Nassau Guardian Stories

Shepherds of the country

October 01, 2014

"And there in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night." Luke 2:8
Yes I am aware that Christmas is behind us and this is a new year, but the message of God's word is not for one season or one year, but until he comes. For every time that we read the Bible, new inflections, reflections and inspirations come to us and upon us, even though it may be four in the morning and you are up coloring your hair! How refreshing it is to go to bed early and wake up during the early hours of the morning and in the quietness thereof "he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own".
While there are beautiful buildings of historic and ancient value, snow-capped mountains, flowing streams, green plains and fields and scattered volcanic lava beaches, for me it is the people residing where visits would take me that I take the most interest in. I watch as they drive, their movements, their work ethic and their compliance to the law and overall orderliness of their land. I look at their streets and homes, the way they manage the roads in their vehicles of one mode or the other. I see them at work in offices, stores and in market places and the text comes to mind - shepherds of the country in their respective vocations, even though it may be in the dead of night, not complaining but giving due diligence to the task at hand, lowly and humbly it may be in the eyes of society!
A vocation is not a job just for the money, but rather a calling that mostly involves the best of God's creation - people. It is stewardship and accountability. The constituency is the politician's sheep, the students are the teachers sheep, the congregation is the minister's sheep, the chief executive of the land is responsible for all the sheep of the land. Due care and attention must be given to the sheep for green and fertile pastures produce healthy and happy sheep!
How are the doctor and the obstetrician to complain in the middle of the night if acute illness or delivery of a newborn is taking place? Could they chide the patients and tell them they should wait until daybreak? Or what about Clark fussing the death angel for coming to reap at ungodly hours of the night? How about the emergency vehicle driver sucking his teeth about a horrific accident at four in the morning or the priest ignoring urgent calls to give the last rites to a member on death bed?
There are some positions that it is not about the money or overtime, but the ministering to the needs of others in spite of.
Recently I listened to a retired methodist minister share a thought on sheep. He told of how for a Christmas play they decided to use live animals for the manger scene. Getting permission from a farmer member to borrow 12 of his sheep, he and a deacon drove the truck to the pen and devised a plan of how to get them in the back of the truck. After a long time, while getting two in and two running out and away, they finally ended up with two sheep for the scene. He said he never knew that sheep were so difficult and needed 24/7 attention and care. And so are people; why do you think Jesus always referred to them as "sheep"?
If we, as a people, would only be as the shepherds who saw the sheep more important than the hazards of the financial dew, medical snow, political sleet or criminal elements of rain, and no matter the hour would go and search for straying sheep not in the fold of all that bodes well for a peaceful, healthy, prosperous, educated, environmental savvy, kind and courteous nation, then indeed we would be the nation that the world takes a positive look at the "manner of our bearing".
I firmly believe that 2014 is going to be our best year ever. Crooked paths will become straight. Those in darkness will see a great light. Deserts will become lush fields. Idleness will become into thriving industries. Cleanliness will become godliness. National and civic pride will reign supreme. Sinners will become saints and shepherds of every age and stage will shake off their drossy sleep and give due attention to their sheep.
o E-mail rubyanndarling@yahoo.com write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, The Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's blessings!

read more »

Doubt is deadly

October 01, 2014

There are a whole lot of people who very enthusiastically set a whole range of exciting goals for all areas of their life which they wish to achieve. Initially, they are very positive and upbeat about their goals as they articulate them to those nearest to them, and also start to imagine themselves as having already achieved their objectives. However, as time passes, gradually, bit by bit, a most deadly element starts to creep into their consciousness, and that most deadly element is 'Doubt'. That's right, as today's title puts it 'Doubt Is Deadly'...yes indeed it is!
Doubt of any kind, for any reason is an extremely negative form of thought which will kill a person's ability to achieve their pre-determined goals. Doubt stops all forward motion and any form of progress being made toward being successful, across the board. Many a person, both young and not so young have failed exams, which they had indeed prepared very well for, they had done all of their studying; and yet when they get to answer the questions on the exam paper, they get a giant mental block and are thus unable to answer many of the questions, resulting in failure of the exam they had prepared so well for.
Why does this happen, you may ask? Well once again, it is so often a direct result of someone who allows 'Doubting Thoughts' to creep into their mind which gives the person a 'Mental Block', so to speak, which results in them not being able to recall the information stored in their mind thus causing them to ultimately fail the whole exam. Yes indeed, 'Doubt Is Deadly'.
As Dr. Denis Waitley highlighted in his book 'The Psychology of Winning', there are two types of motivation 'Desire Motivation' and 'Fear Motivation'. Now obviously, to get good results from people, we should always use 'Desire Motivation' as opposed to 'Fear Motivation'. Now many uninformed Parents do use far too much 'Fear Motivation' on their children which can actually cause them to doubt their ability to pass an exam as they start to allow 'Deadly Doubt' to creep into their fertile mind and take root. So Parents, always use 'Desire Motivation' with children thus positively programming them for future success, across the board.
o Think about it!
Visit my website at: www.dpaulreilly.com.
Listen to "Time to Think" the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.

read more »

