Nassau Guardian Stories

Concerns with going forward with gambling

March 12, 2014

Dear Editor,
Please help me with this. Where do Bahamians get $400 million to gamble with in the web shops? Is this money coming from tourism? Or foreign investors? Or is this money already in the country?
If it is already here then government has already got its cut.
Another thing is I don't understand if the web shops are operating with machines why do they need to hire thousands of people when most people can gamble from their homes, their cars, their churches and work? If Bahamian people are spending that much on gambling when this becomes legal more people will gamble than are doing so now because they respect the law. Don't get me wrong on this, I think that if Bahamians want to gamble that badly then government should find a legal way for them to do so. But I don't think putting a web shop on every corner is the way to go.
The only government in the world that would legalize gambling to its poor people who depend 80 percent on outside investments would be a black government. No other race of people would think this way. Even my sometimes favorite country, the great U.S.A., until recently hid gambling in a dessert away from her citizens who may be tempted to waste their hard-earned money foolishly. Leave it to a soul brother and he will put a shop on every corner and keep his own people poor so they can come to him and beg him for something to eat, to turn on their electricity and give them "one government job". Now you tell me who loves you.
Brooks said "fools rush in, where wise men never, never go". Please call the doctor, these people are sick. My opinion, yes make gambling legal. I think Bahamians have a right to this entertainment as others are enjoying it in this country. Make it so he can own a casino, but he would have to qualify just like everyone else; whatever those qualifications are. He should have all the perks and all the advantages as the foreign investors enjoy. Being Bahamian doesn't get you anything more than any other Bahamian.
Remember now that only one group of people has concessions for gambling in this part of the world. If Bahamians have special privileges that go with their licenses the foreign investors will not be happy. Legal or illegal gambling will attract foreign undesirables if not controlled by them.
So, 'Mr. Government', be careful where you put your foot. These boys know you long time. They think you are just a bunch of hicks who will do anything for money. Don't forget how Motown Records got out of black folks' hands or who made the big bucks off "Funky Nassau", "Who let the dogs out", BTC and soon to be BEC.
Please Bahamians, make your government stop the madness before we become like Jamaica or Haiti. They didn't think it could happen either. They also refused to pay the piper and went hog wild with other people's money thinking nobody can make them pay "'cause this is we country". They also got in with questionable people and replaced their worldwide accepted white Jamaican prime minister with a radical black racist government, whose first big mistake in their present downfall was to turn down a breakfast invitation from the former U.S. president. Everything was downhill from there.
Our downhill started when we threw an important world-class banker in a bus filled with sweaty workers and then in a detention center not fit for human occupation; and most Bahamian didn't see anything wrong with that. We are going to be the ones to suffer, as these people have enough money to live on the golf course on Paradise Island for the rest of their lives while we are sloshing around with outside toilets over the hill when it rains.
- Bob Nevil

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Seeing police again

March 12, 2014

The crime problem we face is not nationwide. It is centered in New Providence, our most populous island. The islands outside of New Providence remain peaceful places in which to live and raise families.
The crime statistics presented by police for 2013 confirm this. Just to take one category as an example, of the 119 murders recorded last year 112 were in New Providence. This would give us a homicide rate of nearly 45 per 100,000 - which is a very high homicide rate.
There are many factors behind our crime problem. We have had a breakdown in the family, with more children being born to broken single parent homes where no productive values are taught. The criminal justice system is dysfunctional.
It is unfair, therefore, to place all blame for the problem on police and to expect them alone to fix it. Police, however, can do better in their field of responsibility in several key areas. And they seem to be doing better of late with a visible presence on the streets of New Providence.
For years, inexplicably, and across the commands of several commissioners and political administrations, it was hard to consistently see marked police cars on New Providence. At the low point on this issue seeing a marked car on patrol was as likely as seeing a leprechaun.
We use hyperbole to make a point. Police were not around as they should have been. And in the absence of law enforcement young malevolent actors did as they pleased.
Of late, patrols are visible. And, remarkably, they can be seen at nights. As we maneuver around New Providence in the early morning hours, officers of the mobile division can be seen patrolling.
We hope the force and government can keep this up. More cars have been purchased and a remobilization of the force has been pledged in order to place more officers in frontline duties.
If we can master this on our small main island, the next step may be to expand foot patrols in troubled areas. Officers are on foot patrol downtown. Officers from the Urban Renewal offices also hit the beat from time to time. If the officers can be found, getting more of them closer to the people in communities consistently would bring a further deterrent to crime.
Too much crime happens in New Providence. We must constantly work on systems to prevent crime. In the area of responsibility of the police force, just having uniformed officers around does much to make criminals alter their plans.

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Embracing diversity in The Bahamas

