Nassau Guardian Stories
October 21, 2014
Vivienne Dean, senior manager of the Ministry of Tourism's legal department, told Guardian Business yesterday that boosting compliance training efforts involving the country's gaming industry is crucial in meeting international anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) standards.
Dean said that gaming compliance is increasingly important to the country following the recent first phase of the National Risk Assessment (NRA), a collaborative effort between the government and the World Bank designed to address the areas of the Bahamian economy most at risk for money laundering and terrorism financing.
"We have to bring all of our industries that are susceptible to money laundering and terrorism financing into a regulated regime. We're taking the right strides in ensuring the integrity of the country remains in place," said Dean.
The NRA is expected to produce a report within the next six months.
Dean's remarks follow her contributions to the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers' (BACO) annual MLRO (Money Laundering Reporting Officer) Day last week.
Dean suggested that know your customer (KYC) policies, such as reporting foreign exchange earnings, are integral to future compliance training initiatives.
"We will continue addressing KYC issues and ensure that everybody that has to deal with appropriate patrons is fully aware of the [AML] requirements that are in place," said Dean.
In a separate interview with Guardian Business, BACO President Shasta Treco-Moxey hailed the two-day conference, which included a pre-conference workshop on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), culminating on the second day with presentations inclusive of human trafficking, cybercrime, the National Risk Assessment, achieving compliance and an "ask the regulator" panel, enhancing due diligence and completing an STR (suspicious transaction report), among other topics. Treco-Moxey also mentioned that BACO is in the process of sourcing and implementing gaming training/workshops in the first quarter of 2015.
"We've been able to speak to different experts from other jurisdictions similar to The Bahamas in respect to the legalization of sports betting and other types of betting that were subcultures within their own jurisdictions. We thought that these persons could lend their experiences and provide a great asset in regards to assisting us with training in gaming," said Treco-Moxey.
Additionally, Treco-Moxey further elaborated on BACO's pre-conference FATCA workshop centered on creating effective FATCA compliance programs, led by Kellee Albury and Kristle Jeffers of Deloitte, stating many of its members have expressed difficulties in implementing effective FATCA compliance programs and readiness in absence of industry guidelines.
"These guidelines will further serve to provide a definitive direction from a country standpoint so that we are all on one cohesive approach. One such aspect is that of the self-certification forms which require approval by the U.S. Treasury from a country level.
"The difficulty that the guidelines' delay, the final approved IGA (intergovernmental agreement) and any subsequent self-certification presents, is that there is more speculation and concerns on what is expected of compliance professionals," said Treco-Moxey.
"While we understand that there is guidance from the U.S. Treasury on specific dates for implementation and for the most part, many business are working to meet those deadlines, one such element of the industry that raises uncertainties is that of SMART funds and their classification as deemed compliant/trustee documented trust," said Treco-Moxey.
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October 21, 2014
Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) Governor Wendy Craigg has stated that the implementation of a credit bureau would cost approximately $2 million, adding that she hoped the government would present legislation for the establishment of the bureau by early next year.
Speaking with NB12, Craigg further stressed the benefits of establishing a credit bureau, such as offering risk-based pricing to customers, streamlining the credit decision-making process and lowering local banks' exposure to high-risk loans in the hopes of lowering operating costs.
After two months of consultation, Craigg said that CBB will issue a request for solutions by the end of the month for private companies to bid on providing a credit rating service.
CBB Legal Counsel Rochelle Deleveaux said the bank would ensure that the bureau remains viable by employing the services of an international private credit ratings company.
The "hub and spoke" model would utilize an existing credit bureau company operating in other jurisdictions with an office in The Bahamas.
Guyana used a similar system when it launched its first credit bureau in September 2013 through a partnership with Iceland-based credit bureau CreditInfo International.
Craigg suggested in an interview with Guardian Business earlier this month that establishing a credit bureau would help curb The Bahamas' bad debt, which cost the country roughly $1.6 billion in available credit between 2009 and 2013.
"An institution faces a lot of risk. They have to start provisioning, writing off the loans, so that eats into the capital that should be available for additional or further lending," said Craigg.
CBB launched the Bahamas Credit Bureau Project (BCBP) in 2010 with the intention of establishing a national credit reporting system in The Bahamas.
The BCBP is designed to assist borrowers with good payment history with access to lower collateral requirements and interest rates.
Once implemented, individual customers' credit reports would not contain any historical data or information on loans issued before the legislation becomes enacted, barring borrowers with outstanding judgments.
Arinthia Komolafe, managing director of the Bahamas Development Bank (BDB), stated earlier this month that the establishment of a credit bureau is long overdue.
Komolafe argued that the provisions of a credit bureau would
benefit local financial institutions immensely and improve the affairs of the average borrower in the
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October 21, 2014
Up to press time yesterday, Guardian Business understood that the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's (BCCEC) board of directors had yet to announce whether it had accepted Chairman Robert Myers' letter of resignation, although the matter was reportedly due to be discussed at a meeting yesterday.
Myers offered his resignation last week following what he termed a "procedural error" stemming from a valuation dispute with the Customs Department over a Porsche sport utility vehicle that Myers imported earlier this year, which some in the media portrayed as an attempt to defraud the Customs Department.
Myers had no further comment on the matter. However, Guardian Business understands that the BCCEC's board of directors held a meeting yesterday afternoon to address the matter. It is not clear whether the meeting was specifically called to deal with the letter of resignation.
Myers admitted to making an error in the customs valuation of the vehicle and paid the customs duty on the full value of the vehicle as well as an additional fine for the error.
"It is clear to me from the media reports that my status as chairman of the BCCEC has caused significant public escalation of this matter by those who wish to discredit me. I would argue that the reporter's claims that I have been treated with any preference by customs are misguided," he wrote in his letter of resignation.
"If anything, I have paid a greater price because of my position in the BCCEC, evidenced by the fact that the files related to my matter were leaked to the press. Other than the leaked information, I believe that customs has acted appropriately."
Myers further stated that he did not want the publicity surrounding the dispute to discredit or negatively impact the progress made by the BCCEC and the Coalition for Responsible Taxation (CRT).
"The organization accomplishes great work and does so with very limited support or thanks. I am proud to have been a part of it and I wish the BCCEC every success in the future," said Myers.
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October 21, 2014
A key member of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) appears to have given a suggestion that the GBCC is doing the job of the consultants hired by the government to advise on matters related to the expiration of real property tax and Hawksbill Creek Agreement incentives next year, according to President of Creative Works Peter Adderley.
Adderley, a Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) license holder, said it is important that "this reputable group" dispels suggestions by "a key member of the leadership of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce that the chamber is essentially doing its job and the government would have been better off contracting the local chamber".
Adderley said questions had been raised about the transparency of the port authority.
"All things considered, [the GBPA] is a private company that has for years placed its licensee's particulars, fees and regulations online for public consumption" he said, adding that the GBPA has worked and is "representative of Freeport and Grand Bahama's proven and ongoing productive and dynamic wonderful story".
"While the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce paper presents a number of visionary thoughts, I have been constantly forced to remind residents that the document is the findings and proposed solutions of a few. The chamber's membership is no more than 10 percent of the GBPA's listed license holders and it is calling for an independent trust to be created with little or no clarity. It smells like potential chaos without the specifics," said Adderley.
The government and officials at the GBPA remain in dialogue as August 2015 approaches. Adderley is calling on the GBPA to remain focused and committed to what is best for all stakeholders.
