Nassau Guardian Stories
July 16, 2014
There are unfortunately a whole lot of people who are using fear motivation on both young people and indeed adults, without really fully understanding its destructive, negative impact on others. Let's face it, as I stated before on many occasions in these articles, we initially learn the behaviors we exhibit as children by observing those around us. So if they did things wrong, well then, it logically follows that we will continue to do it wrong until such time as we become aware that by and large fear motivation is indeed counterproductive.
I myself was indeed programmed in my youth with a whole lot of fear motivation by my parents, and in particular by my mother who always used it -- you better do this or else this will happen! I'm quite sure that everyone is indeed quite familiar with what I'm alluding to here today. So, having learnt all about fear motivation at a young age from my parents, I obviously continued to use it on everyone until thank God I became associated with Dr. Denis Waitley who was the author of many bestsellers dealing with human behavior, including "The Psychology of Winning'" "The Winner's Edge" and "Being Your Best" to name a few.
From my association with Dr. Waitley I facilitated his "Psychology of Winning" seminar around the globe for major corporations, I learnt firsthand so to speak about the absolute importance of using desire motivation in order to get good results from people both young and old. Dr. Waitley states quite clearly, that we should only use fear motivation when there's a possibility of danger. However, on all other occasions we should always use desire motivation if we wish to get excellent results from people.
In his bestseller "The Psychology of Winning" Dr. Waitley states the following: "We are always moving toward our current dominant thought". This is absolutely true. So, when we use fear motivation by saying to a child for example, you better not fail your exams, or if a manager or supervisor tells one of their employees not to mess up a certain task or else, well then that person is actually programming the child or adult to do exactly what they don't want them to do by placing the thought of failure in their mind, which they will then move toward.
So, always, always use desire motivation on people young and old if you want to really motivate them and thus get excellent results from their actions. Use phrases like "I know you'll do a great job," or "I have absolute faith in you to succeed" ... etc. This type of desire motivation is very effective. Try it and see for yourself. I guarantee you'll be glad you did!
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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July 16, 2014
It might be long overdue, but the athletics list to represent The Bahamas at the 20th Commonwealth Games has finally been released and the team is set to leave this Saturday, from various locations, for Glasgow, Scotland. The Commonwealth Games will get underway next week Wednesday and will run until August 3 in Scotland.
A total of 27 track and field athletes have been confirmed for the team, bringing the total number of participants this year up to 45, representing the largest Bahamian team ever represented at the Commonwealth Games. There is still a possibility of more being added.
As far as the athletics portion is concerned, there is a total of 15 men and 12 women.
The men named to the team are Shavez Hart and Adrian Griffith in the 100 meters (m), Hart and Teray Smith in the 200m, Chris Brown and LaToy Williams in the 400m, Jeffery Gibson in the 400m hurdles, Raymond Higgs in the long jump, Lathone Collie-Minns and Lamar Delaney in the triple jump, and Donald Thomas, Ryan Ingraham and Jamaal Wilson in the high jump. The men's 4x100m relay team will consist of Hart, Griffith, Smith and Warren Fraser, and the men's 4x400m relay team will consist of Brown, Williams, Michael Mathieu and Alonzo Russell.
On the women's side, Anthonique Strachan, Sheniqua Ferguson and Cache Armbrister have been listed for the 100m, Ferguson and Nivea Smith have been named to contest the 200m, Shaunae Miller has been named for the 400m, Bianca Stuart and Tamara Myers are expected to compete in the long jump, and Myers has been listed for the triple jump as well. The women's 4x100m relay pool will consist of Strachan, Ferguson, Armbrister, Smith and V'Alonee Robinson and the women's 4x400m relay pool will consist of Miller, Lanece Clarke, Christine Amertil, Shakeitha Henfield and Miriam Byfield.
Late entries still awaiting approval by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) are Dennis Bain in the men's 110m hurdles, 'Superman' Leevan Sands in the men's long jump, Teshon Adderley in the women's 800m, Demetria Edgecombe and Krystal Bodie in the women's 100m hurdles, Katrina Seymour for the women's 400m hurdles and Andretti Bain to add to the men's 4x400m relay pool.
The team manager is Ralf Mckinney, the Head Coach is Frank 'Pancho' Rahming, and the assistant coaches are Peter Pratt, Ronald Cartwright and Mae Miller.
Overall, The Bahamas will be represented in six sporting disciplines this year, the most ever for the country at the Commonwealth Games. For the first time ever, judo and wrestling will travel. The sporting disciplines of athletics, boxing, cycling and swimming will also be represented.
Cynthia Rahming and D'Arcy Rahming Jr. will represent the country in judo. Rashji Mackey will travel as the country's sole wrestler. Carl Heild, Keishno Major, Godfrey Strachan and Rasheed Williams will be the boxers on the squad. Chad Albury, who lives and trains in Australia, Anthony 'Biggie' Colebrook, Roy Colebrook Jr., Jay Major and D'Angelo Sturrup will make up the cycling team for The Bahamas. Joanna Evans, Dustin Tynes, Elvis Burrows, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Laura Morley and Ariel Weech will represent the country in swimming.
The Chef de Mission of the team is Roy Colebrook Sr. Kathy Dillette is the team attache. Dr. Rickey Davis is the team doctor, and Dr. Jennifer Davis, Dr. Phillip Clausen and Cottrice Robinson from Freeport will make up the remainder of the medical team. Ralf McKinney is the team manager. D'Arcy Rahming Sr. will be the coach of the judo team. Clarence Rolle will coach the country's sole wrestler. Andrew Loveitt and Lionel Moreau will guide the swimmers. Andre Seymour and Floyd Seymour will be in charge of the boxing team, and Wayne Price, Byron 'Turbo' Musgrove and Keith Lloyd will coach the cyclists.
The Bahamas was represented by just 25 athletes at each of the past two Commonwealth Games, but this year's squad has swollen to 45 members so far, with track and field once again making up the bulk of the squad.
The sport of athletics has always been the most productive for The Bahamas, accounting for all but two of the medals won at the quadrennial games. In total, The Bahamas has won 31 medals at the Commonwealth Games - nine gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze.
