Nassau Guardian Stories
October 20, 2014
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 Acceptance Lists will be released by Monday October 20, and the draws will be made publically thereafter. 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's 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
City Bowling League
Monday October 20, 2014
Checkers Cafe vs. Commonwealth Electrical
The Discoverers vs. BEC Shockers
Telco Enterprises vs. Bahamasair Flyers
Ten Back Strikers vs. The Knights
Carib Construction vs. Giga Tech
TK Falcons vs. City Leaguers
October 22, 2014
Sunshine Insurance vs. BTC
Forsythe Communications vs. Rubis Oil Stars
Strike Force vs. Deloitte & Touche
Price Waterhouse Coopers vs. Leno Corporate Services
Fidelity Bulldogs vs. Moonlight Strikers
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October 18, 2014
The Bahamas is on "high alert" due to the Ebola crisis that has prompted several Caribbean nations to implement bans on travel from West Africa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell said.
In recent days, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia have restricted travel from West Africa, where the Ebola virus has killed over 4,000 people.
Mitchell said the government has taken note of the measures that those nations have taken, but has not decided to take similar action as yet.
"The matter is a live issue with the government and an announcement will come in due course as more measures are required," Mitchell said.
"There is no ban on travelers to The Bahamas in place at the moment...If, at the end of the day, the Ministry of Health in concert with the international protocol says that's something that should happen, then it is possible for it to happen, but I can't say it is going to happen."
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen recently said it would be "nearly impossible" to prevent at least one case of the deadly Ebola virus from entering The Bahamas.
However, Brennen said the Ministry of Health has developed a plan it hopes would prevent local spread of the disease.
Mitchell noted that, as the country is driven by tourism, the issue is a sensitive one.
"I think everyone understands the sensitivity of the tourism industry," he said.
"This is not the time to panic, but to act sensibly. The Ministry of Health is going to coordinate the matter, and it will be done in the best interest of the country and to protect the Bahamian citizens."
He said the country has protocols in place to deal with people coming into The Bahamas who are suspected of having communicable diseases.
Mitchell said those protocols would be followed.
Former Health Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government should consider a ban.
"The government ought to discuss it at the Cabinet level," said Minnis, who leads the Official Opposition.
"Ebola is a very serious illness. It's something that is throughout the world. I don't think we should play politics with it because it can have a serious effect on our economy."
He said the government should also issue advisories to Bahamians warning them against traveling to impacted countries.
Minnis said the government must also increase awareness about Ebola.
"You must utilize the talk shows, online services, Facebook, twitter, etc.," he said. "You must utilize all educational parameters to ensure that there is no wrong information going out."
He said the government must ensure that it secures the necessary equipment and resources in the event there is a local case.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola death rate has risen to 70 percent.
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October 18, 2014
The governor general does not give interviews.
That is one of the new "guidelines" issued yesterday to the media, who were also advised by Government House that if they wish to interview people making courtesy calls on Dame Marguerite Pindling, they cannot do it inside Government House "or anywhere on the premises".
"Naturally, the media is free to make separate arrangements for such interviews elsewhere," reads the document, which is titled "Procedures for members of the media".
The new rules go against the more open culture at Government House that had been promoted by former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes, who gave multiple interviews while serving in the highest office in the land.
Sir Arthur was a journalist by profession.
Other former governors general also spoke to the media.
They also allowed reporters to interview people visiting Governor House.
Multiple interviews have been conducted at
Government House in the last year alone.
The statement issued yesterday does not indicate whether media personnel had acted in any inappropriate manner or had created a nuisance in conducting interviews on the compound of Government House.
The statement also does not advise what the repercussions would be if the new rules are violated.
After advising that the governor general does not give interviews, the statement adds, "On national occasions, including the anniversary of independence and at Christmas and New Year's observances, messages to the nation will be issued via Bahamas Information Services".
The statement says, "When state or other social functions are held at Government House, members of the media will not be permitted to conduct interviews with guests or staff members. Photography may be allowed under the direction of the press liaison officer."
It adds, "During state events like the presentation of credentials by foreign diplomats, opportunities for photographers will be managed by a press liaison officer assigned to the media.
"Bahamas Information Services in consultation with the secretary to the governor general will inform the media beforehand of the liaison officer assigned so that their presence is facilitated."
The statement says the guidelines have been issued "in an attempt to ensure propriety and to preserve the essential decorum which must be observed at the official residence of the representative of Her Majesty the Queen".
The guidelines have taken effect immediately, the statement advises.
