Nassau Guardian Stories

Making a mountain out of a molehill
Making a mountain out of a molehill

April 30, 2014

Malaysia has become a household word in the past few weeks in The Bahamas, due to Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis comparing the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370...

read more »

The Christian Council and legal marijuana
The Christian Council and legal marijuana

April 30, 2014

So the president of the Christian Council says we shouldn't even consider legalizing marijuana. Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson said they are against anything that will damage the family.
Do you know what is really damaging to the family in The Bahamas? The high level of importance of religion in our politics, because it leads us to frame the national debate around these nonsense symbolic concerns, instead of concrete, bread and butter issues.
I have news for Patterson: Everyone in this country who wants to smoke marijuana already does so; the only thing we accomplish with our dictatorial stance is that we ruin the lives of hundreds of young men by throwing them in a cell for something that is no worse than drinking a beer.
Why is it that we in the country can never see where trends are going and learn to get ahead of the game? Around 20 American states have already approved it for medicinal purposes and around 40 countries are considering similar legislation. Read my lips, Bahamas - it will happen here.
But, as usual, we will be the last to get in on an industry likely worth hundreds of millions a year to this struggling, indebted little country. Just like with gambling and the national lottery, we will bury our heads in the sand while everyone who wants to use marijuana continues to do so, while the country misses out on the big pay day. And then, some day many years down the road, we will wake up and legalize it anyway.
I think that most Bahamians understand the way things really work. The problem is, we as a society continue to listen to the likes of the Christian Council, allowing our national conversation to be hijacked by a bunch of behind-the-times dinosaurs.
- Isaac N.

read more »

Has anyone seen the prime minister
Has anyone seen the prime minister

April 30, 2014

Michael Halkitis is a likeable politician. He's a smart man. He had the good sense yesterday to confirm to The Nassau Guardian that value-added tax (VAT) will not be introduced in The Bahamas on July 1 - the government's previously proposed implementation date...

read more »

