Nassau Guardian Stories
December 02, 2013
paying down the national debt is beneficial for the economy: It keeps interest rates lower than they otherwise would be and frees savings to finance increases in the capital stock, thereby boosting productivity and real incomes."- Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman...
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November 30, 2013
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) --
Jeff Ansorge once commanded a staff of 17 and made around $80,000 a year as executive chef at a posh downtown Minneapolis restaurant where a 24-ounce dry aged Porterhouse steak goes for $48. But he gave it all up to become the head cook of a Salvation Army soup kitchen, where the meals are free. Now he brings his culinary skills to bear making salmon, ribs and stews for the poor and homeless who come to The Salvation Army Eastside Corps Community Center in St. Paul. For the Thanksgiving meal that's being served Wednesday, Ansorge planned a traditional feast of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and rolls, served on tables covered with white tablecloths.
"It is not your old-fashioned soup kitchen where you get a bowl of soup and a piece of bread and (are) sent on your way. He makes phenomenal meals that you would pay quite a bit of money to go to a restaurant and have," Salvation Army Capt. John Joyner said of Ansorge, who left The Capital Grille to run the soup kitchen.
The clients agree. "This is outstanding. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give him an 8-and-a-half, yep," Donnie Richardson, 55, a homeless man from St. Paul, said over a meal of chicken thighs, rice and mixed vegetables in the center's white-walled gymnasium. Ansorge, 40, says a spiritual awakening led him to his new job at the soup kitchen in October 2012, making just onethird of his previous salary. "I went through a divorce. I was suffering from major depression for four years. And my priorities were all wrong,"Ansorge recalled while standing near the center's pantry shelves. "I wanted the highpaying job. I wanted the big house. I wanted the cars. I wanted all that. And ultimately, none of that satisfied me."Ansorge started cooking when he was 16 at a mom-andpop restaurant. He went to school in Rhode Island, earning degrees in culinary arts and food service management before joining The Capital Grille, where he spent 12 years.Now Ansorge is lucky to get as many as three volunteers to help him in the soup kitchen. On a recent Thursday, Ansorge -- a trim man with short gray hair -- set up the tables, seasoned, seared and baked the chicken thighs, dished up meals and wiped down the tables afterward. Instead of a traditional white chef's hat and uniform, he wears a dark blue T-shirt with the words "SHIELD CREW" in white with the red Salvation Army insignia, and blue jeans.
Raised Catholic, Ansorge -- a former altar boy -- said he drifted away from his faith in his 20s and 30s. Despite his prominent position at the restaurant, Ansorge said he was spiraling downward.
"My priorities were backwards. I had a big mortgage, I had car payments, I had credit card debts," Ansorge said. "And now I have none of that."He sent about 10 applications to mainly Christian nonprofits, hoping to make a change. He chose The Salvation Army because "it's a nonprofit that works with people that need help."
Joyner said The Salvation Army initially felt Ansorge was overqualified. But none of the other candidates seemed a good fit.
"His credentials are unbelievable. He could easily be making two, three times what he makes working for us. But he told us that he wanted to give back and he really wanted to do this," Joyner said.
Susan Dunlop, chef and coowner of Joan's In The Park restaurant in St. Paul, worked with Ansorge for nearly three years at The Capital Grille. She says she's not surprised by his decision.
"That's his true passion. He wanted to do something where he was giving back to the community," Dunlop said. "It's who he is. He needs to do that to be happy."
Ansorge didn't just bring cooking skills. Joyner said Ansorge's shopping skills save the organization money.
Ansorge said he looks for bargains on food nearing its expiration date that grocery stores don't want to sell but has been frozen and is salvageable. The Salvation Army also has a partnership with the Second Harvest Heartland food bank that allows it to get 40-pound cases of mixed poultry for $5, he said. Before Ansorge came to the soup kitchen, The Salvation Army spent $28,000 on its lunch program at the East Side center. In Ansorge's first year there, he spent $13,000 on the lunch program. The center serves from 80 to 140 people each day at its Monday through Friday noon meal.
Ansorge also tries to bring nutritional value to whatever meal he serves. For some, it may be their only meal of the day.
He's eliminated desserts and cut back on the fat and sugars in meals.
"I don't want to feed them anything that I wouldn't eat,"he said. "I try to feed them something that I would feed to my own family."
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November 30, 2013
Two men were charged yesterday for two spearate murders that happened earlier this week.
Jermaine Taylor, 23, was charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Taylor was charged with the murder of Leonardo Cash and the attempted murders of Angelo Cash, Christopher Johnson and Wilson Lacroix that happened on November 26 (Tuesday).
Police said the men were shot on Ethel Street, Montell Heights.
According to Superintendent Stephen Dean, three men in a blue Honda exited the vehicle and opened fire on the men, then fled in their vehicle.