"The Grand Bahama Port Authority is not perfect, but I have no doubt any and all objective reports will highlight the GBPA's strong operational and visionary pillars, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce's vital role and the need for all residents and stakeholders to be represented."
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October 21, 2014
Exactly a year ago, inflation was at an all-time low at 0.36 percent in October 2013. The all-time high was in November 1974 at 14.24 percent, with an average over the last 40 years of four percent, according to the Department of Statistics. Inflation is primarily dominated by government monetary policy and oil prices, as we saw with the 2008 spike reaching a crescendo in September at 6.03 percent. Strictly speaking, the implementation of VAT should not be inflationary on its own if the government adjusts its monetary policy and lowers other taxes like customs duties, but these debates are better left to the economists. Nonetheless, Bahamians are concerned about the uncertainty of pricing and costs of all commodities in 2015 which are bound to fluctuate in the first instance.
As previously discussed in this column, we know how seriously the law takes the average clause in property insurance policies - especially with The Bahamas facing hurricane threats year after year as a way of life. Adequacy of sums insured is always a concern for property owners, banks and of course, insurers. The only way to have the rebuilding cost of your property assessed is by a qualified professional surveyor in order to avoid the risk of underinsurance, so that you can be properly indemnified: that is, put back in the exact financial position you were before the loss.
Normally, the basis of indemnity when settling a claim is the rebuilding cost of the insured damage at the time of the loss. In the case of a large commercial property, six or 10 months into the policy period, the rebuilding cost of the building may increase due to normal inflation factors. Thus, sums insured which were adequate at the beginning of the policy period may not be enough to provide indemnity toward the end of the policy period.
Instead of factoring the potential increased inflationary costs into the sum insured and paying the full extra premium from the beginning of the policy period, a more economical way to expand the cover to include these allowances is to endorse the property policy with a "day one basis of reinstatement" clause.
A "day one basis of reinstatement" endorsement will not only address the aspect of inflation and escalation in rebuilding costs more thoroughly within the wording of the endorsement; but the "escalation" will be expressed via the endorsement as a percentage on the declared value at day one of the policy and not as a part of the sums insured. This will also influence the premium as the premium charged for this extension will be far less than charging escalation as a part of the sums insured.
When considering this basis of cover, it is critical that the sum insured declared at day one of the policy is accurate, therefore it is prudent to have a thorough survey done by a highly qualified professional. This declared value should include the cost of rebuilding the property including any costs such as demolition and debris removal; professional fees and any taxes such as VAT on day one of the policy period.
Once this base figure is established, your broker will negotiate with your insurer a provision which is a percentage uplift on the declared value to reflect the affect of inflation over the reinstatement period, which comprises the policy period and possibly a portion of the construction/rebuilding period which may or may not be concurrent.
In order to manage expectations at claim time, it is always prudent to be aware of the changing costs of replacement for all your insured property, whether it is construction costs of a building or the purchase price of furniture and equipment. Also, make sure you check with your broker about your basis of indemnity whether it is on a replacement basis (new-for-old) or if it is on a depreciated basis, or if there are any provisions for a change in costs over the reinstatement period including automatic increase in sums insured or a "day one basis of reinstatement" endorsement.
o Stephanie Cleare is a fully licensed and qualified account executive at Tavares & Higgs Insurance with 12 years experience in the Bahamian insurance industry. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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October 21, 2014
Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) has unveiled a plan to spend more than $1 billion on network upgrades in the Caribbean.
The plan is known as "Project Marlin", and through the project, LIME Caribbean - CWC's Caribbean operation - will see a major network upgrade investment of US$1.05 billion, a 30 percent ($250 million) increase in capital expenditure over the previous year.
Project Marlin is expected to bring island-wide Superfast 4G and 4G LTE plus Superfast fiber optic broadband to the 13 Caribbean markets that make up the LIME portfolio.
CWC CEO Phil Bentley is presently touring The Bahamas, having been in office for nine months, discussing recent improvements and expansions to the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) network. He revealed that $65 million will be invested in BTC by CWC through year-end for improvements and the expansion of network and product services, including fixed mobile conversion, IPTV, which is launching in 11 markets across the region, and B2B commercial customer solutions.
CWC's LIME Caribbean has already pumped $80 million into Barbados and is soon to complete the first phase of a fiber optic rollout.
LIME also invested another $20 million into its Cayman infrastructure; the money went toward investing in cables that better connect Cayman with the rest of the world.
The company has set aside $92 million for upgrades in Jamaica. Since April 1, approximately 126 mobile sites there have been upgraded with 4G technology, and this upgrade is expected to be completed by year end.
A total investment of US$44.5 million has been allocated to transform the network in the northern islands cluster of Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat. These islands will benefit from maximum reliability and 100 percent coverage of Superfast 4G and 4G LTE mobile and Superfast Broadband penetration.
St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Dominica are set to gain US$42.5 million worth of network upgrades, bringing 100 percent coverage of Superfast 4G and Superfast Broadband penetration to these island nations.
Martin Roos, LIME Caribbean CEO, said network speeds, capacity, reliability and resilience are non-negotiable for businesses and governments.
"As the 'technology backbone' of the Caribbean for over 140 years, LIME also has the best enterprise connectivity network in the Caribbean with 184 Internet protocol/multi-protocol label switching (IP/MPLS) nodes across 14 markets including The Bahamas and our seven partner networks. Undoubtedly, LIME has the biggest and most resilient corporate data network in the region. LIME has more of our network in ducts, in buildings and provides more alternative routes on and off island in case of 'drunk driver' fiber cut," he said.
LIME has embarked on a US$750 million major network upgrade investment over the next three years, increasing superfast mobile and broadband penetration across the region.
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October 21, 2014
The financial services mission, Bahamas Landfall: Destination Bejing, arrived in the Chinese capital on October 13.
Organized by the Ministry of Financial Services and the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), the event was part of a series of "Landfall" briefings and receptions held around the region which also included Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The Beijing event was well-attended by private and public sectors professionals from both China and The Bahamas. Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder addressed his Chinese guests on the benefits of The Bahamas' niche platforms for the global family, as well as its insurance, legal and accounting, corporate registry, capital markets and maritime services.
The Ministry of Tourism and representatives of the private sector, including John Lawrence, chairman of Bahamas-based Windermere Corporate Management Limited, also made up the strong Bahamian presence.
"This event provided an excellent opportunity for the Bahamas and China to further develop their collective interest for international commerce between the two countries," said Lawrence.
"China Exim Bank and China Construction Bank already have made significant investments into The Bahamas, and we hope these Beijing meetings will pave the way for more Chinese inward investment into The Bahamas."
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October 21, 2014
Foreign air and sea arrivals to the Out Islands have improved by 10 percent between January and July 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, according to the latest data from the Research Statistics and Scanning Units in the Ministry of Tourism.
The statistics, which were released recently, show that foreign air arrivals to the Out Islands increased by one percent.
However, in 2014, air and sea arrivals increased every month except March, which saw a decrease of 7.5 percent compared to 2013.
"Air arrivals increased to Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Cay, Exuma, Inagua, Long island and San Salvador between January to July 2014 compared to the same period of 2013," officials said.
According to officials, stopover visitor arrivals to the Out Islands between January to May 2014 were better than when the financial meltdown occurred in 2008.
"Stopovers arrivals to the Out Islands grew by nine percent between January to May 2014. In May YTD (year to date) 2014, stopover visitor arrivals were up from the United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, Africa and the Middle East," officials said.