They come months after Speaker of the House of Assembly Dr. Kendal Major issued stringent parliamentary rules to the media, most of which he rescinded after media outcry.
The new Government House rules were widely circulated on social media yesterday, and roundly criticized.
They were issued on the same day Dame Marguerite returned to Nassau after a trip to London where she had an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.
Dame Marguerite, the widow of the late former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling, was appointed governor general in July.
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October 18, 2014
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash said yesterday he has no concern about whether the party's November 21 convention is in violation of the FNM's constitution as it relates to whether adequate notice was given.
An FNM delegate claimed in a letter to the editor that the date set is in breach of the constitution.
The constitution says, "Any proposed alterations or amendments to the constitution must be submitted to the secretary general not less than 56 days prior to the date set for the convening of a convention."
The delegate said that, in his haste to set a date for the convention, FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis gave only a 42-day notice.
"A new date and time would have to be set by the leader in order to be in compliance with the constitution of our party by which we are governed," claimed the delegate.
But Cash said, "The issue of timing is a non issue because the Central Council is the highest authority for the party outside of convention, and the executive committee, I expect, would have considered all of those factors in setting the date.
"The date was presented to council, and council approved it."
It is unclear whether any proposed alterations or amendments to the FNM's constitution will be presented.
The issue of the timing of the FNM convention caught some party supporters off guard recently.
The decision also created a short-lived controversy involving FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner and Minnis.
Butler-Turner had accused Minnis of "playing a dangerous game" that anyone "can see through" after he called an emergency meeting to discuss the party's convention.
She was in her Long Island constituency at the time and did not attend the meeting.
Butler-Turner has since announced that she will seek the leadership post at the one-day convention next month.
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October 18, 2014
Declaring his full support of the constitutional referendum bills, former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes challenged members of Parliament
to "lead", even in the face of opposition from some of their constituents who do not support the amendments.
His statement comes after several opposition members withdrew their support for bill four after they consulted with their constituents.
Bill four seeks to end discrimination based on gender.
However, there are concerns that the bill will lead to challenges in support of same-sex marriages.
"The argument about gay rights, that's totally extraneous and has nothing to do with this," said Sir Arthur, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian this week.
"I think the representatives of the people have to recognize this. A representative has the responsibility to lead his people. He must listen to his people, dialogue with his people, but there are times when he or she must lead and say to the people, 'Look, this is the way we ought to go. This is the right way. I can't advise you or go along with you if you want to go in another direction which is contrary with our principles.'"
The government amended bill four to address concerns related to same sex marriages by defining the word sex as male or female.
However, the opposition members said they want the government to further amend the bill to make it unlawful to discriminate based on a person's sex "at birth".
While not responding to the opposition members, Sir Arthur said the question is clear enough.
"I hope that we don't attempt to make any amendments to make us look silly in the eyes of the world," he said.
"...The bills are clear. You don't want to add things that are extraneous. I won't go into any details about that, the homophobic thing. I don't know why we are making that an issue in this.
"We are going to have that debate sometime in the future but that's not involved in this particular issue. I hope the Bahamian people would seize this opportunity to do the right thing and bring us in line with the democratic countries of the world."
Sir Arthur said he finds it "mind boggling" that some Bahamians are still opposed to equal rights for women in a 21st Century Bahamas.
"Women are just as capable as men," the 86-year-old said. "It is stupid just to have to say that. It is just so patently obviously."
Sir Arthur said he was surprised when he heard Bahamians proudly declare their opposition to some of the bills on various local radio and television shows.
"That is surprising that people can talk like that in this day and age," he said. "What is also surprising is, having regard to our history as a people where most of the majority of Bahamians suffered so much from discrimination and inequality, that we would want to apply that to somebody else. That's mind boggling.
"You would have thought that somebody who was discriminated against would be the last one in the world who would want to discriminate."
Sir Arthur called on Bahamians to support the referendum. He said the object of the referendum is simple: to bring about equality between men and women.
"I support all four of the bills as they are and in their entirety," he said.
"We ought not live in a society where whole groups of people are discriminated against because of their accidents of birth like color, race and even creed and certainly we shouldn't discriminate half of the population, which are women."
The referendum has been delayed to sometime next year.
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October 18, 2014
One month after he warned the "three hotels out west" to pay their outstanding electricity bills or face disconnection, Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller said yesterday he is "satisfied" with the arrangements that resort officials have made with the corporation.
Last month, Miller revealed that the hotels owed more than $30 million collectively.
Since then, he said resort officials have begun the process of addressing their arrears.
"We met with them and they paid a fair amount of money," he said.