March 12, 2014

For the rest of our lives, my generation will no doubt remember the evening of November 5, 2008, for we were privileged to stand on this side of history.
On that night the world stood still as a tall, thin, charismatic man took the stage to claim victory as the 44th president of the United States of America. As we all know, there was something quite unique about this president - there was something not found in the DNA of his 43 predecessors. He, with his black Kenyan-born father and white American born mother, was in fact a true African-American. That brief moment in 2008 shattered 234 years of history through the election of the first black president of the U.S.A. Now, what inspired me about Barack Obama's victory was not the fact that generations of black slaves could have never perceived it, but rather the fact that this victory was a shared victory by the most diverse nation in the world.
Now let me put this article in its proper context. I write having no agenda. I write, though, as a man who share the desire to protect The Bahamas for Bahamians and I also write as a man who has matured to the point of accepting all people for the value they add to making this world a better place for all.
One of the goals of any country is to be able to compete in a rapidly changing global arena. This is indeed a primary objective of our beautiful Bahamas, and certainly this goal should be paramount to a people who have enjoyed so many luxuries in the past because of booming tourism and lucrative financial services industries. If The Bahamas is going to have an elevated influence on the world's stage we must begin to use our diversity as our greatest asset. We must find some balance between our dreams and our fears. And one of the biggest economic and social challenges facing The Bahamas as a whole relates to unlocking the barriers to the acceptance of diversity in our economy and our wider society.
Diversity
Diversity can be defined in many different ways. Diversity is a commitment to recognizing and appreciating the variety of characteristics that make individuals unique in an atmosphere that promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement. Diversity refers to human qualities that are different from our own and those of groups to which we belong.
Throughout the global community there is a common belief, a belief born of experience, that diversity in all spheres of our society is important for them fulfilling their primary mission: providing a quality of life in which the simple truth is that diversity enriches the standard of life for all citizens.
We learn from those whose experiences, beliefs, and perspectives are different from our own. Yet, there are still so many who unfortunately do not choose to see that this diversity spills over into our living communities.
For the most part, The Bahamas, like many smaller countries, is a pioneer when it comes to women in leadership; thus, we see gender diversity in government, churches, businesses and non-government organizations.
As a nation, we can proudly boast of being very accepting of persons with diverse appearances, unlike other countries that may be biased based on weight, age, gender and so forth. However, it is generally viewed that Bahamians seem to be quite afraid of living in a multiracial and multiethnic society for fear of misplacing our cultural roots, or even worse, having our children grow up in a country and finding no place in the nation that our ancestors built.
Let me make this point clear: I understand the concerns of my people for I am a man much too indebted to my country to risk pawning its identify. But, I believe that if The Bahamas is to weather those varied storms in the short term and further strengthen our global standing in the long term, we must stop seeing diversity as a problem and start accepting diversity as an advantage.
There are some amongst us who believe that The Bahamas is in crisis and they are afraid for our safety, our culture, our jobs, our comfort, our future. This fear has caused them to believe that there is no alternative to the loss of our job security, to our diminishing salaries and prolonged working lives; no alternative other than to protect our borders from the apparent threat - the threat of different.
You know, I hear their argument. They say that in the past when a small number of Haitians migrated to a small section of Florida they created "Little Haiti". That when a small number of Cubans descended upon another area in Florida they created "Little Havana".

I say that argument does little to solidify our fears but only proves the point that culture is not easily lost.

Culture
Love of culture and country is not influenced by our environment. Love of culture and country is born in the hearts of men and women and it is that love which creates our environment. Remember this: If we have a firm grasp on who we are as Bahamians, no group of controlled legal or illegal migrant can cause us to lose that grip. In actuality, diversity should not be viewed as a hindrance to progress, but rather as the catalyst that may motivate our progression.
The prevailing unwarranted fear of diversity could cripple us to the point where we are weary of foreign investors. We all hear the noise filling the marketplace with accusations of selling our future. Now it is indeed true that we are to have some concern about an economy being saturated by foreign businesses and ownership. However, it is also true that no nation as small as ours can have the resources to generate the needed opportunities for a growing population. For the foreseeable future, let's ally the fear that in The Bahamas the percentage of foreign investors will outweigh national investors. Let me make it clear: This will never happen because our government's investment policy restricts foreign investment in a number of sectors from wholesale and retail operations to media and advertising.
So it was inevitable for the present level of diversity to exist in The Bahamas because of our geographical location having such close proximity to the United States, Cuba and Haiti. Our goal now, when we talk about diversity is to move beyond just talking about possible implications but to start to use our diversity as a resource. Let's move beyond that point when it was a challenge in getting our grandparents generation to embrace diversity. You know, part of that challenge stemmed from ignorance, part from prejudice. Point though: One of the possible reasons our forefathers resented diversity is because they did not collectively have the necessary skill set or educational background to compete with foreigners coming to our shores and, at that time, our forefathers concerns were justified.
However, with our brilliant minds and progressive thinking we will not have this barrier. For the most part, we here are enlightened and practical thinkers who are changing the connotation of the word different. I further implore us to continue to grow in our thinking. Let us encourage our loved ones to begin to appreciate the contribution of all peoples to the growth and development of a modern Bahamas.
National populations are growing and the world is indeed getting smaller. Now more than ever before, we must live the valuable lesson that America learnt on November 5, 2008 - that if a man or woman shares like values, like goals and like vision, that person regardless of whether he looks like you or whether he acts like you is still deserving of your utmost respect.
History will one day show that the diversification in leadership that America is now experiencing has not eluded The Bahamas. In fact, at a time when our affluent neighbors to the north were still living in segregation, we swore in to office a black prime minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, such a profound step for a small nation comprising farmers and fishermen. In many aspects The Bahamas has been the leader in diversity and in other aspects we have yet to follow the trend, participate in a global reality.
I know that the future of The Bahamas is bright and promising. This future will, however, require us all to embrace different. And, I honestly believe that together, hand in hand, we can do it. Yes, let's show the world that in The Bahamas, we are increasingly embracing diversity. You know, one of the Bahamas Ministry of Education's grounding principles sums it up very well: We need to foster, "An appreciation of the significance and value of the rich diversity of The Bahamas and its people, and of the responsibility of the educational process to reflect and respond to that diversity; with tolerance and understanding..."
o Anthony C. Musgrove is a former Bahamian senator.