A country with no plan, pt. 3

April 30, 2014

I cannot, with any degree of honesty, call myself a supporter of Robert Mugabe, but there is one quote attributed to him from a recent interview with BBC World News which resonates within me. And though I find his style of leadership questionable, I cannot deny that I am in full agreement with his thinking when he declared to his people that "...never, never again shall we make the mistake of allowing our resources - natural resources - to be owned by foreigners. Never."
I am of the opinion that foreign direct investment (FDI) should never include the giveaway or sale of natural resources, be it acres of land or miles of beaches and waterfront. A sovereign country should always be able to negotiate terms of investment from a position of strength, upholding its sovereignty, such that the very land it is presiding over remains in the ownership of the citizens, guarded on their behalf by their government.
The injection of capital in the form of FDI, in the way we have welcomed it, may serve well as a last resort to boost economic activity, but as a long-term growth model it is worrisome. We have come to think of FDI as the great deliverer, but this neglects to consider the necessity of direct domestic investment and moves the prospect of property ownership further beyond the reach of the common man. A modified approach to FDI where domestic investment is the lead part of FDI should be the norm, particularly in a small country.
This norm and modified approach to FDI should also limit the percentage of ownership of foreign investors in domestic investment partnerships to a capped amount of 49 percent with the remaining 51 percent held by the citizens of the host country as private shareholders, and not held in trust with a government where it does nothing to create new wealth and continuing prosperity for the people.
As is the case at present, a government could choose to have as much FDI as it likes with many capital injections and it will give the perception that the economy is robust, but the real story lies in the domestic sector and with domestic investment. If you want to know how well the economy is doing, ask first how large the domestic investment sector is.
How vibrant is it? How much is it growing? What is it comprised of? What percentage of small businesses in the domestic sector account for overall economic activity? What is the ratio of domestic investment opportunities to FDI opportunities? What percentage of the labor force is employed in the small business/domestic sector as opposed to being laborers in a byproduct of FDI?
And, finally, to get a better idea of long term growth potential, you should also ask how many businesses in the domestic sector really do innovate and are not merely international franchises, resellers or reproducers. You should then seek to bring partners who facilitate the development needs of the domestic sector, not the other way around.
Small business and real growth
The reason small business is the 'lifeblood of the economy' is because it relies on innovation, but a search through the local yellow pages and the news dailies is disheartening in this regard. A primarily copycat economy exists in our nation when there is great potential for invention. With the existing imitator blueprint, sustainable growth will be hard to come by. There cannot be sustainable growth until the people prepare themselves to have ownership of original ideas, instead of just employment in duplicates, and until they are creating and innovating as opposed to replicating.
Our country's net exports in services yield a surplus. Our net exports in goods yield a deficit. We have more services than products to offer the world. Certainly services are an important part of an economy. But what about the other part?
We go to work every day, but what are we producing? A tourist has a great vacation. An offshore investor makes more money. But in this environment how does our daily labor make our lives better? Really, how productive are we in these industries? And how do we quench our thirst for expensive imports when we do little to innovate?
At the end of the day, we still lack infrastructure; we have very little along the lines of finished manufacturing and agriculture, and FDIs leave the same way they came. If these business ventures were more than FDIs, if they were joint ventures with all the consumers in the national economy, we might have more to show for them.
Some argue that we can't be a producing economy in the traditional sense, that our services will always be greater than our goods, but we have many natural resources and we have them in abundance. If our people were trained throughout life to be innovative and not reliant we could have a stronger and burgeoning domestic business sector and a more resilient economy with more to trade than just 'heads in beds' and stock portfolios which consist of assets we can't even purchase.
As it stands, we are too heavily reliant on people wanting to visit us and on them spending more money here, constantly trying to find ways for them to empty their pockets when our productivity could be speaking for itself in a number of other ways.
There are very many local businesses that provide necessary products and services. Of course we will always need groceries and healthcare and other such necessities, but we have to think beyond the necessary. How do we make the necessary better, more effective and more efficient? That is innovation.
If you sell something already, perhaps you can learn how to make your own version of it or make it better. Keep your business idea as simple as possible and in this manner make it more achievable. Let it grow organically and tend carefully to it as it grows; don't sit and wait for handouts from visitors. Initiate. Innovate.
A laissez-faire society hinders progress
Inviting tourists to the country and then hoping they will buy something expensive or a lot of something not too expensive is like drawing straws for a prize. It sounds great in theory - a relatively easy win. But what happens when we all get bored with that game? What is our backup when tourists and investors don't come our way any longer, or when they don't spend any more, or when our people no longer want to be only servants in any industry?
We are a people who hasten to fall back on "God will provide". Perhaps for us the spirit of innovation is not instinctive, and maybe that's why we go nowhere faster. Our motivation to assert ourselves and produce great things like we've never done before is pre-disabled.
It's all well and good to dress up every day and prance around preaching prosperity to others, saying a higher power will provide, but what are we doing to help that power along?
If you were the highest level executive, would you provide to a well-dressed, able-bodied beggar who plainly does not help himself? Probably not, because that would be productive for neither one of you.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of what we produce, how industrious we are, but the deceitful thing about GDP is that it includes output by foreign firms who repatriate their earnings to their own or other countries. So, when we calculate GDP per capita, what are we truly measuring?
Because of foreign investment and foreign banking, we've had the highest GDP per capita in the region for decades and, because of tourism, we've had adequate foreign currency reserves to support our fixed dollar value, yet our people are still poor. That GDP per capita and those foreign currency reserves suggest that we are either over-producing, which is clear we are not, or that this kind of great wealth is spread amongst everyone, which is clear it is not, or that it is held by a small few, which is most likely. And the few holding this wealth will use it to modernize their lifestyles and possessions, because who knows when they'll get to hold it again. Consequently, is economic growth through foreign direct investment, foreign banking and tourism really just an illusion in an otherwise non-producing society?
o Nicole Burrows is an academically trained economist and a self-trained writer. She writes primarily on the economy and society, and her interests include economic growth and development and contemporary women's issues: nicole.burrows@outlook.com.

read more »

Woman says she used drugs for personal problems

April 30, 2014

A woman told a magistrate that she used drugs because of personal problems...

read more »

Arrest warrant issued for drug case defendant

April 30, 2014

A magistrate yesterday issued an arrest warrant for a Jamaican national who failed to show up for his drug smuggling trial.
Magistrate Andrew Forbes said his staff would inform the Supreme Court that Garth Chung had not attended his case with a view to having his bail revoked.
Chung, Leron Roberts, Wayne Neely, Charnathan Hill and David Colebrooke are facing charges of conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply, conspiracy to import dangerous drugs, importation of dangerous drugs and possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply.
Only Roberts, Neely and Hill were present when Forbes called the case yesterday. Colebrooke, who is in prison, was not brought to court.
On March 1, police found marijuana worth an estimated $1 million in an apartment on John Street. Forbes adjourned the matter to June 19.

