Nassau Guardian Stories
April 12, 2014
RBC Royal Bank and RBC FINCO yesterday announced plans to create a third shared banking location, which will lead to "across the board" redundancies.
The move is part of an effort to cut costs, improve efficiency and give better customer satisfaction, according to Nathaniel Beneby Jr., RBC Royal Bank's managing director in The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos Islands.
The restructuring process is ongoing, Beneby said, adding that he could not say how many employees will be let go.
Some of the affected workers have applied for other job opportunities within the bank and have already secured different positions, Beneby said.
"Those who will be disengaged, we have enhanced packages and we are providing very strong support to our employees," he told reporters at a press conference.
"We are confident, at the end of the day, that the net reduction will be favorable."
Beneby added that the bank is operating in an environment of "increasing costs" and said staff reduction is just one measure to scale back expenses.
"We are looking at all of our operating costs," he said.
"We are taking a holistic approach at managing costs, for example, real estate costs, stationary and printing, cleaning. Staff costs are just another cost line."
When asked if high levels of loan arrears affected the bank's decision, Tanya McCartney, managing director of RBC FINCO, said that, while high, the bank's non-performing loans are below industry standards.
McCartney is also preparing to leave the bank in May, a move unrelated to the layoff announcement.
RBC FINCO's main branch on Shirley and Charlotte Streets will relocate to RBC Royal Bank's main branch on Bay Street as of May 12.
RBC FINCO's Mortgage Centre in the Prince Charles Shopping Plaza will be consolidated with RBC FINCO's Carmichael Road branch as of May 5.
The other shared location is in Grand Bahama.
The three shared locations will have integrated customer service.
"This means that RBC FINCO customers will make deposits, cash withdrawals, foreign exchange purchases, wire transfers, these all will be done at the RBC location," Beneby said.
"The objective here, really, is to create a one stop shop concept for our customers, particularly the RBC FINCO customers. They will now have the benefit of access to the full suite of products and services of Royal Bank."
The announcement came nearly a month after officials from UBS (Bahamas) said 70 employees would be impacted by the closure of its private banking unit over the next 10 months.
In January, Scotiabank confirmed its plans to move certain functions from The Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago in an effort to enhance "the efficiency and effectiveness" of its operations.
It is unclear how staff levels will be impacted because of Scotiabank's move.
read more »
April 12, 2014
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Just two weeks after a $16.8 million discovery in East Grand Bahama, police uncovered another cultivated marijuana field in the same area. Reports are that on Thursday, around 10 a.m., officers of the Drug Enforcement Unit, along with U.S. counterparts acting on information, went to an undeveloped area in East Grand Bahama.
Upon arrival at the location, they discovered a number of marijuana plants ranging between one and five feet in height.
Police confirmed that the plots contained approximately 75,000 plants with a street value of $7.5 million.
Officers also discovered three black garbage bags that contained freshly processed marijuana, along with three make shift tents in the area.
Police Affairs and Communications Officer (PACO) Inspector Terecita Pinder said that although no arrests were made up to press time, officers are working to eradicate the growing trend.
"Police are determined in the fight against the cultivation and supply of drugs, and we will intensify our efforts on combing the length and breadth of Grand Bahama to ensure that law and order is upheld and adhered to," said Pinder.
"We will intensify our efforts in bringing all perpetrators before the courts that engage in these activities."
read more »
April 12, 2014
Two Jamaican women accused of smuggling two kilos of cocaine into The Bahamas from Panama pleaded guilty when they appeared before a magistrate yesterday.
Ionie Heron, 51, and Kerone Dawkins, 30, of Westmoreland, Jamaica, admitted trafficking drugs into the country on April 7 by wearing girdles with the cocaine stitched into the seats.
They left the courtroom in tears after Magistrate Andrew Forbes sentenced them to the mandatory minimum sentence of four years.
Though arrested separately, both women gave police similar accounts of how they became involved in the smuggling venture.
Heron and Dawkins claimed that they were approached by different men who offered them all-expenses paid trips to Panama.
Once in Panama, they were given the girdles and told they would travel to The Bahamas to deliver the cocaine before returning to Jamaica.
Heron was arrested at the Town Hotel, ASP Ercell Dorsett, the prosecutor, told the court.
Dorsett said officers went to the hotel with a search warrant and saw a person matching the informant's description of their target while speaking to the manager.
He said Heron was escorted to her room and the officers found the cocaine inside her carry-on bag.
The officers also seized $765.25 as the proceeds of crime.
Dawkins was arrested after she arrived in the country on a Copa Airlines flight from Panama.
Police arrested Dawkins at the airport because she matched the description provided by their informant.
During a search, police found the drugs stitched inside the seat of her girdle.
Dawkins told Forbes she was supposed to deliver the drugs to a person at the Grand Central Hotel.
She said she was promised $2,000.
Police arrested Dawkins with US$1,203 that the court ordered confiscated as the proceeds of crime.
By contrast, Heron claimed that she was not told about payment.
Forbes told the women the offenses attracted stiff penalties in Panama and Jamaica.
He said they should have considered how their actions would affect their lives and those of their families.
read more »
April 12, 2014
As the government pushes to regulate web shops by July 1, FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers suggested yesterday that opponents to the move are themselves suggesting they want the government to allow web shops to "run rampantly".
Flowers, who has been reluctant to speak on the controversial matter since the failed January 2013 gambling referendum, appeared as a guest on Guardian Radio 96.9 FM's 'Morning Blend' in his capacity as president of the Golf Federation to promote the golf industry in The Bahamas.
Flowers was asked by the show's host, Dwight Strachan, how people who voted against the regularization and taxation of web shops should feel as the government moves to do the opposite of their wishes expressed on January 28, 2013.
"Let me assume that you would have voted no to the questions asked, that we should not regulate web shops," he said.
"Should we leave them as they are?"
Suggesting what the views might be of some people who voted no, Flowers continued, "We should let them run rampant. We should leave the " backdoors open. We should let whatever, drugs, money laundering run in and out.
"I am speaking about the question, and the question was whether or not you, who voted no, you are saying leave web shops alone."