Taylor was not required to enter a plea.
Magistrate Andrew Forbes remanded Taylor to Her Majesty's Prisons.
He adjourned the matter to February 3, 2014 when Taylor would be served a voluntary bill of indictment.
Taylor noted that he was unable to contact his lawyer.
Vincent McKinney, 51, was charged with the murder of Raymond Servius, which also happened on November 26.
McKinney was also not required to enter a plea and was remanded to Her Majesty's Prisons.
Police said that victim was beaten to death at Miami Street.
Police said the victim got into a fight with another man at a house in the area around 9 p.m. and the victim was struck with a blunt instrument and killed.
McKinney, who had a wound to an eye, said he was stabbed to the eye during a fight.
Forbes informed him that he would ensure that the injury was properly treated before he left for prison.
McKinney's matter was adjourned to February 3, when he will be served a voluntary bill of indictment.
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November 30, 2013
The Ministry of Finance officially released the draft value-added tax (VAT) bill and regulations yesterday.
A copy of both as well as a guide to the bill and regulations were posted on the ministry's website.
"The drafts of the value-added tax bill and regulations are being released to expand the public discussion and consultation process on the fiscal reform initiative," the ministry said on its website.
"The draft VAT bill would be tabled in Parliament after the conclusion of the public consultation process.
"Based on the results of the public discussions and consultations, appropriate amendments to the draft bill would be made."
The Guardian reported on the draft bill and regulations last month. Much of what was contained in the leaked copy remains, save for a few small changes.
Religious services by an institution of religious worship; games of chance, gambling and lotteries within the meaning of the Lotteries and Gaming Act and education services remain as some of the exempt supplies of services.
Chicken, pork, sheep, goat and horse meat, sausages and sandwich meat, among others would remain VAT exempt.
The 10-15 percent tax rate at which VAT is proposed to be implemented remains.
Prime Minister Perry Christie said earlier this week that government may consider a recommendation from financial advisor James Smith not to have VAT implemented at a rate higher than 10 percent.
The threshold for VAT registrants is $100,000 and hotels have a tax discount of 10 percent on all accommodations, services and food and beverage sales.
The government has said VAT is necessary to bring down the government's massive deficit and get the country's spiraling debt situation under control.
Ministry of Finance officials estimate that VAT can generate about $200 million in annual revenue.
The ministry's website also has a timer, counting down to the VAT implementation date, stating that it is 212 days away.
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November 30, 2013
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said yesterday that the teachers are "seriously considering" a strike vote.
"The BUT is not on strike yet and is seriously considering a strike vote," Wilson said.
This after Director of Labour Robert Farquharson warned public school teachers earlier this week that further industrial action would be illegal because trade disputes filed against the government by the BUT have been referred to the Industrial
But yesterday, Wilson dismissed his warning.
"I want to remind Director Farquharson that both the union and the government must abide by the law, and he should not be spreading the government's propaganda but making sure that they follow his instructions," Wilson said in a statement.
"He needs to warn the government, not the union."
During a press conference on Thursday, Farquharson said under the Industrial Relations Act, once grievances are forwarded to the tribunal, it is illegal to engage or encourage industrial action. He said a letter was sent to the BUT on November 20, explaining that the trade disputes had been sent to the tribunal for arbitration.
He also said that the Ministry of Education has suspended the process of cutting the salaries of teachers who took part in a September 9 demonstration, pending a Supreme Court decision on
"These matters are of national importance, but what is important for me is to ensure that the statute laws of The Bahamas are followed," Farquharson said at the press conference at the Department of Labour.
"Once a matter has been referred to the Industrial Tribunal, all industrial action must cease. And any talk about strike action relative to this dispute, if it is done, will be in contravention of the act. That's very important for members of the Bahamas Union of Teachers to be aware [of]."
Wilson said the BUT was not informed that the pay cut was suspended and said she was "surprised to hear the director of labor inform the public via a press conference".
She added that the BUT has petitioned the court for access to school campuses.
The BUT has communicated to the International Labour Organization (ILO) on two matters including union denied access to school campuses and the health and safety concerns at Stephen Dillet and Uriah McPhee Primary Schools.
Those are just some of the concerns that the BUT says it has with the Ministry of Education.
Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald said on multiple occasions that the BUT will only be allowed on campus during after school hours or in the case of an emergency.
But Wilson insists that the Ministry of Education can not deny the union access during school hours.
As it relates to the health and safety concerns, Fitzgerald said the ministry has spent over $700,000 affecting repairs to both schools.
He said both institutions have been approved by the Department of Environmental Health for occupancy.
He added that at no time did the school environment pose health risks to students.
The BUT filed seven trade disputes against the Ministry of Education between September 2 and 25, Farquharson said. He said three conciliation meetings were held that month to address the issues.
