Nassau Guardian Stories

Value for money key in shared ownership market

October 15, 2014

The Bahamas remains virgin territory when it comes to shared ownership (as timeshare is increasingly becoming known), and as a destination with the potential to see booming business in that market, Neil Kolton, director of resort sales and marketing for Interval International, said he was concerned about the ability of the destination to consistently deliver value for money.
"It's a competitive landscape out there," Kolton told Guardian Business. "It's all about value."
Kolton spoke at the 16th Shared Ownership Investment Conference, held in Miami Beach
"The Bahamas is a very unique market in that [it] has so many different types of product offerings and so many different types of destinations it can offer," he said.
"There's no other destination that can offer such a broad range of types of locations and products and types of experiences."
In addition to that range of potential experiences, the ability to pre-clear customs, the presence of a "reasonable" volume of airlift and good infrastructure give the destination a broad appeal to a large segment of the leisure traveling population.
Kolton noted that the shared ownership properties in The Bahamas continue to generate robust sales - hundreds of millions, he said.
"It is a market that is definitely under-served. If you look at Nassau, just about every timeshare resort in Nassau is sold out, or mostly sold out. There's a definite opportunity for developing more product," he said.
Still, despite a generally positive view of the destination, Kolton admitted there are some challenges, particularly in terms of delivery of value for money in some of the older properties.
Some timeshare properties in The Bahamas have had challenges maintaining, upgrading and renovating on an ongoing basis, he said.
"How much of a negative impact does that have on someone who takes their precious vacation week or two once a year that they get, spend a heck of a lot of money to get to the island and the property's rundown, in disrepair, they're not getting the vacation experience or the hospitality or the level of service that they expected, right? They're never going to come back to that destination."
He added that in an information age, the speed with which information is disseminated -- through social media, email and other Internet applications -- should be taken into account along with bad word of mouth.
"That's something that can really tarnish the brand," Kolton said, referring to older properties that are poorly maintained and do not give value for money. "That's my main concern for The Bahamas."
Kolton's company, Interval International, operates membership programs for vacationers and provides value-added services to its developer clients worldwide.
Interval has an exchange network of nearly 2,900 resorts in more than 80 nations.
Through offices in 16 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and about 2 million families who are enrolled in various membership programs.
Interval provides its members -- vacation owners from around the world -- with comprehensive exchange services and a variety of other exciting benefits that offer value and convenience at home and on the road.
Interval-associated properties in The Bahamas include the Island Seas Resort (GB), the Freeport Resort and Club (GB), the Ocean Reef Resort and Yacht Club (GB), the Paradise Island Beach Club (PI) and the Harborside Resort at Atlantis (PI).

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Airlift 'improving' following new airline deal

October 15, 2014

The national director of airlift has stated that the country's airlift situation is "improving" following a newly established route into New Providence, which will provide seasonal service to the island beginning in January.
Tyrone Sawyer told Guardian Business that overall airlift into the country remains in "pretty good shape" following an agreement with Sun Country Airlines (SCA) as part of the Ministry of Tourism's efforts to meet the demands of the country's hotel sector.
"[Airlift] is in pretty good shape and it is improving. We're working closely with the [hotel] industry to make sure that, as we bring on new airlift, it's tied directly to new rooms that are coming online," Sawyer said.
"We try not to [act] in isolation so that there is always a balance between room inventory and the amount of air seat capacity that is coming into the destination."
SCA's seasonal service will operate two to three weekly flights from Minneapolis to New Providence from January through April of next year.
Sawyer hopes this will generate long-term commitments from the airline.
"They're putting their toe in the water with the seasonal service," he said.
"It's a great service that opens up a new route for the destination, and we would hope that it opens up a more long-term commitment to the destination on behalf of SCA."
The announcement came after the 2014 World Routes forum, which attracts international airline, airport and tourism officials.
Sawyer said the conference provided the Ministry of Tourism the opportunity to "tweak" existing arrangements with affiliated carriers, adding that the country could expect several new developments coming from airlines currently operating in The Bahamas in the near future.
Sawyer also noted that Baha Mar, which is projected to bring roughly 2,200 rooms on-stream in spring 2015, generated considerable interest during the forum.
Local tourism and hotel officials have repeatedly stressed the need for improved airlift into the country.
Although the new service with SCA offers a new route into New Providence, airlift into the Family Islands remains a chief concern to Family Island development.
David Johnson, CEO of the Tourism Development Corporation, suggested earlier this month that trying to boost tourism performance in the Family Islands with the current airlift is comparable to "fighting with our hands tied behind our backs".

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Govt 'considering implications' of proposed investment act