But Flowers was not suggesting that his web shops are involved in activities like money laundering, neither did he point to any other web shops involved in such activities.
Last January, voters were asked if they support the regularization and taxation of web shops and the creation of a national lottery.
The majority of people who voted said no to both questions.
However, less than 50 percent of the electorate voted.
Asked whether he thought the people who voted no expected the government to shut down the numbers industry, Flowers said, "No. There was nothing there about shut down.
"That perception is something else. The question was very clear, whether or not you, who voted no is saying, let them go all over the place, leave them alone.
"And the government said that was the question (whether to regulate and tax web shops), and the answer was leave them alone."
However, prior to the referendum, Prime Minister Perry Christie made it clear that if the majority of voters voted no, the government would shut the sector down.
In an interview prior to the referendum, Flowers also said he would be prepared to shut down his web shops if the vote failed.
The day after the referendum, the prime minister ordered web shops to cease their gaming operations.
But a group of web shop operators, including Flowers, quickly moved to secure an injunction from the courts to prevent their closure.
The substantive case remains outstanding.
But observers have said the case would no longer be necessary given that the government intends to regulate the sector.
In the lead up to the gambling referendum some observers criticized the ballot questions for being "too vague", but the government said the questions were discussed before they were made public.
Recently Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe announced that he would present a proposal for the regularization of web shops to Cabinet by the end of March.
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has said the FNM does not support the government's decision to regulate web shops.
He said the move goes against the results of the referendum.
The regulations, along with a revised Gaming Bill, are expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly soon.
However, it remains unclear when the government intends to begin debate on that bill.
Wilchcombe, who was contacted for comment on the matter on Thursday, declined to comment.
read more »
April 12, 2014
The Coalition for Responsible Taxation was yesterday unmoved by comments by Financial Secretary John Rolle, who said on Thursday he does not expect a "wholesale change" to the government's tax reform plan in spite of uncertainty over the proposed value-added tax (VAT) implementation.
The Coalition is preparing an alternative tax study for the government, which it said should be completed by the second week of May.
Coalition Co-Chair Robert Myers said the group is only awaiting a few reports from the government with updated data to build the framework for the tax model it will recommend.
The group has long advocated for the government to consider alternative tax models to VAT and delay the proposed July 1 implementation date.
When asked to respond to Rolle's comments, Myers said the group's discussions go over Rolle's head.
"We're dealing with his bosses, not with him," Myers said.
"The conversations we are having are with the prime minister and the minister of finance. So we've been told we'll go through this process and they'll hear what we have to say and we'll discuss it. That's what we expect."
On Thursday Rolle said there ought not be any delays in pushing the government's tax reform plan forward.
Rolle said the consultation process between the government and the private sector will give the government an opportunity to adjust its plan, but keep the overall goal in mind, which is to reduce the deficit, control expenditures and improve revenue collections.
"I think the point that should be made is that there is no uncertainty over the need for the government to reduce the deficit, and raise more revenue," Rolle said.
"...I think the work will continue to support something that very closely resembles what the government has put on the drawing board.
"The government may adjust the parameters here and there. The adjustments may take into account stakeholder feedback, but I would not expect wholesale change of the fiscal plan.
"One should not. One should be looking to see how the plan can be fine-tuned coming out of this public, private sector process," he said.
Prime Minister Perry Christie announced last month the government has abandoned its original plan to introduce VAT at 15 percent.
Christie said he would be willing to consider alternatives to VAT if the Coalition for Responsible Taxation and other private sector stakeholders present one that is viable.
Myers stressed that a 15 percent VAT rate would "cause another recession" and further damage the economy.
"The whole point of the Oxford Economic Report is to determine what is [the best rate]," he said.
"We understand we have to do something, but there is a measure between what they have proposed to what the right thing to do is.
"That measure may be a payroll tax, a reduction of VAT, [or] increased compliance, in other words collect what's already due."
The government had said it expected to receive an additional $200 million in revenue annually under a 15 percent VAT rate.
Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder said last month the rate will depend in part on the amount of money the government is able to derive from the taxation of web shops.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe announced last month that Cabinet will review a proposal to regulate web shops. Wilchcombe is pushing to regulate web shops by July 1.
read more »
April 12, 2014
Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) President John Pinder expressed concern yesterday that employees at the General Post Office on East Hill Street are increasingly at risk at work despite the government's pledge to relocate them.
Pinder was contacted for comment after employees were sent back to work on Wednesday following a closure due to structural problems the day before.
He said he is pushing for the employees to be relocated as soon as possible.
"When the rain settles on that roof sometimes parts of that concrete ceiling can break away from the steel due to deterioration," he said.
"We do have that concern, and I wish they could get out of there immediately."
Pinder said the government has indicated to him that the employees will be permanently relocated, within three weeks, to the Independence Shopping Centre on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
On Monday, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation announced that employees had found debris in one of the offices in the building on East Hill Street when they arrived at work.
"As a result of this latest incident the Ministry has determined to immediately put in place interim measures for the relocation of postal staff and protocols for the collection and distribution of mails while arrangements for finalizing a permanent location are completed," read the statement.
Postal services resumed on Wednesday.
Pinder said employees have been placed on half-day shifts to limit their time in the building.
He said while the union understands a discontinuation of those crucial services would be a "major inconvenience" to the public, it is a concerning matter.
"It is unfortunate that the job they do caters to the general public in terms of putting those mails in the mail boxes," Pinder said.
"And, so, for them to shut down services would really be a major inconvenience to the general public, and we are trying to ensure the general public is not inconvenienced."
Pinder said he has also recommended to the Ministry that employees be given hard hats.
"The Ministry has removed all the tiles to make it more visible for them to see the cracks so that employees can be more vigilant to ensure that they don't go in any area where there is a possibility that the ceiling can drop down again," he said.
"The Ministry has indicated that they will do regular checks."
The building has had several challenges over the years.
read more »
April 12, 2014
Police yesterday forwarded the file in the death of a man who was shot by police to the Coroner's Court.
After a review of the file, Coroner Jeanine Weech will set a date for an inquest into Wesley Pierre's death.