Govt gunning for tax evaders

October 01, 2014

The Ministry of Finance will enlist the help of private debt collection firms to collect the country's outstanding real property taxes (RPT).
"We have one company engaged so far and we're looking to engage additional companies because it's a lot of work," Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis told Guardian Business.
"It's a large amount that's outstanding, and what we decided to do is segment the work and have various firms working for us because it spreads the work around," stated Halkitis.
The government has already employed financial services firm Kikivarakis & Co. to assist with the valuation and collection of the outstanding taxes. Kikivarakis & Co. began its tax arrears collection initiative in May, but there has been little update on its progress in recent months.
Guardian sources indicated earlier this year that the use of private companies would increase the likelihood of collecting the taxes.
Although early estimates valued the tax arrears at $500 million, Halkitis dismissed that figure, noting that the Ministry of Finance found errors "almost daily," which caused frequent adjustments to the estimate.
The minister suggested that the value of the outstanding arrears is smaller than originally projected, stating: "We often find that the numbers that we believed to be outstanding are not really outstanding."
However, Halkitis did not provide an updated approximation for the value of the outstanding taxes or a timeframe for their collection, but added the government hoped to have an update on RPT reform and collection efforts
before the mid-year budget discussions.
Halkitis acknowledged that the government's current "inadequate" tax collection resources is responsible for the collection efforts' slow progress, and revealed that the government will partner with United States information technology firm Tyler Technologies to create an updated tax service.
"What we have learned is that the information in the system is not always reliable. What we recognize is that the IT system that we have in place is inadequate to track, to make updates, and so we have entered into an agreement with an IT provider to give us a new property tax system.
"Going forward, we want to have clean information in the system so that years from now we're not back in this position," said Halkitis.
Despite the delays, Halkitis said the process had started, "and is beginning to get some results and actual money coming in."

read more »

Energy policy goal one considered

October 01, 2014

The Christie administration's National Energy Policy, which has already drawn some harsh criticism on its pronouncements on renewable energy, hangs on four strategic goals, and seeks to support a vision of a Bahamian energy sector that is "modern, diversified and efficient" and provides Bahamians with "affordable energy supplies and long-term energy security towards enhancing international competitiveness and sustainable prosperity".
Each of these goals is supported by strategies aimed at bringing the policy into actual practice.
The first goal of the policy is for Bahamians to become aware of the importance of energy conservation, to use energy wisely and continuously pursue opportunities for improving energy efficiencies, "with key economic sectors embracing eco efficiency".
The policy separates the strategic actions by relevance, calling on households and businesses to develop and
implement programs to influence market behavior toward energy efficiency. It also encourages them to promote efficient use of energy, and goes on to highlight the use of energy-efficient appliances and equipment and the importance in exploring options for energy efficient building designs. The policy looks to set and enforce standards for public sector organizations.
The policy also urges the private sector to provide opportunities for access to clear and consistent information on energy efficient products and services; it encourages businesses to conduct independent energy audits, the costs of which would be deductible from business license fees for the year an audit is carried out.
Bahamians should, according to the policy, develop programs to facilitate the infusion of energy conservation and efficiency (ECE) across the curricula in all levels of the educational system; identify energy efficiency skills requirements across the economy and associated training, accreditation and higher education needs; establish networks and partnerships with government, private sector and academia to promote the development of energy efficient technologies and - particularly in the information arena - develop an energy information clearing-house, using information and communication technologies that will enable information to be easily accessible and available in a user-friendly format to relevant stakeholders.
The policy calls for development of institutional capacity to implement demand-side energy management programs. It also calls for the commercial sector to ensure an adequate supply of energy efficient products, goods and services and to promote energy efficient standards and product labelling.
Citing the government as a "leader in energy conservation and efficiency", the policy cites strategies designed to enable the government to become a model of efficient energy usage and environmental stewardship, resulting in a reduction in the public sector consumption of energy and other resources and providing a stimulus for private sector and community action.
According to the policy, the government must ensure that its ministries and agencies develop and implement environmental stewardship action plans, with special emphasis on energy and fleet management, including the initiation of energy audits in the first instance.
The government must also increase efforts to ensure the capital projects are evaluated for its potential to incorporate more energy efficiency technologies within the scopes of the projects. For example, housing subdivisions.
The policy urges the private sector and industry to support and assist in the establishment of energy service companies (ESCOs) that derive their incomes by generating energy savings for their clients.
Private sector and industry actors are also urged to facilitate the development of a national approach to encourage companies to develop internal systems to assess and prioritize energy efficiency opportunities.
The policy calls for: the promotion of best practices and innovation within energy-using corporations and the energy services sector, through case studies; the promotion of best practices in design of new hotels and industrial facilities; retrofitting existing hotels and industrial facilities to maximize energy efficiency and reduce operational costs, thus assisting businesses to retain or expand staffing; and the facilitated sourcing of low-cost development funds for productive enterprises for energy technology projects.
The policy calls for the creation of relevant legislation to support required investments in energy efficiency, and the provision of incentives for the use of innovative/clean technologies in power generation to improve energy efficiencies.
It urges legislators to: design and introduce appropriate financing mechanisms to facilitate the spread of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies; develop an energy labeling program; conduct periodic reviews and updates of building code in respect of energy efficiency; and incorporate requirements for the efficient use of energy in buildings.
The Ministries of Works and Urban Development, Environment and Housing, Transport and Aviation, Finance, Education and Labour and National Insurance are envisioned as the facilitating actors in respect of this goal.

