Nassau Guardian Stories

Forget the North Pole, shop locally

November 14, 2014

Pushing for more support from the community and government as they compete with cheaper, mass-produced, imported goods, local artisans with authentic, Bahamian crafts have been struggling year-round to keep their heads above water. With December rolling in, and many Bahamians planning to make trips to Florida, where they believe they may get more bang for their buck, local craftsmen are encouraging Bahamians to support their art-forms and the Bahamian economy by shopping for gifts and decorations locally.
Doing so doesn't have to come at a hefty price tag, nor does it mean being limited to kitschy or rudimentary items. Bahama Art and Handicraft and The Craft Cottage are two locations that specialize in selling 100 percent Bahamian-made, high-quality products at affordable prices.

Bahama Art and Handicraft
Opened in August, 2007, Bahama Art and Handicraft has been making a name for itself as a family-owned retailer dedicated to promoting local artisans. Its founder, Lou Moseley-Cuevas, a descendent of Founder of The Nassau Guardian Edward Charles Moseley, comes from a family long dedicated to the country's development. Discouraged by the lack of support for Bahamian creatives, she decided to open a place where everyday craftspeople could show their work.
"She was looking for a place for Bahamians to show their work because they're really isn't anywhere other than the straw market and they don't really have Bahamian products," explained Moseley-Cuevas' daughter, Luciana Hall. "Also she's been collecting and making art out of recycled material for probably 40 years now and she, herself, didn't have anywhere to display it."
Moseley-Cuevas' sea glass murals can be easily identified in the shop, which is also filled with the works of over 150 other Bahamian artists and crafts people. At the store, located at the corner of Shirley Street and Kemp Road, visitors can find fine art, locally-made teas, straw work, stemware, wood work, Christmas decorations and delicate jewelry made by Bahamian gold and silversmiths, among many other precious finds. Prices for small trinkets and gifts start at $6 and run up to $600 for high-end artwork. Bahama Art and Handicraft also offers gift certificates for those who aren't sure what friends or family members might want to sit under the tree, and many of its artisans are accommodating to those who request custom orders.
"We don't like to discourage anybody," explained Hall. "If we're not sure if a product's going to sell right away, we'll even take it on consignment to give it a try. We try to help everybody and we try not to discourage any artists, especially youth."
Still going strong in their mission to grow the Bahamian creative industry, provide a source of income for independent artisans and serve as a venue for showcasing the nation's talents, Moseley-Cuevas and Hall want to encourage Bahamians to recognize quality craftsmanship in their giving this Christmas.
"Bahamians should shop locally so the money stays in The Bahamas and supports our Bahamians. A lot of them don't have anywhere to show their stuff - that's what they're trying to live off of and there's nowhere for them to sell it," said Hall.
Bahama Art and Handicraft is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To find out more about Bahama Art and Handicraft, visit its website at http://www.bahamaartandhandicraft.com/default.htm or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BahamaArtAndHandicraft.

The Craft Cottage
Based on the same compound as Doongalik Studios, on Village Road, The Craft Cottage shares strong motives with Doongalik owner, Pam Burnside, in its mission to promote the Bahamian creative economy. Led by three of its original six founding members, Sosefina Christie, Rukenya Nash and Nadine Ramphal, The Craft Cottage has been open for nearly three years (its anniversary is in February).
In addition to managing the shop, Christie, Nash and Ramphal also make 80 percent of the goods sold at the cottage, with the remaining 20 percent sourced mainly from Family Island craftspeople. There is plenty to browse between Christie's jewelry, Nash's soaps and scented body care products and Ramphal's decorated glassware. Unafraid of testing their hands at new projects, they experiment with funky ideas and repurposed materials - think cufflinks boasting 15 cent coins and drinking glasses made from recycled beer bottles alongside classic straw work and cheeky hand-painted signs.
The cottage's laidback atmosphere means that visitors are welcome to browse for as long as they wish - Christie claims that most customers "have to go around this shop at least three times to get a good look". But the shop's attendees and artists are happy to assist and get feedback on their creations whenever visitors come calling.
"We are interacting with the public, so we're not at home creating and don't know what the public feedback is," said Ramphal. "We work based on that dynamic of what people love and what they say they enjoy."
The shop's original work has made a name for itself abroad - The Craft Cottage has been featured in travel publications and the famed New York Times as one of Nassau's top destinations.
"There's a comfort that you get when you surround yourself with things that have memories from your childhood and memories of Family Island life," said Ramphal. "You find that people, the further they go, the more they miss out on the basic touches, and when you surround yourself with natural fibers and hand-made things, there's a more personal touch. Things that, when you purchase them have a story behind them, I think those things mean a lot to people."
Shoppers can find stocking stuffers for as little as $2 and exquisite, handcrafted jewelry for under $100. Gift certificates are available.
The Craft Cottage is open Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To find out more about The Craft Cottage, visit its website at http://craftcottagebahamas.com/ or Facebook page, which is updated daily, at https://www.facebook.com/craftcottage.

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'Have fun in God's playground'

November 13, 2014

While the youngest among the nine people killed in a plane crash on Sunday was just five years old, his teachers at Kingsway Academy and its vice principal said yesterday that while they are shaken by the loss, they take comfort knowing that Johannan Parks "emptied himself" and knew God before he died.
During a special assembly at the school on Bernard Road, several teachers told students to celebrate Johannan's life, to give praise in the "midst of sorrow" and spoke about the need to walk with Christ.
Photos of the K5 student, who was affectionately
called "Jo Jo", faded in and out on a large screen, capturing the attention of parents and students in the school's auditorium.
Telling a story about an excited boy who was traveling with his parents, pastor and others to Freeport, Grand Bahama, Sonia Bain, guidance counselor, explained to students that Johannan went to heaven because he "answered God's call" during that flight.
Johannan was the son of BFMI Youth Pastors Lavard and Radel Parks.
They along with Dr. Myles Munroe, who was the founder and president of Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI), along with his wife, Pastor Ruth Munroe, BFMI Senior Vice President Dr. Richard Pinder, pilots Stanley Thurston and Frahkan Cooper and Diego De Santiago were killed when the plane crashed into a crane at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.
Officials said the plane left New Providence around 4:07 p.m. and crashed while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5:10 p.m.
The group was traveling to Grand Bahama for the Global Leadership Forum.
"They go on the plane and they get prepared and Johannan is so excited," Bain said.
"They wait for the plane to take off because you know they are going to Freeport.
"And so, they are in the air flying, and while in the air there was this ring like a telephone in the ears of the pilot, and in the ears of all the people on the plane.
"And guess what? This voice, this loud voice, said, 'you know what, I have another place that I would like for you to go, other than Freeport'."
Bain asked the students if they knew where God wanted the group to go, to which they replied "Heaven".
Bain said students who live a purposed life would eventually see their classmate again, and lost relatives.
Johannan attended Kingsway Academy for just over two years, school officials said.
He was an avid music and sports fan, who participated in numerous school events.
According to Jennifer Pearce, Johannan's teacher in K4, he believed in God and loved to learn Bible verses.
Pearce recalled asking her students last year to reflect on the bad things they have done, pray to God about what was in their hearts, and ask for forgiveness.
"We bowed for a few moments and when I opened my eyes, and I glanced over, I saw Johannan praying," she said. "I said thank you Lord.
"You know with children it is hard to tell because once you talk about things like this, even today, about trusting Jesus, they automatically raise their hands and say I want to do it.
"But the sincerity and the way in which he did it, I knew he was serious about it."
Pearce described the boy as reserved, but a bright beacon who was loving, well-mannered and gentle.
Several other teachers paid tribute to "Jo Jo" and his parents, who they said fully participated in school events.