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Uncertainty over timing of constitutional referendum

March 12, 2014

Cabinet is expected to discuss the proposed constitutional referendum in the next six to 10 days, Constitutional Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney told The Nassau Guardian.
But McWeeney could not say if the vote is still planned for this summer or when the constitutional bills will be brought to Parliament.
Prime Minister Perry Christie had said the bills would be brought to Parliament by the end of 2013 and passed in February.
"The idea is to have a dedicated bill for each issue so that voters will have a clear choice," McWeeney said.
"One question on each bill, a total of four, possibly five, strictly limited to the issues of gender equality."
Last October, Christie announced that a constitutional referendum would take place before the end of June after a public education campaign.
Originally, he had promised the referendum will take place by June 2013.
Some people have said they will not take part in the constitutional vote if the government does not respect the results of last year's gaming referendum.
Last week, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said in the House of Assembly that he intends to present a proposal to Cabinet within two weeks for the regularization of web shops.
Wilchcombe said if his colleagues accept the proposal, web shops would be regularized by July 1. This would go against the results of the January 28, 2013 referendum.
Voters were asked if they support the regularization and taxation of web shops and the creation of a national lottery. The majority of people who voted said no to both questions.
However, less than 50 percent of the electorate voted.
Support
After Wilchcombe's statement, Bahamas Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson said he would not support another referendum.
He said he would not participate in the promised constitutional referendum.
But yesterday, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts suggested that voters should not be discouraged about participating in the promised constitutional referendum if the government ignores the results of last year's gambling poll.
Roberts stressed that a constitutional referendum would be binding, unlike the gambling poll, and said voters should not confuse the two referenda.
"First of all, the referendum that was held in connection with the web shops was not a constitutional [referendum]," Roberts said.
"That was merely a non-binding vote and the government made that very clear as well too. So those persons who said that they wouldn't come out, well we live in a democracy, they could do as they wish and not participate.
"But to allow an opportunity to participate in something of significance to pass them by, that's up to them; that's their choice.
"I don't see a nexus between the two at all. The constitutional one will be binding."

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BAMSI outreach program kicks off with workshop

March 12, 2014

The Ministry of Agriculture kicked off its BAMSI outreach program with a workshop at the ministry on East Bay Street on Monday.
This workshop is the first of several meetings that will form part of BAMSI's outreach program geared at forging a sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership between the government and key stakeholders within the industries of agriculture and marine resources. The centerpiece around which this outreach program is being built is the autonomous corporate body, the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) and tutorial commercial farm located on North Andros.
During the workshop, experts in the field of agriculture presented perspectives to the working group on the selected islands of Abaco, Eleuthera, South Andros and Grand Bahama. Some of the topics discussed during the workshop were 'Small Ruminants Production', 'Crop Scheduling', the role of the tutorial commercial farm in North Andros, 'Program Logistics and Marine Enterprises and Activities'.
Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray and BAIC Chairman Arnold Forbes brought brief remarks.

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Gray foreshadows amendments of Local Govt Act

March 12, 2014

Speaking with the media at his ministry on Monday, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government V. Alfred Gray revealed two significant proposed changes to the Local Government Act ahead of the next local government elections scheduled for later this year.
"I'm placing before Cabinet on Tuesday a compendium of amendments to the Local Government Act, not the least among which is the amendment to provide for a director of local government and a deputy director of local government," said Gray. This move was necessary, said the minister, because there was no leadership in the Department of Local Government. The affairs of that department are currently handled by the permanent secretary or a staff member directed by the minister; Gray seeks to codify this anomaly through the proposed amendment to the act.
Another proposed change to the act is the level of authority to be granted to local family island district councils in the issuance of business licenses.
"Prior to now, business licenses had all been removed from the local government council's authority (by the former administration). I considered that a mistake then and I consider it a mistake now," he said.
To correct this error, Gray said that he "intends to ask Cabinet to approve an amendment which will allow for occasional licenses, or provisional licenses, or one-day licenses to be put back in the hands of the local government councils".
Gray explained that under the present structure of the act, people hosting cookouts for the sick, hosting a regatta, or a church hosting a fair in the Family Islands and in need of a one-day license are required to travel the capital to secure such a license from the central government at considerable expense and inconvenience.
"That, to me, is burdensome to those poor people," said the minister, therefore the proposed amendment is designed to ease the financial burden associated with those types of Family Island economic activities.
Gray also mentioned that there are several other "minor" amendments proposed to the act, but he felt that the two major amendments he revealed "will create a new paradigm for the local government administration in the family islands".
As for a timeline, Gray said he expects the Cabinet to put its stamp of approval on the proposed amendments "either this week or next week". Local government elections in the Family Islands are scheduled for June 23.

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'Join Me on the Bridge' essay and art competition winners announced

March 12, 2014

GRAND BAHAMA - In the hopes of inspiring young women to celebrate their achievements and explore and reflect on women's rights and equality, "Join Me on the Bridge" recently announced its 2nd Annual Essay Competition and Inaugural Art Competition for Grand Bahama female high school students, Grades 9-13.
Students were asked to either write an original essay of 500 words or less around the question, "What is a man's role in supporting women's rights and equality?" or to create an original work of art around the theme "Celebrating Women".
The winners and honorable mentions were included in the event opening ceremony held March 8th 2014 at the Garden of the Groves in Grand Bahama, where they received their awards, the winning art was displayed, and the essay winner read her essay.
Lynette McInnes, who has organized "Join Me on the Bridge" in Grand Bahama since its inception in 2010 said, "We were exceptionally pleased with the response and quality of the essays and art, and wish to thank all who submitted."
During the event, McInnes announced that in an effort to encourage young men to also explore and reflect on women's rights and equality and be more involved in women's issues, next year an essay and art competition for young men will be added.
"Join Me on the Bridge" is an annual celebration of International Women's Day held in March that was launched in 2010 as part of an international grassroots campaign that grew to be one of the biggest women's rights campaigns in the world. "Join Me on the Bridge" Grand Bahama is now in its fifth year and continues to grow.