read more »

Atlantis owner picks up new casino property

October 01, 2014

With a new acquisition of an Atlantic City casino hotel, it seems Brookfield U.S. Holdings - which owns Atlantis, Paradise Island, and the company that manages that resort - is doubling down on its casino business.
Brookfield closed a $110 million deal on a casino in Atlantic City on Wednesday, and spokesman Andrew Willis told Guardian Business that the company sees "a number of synergies" between Atlantis and the new property.
"This is our third investment in a major resort. Brookfield currently owns two resort properties with gaming: Atlantis in The Bahamas, acquired in 2012, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which we took over in 2011. So we understand the sector," Willis said.
"Revel is a brand new trophy asset on the beachfront, which we are acquiring at a substantial discount to its replacement cost. We are excited about owning the newest and highest quality asset in Atlantic City. This acquisition is consistent with Brookfield's history of contrarian investing on a value basis.
"With Brookfield's ownership of the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas and Atlantis in The Bahamas, we have expertise underwriting and operating these types of multi-faceted resorts. We anticipate material synergies between these three high-quality properties."
The New Jersey property is Revel, the fourth Atlantic City casino to close this year. It was the subject of a bankruptcy auction just two years after it began operations. Brookfield's $110 million offer beat out another bidder, and brings the company's casino hotel portfolio total to three: the new property, which Willis called "the newest and highest-quality asset in Atlantic City," a Hard Rock in Las Vegas and Atlantis, Paradise Island.
"We will be using the expertise at Atlantis to help us improve the experience at Revel," he told Guardian Business Wednesday evening.
Brookfield took control of the Paradise Island property - which had been the crown jewel in South African hotelier Sol Kerzner's portfolio - in 2012 as part of a debt swap; according to Willis, the Canadian company has seen "great results" at Atlantis. Management of the property has also gone through changes, with Kerzner no longer managing Atlantis as of September 9. Brookfield Hospitality is now managing the property.
Willis said the company has no specific plans in relation to how Atlantis and Revel would connect, other than that the "great results" the company has had at Atlantis will play a role in how things move forward at Revel.
"It's just too early [to say how]," he said. "I think there will be Atlantis angles."
In July, Brookfield announced that it had completed a $1.9 billion recapitalization aimed at placing Atlantis on secure financial footing. Brookfield Asset Management Managing Partner Andrea Balkan also announced the creation of a new management company, Brookfield Hospitality LLC, to assume management of Atlantis when the management contract with Kerzner International expired.
That contract expired on September 9, 2014.
Just after the refinancing, Atlantis announced a new marketing arrangement with Marriott that saw Atlantis become part of Marriott's rewards and booking programs. As part of that arrangement, Marriott made a $100 million loan to Atlantis.

read more »

Tourism corporation attacking airlift 'woes'

October 01, 2014

The CEO of the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) has stated that the organization hopes to alleviate the Family Islands' airlift woes within the next eight to nine months, calling airlift shortages the industry's "greatest challenge".
Speaking with Guardian Business, TDC chief David Johnson stated that the TDC is in negotiations with industry stakeholders to increase the presence of Bahamian and regional airlines providing flights throughout The Bahamas on global distribution systems (GDS), which enable automated transactions between flight vendors and booking agents in order to provide travel services to customers.
Johnson felt that the TDC could increase the regional presence on GDS well within a year, adding that the increased exposure is crucial for the recovery of family island tourism.
"This is something we hope to conclude within three to four months and have it operating within six months.
"That investment, versus the benefit of making it happen, is a small investment. It's the single most important challenge and opportunity for us. When we fix that, you'll see renewed investment and growth in those islands," said Johnson.
He stated that trying
to boost the performance of the Family Islands' tourism sector was currently akin to "fighting with our hands behind our backs", due to inadequate airlift servicing the country aside from New Providence, adding that it was easily the single greatest challenge facing the tourism sector.
"When you exclude Nassau and Paradise Island, where 80 percent of our tourism capacity happens to be, the other islands suffer from a major deficiency, which is airlift. Family Islands have inadequate or nil airlift, and what airlift they have the price is completely out of sync with market prices.
"It's very difficult challenge for resort operators to achieve profitability in the other areas because they've got this huge disadvantage with access and pricing," said Johnson.
Under the country's current GDS exposure, Johnson argued that many tourists would come to the conclusion that travel to Family Islands is either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.
"That can be fixed. As we restructure, we had to find a way to enable all of these flights with fixed schedules approved by the Ministry of Transport; we need to find a way to make those flights more accessible," stated Johnson.
Although Johnson was primarily concerned with the lack of affordable, reliable airlift into the Family Islands, representatives from Atlantis and Baha Mar had earlier expressed their concerns with airlift into New Providence.

read more »