At the last games in New Delhi, India, four years ago, The Bahamas won six medals - one gold, one silver and four bronze.
Competition for The Bahamas will start with swimming, judo, cycling and boxing. The athletics portion of the games won't get underway until July 27, and wrestling won't begin until June 29.
20th Commonwealth Games Team Bahamas track and field athletes
Shavez Hart - 100m, 200m, 4x100m
Adrian Griffith - 100m, 4x100m
Teray Smith - 200m, 4x100m
Chris Brown - 400m, 4x400m
LaToy Williams - 400m, 4x400m
Jeffery Gibson - 400m hurdles
Raymond Higgs - long jump
Lathone Collie-Minns - triple jump
Lamar Delaney - triple jump
Donald Thomas - high jump
Ryan Ingraham - high jump
Jamaal Wilson - high jump
Warren Fraser - men's 4x100m
Michael Mathieu - men's 4x400m
Alonzo Russell - men's 4x400m
Anthonique Strachan - 100m, 4x100m
Sheniqua Ferguson - 100m, 200m, 4x100m
Cache Armbrister - 100m, 4x100m
Nivea Smith - 200m, 4x100m
Shaunae Miller - 400m, 4x400m
Bianca Stuart - long jump
Tamara Myers - long jump, triple jump
V'Alonee Robinson - 4x100m
Lanece Clarke - women's 4x400m
Christine Amertil - women's 4x400m
Shakeitha Henfield - women's 4x400m
Miriam Byfield - women's 4x400m
Late entries awaiting approval
Dennis Bain - men's 110m hurdles
"Superman" Leevan Sands - men's long jump
Teshon Adderley - women's 800m
Demetria Edgecombe - women's 100m hurdles
Krystal Bodie - women's 100m hurdles
Katrina Seymour - women's 400m hurdles
Andretti Bain - men's 4x400m
Frank "Pancho" Rahming
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July 16, 2014
The Bahamas Bowling Federation (BBF) ratified a small team, led by former national champions Driskell Rolle and Sonith "Kemosabee" Lockhart, to travel to the Pan Am Sports Festival.
The bowling competition is being held in Puebla, Mexico. The festival started on July 11 and runs until the end of September. Other members of the bowling team are 2013 and 2014 finalist at the nationals Jonice "Joy" Lockhart and first-time national team member, Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Officer Byron McClain. Also traveling with the team is coach/delegate Ryan Davis.
The bowling competition will get underway on July 17 and will conclude on Sunday, July 20. The team left on Monday and arrived safely in Mexico yesterday.
The team has an awesome task to accomplish. It must finish in the top tier of the tournament in order for The Bahamas to qualify for the bowling competition at the 2015 Pan Am Games, to be held in Toronto, Canada next year.
"Notwithstanding there will be other opportunities for The Bahamas to qualify, we certainly would like to 'punch our ticket early' to this prestigious competition," said BBF Public Relations Officer Clayton J. Gardiner. "The team is quite aware of this and all members and the coach are confident that they will accomplish this."
The team will be bowling singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In speaking with Jonice Lockhart about the tournament, she felt that it was a good team and expressed confidence that they would do well. Coach Davis also was in agreement with Lockhart and he sees no reason why The Bahamas cannot perform well at this festival. Coach Davis pointed to the past performances on the world stage, and sees The Bahamas as an emerging power in bowling.
Sonith Lockhart is the most experienced bowler in the group, and he will have to assist, where necessary, to ensure that bowlers are on 'their games', concentrating on throwing good shots. Sonith Lockhart has travelled quite extensively, representing the country in the sport bowling. He knows that he has to lead the team. When asked about the team's chances in Mexico, he acknowledged that he must set the example for the team. He expressed complete confidence in his teammate Byron McClain, stating that he is a good listener and is receptive to suggestions if he has to adjust his game based on lane conditions.
When asked what kind of averages they must post in this competition, Lockhart said that he must average about 215, Officer McClain around 205 and the ladies should be around 200 if they are to be competitive. Well, time will tell whether those averages will be enough.
Teams from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico will all be at this festival, looking to book their tickets for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
The BBF extends special thanks and appreciation to the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) for playing a part in facilitating the trip to Mexico. The federation also wishes to thank BTC, Ernst & Young, Baha Mar and the RBDF for allowing their employees the time off to represent The Bahamas at the international competition.
The president of the Bahamas Bowling Federation is Yule Hoyte.
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July 16, 2014
The Carmichael Athletic Community Centre at the Flamingo Park in Flamingo Gardens will host the first J. Barrie Farrington Living Legends Tennis Open, from July 18-26. The tennis event will feature Men's Open Singles, Ladies Open Singles, Men's Doubles and Women's Doubles. All proceeds from the event are in aid of the Carmichael Athletic Community Centre Sports program.
The event is named in honor of J. Barrie Farrington for his long-standing contributions to tennis as a player, executive and philanthropist. Farrington, while known for his involvement in the hospitality industry, has participated in sports for six decades in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Tournament organizer Bradley Demeritte has known Farrington for the past 45 years, particularly during the time he served as the president of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA). Under Farrington's administration, many programs were implemented, including the youth program.
In 1974, a trio represented The Bahamas at the first ever All Caribbean Tennis Constellation Tournament. That trio of Demeritte, Farrington and Roy Ashton won the overall title. Not only was J. Barrie Farrington a great player, but he was also an excellent coach, and as a result paved the way for many prominent tennis players.
Also, during a special ceremony on Saturday evening, the organizing committee will honor two living tennis legends in the persons of Robert 'Uncle Bob' Isaacs and Edith Powell, true pioneers in the development of tennis here in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and indeed the world.
Facilitating this event are Tournament Director Bradley Bain, Centre Administrator Clayton Fernander, Coordinator Levan Hinsey, Public Relations Officer Athama Bowe, Assistant Public Relations Officer Kemia Demeritte and Edith Powell who is in charge of programming and finance.