Special tribute
Following several hymns and prayers about faith and living a purposed life, seven of Johannan's classmates took to the school auditorium's stage and each held up a card that spelt his name.
"J", is for the joy he brought to our lives.
"O", is for the outstanding student he was.
"H", is for happy times on the playground.
"A", is for always having his friends.
"N", is for how much he loved Ninja Turtles.
"A", is for the active soldier he was for Christ.
"N", he was never afraid to share the word of God.
"We love you Johannan, but God loves you best," said the students to applause.
"Have fun in God's playground."
Students peered over their seats and attempted to mimic another K5 student who performed a liturgical dance to "Take me to the King".
In the playground, K5 students encircled Johannan's aunt, Ranel Pierre, her husband and their two children.
They shouted "I love you Johannan" before releasing dozens of balloons which briefly blanketed the area with color before drifting out of sight.
Kingsway Academy Vice Principal Chandra Minnis said only students in K4 and K5 attended the special assembly to make it more personal.
Prior to releasing the balloons, students were told they represented their grief and pain, and when released into the sky, God would repurpose them into messages of "joy and love" for Johannan.
A notice board at the center of the kindergarten atrium displayed several more photos of the K5 student at the school, and elsewhere with his parents.
Surrounding the photos were messages and drawings composed by students on paper in the shapes of balloons.
Some depicted a family holding hands amidst white clouds. Others read, "I love you" and "I miss you Johannan".

"Emptied" before death
Following the assembly, Minnis said all staff, especially Johannan's teachers, are struggling to cope with the loss.
However, she said the young boy lived a life of purpose and died "empty".
"Right now we are experiencing mixed emotions, happiness, sadness and a spirit of fulfillment," Minnis said.
"We feel that although Johannan was only five years old, he emptied himself. I go back to the words of Dr. Myles Munroe.
"I feel personally that Johannan had emptied himself, otherwise God would not have taken him. And he has left a testimony here at Kingsway Academy."
Munroe often said during his sermons around the world that "when you die, die like I am planning to die - empty".
Another of his more renowned quotes was, "The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose."

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PM won't prorogue House before dealing with equality bills

November 13, 2014

Prime Minister Perry Christie said he has no plans to prorogue the House of Assembly at this time as he hopes to secure unity between the government and opposition on the gender equality bills.
"I can't prorogue now because if I do, I extinguish all bills before the House," said Christie in a recent interview.
"It could happen after."
Last week, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts said the House will be prorogued before its next meeting on November 19.
However, some government ministers said they heard no such plans from Leader of Government Business in the House Dr. Bernard Nottage.
There was also concern expressed that if the House was prorogued, the four constitutional amendment bills, currently in committee stage, would be killed.
But Christie said his priority is finding unity on those four bills.
"Remember, we left with a promise that we would see whether there is a greater unity within the FNM, after they have their leadership elections," he said.
"If there is division there, we do not think that augurs well for the success of the referendum. Gender equality is too important for it to be squandered by political division."
The FNM will hold a one-day convention on November 21.
"If there is any kind of indifference, I'm not interested," Christie said.
"I'm not going to carry something to the country where the political directorate is divided.
"If people can't see their leaders in agreement over something as basic and fundamental as equality for females in particular, then we have a problem."
The referendum was originally expected to take place in June 2013, but was delayed to November 2013.
It was then delayed to June 2014, then to November 2014.
Nottage said the vote was delayed after the Constitutional Commission recommended that more time is needed for the educational campaign.
"There is a suggestion that what happened in the previous constitutional referendum, when the PLP departed from the position that it had; there is the suggestion that, that might be causing some kind of problem with elements within the FNM.
"I don't know. But the point is I would respect whatever position they have. It's just that the government has to make a determination as to whether the Bahamian people should be invited to take a position on these matters."
In 2002, when the then FNM government held a similar exercise, the PLP unanimously supported gender equality bills in the House and then openly campaigned against them. The majority of voters in that process, voted no to gender equality.
The current bills before the House are intended to institute full equality between men and women in matters of citizenship and will eliminate discrimination in The Bahamas based on sex.
Several members of the FNM have expressed issue with the bills.
St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman said there is a "strong possibility" that he will oppose the fourth bill.
Bill number four would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex.
Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins, Marco City MP Greg Moss and Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells, all PLP MPs, have also said they will not support one or more of the bills.

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Outpouring of grief from around the world

November 13, 2014

As the nation continues to mourn the death of world renowned religious leader Dr. Myles Munroe, and eight others who perished in a plane crash on Sunday, condolences and messages of encouragement from international leaders and celebrities have continued to come in.
Josh Reinstein, the director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, said Munroe was a big supporter of Israel who came to the Jewish state twice a year, The Jerusalem Post reported.
"His faith and love of Israel was an inspiration to us all," Reinstein said. "Israel had no better friend and the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus was honored to work with him."
The Christian Embassy in Jerusalem said in a statement that "Myles Munroe was a key leader of the global
Evangelical movement with a big heart for Israel," and that "his tragic passing is a loss for Christians and for the Jewish people he loved".
Bishop T. D. Jakes, of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, said Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI) and those around the globe were impacted by "Munroe's love of God's word, his purpose-centered teaching and passion for leaders".
"Our hearts are broken," he said on his Facebook page. "We weep with all Christendom at this unimaginable loss.
"There are few biblical clinicians whose view of ministry wasn't enriched in some way by this tremendous bible scholar.
"His voice changed the way we viewed the kingdom."
American singer and songwriter Mary J. Blige asked her Facebook friends and supporters to pray for all families of the victims.
"So saddened to hear of Dr. Myles Munroe and his beautiful wife Ruth Munroe passing away in a tragic plane crash along with the pilots and his staff," she posted.
"Praying for the Munroe family, their church family and all the families whose loved ones were lost in this tragic accident."
Pastor Benny Hinn, evangelist and best-selling author, also offered his condolences.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the Myles Munroe family and everyone who is a part of the Bahamas Faith Ministries International," Hinn posted on his Facebook page.
"...The Munroes were long-time, dearest friends to Suzanne, the entire Hinn family, and to me.
"I ask you to pray for their family and ministry friends during this time of unthinkable tragedy."
Pastor John Charles Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the loss.
"We have no fear of death," Hagee said.
"Our last breath here is our first breath there."
A book of condolences was also opened at The Bahamas Mission to the United Nations in New York yesterday to "allow members of the diplomatic community and the Bahamian diaspora in New York to pay last respects to Dr. Myles Munroe".
The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C., said the memorial gesture was sparked by the numerous telephone calls of "shock and grief" from the diplomatic community to Bahamas United Nations and Organization of American States Ambassador Dr. Elliston Rahming.
"Dr. Munroe and I were childhood friends," Rahming said.
"We were born five days apart in 1954. Even as a teenager, Dr. Munroe understood his purpose and used his special gifts to maximize his potential.
"He was a towering intellect, a multidimensional talent and servant of God with global appeal."
Creflo A. Dollar, Jr., founder of World Changers Church International, said on Instagram, "Taffi and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife, Ruth.
"We send our prayers and condolences to the Munroe family and all families affected in [Sunday's] tragic event."
The crash was the greatest aviation tragedy in The Bahamas since nine men were killed in a crash in Lake Killarney in 2010.
Officials said Myles Munroe's plane left New Providence around 4:07 p.m. and crashed into a crane and exploded at the Grand Bahama Shipyard while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5:10 p.m.
The group was traveling to Grand Bahama for the Global Leadership Forum.
All nine people aboard the aircraft were killed.
Munroe, who was in Lagos, Nigeria, just days before his death, traveled extensively over the last few months sharing his message of leadership and the kingdom.
Nigerian Christian author and the founder of Living Faith Church World Wide Bishop David O. Oyedepo wrote a six-paragraph tribute to the Munroes, published on Praiseworld Radio, a popular Gospel radio station in Nigeria.
He called Munroe "a bundle of inspiration, a man of spiritual depth and insight, and a leader of leaders and teacher of teachers".
He described Ruth Munroe as a woman of "joy and divine radiance", who "[exuded] gentleness, love and care like a fountain".
"The two of you were swifter than eagles," Oyedepo said. "You literally traversed the globe.
"As you taught nations the principles of the Kingdom, you were both as strong as the unicorn.
"Energetic, untiring, never relenting, purposeful and focused."
During an address at the leadership forum on Wednesday, Myles Chairo Munroe Jr. said this is the most difficult time in his life, but declared that death will not claim any victory.
He said he will be a vessel through which his parents' legacy will live on.