On November 6, the BUT issued a cease order for all teachers who normally participate in afterschool activities as the union began work to rule throughout the country.
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November 30, 2013
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - A 33-year-old West End man was shot dead by police following a domestic dispute early yesterday morning.
Shortly after 1:30 a.m, officers were called to a house on Queen's Highway following reports of a man attacking his girlfriend with a knife. Police said that on arrival at the scene, officers found a woman bleeding from the head.
"A male was following the
female with a knife in his hand and was ordered by the officer to drop the knife," said police. "He refused and charged towards the officer with the knife putting the officer in fear for his life. As a result, the officer withdrew his service revolver, discharging it, hitting the male in the upper shoulder."
The man and woman were taken to Rand Memorial Hospital. The man died from his wound.
Up to press time last night, the woman involved in the incident - 32-year-old Felicity Rolle - was being treated at hospital for multiple injuries to her head, hand, legs, neck and back.
In an exclusive interview with The Freeport News, Rolle, also a resident of West End, said the dispute started "suddenly" after she and her boyfriend returned home after stopping at a bar.
"Both of us were drinking," she said. "We came home and all of a sudden, he just start cursing and carrying on with me."
Just hours before, the pair visited their three-month-old son who is in the Rand's Pediatric Ward. However, when they got home, Rolle said he accused her of cheating and denied that their two sons were his.
Rolle said the argument escalated and he began to physically assault her.
"My little boy got out, and I held him because he was crying, and he continued to hit me with our little boy in my hand," she claimed.
"When he took the baby from me and gone cross by his cousin, I run in the back by his brother."
It was there she said she phoned police for assistance.
Before they could arrive, Rolle said he came to his brother's home, located just at the rear of his house, and continued arguing with her.
According to Rolle, the man became even more violent, punching, biting and scratching her.
"He grabbed the iron out of the closet and hit me in my head," she said.
"I said, 'If you don't want me around you, why you want to kill me?'... I said, 'Why you doing this to me and I'm supposed to be your children's mother?' But he just kept on hitting me."
Recalling the events of yesterday morning, Rolle said she was sure she would die. She said she prayed that God would bring her out of the altercation for the sake of her children.
Luckily, Rolle added, police arrived at the residence soon after her boyfriend retrieved a knife and attempted to stab her with it.
The officer ordered him to drop the weapon several times, but he refused, Rolle recalled.
"He went after [the officer] and [the officer] drew his weapon and shot him," Rolle said.
Shortly after, emergency medical services and Central Detective Unit officers were called to the scene of the altercation and shooting, according to police.
Both Rolle and her boyfriend were taken to the Rand for medical attention. Police said the boyfriend died in hospital around 3:30 a.m.
At the time of her interview with The Freeport News, Rolle was unaware of her boyfriend's death.
During that time, she expressed the hope that he would survive his injury because she wants her children to know their father. Rolle added that she did not hold a grudge against him, but hoped he would eventually change his life.
"I hope God could change him because that's what he needs," she said.
Rolle revealed that they were involved in a similar dispute two weeks ago, during which time, she said, he hit her in the head with a bottle.
"He's a nice person, but when he drinks, he's a totally different person," she said.
Rolle has since been notified of his death. She said they had been dating for three years, but broke up often. However, she returned to him each time, stating that she wanted the relationship to work for their children's sake.
Rolle is the mother of four - one girl and three boys.
The deceased is the father of Rolle's two youngest sons.
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November 30, 2013
Ministry of Works technical experts are reviewing Baha Mar's new proposal for payment for the rerouted West Bay Street, with the government still eyeing an amicable resolution before the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said this week.
"I met with Baha Mar [Tuesday]," he told The Nassau Guardian during a recent interview.
"They provided us with all their documentation that we are now going through. I am awaiting my advice from my technical team before we go ahead."
Davis, who is also the minister of works and urban development, said the Christie administration will not make any more payments to Baha Mar to cover its portion of costs for road works associated with the project until negotiations over the final figure the government will pay are concluded.
After months of wrangling, Davis said he hoped the situation would be wrapped up before the end of the year.
Under the heads of agreement between the resort and the government, the cost of the road's construction was meant to be shared.
The government is obligated to pay $47.8 million to Baha Mar if the cost of reconfiguration of West Bay Street exceeded $70 million, Davis previously explained.
He said if the figure is less than $70 million, the government would only be obligated to pay 50 percent.
Government technical experts have reportedly assessed the value of the roads at around $58 million. However, Baha Mar officials said road works total over $100 million.
A source close to the matter previously told The Nassau Guardian that the Christie administration has reportedly paid the developers of Baha Mar more than $30 million over the past year.
Davis said that the previous payments were made in two tranches.
