareholders of the company, Keith Doyle, Kevin Doyle and Robert Frankel, created a resolution appointing Paul Gomez of Baker Tilly Gomez as liquidator for the Bahamian company on Monday evening.
Guardian Business understands from sources close to the matter that the shareholders were trying "up until the last few days" to bring in new investors, or a new international brand, to revive the business. While downtown Nassau has benefited from an unprecedented boom in cruise arrivals in recent years, the restaurant is believed to have struggled in light of the challenges that the downtown area as a whole has faced in attracting customers during the evening period.
In an interview yesterday afternoon, Gomez said: "I think what really prompted all of this would've been this ongoing dispute with Hard Rock International (the parent company). Coupled with significant operating costs and a declining revenue line in the last couple of years, they no longer had a viable business model."
Several staff members expressed their dissatisfaction over the way the matter has been handled by the owners. While unconfirmed, staff members said there were 38 employees at the time the business closed.
"We went to work dressed for work and then the lawyer came in and the liquidator. They said they don't have the money right now to pay us. After up to ten years working for this company in some cases the staff is being left with nothing.
"You could've come and said, 'okay, the business is not looking good, maybe you can start looking for a job'. But it seems like it's beneath them to even come here. They said they will pay us a week's salary, but what can that do? After we invested so much time and effort," said one former employee, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Guardian Business understands that the liquidator indicated to staff that he would seek to have them paid outside of the liquidation process, which would have enabled them to see their payments owed more swiftly.
However, indications up to press time yesterday were that this would likely not succeed, leaving it an open question as to when employees would receive their money.
Gomez said: "I've received the resolution appointing myself as the liquidator and that's basically it at this point. The shareholders have promised we'll get the records some time this week and we'll proceed. It's an interesting situation and unfortunate for employees because they have commitments."

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SMART fund registration grows 25

April 02, 2014

The number of SMART funds registered in The Bahamas grew by 25 percent last year and a similar or greater rate of growth is projected this year, according to the chief executive officer of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB).
Meanwhile, a draft of a bill to create what Prime Minister Perry Christie has termed a new fund product that will "revolutionize" the financial services sector's ability to do business with the Latin American market is not "very progressed," according to BFSB CEO Aliya Allen.
Allen spoke to Guardian Business following a presentation she made yesterday at the 3rd Caribbean Conference on the International Financial Services Sector at the British Colonial Hilton hotel. She spoke as part of a panel on the theme "The new paradigm for IFCs: New products and new markets".
The panel focused on the need for international financial centers such as The Bahamas to innovate, research and develop new products and seek out new markets if they are to survive in an evolving and ever-restrictive global regulatory landscape, and potentially find new areas of competitive opportunity within it.
Speaking of the growth in the registration of SMART (Specific Mandate Alternative Regulatory Test) funds last year, Allen told Guardian Business that it is hard to project how the market will continue to respond to The Bahamas' offerings, but she anticipates that the sector will "at least meet or even exceed the growth we saw last year" in 2014.
Asked what the growth means for the sector, she said: "From the financial services perspective it means we're getting traction in the fund space, and of course the more funds we're able to accommodate and register in The Bahamas, the more people are needed to service those funds, whether it's on the audit side, the fund administration side, or the investment management side. It could lead to institutions bringing on new individuals and certainly that's the objective, to generate economic opportunities for Bahamians."
As to the status of the new product, which is targeted at the Latin American market, Allen said that it is presently within the remit of a small working group, and focus groups are being conducted to test the product. It will soon be put out for public consultation, she added.
While not wanting to give away too much about what makes it potentially so attractive to the Latin American market, Allen said it creates "enormous opportunity for The Bahamas".
"I don't want to oversell the importance of the product, but we certainly always want to diversify our toolkit and we wouldn't add another product if we didn't think there was a market for it. The market intelligence that we gather through our trips to various jurisdictions tells us there is justification for what we're doing."
With The Bahamas and other financial centers in the region pivoting towards the Latin American market as their ability to attract European and U.S. clients diminishes, Allen said she does not feel that this country will be put at a disadvantage commercially by a language barrier.
"I think we're prepared for it. Certainly we do have a number of individuals in the industry who are bilingual, trilingual. We are trying to facilitate greater language competency through our initiatives and are also working with certainly the university as well to see if we can facilitate courses that enable Bahamians to obtain another language.
"Certainly language competency is important, but is it determinative of your success as a financial services center? I don't think so. English is still the business language and most of your clients are actually competent in it. What it does when you have a familiarity with the language is create that connection and the relationship, so it is certainly an advantage but we think we're developing that already."

