Nassau Guardian Stories

BEC liabilities outstrip assets by 123 million

February 27, 2014

Liabilities at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) continue to surpass its assets, according to BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller.
In fact, Miller said it has caused a "serious" cash flow problem for the corporation, with more than $123 million outstanding.
"That's part of the problem at BEC when you consider that we have over 3,000 people that are currently without electricity and have no means to pay off their bills so that they are reconnected," he revealed yesterday.
"Over the years, BEC's liabilities have surpassed its assets by $123 million. In other words, BEC should really be closed.
"But of course, the government can't shut down such a vital entity that affects our lives either in a positive or negative way, so you keep it running for the welfare of the Bahamian people.
"At this present time, our accounts receivable is in serious trouble. Management has a lot to do with the problem that BEC currently faces and has found itself in. That's because minor things have been neglected over the years."
While he believes the corporation's rate is still unaffordable at 36 cents per kilowatt hour, Miller pointed out it is a decrease from 46 cents per kilowatt hour when he first took over the corporation 18 months ago. Miller also estimated that if the necessary mechanisms are place, BEC could become a profitable entity in an 18-month period.
Back in September 2013, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the government's intention to bring private sector involvement into BEC to produce efficiencies that are intended to reduce the cost of electricity.
BEC will be split into a semi-privatized generation company, JVCO, that will sell power to its a newly-formed transmission and distribution entity (NewCo) under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA). JVCO is intended to be, at least initially, majority government-owned.
NewCo will remain entirely government owned but will be operated under a 10-year management contract.
Miller was the keynote speaker at the Bahamas Society of Engineers' (BSE) monthly meeting yesterday at the Luciano's of Chicago restaurant on East Bay Street.

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Clearing Banks Association condemns release of 'confidential information'

February 27, 2014

The Clearing Banks Association (CBA) has come out in support of Bank of The Bahamas (BOB), suggesting that the recent release of its clients' "confidential customer information" may be a breach of the law.
The CBA, in a statement issued yesterday, said that it notes with concern recent articles in the press purporting to "disclose a member of the association's confidential customer information".
"The unauthorized release of client information may represent a breach of the laws of The Bahamas," said the CBA, which represents all domestic banks.
"In order to protect the integrity of the banking industry, a key pillar of the Bahamian economy, it is the policy of each member of the Clearing Banks Association to pursue the instigators of such breaches of customer confidentiality to the fullest extent of the law," the CBA added.
While not mentioning Bank of The Bahamas by name, the statement comes at a time when BOB has indicated that it is concerned about the potential leak of confidential client information via a local tabloid.
BOB itself called in the police to investigate the matter, and promised to sue, after reports began appearing in the tabloid purporting to describe the status of a number of loans held with the bank. BOB said that the information represented was also inaccurate.
Law firm Graham Thompson has also hit out at the tabloid publication.
"The story... that Graham Thompson receives one million dollars a year in legal fees from Bank of The Bahamas is completely untrue. Our firm makes nowhere near that from the bank and never has.
"The claim is preposterous," it said in a recent statement.
"It is equally untrue to insinuate... that our firm's relationship with the bank is due to the relationship between the bank's Managing Director Paul McWeeney and one of our partners, Sean McWeeney QC," the law firm added.

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Bahamas endorsed by UNWTO as tourism leader