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Prison officer arrested after alleged drug find

November 13, 2014

Police said a prison officer was arrested on Wednesday after he was found in possession of dangerous drugs at the prison.
According to police, the 51-year-old correctional officer was searched by officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit. They reportedly found $700 on the man.
Police suspect that the officer, who had just reported to work, intended to sell the drugs and that the money was from proceeds of crime.
The officer is expected to be charged today.

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Man killed in apartment fire

November 13, 2014

A man in his early 50s was killed in a fire that gutted his Warren Street, Oakes Field home on Wednesday night, authorities said.
The one-story efficiency apartment is located at the rear of a triplex building.
Superintendent Walter Evans, officer in charge of Fire Services, said it was unclear how the fire started.
He said the blaze was reported around 1 a.m.
"As officers were getting set to make entry with charge hose lines they discovered the remains of what appeared to be a man laying on his back," he said.
Evans said the home's "fixed installation" burglar bars, metal door and reinforced steel security screen door made it almost impossible for the man to escape.
The roof of the home was destroyed, its metal window frames melted and charred debris littered the ground.
Evans warned homeowners to ensure their homes have a viable fire escape, a secondary door or burglar bars that open with a key.
"We encourage people when they do install security bars there should be at least one window which has a fire escape," he said.
"In the event something like this happens, you are able to get out of the [home]. That is important."
Evans said nearly a dozen firefighters responded and prevented the blaze from spreading to two other homes.
Asked whether those apartments were occupied, Evans said, "From the information that we have [the occupants] were home and they evacuated."
The two other homes attached remained unscathed with the exception of smoke damage and blackened walls.
"At this time we want to offer our heartfelt condolences," Evans said.
Employees from the National Sports Authority (NSA) visited the home yesterday.
The Nassau Guardian understands the victim worked with the NSA as a custodial engineer.
An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death.

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Book of condolence opened in New York for Dr. Myles Munroe

November 13, 2014

NEW YORK -- A book of condolence has been opened at the Bahamas Mission to the United Nations in New York, to allow members of the diplomatic community and the Bahamian diaspora in New York to pay last respects to Dr. Myles Munroe, an internationally-renowned leadership coach and spiritual leader who perished in a plane crash in Grand Bahama last Sunday along with his wife, Ruth, and seven others.
The memorial gesture was sparked by the number of telephone calls to Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas ambassador to the United Nations and the Organization of American States, from members of the diplomatic community who expressed shock and grief at Dr. Munroe's tragic death.
Rahming said, "Dr. Munroe and I were childhood friends. We were born five days apart in 1954. Even as a teenager, Dr. Munroe understood his purpose and used his special gifts to maximize his potential. He was a towering intellect, a multidimensional talent and a servant of God with global appeal."

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I am proud of my party

November 13, 2014

Dear Editor,
There have been a lot of letters and articles about who should lead the Free National Movement in 2015 and beyond. Some of them are nice and supportive and some are tinged with a bit of dirt-throwing, but despite all that, the beauty of this upcoming leadership campaign is that a woman is running!
And whether she wins or not, I am so proud that my party is the first to have a women do this.
In today's Bahamas, women are still classed as second-class citizens in legal terms as we do not have equal rights for our children or husbands. It's a sad fact that successive governments have not changed this as of yet.
But, despite this and the negative comments made by some men and women when equality for women is brought up, I have not seen anyone say that Loretta Butler- Turner SHOULD NOT run because she is a woman. Of this I am very proud!
Entering "politricks" - as it is often called - is not for the faint of heart. For the amazing women, within any party, who have already done this I am in awe and totally impressed by their fortitude, but I am thrilled that the first woman to stand for leadership has been in the FNM.
Sure, a few men have started a negative conversation with me with, "Sarah it's not that Loretta is a woman," - which I feel is an unfortunate sign that the issue could be just that - but no one has actually said she should not run.
And in Grand Bahama, the stalwart men of our party all agreed that she has the right to address our party, as the current leader did recently.
Working in the FNM since the 1990s I have always felt embraced, no matter my color, my sex, or my opinion on a subject. Of this our party should stand so very proud.
Sure, I want Loretta to become leader as I, like many thousands of Bahamians, men and women, are keen followers and admirers of her tenacity, style and love for our country.
But no matter how everything plays out, I think all of us have won already as on November 21 we will make history for women in The Bahamas.
And of that I am truly proud.
- Sarah Kirkby

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A policy battle at the airport

November 13, 2014

Dear Editor,
There has been an on going policy battle at the airport concerning the refusal of airport / airline employees to take their cell phones through security and to use ramp side. According to the policy, only managers and supervisors are allowed to take their cellphones with them through security.
The so-called justification for this policy is that it is believed to prevent criminal activities such as drug smuggling, pilferage etc. However, in the wake of such a tragic event as the plane crash in which Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife and their companions perished, it should be clear that this policy completely handicaps key airline workers.
Yes, there are phones that can be used in the ramp offices. However, the truth is that those lines and phone don't always work. Nassau Airport Development (NAD) Company has been contacted on numerous occasions concerning this problem. I am sorry, but this is no way to run an international airport.
On the day of the crash which killed Dr. Munroe, I argued with security personnel (though it was not their fault) to allow me to take my cellphone because I have MANY numbers in it that I would need to call in the event of an emergency. The question arises, what if we experienced a disaster at Nassau International Airport? Who will have to die before someone gets the message that not every airline agent is a criminal?
Or does the prime minister or one of the members of Parliament have to die also before this policy is changed?
The policy punishes the innocent and the guilty. If someone is found breaking the law, then deal with that person, rather than making a blanket rule and policy that "throws out the baby with the bath water".
I submit to you that The Bahamas is not equipped to deal with a major airline disaster. With policies like these, our hands are tied.
Sure, some would use their cellphones to gossip about what just happened, but there are those who truly would use them to bring attention to an emergency in an effort to try and help.
In my view, there aren't even enough ambulances at the airport to deal with a large aircraft disaster. But that itself is another story.
May God give our leaders wisdom when making policies and laws that affect us all.
- Andy Ferguson

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Paying lip service to competition