The purpose of an inquest is to present information concerning the victim's death in order for the jury to determine the cause and manner of death.
An inquest does not determine criminal or civil liability.
Police shot and killed Pierre, 33, after he allegedly attacked a policeman after being allowed to use the bathroom at the Georgetown Police Station in Exuma.
Pierre was detained in connection with a housebreaking and theft complaint, police said.
According to police, Pierre attacked and stabbed a corporal in the face with a pen.
Police said Pierre ran out of the station but was caught a short time later.
A struggle ensued and Pierre tried to disarm one of the police officers who pursued him, police said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said that during the struggle the suspect hit an officer in the head with a rock and the officer shot him.
He died at the scene.
read more »
April 12, 2014
In the Anglican Hymnbook - Ancient & Modern Standard Edition, attributed to Martin Luther, there is a hymn that begins with the words "Great God what do I see and hear?" When one looks at what is happening in our formerly great country, we can readily see the relevance of that question.
Supposedly intelligent Bahamians, who possess legal minds no less, have attempted to defend the indefensible. That which was promulgated by no less a person than our prime minister regarding the situation involving the esteemed VAT consultant cannot be defended, no matter who tries to do so.
When Ishmael Lightbourne started on his VAT journey, he was informing the Bahamian populace of what their fate would be if they fail to pay VAT when the law is put in place.
Passports would be taken, heavy fines would be levied and prison terms could even be part of the package.
How in the name of all the gods at once do you appoint a person who has not paid real property tax on his residential property and on his commercial property as VAT co-ordinator? It should be obvious to all that only the PLP could make an attempt to defend someone in this predicament, having regard to the fact that he did not pay for decades.
For those who may not know, the real property tax law makes provision for exemption for the persons who are genuinely suffering from hardship. The affected taxpayer would be required to apply for relief from payment and the chief valuation officer would have prepared an examination of means to determine if the tax would be exempted in part or in full. Of course, the treasurer would make the final determination in this regard.
So the law provides for those who are unable to pay. It also makes provision for those who refuse to pay upon receipt of their respective assessment notices. The courts are there to ensure that they do. There is also a real property tax tribunal set up to deal with those individuals who want to dispute their tax assessments.
The problem has been that since October 1969 when the first notices were sent out, thousands of individuals, including politicians, have not respected the law and have refused and continue to refuse to pay. There are many who should have been taken to court and the punishment that the law calls for should have been carried out.
But, we are a lawless society and while we want the government to provide the services we require, we do not feel that we should have to pay for them. We also see that there are other areas where the law is broken with impunity and while there have been threats from the police commissioner that he will deal with those matters, the threats have not been taken seriously by the gaming establishment. The evidence is so clear that the law continues to be broken that even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could see it.
More and more web shops continue to be established notwithstanding the vote taken by the Bahamian people on January 28, 2013. The tourism minister, in what was an obvious rebuke to the church, said that the church must teach and preach and the government will govern. In other words, we do not care what the people have decided so the prime minister has apologized or expressed regret for having asked the opinion of the people and his tourism minister stated that he was going with his proposal to the Cabinet to regularize web shop gaming - so there!
Revisiting the real property tax situation once again, it is worth noting that our three prime ministers, who are/were all lawyers, did a rather poor job in ensuring that those (except for those exempted by law) who should have been paying since the last quarter of 1969 failed to do so. Then again, what do we expect from our politicians, who broke and continue to break the public disclosure law and with impunity?
It is no wonder that the society has become rather lawless at all levels. By the way, some of the disclosures that were submitted for past elections were not properly completed and those who notarized some of them did not, in many instances, know what they were doing.
If three prime ministers, in some instances also finance ministers, could not get the staff of the Valuation Section to do the job that the taxpayers pay them for, one can only surmise that that was how the political class wanted it.
The honest politicians in the current Parliament should have no difficulty in leading by example and laying their tax receipts on the table of the House to show that they are current.
The government should not have to hire private debt collectors with the attendant expenses to try to collect the more than half a billion in outstanding taxes (real property). All that is necessary is for the politicians to butt out and leave the civil servants to do their jobs.
Finally, all that is required to redeem the situation is for all of our leaders to lead by example and then those whom they lead will no doubt follow. We cannot move to the First World if we continue to fail our country by our failure to obey our own laws.
But what can we expect from a government that has yet to reveal the number of persons assisted under its failed mortgage relief plan? Telling us that less than 10 persons have been assisted does not help. Was it nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one or even zero? Inquiring minds want to know.
As stated by James Russell Lowell "once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side." Are we good or evil?
- Oswald C. Munnings
read more »
April 12, 2014
A small group showed up in Rawson Square to protest the remarks of Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller in the House of Assembly during the mid-year budget debate on abusing an ex-girlfriend. Miller initially said he was serious about the comments. After a backlash, he said his words were in jest and he apologized.
Members of the Opposition, the Bahamas Crisis Centre and other concerned Bahamians have rightly condemned Miller for what he said. Beating women is not funny. Making a joke about beating a woman is not funny.
Bahamas Crisis Centre Director Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson said on March 7 that Miller's remarks perpetuate and encourage violence against women.
"So to hear leaders and respected parliamentarians joke about behavior such as this only serves to reinforce perpetrators in their belief that they have a right to beat women and it feeds into the misogynic attitude that many people have that objectifies and sexualizes women," said Dean-Patterson at a press conference at the Crisis Centre.
With all the messages condemning Miller being expressed via social media, calls on talk radio and letters to newspapers, it was disappointing that so few people turned out to demonstrate in Rawson Square. Only about 20 people took part in the protest.
Such a small turnout lets our public officials off the hook when they transgress. Nothing scares leaders more than feet on the streets. A large demonstration would have imprinted even more into the minds of our politicians that violence against women is no joke.
Bahamians should not be of the view that the only time to turn out and express views happens every five years on Election Day. While voting is important, democracy is about continuous self-governance. In the case of this demonstration, just the sight of several hundred men and women in Rawson Square would have gotten the attention of the governing side. But, that moment was missed with the Rawson Square demonstration.