Tennis players, tennis enthusiasts and those interested in supporting a worthy cause, are asked to sign up at the Carmichael Athletic Community Centre in Flamingo Gardens. Entry forms are available at the center, the Gym Tennis Club and the BLTA's National Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. Interested persons can contact the center at 676-5995.
The tennis matches will get underway on Friday afternoon with first round singles matches in the Men's Open Division at the Carmichael Athletic Community Centre.
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July 16, 2014
The International Basketball Academy (IBA) Bahamas, a non-profit organization, is set to stage the IBA Bahamas Combine Summer Camp 2014. The camp, which is open to all boys and girls of all ages and abilities, will be held during the week of July 21-25, at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
IBA Bahamas Director Denykco Bowles, who also serves as the head coach of the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins Senior Boys Basketball Team, said that they are looking forward to a great camp, focussing on opportunity, the overall and well-rounded student athlete, and skills development.
"This is the first summer camp for IBA Bahamas. We had a shooting clinic in April for junior and senior high school players, and the enthusiasm was great," said Bowles.
"We had over 60 participants in the clinic, and we are hoping to expand with the official launch of the academy this summer. We have had affirmative reviews by parents, campers and onlookers, and for this we are extremely grateful."
The host of the clinic in April was American coach Jeff Eakins, also known as 'The Shot Doctor'. Eakins has worked with professionals in the United States (U.S.) and Europe, and also was an assistant coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Development League (D-League).
"We had great reviews from campers, parents and spectators. The camp doubled by the second day and we ended up with about 65 campers. Overall, I'm expecting this one to be just as good or even better," said Bowles.
"The kids who were at the previous camp are real excited. They're eager to learn and really want to be a part of what we have going on at IBA Bahamas.
"It's a lot to take in, a lot of drills and intense work. Also, it provides a great opportunity to be seen by high school and college coaches, to provide potential scholarships to campers. It'll be at Sir Kendal, so it's a great environment, conducive for the camp and also it has the court capacity to get a lot accomplished. It will be the most passionate and intense five days that the campers will ever experience."
Joining Eakins from the U.S. will be American coaches Jeff Blair, Terry Maczko and George Probeyahn.
The elite skills development and recruitment camp will run from 4-7 p.m. July 21-23, and 9 a.m. to 12 noon July 24 and 25. The cost of the camp is $85 which will include camp registration fees and a player's jersey. Bowles said that they are encouraging early registration so that they can pre-order the correct sizes of the jerseys for each camper. Interested persons can register at www.shotdoctor.org. Also, they can contact Coach Bowles at 466-0049 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IBA Bahamas is the first international branch of IBA, which is based in Baltimore, Maryland.
"We want to provide year round opportunities for kids but also want to key in, and focus on academics because that's essential," said Bowles.
"We want to develop and prepare them with basic and sound principles, and the fundamentals needed to take their skills to the next level.
"The IBA Bahamas is dedicated to teaching boys and girls of all ages and abilities the pure fundamentals of basketball with a focus on being a well-rounded student athlete.
"It gives players the opportunity to meet and learn from players and coaches of all levels of basketball from the NBA right on down to high school with the hopes of being scouted by one of the guest coaches. Our main goal is to provide genuine talent with an unprejudiced opportunity for athletic scholarships to American high schools or colleges. We are looking to branch out to become one of the nation's most influential camps."
The camp is expected to be held annually at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
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July 16, 2014
Work permit holders and people who have some form of residency in The Bahamas will be eligible for National Health Insurance (NHI), Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez said yesterday.
"All of those who are here legally will be eligible," said Gomez during a national consultation conference on universal health coverage at the British Colonial Hilton.
Asked how the scheme will be funded, Gomez said that remains unclear as the government is still awaiting a report from Costa Rican accounting firm Sanigest Internacional.
The government engaged the firm to come up with the overall cost for NHI.
The report was expected to be completed by mid-July. However, Gomez said yesterday the government now expects to receive the report by early August.
Under the first Christie administration, it was estimated that the scheme would cost $235 million annually.
However, officials said the initial findings suggest that the cost to implement NHI has increased significantly.
Parliament passed an NHI Bill in the final months of the previous Christie administration, but no regulations were ever finalized.
Gomez said it was recommended under the previous plan for Bahamians to contribute about five percent of their salary to cover the costs of NHI.
However, he said the report from Sanigest will guide the decision on the contribution component for the plan.
The government intends to implement NHI in January 2016.
The government has started consultations as it develops an implementation plan for the scheme.
The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization organized the consultation yesterday.
With only about 35 percent of the population with some form of insurance, Gomez said it is vital for the country to implement the scheme.
"The lack of such a plan causes too much inconvenience and suffering for far too many Bahamian people," he said.
"The timely access to public health is limited, except in emergency cases. Too large an amount of our people either lack health insurance, are either under insured or are unable to get health insurance due to pre-existing conditions."
In addition to creating more equitable access to comprehensive health care, Gomez said the launch of NHI could also help the nation with its crime problems.
"It was pointed out to us...that countries with universal health care had less crime," he said. "One of the issues we have with the crime that we have is a lot of young people join gangs. Why? Because they feel like they don't belong to anything and health insurance membership becomes something they belong to and I am told helps to contribute to a reduction in crime."
PAHO representative Dr. Gerry Eijkemans said universal health coverage also generates economic prosperity and alleviates poverty.
She said it is unacceptable that people still die because of a lack of access to health care services.
Dr. Delon Brennen, chair of the government's steering committee on NHI, said upon implementation, those covered under that plan will be able to get medical care without paying anything to the health provider.
"It means that we have to provide for quality health service and we have to pay for that access ahead of time, so that when people need to come in it's already taken care of and they don't have to worry about it on the back end," he said.
As it relates to how private insurance companies will be impacted, Brennen said he does not expect that to be a major issue but he acknowledged that it is still too early to tell.
"There will still be space in the market place for both public and private health insurance to be able to exist and provide some coverage in those gaps," he said.
"If we expect to cover everyone, that would cost us money that we aren't going to be able to tax or put on the Bahamian people in general."
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July 16, 2014
A man's body was found on a dirt road off Cowpen Road south yesterday, police reported.