November 13, 2014

In the face of frequent dropped calls, lack of signal and other indicators of chronically poor service, it seems the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) will maintain its lucrative monopoly on cellular services for nearly a year-and-a-half longer than originally envisioned.
Prime Minister Perry Christie announced this week that the government has begun the process of selecting a second mobile service provider - a full seven months after BTC's monopoly officially came to an end - and that he expects a license to be awarded by the end of next year.
In making the announcement, Christie said: "While my government recognizes the Bahamas Telecommunications Company's efforts to continuously modernize its cellular services offerings here in The Bahamas, we nonetheless consider that in order to enable all Bahamians to benefit from, and participate in, an intensely integrated global economy, it is critical that access to mobile and broadband technology becomes more affordable and accessible in our society. Inevitably, competition in the provision of cellular mobile services will bring The Bahamas another step closer to making these goals reality."
Indeed, the positive effects of impending competition are already becoming clear. BTC has just announced a much-needed $65 million network upgrade. However, for all of Christie's stated enthusiasm for competition in the telecoms sector, he has yet to adequately explain how this year-and-a-half delay came about in the first place.
Just after the BTC monopoly was due to end in April, the prime minister made a vague attempt to blame the delay on the former Free National Movement (FNM) government.
He said: "The evidence is clear, supported by the record, that the intention at the time the 51 percent was negotiated and agreed was to ensure that the issue of competition in cellular mobile services was so legislated that competition would be unequivocally denied to Bahamians de jure until April 2014 and de facto until, essentially, 2015; having regard to the logistics for introducing competition."
Yet six months on, none of this evidence, which Christie claimed was so clear, has been offered to the public. As far as we know, the monopoly ended in April, and that should have been that.
Responding at the time, Shadow Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said: "I find it hard to believe that the government would have been restrained from setting up the framework such that on the day of the expiration of the monopoly it could not immediately issue whatever request for proposals (RFP) it wanted to solicit investment in the sector."
According to Turnquest, Christie and his team "just weren't ready" and are seeking to cover their tracks.
This is a possibility. At the same time, cynics will note the much closer relationship between the Christie administration and BTC's owners since the government's farcical "buy-back" at the beginning of the year, which still left CWC as the majority shareholder.
Either way, while lip service is being paid to competition, the rest of us will just have to go on dealing with the daily inconvenience and frustration of poor cellular service. It seems we have no choice.

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Smith resigns as NPVA president

November 13, 2014

The top two executives in the New Providence Volleyball Association (NPVA) have officially resigned from their positions.
Former President Devince Smith and First Vice-President Margaret 'Muggy' Albury were re-elected to serve two-year terms back in 2013, but because of a number of ongoing conflicts within the association, both have decided not to finish the remainder of their terms in office.
"I really want everyone to know that my decision was not based on the outcome of the last meeting," said Smith. "This is something that I have been contemplating for a while, because the feuds have been going on for some time now, and recently I accepted a more senior role at my current job. So I have to put more time into my profession and personal career.
"Both of us have put in some eight-plus years as president and first vice-president respectively. As much as possible we tried to abide by our constitution, and would host annual management committee meetings, and it is discouraging sometimes when something doesn't turn out in a club's favor, because they would then get together, form groups and come to community meetings and overrule what was originally stated."
Smith is currently the vice president of the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) and head coach of the Scotiabank Defenders of the NPVA, but with all of the turmoil surrounding his resignation, Smith is contemplating resigning as a head coach as well.
"The league does not respect its constitution. And that makes me wonder if I want my team to still be a part of this," he said. "If teams can always get together and overrule the constitution in their best interest it makes it tough.
"I want to be a part of an organization that I can be comfortable with, and one that I know stands by the constitution no matter what."
Smith said that he will now turn his full attention to the BVF, and will work to ensure that national teams are always at their best.
The men's national team will take part in the 22nd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Volleyball championships that will be held in Veracruz, Mexico and begin on Tuesday, November 25.
The vice president of the BVF noted that the team is as prepared as it can be, given the number of obstacles that it had to overcome.
"As usual we have been having trouble with practice facilities," Smith said. "I want to thank coach Kevin 'KJ' Johnson from C.I. Gibson, he has been very generous in allowing us some practice time in the school's facility.
"We are still having challenges with the national stadium. We tried to practice there one day this week, but the supervisor of the facility kicked us out, and I think it's like there's no respect for the national team, especially preparing for a competition like the CAC. We will be looking to leave on the 21st to try and get some practice in prior to the commencement of men's volleyball, because they will be the true tests for us."
One of the other hurdles they had to get past was the injury to team setter Tony Simon.
"Simon has been the team's starting setter for the past few years, and he has assisted in getting the team to this level, but we cannot look back and cry over that," said Smith. "What we have done, is we have moved Renaldo Knowles, a universal player who is also a good setter into that position. We also have Gage Smith, a young player who won best setter at the Junior Caribbean Volleyball Championships (CVC) championships."
Men's volleyball will be the only team sport that The Bahamas will be represented in at the 2014 CAC Games. It will also be the largest tournament that the team has ever played in.

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Giants win second in a row

November 13, 2014

The defending champions Commonwealth Bank Giants looked to come in and make a statement against their former team captain Gamaliel 'Chameleons' Rose and his new squad The Patron Regulators on Wednesday night, and they did just that.
The Giants made several clutch baskets down the stretch to hang on for the 92-87 overtime victory and their second win in two games at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.
Michael Bain finished the game with 17 points to lead the way for the Giants. Patrick Brice came off the bench to add 14, and Jeffery Henfield chipped in with 12.
Kenneth Pratt scored 24 points for the Regulators, and Rose added 19 points, eight rebounds and six steals.
Both teams came out of the gates strong and shot similar percentages from the field.
The clubs traded leads throughout most of the first half, as no one could string together consistent baskets to pull away.
The Regulators shot just 6-33 from behind the three-point line, but managed to stay in the game by creating points from turnovers, and converting on baskets in the low post.
In the third period, the Giants turned up the dial on the offensive end and torched the Regulators for 31 points in the quarter, which allowed them to take a 68-51 lead.
With the game on the verge of turning into a blowout, Pratt and Rose came up big for the Regulators on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter.
Rose made key stops on the defensive end, while Pratt's hot shooting continued. They attacked the paint consistently and managed to outscore the Giants 28-11 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
In the extra period Bain would score on a number of go-ahead baskets to give the Giants the lead, and seal the game with clutch free throws in the final seconds of overtime.
The Giants will be in action again on Saturday night when they take on the Double R. Services Ltd. Cleaners at the A.F. Adderley gym. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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NFL Week 11

November 13, 2014

Sheldon's picks

SHELDON LONGLEY
Guardian Sports Editor
slongley@nasguard.com
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 91-55-1
(DEFENDING CHAMPION)

WEEK 11
(Byes: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and N.Y. Jets)

Thursday's game
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m.
As mentioned on nfl.com this week, the Dolphins are at a crossroads. Win this game, and there's still a chance at the playoffs, lose and their playoff chances would be in serious jeopardy. The Dolphins need the team that blanked the Chargers two weeks ago to show up on this night and restore faith in their fan base. Both defensive fronts will be on display in this one - the Bills have arguably the best front four in the league, and the Fins are top five in my opinion. At the end of the day, constant pressure, special teams play and some home cooking will be too much for the Bills to overcome.
Dolphins 20, Bills 16

Sunday's games
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
This Bears team just might be the biggest underachiever, as far as teams are concerned, this season. I think it's too late for them to make a run at the playoffs, but at least they could right the ship and head in a positive direction going into next year. Even the lowly Vikings, who these Bears will be hosting on Sunday, have a better record. With a number of high-profile defensive players facing free agency after this season, the Bears might be forced to re-build. Be that as it may, I expect them to exhibit some sort of pride and finish the season strong.
Bears 23, Vikings 16