In September, Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice president of administration and external affairs, told The Guardian the Christie administration has paid more than 50 percent of the $48.3 million it says is owed.
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November 30, 2013
The government may have to dish out less money than expected to complete the corrective work identified for the New Providence Road Improvement Program (NPRIP), Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said recently.
Davis announced in the House of Assembly in May that the government will have to spend as much as $3.8 million to replace leaking underground fittings used in the NPRIP and to repave the affected roads.
But Davis said earlier this week that the final price tag is expected to be much lower and the government may not even be required to pay.
"I think because of the various options that we are examining to correct what we are discovering, it ranges anywhere from $300,000 to $3 million or $4 million, but from what I see going on, it may not pass that lower range of $300,000," he said.
Work began on the defective roads several weeks ago. Contractors have dug scores of trenches along Baillou Hill Road and Market Street.
Davis said that in 2010, the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) asked the Ministry of Works to replace laterals on existing water mains on several roads: Baillou Hill Road between Wulff Road and Duke Street; Market Street between Wulff Road and Duke Street; and on Baillou Hill Road South between Soldier Road and Carmichael Road.
"We are repairing those now," Davis said. "We are still in what they call a defective period. In this period, we look at what's right and what's wrong and where there are breaches and then that is being corrected.
"So during this defective liability period, we are having these corrections done. We have not yet determined liability but we have agreed to at least get these works started during this period and hopefully at the end of it all, when a determination is made, we will decide who will pay for it."
Davis previously lamented the fact that the government would have to pay more money for the already over-budget project, which he said has caused the public and businesses "hardship and inconvenience" over the past three years.
Explaining how the problems surface, Davis earlier explained that WSC specified and provided Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC) with the fittings, which were 90 degree Talbot elbows. JCCC installed 214 laterals using the elbows provided by WSC.
In late 2012, officials noticed that some of the elbows had failed and caused leaks; Davis said that 19 elbows have failed so far.
He said that the Ingraham administration should assume responsibility for the failures since the materials were installed under the former government's watch.
"The manufacturer is standing by their product," Davis said. "A bad decision was made in the first place under their watch to acquire the 214 Talbot elbows to be used as laterals below the surface."
Davis said the manufacturer has submitted a report to the government which said that the elbows may not be suitable for the use that WSC recommended.
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November 30, 2013
The year 2013 has been a trying one for many. Families are still mourning the 101 people murdered this year; many are fearful over the country's continued economic troubles.
In the run-up to Christmas Day, we all get giddy and shop to buy gifts for those close to us. There is nothing wrong with a material demonstration of love and affection. But along with spending those dollars on jewelry, clothes, electronics and other goodies, we should remember to do something considerate for the less fortunate.
Reputable organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Ranfurly Homes for Children should be considered for donations. These organizations, and many more, help the less fortunate and desperate during their trials and tribulations. We should be considerate, out of general human compassion, for those they help. Each of us could be there, needing a hand up as a result of a bad circumstance or bad decisions.Christmas safety
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) has upped its patrols and presence for the holiday season - as is customary. We are confident that these hardworking men and women will do their best to minimize harm to the citizenry.
However, we must also be smart. When shopping in commercial districts, park in well-lit areas and do not leave valuables visible in your cars.
Limit the amount of money you expose to the public when shopping. It is not wise to pull out rolls of $100 bills in a store in front of hundreds of people you don't know.
After Christmas, when all the gifts have been taken out of their boxes, do not just place those boxes outside near garbage containers. Those labeled boxes let thieves know what you have in your house. Flat screen TVs and computers are popular items to the dishonest. Simply take those boxes, break them down and place them in opaque garbage bags and no one will be able to see what you received as gifts.
And most importantly, be vigilant. When in a commercial area, or nearing home, always be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed, call police or drive to a police station.
There is a crime problem in The Bahamas - particularly in New Providence. You should not think that the issue is being exaggerated just because it has not happened to you yet. If you are vigilant and take all reasonable precautions, the likelihood of you being a victim lessens.
Parents should advise their children too about safety during this holiday season. Many parties will take place and kids will be coming home late at night or in the early hours of the morning. We must all be cautious.
This spirit of helping and giving is what this season is about.
Communities are enriched when those who are doing well are concerned enough to assist those in trouble.
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November 30, 2013
I hold no brief for the former prime minister. He, as a one-man band, got us, mostly, into the financial mess that we are in today. He was/is not an astute economist or even a businessman and so, perhaps, we should not have expected much more. Hubert Ingraham, however, like or loathe him, is the consummate political "animal" and leader.
Long ago, I used to be his biggest political supporter and was instrumental, I modestly believe, in his return to high office in 2007. That, alas, was my swan song and proved to be a monumental mistake of the highest order. Ingraham left the nation in shambles while he has, again, ridden off into the sunset leaving Bahamians holding an empty bag.