read more »

25,000 reward offered for information in Dart murder

April 30, 2014

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects responsible for the murder of British national Edgar George Dart.
The 56-year-old man was staying at his mother's home in Emerald Bay with family when he was shot and killed on Tuesday, April 8.
Three men reportedly made their way into the luxury home shortly before 7 a.m. armed with a handgun and machete.
They robbed the family of seven of cash and jewelry.
Dart was reportedly shot during an altercation with the robbers and bled to death at the home.
The remaining family members were bound and the bandits got away in the gardener's truck.
A number of people have been taken in for questioning, but there has been no arrest.
Police said the murder is still under investigation and they have issued an appeal to anyone with information to contact the police hotline in Grand Bahama at 352-1919, 351-9111, 351-9991, Crime Tipsters at 300-8476 or the nearest police station.
Police say all information received will be held in the strictest of confidence.

read more »

New York consul general attends pastoral anniversary service

April 30, 2014

Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas consul general to New York, attended the 25th pastoral anniversary service for Bahamian-born Rev. Dr. Jeffrey A. Ingraham, at Calvary Baptist Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, on Sunday, April 27, 2014...

read more »

Doctors Hospital supports Cancer Society of The Bahamas
Doctors Hospital supports Cancer Society of The Bahamas

April 30, 2014

Doctors Hospital Health System is once again supporting the efforts of the Cancer Society of The Bahamas, with a donation towards its annual ball, as well as mammograms and a nutrition consultation to be used as prizes on the night of the ball...

read more »

Gabriella Evans wins a new Kia in BTC's 'Text 2 Win' contest
Gabriella Evans wins a new Kia in BTC's 'Text 2 Win' contest

April 30, 2014

Winning a new Kia came as a big surprise to Gabriella Evans even though she had good odds -- a one in five chance -- as a finalist in Bahamas Telecommunications Company's (BTC) recent 'Text 2 Win' mobile phone contest. But win she did...

read more »

Violence against women and the responsibility of the state pt. 2

April 30, 2014

CARICOM countries have ratified both the 1979 U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 1994 Inter-American Convention of the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women.
Both conventions recognize that violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights and is a form of gender-based discrimination. Both conventions utilize the definition of gender-based violence as set forth in the U.N.'s Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW).
Further, The Bahamas is a signatory to the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) 2003 gender mainstreaming strategies. This platform of action concerns the process of developing policies and programs that are gender sensitive and equitable and lead towards gender equality and the positive transformation of gender relations.
It refers categorically to "the right of all to live free of violence and the fear of violence, in particular, the right of women and girls to be free of gender-based violence, especially sexual violence", outlined in the Plan of Action to 2005: Framework for Mainstreaming Gender into key CARICOM Programmmes.
In addition, the following international agreements make specific reference to violence against women: Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1990, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action on Human Rights of 1993 and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women of 1995.
The state has primary responsibility for the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence in such areas as legislation, the criminal justice sector, economic and social policies, health and social services, school curriculum, public education and awareness.
It has the capacity and mechanisms to coordinate all sectors of society such as schools, local communities, health and social welfare agencies, the media, churches, corporations and international agencies in addressing successfully the issue.
There has, however, to be a political will on the part of the government that is focused, strategic and committed to the goal of prevention and elimination of violence against women.
No doubt, such a political will has to crystallize around the sustained action of a women's movement that not only has a clear understanding of the causes of violence against women and girls but also a clarity in regard to its own power to demand that the state exercise its political will in this regard.
In the In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary General of 2006, a human rights-based analysis of the causes of violence against women and girls is stated as follows:
"The central premise of the analysis is that the specific causes of such violence and the factors that increase the risk of its occurrence are grounded in the broader context of systemic gender-based discrimination against women and other forms of subordination.
"Such violence is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between women and men reflected in both public and private life.
"Historically, gender roles -- the socially constructed roles of women and men -- have been ordered hierarchically, with men exercising power and control over women.
"Male dominance and female subordination have both ideological and material bases. Patriarchy has been entrenched in social and cultural norms, institutionalized in the law and political structure and embedded in local and global economies. It has also been ingrained in formal ideologies and in public discourse.
"Patriarchy restricts women's choices but does not render women powerless, as evidenced by the existence of women's movements and successful claims by women for their rights."
I draw to the attention of the members of the House of Assembly to the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on violence against women. The IPU is the international organization of parliaments established in 1889.
It supports the work of the United Nations and cooperates with regional inter-parliamentary organizations and non-governmental organizations.
In 2008 at an international conference, A Parliamentary Response to Violence Against Women, held in Geneva, the IPU identified key elements and strategies for the prevention of violence against women. One of the six priorities for parliamentarians to consider is as follows:
"Parliamentarians must build their parliaments' capacities to take action to put an end to violence against women. They should look at what parliamentary mechanisms can be developed to support work on violence against women. The establishment of a specific parliamentary committee on violence against women could be an option."
I strongly urge that a parliamentary committee be convened for the specific purpose of addressing the issue of prevention and elimination of violence against women.
In light of remarks made by Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller that he used to beat an ex-girlfriend, this committee's first task might be to build its capacity through a profound understanding and education of the causes of violence against women.
There are many resources available in the wider community to facilitate such understanding. Further, the IPU report itself lays out a systematic plan of action for the work of a parliamentary committee in preventing and eliminating violence against women.
Finally, I refer us to the World Health Organization report entitled Violence Prevention: The Evidence (2010) that states as follows:
"Despite the fact that violence has always been present, the world does not have to accept it as an inevitable part of the human condition...Violence can be prevented. This is not an article of faith, but a statement based on evidence."
o Marion Bethel is a poet, short story writer, essayist and attorney.