"Most of them are now having their bills brought up to date. They are paying on what is due on a monthly basis. And we have made arrangements with them to pay their arrears.
"So we are satisfied for now that we have something in place. We expect them to live up to the obligations and arrangements that we have signed. We hope that everything will work out fine."
While the hotels have made arrangements to bring their accounts up to date, Miller said there are thousands of delinquent consumers who have yet to make arrangements.
"People can't afford to pay their electricity bills," he said.
"I'll be honest with you. And it's getting worse. Your bills have been higher this month over last month because we had to [generate electricity] from the Blue Hills Plant over the Clifton [Plant]. And every day we don't use Clifton that's an extra quarter of a million that we're spending."
BEC is seeking to cut its reliance on the Blue Hills Plant; however, Miller said the government needs to purchase a new engine for Clifton, which would cost about $185 million.
"So we can't blame [the consumers]," he said. "The cost [of electricity] is just too high."
In June, The Nassau Guardian revealed that Miller and one of his family-owned businesses collectively owed BEC nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
After that revelation, one of Miller's relatives made a $100,000 cash payment on the account.
Despite his own failure to pay his bill, Miller has repeatedly threatened delinquent commercial consumers.
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October 18, 2014
A 53-year-old Bahamian man of Morgan's Bluff drowned in Andros during a diving trip on Thursday morning, police said.
The man was reportedly diving with a male resident of Wichita, Kansas and his female companion when he lost consciousness in waters off Morgan's Bluff, police said.
He was taken to shore and transported to a local clinic. A doctor pronounced him dead shortly after 11 a.m.
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October 18, 2014
Self-discovery isn't something that fits in a five-year plan. It doesn't heed deadlines, and it certainly doesn't mind age. Finding and re-discovering one's passion can happen at any stage in life, as Subrenna Gomez-Higgs, Janet Jennings and Jeanine Lampkin can attest.
In recent years, the three women have been unearthing their individual creativity in bags of clay and gallons of glaze, under ceramicist Joann Behagg's watchful eyes. Though they hadn't met before their first Saturday class together in Behagg's studio, Gomez-Higgs, Jennings and Lampkin share common traits, one of them being the way they found their way to ceramics.
Gomez-Higgs realized her "inclination for art" when she began helping her teenage son with preparation for his Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) examinations.
"I got him some art tutoring, and I felt like I could do it and it felt exciting, so I started taking some art classes," she recalled.
Her interest in ceramics was piqued during a family member's pottery demonstration at her church. She began ceramic lessons with Behagg in May 2013, and met fellow freshman Lampkin who was also on her first day of pottery classes.
A gift from her daughter, the ceramic lessons served as a return to fine arts for Lampkin, who had pursued painting and sketching in her teenage years with dreams of becoming an architect.
Jennings began ceramic lessons with Behagg in 2011. She, too, was guided to the classes through her children, who benefited from a summer art program with Behagg.
With their years of helping small children with classroom art projects behind them, the women have taken pride in redirecting their energies into pursuing creative studies as adults. They all agree that their efforts have been worth it - each ceramicist has found curative properties and restorative benefits in the art form.
"Ceramics is an opportunity to be creative, to interact with my fellow students and just have fun," explained Gomez-Higgs. "It takes you to a different world. I feel like I'm a kid again because I'm learning to craft, and I'm not sure how it's going to come out...ceramics takes you into the world of learning and being a true student."
Similarly, Lampkin and Jennings have noticed their artistry's positive effects on their daily lives.
"Doing pottery is extremely therapeutic," said Lampkin. "It offers an opportunity to release creative energy."
Jennings added: "It provides relaxation, focus and motivation to be able to pursue my goals."
Keen on sharing the fruits of their labor of love, the women now look forward to their newest venture - a group show aptly named "Trio". The idea was Behagg's. Believing that they "seemed to gel really well as a group while doing the classes" and having seen each student develop capable skills, she introduced the concept of a group exhibition.
Trio will be the first show for Gomez-Higgs and Lampkin and the second for Jennings, who previously held an informal joint exhibition with another ceramics student. Opening this coming Thursday, Trio will be held at Doongalik Studios on Village Road. The exhibition will feature staples like teapots, tea sets and platters alongside each ceramicist's self-inspired works.
Jennings is particularly proud to display her "rose bouquet" - a collection of handcrafted ceramic roses - and "British Car" teapot. Similarly, Lampkin looks forward to showcasing her "Face Mugs" - a series of mugs featuring intricate facial features.