Bahamians are losing their activist spirit. Even with a smaller population, people turned out in much larger numbers in the 1960s and 1970s to demonstrate against the wrongs of the day. These days, it is hard to get our people motivated to take socially-minded action for a progressive cause.
Terneille Burrows, one of the protestors against Miller's remarks, noted the importance of standing with those who have been or are being abused.
"To the victims of domestic violence, molestation, sexual abuse, you can come forward. Do not be afraid. There are people who will stand with you," she said.
"And to people who have perpetrated on others and preyed on others, and acted in ways that they should not have... it is not funny and we will not take it any longer."
Miller's words are common in misogynistic circles. Men brag about the pain they inflict on physically weaker people to reinforce their power and control. To break this culture, those who oppose it must confront it.
While it is fine to write letters and put up posts on Facebook, sometimes your presence is required to bring home the point. Those who stand against domestic violence and against the remarks for Leslie Miller should have shown up in greater numbers to support this cause.
read more »
April 12, 2014
There are so many things that make the world a troubled place today, without any real solutions on the horizon.
Were we as human beings living on a planet that was flat, maybe we would be able to see more solutions. Unfortunately, the earth is round and we have to deal with many hidden deceptions. Meanwhile, powerful nations are making choices that are affecting weaker nations.
Haiti is still being occupied by United Nations military forces and that is alright with the western world. Now Russia is annexing some parts of Ukraine, but Russia's military actions are not accepted by western countries. The U.S. and its European allies are complaining about Russian expansionism.
Haitians are the only black people who were able to free themselves from slavery and create their own sovereign country, but it seems as though there are forces still trying to recolonize the Haitian people with the help of the United Nations.
And while the UN forces keep on occupying Haiti, some black academics and their leftist-leaning political comrades keep on talking nonsense about reparations for the slavery of African people in the diaspora.
If these black academics and their left wing sympathizers care so much about the black people's struggle, why can they not influence the UN to withdraw its troops from Haiti and allow the Haitian people to decide their own political future?
It has been claimed that some UN peace keeping forces brought a strain of cholera to Haiti that infected and killed many Haitian citizens and the UN has refused to pay the families of the victims as compensation for their loss. Lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. courts.
If the reparations movement activists care so much about the betterment of black people, they should challenge the UN and demand some kind of financial compensation for Haitian cholera victims. Unfortunately, it seems as though they are trying to put the cart in front of the mule, as they keep on making useless noises about reparations.
It seems as though, due to the fact that Haiti is the only black country that was not created by colonialists, the former colonizers are trying to rewrite Haitian history with this new period of UN occupation. And with this new brand of global politics affecting the sovereignty of third world countries, there is a possibility that the UN occupying forces will be on Haitian soil for a very long time, as long as those powerful influential western countries believe that their interests are at stake in Haiti.
Now that Russia is flexing its military muscles and annexing parts of Ukraine as a means of protecting its geopolitical interests and dominant control, the western countries cannot deny that their present role in the occupation of Haiti is also based on geopolitical control and domination. After France, the U.S. and Canada played a role in deposing Jean-Bertrand Aristide and putting him on a plane to Africa, without his consent.
It has been scientifically proven that the world is not flat, and we as human beings have to live our lives making choices based on good and evil. The choices we make sometimes can be deceptive.
History has proven that we make choices based on our environment. The choices we make sometimes affect other human beings, particularly when it is all about looking after our own interest withouts regard for those who do not share our political and moral values.
And being that our choices are made based on good and evil, we will never be able to unite and live in unity.
For example, religious scholars believe that God created the world and gave human beings these two choices: good and evil. However, the thing those religious scholars neglect to explain is: Why did God allow human beings to make choices, if he wanted a peaceful and loving world?
On the other hand, most scientists believe that social conditions and geographical location created the behavioral habits of human beings, especially when survival of the fittest became the imperative.
Now, it seems as though human survival has become a global dilemma, as superpowers move dangerous weapons to strategic locations, guided by modern technology, to capitalize on the resources that are essential to their enrichment and retention of power.
Presently, Russia has risen again after the fall of the Soviet Union. The new Russian leadership is annexing parts of Ukraine and absorbing them into modern Russia; and for some of us living in the west, it is political shock. However, we must always remember the world is not flat and human beings keep on making choices based on good and evil for their survival. So as Russia is grabbing a big chunk of Ukraine, the UN peacekeeping forces are still occupying Haiti.
o Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers.
read more »
April 12, 2014
Good Friday without a hot cross bun is akin to a sacrilege, so right about now, bakers around the island are making preparations for next week's run on the sticky treats for fans who don't have the confidence to make their own and those who, quite plainly, won't feel like doing it. Word has it that one of the hottest bakeries with the best buns around is Platinum Pastry Bakery owned by Chef Bernard Bodie.
The man who is known for tweaking his bun offerings every now and then just to keep things hot and deliciously tasty will, this year, offer a whole wheat bun - for the seasonally-spirited health nuts - along with his crowd-pleasing, regular buns. Both will have the signature sugar cross topping.
Bodie anticipates he will have to bake at least 450 dozen buns to satisfy demands, as last year's 300 dozen were not enough to prevent the crowds from beating down his bakery's doors. However, unlike previous years, Bodie will not be taking orders this Easter, in hopes of avoiding past problems with customers who had placed orders requesting more buns at the last minute. This year, customers are free to walk in and purchase as many buns as they want. He guarantees people will want to walk away with more than just a dozen buns for their Good Friday meals, as they're just that good.
"You can try everyone else, but I can guarantee my buns are the best," said the chef. "Our buns are so light that they melt in your mouth."
He promises that anyone who tastes his buns will be back, and first-time patrons will love them so much that they'll already be looking forward to visiting his bakery next year. Encouraging the crowds to try for themselves, Bodie will be offering hot cross bun samples at his bakery on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I'm the type of person who likes people to be able to try the product before they put their money down, because the proof is definitely in the taste, and if you don't like it you have the option to go somewhere else, but I guarantee they will be back once they've had our buns."
Platinum Pastry Bakery will open at 7 a.m. on Thursday, and will remain open until 8 or 9 p.m. that evening, to accommodate fans of the Easter buns, which will retail for $10 a dozen.