February 27, 2014

The Bahamas has received an open letter of endorsement and support from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as a leader in tourism, particularly in the region.
The letter was presented to Prime Minister Perry Christie by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai in a ceremony at Government House, during the Small Island Developing States Conference held February 19 to 20.
In accepting the letter, the prime minister called on the region to continue to share its resources with each other in order to create the feeling of one destination and one Caribbean.
Conference host, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, underscored the importance of receiving such an honor at a time when the country is celebrating 50 years of tourism.
"It is an open letter that seeks to endorse The Bahamas and to support all that we do in our number one industry," he said.
"The Bahamas is celebrating 50 years of tourism. It was in 1964 when we became a country that recognized tourism fully as an industry and then we travelled the road that ensured that we could do all that we could to lift our people from one state to the next."
Wilchcombe said he and the secretary general of UNWTO met at a conference in Dubai last year and discussed the possibility of the SIDS conference being held in The Bahamas. Also at that Dubai meeting, 57 heads of government agreed to honor member states for making 'tourism and travel' a vital contributor to the global development agenda and affording a unique role in building strong, sustainable and balanced global growth.
"Tourism is an industry that has worked. It could work for all of us if we work together as a region and have the determination to ensure that single industry will help all the people of the Caribbean, if we understand that our commonalities and similarities are greater than our differences," Wilchcombe said.
Rifai, in presenting the prime minister with the open letter, said, "It was in Dubai that we decided that The Bahamas is a very important part of this network of nations to receive this open letter.
"An open letter, that is part of what we call the 'Golden Book of Tourism', is a letter which we decided to submit to heads of state and heads of government who believe in their hearts that tourism is a force for good and that tourism is a transformative force in social economic development."
The prime minister said that The Bahamas has worked on a model to generate a tourism industry that moved from being a seasonal one to full time.
"We witnessed over the years our sister Caribbean countries moving more and more to the conclusion that it was the right way to go. And as we were challenged in our region with bananas, sugar and had to recalibrate our economies, which is still being done, tourism loomed larger and more meaningful," he said.
Christie added, "There is no industry that is more effective, more efficient and as quick as the tourism industry in generating economic activity.
"And when we look at unemployment, particularly for the young generation in our region, we should be alarmed and it ought to propel us into policies that are calculated to cause there to be the necessary improvements to attract more people to the region and have them spend more money."

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Lightbourne owes 100,000 in taxes

February 27, 2014

The government's value-added tax coordinator, Ishmael Lightbourne, owes $110,083 in taxes on a commercial property he owns, through a company, at Mount Royal Avenue, The Nassau Guardian has confirmed.
Lightbourne, who is also a director of Sandbourne Limited, has not paid taxes on the commercial property in Palmdale in over 20 years
Last week, The Guardian revealed that Lightbourne, who has been lecturing Bahamians on the need to pay their taxes, has not paid property taxes on his West Bay Street home in at least a decade.
Lightbourne, who is the government's chief VAT advocate, owes taxes on the Mount Royal property dating back to 1993. The company was incorporated on August 4, 1993.
The taxes were outstanding as of February 20, 2014.
While he admitted last week that he has not paid taxes on his West Bay Street home, this week, Lightbourne quickly ended the call when The Guardian sought to question him on the outstanding taxes on the commercial building, which is in the company name, Sandbourne Limited, whose registered office is at the offices of PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
At the time the company was incorporated, Lightbourne was a managing partner at that accounting firm.
The taxes amount to nearly $3,000 annually and the outstanding amount has accrued significant interest.
The commercial property has been assessed based on the same value since 1993.
The land is valued at $48,500 and the building at $231,900.
Last week, Lightbourne said he was financially strapped and claimed that he was unable to pay the $534 annual tax on his home.
The Guardian previously revealed that Lightbourne owes $7,743 in back taxes on his waterfront residence.
At the time, he said he recognized the hypocrisy and contradiction that exists given that he has been the government's chief advocate for VAT.
While on the Guardian Radio show "Jeffrey" on December 3, 2013, Lightbourne spoke directly about the problem with real property taxes.
"In the realm of real property tax, it is estimated that some $400 million to $600 million is outstanding in real property taxes," he said.
"If you go out there to try and collect $600 million aggressively you'd either have to build new courtrooms to try and address the issues...[or] try and find a new economy from where you're going to sell these houses that you're going to repossess; we have not aggressively been monitoring and measuring and following up on some of our existing tax areas where we can improve; we need to improve what we're doing right now."
Pushing further the need for tax reform, Lightbourne said on the December 3 show, the government needed to focus on tax compliance.
"We need to do something to clear up those weaknesses," he said, "whether it's business license, real property tax, custom duties, they all need to be addressed in terms of efficiencies and in terms of the kind of improvement that will bring about a greater yield for government's revenue going forward."
But at no time on the show or during his other public pronouncements did Lightbourne reveal that he is a tax dodger.
Since The Guardian's revelations on Lightbourne's outstanding property taxes last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie has steered clear of the controversy.
Last Friday, he said he had not yet spoken to Lightbourne on the matter.
On Monday, the VAT messenger told The Nassau Guardian the government would have to make the call on whether he continues to be employed by the government.
He claimed he is only a consultant and has not been the VAT coordinator for three months.
However, he is listed on the Ministry of Finance's website as the VAT coordinator.
Lightbourne explained in December that he was leading a team charged with "working out the design of VAT and how it's going to impact the different segments of society".
He also tried to make the case for the establishment of a revenue court to deal with tax dodgers.