October 15, 2014

Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle said yesterday the government is working to "fully flesh out" the implications of passing a National Investments Act (NIA) as part of its efforts to ensure that the relationship between Canada and The Bahamas "remained sound".
Speaking ahead of the 2014 World Investment Forum (WIF) 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, Rolle told Guardian Business that while an NIA could attract foreign investment by formalizing the country's investment regime through legislation, the government remains cautious due to the resulting new avenues for litigation against the government.
"The Bahamas has an agreement on the table now with Canada," he said.
"As part of the CARIBCAN negotiations, they want us to formalize our investment regime through legislation.
"They are suggesting that we pass an investments act, and there are implications for doing so, which have not been fully fleshed out.
"There are some issues attached to [the act]. The act, as drafted now, would provide the leeway for investors to sue the government if there is an issue that has to be resolved."
The NIA would likely expand the legal framework in determining dispute resolution services between the government and investors.
Despite this, Rolle maintained that the government's current investment policy is secure in meeting investors' dispute resolution needs.
"Over the years, our national investment policy has been consistent," he said.
"We are comfortable that our system of governance provides enough transparency and accountability to resolve disputes as is."
However, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson acknowledged last week that The Bahamas' ease of doing business rating remains considerably low for the region.
Rolle added that the Bahamas Investment Authority has not fully agreed to the implementation of the NIA.
Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder acknowledged earlier this month that CARICOM member states had still not resolved a trade dispute with Canada.
The CARIBCAN agreement, which provided The Bahamas duty-free access to Canada, expired December 31, 2013.
This year's WIF, an international platform for foreign direct investment policy formulation and promotion, has attracted 3,800 participants around the theme of investing in sustainable development.

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Minister touts benefits of private-public partnerships

October 15, 2014

Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle said yesterday private-public partnerships (PPPs) offer the most effective mechanism of providing The Bahamas with much-needed infrastructure ahead of an international investment forum.
Speaking from the 2014 World Investment Forum (WIF) in Geneva, Switzerland, Rolle told Guardian Business that a lack of resources for infrastructural developments remains a "major challenge" facing The Bahamas.
"One of the major challenges we have as a government is that we just don't have the resources [needed]. The mechanism for resolving it has to be through PPPs," said Rolle, who will participate in a WIF panel advocating PPPs later this week.
This year's WIF, an international platform for foreign direct investment policy formulation and promotion, has attracted 3,800 participants around the theme of investing in sustainable development.
The government issued a request for expressions of interest (EOIs) regarding a host of infrastructural development projects throughout the country worth over $175 million.
Notable projects listed in the original invitation include refurbishment of the deteriorating General Post Office and road construction in North Andros, both valued at $40 million.
Rolle added that officials from the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) will conduct presentations on investment opportunities in The Bahamas, with an emphasis on Grand Bahama.
Although the Ministry of Finance's original deadline for EOIs ended September 30, Rolle said the government is still evaluating short and long-term projects.
Discussing the WIF, Rolle acknowledged that many of the Bahamian delegation's locally-identified issues are prevalent concerns, noting that the country needs to revamp its investment regime to further develop small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
"One of the criticisms we had of the investment regime over the years in The Bahamas was that it did not go as far as we thought it should have gone in terms of the widespread benefits that should come with investing," Rolle said.
"Small and medium-sized enterprises are still underdeveloped, despite the fact that we have some of the largest blue chip investors investing in The Bahamas."

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Condo and homeowners associations fees subject to VAT

October 15, 2014

The Ministry of Finance said yesterday that maintenance fees for condominium and homeowners associations will be subject to value-added tax (VAT) if the annual billings exceed the mandatory registration threshold of $100,000.
For some associations, this threshold may not be reached until property insurance services become VAT-able in July 2015.
In such cases, mandatory registration would be put off for six months.
The ministry encouraged associations in this second category to register initially on a voluntary basis so that transparent billing practices can be followed from the outset.
An important advantage of registration is that condominium and homeowners associations would be able to issue VAT invoices to VAT registrants who use such properties as vacation rentals, the ministry said.
While homeowners associations operate on a non-profit basis, their services are of a cost recovery nature, just like common area maintenance charges on commercial rentals and leases.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance explained that, because of this, many associations will see little difference between the adjustment in maintenance fees billed and the change in VAT inclusive expenses charged to them by service providers.
In these cases, the collection of VAT from homeowners will match very closely the input credits that associations would be able to claim. There is no upside revenue potential for the government, the spokesperson said.
Associations might find, however, that there is net revenue that must be paid to the government, if they directly employ a significant number of staff to provide homeowner services.
Unlike for profit operations, business license fees will not be imposed on homeowner associations. However, residential real estate held as assets for investment/commercial purposes may be subject to business license fees and VAT when used as vacation rentals.
The ministry advises that the online system for VAT registration began on October 13.
Applications for mandatory registration must be filed by November 30, 2014.

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Bahamas to participate in Latin America's leading event for wealth management

October 15, 2014

The Private Wealth Latin America & The Caribbean Forum is scheduled for October 23-24 at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Fla.
The forum is a pan-regional wealth management, wealth planning and investment management international meeting for private banks, high net worth individuals (HNWIs), wealth managers and family offices.
It brings together 600-plus industry leaders from the Latin American and Caribbean private wealth management field for a two-day conference discussing strategies to protect, preserve and grow wealth.
Organizer Latin Markets says industry practitioners attending the upcoming event will hear from more than 50 experts on wealth management, private clients, HNWI and UHNWIs, structuring, tax and investment management.
Additionally, they will meet family offices, private banks and wealth managers from Central America, South America and the Caribbean during 10-plus hours of networking opportunities.
Sessions and one-on-one meetings will ensure that participants fully understand where growth in the industry is taking place.
Included in the speaker line-up is a team from The Bahamas, who will present early on the opening day, a slot made available because of the Bahamas Financial Service Board's (BFSB) sponsorship of the event for the second year in a row.
BFSB CEO Aliya Allen, Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder and Michelle Neville-Clarke of Lennox Paton will provide an update on the wealth and asset management services and products in The Bahamas, including the new Investment Condominium launched in August.
Allen said, "BFSB has chosen to partner with Latin Markets in Miami as well as in the region because its platform provides a comprehensive and fascinating perspective of the opportunities in this diverse and booming region."
Latin Markets is one of the world's leading providers of Latin America-focused investment forums, regional summits and streamlined market intelligence.
It provides access to new investments, business opportunities and partnerships for the global investment community.
The various events under the LM brand include a wide range of business development and educational vehicles enabling Latin America's most active investors and fund managers to more adeptly navigate socio-economical, regulatory and financial considerations within the market.