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Speaking of underachievers, both of these teams have come short of their expectations this season. The Panthers, in particular, have looked awful in recent weeks. I don't know if I trust the Falcons to go on the road two weeks back-to-back and get divisional wins though. This is like picking the lesser of two evils. At the end of the day, I think Cam Newton and the Panthers will rise to the occasion and get a much needed win. Really and truly, flip a coin on this one though.... anything goes.
Panthers 24, Falcons 23

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Don't look now, but the Browns are in first place in the American Football Conference's (AFC) North division and are poised to make a serious run at the playoffs, especially with the imminent return of Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon. Brian Hoyer has been one of the pleasant surprises this season. With his steady play, the six-year pro has kept the more popular Johnny "Football" off the field. The Browns can't afford to slip now. They have three teams breathing down their necks in that division. J.J. Watt and the Texans will bring the pressure, but Hoyer and the Browns will persevere and get a big win in "The Dog Pound".
Browns 24, Texans 20

Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
When asked about his thoughts of the Browns after getting pasted by them last Thursday night, Bengals' running back Jeremy Hill said, "they're probably worse than I thought, to be honest with you." I wonder what he'll say after they fall to the Saints this week. The Saints suffered a minor setback with that home loss to the Niners last week, but they're still in first place in their division, and pretty potent at home. Both of these teams have struggled on the defensive side of the ball this season. The Saints put up 24 points on the number two defense last week, so they should crack 30 points against the 30th ranked Bengals' defense this week.
Saints 34, Bengals 30

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
I'll keep this one short and simple. The Bucs couldn't beat the under-achieving Falcons at home, so I doubt they'll be able to handle the Redskins on the road, especially with the 'Skins coming off a bye. This Redskins team has RG3 back, so expect them to make a late run in the National Football Conference's (NFC) East division. They still won't catch the Eagles and Cowboys, but at least they'll make it entertaining.
Redskins 30, Buccaneers 20

Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.
The upset-minded Rams get quarterback Shaun Hill back this week, but with the way Austin Davis played in replace of him, they might be better off leaving it as is. Either way, they won't be able to contend with the Broncos this week. Peyton Manning and company are looking to hold off the Chiefs and Chargers in their division, and continue to chase the Pats for the top spot in the AFC. Neither task will be easy, but Sunday's victory over the Rams should be.
Broncos 37, Rams 16

San Francisco 49ers at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.
The Niners get Aldon Smith back this week, but now perennial pro bowler Patrick Willis is done for the season. Also, they're still without the talented NaVorro Bowman. Needless to say, their linebacker core is ailing and depleted. Still, I think they'll get after Eli Manning and the Giants this week. The Niners' defense is seventh against the run, fifth against the pass and second overall. Also, with Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde and even Colin Kaepernick running the ball aggressively, they've gotten back to what they're best at, which is smash mouth football. Playing at home in MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands won't be enough to save the G-men this week.
49ers 23, Giants 20

Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
By now, everyone should know I feel about west coast teams playing early games out east. It hardly ever turns out well for them.... just ask the Chargers about their encounter in Miami. The Seahawks still have aspirations of catching the Cards in the NFC West, but when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City this week, they'll encounter an outdoor arena that is noisier than their own CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The Chiefs will ride the momentum of their crowd to a big win over the defending Super Bowl Champs.
Chiefs 27, Seahawks 24

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m.
The Raiders picked the worst time to run into the Chargers - they're fired up after coming off an embarrassing 37-0 loss to the Dolphins in their last game, they're well rested after their bye week, and they're back at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego where they've only lost once this season. After dropping three straight games, I think the Chargers will be rejuvenated coming off their bye and easily take care of the visiting Raiders.
Chargers 33, Raiders 19

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Cardinals' quarterback Carson Palmer is done for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) but back-up Drew Stanton has played well in relief. He's 2-1 as a starter this season, and the Cards are undefeated at home. The Lions know how to get after the quarterback though. Led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Lions have one of the better defensive fronts in football. They're number one in the league in overall defense. The Cards are formidable at home, but I'll go with defense over offense all day every day.
Lions 17, Cardinals 16

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Believe it or not, Mark "Butt Fumbler" Sanchez has restored faith in the Eagles after they lost Nick Foles for what should be the remainder of the regular season. The Eagles are playing well on both sides of the ball, but to go into Lambeau and get a win against the Packers is a tall order. I have to go with the more seasoned quarterback in this match-up. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best gun slinger in the league. He had an NFL record tying six touchdown passes in the first half against the Bears last week. With that type of production, even the high-flying Eagles won't be able to keep up with the Pack.
Packers 31, Eagles 28

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts, 8:30 p.m.
As good as Tom Brady and the Patriots have been playing, even they are not putting up the numbers that Andrew Luck and the Colts are registering. Expect a shootout at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night. This primetime affair might come down to who has the ball last. The Colts will have the crowd on their side, so I'll take them at home. This game will go a long way in solidifying the Colts as a real threat in the AFC.
Colts 37, Patriots 34

Monday's game
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, 8:30 p.m.
After that debacle in New York last week, the Steelers suddenly find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. The Titans will be fired up to pull off an upset on Monday night, so the Steelers will need to bring their "A" game. Somehow, I just can't see the Steelers falling to another mediocre AFC team this week. Even with all of their injuries, the Steelers will regroup, bond together and get past what could be a very pesky Titans' team.
Steelers 30, Titans 17

Naughty's picks

NAUGHTY (HOT 91.7FM)
Radio Personality
naughtyradio@gmail.com
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 97-49-1

WEEK 11
(Byes: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and N.Y. Jets)
Another 9-4 week, the model of consistency I am. I'm all alone in second place well within striking distance of the top. Let's see if I can make a move on the top spot. It's been a busy week with a lot of
radio work, getting everybody ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm on assignment so there's no time to elaborate, just enough time for the winners. I'll be back to my insight next week.

Thursday's game
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m.
This one will be a big AFC East match-up. Both teams banged up at key positions. I have Miami at home in a tight one with playoff positioning now in the balance.
Dolphins 24, Bills 20

Sunday's games
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
The Bears were terrible last week, and rumors are swirling heavily that Head Coach Mark Trestman has lost the team. I think there will be some inspired play from the Bears at home from. Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery will have strong performances but it won't be enough. Fresh of a bye week and playing on the road with nothing to lose, I like the Vikings in an upset.
Vikings 24, Bears 23

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
I'll have just the winners from here on.
Falcons 24, Panthers 20

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
Texans 24, Browns 23

Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Saints 31, Bengals 27

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
Redskins 27, Buccaneers 17

Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.
Broncos 31, Rams 20

San Francisco 49ers at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.
49ers 23, Giants 20

Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Chiefs 23, Seahawks 20

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m.
Chargers 34, Raiders 17

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Upset special part two in this one.
Lions 24, Cardinals 20

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Packers 31, Eagles 24

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts, 8:30 p.m.
Colts 34, Patriots 31

Monday's game
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, 8:30 p.m.
Steelers 23, Titans 17

Jammal's picks

JAMMAL SMITH
Guardian NFL Analyst
njsmith242@gmail.com
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 93-53-1

WEEK 11
(Byes: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and N.Y. Jets)