read more »

Challenging period in the school year

April 30, 2014

The approximate six weeks left on the school calendar usually chalk up to being the most challenging, with a high amount of absenteeism and truancy by students, according to Anzlo Strachan, chief school attendance officer in the Ministry of Education. In an effort to stem the tide, school attendance officers have been visiting various schools on New Providence, encouraging students to remain in school and to persevere through their circumstances.
Through the presentations delivered during junior school assemblies at L.W. Young Junior High School, A.F. Adderley Junior High School, Anatol Rodgers High School and D.W. Davis Junior High School, the officers engaged students through skits and songs in an effort to impart the message in a way that students could relate to.
The situation of absenteeism (missing a day or two here and there, sometimes for illness, or with a good reason) and truancy (there is no real reason, the student simply decides they won't go to school) is one that Strachan said is of concern because of the significant number of children that don't attend school at this time of the year.
"The summer is coming up and students feel that it's almost the end of the year. Maybe they didn't do well all year, so they feel they don't have a chance to do anything in the upcoming exams, so they just don't go to school. The kids start to drop out," said Strachan.
According to him, school attendance is always good in September, October and November but starts to wean in February and March.
He said that an average of 900 to 1,000 students on New Providence have skipped school annually for the past 10 years according to their records over just 18 schools. Today, he said the average of female absenteeism and truancy is split almost 50-50 today with their male counterparts in comparison to yesteryear when he said the norm would have been 300 female students to 600 male students.
"If you really look at it, I'm quite certain that we have over 2,000 students right here in New Providence with frequent absenteeism and truancy. And we tend to group truancy and absenteeism when it comes to numbers almost in the same category sometimes, because the bottom line for us -- whether it's absenteeism or truancy -- is that the students just aren't in school," said the attendance officer.
According to Strachan, there are a number of criteria used when determining absenteeism and truancy, the most obvious being when officers notice a pattern developing when a child misses school once per week over a four-week period. "They think they may be hiding from us by doing that, but we look at the registers very carefully," he said. "Then you have situations where a child is absent three or more days over a two-week period without a note or contact from the parent or guardian, so we start to investigate those cases. Those are the more noticeable criteria and are more easily seen and are red flags. Then you may have a child out for actually two weeks," he said.
The challenge then arises for the attendance office, which only has 14 officers (13 in New Providence and one in Grand Bahama), inclusive of Strachan, to locate the students, who may have changed addresses.
With limited officers, Strachan said the task of policing absenteeism and truancy in schools can be difficult, but he said they have other resources to help them do their jobs, including liaising with guidance council departments in the various schools, the police and social services.
The attendance officers also do street patrols with police officers present. The objective of the street patrol is to observe and record the number of students seen on the street in a specific mapped out area or community. Previously, they concentrated on inner city communities, from which the majority of referrals and public complaints were made, however, as recently as last month, they included subdivisions. During patrols, attendance officers observe and speak to area residents to ascertain whether there are students out of school during school hours. The officers collect information on the students, including age, gender, grade school and the reasons for their absence, as well as the students' parents' names; a case file is then assigned to officers.