Minister dismisses FATF compliance concerns

October 01, 2014

The Bahamas will have the human capital necessary to comply with the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) gaming and Internet gaming-specific anti-money laundering measures, according to Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder.
Following the announcement of The Nassau Conference 2014, Pinder dismissed concerns over the country's ability to properly comply with international anti-money laundering measures, stating that the Ministry of Financial Services' human capital team is in close negotiations with the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO) to formulate compliance training and certification programs.
The Association of International Banks and Trust Companies in The Bahamas (AIBT) recently announced The Nassau Conference 2014, a gathering of trust, estate and financial services professionals that will focus on the growing need for transparency in the financial services sector. Pinder added that this year's conference aims to attract members from other fields, including the legal community, due to the number of transparency initiatives facing the financial services sector, such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The British Colonial Hilton hotel will host the conference on October 22.
"We're moving forward on that and it shouldn't be a problem. We have the very best compliance professionals in the entire world working here in The Bahamas, so to be able to adjust their professional experience to look at gaming rather than just financial services should not be a problem.
"We're working [with BACO] to identify certificate courses that would be international recognized and accredited with respect to compliance and gaming. I think we've found a few models that will work well, but we don't want this to be a one-day program," stated Pinder.
While no dates have been announced for the certification programs, Pinder claimed that the ministry and BACO will select a training model in the near future.
Pinder suggested that the increased demand for certified compliance officials would provide significant employment opportunities within the financial services sector following the passage of the Gaming Bill, which raised concerns over the country's compliance capacity,
"Ultimately, the compliance aspects boil down to anti-money laundering, regardless of industry, and that is how the Financial Action Task Force writes its recommendations.
"They have a particular section for gaming and a particular reference to Internet gaming, so we're very comfortable that through the guidance that has been issued by the Financial Action Task Force and by identifying internationally accredited certificate programs in compliance in gaming, we can just expand the capacity of our compliance officers here in The Bahamas," said Pinder.

read more »

New authority to control, manage public parks and beaches

October 01, 2014

The government intends to create a Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority to manage beaches and public parks in The Bahamas.
Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett tabled a Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority Bill in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, proclaiming that the bill would "enhance the quality of life of Bahamians and will aid in the mitigation of climate change and green house gas emissions".
"It will also create new green jobs for our people, with the introduction of a trained workforce of park wardens to properly manage these facilities," he said.
Dorsett told members of Parliament that the establishment of the Bahamas Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority would assist the government in fulfilling a commitment to establish green spaces throughout the country, create a cadre of trained public officers similar to the United States Park Service to manage these parks, and create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians in relation to the design and development of such parks.
The bill is the result of consultations by a steering committee on the establishment of a National Public Parks and Public Beaches System Regulatory framework, comprised of personnel from the ministries of tourism and education; the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation and the Department of Environmental Health Services.
The bill, Dorsett said, incorporates provisions that are considered relevant to The Bahamas from legislation in Barbados and Singapore. The functions of this authority are set out in the bill, and are as follows:
The authority will control, plan, design, develop, administer, manage and maintain the public parks and public beaches designated by the authority; it will be empowered to conserve the natural beauty and topographic features of public parks and public beaches; the authority will propagate, protect and preserve the animals, plants and other organisms within the public parks and public beaches, and preserve objects and places of aesthetic, historical or scientific interest.
It will remove derelict objects from any public park or public beach or from public access to any public park or public beach; maintain public access to public parks and beaches; provide lifeguard services at public beaches as it thinks fit; maintain green verges and the facilities at public parks and public beaches; secure the observance of sanitary and clean conditions and practices at and in respect of the public parks and public beaches and other such sites of national interest as the minister may designate; promote the study, research and dissemination of knowledge in botany, horticulture, biotechnology, arboriculture, forestry, landscape architecture, parks and recreation management and natural and local history; and provide and manage recreational, cultural, historical, research and educational facilities and resources in public parks and encourage their full and proper use by members of the public.
The authority will also advise the minister on construction, rehabilitation, restoration and remediation of public beaches and ancillary recreational facilities on public beaches; and control of the construction in any public park or on any public beach of huts, booths, tents, sheds, stands, stalls, bath-houses and shops, whether movable or immovable.
The authority will also be responsible for advising the minister on matters pertaining to public beach control and the protection of the sea coast of The Bahamas from erosion or encroachment by the sea.
The authority will also beautify and add amenities to the public parks and public beaches and such other areas as determined by the minister; enter into written agreements with owners and occupiers of land adjacent the foreshore for the purpose of obtaining public access to public beaches; and name public parks and public beaches and the National Heroes Park.
The minister also laid out the government's vision for the new authority to turn a revitalized Nassau Botanical Gardens into the "Central Park" of New Providence.
"Given its position next to Clifford Park, the entire space could become a magnificent spot for recreation, education and entertainment on the island. This park could offer residents and visitors a place to relax, congregate and commune with nature. It could be a place where concerts and theatrical shows can be held with an amphitheater and concession areas. It could also continue to be the place where indigenous trees and flowering plants are grown and displayed. These plants could be transplanted to beautify other spaces and verges around the island. The collection of indigenous trees is important when you take into consideration that some of the young people of this nation do not know of some of the trees and flowering plants that we grew up sitting under and swinging or eating from. It is the vision of this government that this new authority will lead the charge in making the aforementioned plans a reality," he said.

read more »