"Join Me on the Bridge" essay and art competition results
Essay competition:
Winner, Saida Karamo, Sunland Baptist Academy
Honorable Mention, Candice Woon, Bishop Michael Eldon School
Art competition:
Winner, Thaddia Simms, St. George's High School
Honorable Mention, Grea Prescod, Grand Bahama Catholic High School

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BNT hailed as a global pioneer in environmental conservation

March 12, 2014

The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was praised as a global model and pioneer in the fight to protect the environment during the second annual Bahamas National History Conference.
Keynote speaker and accomplished international scientist Dr. David Campbell told the conference that over its nearly six decades in existence, the BNT has repeatedly stood out as a shining example, establishing landmark conservation policies and showing other countries the way forward.
"The BNT was a groundbreaking achievement. Its work has been great for The Bahamas," he said. "Few people understand how the Trust has really served as a model for the planet and one of the more effective, successful and ethical agencies to oversee wildlife and natural resources."
Dr. Campbell, who served as the executive director of the BNT during the 1970s, wrote the first ever natural history of The Bahamas, "The Ephemeral Islands", which lent its name to the theme of this year's conference.
He said he feels privileged to have been a part of the Trust's work during a revolutionary era.
"It was a time of great creativity on these islands in various different sectors - in scientific exploration, in establishment of rigorous laws to protect Bahamian natural history and in terms of education.
"This was the first time the Bahamas was being systematically mapped, land and sea, and this built on the illustrious tradition of the Trust's establishment and management of the Exuma Land and Sea Park back in the '50s.
"That was the first time that anybody established a park that recognized the integration of the land and sea. You can't protect one without the other."
"By the time I came along, these paradigms had been tested. It was a time when biological explorers were coming down here to do inventories of endangered species like the rock iguanas for example, and species that were abundant but threatened were also coming under surveillance."
The Trust, Dr. Campbell said, also played a key role in preserving the flamingos of Inagua at a time when the regional population had been decimated.
"That was a triumph - the flamingo was being relegated to a few small areas, except for in Inagua and no one really knew where it would end. But again, in the 1950s, the Trust hired wardens and they managed the population. It was actually growing when I was trust director," he said.
"The other thing that was quite instrumental was the Bahamas signing on to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), that meant that all the other signatory nations were enforcing Bahamas wildlife conservation laws.
"It was really a renaissance time for science and its application to conservation and the Trust was absolutely focal in all of this."
And, Dr. Campbell said, he is delighted to see how far the BNT has come since then.
"I am pretty awed by the Trust today, and (current executive director) Eric Carey is doing a wonderful job," he said.
"Everything that I dreamed this Trust would grow into it has, and it's actually surpassed my hopes."

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It's party time for the C.I. Gibson Rattlers

March 11, 2014

It was a festive time for the C.I. Gibson Rattlers yesterday, as they celebrated the school's fifth Hugh Campbell basketball title, one off the record of six held by Norris Bain and the Tabernacle Baptist Falcons...

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

March 11, 2014

In the case of Sheniqua Ferguson who won her world junior gold and bronze medals in Poland in 2008, she tied her season's best in the 60m with a 7.31 seconds...

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The salt overload

March 11, 2014

The majority of Bahamians eat more sodium (salt) than is recommended for a healthy diet, and too much sodium increases a person's risk for high blood pressure which often leads to heart disease and stroke according...

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Get rid of the mommy guilt and take time for you

March 11, 2014

In today's world, knowing how to juggle life's responsibilities is the key to success (depending on your definition, of course) in life. Mothering and parenting has definitely changed from our parents' and grandparents' generations. In this day and age, most households have both the mother and father in the work place. Gone are the days of the happy homemaker and domestic goddesses. We have a huge amount of responsibility today. Technology has flung us, fast forward, into a world where time is money and the early bird gets the worm. We have become more efficient in a much shorter time period, leveling the playing field, and allowing the fastest, strongest and most connected companies and persons to rise to the top. Let's face it, with connections worldwide, and endless possibilities, we have very little time to sit down, relax, have a cup of tea and parent the old-fashioned way or maybe even to make a homemade meal for the family.
There are some superhero wives and mothers that manage to have a demanding job, run a household, be a mother and wife ever so gracefully. But, even those woman that have managed to do-it-all, need a break sometimes. Of course, whenever we think about taking time for ourselves, we just as quickly start talking ourselves out of it -- finding every reason why we shouldn't, or can't. The reality is, we need to do so much planning and organizing to accomplish just a little "me" time, that it feels like it may not be worth it, but it is definitely worth it! Okay, so one more thing to organize, and jot down in our planners. Taking time for you should be just as important as soccer games, music lessons, and parent teacher association (PTA) meeting. It will take some adjusting to, but you will be a better mother, and wife if you see the value in taking an hour a week (or every two weeks, for those of you that have just poo poo'd this idea) to focus on you. A simple walk, a good book or a visit to the beach can realign, inspire and rejuvenate you.
I am a mother of two (one that is in the terrible two's right now), wife and I work harder than any normal person should (like you too) and I have realized that I can be my best, if I invest, in me. You've heard the saying if "if mamma isn't happy, no one is" -- well it's true! Take the time to treat yourself and do you. As much as you're not used to it, and even feel guilty for it, get over it and just take a few minutes to reconnect with your inner self. You will be glad you did, and so will everyone else.
Love & hugs!
o Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counselor (CLC), and founder of Bun in the Oven. For more information, give us a call at 601-6977 or visit us at the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza, next to Starbucks. Follow us on Facebook at babybunintheoven, email us at info@babybunintheoven.com, visit us at www.babybunintheoven.com.