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Minnis calls for PM to release MPs' tax records

February 27, 2014

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to release the tax status of all members of Parliament and senators.
Minnis made the call a day after Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson said he would expose current and former FNM politicians who he said have dodged their real property taxes over the years.
The controversy over outstanding taxes came after The Nassau Guardian revealed that the government's value-added tax (VAT) messenger Ishmael Lightbourne has not paid his real property taxes for at least 10 years.
Minnis said the news about Lightbourne highlights the need for the public to know the tax status of those who are in public office.
"It should not be that tax cheats are sitting over us imposing new taxes while they fail to pay their way as required by law," said Minnis during the mid-year budget debate in the House of Assembly.
"I for one, Mr. Speaker, believe it would be appropriate for the people of The Bahamas to be informed on the tax status of its leaders beginning with the prime minister, the minister of finance and the leader of the opposition.
"We are honorable men and women in this place and so I call on the prime minister to provide for the information of members of this honorable House and of the Bahamian people, a list of residential real property tax status of all members of the House of Assembly and Senate.
"We can at least begin in here. If we call ourselves honorable, let's begin here."
Gibson hit out at the FNM for being "hypocritical" in its call for Lightbourne to resign or be fired.
"They are hypocrites," said Gibson before heading into a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
He said it would "shock" the public to learn the identities of prominent Bahamians who have never paid real property taxes.
He suggested that Lightbourne's unpaid taxes are a reflection of the financial hardships that many in the country have experienced over the past few years.
Minnis said he was offended by Gibson's defense of Lightbourne.
"He is suggesting and basically supporting that the individual did not pay because of hardship," Minnis said. "My God, the whole Bahamas has hardship. . .what is he saying, don't pay your taxes because you're having hardship?
"We're hypocrites? But, Mr. Speaker, who is more hypocritical? They're saying that individuals are not paying because of hardship but at the same time they want to inflict more hardship by bringing taxes."
Prime Minister Perry Christie has not spoken publicly about the issue since Friday.
At the time, he said he wanted to find out exactly what Lightbourne said to The Nassau Guardian before addressing the controversy publicly.
"It does involve a human being, who was the top professional managing partner of a firm, and who was employed by me, and I have not spoken to him since," Christie said.
Christie did not take questions from reporters yesterday.

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Miller: PM should not govern by consensus