Gomez-Higgs and Jennings hope Trio will provide inspiration for adults interested in pursuing art.
"Hopefully a lot of visitors will be able to say, 'Hey, we can do it too'," said Gomez-Higgs. "You can be 70, 80, 90 and still be able to do these kinds of things."
Jennings looks forward to using her work as encouragement for others by demonstrating "that it's never too late to start discovering your gift that's within you". She added: "Only you will know that when you reach that point, and I think that's where I am right now, and I hope it gives [visitors] motivation."
While emphasizing the values in lifelong artistic development and the remedial advantages of creative expression, Trio will also underscore the wealth of creative talent found in The Bahamas by highlighting one-of-a-kind, hand-molded pottery. Lampkin hopes the exhibition will draw attention to ceramics in The Bahamas and give visitors "a better appreciation for the work that is required in terms of creating a ceramic piece".
"All of our pieces in the show are hand-crafted. We don't do anything on the [potter's] wheel, which means that it takes a long time to create, and people are used to buying mass-produced pieces of ceramics that, of course, are less expensive," she said. "Hopefully they'll become more appreciative of the work and creativity that go in to each molded piece."
Trio will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 23 at Doongalik Studios. The exhibition will be on display at the gallery until November 12. Those interested in supporting the artists or finding out more about ceramics in The Bahamas are encouraged to visit the gallery during its opening hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays through Wednesdays. More on Doongalik Studios can be found on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/doongalik.
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October 18, 2014
This past Wednesday, The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) announced the first, second and third place winners of the open category component of its 31st annual art competition and exhibition. Setting this year's open category competition and exhibition apart from its predecessors, the 2014 competition administrators withheld a theme for the show.
The move resulted in what CBB Art Gallery Curator Antonius Roberts described as the "strongest ever" body of work displayed in the annual exhibition. Unrestrained, visual artists were given the freedom to select the works they believed would best reflect their talents and convictions. Open to Bahamian artists ages 18 and older who are not registered in secondary schools, the gallery's call was for artists to present their most outstanding works in progress or recently completed pieces.
"We encouraged every participant to submit something that they are working on, because we assume and we believe and we encourage young artists...to be working anyway, and if they're serious about their art, they should be working on a theme or a body of work that reflects their philosophy, their focus, their concept or the ideas that they've been pursuing through their art. And so we figured that if we allow people to present what it is they're working on, then in that way it's to their advantage, because then they will have a head-start as opposed to just focusing on a theme just for a competition," Roberts explained.
The curator and artist believes the result has spoken for itself.
"It's a very strong exhibition, and there's something in the exhibition for everybody," he said. "It really transcends all genres of art and every artist who participated really, really put their best foot forward."
Open to sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, collages and other "pictorial presentations" from throughout The Bahamas, more than 30 applicants each submitted one piece supported by a portfolio. The winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of Creative Nassau Co-founder and Owner of Doongalik Studios Pam Burnside, ceramicist Jessica Colebrooke, CBB Banking Department Manager Derek Rolle, architect Derek Paul, CBB Deputy Legal Counsel Stacy Benjamin and artist and former CBB Gallery Curator Heino Schmid.
Columbus, a Fairy Tale by Washington Irving". The winning piece plays on the mythologies associated with the voyages of Columbus and common misconceptions about his encounters with the Americas. In creating the piece, McKinney drew inspiration from coloring books - a prevalent medium in childhood learning. "See is for Columbus" is composed of crayon and marker drawings on paper and features fairy tale-esque creatures and tongue-in-cheek references to popular misunderstandings about the 15th century traveler.
"A lot of my work that I do, I do because I like to inform an audience and I think that [it] is important to have that conversation starter...in a positive way, so I used the idea of this coloring book that is very classic, and I created it the way I wanted to create it using elements of fairy tales to express the idea of this fictional story [of Columbus]," explained McKinney, who had only begun working on the piece a few months before the competition opened.
No stranger to the Central Bank Art Gallery, McKinney also won the bank's 2012 art competition.
"The inspiration for me entering the show was [that] I've always been a part of the Central Bank. I've participated in a few of the shows, so I just decided to enter [the 2014 open art competition]. I thought it was a good place to show the piece and...I really wanted to try to explore this idea, so I entered the show to see if my idea was worth working toward," he said.
The panel of judges certainly thought so. In addition to a $7,500 cash prize, McKinney has also been awarded a bespoke art competition pin designed by local jeweler Michael Anthony Kelly and an opportunity to host a solo exhibition in the Project Space at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Second and third prize winners, Julius Tinker and Kevvanna Hall, respectively, also took home special recognition pins, which reflect the bank's 40th anniversary.