Student encounter
During a March patrol of Yellow Elder Gardens and parts of Millenium Gardens, the attendance officers encountered six students out of school: five male and one female ranging in age from nine to 17. The reasons given for their absences included not having shoes to wear, fighting and leaving campus as a result, running away from campus without permission, unpaid school fees and awaiting Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary School Examinations. One student attended a private school. The others attended government schools.
Strachan also said that every attendance case has a social issue attached to it; his officers consult school guidance counselors to find out if students are back in school and talk to them about the issues and assisting with keeping children in school.
"Getting a child back in school is one thing. Keeping them there is the real challenge, so you need to get the students involved in programs," he said. Strachan also said it was imperative that a formerly absent or truant student visit his or her guidance counselor's office at least once every two days, or daily, in some cases.
According to Bahamian law, a child can legally leave school one day before their 17th birthday, said Strachan, and not once they've attained the age of 16, as is the popular belief.
The 25-year veteran of the attendance office believes that the increase in absenteeism and truancy is relative. He said school attendance, with the exception of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, is the longest-running social agency in the country, with 130-plus years of existence. Absenteeism and truancy are not new phenomenons, but, Strachan said, in a 21st century, it is important for Bahamians to have an education.

Education
"If you to intend to be successful in life, you must attend school in order to get somewhere in life. And high school is not the end all. Just about every job is requiring some type of certificate. Eventually, as the competition gets stiffer, you're going to need a certificate to collect garbage," said Strachan.
He admitted that there are some students who are uncontrollable and who aren't wanted in schools because they can disrupt the entire system. He said those children, depending on their circumstances, aren't left to fend for themselves, but are sent programs that cater to their needs.
The chief attendance officer said his unit is in the process of producing infomercials to educate students on why they should not cut school. He said the unit is also developing a website where students will be able to find answers to their questions, if they are thinking about cutting school or dropping out. Strachan said the website is built, and his team is hoping to go live before the start of the next school year.
During their recent junior school tour, Strachan's team encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities in the school system, like the hospitality class at Anatol Rodgers, where he said students don't just learn to cook, but are taught everything they need to know that enables them to leave high school and go directly into the hotel industry. He also highlighted the maritime course, which has proved effective at C.V. Bethel.
He said they have taken their message to junior school students, because they feel that is the age that needs to be addressed to try to change the trend of absenteeism and truancy at the high school level.
"It's during junior school that children usually go through changes -- they're out of primary school with older students and parents tend to treat them differently, so that's the age we need to catch to stay in school and discourage unexplained absenteeism," the chief school attendance officer said.
And while he does not have statistics to prove his theory, Strachan said he believes there is a relationship between students dropping out school or not coming to school and the crime in the country.

read more »