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Financial services leaders to explore approaches to global engagement at Nassau Conference

October 15, 2014

Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder will headline two afternoon sessions focused on public and private sector perspectives on engaging in a transparent world, at the upcoming Nassau Conference scheduled for Wednesday, October 22 at the British Colonial Hilton, Nassau.
Pinder will deliver a policy perspective on engaging in a world requiring greater transparency.
During his lunchtime presentation, the minister will touch on several key elements of importance to the sector including immigration and residency, opportunities in new markets and the need for continued product innovation.
Pinder will also underscore the need for the sector's ongoing investment in human capital development, as evidenced by his ministry's sponsoring the attendance of students from The College of The Bahamas.
Following the minister's presentation, a group of industry leaders will offer a private sector perspective.
Samantha Knowles-Pratt, partner at Delaney Partners; David Munoz, CEO of Deltec International Group and David Thain, managing director of Arner Bank & Trust (Bahamas) Ltd. will engage in a panel discussion about strategies, structures and services, providing an energetic conclusion to an information-packed day.
The Nassau Conference continues to be the premier professional development event for Bahamas-based international financial services professionals and underscores AIBT's continuing commitment, as founding partner, to the development and growth of the sector.
The Ministry of Financial Services will once again join AIBT, as the lead sponsor of the event, and provide a policy perspective on how best to engage in a transparent world.
The financial services community as a whole continues to show its support for the Nassau Conference.
In addition to the Ministry of Financial Services as lead sponsor, the Nassau Conference is pleased to have the support of Ansbacher (Bahamas) Ltd., the Bahamas Financial Services Board, BSI Overseas (Bahamas) Ltd., Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), Central Bank of The Bahamas, Credit Suisse AG (Nassau), Higgs & Johnson, Ernst & Young, Intertrust (Bahamas) Ltd., Julius Baer Bank & Trust (Bahamas) Ltd., LennoxPaton, Preventative Measures Ltd., The Private Trust Corporation Limited, Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd., The Bank of Nova Scotia Private Client Group, Sungard Financial Systems, UBS (Bahamas) Ltd. and The Winterbotham Trust Company Ltd.

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'Build on your lot giveaway' winner announced

October 15, 2014

Arawak Homes Ltd. continues to encourage homeownership in The Bahamas.
Each year, opportunities are created by Arawak Homes in the form of events, group presentations, trade fairs, extended office hours and so much more so that information about home ownership is given.
People are always looking forward to the annual open house where they are able to see a completed and furnished home.
During the month of March, Arawak Homes held a promotion for customers who own their own lots and were willing and ready to start construction.
This promotion was called the "One-stop-shop, build on your lot giveaway".
One lucky person walked away with an upgraded kitchen with appliances from Furniture Plus.
Keith Symonette, the winner, received the keys to his newly constructed home at a key presentation ceremony.

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'Tank' Williams looks to upset Joseph Parker

October 15, 2014

There has been a lot of back and forth between Sherman "The Tank" Williams and up and coming heavyweight Joseph Parker ahead of their fight tomorrow night at The Trusts Arena in Auckland, England.
The two were originally supposed to fight back in April, but due to some issues between Williams and world titleholder Vladimir Klitschko, who was the event's headliner, the fight never took place and Marcelo Luiz Nascimento of Brazil replaced Williams.
In the fight, Parker scored a seventh round knockout (KO) over Nascimento, and went on to win his next two fights by KO and technical knockout (TKO).
Coming off those wins, Parker said he feels extremely confident in his ability to pull out the victory on Thursday night.
"When I compare my body, I'm in a lot better shape now. When I compare my skill, I know I'm a lot better. I know I've learned a lot," Parker said.
"The groundwork I have done already certainly helps me with this fight. This fight is my toughest fight for where I am at the moment.
"He's a fighter with a lot of experience and he has fought a lot of the top fighters around the world, the likes of [Evander] Holyfield. He's got a good chin, he's proved that."
Coming into the fight, Williams has been compared to several of Parker's previous opponents, but quickly dismissed the comparisons, and was very vocal about one of them.
"I'm no Brian Minto, I am no White Buffalo," said Williams, referring to the aging American fighter who Parker defeated in seven rounds in July.
"I'm here to win, to take those belts. I've had a great camp. I've got a great game plan and I'm feeling healthy, ready to go."
Williams has managed to build a 36-win, 13-loss, two-draw career since he turned pro in 1997. He has developed a reputation for being tough, and having a strong right hand, but Williams knows his inactivity over the past year makes him an underdog going into the fight.
"I've been the underdog before," he said. "If you look at my past, I perform best when I'm the underdog.
"The ratings mean nothing to me. Joseph is a good fighter. He's a good athlete but he never fought nobody like Sherman 'Tank' Williams."
Williams said he knows since he is overseas, he will have to turn in a decisive performance to come out with the victory.
"Look at boxing, it is what it is. We're not in The Bahamas; it speaks for itself," he said.
"Here in New Zealand it's one of those situations. I'm not going to fool myself. Joseph is a Kiwi and the Kiwis love Joseph. On Thursday, I'm going to have to give him a proper beating."
Both Parker's WBO Oriental and WBA Asia Pacific belts will be on the line tomorrow.