February 27, 2014

Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller said yesterday that Prime Minister Perry Christie should stop attempting to lead the country by consensus, and simply move ahead with implementing value-added tax (VAT).
"Half of these people are half crazy," Miller told The Nassau Guardian.
"You have to just do it, and if they don't like it, tough. And just say why you did it, you know; I did it because we need the funds to pay the bills the government has incurred on behalf of the Bahamian people.
"You don't like it, go move someplace else."
The government plans to implement VAT at 15 percent on most goods and services on July 1, 2014.
The new tax has caused an outcry from various sectors of the society.
With fewer than five months before the proposed introduction of VAT, Christie said this month he could still be persuaded to introduce an alternative tax model if it proves to be viable.
But Miller said yesterday had the Free National Movement won the last general election "VAT would have probably already been here and you would not hear a mutter".
"He (former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham) would have said 'listen, this is what I have to do; this is what the country needs; this is what we owe; end of story, and I'm gone," Miller said.
"You know, Mr. Ingraham doesn't care if you raise hell. He would tell you to go to hell. [He would say] that's what I had to do because of x, y and z.
"Mr. Christie, on the other hand, always wants to be the good guy. He wants to govern by consensus.
"You can't govern by consensus in this place called The Bahamas."
The government has said VAT was chosen because it is less prone to fraud and evasion, unlike a simple sales tax.
The Coalition for Responsible Taxation, which has been pushing for the government to delay VAT's implementation, has sent the government several alternative forms of tax, such as payroll tax.
However, Miller said if the government were to move ahead with a sales, payroll or even income tax regime, the opposition to the proposed tax would be the same if not worse.
"When you think of the kind of money that some of these people take home, you [are] talking about VAT, VAT is a joke [in comparison]," he said referencing to an income tax scenario.
"A person taking home $1 million and you tax him 10 percent. That is $100,000 he has to pay. He'll never pay that.
"It is just this innate thing in our heads that whatever you (the government) do, I (Bahamians) am opposed to it."
The government has not yet tabled the VAT Bill and the accompanying tariff schedule in the House of Assembly.
Christie has said the government is still making modifications to the bill based on consultations and feedback from the community.
Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis has said the bill must be finalized by the end of this month to facilitate the July 1 implementation.
The proposed tax is expected to generate an additional $200 million in revenue, according to government officials.

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Vaughnique Toote named asst. broadcast editor

February 27, 2014

The Nassau Guardian has announced the appointment of Vaughnique Toote as assistant broadcast editor.
Toote will serve as the deputy to Broadcast Editor Juan McCartney and assist with oversight of the broadcast news division of The Nassau Guardian.
"Vaughnique is a hardworking and dedicated journalist who has extensive experience in broadcasting in The Bahamas. We have every confidence that she will excel in her new role and help grow the broadcasting division of our company," said Brent Dean, general manager of the Guardian media group.
Toote, 30, has been in the field of journalism for 11 years. She joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a morning radio news anchor before becoming an anchor and field reporter for NB12 - which is a partnership between The Nassau Guardian and Cable Bahamas.
"After working at The Nassau Guardian for three years, I'm overjoyed by the opportunity to take on a new role in such an amazing organization," said Toote.
She previously worked at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas and Island 102.9 FM.
Toote is a graduate of St. John's College in The Bahamas, and Towson University in Towson, Maryland where she obtained a bachelor of art degree in mass communications - journalism.

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Man gets 45 years for killing ex-girlfriend

February 27, 2014

A man who killed his former girlfriend and the mother of his child has been sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Rashid Dean was convicted on December 11, 2013 by a four man, eight woman jury for the August 14, 2011 murder of his ex-girlfriend Oneika Johnson, 21.
Dean, 28, was motivated by jealousy when he stabbed Johnson multiple times in the security booth of the Club Med Resort in San Salvador on August 14, 2011.
During the trial, the convict's cousin said that Dean told him that he would kill Johnson and her new boyfriend, Justin Benson, who was also an employee of Club Med.
Another witness recalled seeing Dean, who worked in the hotel's laundry department, walking along the beach with a stained white T-shirt.
The doors of his van according to a separate witness, had the victim's blood on it.
Darnell Dorsette prosecuted and Murrio Ducille appeared for Dean.

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Miller says MPs should not have to disclose tax status