Superintendent Paul Rolle, head of the Central Detective Unit, said police received reports around 9 a.m. of the discovery.
He said the victim, who police believe was in his mid 30s, was shot several times to the torso.
Police said a farmer discovered the body.
When The Nassau Guardian arrived on the scene, the body was still in the middle of the road.
Rolle said it appeared the man was killed about six hours before he was discovered.
He said rigor mortis had not set in.
Police did not have a motive for the killing and appealed to the public for information about the shooting.
Police asked anyone who has a missing male relative to also contact police.
The man was wearing a tan colored shirt, blue jeans pants, a G-Shock black watch and a pair of green, orange and white tennis shoes.
The victim also had a distinct tattoo on his stomach, police said.
"This male is slim built, has a full beard with a tattoo across his stomach saying 'Young Money'," Rolle said.
"I am certain someone would have a relative who has a tattoo of 'Young Money' on his stomach.
"We appeal to you to reach out to us and let us see if we can advance this investigation."
The killing pushed the murder count for 2014 to 65.
Haywood Thompson, 21, was the 64th murder victim for 2014.
The Eleuthera resident was found with multiple stab wounds in an unfinished building on that island in North Palmetto Point on July 6.
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July 16, 2014
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday rejected a call made by Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis for the Cabinet to resign.
Roberts said Minnis and
his "headline grabbing rhetoric" cannot be taken seriously.
"The problem with the media comments attributed to Dr. Minnis is that it was he and the FNM who were kicked out of office in May 2012 before the FNM destroyed the country because of their record of poor judgment in governance that placed The Bahamas on a path to disaster," said Roberts in a release.
"Further, Dr. Minnis needs to be more concerned about immediate problems and turmoil within his party and the threat of his leadership, let alone an early general election.
"I submit that Dr. Minnis is at least five years late in calling for the resignation of the Bahamas cabinet.
"He should have called for that wholesale resignation as far back as 2009 when he and his colleagues unwittingly placed this country on a clear collision course with economic disaster."
Minnis told The Guardian that Prime Minister Perry Christie and his entire cabinet should resign and call an early election before the administration "destroys the country".
Minnis said the Christie administration's "record of poor judgment in governance" has placed The Bahamas on a path to "disaster".
He said bad decisions by the Christie administration led to a loss of confidence among the public, and the best solution is to seek a new mandate from the electorate.
But Roberts said, "He (Minnis) has shamelessly opposed and backed away from every piece of legislation and policy initiative that his FNM government advanced while he sat as a cabinet minister.
"While this PLP government was hard at work on behalf of the Bahamian people, Dr. Minnis was busy distancing himself from the mess his FNM government left behind and trying his very best to obfuscate, oppose and block every piece of legislation or policy advanced by the PLP government to improve the quality of life for Bahamians everywhere."
Roberts said the FNM's mismanagement of the Bahamian economy "exacerbated the recession locally and the suffering of thousands of Bahamian families where no net jobs were created and unemployment doubled".
"It was under his watch that government revenue deteriorated while the debt spiraled out of control; tourist arrivals and tourism expenditure plummeted; no meaningful investment project was attracted to The Bahamas and many businesses were forced to shut down because of poorly executed public works," he said.
Roberts praised the work of the Christie administration, saying the hotel industry is preparing for perhaps its best physical product in 20 years.
He said the Ministry of Tourism is aggressively marketing The Bahamas and congratulated Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.
"I thank the entire government for its hard work on behalf of the Bahamian people," Roberts said.
"They have righted this ship of state, placed it on course and moving in the right direction. I thank them for taking on many of the difficult and controversial policy issues that are necessary for the country's continued growth and sustained development.
"Dr. Minnis should be thankful as well."
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July 16, 2014
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen yesterday warned that the number of cases of chikungunya fever will increase and suggested the transmission rate could be worse than the dengue outbreak of 2011.
Dengue affected 1,500 Bahamians in 2011.
Brennen said health officials have been bracing for the introduction of chikungunya to The Bahamas given its rapid spread across the Caribbean.
"Chikungunya has spread a lot throughout the region," he told reporters.
"When you look at the numbers, chikungunya has been spreading from one island nation to the other. So almost the entire Caribbean is being affected.
"So even when you look at what dengue was doing a few years ago, this is an even larger increase than what we saw from dengue at that time.
"It's likely that we are going to see fairly large numbers. It doesn't mean necessarily that locally we're going to see large numbers, but we're going to see large numbers in the region and we're seeing large numbers of it. So we have to be prepared to protect ourselves just in case we see large numbers as well."
Up to July 11, there were nearly 350,000 suspected cases of chikungunya fever in the Caribbean and nearly 5,000 confirmed cases, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Brennen noted that chikungunya is not as deadly as dengue.
The chikungunya virus is spread through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found throughout the country.
There were four confirmed cases up to yesterday. The first case was confirmed on July 4.
Brennen said at least two cases were imported by residents who recently visited countries that are experiencing a chikungunya outbreak.
"Again, it isn't much of a surprise. Once it started we knew that it was going to continue," he said.
"It really is [about] getting people to protect themselves...No matter how much we go out and we spray large properties, if you don't do it around your home...you're going to have more spread from one location, from one home to another and then into the larger community. So we have to protect ourselves."
Brennen said it is very likely that health officials will begin to see local transmission as well.
"So we can't rest on our laurels and say 'oh it was imported'," he said.
"We are going to get more cases at some point with the amount of travel, especially during the summer with people going places and people coming to visit us."
The Ministry of Environmental Heath Services recently engaged in a "systematic monitoring" program and has increased its fogging program across the country, following the confirmation of the first case, officials said.
Symptoms of the virus include high fever and severe joint pains in the hands and feet, which can persist for weeks.
Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint swelling and rash.
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July 16, 2014
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald's announcement that it could take up to two years to implement a revised version of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) yesterday received mixed reactions from some organizations pushing for FOIA to be enacted.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian last week, Fitzgerald said although the Department of Archives suggested an implementation timeline of 18-24 months, it is not set it stone.
National Congress of Trade Unions of The Bahamas President John Pinder said that timeline proves the government does not view FOIA as a priority.