In terms of hotel performance, some hotels increased revenue by increasing the room nights sold, others increased their average daily rates (ADR) to increase room revenue.
"Hotel occupancy, ADR and room revenue were all up for the Out Islands as a whole. Key markets like the U.S., Europe and Latin America were all up to the Out Islands. Stopover business from Canada to the Out Islands faltered between January to May 2014 as Grand Bahama appeared to siphon off some of these stopovers," officials said.
"But despite the challenge that the Out Islands have in reclaiming market share of Canadian stopover business from Grand Bahama island, the outlook for the Out Islands will regain the stopover numbers that were lost because of the financial meltdown of 2008."
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October 21, 2014
When you hear about cancer treatment, you traditionally hear about patients undergoing surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. You may even hear about biological therapy, hormonal therapy and anti-angiogenesis treatment. But what is often missing from traditional treatment is diet, exercise, stress management, side effect maanagement and caregiver support and training to assist with the physical and emotional needs of the patient and their loved ones, according to cancer survivor Dr. Kathryn DeSouza, who also happens to be the only practicing physiatrist in The Bahamas.
"We didn't hear anything about diet," said Dr. DeSouza, who recently went through treatment herself. "It's really important when you have cancer to review your diet, because there are many things that can actually make your diet worse; or even if you have a history of cancer in your family, may increase your predisposition to cancer."
An example in breast cancer, she said, has shown that there is a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer and that breast cancer survivors or people with a family history of breast cancer should probably either not drink, or limit their alcohol intake to one or two drinks a week. She also noted that there is also possibly a link with dairy and soy, ingredients that people should consider going without when they have breast cancer. The other nutritional aspect to cancer, she said, is that sometimes during treatment people don't feel like they can eat, and don't have a taste for anything and they lose weight and get weak. She said looking at their nutrition to offer some advice as to what foods may be more palatable to them is also important.
Speaking at the recent Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series on cancer rehabilitation and wellness, the physiatrist who serves as a liaison between the oncology team and the rehabilitation team likens herself to the contractor who coordinates the home restoration after the fire is put out by the fireman (oncologist).
Importance of exercise
Dr. DeSouza also cited the importance of exercise for cancer patients as she said oftentimes they lose muscle because they might have long periods in bed, may not be eating well or just might not be up to doing their regular activity. She said exercise could improve a patient's heart and lung function in cancer, as some of the drugs used in cancer treatment can affect heart function and some diseases can affect lung function. Ensuring that they get in exercise, she said, could also increase patients' endurance, which is important as it provides more energy to complete activities of daily living. Exercise can also improve a patient's mood, which is an important part of cancer rehab.
"Stress management... relaxation exercises, yoga are important in breast cancer rehabilitation, and are often not thought of when you think of traditional cancer treatment techniques," she said. "Lifestyle management is also incredibly important [because] when you have cancer and are tired from your chemotherapy, you need to know how to prioritize, what really needs to get done, and what you need to ask help for from someone, and what you cannot do. If you do not get the chance to mop the floor, it's probably not the end of the world, so you have to prioritize and make sure that you have the energy to do what really needs to get done and what's important to you to get done."
Cancer patients often have to incorporate rest periods into their day. And those people who may still be working should assess whether their work places can accommodate them needing to take breaks during the day, or not having to climb stairs.
The number of side effects from the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, she said, have to be managed and can often be easily done with interventions like exercise and physiotherapy.
She said one aspect to cancer rehabilitation and wellness that is often neglected is caregiver support; the focus is centered on the person with cancer, but the person who is taking care of the person with cancer also requires support.
Cancer rehabilitation is a process that assists cancer patients with obtaining maximum physical, social, psychological and vocational functioning within the limits created by the disease and its resulting treatment. It is necessary in treatment the world over, but even more so in The Bahamas where the statistics are frightening. In The Bahamas one in 10 women will develop breast cancer, and the average age of a Bahamian woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer is 42. In other countries, it's in the 60s. Twenty-three percent of Bahamian women also carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. And the person who has this gene mutation has a much higher level of having aggressive, early cancer said Dr. DeSouza.
The Bahamas has the highest proportion of breast cancer mutations in the world, and the most people with the gene mutation.
"Sometimes you're not going to be able to have your very best function that you had before cancer while you're undergoing cancer treatment, but you need to get to the best of it you can with your treatment. After treatment, you might be left with some side effects of the treatment. Our goal in cancer rehab is to get you to the best that you can be within the limitations of your disease or your treatment," she said.
The other thing that specialists in cancer rehabilitation like Dr. DeSouza to look at is the whole person. The physician said an individual may be a cancer survivor, but may also might be obese, have high blood pressure or suffer from cardiac disease.
"You might have been perfectly healthy, but now with your cancer, you've developed some of these diseases -- heart disease, lung disease, pain, obesity, osteoporosis (thinning bones), cognitive defects (memory deficits) inactivity, diabetes, weakness/fatigue -- all of these conditions must be accounted for by the healthcare team when we develop your program for cancer rehab," she said.
She said it's definitely a team approach to dealing with cancer. The team consists not only of the oncologist and the oncology nurse and the patient's family, but the physiotherapist, the exercise physiologist, the nutritionist and physiatrist working together to help the patient to be the best they can be. And she said it's important that patients' family members and significant others be active participants in the program and help them to develop goal setting.
"It does not make sense for me to work on having you climb stairs when you have no stairs in your house, and no part of your day ever deals with stairs," she said.
Dr. DeSouza said many patients with cancer have easily remediable but unrecognized rehabilitation needs. And that it can be something very simple that the team can figure out to help the patient make their life better.
As a physiatrist, a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. DeSouza's goal is to improve her patient's function -- whether they're an athlete with a sports injury, a construction worker who has back pain, or a cancer survivor who isn't able to go to work because they are fatigued.
When rehabilitation is needed
The physiatrist said a person may need rehabilitation when he or she is unable to do now what he or she could do before a cancer diagnosis. Other situations in which a person may require rehabilitation include: a change in diet and appetite; seeing a change in activity level or exercise regimen; having cancer and treatment affect the ability to work; experiencing the inability to perform daily tasks or recreational activities that were previously enjoyed; experience disruptions in the ability to function, including getting sleep, due to pain; developing an interest in building up strength or stamina; being tired and having a lack of energy affect the ability to function day to day; or being sad, worried, anxious or depressed and having those moods affect the ability to function.
The length of time a person needs rehabilitation, Dr. DeSouza said, is an individual answer; some people will need ongoing rehabilitation from the day they are diagnosed until they recover. Others only need a brief period of rehabilitation. It really depends on the type of cancer a person has how severe it is, and what the treatment or the disease has caused to become a problem in their life.
She said for cancer patients some of the physical side effects they may experience are only temporary and occur during or right after cancer treatment, but some are longer term, such as cardiomyopathy (cardiac damage from chemotherapy) and also peripheral neuropathy which is damage to the nerves from chemotherapy and that in breast cancer they often see a problem called lymphedema. If health care providers are not certain how to address a cancer patient's rehabilitation needs, Dr. DeSouza said they can refer the patient to a physiatrist who can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.
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John Bull turns pink for Inner Wheel of East Nassau's Pretty in Pink Party in aid of breast cancer research
October 21, 2014
John Bull's Bay Street store was recently turned pink to raise funds to assist the Cancer Society with its ongoing cancer screenings for breast and prostate cancer in the Family Islands, and with research, by members and friends of the Inner Wheel Club of East Nassau.