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CABC hosts Golden Gloves tournament

October 15, 2014

The Championship Amateur Boxing Club (CABC) hosted the 21st annual L. Garth Wright Sr. Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament on Saturday at the Wulff Road Boxing Square.
The six-fight program was the ninth event hosted by the club for the year and featured some of the program's top boxers.
In the opening match, Lashawn McKinney had an impressive showing against Rodniko Mackey.
The judges scored the fight 33-25 in McKinney's favor and said his activity in the ring was what really won them over.
McKinney worked his jab efficiently and kept Mackey on the run for the majority of the fight.
The second fight was much closer, as Wilmond Phillipe pulled out the slim 45-40 decision over Shanton Jeanith.
The two battled back and forth throughout most of

the fight, but Phillipe managed to put together a late flurry which propelled him to victory.
In the final official fight of the night, James Armbrister edged out Trevano Taylor 25-22.
Armbrister controlled most of the bout and withstood a late surge by Taylor to hang on to the victory.
The other three fights on the card were boxing exhibitions with no winner or loser, and featured Gerinique Stubbs against Isabella Jean, James Armbrister versus Desinique Wilson and Lennox Boyce against Don Rolle.
After the final bout, three awards were given out. The best fight award went to Wilmond Philippe and Shanton Jeanith. Lashawn McKinney won the most improved boxer award, and James Armbrister was named the most outstanding boxer.
"It's a good sign for future fights coming up because all of the young kids are getting better," said Head Coach of CABC Ray Minus Jr.
"They are training on a regular basis and having a few good matches will do a lot for their confidence. We have a good fan base that regularly attend our shows, and as long as we continue to grow as a club, I'm satisfied."
CABC plans to host another event on October 25 entitled "The champ is here" at the Wulff Road Boxing Square.
"I'm looking forward to this event being even bigger than the last," Minus said.
"I'm expecting at least 12 fights for this card. Over the weekend, I went into the Nassau Village community to do some training sessions and got a good response from some of the kids and teenagers that are interested in competing."
The club is also working on hosting a primary school boxing tournament sometime in November.

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Predators capture BFFL invitational tournament title

October 15, 2014

The fifth annual Bahamas Flag Football League postseason invitational tournament saw one new champion crowned while another repeated as title holders at the Winton Rugby Field during the National Heroes Day holiday.
Both New Providence-based teams kept the trophies at home for a second consecutive year.
In the women's division, the Johnson's Trucking Lady Spartans won over the Bommer G's Bobcats, 7-6. The Bobcats defeated the defending champion Summit Academy Ravens in the semi-final to earn a berth to the championship but came up just short in their search for their first league title.
On the men's side, the Finlandia Predators won their second consecutive invitational title after a 17-14 overtime thriller over the visiting Freecon Alliance.
A total of 11 teams participated - seven men's and four women's teams from the New Providence and Grand Bahama leagues.
The current BFFL men's champions, the Finlandia Predators, continued their winning streak among the field which included A Sure Win Team Elite, Avengers, RBC Lions, Orry J Sands Spartans and, from the Grand Bahamas Flag Football League (GBFFL), the Sands Bears and three-time tournament and defending GBFFL champions, Frecon Alliance.
In the women's division the Spartans, Bommer G Bobcats, Summit Academy Ravens represented the BFFL while the MLM Eagles represented the GBFFL.
John-Marc Nutt, vice president of the BFFL, said the tournament serves several purposes to supplement the growth of the sport.
"We know the league is growing in popularity every year with our regular season, but the invitational is always very important to us because it keeps the excitement around the sport alive just about year round," he said. "It was a well-played tournament overall and many teams use this tournament as a stepping stone to set the tone for the regular season, and it is always great to get the inter-island rivalry going between New Providence and Grand Bahama."
The tournament was sponsored by BTC, Burns House and Powerade.

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Bahamasair football promotion catching on