BTVI students tour Baha Mar

April 30, 2014

A group of students from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) recently got an idea of the scope and possible impact of the multibillion-dollar Baha Mar development during a recent tour of the Cable Beach project. They toured the convention center and casino floor, as well as the Grand Hyatt and Mondrian construction sites.
Electrical installation students were guided by Baha Mar Project Coordinator Ralph Burrows, who himself was a product of BTVI. In 2011, he was selected by the institute to join a team working on the Baha Mar construction site, and just over two years later, Burrows coordinates construction site teams to discover the best and fastest solutions when challenges arise.
Kendra Dorsette, a student and aspiring electrical engineer, said she felt privileged to be a part of the experience.
"This is more construction exposure, to see how a commercial building is built, the time it takes and what components it requires. It's an experience everyone should have," said Dorsette.
Student Jerrard Rolle described the tour as insightful, adding that it helped him understand the importance of time management.
BTVI's Dean of Construction Trades Alexander Darville said the role Burrows plays should serve as motivation for BTVI's students.
"Hearing Mr. Burrows talk was powerful and an inspiration to those on tour," said Darville.
"Also, the students got an appreciation of the industrial aspect of construction, but the same principles apply. They got the exposure, including the coordination of work. It made the tour advantageous for them. It's a privilege for them to walk on the site and see what the big buzz is about Baha Mar," said Darville.
BTVI is in discussion with the Ministry of Housing to conduct training, and as such, Darville and housing consultant Beverly Nairn opted to have the teams tour simultaneously.
Nairn said it was important for her inspectors to see the level of work being done at Baha Mar.
"There is a big difference in big projects like this compared to a little house, in terms of what you look for and actual materials used. We are trying to expand their knowledge beyond residential, but towards industrial and commercial projects," said Nairn.
Carolyn King-Williams, senior building inspector at the Ministry of Housing, said she was impressed with Baha Mar's emphasis on safety.
"There was the safety briefing, signs and the right equipment -- no exceptions," said King-Williams.
"Also, they believe in taking authority to tell contractors to take it down if it isn't done the right way. They believe in doing things right, especially satisfying stakeholders."

read more »

FirstCare hosts second autism awareness essay contest for high school students

April 30, 2014

In an effort to increase the social awareness of autism among high school students, FirstCare Medical Plan has partnered with R.E.A.C.H. (Resources and Education for Autism and Related Challenges) Bahamas and the Ministry of Education to host its second essay contest for senior school students.
Students in grades 10 through 12 can submit essays of 800 to 1,000 words on the topic 'Autism in The Bahamas: Inclusion, Advocacy and Dispelling Myths'. Submissions will be accepted through May 16. Essay submissions can be emailed to tyrina@firstcaremedicalplan.com.
The winner will receive $300, with the first and second runners-up receiving $200. Each winner will also be provided with additional prizes from The Shoe Village and Custom Computers.
Last year, more than 60 essay submissions were received from students on Grand Bahama, Acklins and Exuma.
"We were so moved by the significant response and the intelligent essays written by the students who participated in the inaugural essay contest that we felt compelled to partner with R.E.A.C.H. and the Ministry of Education once again on this initiative," said Corinna Neely, president of FirstCare Medical Plan.
"This is a cause that is near and dear to our company and we are honored to be a part of the discussion on autism awareness in The Bahamas."
R.E.A.C.H. Bahamas is a non-profit organization that provides parents of autistic children with comprehensive knowledge and tools to treat the disorder.
"Our goal here at R.E.A.C.H. is to sensitize the general public and bring more awareness to autism in our country," said Mario Carey, president of R.E.A.C.H. Bahamas. "We truly appreciate the partnership between our organization and FirstCare Medical Plan to put on this essay competition. This competition is not only dynamic, it is essential because it brings awareness to students in The Bahamas."

read more »

COB Concert Choir holds benefit concert

April 30, 2014

The College of The Bahamas Concert Choir, under the direction of Audrey Dean-Wright, held its Concert for Spring on Saturday, April 26 at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre. The concert is a much-anticipated event on the social calendar; it showcased the choir's dynamic vocal abilities and versatility. The choir performed hits and classics including "My Girl", "Hush-A-Bye" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing". It also performed an original piece, "We Gan Celebrate", penned by Dean-Wright. This year's spring concert was held in observance of the college's 40th anniversary. Proceeds will aid the choir's upcoming visit to New York City, where it has been invited to perform at Lincoln Center.

read more »