STEP members obtain advanced certificate in trust and estate mediation

October 01, 2014

Thirty-five-year veteran attorney, Caryl A. E. Lashley, and Reno A. W. Miller, accountant of 12 years, both obtained the advanced certificate in trust and estate mediation and lead the way in the country's trained professionals for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) cases. These ADR professionals are founding members of ADR Bahamas, executive members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bahamas branch as well as members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Bahamas branch.
"All disputes must be resolved in a most efficient and cost-effective manner," said Lashley, accredited arbitrator and mediator and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. "ADR can assist in moving out the number of matters tied up in the court system."
According to Lashley, ADR Bahamas offers relief to our strained court system as "people from all walks of life are irritated by the delays and time-wasting in our litigation process".
"Our business community and our family community both need a process whereby matters are resolved with the loss of as little time as possible," added Miller.
Lashley confirmed that, in many instances, the court system is not practical, nor is it speedy; there is no confidentiality, and delays are inevitable. Matters take years to be determined and do not always produce desired results. Confidence, certainty, stability, privacy, fairness and efficiency give arbitration value in every sphere of commerce. Flexibility, speed, confidentiality, resourcefulness, cost-effectiveness and maintenance of relationships give mediation value in every aspect of life.
ADR is available for all, and the public must be informed. Lashley encourages all to get familiar with this process by visiting adrbahamas.org.
"The business and professional sectors are ready to go this route; architects, accountants, engineers, attorneys, bankers, insurance and other executives, and many leaders in other fields of endeavor are trained and properly accredited in ADR. We can facilitate the financial services and maritime sectors, with confidence, professionalism, speed, and confidentiality. Our country is finally ready!" concluded Miller.

read more »

Carnival Corp. head meets BCCEC

October 01, 2014

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation said limited space remains for its highly anticipated top level meet and greet event scheduled for today, October 2, featuring Arnold W. Donald, president and CEO of the $3.6 billion-a-year Carnival Corp.
The event - open to members first and non-members on a space available basis - will be held at Billfish Grill at Palm Cay, the residential and marina community on New Providence's southeastern shore.
"Arnold Donald, who succeeded Mickey Arison as the chief executive officer at Carnival, took the helm of one of the world's largest entertainment and transportation companies at a time when the industry was facing serious challenges, but he maintained his vision and what he has to share will be invaluable to our members as we, in The Bahamas, face uncertain waters with new taxes and a slowly recovering economy," said Chamber CEO Edison Sumner.
Donald will be accompanied by several other top-ranking persons, including George M. Staples, who served as ambassador to the Republics of Rwanda, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Staples worked as the senior U.S. civilian aide in NATO and his final U.S. state department position was director general of foreign services with responsibility for policies affected some 50,000 personnel.
Also in attendance will be Carnival Chief Communications Officer Roger Frizzell and innovative branding and marketing consultant Karl Sestek.
"We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Embassy for its assistance," said Sumner. "The four gentlemen who are coming to Nassau specifically for this event represent innovation, motivation and achievement and the chamber is indeed honored to host such a high profile group of esteemed and respected individuals."
The annual mix and mingle for business leaders, movers and shakers is being called "The Wind Down: Where business + leisure meet".
According to Sumner, the event, being billed as a "once in now-time" opportunity, is expected to be a sell-out.
"We limited the numbers in order to ensure the ability for people to connect, and we are quickly approaching our capacity, so we advise anyone who wants to reserve but has not done so yet to pick up the phone and call or email us at info@thebahamaschamber.com.
Sponsors include the U.S. Embassy, Bahamas First, the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, Callenders & Co., John Bull Group of Companies, NUA Insurance and Palm Cay.

read more »

Shakespeare in Paradise's student outreach

October 01, 2014

Learning is not confined to the walls of a classroom, but by the extent to which something new can be achieved.
This year, Shakespeare in Paradise (SIP), an annual theater festival, will be open to over 2,600 public and private school students, the most it has ever impacted at one time.
Since its inception in 2009, SIP organizers have committed to reaching students to increase theater awareness, interest and education.
"Outside of presenting theater, student outreach has always been a goal, because one of the things we thought in starting Shakespeare in Paradise was that theater had been so off and on, and the audience had kind of dwindled out of the period of not having seen anything consistently," SIP Co-founder and Artistic Director Philip Burrows said yesterday.
"One of the things was to try and build a new audience.
"The thing about Romeo and Juliet is the leads are the ages of the characters and they are the ages of the students coming to see the show. Romeo is 14 and Juliet is 16.
"Normally when the play is done it is cast by young adults in the 22 to 25 year range. This is a kind of a bold move to just say 'ok we're going to do it age appropriate', noted Burrows.
"The students are getting to see people their age, like themselves all up on the stage and that's hopefully another impetus for them to not just want to come to the theater, but want to be involved in the theater and see that they could be on the stage doing that."
SIP official opens on Friday, October 3 with an interpretation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo is of Haitian descent in this version of the play.
Students are always given special treatment by SIP, with discounted student matinees. In the first year of the festival, there were four matinees, compared to the eight featured this year.
Burrows pointed out that the matinees are not only of the signature Shakespeare productions.
"We've done Woman Take Two and last year we even did some matinees of Speak the Speech," he said.
"So the only way we feel to build an audience and to train people coming to the theater is to expose them at that age.
"Student outreach and young artist outreach have always been a part of Shakespeare in Paradise, as opposed to just doing productions for productions sake."
The Current Gallery at Baha Mar and CCG Traffic Signal Co. sponsored two of the artists this year, Burrows said.