The third annual Pretty in Pink Party was attended by more than 200 guests dressed in pink in support of breast cancer as the store was closed exclusively for party guests for two hours, during which time the women enjoyed pampering, a raffle, champagne and hors d'oeuvres as they shopped all in aid of raising funds.
Breast cancer is affecting women in The Bahamas at an alarming and increasing rate. One of the best methods of beating breast cancer is through early detection. Similarly, early detection of prostate cancer saves lives.
"Unfortunately, The Bahamas has an unusually high rate of breast cancer particularly hereditary breast cancer," said Karen Carey, president of the Inner Wheel Club of East Nassau. "Our goal is to raise funds to assist the Cancer Society with their ongoing cancer screenings for breast cancer in the Family Islands and for research into the gene. Many of our members have personally been affected by breast cancer, or their family members have fought the disease. We hope that our effort will help many detect breast cancer [and other cancers] early which ultimately saves lives."
Carey thanked John Bull for allowing the company to host the society's party in its store and for its support of the cause.
"Since corporate social responsibility is at the core of John Bull's corporate culture, we were naturally delighted to provide the venue in support of Inner Wheel's fundraising initiative," said Inga Bowleg, director of business development for John Bull. "We definitely share the passion these ladies have for the cause as John Bull Group of Companies also supports the work of the Cancer Society of The Bahamas."
Additional sponsors for the evening included Bristol Cellars, Dolphin Encounters and Coldwell Banker.
Inner Wheel of East Nassau is a non-profit women's charitable organization that is affiliated with Rotary. Its events raise funds for several non-profit organizations.
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October 21, 2014
The most moving part of CIBC FirstCaribbean's third annual Walk for the Cure support initiative was the release of balloons that brought participants to their feet in a moment of silence and contemplation at the Goodman's Bay Corporate Centre. They also heard from Jason Knowles who spoke to walkers about his daughter, Zion's, fight with cancer.
CIBC Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen said she was proud to support the initiatives of local charities.
"For us raising funds is not just a community initiative; it is an imperative representing a fierce commitment that spans across our entire business," said Allen. "This is the third year for the hosting of this event and we are pleased to have more than quadrupled our fundraising numbers in 2014 to over $170,000 across the region," she said.
Allen said the Bahamian bank had collectively raised $31,454 in both funds and corporate sponsorship.
"To our corporate sponsors, we express sincere thanks for joining us in our efforts to build awareness of cancer which ultimately affects all of us," said Allen. "We are therefore humbled to have played our part in ensuring that persons battling this disease receive the necessary support to help them in their valiant fight."
Platinum sponsor, Sandals Bahamas Resort, was an early responder to CIBC FirstCaribbean's call for corporate sponsors; Sandals participated with 56 staff. General Manager Patrick Drake said partnering with Walk for the Cure was an easy decision and was in line with the resort's own cancer awareness month activities.
"Sandals, through our foundation, has always been looking to make a difference," said Drake. "We've worked with the St. Jude Foundation in the past and we currently have the staff in pink every Friday to promote awareness. If each one can help one that is what it is all about."
Walk for the Cure is a regional event with local iterations in each of CIBC FirstCaribbean's 17 locations throughout the Caribbean. The funds raised from the New Providence walk that had 348 participants will be presented to Sister to Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, The Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation and cancer societies in Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
Other event sponsors included Restaurants Bahamas Ltd. (KFC), Baha Mar, Atlantis, Colina, MPLaw Chambers, John Bull. Elite Security Agency, Family Medicine Center, Valentine's Residences Resort and Marina, Gippy's Printing and TriPoint Communications.
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October 21, 2014
Dancing is an art that involves the movement of the body to music and is an excellent form of exercise for the whole body. If you love dancing for exercise, whether it be ballet, hip hop, salsa, calypso, Zumba or any other forms of aerobic dance, you should know that dancing places more physical demands on the feet and ankles, and increases your risk of injury. In addition, the type of footwear or lack of correct footwear used during a dance session can also put the feet at risk for injury, as the various positions and steps performed during a dance routine place pressure on different parts of the foot and can cause injuries to the feet.
For example, ballet is a dance form that demands grace and precision and employs formalized steps that leaves most people in awe after a performance, but has anyone paused to consider the demands placed on the practitioner's feet and the possible injuries they may develop during performance or long hours of practice? Ballet dancers have the added risk of foot and ankle injury because of specific positions such as "on pointe" and "demi-pointe", which can add stress to the toes and ball of the feet.
The most common injuries seen in dancers may include:
o Dancer's fracture or fifth metatarsal fracture, which is often the result of landing awkwardly on the outer side of the foot or twisting of the ankle.
o Lateral ankle sprain, a common injury among all athletes. This may happen from landing awkwardly after a jump or twisting the ankle especially on uneven surfaces.
o Bunions (hallux valgus) which do not usually develop because of dancing, but may be made worse by wearing tight-fitting shoes and irritation to the big toe joint.
o Stress fractures may result from too much dancing or dancing for too long, which causes stress and weakens the bones. This most commonly happens in the second metatarsal and may cause pain and swelling.
o Ankle impingement syndrome is pain to the front or back of the ankle related to bone pinching the soft tissue when the ankle is pointed in one direction or the other. Over time this can progress to arthritis to the ankle joint.
o Trigger toe or tenosynovitis results when a tendon cannot glide within its canal, causing it to "jam" or get stuck. This prevents the big toe from being able to move freely up and down and sometimes getting stuck in one position.
o Sesamoiditis, hallux rigidus, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis are also common injuries to the foot seen with overuse and repetitive trauma that occur while dancing.
All forms of dance place unique stresses on the foot and ankle. While the level of participation varies from recreational to professional, dance remains one of the most physically demanding activities on the musculoskeletal system and especially the feet. The hours of practice in dance may improve strength, flexibility and balance, but sometimes overuse or chronic injury can occur.
Prevent dance injuries
Don't be extreme: Start your dance routine slowly and gradually increase the frequency, intensity and the duration of your exercise to avoid dance-related injuries and to safely and effectively partake in dance fitness. You may need to take a beginner's class before heading to the advanced as well as taking one or two classes a week first instead of taking a class every day.
Take the time to warm up: Always stretch gently and warm up for a few minutes before a dance class by doing light exercise. This will allow your muscles to loosen and warm up and be better prepared for the workout. You can also get to the gym a few minutes early and do some cardio, such as walking on the treadmill, the elliptical or riding the stationary bike to get your body ready to boogie down.
Cool down too: It is just as important to cool down after a workout as it is to warm up before. Your muscles will recover faster, reduce your risk of injury and you will feel better. This will prevent lactic acid build-up and any unnecessary injuries that might occur from tight muscles if you just walk out of the class and head on with the rest of your day.
Focus on proper technique: Proper technique is a vital ingredient in preventing dance-related injuries. Turning your body the wrong direction or holding a position incorrectly can instantly lead to injuries -- pulled muscles, strains, sprains and even fractures. It is important to listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right or if you have pain don't do it. Paying attention to your dance instructor to learn proper dance moves as well as ask questions about how to do the moves can be a big help.
Wear proper footwear: Before you start a dance/fitness class, ask the dance instructor for the footwear recommendations. You might be able to get away with using your regular running shoes for a while, but if you plan on dancing often, it is best to invest in the correct footwear to prevent injuries.