"While we know the Bahamian population will benefit greatly from being able to have more information as it relates to the governance of our country, we know that politicians wish to always have control over those things," Pinder said.
"It is not a priority for them. They like being able to hide certain things from us."
The act was passed in 2012, but the former administration never implemented it.
Fitzgerald said recently that the act itself would need over 100 amendments or needs to be scrapped entirely and redrafted.
But the minister said the government is committed to implementing FOIA despite the level of work needed.
However, Pinder said although the government has expressed its commitment, it has not demonstrated that commitment and instead continued to "drag its feet".
But Bahamas National Trust Executive Director Eric Carey said the government appears to be listening to the concerns of those pushing for the implementation of FOIA.
He encouraged the non-governmental organizations and opposition parties pushing for the legislation to be implemented to carefully review the act and prepare a revised draft for the government.
He said it is important that the government does implement an effective FOIA.
Carey said while the implementation of FOIA may take some time, he hopes the process will begin soon.
"I look forward to the appointment of the group that the minister said he is going to appoint," Carey said.
"I would like to see who is going to be on that. Obviously there should be some bipartisan representation and also some good representation from civil society, including some of the representatives from at least some of the groups that have been quite vocal."
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney expressed dissimilar views.
McCartney said after the Ingraham administration tabled the Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament in October 2011, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) reviewed, debated and made recommendations on that bill.
He questioned why almost three years after the bill was tabled, and two and a half years since the PLP became the government, it would take another two years to implement FOIA.
He accused the government of making another empty promise.
"That tells me this government is more than wanting," McCartney said.
"...That tells me that at the end of the day, they are stuck on not being transparent and accountable to the Bahamian people," the DNA leader said.
"That tells me that at the end of the day, this government has failed Bahamian people miserably, yet again."
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July 16, 2014
The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned the conviction of a 46-year-old man who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his alleged lover.
Adrian Robinson claimed that Veronica Knowles, 68, died suddenly while they were having sex in her van in bushes on July 12, 2010. After he could not revive her, Robinson dragged her body about 11 feet off the roadway in bushes.
By the time police found Knowles, maggots and land crabs had already taken her body. She was scantily clad.
Robinson was originally charged with murder, but he was convicted of the alternative charge of manslaughter and sentenced to 21 years imprisonment last year.
At his appeal, Robinson challenged both his conviction and sentence. Robinson, who represented himself, argued that the trial judge was wrong not to leave manslaughter by negligence to the jury.
Robinson said that he did not kill Knowles, but did not do all he could have to save her. Pathologist Dr. Caryn Sands was unable to determine what caused her death.
The court will give its reasons for allowing the appeal at a later date.
Justice of Appeal Christopher Blackman gave Robinson this advice: "Don't go messing with older women. They may not be able to stand up to your vigor."
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July 16, 2014
Marco City MP Greg Moss said recently he is unmoved by criticisms from his colleagues over his position on value-added tax (VAT).
"I make a point of separating personalities from politics, even from within politics, separating opinion from trying to advance the best interest of the country," he said.
"Whatever anyone else's opinion might be, all I'm interested in is the empirical data on that.
"You can say whatever you want to say about my opinion.
"I've given you my data and I've shown why what is being proposed by the government to implement and legislate VAT in place while continuing to give a tax break to the rich is wrong."
Moss previously said he does not support VAT as it will hurt the poor unfairly.
He was asked to respond to Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald, who said Moss' claim that VAT goes against the founding principles of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is misguided.
"Misguided how? We are exempting a huge [segment] of the population because where their property is we do not tax. There is nothing misguided about that," said Moss, referring to Freeport.
"I don't take those personal commentaries personally.
"I think they are misguided and the reason I say they are misguided is because they attempt to bring into a crucial national issue emotive issues and emotive attacks on people and their contribution.
"I think that is unfortunate. But I think when you do look at the empirical information and data behind the contribution that has been made, what I've said is unassailable. I stand by what I've said."
During his contribution to the budget debate last month, Moss said the implementation of VAT will go against the founding principle of the PLP to protect the poor and vulnerable in the country.
Moss said previously if the PLP implements VAT it will lose the next election.
The government intends to implement VAT on January 1, 2015 at a rate of 7.5 percent.
The government had originally proposed to implement the tax on July 1, 2014 at a rate of 15 percent.
The previous plan called for a lowering of customs duties.
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July 16, 2014
Bahamas Faith Ministries International President Dr. Myles Munroe said recently he is disappointed the government has failed to abide by the results of the 2013 gambling referendum.
Munroe said the Christie administration seems to be ruling the country rather than governing it.
"I guess the opinion of the public isn't important anymore," he said when asked to respond to the Gaming Bill.
"I thought there would have been some respect in regard to public opinion on this.
"We are very sad in some quarters that more discussions have not been done with regards to details on it. We are receiving almost instructions, not discussions.
"When you get that feeling that you have no contribution to make anymore or what you say is not important anymore and what you feel is ignored, you almost feel that you are useless as a community.
"I hope this doesn't carry over to other future activities that the government is considering."
He said such actions produce apathy among the population and when that happens, citizens stop participating in the process.
Munroe was among a group of pastors who opposed the regularization and taxation of web shops and the establishment of a national lottery.
The majority of people who voted in the referendum last year voted against it.
Recently, Bahamas Christian Council President Dr. Ranford Patterson suggested the religious body may take action following the tabling of the new Gaming Bill.
He said the government would set a dangerous precedent if it chooses to ignore the results of the referendum.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said the bill will be tabled at the end of the month.
The Gaming Bill would prohibit web shop owners from allowing foreign visitors to gamble in their establishments and would also prevent foreigners from gambling from other jurisdictions through websites operated by web shops.
Casinos would have the exclusive right to foreign players, both locally and online, according to the amended bill.
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July 16, 2014
A man was yesterday acquitted on appeal of the 2009 beating death of Adam Evans.
According to the prosecution's case, Mario Delancy and others were seen beating an unknown man on July 16 around 4 a.m.
Later that morning, Evans' body was found near the scene of the fight. The prosecution alleged that Delancy was responsible for his death.