read more »

Scotiabank donates to school for the blind

October 01, 2014

Scotiabank presented a special gift to and sponsored the fun run walk in honor of the 65th anniversary of The Salvation Army's Erin H. Gilmour School for Blind and Visually Impaired Children.
Thanks to Scotiabank, the school now has a brand new Reizen Vision electronic magnification system that will amplify text, making reading easier and less strenuous for legally-blind students. Additionally, Scotiabank proudly sponsored the school's recent anniversary fun run walk.
Scotiabank's Senior Manager for Marketing and Public Relations Leah R. Davis congratulated the school on its 65th anniversary. She said, "Giving back to the community in meaningful ways is a part of who we are as Scotiabank. Through our Bright Future philanthropic program, we believe in creating opportunities that will help young people achieve their full potential and are delighted to know that Scotiabank's sponsorship and gift will help the Erin H. Gilmour School to forward the development of support services, research and new technologies available to blind and visually impaired students."
Scotiabank has been a supporter of The Salvation Army for many years. The bank has a special relationship with the Erin H. Gilmour School for Blind and Visually Impaired Children, having donated a computer lab to the school when it was renovated in 2011. Through Bright Future, Scotiabank has determined to ensure that when and where possible, it will contribute to the bright future of those unique and talented members of the local communities.

read more »

What you don't say speaks too!

October 01, 2014

As a young man growing up in England and Ireland, we often used a phrase which goes like this "He's in Coventry" meaning that no one was speaking to that particular person. In other words, to use another well-known saying, we were giving this person 'The Silent Treatment'; we were simply refusing to speak to him or her. Now by not speaking to someone, a person is in fact speaking volumes. That's right, as the title of this particular article puts it 'What You Don't Say Speaks Too!'...yes indeed it surely does for it tells others that you are in fact very annoyed with them for something, and thus don't wish to communicate with that person any more.
For example: if you try to speak to your Spouse or Significant Other and they simply do not answer you but instead just go about their business in silence, you know full well that you've got a major problem on your hands as he or she is terribly annoyed by something. In other words, another way of putting it would be, that no answer to a question is in reality a very definite answer.
Let's say that you asked your longtime Boyfriend or Girlfriend if he or she would like to get married, and after your very direct question there's nothing but silence from your mate; believe me, you just got an answer to your question, loud and clear, as they say. That's right, no answer is indeed an answer, and in the case of a proposal, the deadly silence means 'NO' in no uncertain terms. Yes indeed, 'What You Don't Say Speaks Too!' particularly when you're very annoyed about something.
I'm sure we've all had occasion at some time to say to someone "You're very quiet today, is there something wrong?".....see what I mean? I guess this also highlights The FACT, that so much of the communication which takes place between individuals is in fact non-verbal. That's right, our body language in fact so very often communicates more accurately to another exactly what's in our mind than mere words do. Now, add silence into the mix, and you do start to get the message. Yes indeed, there's no doubt about it, as today's title puts it 'What You Don't Say Speaks Too!'

o Think about it!
Visit my website at: www.dpaulreilly.com.
Listen to "Time to Think" the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.

read more »

Mackey: '200m national record is in serious jeopardy'

October 01, 2014

Back from what he termed one of the darkest periods of his life, Bahamian sprinter Trevorvano Mackey is looking to have a rejuvenated year, in which he hopes to qualify for the 2015 World Championships and, ultimately, the 2016 Olympics.
Mackey, one of the more talented young sprinters in the country, was completely exonerated from a doping violation at the end of last year, but inactivity from the sport led to a trying 2014 season in which he battled various injuries, causing him to miss a number of major competitions. He said that a groin injury bothered him most of the 2014 season.
Now, the 22-year-old speedster is back to fine form, as his performance at the 2014 North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships, in Kamloops, British Columbia, in August, can attest. He was a double medalist for The Bahamas, winning bronze in the 100 meters (m) in 10.30 seconds, and sprinting to silver in his specialty, the 200m, in 20.46 seconds. The half-lap time was a personal best for him, and his time in the shorter sprint was just nine one hundredths of a second off his lifetime best.
He is right where he wants to be going into the 2015 season, one that he hopes will culminate with a trip to the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing, China.
"I feel pretty good. I'm just working hard every day, trying to get to where I want to be," said Mackey yesterday. "The main thing right now is that my confidence is back up. Even with the performance at NACAC, last year was an off year for me. Injuries really plagued me, but I'm back and completely healthy now. I'm just looking forward to a great collegiate season, and I hope that spills over internationally."
To say that Mackey, who enters his senior year at Texas Tech University, has lofty goals for this season would be an understatement. The former world junior semi-finalist is looking to crack the 20-second barrier in the 200m. That's unheard of for a Bahamian. The national record is just 20.16 seconds, set by Michael Mathieu in 2012. Mackey has plans to shatter that.
"When you look at the national record, that really is in jeopardy when you consider all of the young up-and-coming sprinters who are out there," said Mackey. "There's myself, and then there are guys like Shavez Hart and Teray Smith. On any given day, one of us could go out there and turn in a strong enough performance to break the national record. My goal is to get to 19 seconds. I feel that is attainable. Once I stay healthy, I'm sure I will have a better season this year and do some big things."
Mackey has already begun to put in the work. His offseason workouts started five weeks ago. He'll likely take a break for Christmas and then prepare for his first collegiate meet of the season in January.
He is under the watchful eyes of Associate Head Coach Dion Miller at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.
"My performance at NACAC was pretty pleasing. I was hurt most of the season and my times were still up there, and then I came back with two medals from NACAC. My coach and I just got it together," said Mackey. "At NACAC, there were some pretty decent guys over there who were dominating at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) level, and I performed well against them, so that brought back my confidence. I feel that this is going to be a great season for me. I'm getting stronger in the weight room every day, and I could feel myself getting better. It's only a matter of time before I run some really impressive times."
Mackey will be running the 60m and 200m during the indoor season, and said that he will also do a few 4x400m runs to build his strength up. He said that he's just happy to be running again, especially after the turmoil with the doping case and groin injury that he experienced.
"I took it ( the doping case) as a blessing and a learning experience. Not every athlete has a chance to prove their innocence. I had a lot of positive people around me who believed in me and trusted in me, and that motivated me to get through it," said Mackey. "I just felt very lost during that time period. As an athlete, you have to be so careful because something as simple as pain killers could really jeopardize your status. Now, I am very capable of the supplements that I take, and you have to report everything. I haven't even been on vitamins since I got cleared. I'm just eating right and working out hard, just focusing on pushing myself consistently, and everything will fall into place."
Mackey said that he would like to thank his parents, family and friends for their constant support. He also acknowledged his neighbors Mr. Lockhart and Ms. Musgrove, Coach David Charlton and the entire Star Trackers family and chiropractor Dr. Jon Bartlett who was there as his mentor and advisor throughout.
He is hopeful that when he finishes his senior season at Texas Tech, he will be able to sign on with a major sponsor in order to make his transition into the professional ranks a smooth one.