"As long as the people keep coming, we will still be here," said the chef.
A veteran of the pastry industry, Bodie worked in the kitchens of the hospitality sector for years before opening Platinum Pastry Bakery, six years ago. Since opening his bakery, his skills have made him known for swoon-worthy sweet and savory treats, such as his famous conch patties; "Off Da Chain" cake which he says people have to see to believe; "Sex on Da Beach" cake, which he says tastes just like the drink; the aptly named "Bodie" cake, a three-layer, red velvet, chocolate and vanilla concoction; and, of course, his hot cross buns. They're cakes he has developed in the last year and which have become top sellers for Platinum Pastry as well.
To try his hot cross buns or any of his best selling cakes, visit Platinum Pastry Bakery on Faith Avenue South (14th building on the left after crossing over Carmichael Road).
read more »
April 12, 2014
The Nassau Rowing Club (NRC) is raising the bar of the sport in the country. On April 10, the club participated in the 41st Annual Miami International Regatta, and made history once again by fielding the first female entry and the first sweep rowing entry from The Bahamas.
The NRC was the only international club out of the 15 that were in attendance. Their entry in the event officially made the regatta an international one.
The NRC is a non-profit organization established in August 2012 by six rowing enthusiasts. Their aim was to develop a premier competitive rowing program in The Bahamas for rowers of all ages, experience and fitness levels.
Alyssa Reid and Shannon O'Meara competed in the girls' high school double sculls event as the only novice level in the field. They competed against a tough field of experienced crews and managed to finish in sixth position.
"After our race, one of our competitors came over and said how impressed she was with our performance," said Reid.
Both Reid and O'Meara have been sailing for less than a year, but gained needed experience going against such elite competition.
Tanyelle Lowe coached the boys' novice coxed four team which consisted of Patrick Colle, Michael Mindorff, Luigi Charles, and Luke Pyfrom.
The boys' coxed four team finished fourth and managed to overcome a collision in the middle of the race that stopped the boat. The boys' coxed four team was also invited to participate in an exhibition race with the Coconut Grove Rowing Club, it finished second to Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, from South Florida.
"I am very proud of how our juniors performed, the rowers had one short practice in a disorienting regatta environment, with new equipment on a new piece of water, but still held their own against much more experienced crews.
"The regatta was an eye-opener. We realized we were at a disadvantage; our rowers are accustomed to an older configuration and steering system from a boat made in 1987," said NRC Head Coach Kyle Chea.
Collie, a member of the boys team, said, "Competitions like the Miami International Regatta show us how much we need in terms of resources and support to create a truly competitive program, but they also show the innate talent and drive of our rowers."
The rowers are excited to get back to training. They look to take advantage of the return of Stephanie Ricker, who is the head rowing coach at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She will bring a collegiate approach to the club, both on land and on the water. They are also excited for the new rowers Coach Ricker's Learn to Row program will bring into their squad.
The crews are looking forward to more opportunities to compete in the autumn and have their sights set on returning stronger, faster, and more competitive to next year's Miami International Regatta in April 2015.
The club is supported by law firm Holowesko, Pyfrom, Fletcher, as well as Club One Fitness Centre, Odyssey Aviation Bahamas, PCL Imports, SMG Cabinetry, Lyford Cay International School, and Sun Tee.
read more »
April 12, 2014
Coach Pattie Johnson has been an advocate of the promotion and development of women's basketball for the past several years.
Responsible for so many of today's basketball careers, her work with countless young girls has paid off, and her name will be honored during the seventh annual Pattie Johnson High School Basketball Tournament which runs April 14-18.
Anastasia Moultrie, the junior girls coach at St. Augustine's College, will direct and host the tournament designed to honor the longtime coach of the H.O. Nash Lions junior girls team. Johnson is Moultrie's former coach.
With Johnson's team being, arguably, one of the country's best junior girls basketball teams for the past two decades, Moultrie feels the need to enlighten people on the work of her former mentor.
"I want people to know more about what she's been doing, because, even if you look at the male coaches, as well, I think she has the best winning history. She has been winning internationally in her time coaching the national team," said Moultrie.
This year's event will feature primary, junior and senior divisions. The tournament will be held at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium, and the games will begin at 4 p.m. each day.
"This year I am expecting more competition, especially in the senior girls division. There are always a lot of junior and primary players but the senior girls is where we fall short," said Moultrie.
"There are always three or four teams in the senior division, but this year we have a lot more teams that have committed to coming, so hopefully they show up."
The Temple Christian Suns are the defending champions in the primary school division, the Lions are the defending champions in the junior girls division and the C.R. Walker Knights hold the senior girls title.
The idea of holding more games throughout the year has been a common theme among Bahamian coaches lately. They have realized that athletes develop more when they play more, something that basketball powerhouses from the United States and Canada have been practicing for some time.
Although the number of tournaments is increasing, the number of those open to female players is relatively small.
Women's basketball has always been relevant in the country, but has never been pushed to the forefront the way men's basketball has, until recently.
The improvement in the skills of female athletes was evident during the New Providence Women's Association, Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) and Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) games, this year.
They are performing and training at higher levels than ever before.
read more »
April 11, 2014
Game two of the New Providence Basketball Association finals may be the best game every played on the island.
Defending champions the MailBoat Cybots managed to defeat the Commonwealth Bank Giants 103-97. The Cybots came into the game with a 1-0 lead, and looked to take full control of the series on Wednesday night at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.
Eugene Bain was unstoppable in this game, he finished the game with 47 points and 20 rebounds, to go along with two assists and two steals. David Taylor added 21 points and five rebounds.
In the first quarter the Giants came out and looked to send the message that they would not go down without a fight. They found consistent offense in the first quarter by working the ball in the paint. They finished the quarters with a double-digit lead.
The Cybots were slow out of the gate; they committed multiple turnovers and struggled to find any kind of offensive rhythm. They missed jumpers that they usually made and seemed sluggish on the defensive end.