Delancy was found not guilty of murder and guilty of manslaughter on July 13, 2011. He was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.
The prosecution's principal witness, Danillo Mills, claimed he was at his home in Spring City, Abaco when he was awakened by his dogs barking.
He said that he saw six men beating an unknown person. He said the victim escaped and he saw Delancy, whom he knew, pursuing him.
Asked by the prosecuting when he realized that Evans was the beating victim, Mills replied, "When I was at work. I heard it on the news."
Mills was unable to identify the other men. Evans was found on the highway near skid marks. The pathologist, Dr. Caryn Sands, could not exclude a traffic accident as a cause of death.
According to Evans' girlfriend, Shandeva Robinson, Delancy and Evans had a fight about two weeks before his death.
The appeal court held that there was no direct or indirect evidence to connect Delancy to the Evans' death.
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July 16, 2014
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald would have us believe there is no way for the government to implement a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) anytime soon.
Yet again, Bahamians will have to wait to find out how their money is being spent, what decisions are being made on their behalf, and whether their politicians are really earning their keep as servants of the public. Basically, we will have to wait, yet again, for rights that citizens in the majority of the civilized world have enjoyed for years.
In the meantime, all the big questions about what really goes on in this society will continue to go unanswered. Which politically-connected "friends" are allowed to dodge taxes that the rest of us are forced to pay? How many of them have been given contracts they were not qualified to get, while honest Bahamian companies were left out in the cold? Who really owns all the taxi plates, jitney plates, straw market stalls, and why are other ambitious Bahamians being kept from taking a meaningful part in these industries?
Are any foreign developers really getting away with destroying our environment because of their close relationship with politicians? Is the water we drink or bathe in really safe? To what extent is industrial pollution responsible for the many health problems Bahamians suffer from?
What are the real crime statistics, and are things truly improving as the government has continued to suggest? I could go on and on and on.
According to the minister, though the Christie administration is committed to passing a FOIA, the Department of Archives has warned that it will take 18 months to two years to "make the system ready" for such a "major undertaking".
To read Fitzgerald's version of the situation, you would think the government is trying to reinvent the wheel. The fact is, FOIAs exist all around the world and there are many models the government could follow in drafting a new one.
In fact, the former Free National Movement government modeled their bill on the FOIA legislation in place in the Cayman Islands. That bill was brought to parliament, debated and passed.
Fitzgerald now says that legislation was "rushed" and needs to be completely scrapped.
Yet at the time, the FNM was criticized for not moving fast enough, failing to bring the act into force before the 2012 election. It was said they kicked the can down the road, leaving FOIA for someone else to deal with.
As part of their election platform, the PLP promised to enact the FOIA, with Fitzgerald's colleague Ryan Pinder, now investments minister, having been particularly vocal on the importance of the issue.
Why is it then, that after more than two years in office, the PLP is only now beginning to focus on this? Just last week Fitzgerald announced the formation of a government committee to look into what it would take to implement a FOIA.
If the PLP is as committed to openness and transparency as they keep saying, and FOIA is as difficult an undertaking as Fitzgerald now alleges, then why didn't they hit the ground running from day-one? By their own calculations, if they had done so, the act would have been up and running by now.
Instead, it now seems a new bill will not make it to the floor of the House until the PLP's last year in office - and that's if they manage to stick to their own timeline, which in itself is a highly unlikely outcome.
So, come election 2017, we will be in the same situation or perhaps worse off than we were in May 2012 when it comes to FOIA. The PLP are now the ones who are just kicking the can down the road so they don't have to deal with an issue that makes every politician uncomfortable - the people's right to know.
- Hugh Blair
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July 16, 2014
They say ignorance can be excused, but not the will to remain ignorant. They also say that evil things can only occur when good men do nothing.
As an avid writer and someone who comes into contact with many people daily, I have again concluded that change in The Bahamas is still a ways off because there is too much ignorance and many of us who are in the know have blind allegiances.
If I were to give an educated guess, I would say that at least eight out of 10 Bahamians have no idea what is going on in the country and aren't even interested. That leaves two out of 10 Bahamians. Of this number, I would say that 99 percent have allegiance to a party or affiliation and not country. The other 0.1 percent or one out of every 100 Bahamian sees the picture as clear as day and are not bounded by any promise of a contract or enrichment that would cause their patriotism to be clouded.
Yeah I said it. Eighty percent of the electorate is lost in space and the other 19 percent of those who can see are not a part of the solution. So where does that leave a chance for change to occur?
I dare say that we are in a grave situation. No wonder we can issue a nolle prosequi with little to no objection, remain in office despite obvious conflicts of interest and make public statements that prove to be misleading.
Too much ignorance and too many blind allegiances are proving to be a damning combination for the country. While our young men are killing each other, teenage girls are choosing motherhood over education, 19 percent of society is getting enriched off a broken system and saying nothing, and the one percent who are speaking out are being ostracized, victimized and marginalized.
God help the Bahamas and bring forth a visionary leader in 2017, not Ingraham or Christie, who will help the masses.
- Dehavilland Moss
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July 16, 2014
Politicians have a habit of saying whatever will advance their short-term political interests without any concern for how those statements contradict their actions or previous positions.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis on Monday called on Prime Minister Perry Christie and his entire Cabinet to resign and call an early general election before the administration "destroys the country", claiming its "record of poor judgment in governance" has placed The Bahamas on a path to "disaster".
Now, Minnis is right for saying that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is not governing well. Only the PLP's diehard supporters think the party is leading the country in the right direction. Minnis, however, should be the last person to be demanding an early election.
Many members of the Free National Movement (FNM) would love an early election in that party. In fact, they tried to push for one at the FNM's last council meeting. Minnis and his faction of the party fought with all they had to block that. After some back and forth, it was agreed that the party would have a convention in the first quarter of 2015.
Rev. Fredrick McAlpine was vocal in his call for a vote now in the FNM.
"Here's my thing, if you're confident in your leadership and in what your leadership team can do, then call a convention," he said, referring to Minnis.
"But don't have us thinking that you are going to do in another year what you have not done in two years."