Life is a do it yourself project

April 30, 2014

People are continually asking me where I get the ideas for these "Time To Think" articles. Well I get them from a variety of sources. Literally all day long I'm writing titles down which come to me by observing people in person and on TV and taking note of what they're saying and doing. Actually, I got the idea for this particular article by reading a quote by the famous Irish writer George Bernard Shaw who was indeed full of a whole lot of wisdom coupled at times with biting Irish wit. Shaw wrote "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." How well put there by George Bernard Shaw. When I first read that quote, I immediately wrote down the title of this article "Life is a do it yourself project." Yes indeed it is!
Now let me ask you a question. Do you know a whole lot of people who are waiting for someone to give them a break, so to speak, an opportunity to make it in life? I'm sure you do know several people who are rather stupidly waiting for others to assist them with every facet of their life. My friend, if you fall into this category, basically of losers, I implore you to take today's message very seriously, life is a do it yourself project. Yes it is!
You've got to stop waiting for others to open doors for you to go through, and instead get up off your you know what and go out into the world and make what you want to happen, happen. As Dr. Denis Waitley put it in his best selling book "The Psychology of Winning", "Losers just let things happen. Winners make things happen." Yes indeed, if you want a successful life, you're going to have to make it happen.
There's no doubt about it, life is a do it yourself project. Yes it is! Sure there are others who can indeed assist you, just like with any do it yourself project, however you my friend have to take the initiative and thus start to build the kind of life you really want to achieve. This means number one, you've got to put your "thinking cap" on and thus formulate a plan in your mind about where you want to go, the kind of life you desire, and how to achieve it. Number two, you need to spring into action, and thus start doing what needs to be done to bring the plans for your life to fruition. Number three, you need to stay in touch daily with your maker, God, who will assist you with creative ideas coupled with the stamina and guts to keep you going as you build the kind of life you desire.
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 »

Nassau 'Nastics holds clinic for coaches

April 30, 2014

Nassau 'Nastics recently held a coaches clinic at its main training facility in Oakes Field. The purpose was to enlighten local coaches to new training methods as well as find ways to improve the programs that are already in place.
The clinic featured guests who are two of the top gymnastics educators in the world - Panamanian gymnastics coach Andres Gerardino and Canadian coach Rick McCharles. Gerardino is an expert in female gymnastics, while McCharles is an expert in the art of male gymnastics.
The clinic was entitled "Age Group Camp" and the purpose of it was to demonstrate the basics of men's and women's artistic gymnastics.
"By enhancing our coaching abilities, the students will improve their skill sets and will excel. It also offers a chance for newcomers to get involved in the sport with this basic training," said Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas (GFB) President Barbara Thompson.
"With an expanded pool of qualified coaches available for our young athletes, new groups and clubs could be started up in local schools and community centers.
This is an important goal for the GFB".
The coaches held both practical and theory sessions during the clinic. They also took time out to work with some of the young gymnasts as well.
"One of the biggest points I tried to stress was physical preparation," said McCharles.
Gerardino said: "The coaches are really interested. They have a good knowledge of the sport and they are passionate about it. Those are some of the things that we look for first in athletes and coaches."
Both coaches as well as president Thompson acknowledged that the gymnastics facilities in the country need to be upgraded with more modern equipment. New equipment will also provide better safety conditions for the athletes.
"If these athletes are doing this good under these conditions, I feel that there is no doubt that with a better facility they will do a lot better. You have to remember that gymnastics is also a risky sport, so the equipment will not only be to get them better but to keep them safe while they train," said Gerardino.
Both coaches are planning to return later on this year for another clinic and exhibition, in which both will bring members of their teams with them. McCharles is looking to donate some equipment to Nassau 'Nastics when he returns.

read more »