February 27, 2014

Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller yesterday suggested that he owes taxes to the government and said that politicians and people who hold public office should not be required to publicly disclose their tax status.
Miller, who is the executive chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), said such a move would violate the right to privacy.
"All Bahamians, I don't care what level of life [they are at], owe taxes," Miller said in an interview outside the House of Assembly. "The situation with regard to real property tax has been around a long time.
"No one has the right to know what you or anyone else in this country pay or do not pay [in] taxes. That's between the relevant government agencies and the individual.
"I don't know how it becomes a topic. I guess some of them are in a better financial position than others, but it's irrelevant to what the government needs to collect funding to enable the government to run the business of the people in a proper and forthright manner.
"It's irrelevant; it makes no sense to me, so I don't get into foolishness."
When asked if he owes taxes, Miller said he is just like every other average Bahamian trying to make ends meet.
"I said all," he said. "Every Bahamian owes some form of [tax]. All. I don't care how rich the guy is.
"I'm a Bahamian man. I'm part of that. When I say all, I include me in everything I say.
"I don't distinguish myself from [any] Bahamian. I'm just like the regular Bahamian out there who [is] hustling trying to make a living and trying to pay your bills and take care [of] your family."
The debate over politicians' tax status came after The Nassau Guardian revealed that Ishmael Lightbourne, the government's value-added tax (VAT) messenger, has not paid real property taxes on his West Bay Street property in at least a decade.
Last week, Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash called on Lightbourne to resign or be fired in light of this revelation.
Following Cash's call, Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson threatened to expose the current and former FNM politicians who he said have dodged their real property taxes over the years.
Yesterday, several sitting FNM MPs said they are unmoved by Gibson's threat and added that they are up to date on real property taxes.
Montagu MP Richard Lightbourne said he does not have delinquent real property taxes.
He said if Gibson wants to expose tax dodgers, he should focus on those within the governing party and also those in other parties.
Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant lives in Grand Bahama and is exempt from the tax.
St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman and East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest said as far as they are aware they are up to date on real property tax.
Turnquest said he has property in New Providence and Grand Bahama.
He said Gibson's pledge is a "threat to democracy".
"This is not about tit for tat," Turnquest said. "You do something wrong, so I'm going to expose what your person did wrong.
"This is about democracy. This is about rules of law and this is about obligations that citizens have to the state.
"I am delinquent on my disclosures and that is something that I am seeking to rectify at the moment."

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Men found guilty of attempting to kill officer

February 27, 2014

A jury yesterday unanimously convicted two men of attempting to murder Superintendent Clayton Fernander last year.
The nine-member jury accepted the prosecution's contention that Maurice Armbrister and Excel Josey Jr. shot Fernander, a policeman of 31 years, while trying to rob him of his chain on April 2013.
Armbrister was also found guilty of illegal possession of a handgun and ammunition. A sentencing hearing has been set for May 16 at 2 p.m.
Fernander said that he came face-to-face with the men as he was about to get out of his SUV on arrival at his home.
Fernander said that Josey tried to snatch a gold medallion from around his neck and that Armbrister shot him before both men ran away. Fernander said he pursued the men as they got into a white Honda Saber. Before getting into the vehicle, Armbrister dropped his phone and a cigarette lighter.
During their testimony, both men said they confessed to the crimes under duress.
They claimed that police beat them and threatened to kill them so they signed prepared statements to stop the abuse.
Armbrister said that he lost his phone about a week before it was recovered from the crime scene.
Neil Brathwaite, the assistant director of public prosecutions, and Kristan Stubbs prosecuted.
Wayne Munroe appeared for Armbrister and Jairam Mangra represented Josey.

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Roberts responds to Butler-Turner's 'incompetent' claim

February 27, 2014

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts said yesterday Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner should redirect her recent criticism of the nation's leader at herself.
In a statement on Tuesday, Butler-Turner characterized Prime Minister Perry Christie as "incompetent".
She added that Christie is very good at pleading ignorance and very poor at accepting responsibility.
Butler-Turner made those statements during a call for Christie to disclose whether he was ever delinquent in paying his real property taxes.
Butler-Turner said there should be full disclosure of who owes real property taxes.
But Roberts said Butler-Turner should be ashamed to criticize anyone.
"Loretta Butler-Turner's characterization of the prime minister as incompetent is akin to the pot calling the kettle black," Roberts said in a statement.
"In light of the damage she and her Cabinet colleagues inflicted on this country and our people, she has no shame or conscience to deflect from her government's failure."
Pointing to various "failures", Roberts noted that the former administration spent nearly $100 million in cost overruns on the New Providence Road Improvement Project and more than double the amount it projected its job-training program would cost.
He added that there was "no accountability or transparency on the number of persons trained, or the disciplines in which they were trained".
Roberts was referring to the job-training program, which was initially projected to cost $25 million. However, the government ended up shelling out approximately $50 million, according to officials.
"And what did the FNM do for an encore? They all washed their hands like Pontius Pilate, walked away from the mess they helped create, and feigned ignorance of their five years of governance," Roberts said.
"...She or any one of her colleagues should be the last to call anybody incompetent. The FNM Cabinet members are the poster children for incompetence."