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Don't get talked out of it

March 11, 2014

So, as stated in the last article, you start out each morning by getting into a totally positive frame of mind, thus actually expecting to have a great day. However, now we have to go out into the world and interact with others, whose attitude may in fact be totally negative, very cynical and skeptical. It is a fact, that as I learned from my mentor Earl Nightingale many years ago, 95 percent of the people spread throughout the world are in fact very negative in nature. So, although you left home in a very positive, upbeat, expectant mood looking forward to a great day of accomplishment, across the board, the majority of the people you'll be surrounded by throughout the day will be extremely negative people who could be categorized as doubters, and because of their negative attitude and feelings will in all probability not have a good day at all.
Now, I'm sure that just about all of my valued readers have heard that well-known saying "Misery loves company." Yes indeed it unfortunately does! So, it is imperative that you remain positive and upbeat about what you expect to happen throughout the day. So, do not attempt to share your dreams, your expectations with any of these extremely negative, pessimistic losers, for if you do, believe me, they will laugh at you, they will jeer and do everything within their power to knock the wind right out of your sails, figuratively speaking. So, whatever you do, as the title of this article so very clearly states it don't get talked out of it, that is talked out of believing in your dreams.
Yes my friend, once you become a very positive person who is completely focused on making every day a great day, you need to be constantly on your guard, so to speak, as you weave your way in and out of a whole lot of pessimistic losers who will do their utmost, believe me, to get you to abandon your dreams, and instead join their sad, sorry group of perpetual losers. Yes, you have to mix with them as part of your job, but do not try sharing your goals and ambitions with them, keep these dreams close to you, close to your heart, and continue to believe implicitly, 100 percent that they will in fact become a reality in your life.
Believe me when I tell you, a whole lot of people who have the innate ability to do outstanding things with their life, do indeed get talked out of following their ambitions by the negative element which is ever present throughout society. So be on your guard 24/7 and don't succumb to their negative outlook.
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.

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Child abuse and protection

March 11, 2014

Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect. It involves measures and structures designed to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect.
Wikipedia defines child abuse as the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. Any maltreatment, act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child is child abuse.
Child abuse can occur in a child's home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse -- neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.
Physical abuse involves physical aggression directed at a child by an adult. Most nations with child abuse laws consider the deliberate infliction of serious injuries, or actions that place the child at obvious risk of serious injury or death, to be illegal. Bruises, scratches, burns, broken bones, lacerations, as well as repeated "mishaps," and rough treatment that could cause physical injury, can be physical abuse.
Sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Sexual abuse refers to the participation of a child in a sexual act aimed toward the physical gratification or the financial profit of the person committing the act. Forms of child sexual assault include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography to a child, actual sexual contact with a child, physical contact with the child's genitals, viewing of the child's genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography.
Some effects of sexual abuse to children include guilt and self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor's visits, etc.), self-esteem issues, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, addiction, self-injury, suicidal ideation, somatic complaints, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, other mental illnesses including borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder, and a propensity to re-victimization in adulthood.
Emotional abuse is defined as the production of psychological and social deficits in the growth of a child as a result of behavior such as loud yelling, coarse and rude attitude, inattention, harsh criticism, and denigration of the child's personality. Other examples include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, (torture) or killing of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labeling or humiliation.
Child neglect is the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child to provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child's health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm. Neglect is also a lack of attention from the people surrounding a child, and the non-provision of the relevant and adequate necessities for the child's survival, which would be a lacking in attention, love, and nurture.
Children have the right to grow in an environment where they are healthy, loved, educated and treated with respect. They have the right to be protected from abuse and abusive situations that would and do affect their development into healthy and happy citizens and people who contribute to their community, lives and families.
The rights of children and the law
Constitutional rights apply to all age groups and children have the same rights as adults.
Children are however more vulnerable therefore it is important to recognize their special need for protection of the law.
In the Bahamas, children's rights are defined and governed by The Child Protection Act 2010 which also incorporates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention).
Therefore in The Bahamas, not only do we have protection for our children by way of statute but international law provides an even broader social responsibility and further protection for children.
The general rights of the child are defined by section 4 of The Child Protection Act 2010 which states that a child shall have the right: Of leisure which is not normally harmful, and the right to participate in sports and positive cultural and artistic activities; to a just call on any social amenities or other resources available in any situation or armed conflict or natural or man-made disasters and to exercise, in addition to all the rights stated in this Act, all the rights set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Apart from the general rights of a child, Section 14 of the Act also encapsulates other rights of children to include the right of access of both parents as guardian of a child. Section 14 is consistent with and supports Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will. Therefore, unless there is a good reason to exceptional circumstances which are in the best interest of the child, children have a right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents, whether the parents are married or not.
o For more information, or if you would like to speak to someone about something that is bothering you, telephone The Crisis Centre 24-hour hotline at 328-0922 or 322-4999. Check out our website at www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us. Email us at bahamascrisiscentre@yahoo.com or call us.