McAlpine, a former FNM senator, thinks the present style of opposition leadership is not what the country is accustomed to.
"Do not believe - and I want my party to hear this - that the automatic failure of the PLP is an automatic win for the FNM," he said.
The FNM's deputy, Loretta Butler-Turner, and deputy chairman, Dr. Duane Sands, are openly challenging Minnis' authority in the public sphere. Minnis needs to focus on convincing his party that he should remain its leader. He also needs to focus on elections there.
Christie has until 2017 to govern. He loves being prime minister more than anything else. No one or no thing - mortal or divine - will cause him to give up time in the prime minister's chair. Calling on Christie to call an early election is a waste of time.
The beauty of our democracy is that Christie has a finite time as prime minister. The people will soon judge him for all he has done. Because of the PLP's system, Christie will run again as the party's leader if he feels like it. It is Minnis' position that is tenuous.
So rather than calling for votes that will not happen elsewhere, Minnis needs to focus on ensuring a vote happens soon in his party. The opposition leader is the one who needs to convince his people that they should give him a chance to be leader come the next general election.
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July 16, 2014
If you've seen a photo of me, other than the one posted here every week on this column, you're thinking "where is this vanilla-skinned woman going talking about black Bahamian beauty?"
Hold that thought.
There was a time in history, not even so long ago, when I would have been considered too black to be white in some countries. And, yes, in some other countries, I would have been too white to be black.
This need to identify racial differences was driven by ignorance. Today, it still is.
People were then, as some still are now, unfamiliar with others who looked nothing like them, and they built their prejudices and judgments, and eventually hatreds, on their differences, fueled further by the human need to be right or to be best, and by the many intolerances of their parents and others before them who perpetuated this kind of thinking.
Now, after decades, centuries of racial mixing, when greater knowledge and less ignorance should exist because of greater exposure between countries and cultures, the separations continue.
The need to see and keep people in color blocks stems from an individual's need to feel more comfortable about her or his position with respect to that other person. People long to fit in, be understood and loved. And if there are any perceived threats to them fitting in, being understood, or being loved, or the chance they might be considered unworthy of these things they long for, then they immediately begin an internal campaign to challenge the things and people they regard as threats to their comfort. From the comforts of racism to the comforts of relationships, this applies across the human experience.
The mere fact that everything always comes down to black and white, black or white, black versus white, is a lingering disturbance, but I have heard the question asked recently, "is The Bahamas racially divided?" "Do black Bahamians hate white Bahamians and vice versa?"
Maybe I'm not the one to answer this, because no one ever knows what I am. (Insert laughter here.) But when you hear Bahamians make serious racial slurs, in either direction, they're just being one of two things: ignorant or hateful. And when you have a conversation with them, you find that the story goes a bit deeper, usually back to some personal experience that left them with emotional or mental discomfort, or something more psychologically invasive like a full-fledged mental (re)conditioning inflicted by 1) their own people, or, 2) an outsider.
A while back, I met a little girl at a private school sports meet. I should say, more accurately, she met me. She was about five years old. And I guess she gravitated towards me because she wanted to have a conversation about something that made her uncomfortable, and she was looking for some resolution.
She told me that she wished she was white. I told her that she should never say that or feel that way because she was beautiful... and she really was. But, of course, being who I am, I had to find out more about why this child, at five years of age, was already on this road to self-hate.
Every reason she gave me for wanting to be white was superficial, or mostly aesthetic, and in the end I concluded that her dilemma stemmed from the fact that she didn't want to look the way she did because someone had, along the way, told her or shown her that her skin color made her inadequate.
Now, because I grew up in The Bahamas, my own experience reminded me that it was likely that the other little kids who looked just like her could have had a lot to do with this little girl's interpretation of herself and the low self-esteem that would arise later on because of it, affecting, quite possibly, every part of her life and her outlook on life.
Yes, there are always some other influences in these circumstances, and with a little more time in this little girl's company I might have discovered more. But, drawing on my own encounters, I was willing to bet that there was something going on closer to home. Someone was reinforcing for her that her brown skin was not as good as lighter skin. I would also be willing to bet that, at present, there is still at least one generation of brown-skinned people who don't know or love themselves as they are, which is mind-blowing to me in a predominantly black country. And the perpetrators? Often ourselves... in the way we have subconsciously adapted the concepts of beauty over many years of being subjected to what we believed to be superior to us.
Sit and listen to the children playing in the streets or on a playground. Children can be so cruel and heartless, and Bahamian children have a special type and method of 'cruelty' when they grab on to the use of certain hurtful words. It is not uncommon to hear them taunt each other about their skin color: "come from here with your black self", "well mudda sick, you look black, boy", or "you so black and ugly."
Where are these children hearing these things and why do they relive them every day? This special kind of thinking comes from a special kind of environment, with a special kind of parent or parents or adults who perpetuate it.
And it makes me wonder, where is the mother's love in this equation? What about my little friend? What would her mother say if she heard her child telling me these things about her skin color preference? Or, maybe, she'd say nothing, because she herself says these things to the child or around the child. And maybe, just maybe, she, the mother, feels the same way about herself.
And I reflect on my own mother.
I was a mixed child who grew up with a predominantly black family. Unless they knew my maternal relatives, the assumption of most people I encountered was that I was white. But my mom never gave me any reason to believe I was different. We never had a need to have a conversation about race... not until I was almost a teenager, and she told me about the idiot (my word) who worked with her who, whenever he saw me, would call me 'Imitation of Life.'
As a child, and at that time, I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but, when I grew a little older and watched the movie by the same name, it broke my heart. The movie itself was sad, but it was even sadder and more heartbreaking to me that someone could label me with such a burdensome title and know nothing about me. And from that moment on I became more aware of racial differences and intolerances, but most specifically the black Bahamian's dislike for self and need for constant comparison, evaluation, and approval.
It never dawned on me that my skin color could make so many people perplexed, and that ranged from shock and speechlessness, to excitement at the novelty, to disgust and jealousy.