Cross train: Most dance routines will give you a full-body workout, but doing only one type of workout puts you at risk for overuse injury. Many injuries can be prevented with improved posture, flexibility and strength. Instead of doing only dance classes every week, a couple days of week add a strength training class, a Pilates class or another type of cardiovascular workout to exercise the muscles you don't use regularly with dance and allow the dance muscles to rest in between workouts. Not only will you reduce your risk of injury, you will also get fit faster and avoid burn-out.
If you do get a dance-related injury, it is important to take a rest from dance class and start on the road to recovery. It is best to follow the PRICE (protect the injured area, rest from activity and dance, ice, compression bandage or wrap, and elevate an injury to decrease swelling) approach to prevent further injury and help with healing. If pain and swelling persist, it may be time to see the podiatrist for an evaluation and treatment of any injury that is present. Early diagnosis and treatment of injuries helps to prevent long term complications and allows a safe return to your dance routine. Specific stretching and strengthening exercise or physical therapy may also be recommended.
o For more information email us at email@example.com or visit www.apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or visit Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820 for an appointment.
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October 21, 2014
Now some people who are chronologically advanced, who are getting on in years as we say, may in fact be quite annoyed by the question posed in today's title "Are you grown up?" But my friend, although you may in fact be chronologically advanced in years having been on planet earth for quite some time now, here's the important question. Are you in fact acting like a mature, grown, wise adult, or are you in fact still behaving like a small child, as you continue to do very childish things, day after day, across the board?
As I have told people in lectures and seminars, I know a whole lot of people who are indeed chronologically advanced who are still behaving worse than children, and I have also known many who alas have actually gone to an early grave, simply because they refused to grow up, thus they kept on foolishly repeating the same mistakes thus acting like the immature, childlike person they continued to be. Yes indeed, just because you are advanced in years does in no way correlate with being grown up, in the true sense of the word.
As we all know, there are some quite young people in the number of actual years they have been on planet earth during this existence, who are indeed very grown up, they are mature in their thinking and outlook and thus appear to be making excellent progress living their lives.
However, on the other side of the coin, so to speak, there are those sad souls whom we all observe from time to time, much to our displeasure, who appear not to be learning any important lessons in living and thus they keep on messing up year after year as they apparently refuse to learn the lessons, which life itself is endeavoring to teach them, so that they can mature and continue growing.
Yes my friend, perhaps today is the day for you to finally stop behaving like a little brat. It's time for you to stop being consistently stupid, and to thus make a decision to start to change your overall behavior as you vow to finally start to mature, as you cut out a whole lot of the childlike, infantile behavior you have been engaged in for far too long.
Yes my friend, today's the day to grow up, to mature, to mellow, thus finally starting to really enjoy life as you continue to learn, grow and become wise. Yes, there is a time to finally get sense, grow up and thus move on to a much more peaceful, satisfying and successful life.
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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October 21, 2014
One of the most important purchases you will make for your baby is the stroller. Babies spend lots of time in their stroller, so it is important to either transition your stroller or find one that is transitional from birth to the toddler stage.
In addition to finding the perfect stroller for your baby, you want to make sure that your stroller fits in with your lifestyle. Even the most seasoned mom has criteria that must be met, and all strollers are not created equal. Here are a few things to bear in mind when selecting your baby stroller.
First, you need to identify what your needs are. Are you looking to upgrade for every stage, or are you looking for a quality, long-lasting investment. If you are a first-time mom, and plan on having other kids, you may want to invest in a multi-functional, good quality, transitional stroller.
There are a few brands out there that do a really good job in their additions. They include rain guards, mosquito netting and even a bassinet for your baby's infant stage. This type of stroller is an investment and, given all the additions, it is not the lightest.
You can also get added parts for these high model strollers that include a stroller board that sits on the back of the stroller so that your toddler can take advantage of the ride. It looks very similar to a skateboard, and attaches on the back for them to stand on. You can also get additional seats that either attach on the top or underneath the stroller. These types of strollers are perfect for a mom that has smaller kids or the first time mom that plans on having more kids.
If you are an active mom who travels often and needs products to be practical and functional, you should look for a lightweight, sturdy, one piece, no-hassle stroller design. Functional and practical sometimes means giving up on trendy, bright and colorful strollers, but there are a couple brands that give you the best of both worlds -- a practical, functional stroller with bright, bold color upgrades, as an option. These strollers are often very lightweight compared to the bigger, upgraded models.
Your style and taste is still important to make sure you are getting a stroller that you like. Even though comfort and function is typically at the top of the list, if you can't live without color, you should probably look for a company that offers strollers that appeal to your eyes. With so many stroller lines out there, it has become relatively easy to find one that fits in with your style and taste while offering the upgrades and functionality you need.
Love and hugs!
o Bianca Carter is a certified lactation counselor (CLC), and founder of Bun in the Oven. For more information, give us a call at 601-6977 or visit us at the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza, next to Starbucks. Follow us on facebook at babybunintheoven, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit us at www.babybunintheoven.com.
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October 21, 2014
The discipline of mixed martial arts (MMA) is making a name for itself here in The Bahamas, and the Beast Mode Fight Team is leading the charge.
Featuring the first Bahamian female MMA fighter ever, a three-member team traveled to Palm Bay, Fla. this past weekend and secured three victories at the Real Cage Fights 27 event. Pierre "Snipa" Simmons, Kenny Neymour and female athlete Jasmine Wilchcombe were all victorious in their matches at the Space Coast Harley-Davidson Center on Saturday night. Simmons, who just turned 32 yesterday, won by decision over Devein Paulk, Neymour scored a technical knockout (TKO) over Anthony George, and Wilchcombe prevailed due to an injury sustained by her opponent. Wilchcombe's opponent Laura Johnson suffered a knee injury during a takedown executed by Wilchcombe, and unfortunately was unable to continue. The referee was forced to stop the fight, calling it in Wilchcombe's favor.
"Jasmine made history last night as the first Bahamian female MMA cage fighter, but she will not be the last," said team head coach Dr. Kent Bazard yesterday. "It was a great experience for all of the fighters. Congratulations to all of them. We are ecstatic that all of our fighters were able to pull off wins. Each fighter showed great composure after getting into trouble early. They kept calm, listened to the advice from the corners and executed as they were told.
The crowd was very friendly. They made us feel like stars as they shook our hands and took photos with us as we left the cage after each fight.
"It's great exposure for us because our top tier fighters are looking to go pro in the next few months, and the more fights we get in, the better. We are on our way to producing the first Bahamian MMA fighter trained fully and fighting out of The Bahamas," added Bazard.
The first athlete to see action for The Bahamas on Saturday night was Simmons. He was taking on a fighter who claimed to have over 100 fights. According to reports, Simmons was caught with an overhand right early in the first round, but responded with an onslaught. Midway through the second round, he began to dominate and pulled off a convincing three-round win.
Neymour, 28, is known for his speed. According to reports, he was caught with a blazing spinning backfist in the first round, but recovered quickly. Neymour finished off his opponent via TKO in the second round.
In what turned out to be a well-fought match, Wilchcombe more than held her own against Johnson. Both ladies were very technical. Johnson almost caught Wilchcombe in a guillotine choke in the first round, but Wilchcombe fought it off, and then demonstrated her own power with a vicious takedown. The fight was stopped due to an injury sustained by Johnson, and 22-year-old Wilchcombe was declared the winner. She became the first Bahamian female MMA fighter in history.