October 15, 2014

MIAMI, Fla. - More and more football fans from The Bahamas are taking advantage of the great deals being offered by Bahamasair, and are venturing on a Dolphins getaway weekend.
That was the consensus this past holiday weekend, as for the most part, Bahamasair flights were full going in and coming out of South Florida. The Miami Dolphins hosted the Green Bay Packers at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, a game the Packers won 27-24 courtesy of a last minute game-winning drive from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Courtesy of Bahamasair, a number of Bahamians were in the stadium, watching the game live.
The national airline of The Bahamas is offering special packages for football fans interested in attending Dolphins home games this season, and so far, according to Bahamasair's Senior Manager of International Sales Woody Wilson, the response from the Bahamian public has been phenomenal.
"The promotion is really catching on, and we hope that it continues," said Wilson after the game on Sunday. "With this being a holiday weekend in particular, most of the flights were full, and that's a good sign. A lot of people, football fans who wanted to come over for the games, couldn't get on. It's a good problem to have. It shows us that the promotion is growing, and people are increasingly more interested in taking advantage of it."
With demand growing, fans are encouraged to book airline tickers early. Also, there is a possibility that airlift could be expanded into South Florida - to Miami and Fort Lauderdale - going into the Christmas season.
Currently, Bahamasair has two great packages available for Bahamian football fans. Interested persons can travel into South Florida the day of the game, or the evening before, for just $299 round-trip. That price also includes a rental car. Additionally, interested persons could travel in groups, getting five tickets at once, for $244 per ticket.
"This is a tremendous deal and tremendous savings when you look at the fact that tickets nowadays go for $300 to 400," said Wilson. "What we really want to do is to bring people over to the games, and also promote the destination of The Bahamas to visitors. So far, it's been going well, and we hope that it continues."
Michael "Big Mike" Smith, a regular to Dolphins home games over the past decade, said that it's through promotions such as the ones being offered by Bahamasair that makes the trek to South Florida so much easier.
"It's been 12 years now, and it's something that we can't see slowing down. We're season ticket holders, so we're here for every home game," said Smith. "When you look at the camaraderie, and the togetherness, this is just something that we enjoy doing. The game is the main attraction but the tailgating is like an added benefit. Hanging out with the guys, eating good food and enjoying the drinks, that's what it's all about. It's something that all football fans should experience.
"It's fun - just get away from the hustle and bustle of the Monday to Friday job and just come over on the weekend and enjoy yourself. With Bahamasair coming on-board, you get to travel at a great price, get rental car and accommodations one time, and then just enjoying the tailgating and the football game. It's a fantastic experience."
The Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board, is spearheading its own initiative, staging a "Bahama Night" at Sun Life Stadium in December, and Bahamasair is expected to partner with them in that venture, as well. This is the second straight year that the Ministry of Tourism is partnering with the Miami Dolphins. The "Bahama Night" is a promotion where the Ministry of Tourism will be reaching out to the Miami Dolphins fan base with a view of showcasing the islands of The Bahamas. A number of paraphernalia and trinkets are expected to be given away. The grand prize is expected to be a trip for two to Grand Bahama.
"That is expected to be grand," said Wilson. "It's really just about introducing the Miami Dolphins fan base to the islands of The Bahamas and showing them what The Bahamas has to offer. We're looking forward to that.
"Bahamasair is the national flag carrier of The Bahamas, so we want to create the synergy between what the national ministry of tourism is doing and what we're doing in terms of bringing people over. It's a win-win situation for both entities."
The Ministry of Tourism already has a pavilion set up at the 100 level of Sun Life Stadium - the home of the Dolphins. There, employees of the Ministry of Tourism's Sports Department Unit hand out brochures and pamphlets on The Bahamas, give away key chains and other small gifts to potential visitors and spread information about the Bahamian islands. The "Bahamas Bash" section of the stadium, as it is called, is well situated at the lower level of the stadium and is open to all.
Wilson said that what the Ministry of Tourism is doing falls right in line with what they at Bahamasair want to accomplish in terms of air travel for Bahamians and visitors alike.
For the locals at home, for this past weekend in particular, a getaway football weekend was up for grabs, courtesy of Bahamasair and Star 106.5FM. Callers into Star 106.5's early morning show were asked to predict the winner and final score of the Monday night National Football League (NFL) game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins. Tristan Beneby emerged as the winner. For his efforts, he won airfare to South Florida for two, two tickets to the game between the Dolphins and the Packers, and a rental car for the weekend.
Tony Williams from Star 106.5FM said it was a great way for them to give back to their listeners.
"Bahamasair has been working with us for a number of years with a lot of promotions, and this particular Dolphins-Packers game promotion went very well," said Williams. "The response alone was tremendous, even from the ladies. A lot of ladies tried to win the prizes. It just goes to show that not only men are into football, but the women also. The enthusiasm is growing.
"We're looking forward to continue doing things like this with Bahamasair. It's an opportunity to give something back to our listeners, and Bahamasair has afforded us the opportunity to do that. People are always looking for something exciting to do, and as a radio station, we are always looking for exciting promotions to do. I think the promotion can be something that can last for a while," he added.
The special packages being offered by Bahamasair will be available for every Dolphins home game this season. The Dolphins' next home game will be Sunday, November 2, against the San Diego Chargers.