read more »

Jennings' dream of sports and academics recruitment lives on

October 01, 2014

For Dwayne Jennings, the dream of a college education for all Bahamian and Caribbean athletes could be realized if a system of academics and proficiency in sports, performing arts and all disciplines were balanced. He understood the correlation between eligibility and proficiency in one's area of expertise as the basis for finding the "right fit" for scholarship recruitment.
Two weeks ago, track and field lost this aspiring visionary who was instrumental in recruiting countless Bahamian and Caribbean athletes for scholarships in all sports, the performing arts and academic sciences. His quiet demeanor was a facade for the assertive nature which he demonstrated behind the scenes as he aggressively negotiated scholarships, unbelievably with coaches, in many institutions throughout the United States. He was buried last weekend.
Jennings emphasized academics for recruitment and endorsed SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) Bahamas in Grand Bahama, which ensured that the academic eligibility standards were met for his recruitment initiative. He believed that no person should be denied an opportunity for a quality tertiary education because "education will change your life for the better". His passion for perfection was evident every time his Golden Eagles Track Club came to the capital to compete. They, like many out of Grand Bahama, heightened the competition.
Jennings was an inspiration to many in New Providence with whom he established relationships in an attempt to ensure that no student anywhere in the nation was not aware of the "athlete wanted" standards. He collaborated with local coaches regionally and was on the verge of establishing a national scholarship recruitment initiative in both academics and athletics. He spoke of the need to work without constraint; while he was offered many opportunities to work for government, he believed that independently, though he struggled, he could fulfill his purpose without any inhibitions.
Jennings will be missed by the many coaches in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA); the Grand Bahama Association of Athletic Associations (GBAAA); close friend and confidant George Cleare, an assistant track coach at the University of Georgia; Shawn and Mabelene Miller, Harrison Petty of the Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes; BAAA President Mike Sands and the innumerable athletes who are either home, here in The Bahamas, or in universities abroad, and those who would have been recruited by Jennings in the past decade.
Although he has left us, his vision for tertiary education opportunities for all throughout The Bahamas and the region lives on through the work of all coaches in Grand Bahama, New Providence and the world who daily develop the youth athletically, socially and academically. To this great Bahamian, we say adieu!
He will be missed.

read more »