Drawing attention to the achievements of all the competition's participants, Colebrooke addressed gatherers on Wednesday night in a speech that underscored the importance of constant professional development and tenacity.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian she explained: "The point I'm trying to relay to the audience is that it's always difficult. It's a difficult process when judges get together; you have people from different backgrounds, different crafts, different trades, and having to look at the wealth of artwork that's produced in front of you and to determine who our winners are going to be...What a lot of people tend to do when they come to these shows is focus just on the winner, and everybody leaves feeling defeated. It was very important for me to address that [just] because you weren't chosen, that doesn't mean that your work isn't good. What it means is you either have to do some more developing, some more growing, or it's just not your time. It's not your season. Step back, look at what you've produced and see how you can perfect it.
"I'm an artist. I went through that process many times. I got rejected many time. I get rejected now, even as a professional...But I look at it like, 'OK, that's probably not the job for me'; or, 'That wasn't meant for me'; or 'My work needs to improve'. You have to look at it from a positive perspective if you're going to keep growing as an artist."
The Central Bank's 31st open art competition and exhibition will be on display until October 30. To find out more about the annual competition or the gallery space, visit http://www.centralbankbahamas.com/galleries.php. To learn more about gallery curator Antonius Roberts, visit http://www.antoniusroberts.com/.
"See is for Columbus, a Fairy Tale by Washington Irving" by 2014 open category art competition and exhibition winner Jace McKinney. PHOTOS: JODI MINNIS
"Puzzle Piece" by third place winner Kevvanna Hall. Photo: Jodi Minnis
"Lineage" by second place winner Julius Tinker.
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October 18, 2014
Australian open water swimmer and triathlete Chloe McCardel will be looking to make history in The Bahamas next week when she attempts to set the record for the longest continuous swim in the ocean over a 128-kilometer (80-mile) course in a 48-hour period.
McCardel's swim from Eleuthera to New Providence is expected to begin anywhere between October 26 and October 30, all depending on weather conditions. She will be attempting the feat without any form of equipment such as masks, goggles, flippers or protective cages.
"We looked at a number of locations, but The Bahamas seemed to have the right mix, including the weather, to attempt this swim," said McCardel. "The weather temperature is not too hot and not too cold. We know that there are sharks around, but we hope that they won't get that close to me and cause me to not be able to complete the course. We've done our research, and we realize that this is the ideal place to achieve the world record."
The 29-year-old attempted a similar feat last June, when she attempted to swim from Cuba to the United States, however the swim was cut short due to her suffering several box jellyfish bites. Some species of box jellyfish produce extremely potent venom, and stings from them are extremely painful and can be fatal to humans.
"There aren't any box jellyfish that I know of, so I love this area of the world and the entire Caribbean, but I don't want to try the Cuba to U.S.A. route again due to those crazy jellyfish," said McCardel.
The fact that she will be without equipment during the swim, means that she has had to get her body into incredible shape to think of taking on such a challenge.
"I am swimming two times each day," she said. "I swim about 45 minutes to an hour each day, because I need to maintain fitness, but I don't want to get too tired leading up to the swim, just nice and easy swimming."
In her time in the country, McCardel has been working with Swift Swimming, which is headed by Andy and Nancy Knowles, to prepare for the historic swim.
McCardel's past swims include six solo crossings of the English Channel, two double-crossings in 2010 and 2012. She also won the 28.5-mile (46-kilometer) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2010.
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October 18, 2014
The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) wrapped up a week-long training camp yesterday at the National Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.
The camp was held for the junior players in the program and was led by representatives from the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The sessions focused on technical work, and was just one of the things the BLTA plans to do to raise the level of the sport in the country.
"We are trying to show people that we are trying to take this sport to another level," said BLTA President Elwood Donaldson. "One of the reasons the ITF came and put on the camp was because they realized the potential of the Bahamian kids. The juniors are very talented in the game of tennis."
One of the main issues juniors face when it's time to advance to the next level is the expense involved with the sport. Donaldson admits that tennis can get pricey, and a lot of parents aren't in a position to keep up with the players' growing needs.
"Once you reach a certain age, the sport does require a lot of financing," he said. "You have to do a lot of traveling to play in the tournaments outside of The Bahamas, which parents can't afford and the association is not really in a position to help.
"We are trying to raise the level to get these kids to become better competitors, and also appeal to corporate Bahamas, because we need assistance."
Traveling is important when it comes to tennis, because it's important to measure yourself against opponents you are unfamiliar with. If a player only plays against players he knows, that can give him a false sense of where his or her skill level really is.