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Exuma real estate firm appoints 'veteran' realtor

April 02, 2014

Seaside Real Estate, Exuma's oldest real estate firm, has recently announced that it has retained the services of veteran realtor Reg Smith as a realtor associate.
Smith brings with him an extensive knowledge of real property sales and development and has been in real estate for the past 12 years including six years as director of sales for the Old Bahama Bay Development, four years as director of sales for Emerald Bay/Grand Isles Development and two years with H.G. Christie Real Estate Company. He has also been regional director of sales and marketing for Princess Hotels International and has travelled to north and South America, Canada, Mexico and Europe promoting the resort. He will be promoting the high end properties that are available for sale in the Exumas.
Smith was born in George Town and is a graduate of Adelphi University with a degree in business administration. His career of over 45 years has been as a business machine salesman, 10 years with the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas in Nassau as an announcer and in Grand Bahama as program director/manager.
In Exuma he is intimately involved in the social development of the island through as work with the Exuma Chamber of Commerce, the Exuma Cancer Society and the Exuma Alliance.
A press release issued by the company said that there is "no person better suited to take on today's market challenges and strengthen Exuma's bond with investors" than Smith.

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The Bahamas hosts first regional AML/CFT conference

April 02, 2014

The Caribbean is expected to look more closely at how it can further strengthen individual countries' financial systems to protect against money laundering and the financing of terrorism at a conference taking place in Nassau today.
The Bahamas is hosting the First Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Regional Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Conference during April 2 and 3, at the British Colonial Hilton and the Paul Farquharson Center, Police Headquarters.
The CFATF is an organization of 27 states in the Caribbean Basin which have agreed to implement common counter measures to address the problem of criminal money laundering. The main objective of the CFATF is to achieve effective implementation of and compliance with the FATF recommendations to prevent and control money laundering and to combat the financing of terrorism.
During this two-day, high level conference, it is expected that ministers throughout the Caribbean will be in The Bahamas where they will examine how they may strengthen their AML/CFT programs.
Ministers will also review the Third Round Mutual Evaluations, and explore how member jurisdictions can prepare for the Fourth Round of Mutual Evaluations which commences in January 2015. This conference will not only serve as a training opportunity for member countries, but will also be invaluable in preparing those countries' which will conduct National Risk Assessments.
This AML/CFT conference will focus on a number of strategic objectives which include improved collaboration among member countries of the Caribbean and partnering with agencies including the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Caribbean Development Bank and CARICOM. Additionally, the president of the Financial Action Task Force, Vladimir Nechaev, will be the key note speaker. Prime Minister Perry Christie will also address the conference.
At the end of the two day conference, it is expected that CFATF Ministers will review and sign the historic Nassau Declaration. This document will be widely publicized because of its importance to The Bahamas as chair of the CFATF and the region.
Currently, CFATF members are Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, The Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, The Turks & Caicos Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.

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Woman, 24, shot at home, dies

April 02, 2014

A woman was shot inside her Yellow Elder Gardens home yesterday morning; she died a short while later, becoming the fifth person murdered in the country since Saturday, police said.
Relatives identified her as Leoneise Jones, 24.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said the shooter approached the home on Old Cedar Street around 2 a.m. and shot through a window, hitting the woman in the neck and face.
According to police, she died in hospital.
Ferguson appealed to anyone with information on the matter to contact police.
He said police did not have a motive or a suspect.
When The Guardian visited the home yesterday, relatives did not want to speak.
Jones' neighbors, who said they were shocked by the incident, described her as a quiet and kind young woman.
"She never came out and she never hurt anyone," one neighbor said.
On Jones' Facebook page, a friend posted, "If I had known Saturday would have been the last time I saw you, I would have snapped a few more pictures."
The murder count for the year now stands at 28.
On Saturday, a man was stabbed to death outside a home at Graham Drive, Yellow Elder Gardens, at 3 p.m., police said.
Alexis Smith, 15, was shot to death outside a bar in Kings Subdivision, Eight Mile Rock, around 3:06 a.m. on Sunday, police said.
On Monday, police said two men were murdered on Grand Bahama.
Lenardo Pierre, 22, was found with multiple gunshot wounds on Adventurers Way around 1:45 a.m.
The second victim was shot on Weddell Avenue shortly after 9 p.m., police said.
The crime problem remains a great national concern despite efforts by the government and police to address it.
On Friday, Prime Minister Perry Christie renewed his commitment to "smother and suffocate" crime.
In a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said all categories of violent crime with the exception of murder have trended downward up to March 19.
He called murder a vexing issue that the police with the assistance of all stakeholders "have to get a handle on".
During an open house and exhibition at the Government Printing Department on Old Trail Road, Christie said the government will dedicate more resources to law enforcement and social intervention programs.
"I am continuing to dedicate resources to the police force because I intend to smother, to smother and suffocate this," the prime minister said.