The FNM, to this very day, appears disjointed and shell shocked. Its leadership cadre is filled with prima donnas. They pretend to be a political force but in most cases the party may have evolved into a farce and a doll house without direction.
None will deny that Dr. Hubert A. Minnis (FNM-Killarney) has potential, but at the rate he is going now he may well soon join the ranks of "they also ran". Some opine that Loretta Butler-Turner (FNM-Long Island) is poised to take over the leadership of the hapless FNM; but I beg to differ.
Over the weekend, I had a very interesting chat with a high-ranking executive of that party who, clearly, is toting a big rusty political cutlass for Minnis. He is creased right up in the camp opposed to Minnis and is a long-time Ingraham supplicant.
Loretta, in his view, would make a better leader than the current one. Is Loretta being set up to become, if she is not already, a stalking horse for Ingraham's unstoppable return to leadership of the rump FNM? When she slapped the hell out of Dr. Andre Rollins, that was, I submit, a well-calculated political stunt to demonstrate that she has those things which the males in her party may lack.
I support the objectives of the PLP and, of course, I wish my party to succeed. During the electoral campaign, the party and its leadership made many fantastic promises that, in reality, are not reasonable.
The 10,000 jobs will not happen at this juncture. Yes, jobs are trickling in but those that are coming on stream are so miniscule that they will be like a blip on the radar screen. What we need are not just jobs but opportunities to enable the average Bahamian to economically empower himself or herself. Jobs, by and large, are fickle.
It is very unfortunate that successive administrations have been reluctant to make it possible for Bahamians to economically empower themselves. It may be that they fear the elimination of dependency and patronage, which are now ingrained in our society. Indeed, many of us are also fearful to make that leap of faith into the unknown entrepreneurial world.
The time has come, however, when political leadership is badly needed in our major parties. In the PLP we have a tried and proven leader, Perry Gladstone Christie (PLP-Centreville). We have an identifiable and more than capable successor in the form of Philip Brave Davis (PLP-Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador).
Within the FNM there is a disconnect in that Minnis has yet to consolidate his leadership and it may well be impossible for him to do so with the ever-present and looming shadow of Ingraham hanging over him.
Ingraham is on the inevitable course to return to the leadership of the FNM and possibly, after the tenure of Brave as PM, to high office. Already the refrain within certain circles of the FNM is, "Let's do it again!" It is my prognostication that there will be a resurrection of Ingraham before the scheduled general election in 2017. Age, politically, is only a number.
The FNM may well have to call for Ingraham to come back. How could this be achieved? Edison Key's days are written in sand as the member of Parliament for South Abaco. I predict that by April of 2014 he will become a "consultant" to the gold rush administration and step down as an MP. There will be a by-election in South Abaco which Ingraham will contest and win with a large majority. He will then take his seat, again, in the House of Assembly.
Upon his inevitable return, Minnis will be relegated to a seat in the FNM's bus to the rear of Ingraham. Brave will succeed Christie, but it is not certain that he will lead the PLP into the 2017 general election. I know the outcome of those elections but will not state it now, for varied reasons.
Is it Ingraham or nothing for the FNM? The DNA is of little or no consequence, as its leadership cadre will implode and the rank and file will return to their political genesis.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.
- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
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November 30, 2013
Relations between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are becoming increasingly difficult. This deterioration in relations between two of the most influential countries in the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) does not serve the interests of either country or the community as a whole.
Urgent steps should have been taken some time ago to defuse the growing tension between the two countries over trade matters. That tension has now worsened over a recent denial of entry of Jamaicans to Trinidad and Tobago that has been highly publicized and widely decried in Jamaica.
In a commentary in June this year, entitled "No need for a trade war between Jamaican and Trinidad and Tobago", I said, "It may be that in some form of quiet diplomacy unknown to the publics of the 15-nation CARICOM, the secretary-general of the CARICOM Secretariat is already engaged in behind-the-scenes activity to try to end the verbal slogging that has characterized the recent relations between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. If that is so, then hopefully his efforts will result in an understanding of how the two most populous English-speaking countries in CARICOM can resolve the differences that have arisen. If no such initiative has as yet been taken, then consideration might be given to doing so."
On the information available, it seems that either no effort was made to solve the trade problems between the two countries, or any such effort failed. Whichever it is, the current situation is a festering sore that urgently needs constructive attention.
Vocal elements of the Jamaican private sector are concerned about the huge trade deficit that Jamaica experiences with Trinidad and Tobago. They are also concerned that many Jamaican products are unable to compete against Trinidad and Tobago products both in their own domestic market and in the wider CARICOM market. They attribute this situation to cheaper energy made available by the government of Trinidad and Tobago to its industries.