"If you see a player like Mark Knowles, who was one of the top doubles players in the world at his time. He had a lot invested in him and his career on the way up," said Elwood. "We are trying to express that we need funding if we want to produce more than one Mark Knowles. The ITF is interested in what we have going on here, they went to the Ministry of Sports and some of the other persons in government to talk about a new tennis facility, so things are going on."
The BLTA will remain busy as they host an ITF junior tournament entitled "Goombay Splash" at the end of November. Elwood expects over 100 juniors from outside of the country to come down for the event.
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October 18, 2014
During a recent tour, Baha Mar said its multibillion-dollar resort at Cable Beach is 85 percent complete, with the remaining work picking up pace.
"We are going to be working towards previews for December," said Baha Mar Senior Vice President of Administration and External Affairs Robert "Sandy" Sands at hole 16 of the resort's Royal Blue Golf Course.
"That in itself should tell you how far advanced we are. We are making significant progress on a daily basis."
Baha Mar is the hope for The Bahamas. Our 14 percent unemployment rate will only substantially go down if Baha Mar is a smashing success when it opens early next year.
Baha Mar is opening in a Bahamas that has a crime problem. We again this year will have 100-plus homicides in a country with a population of around 350,000. Governments have changed. Police commissioners have changed. Chief prosecutors and chief justices have come and gone, but the problem with violent crime persists, especially in New Providence.
We have had high-profile crimes committed in our tourism zones in recent years. The November 2009 robbery of a group of tourists on tour at Earth Village; the May 2011 armed robbery at John Bull in the middle of Downtown Nassau; the January 2008 murder of teenager Deangelo Cargill at a bus stop, also in Downtown Nassau; and the October 31, 2009 double shooting of two Atlantis security guards at Marina Village are some of the events that attracted national attention.
After the fact, we boost police presence to protect areas that Bahamians and tourists frequent. With Baha Mar, we should act before the problem.
Baha Mar is in the community of Cable Beach. A public road runs around it. That road is surrounded by a large public space frequented by many Bahamians and visitors. That number will increase significantly once the new hotels open.
A proper policing plan is needed for the area that brings officers and security personnel on the beat in large numbers to deter criminals from preying on locals and visitors before violent acts occur.
Police need to be out of the Cable Beach station and on foot and bicycle patrols in consistent numbers in the public places surrounding the resort. And this presence needs to last beyond the opening of Baha Mar.
We have to protect this new hope for our country. We do not need the incidents mentioned above in Downtown Nassau or Paradise Island to take place at this new property. We hope Baha Mar's security officials and the Royal Bahamas Police Force are collaborating now on the right security plan so that, when the resort opens, those with bad intentions think the area too secure to venture to.
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October 18, 2014
In reference to the recent National Review story in The Nassau Guardian, "Sounding the alarm. Public Hospital Authority audit should shock us all", I would like to address only the statements made regarding suppliers of pharmaceuticals.
The article stated: "The report concludes that the PHA operates a 'defective system of procurement' that allows for the continued control of the market by a cartel of pharmaceutical supplies and suppliers of medical and surgical supplies, using a theory called selective tendering."
It went on to say: "The process of selective tendering effectively excludes new entrants into the marketplace and introduces extreme risk of bid rigging, collusion, kickbacks and corruption."
If the Public Hospital Authority does indeed have a "selective tendering" process for the procurement of drugs, it would be in the best interest of the Bahamian public. It is extremely important that the general public be educated about the importance of being "selective" when supplying medication to the Bahamian public. This is serious business.
Substandard and counterfeit drugs are on the rise worldwide, and in order to protect the welfare of the general public, it is very important that medication is purchased though "secure" sources, especially in a country where there is no registration of drugs and no strict controls on the importation of pharmaceuticals - i.e. no FDA equivalent and no testing facilities.
Sourcing medication is not the same as sourcing shoes and hats and bags. World police agency Interpol says more than 1 million people die each year from counterfeit drugs, highlighting one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative income sources for global organized crime networks. Not only must the quality of the drug be uncompromised when supplied, but the drug must also be shipped and stored properly, with stringent temperature controls. There must be liability, and someone must be made to answer in the event that the drug produces any adverse effects.
Medicine can be a matter of life and death. It is supposed to heal and not kill. In a country like ours where standards are often set aside for the sake of the almighty dollar, someone responsible has to take action, and that is what is expected of the PHA when it sources a drug.