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Minnis: Crime smothering nation

April 02, 2014

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday crime is "smothering" the nation despite Prime Minister Perry Christie's repeated statements that his government will arrest the problem.
There have been five murders in the country since Saturday.
"He said he was going to smother crime," Minnis

said. "It looks like crime is coming to smother us."
He called on the government to re-establish the dedicated gun court which was established by the Ingraham administration.
"That no longer exists and gun cases are mixed with other cases which means that there can be delays," Minnis said.
"And the criminals know this, that their cases will not [be heard] in an expeditious manner."
He also urged the government to ensure greater restrictions are placed on people on bail for serious crimes.
Minnis suggested they be placed under house arrest.
He said something has to be done so that defendants are not committing new crimes while awaiting trial.
"That is an area that has to be dealt with and would resolve a lot of the issues that we face," he said. "That must be dealt with as quickly as possible."
Minnis said the government must enforce existing laws, create jobs and support social programs to lower crime.
During an open house and exhibition at the Government Printing Department on Old Trail Road on Friday, Christie said the government will dedicate more resources to law enforcement and social intervention programs.
"I am continuing to dedicate resources to the police force because I intend to smother, to smother and suffocate this bad behavior," he said.
"At the same time [I will] continue to dedicate resources to holistic programs of Urban Renewal where in the big sense of the word we are able to deal with kids in their environment as we find them.
"And the reason I have chosen to say this to you is because no matter what kind of speech we make...unless we are able to control the behavior of young people in this country, some of whom arrogate the right onto themselves to shoot and kill and rob with impunity, then we are not working in accordance with our Christian ethic and heritage."
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade recently reported that all categories of violent crime with the exception of murder have trended downward up to March 19.
There have been several murders since Greenslade's statement.
A woman was shot and killed inside her Yellow Elder Gardens home yesterday morning.
Relatives identified her as Leoneise Jones, 24.
On Saturday, a man was stabbed to death outside a home at Graham Drive, Yellow Elder Gardens, at 3 p.m., police said.
Alexis Smith, 15, was shot to death outside a bar in Kings Subdivision, Eight Mile Rock, around 3:06 a.m. on Sunday, police said.
On Monday, police said two men were murdered on Grand Bahama.
Lenardo Pierre, 22, was found with multiple gunshot wounds on Adventurers Way around 1:45 a.m.
The second victim was shot and killed on Weddell Avenue shortly after 9 p.m., police said.

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Carnival to cost 9 million

April 02, 2014

The government would have to spend up to $9 million to introduce the Bahamas Carnival, Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday.
However, he said the returns would be well worth the investment.
Christie gave a preview of the findings of the Bahamas National Festival Commission, which is charged with developing and introducing the event.
He was expected to present those findings to Cabinet yesterday.
"Today I am making a presentation of a major economic intervention by this Bahamas Carnival that is [going to] be something to see in The Bahamas," he said during a book presentation at the Office of the Prime Minister.
"[The commission] says that I will have to find $9 million but the businessmen on the commission said in the first year it will have a return of... a stupendous amount of money."
Christie pointed out that there are more than 300 carnival-like festivals around the world.
"It's not just a Trinidad and Brazil thing," he said.
"The one in... Canada made like $400 million. And I said so if they do it in Canada and they do it in New York, I want some of that."
Christie said Bahamians would have an opportunity to make money by selling costumes to people who want to participate in the carnival, which is expected to be launched next year.
Head of the commission Paul Major originally projected the country could make about $30 million to $40 million in revenue during the first year. However, he said his numbers were speculative.
Initial projections indicate that The Bahamas could generate approximately two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) by hosting the week-long event.
The commission considered the name of the festival, when it will take place and the parameters of the event.
The festival will incorporate the participation of Bahamians and visitors through musical performance and other forms of entertainment and arts, according to officials.
The festival will take place during the first week in May, Christie said.
"[There will] be young people dancing in the streets but without the Junkanoo costumes," he said. "They will have annual song contests.
"They will be selling costumes online to people who would like to come...to be in carnival and we're going to organize it with cruise ships. So it's going to be wonderful."
Last year, Christie said the government set aside $1 million for the creation of the event.
He said there will be no public holidays added to the calendar in connection with the carnival.

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