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Ankle sprains

March 11, 2014

Ankle sprains are the most frequent musculoskeletal injury seen by primary care physicians. It is estimated that each day more than 23,000 people in the United States require medical care for ankle sprains. The ankle joint is made up of three bones held together by ligaments that provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement.
Ankle sprains are common sports injuries but can also happen during everyday activities. An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle, usually on the outer side of the ankle. The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is just stretched, partially torn, or completely torn, and on the number of ligaments involved in the injury. Ankle sprains are not the same as strains, which affect muscles rather than ligaments and an ankle fracture means broken bones.
Causes
Ankle sprains are usually caused by an unnatural twisting motion occurring in the ankle joint most commonly when the foot is pointing downward and is forced inward, awkwardly. Persons would describe this as "rolling their ankle." This stretches the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. Sprained ankles often occur during sporting activities and can result from a fall, a sudden twist, stepping on uneven surfaces or in a hole and even wearing the wrong shoes.Symptoms
When the ankle is sprained the soft tissues around the ankle are injured and inflamed. The symptoms may include pain or soreness, swelling, bruising or redness, difficulty walking, stiffness in the joint. The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the sprain.
Here are four reasons why ankle sprains should be promptly evaluated and treated by a podiatrist.
o An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle weakness/instability and more injury.
o Sometimes it may be difficult for you to tell the difference between a sprain and an ankle fracture.
o An ankle sprain may be accompanied by other foot injury that must be treated as well.
o Rehabilitation of a sprained ankle needs to begin right away. If rehabilitation is delayed, the injury may be less likely to heal properly.
Diagnosis
When evaluating your injury, the podiatrist will get a history of the injury and the symptoms you are experiencing. X-rays or other imaging studies such as a CT Scan may be ordered to help determine the severity of the injury. A complete physical exam will be done, touching and moving the parts of the foot and ankle to determine which parts have been injured.
The initial care for a sprain ankle at home is important to help reduce pain and speed up healing. Persons will often report that immediately after a suspected ankle sprain they would soak their foot in hot water. This is not recommended. In fact it increases swelling and can make the ankle worse. Remember RICE -- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. All of these are done to reduce and prevent inflammation and can be started at home even before you see the podiatrist.
o Rest: For the first 24-48 hours after the injury your activities need to be seriously decreased or stopped all together.
o Ice: For the first 48 hours after the injury, place an ice pack or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on the sprained ankle for 20 minutes at a time every 3-4 hours.
o Compression: Wrap the ankle in an ace bandage from the toes to above the ankle. The wrap should be snug but not too tight so that it's uncomfortable.
o Elevate: Keep your ankle elevated as high as possible by sitting in a recliner, or putting books or pillows under the ankle.
After twisting your ankle, if you have pain, swelling and difficulty walking or standing, it is time to see the podiatrist.

Treatment by the podiatrist will continue the RICE treatment. The podiatrist may also apply an ankle brace or cast boot to reduce motion in the ankle joint. Crutches are also used to prevent persons from walking or bearing weight on the ankle. The most common medications used to treat ankle sprains are anti-inflammatory, that reduces both pain and help control the inflammation.
When you have an ankle sprain, rehabilitation is crucial -- and it starts the moment your treatment begins. Early therapy helps to promote healing and increase your range of motion. This may include doing prescribed exercises or even seeing a physical therapist who will help with flexibility and strengthening exercises.

A follow-up visit is usually scheduled one to two weeks after the initial treatment to monitor healing progress.
Most ankle sprains heal without complications or difficulty, leaving the person able to walk and play their sport without pain or swelling. The healing time depends upon the severity of the ankle sprain and if there was any other accompanying injury. If persons do not get treatment and rehabilitation after an ankle sprain, chronic ankle instability results which makes the ankle weak, "gives way" at times and increases the risk of more injuries in the future. Very seldom surgery may be needed to repair torn ligaments around the ankle.
Ankle sprains can be prevented by wearing proper shoes for the activity you are engaged in. Always wear stable shoes that give your ankle support like high-top basketball shoes. High heels or platform shoes are not the best choice if you want to prevent an ankle sprain. For athletes, balance training may keep the ankles strong and flexible. They may also consider having a weak ankle taped or wear an ankle brace for extra support during the game.
o For more information on ankle sprains visit www.apma.org or www.footphysicians.com or email us at Foothealth242@gmail.com; To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street or call 325-2996 for an appointment or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane or call 394-5820/4 for an appointment.

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IMF: Govt commits to 'essential' budget caps