Organizers ready for IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014

April 30, 2014

Two years after receiving the rights to host the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships, The Bahamas is in the final stage of a long and often bumpy process to stage the biggest sporting event in the country's history.
With less than a month to go before the opening ceremony, venue repairs are on schedule to be completed on time, tickets are selling out quickly, and volunteer recruitment went well.
"It's a big day for us," IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Managing Director Lionel Haven said. "This is the moment when we really do start getting ready for celebrating and welcoming the world."
On May 24 and 25, over 800 of the world's best athletes are expected to contest the 10 relay events which will be staged in the 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, with both men and women competing in the 4x100 meters (m), 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m.
Last year in December, the National Sports Authority (NSA) engaged the services of Mondo out of Italy to reconstruct the track at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The original track was a Class 2 track and to host the world relays, the track had to meet a Class 1 level.
NSA General Manager and LOC Senior Director of Venues Jeffery Beckles said: "We anticipate all repairs being completed in time for the Bahamas High School Relays 2014, which will be a test event for the world relays. The Bahamas High School Relays is also expected to act as a qualifier for a junior event happening on both days of the IAAF World Relays."
The Bahamas High School Relays is set for May 9 and 10 at the stadium, and will start an hour before the actual IAAF World Relays. In addition to the preparation of the track, Beckles said workers are also ensuring that all of the other amenities and auxiliary facilities being refurbished are completed and ready as well.
"We want to advise the general public that we will be closing several of our venues, so that contractors can complete their work on time and so that the facilities can be at the level that we promise for this event," said Beckles. "We want the people of The Bahamas to know that we are making every effort to ensure we have the best possible look and feel when the world comes here."
The primary venues that will be closed in the coming weeks for finishing touches are the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, the old Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium and the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex. Since the launch of ticket sales, Haven said patrons have been taking full advantage of the online and box office purchases.
"Up to today, we are at about 8,812 tickets that have been sold so far," he said. "General admission tickets, which are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and bronze tickets, which are $20, are the only two options left for those wishing to attend."
Tickets for both days are available for purchase online at bahamasworldrelays.org and also the box office at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Haven said that the window for applications to be a volunteer at the event has closed, with a huge number of persons putting themselves forward for the opportunity.
A total of 1,200 applied, with the vast majority of applicants being Bahamian.
"The community's pride that the IAAF World Relays is being held in Nassau is profound, and there has been a great willingness to get involved to ensure the success of the event. There's no doubt, The Bahamas will be ready to welcome the many participants and visitors in the next 30 days," Haven said.
The event will have extensive television coverage and will be seen by millions of viewers around the world in more than 100 countries. Over 100 journalists and up to 30,000 spectators are anticipated to attend the event.

read more »

Dr. Davis represented The Bahamas at IOC medical conference

April 30, 2014

The 2014 International Olympic Committee's (IOC) World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport came to a close earlier this month, in Monaco. Dr. Rickey Davis represented the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) as chair of its established Medical Commission.
The meetings, described by many delegates as the most constructive yet for researchers and practitioners in the field of sports medicine and injury prevention, were attended by a record 980 participants from 81 countries, and included 113 speakers, five keynote lectures, 24 symposia, 76 workshops and 202 abstracts; a remarkable increase at all levels from the last edition in 2011.
The conference was the second organized by the IOC, and was attended by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, president of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Monaco and IOC member, fellow IOC member Dr. Robin Mitchell, IOC Medical Director Richard Budgett, IOC Head of Scientific Activities Lars Engebretsen and a large number of world-renowned experts in the fields of sports medicine and injury and illness prevention.
Experts, team physicians from NOC and international federations and students exchanged news of the latest research and advances in the prevention of injury and illness in athletes. Several symposia and workshops on the application of the field's current knowledge highlighted that information awareness is improving.
"We went into the conference with high expectations and these were exceeded on every front," said IOC Medical Director Dr. Richard Budgett. "From the opening session with HSH Prince Albert II, all participants threw themselves into the workshops, keynotes, symposia and poster sessions delivered by inspirational researchers and practitioners."
He added: "The conference will change the practice of prevention, boost further research and protect the health of athletes everywhere. The success is a tribute to all those who worked so hard to bring this unique three-yearly conference to fruition; to our wonderful hosts in Monaco and, most of all, to the nearly 1,000 delegates who brought it to life and will ensure that their new understanding and knowledge translates into action, in particular in preventing injuries and illnesses in athletes all over the world: until we meet again, in three years' time."
Dr. Davis agrees that the protection of athletes' health is a top priority for the BOC; he said, "we will invite our
national federations to join the BOC and the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission in our efforts to educate and assist our athletes and their personnel with adopting healthy, clean practices with a view of protecting the athletes' health and preventing unwarranted injuries."
It is said that the BOC is working together with different stakeholders to make this objective a reality. The BOC partnered with Integra MRI Center as official provider of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) empowering elite athlete care. The services are offered free of charge to athletes named to all games under the auspices of the Bahamas Olympic Committee.
The conference was followed by a three-day Advanced Team Physician Course in Mandelieu, France.
While there are many health benefits that can be derived from the practice of sport, there is also an inherent risk of injury and illness, especially at the elite level. The IOC has therefore initiated and supported research on various topics related to the health of athletes, with the ultimate objective of significantly reducing injuries and illnesses in sport.
The IOC also conducts an extensive surveillance study during each edition of the Olympic Games, collecting invaluable information on all athlete injuries and illnesses acquired during competition and training, in order to gain further knowledge about the effectiveness and weaknesses of existing prevention programs.

read more »