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A rising star

October 15, 2014

Every one of us has unique gifts and talents.
Our gifts manifest themselves differently, and David Jonathan Allens was born on May 14, 2000 with the gift of music.
He is a 10th grade student at Queen's College and will be presented with the Rising Star award for youth in the arts during the youth awards presentation at the Melia resort tonight.
Allens began performing locally and oversees shortly after his grandmother recognized his musical talent.
At the time, he was only four years old.
Over a decade later, Allens is still singing and has expanded his skills to include playing the piano, saxophone and developing proficiency in music theory.
At the age of 14, Allens now boasts a remarkable list of accomplishments.
His music teacher, Edward A. Cox, wrote in 2009, "I had no idea that someone so young could have had such vast musical experiences.
"I remain astonished by the amount of work David has done since his commencing at the age of four. David is very alert and focused. And, I say with a degree of certainty that if he continues he will make his parents, school and indeed our country very proud".
Over the years, Allens has certainly made his parents, church, school and community proud.
From 2009 to present, the musician has passed a total of 17 internationally acclaimed examinations from the Trinity College London and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, many of which he received high marks on.
Allens has successfully passed the examinations for grades one, two, three, four, five and eight solo singing levels.
He fast-tracked past the grade six level and opted to forgo sitting the grade seven exam to participate in a two-week practical singing emersion in Izmir, Turkey.
He is also believed to be the youngest Bahamian to boast of reaching the grade eight solo singing level, having earned a mark two points shy of distinction at age 13.
Allens is currently pursuing the associate of Trinity College London (ATCL) examination which is equivalent in level to an associate degree at an accredited college or university.
For the ATCL examination, he will be singing pieces by composers such as Donizetti, Handel and J.S. Bach from world-renowned works such as "The Messiah", "Israel in Egypt" and "L'elisir d'Amore" which are oratorios and an opera, respectively.
He will be required to perform a recital singing in German, Italian and English for an internationally acclaimed examiner.
Allens has also passed grades one through five in music theory and is now working on advanced level theory for the grade six examination, which encompasses composition and arranging music.
In addition to his successes in voice and music theory, Allens has also reached the grade four level in classical piano and is now pursuing the Trinity grade five examination, which includes as a requirement playing intermediate-level pieces by composers such as Mozart and Beethoven.
Allens has excelled even in his most recent musical endeavor, the saxophone. After three years of studying the saxophone, he has already reached the grade four level and is progressing to the grade five examination from the Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music.
Since his first performance in 2004, he has created a name for himself in The Bahamas and in the wider world not only in solo singing but in piano and saxophone.
Apart from regularly receiving invitations to perform at churches, banquets, weddings, funerals, social events, concerts, graduation ceremonies, dedication services, and school functions, Allens has been invited to perform at high profile events at places such as Government House.
One of the most recent important events at which he was asked to perform was the 238th anniversary of independence of the United States of America at Liberty Overlook.
At the independence celebrations, Allens sang the American national anthem.
Recently, Allens also begun playing contemporarily and is the pianist for his church's youth choir. Even his saxophone performances are becoming more frequent. Most recently, he accepted an invitation to play The Bahamian national anthem at the opening of the Special Olympics Games at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center.
Allens has won numerous awards and has been asked to sing and play the saxophone on collaborative CDs.
Allens also performs with numerous organizations, including The Bahamas National Children's Choir, The Bahamas National Boys' Choir, The Church of God of Prophecy Junior Brass Band, The Church of God of Prophecy East Street Tabernacle Youth Choir, The Church of God of Prophecy National Children's Choir, The Queen's College School Band, The Queen's College School Choir, The Urban Renewal Band and The Bahamas All Star Band.
Allens has represented The Bahamas on multiple international trips to places such as London, Prague, Poland, China, Turkey, Mississippi, New York, and Atlanta and will be traveling to New York again with the Bahamas All Star Band to perform in the Macy's Day Parade next month.
David's musical development has been advanced and inspired by, among others, Ena-Mae T. Cox (grandmother), Dorcas Cox (mother), Dr. Desiree Cox (aunt), Capt. Anthony Allens (father), Akia Knowles, Rosalie Fawkes, Sgt. Theodore Campbell, Officer Capron, Wilfred Adderley, Melanie Moss, Edward Cox, Patricia Bazard, Alfred Dean, Audrey Dean-Wright, Yvonne Faulkes, Karel Colbey, Kieran Roker, Yonell Justillian, Gerard Lafleur, and Gerard Rigby (voice coach).

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Scholarship recipient tours Scotiabank

October 15, 2014

The winner of a Scotiabank-sponsored scholarship from The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation, Amani Stuart, recently toured the bank's main branch and corporate offices on Bay Street.
The St. Augustine's College (SAC) seventh grade student spent the afternoon learning about banking operations while amassing a wealth of advice on success from bank executives who were thrilled to meet and interact with the accomplished young scholar.
Leah R. Davis, Scotiabank's senior manager for marketing and public relations, said, "Through Scotiabank's Bright Future philanthropic program, we serve as a patron sponsor of The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation.
"Amani Stuart has distinguished herself among peers which led to national recognition by the foundation. We wanted to enrich Amani's experience by interacting with her on an individual level, presenting her with a personal gift in addition to the scholarship."
Stuart loves reading, acting, art and craft. She hopes to enhance her time at SAC by joining the drama club, junior achievement and perhaps trying out for sports.
Her favorite subjects are math, science and social studies. Though at the start of her high school career, Stuart is very focused on college and plans to attend Yale, Harvard or Princeton to fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon.
The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year program rewards and pays tribute to outstanding Bahamian primary school students who have exhibited academic excellence during an awards ceremony in May each year.

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Calmness creates strength

October 15, 2014

Sometimes the uninitiated may in fact think that the loudmouth, the very aggressive person who is always trying to force their will on everyone else are the very strong people.
But my friend, sometimes quiet, reserved people are the ones who in the end really are the strong ones.
Yes indeed, as the title of this article simply and succinctly puts it 'calmness creates strength'. Yes it does!
For example, when someone is behaving in a disgusting manner toward you and instead of you responding to them in kind by exploding into a fit of temper and thus delivering some choice words in retaliation, you just take a couple of deep breaths, remain in control of your emotions, smile both inwardly and on the exterior, finally just walking away from the situation.
This type of behavior denotes to me, and indeed to any other intelligent, enlightened souls who may observe the situation, that you by your calm actions and words, if any are uttered, are a really strong person who has it all together, as we would say in our modern day vernacular.
That's right, it takes real courage, true inner strength to be able to totally ignore ignorance of any kind, and just calmly walk away from the entire situation which could, let's face it, develop into something really nasty and dangerous due to another's belligerent words and subsequent actions.
I've often said, I'd much prefer being perceived as a coward and alive, rather than being perceived as being courageous and being dead.
The young people of the world, particularly those who get involved in the hideous 'Gang Culture' which is sweeping the world, need to be taught this undisputable fact of life, and that fact is that 'calmness is strength' and that really strong people are able to walk away from a potential fight, rather than get embroiled in it.
So, one may ask, how do I develop this calmness you're talking about here today for I was taught in my youth, to hit out at anyone who tries to intimidate, belittle or disrespect me?
My friend, I'm going to suggest once again, that you set aside some period of time each and every day so that you can be alone in the silence to meditate.
There's no doubt about it, regular meditation will assist a person greatly in developing a truly peaceful disposition, which in turn will assist that person to remain calm, even in most difficult, explosive situations.
Yes my friend, this is indisputable 'calmness creates strength', real strength, the type which will assist you in living a long and indeed healthy life.

oTHINK ABOUT IT!