Thursday's game
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m.
This division game will be as critical as it gets because both teams cannot afford to drop this contest if they want to continue playing football beyond December. Buffalo had a late collapse last week at home, while Miami lost a tough game on the road in the closing seconds against the Lions. I have more confidence in the Dolphins rebounding behind a strong performance from their defense and a well-managed game from Ryan Tannehill. Although Cortland Finnegan will be out for this game, the secondary will be able to pick up the slack and contain Kyle Orton and his array of weapons. It should be close, but Miami pulls through late.
Dolphins 22, Bills 17

Sunday's games
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
How in the world have the Bears been outscored 106-37 in the past two games? As much as I don't want to trust a team playing this badly, I don't see the Vikings being led into Soldier Field by an elite quarterback. There has to be a silver lining in Chicago's dark clouds, and I believe that they can scratch the win column behind a solid performance by Jay Cutler.
Bears 27, Vikings 17

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
The only bright spot about my Falcons' underwhelming season thus far is that they are perfect in the division at 3-0. Given how bad the NFC South has been this year, the team with the best division record will likely represent it the playoffs. As I look at this Panthers team, Cam Newton is clearly hurt and the defense can't impose its will on teams like it did last season. I believe Matt Ryan will play a great game on Sunday and Julio Jones will have a huge day. It won't be an explosive scoring game, but Atlanta will score enough to get the job done.
Falcons 24, Panthers 20

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
The Ryan Mallett era will officially begin in Houston and I honestly don't know what to expect from this career back-up quarterback. The Browns have worked hard to get on top of the AFC North and I don't believe their reign on top will last for just 10 days. Standout wide receiver Josh Gordon will be back next week to give Cleveland another weapon on offense to work with, but until then, the same smash mouth football that the Browns have been playing all year will get the job done.
Browns 24, Texans 16

Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
The Saints know that they let a crucial game slip away against the 49ers last week at home, and I believe they will play angry on Sunday. The Bengals will probably play angry too, but Andy Dalton doesn't strike me as a leader to rally his troops like Drew Brees does. I think Brees will have a great game and ensure his team grabs a much needed victory.
Saints 31, Bengals 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
Both of these teams are terrible, but the Bucs are a couple dirty toilet bowls worse than the Redskins. Washington should be able to handle business at home behind a steady game from Robert Griffin III (RG3) and the defense.
Redskins 20, Buccaneers 12
Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.
The only thing that the Broncos need to worry about is protecting Peyton Manning because the Rams' front seven has drastically improved rushing the passer over the past month. Other than that, Denver should win by at least two touchdowns and a field goal.
Broncos 36, Rams 13

San Francisco 49ers at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.
Two words - Aldon and Smith. The 49ers get back their all-pro linebacker from a 10-game suspension and his impact will immediately be felt on the field. I'm not predicting him to record six sacks and force four fumbles, but he will dominate his match-up on Sunday. San Fran tends to get stronger around this time of year when the games really start to count, and I expect them to handle business on the road no matter how erratic Colin Kaepernick plays.
49ers 27, Giants 17

Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
The Chiefs are quietly flying under the radar and can get a huge statement win against the defending Super Bowl champs. I don't expect Seattle to attack the league's best secondary for the majority of the game, so Marshawn Lynch will have a busy day on the ground. The only thing that worries me is Kansas City doesn't have the offensive weapons in the passing game to attack the Seahawks and that could prove costly in a tight game. As capable as the Chiefs are to pull off the upset, I have to trust the champs to show some resolve on the road and steal a victory.
Seahawks 24, Chiefs 19

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m.
San Diego went from the NFL's feel-good team to the same old Chargers that everybody knows. I believe the bye week came at the right time for them to regroup, and I expect them to have a strong game against an Oakland team that played them tough in their last meeting. I also believe they don't want to be the team to give the hopeless Raiders their first win of the season.
Chargers 23, Raiders 10

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
With Carson Palmer suffering a season-ending knee injury, the Cards' season took a big blow. However, the way Arizona plays as a unit has me optimistic that they will continue to play at a high level, especially their defense. This game will really be about Detroit's outstanding receiving corps going up against Arizona's stellar secondary, and I believe Matthew Stafford will face a tough challenge trying to trump them through the air. The NFL is a league that rides heavily on momentum, and I'm riding with Arizona to translate their hot play into a victory on Sunday.
Cardinals 22, Lions 14

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
No quarterback has been better in the NFC than Aaron Rodgers this year and the monster performance he put on last week will certainly carry over this week against the Eagles. Philly's defense has surprisingly been good and is second in the league in sacks, but going after a red-hot quarterback in Rodgers will be tough on the road. Green Bay will put up points and I don't believe Mark Sanchez can match that output, so I'm riding with the home team in this one.
Packers 33, Eagles 17

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts, 8:30 p.m.
The game of the week will certainly live up to the hype as Tom Brady and the Patriots will try to keep their record perfect against Andrew Luck and the Colts, since Luck entered the league. This will be a tough road game for New England. In order for them to win, Rob Gronkowski will have to be the best player on the field. Darrelle Revis will have to be the best player on the defensive end because he will have his hands full trying to stop the likes of T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne. The Colts struggle running the ball so I believe their inability to do so effectively will hurt them down the stretch in short yardage situations. Whoever wins this game will make a statement as a serious contender in the AFC and I believe Tom Brady and the Pats will be the team to do that. It should be a great duel, but I like New England pulling out a close one in the end.
Patriots 27, Colts 21

Monday's game
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, 8:30 p.m.
I'm not sure what Steelers team will show up this week but I'm banking on the one that has been impressive for the past month up until last Sunday. Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau has a flawless record against rookie quarterbacks and I expect for that trend to continue against the Zach Mettenberger-led Titans.
Steelers 23, Titans 13

Teej's picks

TONY "TEEJ" GRANT JR.
Guardian NFL Analyst
grant.g83@gmail.com
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 92-54-1

WEEK 11
(Byes: Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville and N.Y. Jets)

Thursday's game
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m.
The Buffalo Bills have terrorized the Miami Dolphins over the last three games, and have annihilated them the last two, between these teams. The Fins have scored just 10 points over 120 minutes of football in the last two games between these teams. This Dolphins team has potential. It is much different than the team from before. If the Dolphins can protect Ryan Tannehill from the league leaders in sacks, the Dolphins can take this game. Even with a missing link on the offensive line, I think Bill Lazor and the Dolphins' offense figure out how to quickly attack the Bills defense, and win this one at home.
Dolphins 28, Bills 16

Sunday's game
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
The Bears looked pretty good at first, but now they look horrible. All of the great talent on that team, and they just can't win a game. That doesn't make sense to me. Well, even though they haven't produced in recent times, I see the Bears doing something rare on Sunday - getting a win.
Bears 31, Vikings 23

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
The ugly battle for the NFC South continues on Sunday. The Panthers with three wins currently sits in the second spot in that division, and the Falcons, also with three wins, are right behind them. One of these teams will get a fourth win, even though I won't be surprised if this game ends in a draw. Sometimes, that's how games end when two lousy teams play each other. I love Atlanta, and because I know many Falcons fans, I will take them on the road.
Falcons 24, Panthers 20

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
"Are they real?" That is the question that follows the Browns every week. Brian Hoyer has secured the Browns' starting quarterback position by playing steady football. He makes good decisions, he manages the game, he protects the ball well and he seems to motivate his team even when they are down in late game situations. That kind of leadership wins games, and the Texans don't seem to have that kind of leadership.
Browns 20, Texas 16

Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
How does Andy Dalton redeem himself after the worst game of his career, and one of the worst quarterback performances in Bengals history? He doesn't! Drew Brees will show him how to throw the ball.
Saints 31, Bengals 16