BOC Secretary General Knowles to present at IOC Forum

October 01, 2014

Romell "Fish" Knowles, Secretary General of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) and International Softball Federation (ISF) Hall of Fame designate will represent The Bahamas at the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Forum on "Basic principles of good governance".
Knowles, who holds an executive master's degree in sports organization management was invited by the International Olympic Committee to be one of the presenters and will speak on the topic election process: Procedure for elections/eligibility conditions/specific qualifications required.
BOC President Wellington Miller said: "I am proud to lead an organization that is filled with diversified and talented individuals who bring much to sports administration. My secretary general is one of many individuals on my board, who is leading the charge in changing the landscape in sports through thorough and professional sports administration.
"I am proud that Secretary Knowles was singled out by the International Olympic Committee to make a presentation on the basic principles of good governance - I'm sure he will represent his fellow executives of the Bahamas Olympic Committee and by extension, The Bahamas very well.
"He has vast experience in sports organization management having served as the president of the Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) and various other sporting bodies. He currently serves as president of the Eleuthera Softball Association (ESA). He was the first Bahamian and first Caribbean national to serve as an executive of the International Softball Federation."
Knowles, a former basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer and badminton athlete, said he is "grateful to be able to share and assist with the development of sports and sports administration in The Bahamas and internationally. I am most grateful and thank the International Olympic Committee.
"Having served as a business professional in the transportation and logistics industry for more than 20 years, I never thought, although passionate about sports, that I would be given the opportunity to make a contribution in a significant way to my country through sports.
"As I look back on my career, I acknowledge that the hands of God was preparing me for this time and this season in sports. There are many persons who contributed to my personal development professionally and in sports. I remain forever humbled that I can serve the sporting community both at home and internationally. I must admit, my contribution pales in comparison to the legendary Churchill Tener Knowles and Austin 'King Snake' Knowles, both of whom have mentored me along with countless others.
"I wish to thank Shervone and the children who provides me with the necessary support I need away from the office or when I'm traveling."
The objective of the forum is: 1) To review "good governance" within the Olympic Movement on the "basic principles of good governance" and the next steps in the framework of Agenda 2020 of the IOC president; 2) to see how National Olympic Committees might implement these principles at their respective levels, what "best practices" they have developed and what challenges they may encounter; and 3) to produce a set of concrete guidelines and practical tools aimed at providing generic assistance for National Olympic Committees in implementing the "basic principles of good governance", based on best practices and the views of the olympic movement.

read more »

The 242 Colour Run makes a splash with 5K race

October 01, 2014

Hundreds ran, walked, hopped, skipped and jumped across the finish line in the 242 Colour Run on Sunday, a fun five kilometer (5K) race designed for everyone, of all ages and abilities.
Sponsors included KLG Investments Ltd., manufacturers of Aquapure water and high quality and value-added Tampico fruit punches that are rooted in bright, vibrant color. It was the perfect complement to the 242 Colour Run.
"We are proud to be a sponsor of such a great event for a second consecutive year. The Colour Run is about community and celebration, and it's a healthy activity. Our Tampico brand is all about color, getting together with family and friends and celebrating a healthy lifestyle," said Geoffrey Knowles, operations manager at Aquapure.
The race started at the Montagu Foreshore with a big splash of colour. Participants, many of whom dressed up for the race, were doused in colored powder at the starting line and as they made their way through the course.
"The 242 Colour Run is designed to be a family-friendly race," said organizer Lee McCoy, of Paradise Race Organization Management Promotion and Timing. "We envisioned it being a fun way for friends, family and co-workers to get together and have a good time, to meet like-minded people and to celebrate life. It truly is a happy, feel-good event."
The Rotary Club of East Nassau and the Rotaract Club of East Nassau both benefit from the 242 Colour Run, which this year recorded more than 500 registrants. Both clubs are very active in the community and support a number of programs, including the Fox Hill Run, a 40-year-old program that provides assistance for needy families in the community. Other sponsors of the 242 Colour Run included Vita Coco, H2Aloe and Green Parrot, among others.
Said Mr. Knowles: "The 242 Colour Run was a fun way of combining healthy living, happiness and to give back to the community at the same time. We were happy to be a part of this event."
The race is also held in Grand Bahama and Abaco, and there are plans to organize an event in Eleuthera as well.

read more »

Gaming law exclusions

October 01, 2014

The new gaming regulations allow anyone to apply to the courts for an order that can require gaming houses in The Bahamas to exclude individuals falling within certain categories. If the court agrees with an applicant's argument, the person or persons in question could be barred for up to 10 years.
Section 74(3)(a) of the bill allows any individual to go to the courts and ask that his or her family members be excluded from gaming in The Bahamas; 74(3)(b) broadens the scope to include "a person on whom the applicant is economically dependent in whole or in part".
The succeeding provisions of the legislation allow the courts to block "a person for whom the applicant is economically responsible in whole or in part"; anyone who is "subject to an order of a competent court holding that person to be mentally unfit"; and "any other person to whom the applicant has a duty of care, and whose behavior manifests symptoms of addictive or compulsive gaming".
The court may, if it considers preventing the subject of the application from gambling "reasonable and just", order that person to be registered as an excluded person.
It is also to be noted that section 74 (1) permits persons to self-register for exclusion, although in this case the period can last for one year, five years or life.
The law does allow a person excluded on someone else's application to apply to the court that made the order at any time to set aside the order, "and the court may do so if, after considering the grounds for making the original order and any new evidence before it, the court is satisfied that it is no longer reasonable and just to prevent that person from engaging in any gaming activity".
These exclusions take effect on receipt of a duly completed and signed application for exclusion and are irrevocable for the period in respect of which the exclusion has been applied for. They will lapse, where applicable, after the expiry of the period for which the exclusion was applied for.
Section 74(8) mandates that the Gaming Board develop and maintain a register of excluded persons and periodically provide each holder of an operator license issued under the act with updated versions of that list.
The law says that once a person has been placed on the exclusion list, the holder of an operator license must put in place "reasonable" measures calculated to ensure that excluded persons are not granted access to any designated areas. The law absolves license holders of liability if, notwithstanding the implementation of such reasonable measures, an excluded person gains access to any such designated area. License holders must also refuse to accept any wager from an excluded person, and may remove any excluded person found to have accessed any of its designated areas. They may even cause any excluded person found to have accessed any designated areas to be arrested on a charge of trespassing.

read more »