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A strong foundation pays off

February 26, 2014

Gia Paige Soles has always been a Principal's List (grade point average of 3.7 or higher) student, so laying claim to the best overall performance in the 2013 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (BGCSE)...

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Gabrielle Moss, Ashlee Hudson and Durante Charlow win Dr. MLK Jr. Essay Contest

February 26, 2014

Two Bishop Michael Eldon High School students and a student from Doris Johnson High School are the winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest...

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Equipped to lead

February 26, 2014

Since her experience at The Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC), the premier leadership development program for accomplished students, Kingsway Academy student K'Shonique Adderley says she is now equipped with leadership ability...

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Students receive workforce readiness advice

February 26, 2014

Over 150 students that attended the 5th Annual Workforce Readiness Boot Camp were told that they must prepare themselves to embrace opportunities that will be offered to them...

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Two scholarships up for grabs for internship at Bimini Shark Lab

February 26, 2014

The Bahamas Marine EcoCentre, in collaboration with the Bimini Biological Field Station (BBFS) is once again offering scholarships for two students to intern at the prestigious Bimini Shark Lab...

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Shaunae to go after the gold in Sopot

February 26, 2014

The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is expected to ratify a team for the world indoors this weekend, and high on the list is former world youth and world junior champion Shaunae Miller, who according to reports will be seriously going after the gold medal in the women's 400 meters (m) in Sopot, Poland.
The 15th International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships is now less than two weeks away, set for March 7-9, in the northern Polish city. Miller was unavailable for comment yesterday, but her coach George Cleare said that she is in tip top shape as her national record times in the 300m could attest. Miller ran two national record times in the event, in the span of three weeks, settling for a lifetime best of 36.10 seconds at the 107th running of the Millrose Games, at the Armory in New York, on February 15.
That stunning time was not only a national record, but also a world-leading time and a world indoor age-19 best. It also placed her sixth on the world indoor all-time list for the event. In her only 400m race of the season, Miller clocked 52.34 seconds to win that event comfortably in Blacksburg, Virginia, and
easily qualify for the world indoors. The automatic qualifying time for the world indoors is 53.15 seconds.
"She's really coming into her own," said Coach Cleare yesterday.
"Right now, she's just training and preparing for the world indoors but we're very confident that she could go there and do extremely well. Of course, the goal is to win the gold medal. Indoors is kind of a different creature, but I'm very confident that she could go there and win a gold medal.
"With indoors, you are not in your lane the whole way, so you have to be able to go out there and just run - stay clear of the field and not be tripped up or bumped. Anything could happen, but we have a race strategy and a race plan and hopefully on that day, it will be good enough for Shaunae to win the gold medal."
Miller was the highest individual finisher for The Bahamas at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, when she finished fourth in the women's 200m, in 22.74 seconds. She will be leaving for Europe this weekend, doing her last set of preparations for the global meet.
The Bahamas almost had a second qualifier in the women's 400m this past weekend, as Lanece Clarke, who also trains under the watchful eyes of Cleare in Athens, Georgia, ran a personal best time of 53.40 seconds for second, at the Virginia Tech Challenge, in Blacksburg.
"Lanece has been running very well," said Cleare.
"This is her fourth PR (personal best) for the year in the 400, and it was just a bit short of the qualifying mark. She has also PRed in the 200. Lanece is showing significant improvement. I think that with where we are at now, I could easily see us having three or four girls running 51 seconds or better over the next two seasons."
Added to the mix are Rashan Brown, a redshirt freshman at Georgia, and the trio of Amara Jones, Miriam Byfield and Cottrell Martin. Brown trains under Cleare at the University of Georgia (UGA), and Jones and Martin spend part of their seasons as a part of Team Cleare up in Athens. Tynia Gaither, who was under Cleare at UGA last year, is now a junior runner for the University of Southern California (USC), and has been running extremely well for the Trojans.
Cleare said that anytime you lose a talented athlete such as Gaither, it is considered a big loss, but he is satisfied that she is content and is running well. Gaither just barely missed qualifying for the world indoors in the 60m, running a season's best time of 7.34 seconds three weekends ago. The qualifying time for that event is 7.32 seconds.
As for the others, Brown is still recuperating from a hamstring injury suffered at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and Jones and Martin are showing signs of steady improvement. Jones has a personal best time of 54.51 seconds indoors, and Martin's indoors best is 55.46 seconds, ran this year. Miriam Byfield, who trains at home in Freeport, Grand Bahama, has run 53.83 seconds outdoors.
"All of the girls are gradually improving," said Cleare.
"Sometimes, someone just has to break that barrier, and then everyone falls in line. They get motivated and then things start to happen, similar to what happened with the 'Golden Girls' and also with the men's 4x400m team. I think it's only a matter of time with the women's 4x400m team.
"When you look at Rashan in particular, she is gradually getting back to form. She is healthier than she was last year. It's a steady progression for her. In the beginning, she didn't realize how serious the injury was, but now she is starting to run well again. I think this outdoor season will be her best in a while. I'm looking forward to her doing well. She had a bad injury, but she is definitely on her way back."
Overall, quite a number of Bahamians have qualified for the world indoors next weekend - Warren Fraser and Adrian Griffith in the men's 60m; Chris Brown, LaToy Williams, Ramon Miller and Alonzo Russell in the men's 400m; Donald Thomas in the men's high jump; Sheniqua Ferguson in the women's 60m; and Shaunae Miller in the women's 400m.
The BAAA is expected to ratify a team this weekend.