What is not only corrupt but extremely dangerous, is someone who would be allowed to bid and supply a drug to the hospital through a non-secure source, or a source not authorized by the manufacturer, without proper temperature controls in their warehouse, without a proper warehouse, without a back-up generator in its warehouse (can't depend on BEC) and no liability.
This is not an ordinary business, so while it should never be controlled by any group of persons, it should not be left open to unscrupulous people.
Anyone who qualifies should be allowed to bid to supply drugs, but the PHA must ensure that it can prove authenticity of the product, proper sourcing, proper storage and quality of any drug it provides. This is always best done though a manufacturer-authorized distributor.
Now if the government can demand that a system of procurement only through secure source (i.e. manufacturer-authorized distributors) be used to import pharmaceuticals in both the private sector as well as the government procurement agencies, we would all be able to breathe easier.
If the PHA is in fact using a deficient procurement system that allows for little accountability and which promotes abuse, waste and corruption, I totally agree that the PHA should be answerable. However, the last thing I would like to see happen as a result of the audit report is that ethical and responsible suppliers get unwarranted blame.
- B. Wilson
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October 18, 2014
The DNA and its "self-appointed" leader say they represent change. They proclaim to be the party that is concerned about the youth of the nation and national development.
However, from my view and the more I observe their organization, the more I realize that they are no different from the other political parties.
I truly had high hopes that Branville McCartney would have been different from other politicians and bring about change, but the more I observe his actions, the more I realize that he is no different than any other politician.
The main reason I conclude this is because right after a loss at the polls, McCartney closed his headquarters and abandoned the people of Bamboo Town. In one of his most recent advertisements for a constituency meeting, it said he's coming home. If this is the case, it obviously meant he left.
In fact, his headquarters is now a takeaway restaurant on East Street.
If McCartney can so quickly close up shop at his headquarters and leave the people of Bamboo Town after a loss at the polls, what makes him so different from all the others that have come before him?
I daresay McCartney is no different than the others and in fact only offers more of the same. He should have led by example and kept his office open after a loss. Then I would have been convinced that he offered real change.
I won't be buying into the hype of the DNA or McCartney any longer. He obviously says one thing and does another, and I guess that is the only change he's offering.
- Arthur Burrows
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October 17, 2014
Customs officials confiscated three 2014 vehicles over the weekend that they believe were smuggled into the country through
a "sophisticated" operation.
Comptroller of Customs Charles Turner said officers seized a Mercedes Benz, a Chevy Impala and a Buick
Officials believe they are stolen cars.
"The vehicles are believed to have been smuggled into The Bahamas and there is no evidence that custom duties would have been paid," said Turner at a press conference at customs office on Thompson Boulevard.
The Mercedes retails for around $120,000 in The Bahamas and about $70,000 in the United States, according to customs officials. The Guardian understands that the local buyer paid about $40,000 for the car.
Turner said the Impala and Buick are valued at over $30,000 each. He did not reveal how much the buyers paid for them.
Turner said if the deal seems too good to be true then it usually is.
He said he believes the confiscated cars are just a few of the models that were recently imported.
"I believe that there are still more vehicles to be seized," Turner said.
"...It's a very sophisticated operation. We have the police involved. Customs and police are working jointly to try to reduce the level of smuggling of vehicles; not only vehicles though.
"There is also the smuggling of high duty goods and the smuggling of firearms and ammunition. We realize that once there is a market smuggling with take place."
Turner said members of the public should check with police or customs officials before purchasing vehicles.
"We know the owners of the vehicles," Turner said. "We are not certain that the owners of the vehicles were involved in the smuggling of those vehicles. We believe that they are victims of the circumstances."
The local buyers will not get the cars back, Turner said. However, the foreign owners can apply to have their cars returned.
Police had not arrested anyone in connection with the matter.
However, Superintendent Stephen Dean said police and customs investigators were "targeting" some people in connection with the seizures.
Turner said while he has no evidence that any customs officials are involved, he said nothing has been ruled out.
This latest seizure came weeks after customs and police confiscated four luxury vehicles, which were reported stolen in the United States.
The vehicles were discovered in two containers entering The Bahamas.
Turner said the vehicles -- two sports Camaros, a Chevrolet Silverado and a Chevrolet Tahoe -- are valued at more than $200,000.
However, he said the seizure is part of a much larger car theft ring.
More than 1,000 rounds of ammunition for weapons such as a .357 Magnum, 9 mm pistol, AK-47 rifle and a .38 special pistol were also found in the containers, Turner said.
Turner said yesterday that the investigation into that seizure is ongoing.