The trade figures are as follows: In U.S. dollars, the value of Jamaica's imports from Trinidad and Tobago is: 721.0 m (2010); 877.7 m (2011) and 702.2 m (2012). While the value of its exports to Trinidad and Tobago is: 19.1 m (2010); 21.0 m (2011) and 18.3 m (2012). However, it is important to note that imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related material represented 82.6 percent, 85.3 percent and 81 percent of Jamaica's total imports from Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. If Jamaica had not imported those energy-related products from Trinidad and Tobago, it would have had to do so from elsewhere, probably at a higher cost.
Nonetheless, it is clear that Jamaica experiences a large trade deficit with Trinidad and Tobago. While a large trade deficit with Trinidad and Tobago among CARICOM member states is not unique to Jamaica, Jamaica is the largest market of all CARICOM countries for Trinidad and Tobago products. Over the three-year period, 2010 to 2012, the trade surplus in Trinidad and Tobago's favor was US$2.24 billion.
Even if Jamaica were not undergoing its current grim economic situation, the severe imbalance in trade should be addressed. But, what is certain is that an organized boycott of Trinidad and Tobago products that is currently being proposed in Jamaica is not the answer. As the Trinidad and Tobago foreign minister, Winston Dookeran, pointed out, "Both countries will lose if there's any containment of trade because out of trade comes employment opportunities in Jamaica and they too will be put at risk."
A real opportunity now exists to find a permanent solution to this increasingly contentious issue that has the potential for souring the overall relations between these two countries and spilling over into the CARICOM community as a whole. The opportunity has arisen through an invitation by the Jamaica foreign minister, A J Nicholson, to Dookeran for talks on the other festering issue of entry to Trinidad and Tobago by Jamaicans.
On November 19, Trinidad and Tobago immigration officials denied entry to 13 Jamaicans and sent them back to Jamaica the following day. News of this outraged a large number of Jamaican people who feel that the island's nationals are wrongfully denied rights of "hassle-free" travel accorded to all CARICOM citizens by the CARICOM Treaty; a 2007 decision of CARICOM heads of government; and a judgement given by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in October 2013. The immigration authorities appear to have denied the 13 persons automatic entry and stay in the country because of a view that they could become "a charge on the public purse". In denying them entry, immigration officers did not take account of "community law", which has precedence over inconsistent domestic legislation, as stated by the CCJ.
In accordance with the CCJ ruling, the 13 persons should have been allowed "to consult an attorney or a consular official of their country". They should also have been given in writing the reasons for denying them entry and advised that they could challenge the decision. It appears that they were not given those entitlements. Further, the CCJ judgement requires the government of Trinidad and Tobago, like all other CARICOM governments, to put machinery in place "to provide effective and accessible appeal or review procedures with adequate safeguards to protect the rights of the persons denied entry". This machinery has not been established by Trinidad and Tobago or by many other CARICOM governments - an issue that will escalate in coming months unless governments adhere to the law.
The talks between Nicholson and Dookeran, while important on the issue of right of entry, should also now include the problem of trade. Dookeran should go to Jamaica with a clear mandate from his government to put constructive proposals to his Jamaican counterpart on the trade issues. After all, Trinidad and Tobago has gained enormously from trade arrangements with all CARICOM countries, and with Jamaica in particular. On the Jamaican side, as the Jamaica Observer said in a recent editorial, more Jamaican producers have to improve their capacity "to produce goods and services at prices that are internationally competitive in price and quality".
Last June, I suggested that addressing the trade difficulties between the countries will "require a mix of innovative approaches which could include the deeper integration of the factors of production between Jamaica and several CARICOM countries, particularly Trinidad and Tobago; investment by Trinidad and Tobago financial institutions and companies in the productive sectors of Jamaica to help promote economic growth and more employment; and, maybe, even an 'aid for trade' component given that Trinidad and Tobago has enjoyed a consistently high balance of trade surplus with Jamaica".
In their mutual interest, the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica should address the problem comprehensively and constructively.
o Sir Ronald Sanders is a consultant and senior research fellow at London University. Send responses to: www.sirronaldsanders.com. Published with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.
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November 30, 2013
Bahamian films are making their mark at this year's Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF).
Bahamian films "Bahamian Son" and "Black Moses" will open and close the festival, respectively, and are among a strong group of other Bahamian and international features, shorts and documentaries showcased at BIFF.
"As the Bahamas International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary and The Bahamas celebrates its 40th year of independence, what better way to recognize these milestones than by having Bahamian films open and close the festival," said BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.
"Film festivals were created for the independent filmmakers, and once again I am proud to present six strong films made in and about The Bahamas."
Andrew Melby's and Reggie Henderson's "Bahamian Son"
Andrew Melby's and Reggie Henderson's drama "Bahamian Son" has been selected as this year's Opening Night Film and will kick off the festival on December 5 at the Atlantis Theater.