March 11, 2014

The government has told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it will implement a "rule-based fiscal framework" to guard against "shortsightedness" in fiscal decision making, a move which the multilateral institution has thrown its full support behind.
This development was yesterday welcomed by Co-Chair of the Coalition for Responsible Taxation Robert Myers, who said it is one of a number of signs that the private sector grouping's message on the need for fiscal consolidation is getting through to the government.
A so-called "fiscal rule" is generally defined as a system in which the government constrains expenditure through the creation of simple numerical limits in legislation - also known as "budget caps".
The fact that the IMF in its latest Article IV staff report on The Bahamas is congratulating the government for "their commitment to fiscal consolidation and their intention to introduce a rule-based fiscal framework" may come as a surprise to some, given recent comments from government representatives on its position on the role of such a rule-based framework in constraining spending growth in this country.
In February, Michael Halkitis, minister of state for finance, said that he did not necessarily see the benefit or need for such a rule-based fiscal framework.
He told Guardian Business that the government exercises "its own brand" of fiscal discipline, and suggested that calls for more stringent "budget caps" or "fiscal rules" could limit necessary flexibility in the operation of government's finances.
This prompted Coalition Co-Chair Gowon Bowe to retort that had the government been successfully exercising its own brand of fiscal discipline, it would not be in the position it finds itself in now with respect to growing debt and deficits that have led to its efforts to introduce value-added tax (VAT).
In its latest report on this nation's economy and the government's handling of it, the IMF signalled that the government appeared to have changed its tune on a fiscal rule.
It said that the government has yet to "settle on the specifics" of such a framework, including when it would be adopted, but "saw the adoption of a fiscal rule as essential to guarding against government fiscal shortsightedness (e.g., policy changes depending on political cycle) and making the achievement of medium-term fiscal targets more predictable."
It added that any fiscal rule would have to take account of The Bahamas' country-specific condition, such as the fact that it is a small island state, and has significant vulnerability to natural disasters - that is, it would need to live the type of financial flexibility that would allow the government to respond to such threats which can be extremely costly to recover from and appear with little warning.
"It needs to strike a reasonable balance between sustainability and flexibility goals, and should make provisions for policy responses to unforeseen economic shocks (for instance, natural disasters)," said the fund.
Notwithstanding the need for country-specific tailoring of such a fiscal rule for The Bahamas, the IMF said it stands ready to provide support to the government in its efforts to implement a rule-based framework to govern budget efforts, calling a fiscal rule appropriate in The Bahamas' case given the "rapid widening of the fiscal deficit and increase in central government debt" in recent years.
Encouraging The Bahamas to soon "flesh out" how it would go about implementing a fiscal rule and what form it would take in this country, the IMF said that it should enhance the predictability and credibility of budget policies.
"This would notably help ensure that the authorities' public finance reforms are implemented within a well articulated and durable medium-term fiscal framework."
However, the IMF noted that a rule-based framework creates considerable "transparency demands" and requires "a comprehensive coverage of fiscal operations".
Myers said that the IMF's position fitted with that of the coalition, and he felt the indication of a change in the government's attitude towards a fiscal rule may be a sign that its message is being heard.
"We've being saying the same thing - that tax reform without fiscal reform is a failure. Tax reform plus fiscal reform will lead to success. So budget caps are one of our paramount objectives for fiscal reform. We want the government to deal with the budget issues, making them to international standards.
"Hopefully what's happening, even if we don't get credit, is they're starting to understand that this isn't going to happen (VAT) unless they do certain things and as far as the private sector is concerned, we're going to try to hold them to international practices and standards. We're happy to pay more money, but only if everyone is paying their share, and we're happy to do more if we see the government is being accountable and being prudent about how they budget."
Speaking with Guardian Business in February in the wake of the IMF's recommendation of a fiscal rule for The Bahamas, Michael Halkitis suggested at that time that it may not be necessary because the government already voluntarily operates within "certain parameters" when it comes to spending. However, he did admit that the government may "eventually" consider moving in that direction. The IMF report suggests that during meetings with the government, it gave a more firm and short term commitment.

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Galanis: Bahamas windfall if 'overregulation' eased

March 11, 2014

Likening bank compliance officers to "the Bahamian Gestapo", a local accountant has argued that overzealous regulation is continuing to drive banking business out of this country.
While stating that he cannot directly link the departure of UBS (Bahamas) from private banking in The Bahamas to what he believes to be heavy-handed regulation, Phillip Galanis said it is without a doubt that financial institutions "feel cramped" by the level of regulatory scrutiny.
Galanis, managing partner of chartered accountancy firm HLB Galanis and Co., argued that The Bahamas must take a "common sense approach" to regulation, that does not "cut off its nose to spite its face".
His comments come days after UBS (Bahamas) announced that over the next ten months it will close down its private banking unit in this country.
Gabriel Castello, head of UBS' Latin American and Caribbean markets, said that the company will continue to operate in The Bahamas, but no longer considers this country a banking center.
While the move was linked by some observers, including Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder, to blows to the major offshore institution globally in recent years, the pull out of the company from private banking in this nation is widely considered as a significant injury to the reputation of the country as a place to conduct offshore financial services.
Speaking about challenges to the viability of the financial services sector more broadly, Galanis said that he is very concerned about the role of regulators in creating what he described as a difficult environment to do business in The Bahamas, and how this may factor into decisions by offshore banks such as UBS.
He suggested that this country could take a less stringent approach without leaving itself open to negative feedback from international entities such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is driving the push for greater regulation of offshore finance globally.
And in a column written for The Nassau Guardian, he drew attention to what he termed "insane regulation" regulation" that caused "tremendous damage" to the offshore financial sector in this country.
"There are some regulators in various institutions that overregulate, which has the effect of presenting The Bahamas as not being business friendly. Bank compliance officers are the new Bahamian Gestapo, and really the situation has evolved now where the tail wags the dog and the compliance officers run the bank, not the managers.
"For foreigners, they are regulated in other jurisdictions, they make an application for accounts at some of the offshore banks and they are met with tremendous resistance from compliance officers who are overzealous regulators. It has the effect of discouraging persons from doing business here, and it creates an excuse for people when they leave," said Galanis.
Giving an example, Galanis said he was aware of a case involving an institution which was subject to an inspection which saw half as many examiners enter the bank as there were employees in the bank.
"It cannot possibly be efficient for them to have that many regulators. I think it really highlights and accentuates the nonsense that goes on in this jurisdiction sometimes," he said.
Asked if in his opinion the heavy-handed regulation began under the administration of Dave Smith at the Securities Commission, Galanis said that there was "no question" that a "tremendous amount of overzealousness was witnessed" during the time he was in charge.
"Virtually everyone in the financial services sector has complaints about difficulties they've encountered... The current executive director (Hillary Deveaux) has a common sense, practical business savvy approach to doing business. He's good for the jurisdiction."
However, he added that he feels the "genesis of the extreme overregulation" began under the second Hubert Ingraham administration, when a compendium of legislation was passed to get The Bahamas off the OECD's blacklist of offshore jurisdictions.
Adding that he felt The Bahamas "threw the baby out with the bathwater" when it comes to regulation, Galanis said the sector is still feeling the reverberations from those legislative actions.
As to whether he sees the need for legislative amendments to tone down the stringency of regulations if the offshore sector is to continue to be competitive, Galanis said: "I'm not sure if the legislation has to be amended, but training has to be given to regulators for them to understand the objective you are trying to achieve and how can it be done in a more efficient manner."
His comments come as the International Monetary Fund, in its latest report on the Bahamian economy and financial system released on Friday, said that the "disproportionately large" offshore financial sector in The Bahamas contributes some three per cent to GDP.
The Fund suggested that going forward, the offshore financial sector could benefit in this country from "concerns of heightened financial sector risks" in some advanced economies.
Galanis said he too sees an opportunity for The Bahamas over the next two to three years to offer a safe haven for those taking their wealth out of countries such as Switzerland, if it can reign in excessive regulation.