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
The Redskins have tremendous potential, but they need to win games like this to build their confidence going forward for the remainder of the season. We are all waiting for Robert Griffin III (RG3) to have a tremendous game. Maybe he has that kind of game on Sunday.
Redskins 27, Buccaneers 15

Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.
Will VAT (Value Added Tax) save our country and be free of political corruption? I don't know, but if you answer yes, you're probably just like most Rams fans - delusional!
Broncos 56, Rams 7
San Francisco 49ers at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.
The 49ers have been up and down this season. The Giants have been down for pretty much the whole season. The reality is that we know Eli Manning is a winning quarterback, but he has struggled. Every now and again we see moments of greatness in Eli and the Giants. This will be one of those times. The Giants will stun the 49ers.
Giants 26, 49ers 23

Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
The Chiefs are similar to the Seahawks in many ways. Both the Seahawks and Chiefs have a great defensive unit, their quarterbacks are great game managers, their offensive units move slowly but effectively, and they are both better at home because of their fan bases. The "12th man" is in the Chiefs corner this week.
Chiefs 20, Seahawks 13

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m.
The Raiders have the perfect opportunity to get the Chargers. The Chargers have been beaten severely in recent games and have had a bye week to sit and think about it. Coming into this game, I wonder if they are prepared or if they see the Raiders as a team that will be easy to run over. Call me crazy, but I am calling this a "trap game" for the Chargers. I think the Raiders get their first win on Sunday.
Raiders 20, Chargers 17

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Two monster defenses collide on Sunday in the desert. This will be especially hard for the Cardinals with no Carson Palmer. However, Drew Stanton has been legit, and the Lions are facing a big secondary. The better defense on Sunday gets it done, and I think that defense will be the Cardinals' defense.
Cardinals 18, Lions 16

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Who knew that Mark Sanchez would excel at the quarterback position for any team? Well, he is doing quite well in Philly, and he hopes to take that "A" game up to Lambeau Field with him this week. I just find it hard to pick against the best quarterback in the league when he plays at home, and that's Aaron Rodgers.
Packers 35, Eagles 27

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts, 8:30 p.m.
Everybody is on the Patriots' bandwagon, and I know why. The Patriots are 7-2, winning their last five games. Over the last five games they have averaged about 40 points per game. Those are big numbers, but I can't ignore what the Colts are doing. They have won six of their last seven games. Even though they have averaged 34 points over the last seven games which is lower than the Patriots' average over the last five games, they have allowed 21 points per game during that span, and the Patriots have allowed 22 points per game over their last five. That one point makes all the difference for me.
Colts 38, Patriots 34

Monday's game
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, 8:30 p.m.
The Steelers are pushing to claim the AFC North title. They will need to lay it on every opponent for the rest of the season, because the race is tight. They will get it done in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday night.
Steelers 26, Titans 16

Overall Standings
Devin Francis
WEEK 10: 10-3
OVERALL: 101-45-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Naughty (Hot 91.7FM)
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 97-49-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Vikings, Falcons, Texans, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Stephen "Steebie J" Johnson
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 95-51-1
Week 11 Picks: Bills, Vikings, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Royston Jones Jr.
WEEK 10: 7-6
OVERALL: 95-51-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Kermit Rahming
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 94-52-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Reggie Ocean
WEEK 10: 8-5
OVERALL: 94-52-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Panthers, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Wally Ferguson
WEEK 10: 8-5
OVERALL: 94-52-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Panthers, Texans, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, Giants, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Jammal Smith
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 93-53-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Cardinals, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Tony "Teej" Grant Jr.
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 92-54-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, Giants, Chiefs, Raiders, Cardinals, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Antoinne Robinson
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 92-54-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Panthers, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Brent Dean
WEEK 10: 11-2
OVERALL: 91-55-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Sheldon Longley (Defending Champion)
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 91-55-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Panthers, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Brad Hanna
WEEK 10: 10-3
OVERALL: 90-56-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Texans, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Cardinals, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

Juan McCartney
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 89-57-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Colts and Titans.

Richard Rudon
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 87-59-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Vikings, Falcons, Browns, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Cardinals, Eagles, Colts and Steelers.

Tito Butler
WEEK 10: 9-4
OVERALL: 87-59-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Falcons, Browns, Bengals, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks, Chargers, Lions, Eagles, Patriots and Steelers.

Simba French
WEEK 10: 7-6
OVERALL: 86-60-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Vikings, Falcons, Texans, Saints, Redskins, Broncos, Giants, Chiefs, Chargers, Cardinals, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

Randy Smith
WEEK 10: 7-6
OVERALL: 83-63-1
Week 11 Picks: Dolphins, Bears, Panthers, Browns, Bengals, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers, Lions, Packers, Patriots and Steelers.

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Minister: Revenue guarantees unproductive

November 13, 2014

Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin told airline industry luminaries yesterday it is time to discard the Minimum Revenue Guarantee (MRG) model, saying it works to the mutual disadvantage of both destinations and airlines.
Hanna-Martin was speaking at the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum, touting the idea of shared risk.
"More often than not, ALTA delegates, I believe that we have allowed old, unproductive airlift models to hold sway, to our mutual disadvantage," she said, going on to lay out the MRG model, in which an airline insists on a guarantee of revenue before servicing a route.
Under this model, the destination in question is unable to do any marketing to build consumer demand for the flight, Hanna-Martin said, because it finds itself without the necessary funds to provide both an MRG and promote the flight.
"Consequently, the flight falters. The airline, faced with low demand for the flight, is forced to act. Even though it has no commercial risk, a route with low yields and poor load factors represents an unacceptable drag on its overall operating performance. So, the airline raises fares," she said. "The destination loses its ability to increase air arrivals and is forced to cancel the flight because it is simply unable to sustain the mounting losses."
The minister said the moral of the story is that both airlines and destinations must benefit from their partnership, which she said can only be achieved through a model of shared risk.
Citing the high degree of partnership with source markets in the United States, Canada and Europe, Hanna-Martin said The Bahamas is "proud" to have begun a partnership three years ago with Copa Airlines, which initiated nonstop scheduled service from its hub in Panama to Nassau. She sought to assure the airline of The Bahamas' commitment to the growth of the service. The minister also cited long-term partnerships with Caribbean Airlines and Cubana.
The minister also issued a challenge.
"In terms of stepping up to the challenge to develop infrastructure, my government invested $400 million in the newly-completed Lynden Pindling International Airport. At present, it is only handling half of its capacity. It has a United States pre-clearance facility. We believe that there is an opportunity to partner with one of you to develop a Nassau hub," she said to forum delegates.
"This speaks to a strategy of avoiding long delays at MIA (Miami International Airport), while extending your route network to North American gateways more seamlessly - and perhaps more cost-effectively. Have you considered Nassau as yet? Perhaps the time has come. We would like for you to begin to see Nassau not only as a possible termination point for your flights, but as a springboard to new route development opportunities."