"Bahamian Son" stars Constance Anderson ("Prodigal", "Profile of a Killer", "Gods' Green Earth"), Fatima Cocci ("Gods' Green Earth") and Leah Eneas ("Beneath the Blue").
The film is based on true events from the life of the film's writer Reggie Henderson. The story follows Kevin as he sets out to find his father, whom he hasn't seen in more than 30 years.
During his journey, Kevin examines his own life and the family he has built for himself, during his childhood, having grown up in the projects of North Minneapolis.
After Kevin tracks down his father, he travels to The Bahamas to meet him. What happens in The Bahamas opens Kevin's eyes to a world and a history he never knew existed. It is also another test of Kevin's beliefs regarding family, loyalty and what it means to be a son, a father and a man.
"We are ecstatic that our film 'Bahamian Son' will be headlining BIFF this year. Shooting a semi audio-biographical film was not easy, and it had its challenges, but we had wonderful support from the Bahamian community during the making of this film," said writer and producer of "Bahamian Son" Reggie Henderson.
"'Bahamian Son' may be a small indie film, but it's big in heart and content. The Bahamas is not just a resort destination, and it gives us great pleasure to share with the rest of the world what we've learned, which is The Bahamas is a beautiful island, rich in culture, history and tradition. What a great honor to be a part of BIFF!"
Travolta Cooper's "The Black Moses"
Travolta Cooper's documentary "The Black Moses" will have the honor of closing the 10th edition of the festival on December 8 at the Atlantis Theater.
Written and directed by Travolta Cooper ("Founding Fathers: Sir Stafford Sands" "A Miami Trail"), "The Black Moses" takes a look at the first black prime minister of The Bahamas. The film follows the popular folk 'moses mythology' as it was manifested through the life and times of Sir Lynden Pindling. It focuses on Pindling as he sets on a course to bring about social, political, and economic revolution to the British Bahama Islands.
The film features Golden Globe nominee Dennis Haysbert ("The Unit", "24", "Wreck-It Ralph") as "Black Moses" and commentary from the 18th Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and many others.
"It's been quite a journey producing 'The Black Moses', and for our little movie to be bestowed such an honor is encouraging and inspiring. Our production team is ecstatic. And I am personally overjoyed because BIFF has undoubtedly played a role in my career as a filmmaker giving me opportunities and lifelong mentors like filmmaker Malcolm Lee and producer Jane Schoettle," said director of "The Black Moses" Travolta Cooper. "And now to be afforded such an honor in the same tradition of films such as 'The King's Speech', 'Juno' or 'Precious', which have closed this festival in the past, means more than I can express."
Vijay Subramanian "Happenstance"
Story of two different couples in a disturbed relationship. There is an incident that happens that brings the good person in both relationships together as one.
Valicia Rolle, Valene Rolle, Alexandria Smith, "The Dream"
Adam Samsun, an investor at Eden Investments, is possibly cheating on his wife. Delilah Samsun, Adam's wife, is possibly abusing Adam. For one of them, it is a dream, for the other it is a nightmare.
Mary Mazzio, "Contrarian: Mr. Templeton"
Legendary investor John Templeton ranks among the top investors of all time. Long before Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch were on the radar, thousands of people were trekking to Templeton's annual meetings - making Templeton the first true rock star investor.
Raised in a small rural town in Tennessee, Templeton was profoundly influenced by his mother who encouraged his sense of adventure from an early age. She also imbued in her son an indefatigable sense of optimism, which proved to be indispensable years later when John's father lost everything with a risky bet on cotton futures. Undeterred, John stayed on at Yale University (and later at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar), paying his own way with the earnings from three jobs and nightly poker games.
John's resilience and his meteoric rise as an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist can be attributed to lessons learned in his youth: think differently, live frugally, be willing to bet against conventional thinking, and, above all, be honest. This made Templeton unique, particularly on Wall Street.
Andrew Turley "It's Better In The Bahamas"
The film begins with an encounter. The filmmaker has traveled to The Bahamas to meet, for the first time, old friends of his grandparents. They are a Haitian-Bahamian family who arrived in New Providence over half a century ago. The filmmaker's self-narrative then withdraws from the plot and allows the members of the family to share themselves with the audience.
At the center is Marjorie, the filmmaker's grandmother's goddaughter, whose bright, ambitious and attractive personality shines through.
The film was made for the Social Sciences department at the University of Manchester, the United Kingdom. It explores anthropological themes of identity, migration, kinship and gender. However, its academic grounding does not prevent it from being a humorous and touching documentary.
BIFF 2013 kicks off on Thursday, December 5 to December 8 in Nassau and will run through December 9 to 13 in Eleuthera.