Gamaliel Rose was the Giants' primary catalyst in the game, he finished the game with 33 points and 18 rebounds, to go along with four blocks. He defended the paint well all game and made things tough for the Cybots down low.
In the second quarter, the Cybots began to turn up their intensity on the defensive end with a full court press.
The pressure defense forced the Giants' ball handlers to commit turnovers and allowed them to get out on the fast break. The Cybots finished the game with 16 steals and willed themselves back in the game. And allowed them to take a 43-40 lead into halftime.
Jackson Jacob came alive for the Giants in the third quarter. On several plays he drove the basketball into the teeth of the defense and finished strong at the rim. He finished the game with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and gave the Giants a spark that they desperately needed.
Without their usual starting point guard Michael Bain the Giants' offense bogged down at times. They made careless turnovers and struggled to bring the ball across the half court line when the Cybots applied the press.
Jeffrey Henfield has served as the point guard, but once he is taken out of the play things seem to break down.
The Giants managed to take the lead in the third, but in the fourth quarter the Cybots would turn up the pressure even more. Bain began to take over the game with his non-stop effort on both sides of the floor; he and Rose would trade baskets down the stretch but it would be the Cybots that came out victorious. They won the battle off the bench points 19-6. The Giants' bench was almost non-existent in the game, and they will need more production from them to avoid going down three games to the Cybots.
Game three of the series will be played tonight at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium, beginning at 8 o'clock.
read more »
April 11, 2014
Deandre Ayton may not only be the best eighth grade basketball player in the world, but might be the best player in high school period.
The six-foot-10-inch forward from Nassau currently attends Balboa City Prep School in San Diego, California, and has become a Youtube sensation over the past few months for his numerous highlight tapes and interviews.
He was discovered and brought to America by basketball coach Shaun Manning, who first saw Ayton at a camp in The Bahamas. Manning is the man that shaped the game of one time, number one ranked player in the country and current New York Knicks big man Jeremy Tyler. Under the instruction of Manning, Ayton's game will only continue to develop.
The 210 pound "man-child" is a stretch power forward that has the ability to play both from mid range and in the post; he has incredible leaping abilities, a nice shooting stroke and is an excellent rebounder on both sides of the floor. He is already considered a five star recruit at just 15- years of age, and received an overall grade of 100 in most of the top recruiting websites reviews.
"Ayton has shown the best long-term ceiling of any prospect in the 2017 class to date. His potential is truly limitless. Ayton's improvement since moving to the United States from The Bahamas as a seventh grader has been remarkable. His hands and wingspan are weapons on both ends and he's shown growth with his face-up abilities. Developing a back to the basket game is the next necessary step," said columnist for the website Future 150, Spencer Pulliam.
The thing that has coaches and recruiters patiently awaiting Ayton's high school graduation is the fact that he is still growing. The strength he has shown thus far has college trainers salivating over the thought of getting him in the weight room.
Ayton's first real test will come when it is time for him to play against more experienced and physical talents that are on the high school level next season. But even in his freshman year, Ayton's college-ready frame should be enough to prevent him from being outmatched as he continues to grow and develop his game.
Last summer Ayton was invited to attend the Pangos All- American Camp, where he was the youngest player in
attendance. The camp is an invitation-only event and only top nationally ranked players are invited. This camp has served as the springboard for many top past and current high school all-Americans, as well as a showcase for many more national players that may be underrated. Former most outstanding players of the past several years include National Basketball Association (NBA) stars such as James Harden, John Wall, and Bradley Beal.
The thing that makes Ayton stand out is his intangibles, and those are the reason he has drawn comparisons to NBA stars Kevin Durant and future first ballot hall of famer Kevin Garnett. They all are basically the same height and have similar movements. Though Ayton's game is not as polished as the three -time scoring champions, or as physical as the former NBA champions, the comparisons are a testament to just how good he really is.
read more »
April 11, 2014
ELEUTHERA, The Bahamas - Complete with a Junkanoo rush-out, a motorcade to the Wemyss Bight Park, a welcome ceremony, and school visits, Eleuthera's number one sports hero is back home, and once again, basking in the spotlight.
Chris 'The Fireman' Brown was warmly received by a most grateful people Wednesday evening at the Rock Sound International Airport, here in South Eleuthera. Despite grand celebrations following Olympic silver in 2008 and Olympic gold in 2012, this time around carried special feelings for Brown in that it was his first time home in nearly two year; the first time back since winning individual silver at Sopot World Indoor Championships, and he had the pleasure of bringing his wife and two daughters along for the ride this time.
Brown, who tries to come back home at least once a year, said that he embraces every opportunity he has to return to the island of pineapples, specifically the serene settlement of Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera.
"It's a great feeling to be back home," said Brown yesterday. "I thank God for allowing me to stay healthy and be alive to see this wonderful day. You know, once you get on the school grounds and see the excitement of the kids, it's such a wonderful feeling. It's a blessing and I thank God for it."
The people of South Eleuthera certainly love having him, and his presence back home is so significant that it was covered by local and international media, specifically the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) 'Day in the Life' Team, featuring journalists from The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada just to name a few.
It was just last month when Brown ran to the silver medal in the men's 400 meters (m) at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. He ran a personal best time to collect a record extending fifth individual medal in the event, a silver. Also, at age 35, he became the oldest ever to run that fast indoors.
Brown now has five individual medals at the world indoors, four relay medals from the world outdoors, and gold, silver and bronze from the Olympics. He was also twice fourth at the world championships, and twice fourth at the Olympics, and is largely regarded as the greatest track star out of Eleuthera.
It is in that vein that Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Danny Johnson vowed to construct and dedicate the Chris Brown Sports Academy in Eleuthera, at a cocktail reception on Wednesday night.
On Thursday here in Eleuthera, it was all about the school visits, and out of that, came a commitment from Chris Brown, through one of his mentors Michael Coakley and sponsor Adidas, to one-day construct a suitable track facility in the southern part of the island. Coakley is the local coach who got Brown re-interested in the sport, after he considered quitting at a very young age.