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Four 'distinct concepts' shortlisted for South Ocean

March 11, 2014

Four candidates, who each bring "a distinct and different concept to the table" for the development of the key 383-acre South Ocean resort property, have been shortlisted ahead of expectations of a preferred bidder being picked by early next week, according to the company leading the effort to finalize a sale of the property.
Remaining tight-lipped about the identities of the candidates to purchase the resort in southwest New Providence, Jeremy Seabridge, partner with lead development consultants Southern Cross Developments, told Guardian Business that they are all "very strong" contenders.
Southern Cross Developments was hired to develop a master plan for South Ocean, which ultimately envisaged the property being used as a prospective site for two upscale resorts, a casino, marina, golf course, retail village and more. The plan was proposed to represent a "highest use" of the property, which is considered possibly the last remaining major resort site in New Providence.
However, given the fact that each of the candidates is now bringing a different concept for the property to the mix, it would appear that bidders did not feel constrained to stick with the master plan already proposed, and it is yet to be revealed what types of development proposals have been put forward.
Since creating the plan, Southern Cross Developments has been involved in a process which began last year to solicit and later whittle down the bids, after it signed a listing agreement with U.S.-based CBRE, a leading real estate brokerage, in September 2013.
Bahamian interests were said to be among the over 40 groups that signed confidentiality agreements earlier this year to become involved in the sales process.
While it is not clear if it is the only local company to have bid on the property, Albany confirmed to The Tribune that it was among those seeking to purchase the property, which is adjacent to its own development, as part of a joint venture.
Seabridge has confirmed that the government has been closely involved with the sales effort, and has now met with "most" of the four short-listed candidates.
With the likelihood of a successful completion of the resort development, which has laid dormant for over ten years, high on the list of criteria for the government once a sale of the property is executed, Albany's familiarity and track record of progress and expansion on its current development will surely stand it in good stead with the government.
However, it is quite possible that other bidders may have similarly successful records of development elsewhere.
Seabridge said that all of the bidders shortlisted provide different offerings when it comes to the "cultural, development and economic impact of their plans for the property".
"The Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan (CCWIPP, which owns the property) and Southern Cross are working diligently through the selection process and are aligned with the government in its efforts to identify the group with the best offer, and the ability to see its development plans through to completion. We continue to work closely with the Office of the Prime Minister with the collective efforts focused on concluding the selection process by March 18, 2014," said Seabridge.
The process to finalize the preferred bidder is now understood to be in a highly sensitive phase.

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Profits jump at Colina Holdings Bahamas Limited

March 11, 2014

BISX-listed Colina Holdings Bahamas Limited has reported a 21.4 percent rise in net income attributable to equity shareholders for 2013, an improvement it has attributed to an ability to adapt to the current economic climate.
Colina Holdings Bahamas Limited, parent company of Colina Insurance Limited, Colina General Insurance Agents & Brokers Limited, and CFAL Ltd., said the results show that the company has been able to maintain its leading market position and stable financial results for 2013.
Robust results over successive quarters of the year continued to reflect consistent profitability. Along with a 21.4 percent year-over-year increase in net income attributable to equity shareholders, the company also generated a $22.3 million increase in its asset base.
Net income attributable to the company's ordinary shareholders for 2013 rose to $11.7 million or $0.47 per ordinary share, compared to $9.4 million or $0.38 per ordinary share in 2012. Total revenues increased by 2.8 percent to $162.9 million, compared to $158.5 million for 2012.
"Our strong financial results speak to the company's ability to adapt to the current economic reality, and to continue our growth in core businesses while pursuing sound investment and operational efficiency initiatives to enhance value for our customers and shareholders," said CHBL Chairman Terence Hilts.
The company's ordinary equity continues on an upward trend, rising to $91.5 million at December 31, 2013 compared to $83.7 million at December 31, 2012. The increase in ordinary equity of $7.9 million or 9.4 percent is net of distributions to ordinary shareholders of $0.18 per share in 2013 and preference share dividends of $0.06 per share.
Total assets have increased to $605.5 million from $583.1 million at December 31, 2012. Invested assets remain a significant proportion of the asset base, comprising 83.9 percent of total assets.
While the company continues to produce positive results from its core insurance operations, the current economic environment has impacted net investment earnings, which stand at $24.9 million compared to $29.8 million in the prior year.
"I express gratitude to my fellow directors for their diligence and professionalism in the strategic and financial management of CHBL in 2013," added Hilts.
"The board has confidence that CHBL's management, strategy and people will enable the company to operate in the best interests of all stakeholders and to deliver on our service promise to our loyal customers."

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