Visit my Website at: www.dpaulreilly.com
LISTEN TO 'TIME TO THINK' THE RADIO PROGRAM ON STAR 106.5 FM AT 8:55 AM & 6:20PM

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The race is on

October 13, 2014

Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner announced yesterday that she will run for the leadership of the party. Butler-Turner, who did not take questions during a press conference, said she made the decision after much counsel with her Long Island constituents, her family and close friends.
"Along with others, I am grateful for the service that the present leader of the FNM, Dr. Hubert Minnis, has given as an MP, a minister and as leader of the opposition," she said at her home, off Shirley Street, flanked by relatives and supporters.
"Still, given the great challenges of mounting a more effective opposition, of holding this government accountable and of returning the FNM to office, the question is this: Who is the best available person, at this time, to lead the opposition in Parliament and in the country, and to defeat the PLP at the next general election?
"The question of leadership today is not who is the best man for the job.
"As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us, it is not about the color of one's skin, but the content of one's character.
"So too, the question of leadership today is: Who is the best person for the job?
"I believe that I am the most capable individual at this time to unite, to reignite and to lead the opposition in order to defeat a failed government."
Last week, Minnis said, "All positions are open and any man can challenge them."
The FNM will hold a one day convention on November 21 to deal with the leadership issue. There has been reported strife between Minnis and Butler-Turner, which insiders have said is hurting the party.
In an internal email to Minnis last week, Butler-Turner said he was "playing a dangerous game" when he called an emergency meeting of the executive committee to discuss convention, when he knew she would be off the island.
But Minnis denied this and said there is no rift in the party.
Before Butler-Turner spoke, her husband, Ed Turner, introduced her as a woman whose "heart is with the Bahamian people".
During her speech, Butler-Turner said she wished to foster a more "inclusive, collegial and collaborative" leadership style within the FNM.
"I wish to offer a new style of leadership and a clear vision about our shared future," she said.
"The opposition cannot wait and run out the clock until the next election.
"Given our constitutional role, we must be a more effective opposition today.
"We must prepare not just for the next general election. We must prepare ourselves for the great responsibility of a return to office."
In a 2012 email to FNM executives, FNM Chairman Darron Cash said Minnis "favors a more exclusive approach" when it came to managing the party.
Cash later decried "power hungry" FNMs for leaking the email and said he fully supported Minnis.

Failed to lead
Butler-Turner also criticized Prime Minister Perry Christie over what she called his "dismal" performance in government.
"Along with countless others, I believe that our country desperately needs new leadership," she said.
"Prime Minister Perry Christie has given long years of service to the country, and I thank him for that.
"But, he has led a government that has failed dismally to deliver on their many promises to the Bahamian people. He has failed to lead.
"The main task of the opposition today is to mount an effective opposition to a ruling party that has put their own interests above that of the Bahamian people.
"This government is out of control and must be held more accountable by the opposition and by a firm leader of the opposition who will keep both eyes on them inside and outside Parliament."
She said the FNM and PLP have distinct differences and the FNM should be clear about what those differences are.
"I am running for leader because I believe that the FNM needs the quality of leadership that will attract more independent voters and young people, as well as a growing number of PLPs who are disturbed by the direction of the country today," she said.
"I believe that I will offer to my party and to the country a big heart, a tough and strong mind, and a spirit of compassion, especially for the least fortunate in our Bahamas."
She pledged that if she becomes opposition leader and ultimately, prime minister, she would focus on crime, and the criminal justice system.

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Gomez: Govt will do the right thing on PHA findings

October 13, 2014

Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez said yesterday the government will "do the right thing" once the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) is done investigating the alleged abuses revealed in a forensic audit into the PHA's pharmaceutical and medical supplies.
The Nassau Guardian revealed the audit's findings last week.
"That's under review," he said, referring to the report.
"...It's also being investigated through the [PHA] board. The board met on the report last Tuesday. And so as you can see it's just being reviewed."
The 92-page audit is dated March 31.
Asked if he expects any charges in relation to the findings, Gomez said he will await the results of the investigation before commenting further.
"It would be premature

for me to speak to that," he said. "But I'm sure we will do the right thing."
Asked when the report will be tabled, Gomez said it has to go before Cabinet first.
He did not say when he intends to present the report to cabinet.
The audit reveals that at the end of 2013 there was a $10 million difference in pharmaceutical inventory between the physical count and what is reflected in the Princess Margaret Hospital's (PMH) computer system for that year.
The report says there has been no satisfactory explanation for this.
The auditor, John Bain, also points to alleged irregularities with how doses are administered to patients in some cases.
The report says, "Although some controls exist at the procurement and storage levels for the securing of pharmaceutical drugs, little control continues through to the ward level for the distribution of pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies.
"A substantial amount of those people interviewed opined that drug and supplies shortages intensified at the ward level, pointing to nurses who do not record dispensed drugs, disobey the directive of physicians and provide different doses to patients, and horde drugs and supplies.
"One interviewee described the ward level as a 'black hole' for pharmaceutical drugs.
"This increased the risks to patients, and wasted the PHA's assets."
While in the House of Assembly last week, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage and Minister of Labour Shane Gibson blamed the Ingraham administration for alleged abuses involving the PHA.
But the audit covers both the Ingraham and Christie administrations.
Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn claimed in the House of Assembly that the government is not being transparent regarding the PHA issues.
He said the government "does not seem to feel that, that is something, which requires urgent attention".