"We're extremely proud of the Beast Mode Fight Team for pulling out three wins," said Bazard. "They were so impressive whereas the promoters have invited us to return with more fighters, and we were invited to fight at other promotions by managers that were present."
Bazard said that they most will likely fight again at an event in Tampa, Fla., next month and then return to the Hard Rock Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in January. Sandwiched in between the two is a show in Tallahassee, Fla., on November 15.
Bazard and the Beast Mode Fight Team is pleading for financial assistance from the government, corporate Bahamas and the general public, as they continue to represent The Bahamas at top level MMA events.
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October 21, 2014
For the second consecutive year, Sports World Ministry is bringing its "Go Positive Tour" to The Bahamas.
Sports World Ministry, led by Dr. Ira Lee Eshleman, who founded the organization 30 years ago, which is now headed by Devon McDonald, is a seed-planting ministry which uses former professional athletes to share personal life experiences with students while challenging them with hope.
"Our goal is to help local communities to encourage, equip and empower the youth to make positive choices," McDonald said. "We tell them 'you are not born a winner; you are not born a loser, but you are born a chooser'. We do school events that last up to 45 minutes and we touch on relevant issues, for example, alcohol, prescription and illegal drug abuse, sex, bullying, suicide and dropping out. We speak in jails, correctional facilities, public schools, private schools and youth groups at churches," he added.
Last year, McDonald, a former outside linebacker with the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish who went on to play in the National Football League (NFL) from 1993-2002, came to town with three other professional players as the Go Positive Tour was introduced to The Bahamas. McDonald played with the Indianapolis Colts (1993-95), the Arizona Cardinals (1995-96) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2000-02).
This year, the Go Positive Tour will be held from November 24-27 here in The Bahamas. Representing Sports World will be Michael Cobb, a graduate of Michigan State University who was drafted in the NFL in the first round in 1977 by the Cincinnati Bengals, but went on to play for the Chicago Bears (1977-81) and then in the United States Florida League (USFL) with the Michigan Panthers (1983-84) and the Birmingham Stallions (1984-85).
McDonald, the captain and member of the Notre Dame championship team in 1988, has given his full endorsement of Cobb as he made his initial appearance in The Bahamas.
"Mike is a very special man. He is from Youngstown, Ohio and now lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife Sandy. He has been with Sports World Ministry for over 25 years and has spoken to over 3,000 schools and over 1 million young people," McDonald disclosed. "He not only ministers in the United States of America, but he does ministry in Africa and Israel just to name a few. We believe he is the man for this season in The Bahamas. We believe the youth will be challenged and blessed by the message."
Cobb, who was All-City in both football and basketball while in high school and went on to play on the championship team for the Panthers in the USFL, said he's excited about coming to The Bahamas.
"I believe it to be a great opportunity to be able to share with the students why it is important to make good positive choices and more importantly to share Christ, the reason why I know God birthed this ministry through Dr. Ira Lee Eshleman," he stated.
A local organizing committee, comprised of the Rev. Geoffery Wood, Minister Clinton Minnis, Jacqueline Bain and Brent Stubbs, have been meeting with Apostle Carlos Reid in planning a series of activities for the week when Cobb makes his appearance.
"I'm excited because we are dealing with a crisis when it comes to the development of young people in this country," Reid said. "To have a person of Mr. Cobb's caliber and Sports World behind it, I think it's going to be positive for The Bahamas."
Reid, who is involved in a number of programs to help curtail the scourge of crime in The Bahamas, said as a result of having Cobb address the schools, there will be an infusion of some positive vibes to motivate them.
"When we look at our schools, a lot of young people are turning to smoking, drinking and getting into the gang culture," Reid said. "I believe if we can address some of these issues, even if we don't reach all, I think it will go far in the development of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
While McDonald said they are accustomed to having their 12 pro speakers engage in about nine to 12 speaking sessions over a three-day period, they were blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to address the many groups that they interacted with last year. He noted that Cobb is eager to represent Sports World this year on a solo journey.
"They will be hearing from someone who honestly cares about their well being. I will try to connect with them through some more of my experiences, hoping that it might mirror things that they have experienced or will experience," Cobb projected.
In addition to speaking at a number of schools during his visit, Cobb will also participate in a "Go Positive Family Rally", organized by Reid, on Wednesday, October 29 at 7 p.m. at the Hope Center, next to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Among the special guests expected to perform at the event, which is free of charge, are the Gospel Boys, DJ Counsellor and ACL.
"We want to give young people an exciting time, but at the end of the day, they get an opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ as their lord and saviour," Reid stressed. "I believe that, despite everything that we do, we all have a common denominator and that is being Christ-centered. We want to present Jesus in an exciting forum where the young people will come in and hear from a professional athlete, who have his life together as we encourage them to go positive."
Reid is hopeful that the young people in the country will come out and support the event.
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October 21, 2014
Bahamian freshman at the University of South Florida (USF) Justin Roberts led a charge of four South Florida Bulls advancing from the first round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Regional Tournament which is being held at the University of Georgia's Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Georgia. In addition to the four singles winners, USF had two doubles teams advancing to the quarterfinals. Roberts came out strong against North Florida's Yannick Zuern, opening up a 4-1 lead before cruising to a 6-1, 6-3 win. The newest addition to the Bulls team figures to play a major role for USF in the spring as the Bulls seek to surpass last year's Top 25 national ranking and repeat as American Athletic Conference (AAC) champions. "I played well and I felt well," Roberts said. "He played a lot of serve and volley so I just kept the return low and played the pass a lot." Roberts, a highly recruited player last year, chose USF over perennial tennis powerhouses UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and Illinois. Roberts and men's doubles partner Oliver Pramming defeated Georgia's Peter Bertran and Nick Wood in their first round doubles match before falling to the University of North Florida's (UNF) top ranked team in the round of 32. The ITA Southeastern Regionals is a qualifying event for this year's NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Indoor Championships, set to be held in New York City, starting Thursday November 6.
The 2014/2015 Bankers Bowling League season will start on Thursday October 23. Organizers are looking forward to another exciting and competitive season with a record number of teams participating this year.
Australian Chloe McCardel is in Bahamian waters between Eleuthera and New Providence, attempting a world record swim. The ultra-marathon swimmer is aiming to surpass the current world record of 108 kilometers (km), or 67 miles, for the longest continual swim in the ocean in history - without assistance - and set the new record around the 125-130km mark. She is set to finish tomorrow morning. The current world record was set in 2011 by Penny Palfrey of Australia between Little Cayman Island and Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean. McCardel won the prestigious 46km Manhattan Island Marathon in 2010, swum six solo crossings of the English Channel (34km per crossing), including two single crossings and two double crossings, and set a world record for the longest continual swim in a swim spa. In June of last year, she attempted to swim between Cuba and the United States, but the attempt was thwarted due to several deadly box jellyfish stings. McCardel also coaches English Channel solo and relay swimmers, and is very passionate about inspiring others to live a healthy and active lifestyle and reaching their dreams. The last open water swim between islands in The Bahamas was done by Jeremy Knowles, when he made a 30-mile trek from Exuma to New Providence in 1998.