"These kids are so valuable to our future in The Bahamas," said Brown. "I'm looking to have an impact to where not just one Chris Brown could come off the island. Seeing some meaningful infrastructure here on the island is very important to me. It's a goal of mine to see something tangible created right here in South Eleuthera. I think that will go a long way in inspiring the next generation."
Also on Thursday, while at one of his alma maters Preston H. Albury, Brown through Adidas, donated running shoes to the school's track and field team.
In total, Brown visited five Eleutheran schools on Thursday - Preston H. Albury Senior High, his primary school Wemyss Bight Primary, Emma Cooper Primary and Central Eleuthera High both in Palmetto Point, and finally Governor's Harbour Primary. He along with his wife and two daughters were given the red carpet treatment at each one.
He is set to visit three more schools today - the Spanish Wells and Harbour Island All-Age Schools, and the North Eleuthera High School.
Brown's general message to the many youngsters on Thursday was consistent throughout, that is to always strive for greatness and never quit on your dreams, no matter how high the obstacles are that might be in your way. He also gave assurance that he has no plans of hanging up the running shoes anytime soon. At an age when most are slowing in track and field, Brown seems to be as strong as ever. He ran a personal best at the world indoors this year.
"You know when I hear out there that I am slowing down and that I should retire, that does something to me," said Brown. "I'm one of the most competitive guys you would find. The negative stuff just encourages me to go out there, by the grace of God, and keep producing the times that I am producing. I feel good, and I'm looking to go strong into Rio in 2016."
The 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Brown said that he might hang up the running shoes after that event, but he admitted that he could very well continue beyond that as well.
Back here in Eleuthera, the island's local hero also opened the Chris 'The Fireman' Brown One Eleuthera Primary Schools Track and Field Meet, at the Preston Albury Track, in Rock Sound. The meet, which will conclude today, features 13 primary schools across Eleuthera.
As for Brown, from the moment he disembarked the Bahamasair Dash 8 Jet here in Rock Sound, to the departure of IAAF 'Day in the Life' Team on Friday, Brown and his family were showered with gifts and affection. He is truly loved here in Eleuthera, and it was evident by the numbers who greeted him at the airport, the long line of cars on the motorcade, the fans who waved from their homes and on the side of the road, and, of course, the outpouring of love he got at the various schools.
Whilst this weekend is all about the return home of the pride and joy of Eleuthera, next month will be all the world relays, and Brown said that, along with his teammates, he is looking forward to coming home and putting on a good performance.
read more »
April 11, 2014
Cyclists from across the country will hit the road on September 13 to raise money to assist local orphans, but before that they'll get to party!
Over 150 cyclists and corporate sponsors of last year's cycling event will be treated to an exclusive waterside barbecue tonight at the British Colonial Hilton, hosted by the Give a Child a Ride Charity.
Registration for the 2nd annual Give a Child a Ride event will officially begin today during the exclusive event.
Those invited will also get a chance to meet one of the children their donations go towards.
But it's not going to be all business.
Latoya Moxey, marketing and leisure sales manager at the British Colonial Hilton, said guests would also be treated to performances by Visage and get a chance to win some prizes.
"So tonight's event will be about mixing and mingling and networking," she said. "We want them to have a good time and we want to show them our appreciation."
Moxey said tonight's barbecue, which will take place between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., is the first in a series of social events that are a part the marketing campaign ahead of this year's race.
The charity will also host an all-inclusive party in June, a cocktail reception on September 12 and a concert the night of the race.
The June all-white party will be hosted at Fat Tuesdays, which is one of the major sponsors of the charity.
Moxey said while the exact date is still up in the air, one thing is for sure, the guests will have a good time.
"It'll be an all you can eat, all you can drink party," she said. "And all of the proceeds raised from that will go towards Give A Child a Ride."
As for the concert on the night of September 13, Moxey said there will be a surprise international guest artist, in addition to other local artists.
She said more details for all of the events will be announced in the coming months.
As for the reason behind all of the events, Moxey explained that the charity raises money to pay the tuition of disadvantaged children.
The charity is currently paying for the private school education of two teens who are housed at the Elizabeth Estates Children's Home.
She said this year the charity is hoping to take on an additional two teens.
"We want to get the word out there that we 're doing it again," she said.
During last year's event, held on September 13, the charity raised more than it expected.
"We started with the intention to raise $10,000 but we raised $50,000," she said. "So it was an amazing success. It was incredible, especially for it being our first time."
Moxey said the organizers of the charity are hoping to build the event into the premier cycling event in Nassau.
This year the charity is doubling its financial goal from $50,000 to $100,000, Moxey said.
"It's a challenging goal but we don't doubt that we'll get there," she said chuckling.
For those professional cyclists, this year the charity is adding a race component.
The race will kick off from Pompey Square at 6 a.m.
Those interested in participating will get the opportunity to get a complimentary room once two people register. Once the hotel reaches its room quota, discounts will be offered to those who register after that period.
Moxey said the rooms will be available either the night before or after the ride. The registration fee is $50.
The charity is the brainchild of the senior management and staff of the British Colonial Hilton.
Orphans entering the ninth through 11th grade are eligible for the charitable donations.
o For more information on the event and ways to donate visit wraw.giveachildaride.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
read more »
April 11, 2014
It's pageant season and the Contestant Debut & All-White Party fundraiser of Miss Teen Bahamas International (MTBI) is just one of many events lined up on the extensive calendar for the twelve incredible young ladies in this year's pageant. Scheduled for April 11, the contestants will take to the stage in their first and official presentation to the Bahamian public at The Courtyard at J-line Fitness, Shirley Street.
Miss Teen Bahamas International organization has partnered with one of the largest and most reputable modeling agencies in the world, Major Model Management. Anthony Smith, the national director of MTBI, closed the deal a week ago with great optimism and excitement.
"It was one of the most difficult tasks in terms of negotiation we have had to do in years, simply because this is not something that is orthodox in the modeling and pageant world. Model agencies are not fond of pageant ladies and beauty queens and although the pageant community has been more welcoming with young ladies who are of the model type becoming beauty queens, it is rare that the two roads meet."
Considering there are so many teen pageants now coming up, what does Miss Teen Bahamas International offer that attracts young ladies to your pageant?