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Five titles for Team Brajaxba at Subway junior tourney

February 26, 2014

Team Brajaxba captured five singles titles at the Subway Junior Tennis Tournament, held in Freeport, Grand Bahama, this past weekend.
Micheal Major Jr. got Team Brajaxba off to a flying start, winning the boys' 10s singles title, defeating Anthony Burrows, 6-2 and 6-1. The boys' 12s singles championship went to Jacobi Bain for the third consecutive year. He defeated Denali Nottage, 6-2 and 6-4.
Nagid Walle walked away with two singles titles, winning both the boys' 16s and 18s titles. Also, newcomer Wayne Russell was a finalist in the boys' 18s category.
Winning the lone singles title on the girls' side was Emma Weech. She defeated Gabrielle Simms in the girls' 12s singles championship, 6-3 and 6-3.
In the boys' 18s doubles category, Jacobi Bain and Nagid Walle won the championship, 8-2, over Wayne Russell and Steven Wright.
Team Brajaxba had its best ever performance in the tournament, being in five finals and winning five singles championships.

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Eleuthera Junior Baseball League

February 26, 2014

The Eleuthera Junior Baseball League of Rock Sound had its third week of games in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, this past weekend. In the first game, the Tarpum Bay Mosquitoes defeated the Rock Sound Sea Grapes, 20-7, in a Tee Ball game, the first game in that division for the league. In the second game of the weekend, the Rock Sound Marlins defeated the Green Castle Dragons, 24-4, in a Minor League game. Jonathon Hall got the win for the Marlins. In the third game of the day, the Rock Sound Stingrays blanked the Tarpum Bay Teenagers, 23-0, in a Junior League division game. Christopher Lloyd pitched a perfect game for the Stingrays. Lloyd struck out eight of the nine batters he faced. Finally, in the fourth game of the day, the Rock Sound Marlins defeated the Tarpum Bay Tarpons, 23-1, in a Minor League game, in the second game of a double-header for the Marlins. Dillon Ingraham got the win for his second win of the season.

Saturday, March 1, 2014
Tarpum Bay Tarpons vs. Spanish Wells Sluggers (Minor Division)
Rock Sound Stingrays vs. Spanish Wells Stingrays (Junior Division)
Green Castle Dragons vs. Spanish Wells Sluggers (Minor Division)
Games will be played in Spanish Wells this weekend.

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