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PM to address nat'l issues today

October 13, 2014

Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday he will address matters of national importance today.
Christie spoke to reporters briefly following the National Heroes Day celebrations in honor of the framers of the constitution at St. Agnes Cemetery.
He declined to answer questions, explaining that he did not want to take the spotlight off the event.
"I will speak to you tomorrow," said Christie when asked if he could answer questions related to national issues. "I will answer all questions."
The prime minister, however, did not give details on when he plans to speak to the media.
There continues to be questions regarding the controversy surrounding the letter of intent (LOI) Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works Renward Wells signed on the government's behalf with Stellar Waste to Energy in July for a $600 million project at the New Providence landfill.
The prime minister said on September 29 that both he and Wells would address the matter in Parliament before it goes on break.
However, the House has been adjourned to November 19 without word from either Christie or Wells.
As has been widely reported, Christie asked Wells to resign his post as parliamentary secretary in July after Wells signed the LOI without cabinet approval.
However, Wells has not resigned and Christie has not fired him.
While not referring to the LOI matter, during his speech at the National Heroes Day event, Christie said too often the news reports are focused on what he has or hasn't done.
"The savagery of politics today skews everything in favor of the news of the day being what Christie did or what Christie didn't do, what the government did and what the government didn't do," Christie said.
"And it takes priority. It skews it and these wonderful issues as to how we go about promoting our culture escapes the attention of too many Bahamians."

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Taxi drivers and tour operators clash downtown

October 13, 2014

Taxi drivers and employees from a local tour company got into a heated dispute at the Prince George Dock yesterday morning.
Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday that tensions had been brewing between the two groups for days.
A video was making the rounds on Facebook yesterday showing scores of reported taxi drivers and tour operators shoving each other at the Prince George Dock. One man was even threatening to strike a tour operator with a piece of wood. Hanna-Martin said she saw the video and brought it to the attention of the controller of the Road Traffic Department.
"It's embarrassing to the country," she said.
"I'm bringing all stakeholders to the table at the Prince George Dock to find out what the facts are and toget to the bottom of it," she said, adding that it appears as if there was some breach in policy.
"Based on what I know thus far, it is being alleged that the tour company is engaging in a form of soliciting which is not permitted by law," she said when contacted for comment.
"Whether that is the case or not, I will find out [today]."
She said she will meet with members from the Ministry of Tourism, the Road Traffic Department and the Prince George Dock Association this morning, where she hopes to be fully briefed on the issue.
Hanna-Martin said the tour company has a prearranged agreement where it collects a certain number of tourists from the Prince George Dock area. She said taxi drivers are alleging that the tour company is also soliciting tourists as well, which cuts into the drivers' pockets.

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Who wants to be in the PLP

October 13, 2014

Dear Editor,
It was an amusing scenario a few months ago when Prime Minister Christie got visibly upset because the leader of the opposition "changed his mind" and that of most of the Free National Movement members as to where they stood on the referendum issue. What was Christie expecting?
Christie did the same thing in 2002; but he had given his support within the hallowed chambers of Parliament for the 2002 referendum and then stepped outside of its door to do differently. That move has been compared to stepping out of church and into a bar.
However, in one brilliant move the opposition leader has thrown a wrench into the plans of the PLP and its deputy leader. It seems as if the leadership of the PLP is hell-bent on having the FNM go down "Referendum Road" with them, so that if it fails the blame can be shared; this administration senses that to lose another referendum is a precursor to an election loss.
The FNM deputy leader has gone quiet because she cannot do anything until she secures the "female vote" via her support for the items in the referendum that will be beneficial for Bahamian women. She may be gambling on the fact that the women in The Bahamas have forgotten the dastardly deed done by Christie in 2002.
She may have to include a
"forgive and forget" aspect into her campaigning - she has a difficult road ahead.
The FNM may be able to secure a victory in 2017, based on what the party does in the next couple months; and if they can be seen as a cohesive unit it will force some changes in the leadership of the present administration.
With all of the smoke coming out of politics, you would expect the view to be foggy, but it is clear that the Progressive Liberal Party is in a place that no political party wants to be in: The impasse created by Christie and his party's inability to reach a decision on Rollins and Wells, the indefinite postponing of the referendum, the ever-extending time line for VAT implementation and the FNM's new found impetus which is predicated on Minnis's patience, which up to now has been seen as negative by those who oppose his leadership.
The PLP has to make some hard decisions that it did not have to make in the past and it looks like they may have to hold that convention after all. While the prime minister seems more concerned about finishing his term, the younger members are running out of patience and they see a change in leadership as giving themselves a fighting chance against the FNM juggernaut that is on the move again.
- Edward Hutcheson

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