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October 17, 2014
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met three times since 2012, PAC Chairman Hubert Chipman said yesterday.
Chipman said some scheduled meetings did not materialize.
He said the committee of five -- two government and three opposition members -- sometimes has problems meeting a quorum of three.
The St. Anne's MP said he plans to increase the number of meetings.
"I'm going to try to get it to twice a month or whenever the need arises," he said.
"I want the public to understand that there is a process.
"The PAC can only look into things that are tabled or come to our attention."
The PAC is responsible for auditing government accounts and ensuring that money designated for public spending is properly managed.
It can send for papers or subpoena people during the course of its investigation.
Chipman noted that the PAC can look into tabled reports, or anything that is brought to its attention.
He was responding to criticism that the PAC is inactive.
Chipman said the PAC is still awaiting a report from the auditor general into the government's Urban Renewal program.
"I want to say that the PAC is in fact working," he said.
"We are waiting on a report on Urban Renewal from the auditor general who we requested to do an audit on that.
"We have had some scheduled meetings that did not materialize because of a lack of a quorum."
Other members of the committee are East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder and Golden Gates MP Shane Gibson. Chipman has previously said the PAC will look into travel costs incurred by Prime Minister Perry Christie and a delegation during a trip last year.
Last November, Christie and the delegation traveled to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka and also visited Rome and London.
The trip attracted criticisms from the Free National Movement, which raised questions about the cost.
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October 17, 2014
While retired Archbishop Drexel Gomez said he is morally opposed to web shop gambling, he said it only makes sense for the government to regularize the industry given that casino gambling has been legal for decades.
The government passed legislation in the lower and upper chambers last month for the regularization of web shop gaming for Bahamians.
In a recent interview, Gomez said it was only "logical" for the government to do so.
"Casino gambling breaks the moral code; web shop gambling breaks the moral code," he said. "If you are going to allow one then I don't see the logical empirical justification for refusing to allow the other.
"Man makes the laws and if one is legally possible and legally authorized, the other should be, if it is simply the basis of logic."
However, the Bahamas Christian Council does not share that view.
Several religious leaders have harshly criticized the government for bringing gaming legislation after Bahamians voted against the regularization of web shops in the 2013 referendum.
The pastors accused the government of "killing democracy".
While Gomez said the logical explanation would be to legalize web shops, he said morally he holds a
different view on gambling.
"I'm still opposed to it on a moral basis," he said. "I think that morally gambling is wrong, and that's gambling in casinos as well as web shops. The legal question is simply a man-made issue."
Gomez said his moral position has always been firm. He led a protest against the opening of casinos in Barbados decades ago.
However, just as casino gambling was eventually legalized there, it was also legalized in New Providence in the 1960s.
Gomez added that since then, everyone including religious leaders have become comfortable with casino proceeds.
"And so, what has happened is that gambling is making a significant contribution to our GDP and our whole national economy and Christians and the whole Bahamian nation seem to be comfortable with that," he said.
"And the discomfort seems to be with tolerating web shop gambling."
The gaming legislation prohibits web shop owners from allowing foreign visitors to gamble in their establishments and also prevents foreigners from gambling from other jurisdictions through websites operated by web shops.
Casinos will have the exclusive right to foreign players, both locally and online.
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October 17, 2014
A man took a teenager to have an abortion to conceal his relationship with her, prosecutors allege.
Prosecutor Algernon Allen Jr. told a jury yesterday that if the victim did not have an incomplete septic abortion then "we wouldn't be here".
Dwight Bethel, 41, is on trial, accused of unlawful sexual intercourse and abetment to abortion. The sex allegedly occurred in 2008 and 2013.
Bethel has pleaded not guilty to the allegations at his trial before Justice Vera Watkins.
Allen said the only reason that Bethel took the girl to the Marathon Clinic in October 2013 was to hide the illicit relationship.
But the procedure was not completed because the girl had to leave the clinic after her mother called.
She passed the fetus at home and she called Bethel, who told her to wrap it up in plastic bags, according to Allen.
He said the girl said Bethel came for the fetus.
The girl's mother took her to Princess Margaret Hospital, where she was diagnosed with having a septic incomplete abortion.
Allen said the alleged victim, now 18, was a "vulnerable person", who her mother described as shy.
By contrast, Stanley Rolle, who represents Bethel, said the girl was not a credible witness.
He said while she claimed that the alleged abuse occurred throughout her entire secondary education there was no evidence that she "acted out" or her school work was affected, although she claimed she felt "worthless, and less than a person".
A verdict is expected on Monday.
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