We have a comprehensive "Enrichment Program" that includes modeling classes, make-up application, self-defense, film production, communication and public speaking, health and nutrition and so much more in between. We want each lady to leave feeling empowered and self-sufficient. Our program offers training that will be useful to the young ladies long term.
Why did you include a modeling competition segment in your beauty pageant? And what are the requirements?
The same as the pageant requirement. Young ladies must be between 15 and 19 years. No children and free from criminal charges. There's not a height requirement. MTBI included the supermodel competition because I've seen lots of girls who have successfully made the transition from beauty queen to cover girl, spokesperson or runway model. It seems to me to be a matter of teaching them the right way to do it. Some of them find out later that the pageant world is sometimes a light step towards introducing them to the world of endless excitement that comprises modeling. After their introductions, many of them care very little about the answering of questions, judges interviews, etc and would much prefer to walk the runway, showcasing fine designer pieces.
What are the prizes for the winner for the Teen Super Model?
A one year contract with Major Model Management agency with locations in New York, Miami, Milan and Paris, and $10,000 in prizes including round trip travel to New York for a model portfolio shoot, cosmetic products, wardrobes and cash. There is also an opportunity of a lifetime for the winner to model on the international stage for some of the major designers. The opportunities and possibilities that come with all of this are endless. This is major for any young lady who is wishing to get a jump start in the modeling industry. She does not have to compete at another competition after ours for the Super Model spot. If she wins, she is automatically contracted.
Do you feel that there is a big enough market for models in The Bahamas to find work?
Certainly not, but that doesn't mean it does not exist and the push towards developing and acquiring work for local talents is not unattainable. I see many local talents modeling for local beverage companies, clothing stores, restaurants and jewelry shops. We have to simply be able to show merchants, designers and brands that we are serious about what we are and how we do it! With our training and guidance the vast array of local talent can receive the same value, if not more, with the beautiful resources we have here.
What is the next step for Miss Teen Bahamas International?
Along with our relentless and foremost pursuit to finalizing a four-year scholarship for our queens, we are always in pursuit of putting The Bahamas on the map by winning an international title, even if it does not come in the form of the young lady winning. It might happen by virtue of one of our former delegates winning Miss Bahamas and then winning the Miss Universe. But either way, pushing for our country to take pride in enlightening our young ladies and getting the best of what we have to offer here getting only the most excellent out of them in the pageant and modeling community.
What makes MTBI different or unique from other local teen pageants?
We are risk takers. There is nothing in the form of personal development, community service and pageant program building that I will not consider as long as it stays within the context of a teen and a wholesome lifestyle. There are not sufficient programs out there that are offering modeling, make-up, self-defense, film production, life coaching, social etiquette, personal communication and public speaking. We seem to have lost it. So, there's a challenge among young good men to find great wives because some times they might be smart, career oriented but not refined. No grooming or poor grooming can determine a young ladies' fate in the world, much like the story of Queen Esther in the Old Testament.
What advice would you give to young ladies who are shy and really don't like people staring at them?
Welcome to the real world! They will regardless. So make sure when they do the staring and the talking, make it worth it. Remember, you are a child of the universe and have a right to be here, and it is up to you to ensure that your value is not diminished by other people's opinion or perception of you, or actions against you. It has been my personal experience that the things that intimidated me most, or that I feared, were the ones that were leading me to my calling and my opportunities.
How would you rate your reigning queen?
Angel is a 10 all the way. We love her! What can I say, she's a teen and a growing young lady with lots of ambition and drive, and desires to know, learn and become. She has come a long way since the evening of her crowning, and she has her own philosophy and her own way of how to make things work. It's exciting to see that. MTBI encourages that. She is a true leader, highly and strongly opinionated, so we are proud of her accomplishments and her as a representative for our MTBI title."
When is the date of your pageant?
June 1, at the Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace.
oFor more information contact Miss Teen Bahamas International at 676-5156 or email@example.com. Check us out on Facebook at missteenbahamasinternational
read more »
April 11, 2014
As we all know, there are a whole lot of people who allow their ego to take over their lives and thus rule all of their actions, which so often gets them into serious trouble. When we allow our ego to reign supreme in our life, we really are setting our self up for some major trouble, in all areas of our life. Of course, people who allow The Ego to take over and thus dominate their life and affairs, are usually people with very low self-esteem. That's right, the people who do not feel too good about themselves deep down within their subconscious mind, are usually the ones who behave in a very egotistical manner. In other words, it's all about me, my needs and wants, and of course a person who is being governed by The Ego will be rather arrogant and loud mouthed, throwing their weight around all day long as they demand what they want from others in a most adamant and belligerent manner as they consistently turn people off from one end of the day to the other.
So often Politicians and Show Business People are Egotists as they endeavor to assert themselves and follow their own totally selfish agenda which is all about ME.....It's Me.....Me.....Me all day long and night as I desperately shout for and demand attention from others in a rather pathetic effort to try to feel good about myself, which in reality I do not due to my low self-esteem.
That's right, as I stated before on other occasions, as best-selling Author Dr. Denis Waitley put it in his book 'The Psychology of Winning' "Those who are always shouting for attention are really looking for attention due to a bad self-image". If you wish to really succeed whilst being at peace, there's no doubt about it, you most definitely need to take the instructions given in today's title seriously and thus 'Get You Ego Out Of The Way.'
In a recent lecture he gave on PBS television Dr. Wayne Dyer in talking about The Ego stated, that when one is allowing themselves to be run by their Ego, they are Exiting God Out.....that's what Ego stands for. You know, when a person is living their life from a purely spiritual perspective, they would never, ever become Egotistical in any way. A spiritually minded and guided person will at all times realize, that the success they're enjoying is due to the talents which God gave them in the first place, coupled with the daily assistance received from our Spiritual Father as He directs us to travel in the right direction in order to be able to finally reach the Promised Land. Yes, let's 'Get Our Ego Out Of The Way' and instead daily give credit where it's due, to God for all of our success and accomplishments to date.
o Think about it!
Visit my Website at: www.dpaulreilly.com
Listen to 'Time to Think' the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.
read more »