As I got older, the comments and questions got more ridiculous. While at COB, I recall another student walking up to me and asking "are you black or white?" And even though I had come to expect it by then, it still always caught me off guard. It never stopped being strange that someone had such a need for an answer to this question that had nothing to do with them.
I started to have a little fun with my responses, just to entertain myself, because surely this was a joke. Sometimes I would say 'both'. Sometimes I would say 'neither'. Sometimes I would ask, "Which makes you feel better?" Of course, on those latter occasions, I would get dead air. I still do this. And if today someone says 'hey white girl', I say 'hey black boy/ girl' and watch their silent, jaw-dropped reactions to the absurdity of the way that sounds.
From the insane comments about my good hair (which, by the way, still happens), to the more foolish comment that I was white and I thought I was better than they were, over the years the racial feedback grew in intensity.
And I remember feeling afire inside, finally deciding that no, I don't think I'm white, I know what I am, but you apparently think I'm white, and are obsessed with labeling me to make yourself more comfortable with your interpretation of me.
In spite of the many mixed babies being born the world over and in The Bahamas, this assumption still holds strong to this day. I think this idea that I and others like me (perceived white) automatically have thoughts of superiority is based more on the fact that those who believe this automatically have thoughts of inferiority about themselves. Clearly, they were then and still are ignorant of my parentage, and it is has never been my concern to explain it to them. But it does starkly reveal the deficiencies in their own parentage which has caused them to see themselves in such a negative light, deficiencies perfected by years of practice being something other than they are.
Through the simple cultural routine of hair relaxing, pressing, and now weaving, to the skin bleaching, I realize that it is ingrained in our black Bahamian women (and men) to deny their true selves and their true beauty.
Could this be what happened to my little friend who wanted to be white?
The (Bahamian) black woman is taught, subconsciously, that her hair must be straighter. Some black women are taught that their skin must be lighter.
And in my years of observing my own culture, I've never known anyone to perpetuate these stereotypes more than the black woman herself, save for a few random exceptions, to fit the norm of societal expectation.
My mum has, since I was a child, worn her natural hair in a low afro. My grammy did, too. It was my norm to see this, and for black women to be this way. They were just being themselves. It was the standard of self-love and self-approval. It was a sincere lack of interest in conforming to those haunting and depleting social norms, something I held on to and have never, ever let go of. If you know me, you know I am a nonconformist in every possible way, and I care nothing about people's opinions of me. And I think that, next to immeasurable love, is the greatest gift my mother and grandmother have given me.
When I look at Mummy, I see a woman of color with natural hair breaking barriers in an enslaved concept of black beauty. And when I see other black women who have done or are doing the same, intentionally or otherwise, I sing a little victory song inside, because there's nothing more empowering for little girls, who one day become mothers of entire nations, to see their own mothers love themselves so completely.
It tells me that they know who they are and they love who they are. It tells me that if they can love themselves this way, their children will be more likely to love themselves in the same way. And if this could happen all around the country, there would be fewer little Bahamian girls telling me and other random strangers that they wish they were white. And they can stop looking at their differences from the perspective of needing to conform or change themselves on the basis of an arbitrary standard of beauty, and more from the perspective of celebrating themselves as they naturally are. And if they can celebrate their many differences even in beauty, then the differences, one day, perhaps won't matter as much.
o Nicole Burrows is an academically-trained economist. She can be contacted via Facebook at Facebook.com/NicoleBurrows.
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July 16, 2014
An $11 million condominium development is breaking ground on Cable Beach, just as its developer claims he is now experiencing a comeback in sales following a challenging 2013.
Seaside Development will construct The Cliffs at Cable Beach, believed to be the first waterfront development to be built in Cable Beach in over a decade, a project that is set to employ around 25 in the construction phase.
Realtors Cara Christie and Ryan Knowles of H.G. Christie expect The Cliffs project, spearheaded by Leon Blaiweiss and Trevor Wright, to tap into a boost in demand for waterfront homes in the area that will coincide with the launch of Baha Mar in December 2014.
Cara Christie said: "I think it's a perfect opportunity. Sandyport is almost full and there aren't that many places on the waterfront anymore. I think it's the perfect time to be in Cable Beach when Baha Mar is about to be finished and we think that's going to bring a lot more interest in Nassau in general and Cable Beach in particular."
Located opposite Sandyport, the project will be comprised of a five-condominium building and a six-condominium building, with three-bedroom units with price ranges from $895,000 to $1,295,000. Each property will have its own pool and garage, among other amenities.
H.G. Christie is the exclusive sales agent for the property.
Although much smaller, the project could be set to benefit from a delay in the launch of another development proposed nearby, the modernistic 75-unit ONE project proposed by Balmoral developer, Jason Kinsale.
That project, set to be located around a quarter of a mile from Baha Mar on the Cable Beach waterfront, was slated to break ground in August of this year.
However, it's anticipated launch date is now unclear after it ran up against approval challenges due to design issues. A "revised plan" has now been resubmitted to the government for approval, according to Director of Physical Planning Michael Major.
Developer Leo Blaiweiss said his company was inspired in part by demand seen for the nearby Caprice condominium development.
"There's a lot of interest in Caprice we find from agents, but it's an old property and we're pretty sure that people would be happy with getting something a lot newer but in the same sort of size of building," he said.
"We think the environment is right for it and it's going to be a nice product for this area, and it's going to go well."
Blaiweiss said he does not foresee much competition from ONE, if or when it does get underway.
"There's not that many units here, and it's a different style. Everyone will have their own little yard and pool, it's different. It's not a regular condo style; it's the next best thing to having your own house on the water," he said.
The project comes as Seaside Development is wrapping up another project, Columbus Cove, near Love Beach.
Blaiweiss said: "We had a slow year last year, as a matter of fact last year was the worst in five years, but this year things are looking up. We're just hoping it's going to continue."
Knowles said the project will likely target a mix of young families and those seeking to downsize.
"So they still want space but they don't want 4,000 square feet and a big yard they have to maintain. This is easy, you can come here, live in it and enjoy the view, but you can also lock up and go and it's not that difficult to maintain. It's the best of both worlds, the size and space of a house but the convenience of a condo," he added.
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