The Champion Amateur Boxing Club (CABC) will stage the 'Champ is Here' Amateur Boxing Show on Saturday October 25, at the Wulff Road Boxing Square. The show is expected to get underway at 7 p.m., and there will be a special shout-out to Ernie "The Androsian" Barr. The main matches will feature Don Rolle going up against Lorenzo Fertil and Lennox Boyce challenging Donavan Taylor. Other matches on the card will feature Emmanuel Rolle going up against Michael Roberts, Terry Rolle taking on Michael Gomez, Rodneko Mackey battling Wildmond Philippe, Shaton Jean challenging Lashawn
McKinney, Lamont McPhee going up against Bruce Hepburn, and Reggie Danlag taking on Habaughn Armbrister. All amateur boxers and boxing clubs are welcomed to participate.
The Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) is set to host the inaugural High School Tennis Championships, from Friday October 31 to Sunday November 2, at the Gym Tennis Club, in Winton Meadows. The tournament is open to all high schools in The Bahamas. By submitting an official entry, schools commit their players/teams to compete in the tournament if accepted and any subsequent no-shows will result in the offending school being denied participation the following year. Singles competitions will be held for under-18 boys and girls and under-14 boys and girls. Doubles competitions will also be held for those age groups and genders, and doubles teams may be comprised of players of the same sex or mixed. The school with the most total points earned by its players will be declared the overall champion in the respective age category.
The Baptist Sports Council (BSC) has announced that its 2014 Track and Field Classic, which is sponsored by Rubis Bahamas Limited and Buttons Formal Wear, has been re-scheduled to Saturday November 1, starting at 9 a.m. at the old Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium. The registration fee is $5 per athlete in categories that include five-and-under, 10-and-under, 15-and-under, 20-and-under, open and masters for both genders. Athletes will be allowed to compete in a maximum of five events, two field and three track events or three track and two field events. Interested churches have until Saturday October 25 to sign up by contacting either Brent Stubbs at 502-2363 or e-mail email@example.com or Ann Thompson at 325-4433 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has agreed to combine with the BSC classic, staging a few events for athletes wishing to represent The Bahamas at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games that will be held from November 14-30, in Veracruz, Mexico. Also, the BSC has announced that its 2014 Coca-Cola Softball Classic, which is sponsored by Caribbean Bottling Co. Ltd., will begin on Tuesday November 4, at the Bankers Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex. The opening match-ups will be between the defending champions and runners-up in the men and co-ed divisions. At 7 p.m., the runners-up St. John's will play the defending champions Golden Gates in the co-ed division, and in the men's division, the runners-up Golden Gates will play the defending champions St. Paul's. On Thursday November 6, Macedonia will play against St. Paul's in the co-ed division and St. John's will play Macedonia in the men's division. Churches still interested in participating in either or both of the divisions and the 19-and-under division are urged to contact Brent Stubbs at email@example.com or call 502-2363. The registration fee is $200 per team in the 19-and-under, co-ed and men's divisions.
The Junior Baseball League of Nassau's (JBLN) pre-season starts Wednesday November 12, and lasts five weeks ending Sunday December 14. The regular season is set to start on Wednesday January 14, 2015, and the league's official opening day is set for Saturday January 17, 2015.
The third and final session of the Mario Ford Baseball Camp for 2014 is being conducted over at Windsor Park. The session, which is conducted each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, will conclude on Saturday November 29. The objective of the session is to teach baseball fundamentals to boys and girls, from ages four to 15 years. For more information, the general public is asked to contact Mario Ford at 556-0993.
Mixed Martial Arts
Empire Mixed Martial Arts is scheduling kids and adult classes, plus women' kickboxing and self defense sessions. The adult classes will specialize in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Chinese Sanda, kickboxing and wrestling. Interested persons can call 376-9407, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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October 20, 2014
Two weeks ago, in part one of this series, we observed that, in the first half of its tenure, few objective observers would agree that the government has done a remarkably impressive job. We also observed that many persons believe that there is a general malaise that Bahamians are now experiencing at the midterm of the PLP government, with some expressing disappointment, dissatisfaction, disillusionment and even disgust with the present government.
In the first installment of this series, we discussed in detail the "landslide" illusion of the general elections of 2012 which saw the PLP winning less than 50 percent of the popular vote; some of the high expectations and poor performance of the government to date in several areas; unfulfilled promises by some members of Parliament and ministers that they will get back to their constituents on matters of importance to the latter; the poorly executed decisions and processes, including the web shop referendum; the feeblyframed debate surrounding the introduction of valueadded tax; the unnecessarily contentious debate regarding the constitutional referendum; and the government's welcoming approach to foreign investors as opposed to the red-tape approach given to Bahamian entrepreneurs.
This week, we will continue to Consider this... On the heels of what has been described as an electoral landslide, why are so many Bahamians expressing hate in their eyes and hurt in their hearts for the government's performance to date?
The disconnected class Hate in the eyes is visibly manifested by the "disconnected class" of Bahamians we are developing. As a result of our societal dysfunction as well as the abuse and decay in some of our institutions, we are developing a class of Bahamians who feel disconnected from the mainstream of social and economic participation.
For various reasons, many Bahamians increasingly feel that they do not fit into the society that we are attempting to build. Ironically, and frighteningly, this disconnected class includes both the dispossessed and the intelligentsia. On the one hand, the dispossessed are manifesting their disconnection from society by the proliferation of gangs and their participation in them because they feel that they are being excluded from mainstream society.
In addition, Bahamians who are recent recipients of college credentials and who have obtained work experience abroad, believe that they are disconnected from their homeland because of a sense that there is little reason to return home. Meaningful job opportunities and careers are non-existent or are not adequately increasing. Those that are available take a long time to secure and often do not pay comparable salaries and benefits as the jurisdictions where they have studied and worked.More importantly, in those other places, they can experience a greater sense of upward mobility based on merit as opposed to who you know or, better yet, who knows you.
Love for foreign consultants Professionals in many quadrants of our archipelago increasingly disdain this government's love affair with foreign consultants. There is utter contempt among many professionals for the consultants who are advising the government on the privatization of BEC, the same consultants who advised the Ingraham administration on a misguided and ill-fated BTC privatization that landed us with worse telephone service from the foreign owner, Cable & Wireless, that has ever been experienced from the Bahamian-owned and managed BaTelCo.These are the same consultants who were castigated by the then PLP opposition for the advice they provided to the FNM government, only to once again be rewarded with another multi-million dollar contract to advise the PLP government on the privatization of BEC.
To add insult to injury, foreign consultants were "imported"from Belize to advise us on the implementation of National Health Insurance. Most Bahamians are left to wonder what exceptional expertise these consultants from Belize have that Bahamians do not possess that has resulted in the government abandoning Bahamian consultants in this historically important exercise.
Bahamians are equally incensed and perplexed that the government sought the advice of foreign consultants from South Africa on gaming and the New Zealanders who confirmed exactly what Bahamians professionals were advising all along about the introduction of value-added tax.
No one would deny that sometimes there is a need to engage foreign consultants, but, when the PLP campaigned on "putting Bahamians first", is there any wonder why so many professionals have lost faith in this administration that has repeatedly sought to put foreign consultants ahead of Bahamians?
The Tower of Babel syndrome
Almost weekly, it appears that many members of Parliament and Cabinet ministers are compelled to speak in his or her own tongue, without reference to the message that the team is attempting to disseminate, at times even at odds with or in contradiction to the agreed script. Like the Tower of Babel, this leads to confused, mixed messages for our citizens. Building of an entitlement society
Many Bahamians are becoming increasingly infuriated as they observe the entitled few extraordinarily benefiting from their connections in high places. This double standard has resulted in an innate disillusionment in the society, its institutions and authority, which is already manifesting itself by an increase in crime.