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Incentivize Bahamian investment in Long Island, Knowles says

November 13, 2014

The government needs to give concessions to Bahamians who invest in Long Island, according to one local government official.
Speaking at the first Long Island Business Outlook (LIBO) conference, Long Island Chief Councillor Ian Knowles stated that the government needs to match the perceived benefits enjoyed by foreign investors in order to attract Bahamian-owned industries to the Family Islands.
"I think more concessions need to be given to persons who invest $1 million or more who are living in Long Island, or [Bahamians] coming into Long Island.
"If we can give foreigners certain concessions and incentives, why not do the same for Bahamians?" asked Knowles.
He stated high expenses related to the installation of basic utilities represented a detriment to potential development in the central region of the island.
More reliable access to Crown land and concessions for installing essential utilities, such as water tanks and cable, were chief among Knowles' proposed incentives for Bahamian investors bringing business to Long Island.
Knowles lamented the shortage of government initiatives and incentives for local investors, as well as the lack of a long-term developmental plan for Long Island.
Without such incentives, Knowles argued that Long Island will continue to suffer a population drain due to better opportunities in New Providence and abroad.
"We have a lot of businesspeople from Long Island who live in Nassau. But why would I want to come to Long Island if my electricity bill is high, there's no commercial supply of water, and there's no ground water?
"It's very challenging to do business based upon the high costs that we have to pay for infrastructural development towards our properties.
"All of that is added expense to compete with those in the Deadman's Cay area, where you have cable TV and a good water supply. So for persons who come to develop here, there is the added overhead cost for them to do business."
Aside from government incentives, Knowles called on the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) to provide incremental progress in developing infrastructure in central Long Island, which is still largely without commercial water supply.

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Govt wants Bahamians to own majority share in new cell company

November 13, 2014

The government wants Bahamians to own a majority stake in the new company created to offer cellular services in The Bahamas under a new license to be granted by April 2015, if all goes according to plan.
Prime Minister Perry Christie made the point on Wednesday when he announced the opening of the request for proposals (RFP) process, which he said is "designed to take into account the extent to which the widest base of Bahamians could participate in the ownership of the new provider".
The company that wins the license will create a special-purpose entity which will be granted an individual operating licence and an individual spectrum licence by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA), after winning a multiround ascending spectrum auction.
"We anticipate...that the successful bidder would have done the best job of demonstrating that it would enable Bahamians to achieve majority equity ownership of the new cellular provider," says the supporting documentation issued by the Office of The Prime Minister (OPM).
"This was of particular importance to me as prime minister, given my government's pledge in our "Charter for Governance" to expand the role of Bahamians as investors in our economy," Christie said. "My government is passionately committed to ensuring that all Bahamians benefit from the economic fruit of the country and not just a select few."
The prime minister noted that the Cellular Liberalisation Task Force (CLTF) has gone to great lengths to ensure that the proposed ownership arrangement has adequately balanced the competing priorities of The Bahamas' international trade commitments and negotiating positions - such as those under the European Partnership Agreement and the ongoing World Trade Organization negotiations - with a commercially attractive investment proposition to potential investors and the long-term best interest of the Bahamian people.

The process and timeline
On November 13, the government issued an official RFP for a company to "operate a cellular mobile network and provide cellular mobile services to the public in The Bahamas, through a Bahamian entity ("NewCo") formed specifically for that purpose". The closing date for the submission of proposals is February 11, 2015 at 2 p.m.
The process begins with mandatory registration for prospective applicants, with a fee of $5,000. Once registered, prospective applicants will then be able to seek clarification on aspects of the RFP. Proposal submissions must be accompanied by a submission fee of $25,000.
The first phase is a technical and financial assessment of proposals. Bidders will disclose their business plans, which will be shielded by a confidentiality policy. An evaluation committee, which will include members of the CLTF and others with appropriate expertise, will consider each bidder's ability to ensure reliable access to cellular service across The Bahamas, and to provide international standards for network connectivity and download speeds. The bidders' ability to introduce more affordable pricing for cellular service will also be taken into account.
Only those applicants deemed to have met the evaluation committee's criteria will be allowed to proceed to the second phase. Through the a multiround ascending spectrum auction, the government will auction off the rights (licences) to transmit signals over specific bands of the spectrum. Depending on the specific auction format used, a spectrum auction can last from a single day to several months from the opening bid to the final winning bid.
The bidder who scores best in both the evaluation and the auction will be awarded the license, Christie said.
According to the CLTF web page, the next step is the formation of NewCo to hold individual operating and spectrum licences. NewCo must also apply for a business licence, and companies with any non-Bahamian interest must also apply for foreign direct investment approval from the Bahamas Investment Authority.
Once these steps are taken, individual operating and spectrum licences will be granted to NewCo and a second cellular option will be available to Bahamians.

Correction:
CLTF Deputy Chair Rowena Bethel was incorrectly identified as BTC Deputy Chair. Bethel left her position at BTC prior to her appointment to the task force.

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Fidelity earnings improving

November 13, 2014

Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Limited announced a continued improvement in its earnings - reflected by a 78 percent increase in the bank's dividend year on year - and CEO Anwer Sunderji cited the bank's "very small exposure" to a commercial credit market that has been badly rocked in recent times as one reason the bank is seeing positive results.
Sunderji said he was hopeful of a continued trend in earnings growth for the balance of the year despite the headwinds of a slow economy and growing delinquencies. Guardian Business asked the banker to speak to how Fidelity intends to maintain its growth trend, even as other banks are folding up operations and cutting jobs across the region.
"We are a small institution and have a very small exposure to the Bahamian commercial credit market, where the greatest damage has occurred in terms of delinquency in The Bahamas," he said.
"Our bank has to remain very flexible and opportunistic - we have no 'foreign' parent and all decisions are made locally, which helps in evaluating lending risk and managing our business. We are reasonably confident that our growth will continue because we offer an alternative to the other banks and the public likes such options."
Fidelity's board of directors yesterday declared a dividend of $0.15 per ordinary share to be payable on November 28, 2014 to shareholders of record as of November 21, 2014.
This dividend payment will increase the total dividend the bank has paid to $0.25 for 2014 compared to $0.14 in 2013, or an increase of approximately 78%, for a dividend yield of 5.9%.
Sunderji said that the increase reflects the continuing improvement in its earnings stream. The Bank reported a Return on Average Assets (ROAA) of 2.8%, a Return on Average Equity (ROAE) of 27% and an Efficiency Ratio of 48% for the first nine months of 2014.
The CEO also referenced the bank's intentions for its network of branches in The Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
"We are finding that Bahamians offer greater value and we are keen to grow our employment here by using The Bahamas as a hub for central services to our network," he said. "It is helping us get economies of scale and improving our efficiency ratio."

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Bahamasair targeting California

November 13, 2014

Bahamasair is set to present a draft plan for a direct flight from California to Nassau "shortly", according to the airline's managing director.
Speaking at the opening of the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum, Bahamasair Managing Director Henry Woods said that the airline is working with Baha Mar to tap into the growing Asian market.
"There is an opportunity for 48,000 Asian visitors, and there has never been a direct service from California. California is obviously the gateway between Asia and this region. We would like to pioneer that, but we would need the support of many agencies to be able to do that.
"We have a draft plan for that to present to [our] shareholders very shortly, hoping that consideration will be given to destinations like Los Angeles and Vancouver, Canada direct to Nassau.
"We have spoken with Baha Mar executives but have yet to put a proposal to the government for Bahamasair to provide that airlift to Baha Mar," said Woods.
While this route is still a ways off, Woods stated the airline needs to expand beyond the Northeastern United States in the short term.
"We're considering international route expansion. Right now, we've got Florida locked down and we are looking at better opportunities. The Northeastern United States is saturated with traffic; there are no opportunities there for us," he said.
Regarding the aircraft needed for such a route, Woods said that procuring planes would not be as difficult as establishing the route, and the airline would purchase or lease aircraft to meet its future needs.
Although Woods hoped to establish a direct route to the West Coast, he confirmed with Guardian Business that renovating the airline's domestic fleet remains Bahamasair's top priority.

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