Not too late to turn it around. Although the PLP's performance in government in its first two and one-half years leaves much to be desired, it is not too late to turn things around. But there must be a serious commitment to do so.
If Prime Minister Christie is truly going to be a bridge to the future, he must lay out a more clearly defined path to that future. That path must be unambiguously articulated with a few finite goals that can and will be achieved in the next two-and-a-half years.He must keenly focus on and deliberately decide to promote an economy that will equally embrace Bahamian entrepreneurial enterprises as well as foreign direct investment. He must educate the Bahamian public on the rightness of his cause regarding the constitutional referendum on equal rights for women.
He must reduce youthful unemployment. He must reverse the inertia that has created the malaise that has retarded the meaningful progress and development of Grand Bahama. Most importantly, he must get a handle on crime, and the fear of crime, in our community. And, it is vitally important to have his ministers speak with a united voice on the government's agenda.While we do not fully agree with his tactics, more Bahamians are coming to appreciate the traction that Dr. Andre Rollins is gaining in the body politic. Here is a bright young man, full of ideas and a vision for The Bahamas, but seemingly so frustrated by his own political party that he is compelled to vociferously voice that frustrations in the public square.
The PLP must realize that we are now living in new political milieu in The Bahamas and that neither party supporters nor the electorate are willing to simply embrace the party line or cow-tow to political leaders in blind faith, without such leaders articulating rational and reasoned explanations for their actions and policies.
Finally, Bahamians who are experiencing hate in their eyes and hurt in their hearts will increasingly demand of their leaders that, unless they are faithful to the people who entrusted them to steer us in the right direction, at the next election they will be sent packing. Conclusion
During the parliamentary recess, the government would be well-advised to use this time to reformulate, redefine and refine its agenda for the next two and one-half years, reframe its message and seize the time that remains to redirect its steps in order to reduce the dissatisfaction that has inundated our community during the past 30 months. Failure to do so will result in more Bahamians developing a more deeply entrenched hate in their eyes and hurt in their hearts which, if not reversed, will result in the PLP repeating its experience as a one-term government, which many believe cannot be in the best interests of the development of our nation.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
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October 20, 2014
Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells said it is "insulting" for anyone to suggest that he benefited financially from signing a letter of intent (LOI) with a waste-to-energy company back in July, and would benefit financially if he keeps silent over the controversy that led to his firing as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works.
Wells, a father of six, also said he has absolutely no concerns about how he will support his family, as he is a qualified mechanical engineer and strong in his faith.
"It is absolutely insulting for anyone to say that I was paid off," he told The Nassau Guardian.
"What I do, I do for the love of the Bahamian people and the love of the engineering profession. Money has never been my motivation.
"I got elected as an MP living in a three-bedroom house that I rent off Christie Avenue, and I am still renting. Nothing has changed. The Bahamian people elected me as I was. I was on my way to going to the bank to get a loan. I work hard for what I have."
Wells added, "I was making the salary of an engineer, which was $34,000 a year in the Ministry of Works, and I supplemented my salary by doing private work.
"My wife stays at home and homeschools my children and we did that from [when] my son popped out of the womb. My son is now 17.
"With me not being the parliamentary secretary, I go right back to making just about what I was making as a mechanical engineer in the Ministry of Works, $34,000.
"So why do I need to go out and do anything that's corrupt, to receive any funding, when money has never been my moving motivation?
"And if anybody suggests that, they should bring the proof, my bank records, my operations and the things that I have done.
"I challenge anyone to do that."
Prime Minister Perry Christie fired Wells last Tuesday, 12 weeks after asking him to resign. But Christie did not provide an explanation for the firing or details surrounding the LOI matter.
Wells signed the LOI with Stellar Waste to Energy Bahamas for a $600 million-plus project at the New Providence landfill. He did not have Cabinet approval.
Wells spoke to The Nassau Guardian shortly before watching his sixth child come into the world.
He said his wife and family lived comfortably and ate before his firing and he is not worried that, that will change.
Wells, who was focused on his wife and family this weekend after his son's birth, said he will speak to the LOI matter in time.
Responding to claims that have been circulating that he might have benefited financially in the whole LOI affair, he quoted Proverbs 16:8: Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest.
"I will go back to doing engineering work that I've been doing," Wells said.
"I've been on the cutting edge of introducing new things within the engineering environment of The Bahamas."
Wells added, "I handled between $30 million and $40 million worth of contracts when I was an engineer in the Ministry of Works, and not one contractor can come and say that they ever gave me anything to do anything untoward or that I asked for anything.
"Of the 262 contracts in the Ministry of Works I was involved in, only three of those were over budget. I have a stellar record in the ministry, my character, work ethic and performance.
"Folks know who Renward Wells is. Engineers know who Renward Wells is."
He stressed, "I have no concern.
"I was able to feed my wife and children [before politics]... When people talk about this LOI and me making money, I want folks to know that I, Renward Wells, handled anywhere from $30 million to $40 million in contracts during my time in Ministry of Works [prior to entering public life].
"The government of The Bahamas gave me the right to public and private work."
Speaking of the firing, Wells said, "I am the master of my own fate. I am no longer a servant [to the prime minister or minister].
"The good Lord directs me and, Lord willing, as I have always overcome, I will continue to."
Wells said he will continue to serve God and the Bahamian people whom he represents in Bamboo Town.
When asked why he did not resign when the prime minister asked him to, Wells said, "All will be revealed in time".
He added that, on July 23, two days after The Nassau Guardian revealed he had been asked to resign, he came to Parliament fully prepared to explain the matter.
"I was asked at the time to have a conversation with the leadership, before saying anything, before going to the House, and I obliged," he explained. "I did just that, and I have continued to do so."
Wells said he is proud of his professional record.
He said that while practicing his craft prior to public life, he designed four elevators for the government.
"I was the first to introduce permanent magnet motors and variable frequency drives to elevator designs in The Bahamas," he said.
"And the beauty about that is that they reduce the amount of energy that an elevator uses to around 50 percent.
"...I was also on the cutting edge of introducing mold remediation in government buildings to protect the health of government workers so they can work in a clean, healthy environment."
Wells is a certified indoor environmental consultant.
"I was certified by the board in the United States with Gerard Symonette back in 2005. We were the first to be certified. We went about the mold remediation design systems to eliminate mold so government workers can operate in a clean environment.
"I was also the person -- and my colleagues should be proud of this -- who in 2007 [then Prime Minister] Hubert Ingraham asked to take a look at the problem [of mold in Parliament].
"I solved the mold in there. I redesigned the air conditioning system in there. I put new grills in there.
"I took out all of those window units and put in ductless air conditioning systems in both the majority and minority rooms. I completely changed the look at Parliament.
"Folks who covered Parliament would remember there were window units. I redesigned the AC system so that no mold would come back in that building.
"So all my colleagues have to do is look up. They can say whatever they want. Renward Wells is an engineer who is qualified to do his work.
"I also introduced to plumbing design in The Bahamas, Vanex Pex pipes, for government buildings and even in residential building designs that I did and you can see all of the benefits."
Wells also said he played an instrumental role in getting the Engineers Bill to Parliament, which led to the establishment of the Engineers Board.
Asked on Saturday what's next for him, Wells said, "What's next for me is for me to continue.
"The good Lord brought me to this point and only the good Lord will take me from here."
The Nassau Guardian will report more on its interview with Wells in tomorrow's edition.
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