For the second consecutive year, BIFF will be coming to Harbour Island December 9-11 and Governor's Harbour December 11-13, showcasing a diverse presentation of films from around the world accompanied by a group of local and international filmmakers. For more information, please visit www.bintlfilmfest.com.
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November 30, 2013
Educating and inspiring the next generation of filmmakers is the primary focus of a signature workshop put on annually by the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF), now in its 10th year, and set to kick off on Thursday.
This year, the Youth Film Workshop has partnered with five local Bahamian private and public schools throughout Nassau and Eleuthera and integrated the workshops directly into classrooms.
The Festival will screen the winning films and clips from the program December 5 - 8 in Nassau and December 9 - 13 in Eleuthera, said BIFF Founder and Executive Director, Leslie Vanderpool.
The Youth Film Workshops served as an innovative children's mobile film studio creating a unique learning environment like none other, according to the festival's organizers. With the support of BTC, the Youth Film Workshops took place in classrooms throughout Nassau to heighten awareness of the positive impact of media literacy.
Participating schools in this year's program each led a selected group of students to develop story lines, scriptwriting and take on various roles of an actual film crew for their film format, based on the topic "The Bahamas Through My Eyes".
A total number of 65 students, through the course of a week, participated in the sessions with a curriculum that included the history and art of filmmaking, genres, formats, scriptwriting, casting, shooting and cinematography. Schools that signed on to participate in this year's Youth Film Workshop are L.W. Young Junior High School, Garvin Tynes Primary School, Spanish Wells All Age School, Harbour Island All Age School and Central Eleuthera High School.
"BIFF's Youth Film Workshop is a favorite program of mine, as it provides hands-on experience in making a film, teaches the benefits of collaboration and teamwork and allows children to realize their innate abilities and exercise their imaginations. The rewards of teaching 600 students since this outreach program was started in schools around Nassau, and adding Eleuthera to this list, are immeasurable. Testimonies from students now in college pursuing theater arts, media and filmmaking, as a result of this introductory exposure, speak to the importance and value of this program. This is the beauty of bringing Hollywood to The Bahamas and conducting invaluable programs that BIFF offers throughout the year," said Vanderpool.
The Youth Film Workshop was conducted by Vanderpool and Neville Smith, CEO of Settlers Cove Ltd. Digital Cinema & Television. With their guidance, participants learned the fundamentals of filmmaking, explored and experimented with the latest in digital technology, in an exciting, fast-paced, child-focused environment with the ultimate goal of developing media literacy, social networking and collaboration skills.
"It was encouraging to see young people excited about a profession that they watch every day but never had the opportunity to participate in," said Neville Smith. "In class, we challenged the students to make short films by whatever means they had, which reveal a level of creativity that was astounding! I hope to see films coming from their respective schools in the near future."
The Youth Film Workshop was sponsored by The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
Celebrating its 10th year, the BIFF has established itself as a marquee international festival in the Caribbean region, discovering and promoting independent voices and talent from around the world and showcasing a diverse array of international films.
o For additional information, including screening listings, events and ticket pricing, please visit www.bintlfilmfest.com.
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November 30, 2013
A new CD by three musicians and College of The Bahamas music professors is focusing on the preservation and promotion of art and music from The Bahamas and its Caribbean neighbors.
"Deep Blue" by C-Force -- Christian Justilien on the euphonium, Christy Lee on piano and Christine Ganglehoff on flute -- is a compilation of original compositions, transcriptions and arrangements of pieces written in a classical vein while manifesting elements of Bahamian folk culture in the use of theme, rhythm and melody.
The CD will be launched at a special concert performance being held under the patronage of Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Joan Foulkes, on Tuesday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m., Government House Ballroom.
"As The Bahamas celebrates its 40th year of independence, 'Deep Blue' features a combination of works by Bahamian composers and poets as well as pieces inspired by the islands of The Bahamas and their surrounding waters. Included on the disc are works by E. Clement Bethel, Franz Hepburn, K. Quincy Parker, Christian Justilien, Terry Manning and Lucas Manning. Also featured are art work by John Cox and poetry by Marion Bethel," said C-Force.
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November 30, 2013
A photographic show featuring work by Bahamian artist and filmmaker Tyler Johnston opens on Thursday, December 12, 5-8 p.m. at Van Breugels Restaurant, Charlotte St.
Kishan Munroe's "Swan Song of The Flamingo", a multidisciplinary collaborative exhibition, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email email@example.com or call 328-5800/1.
"The New New", an exhibition by Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, Blake Fox, Piaget Moss and Veronica Dorsett, continues at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts. For more information, call 322-7834.
"Get Out", a Salus Project exhibition, continues at the Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road.
"40 Years of Bahamian Art" continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 328-5800/1.
"The Bahamian Collection", photographs by Duke Wells, continues at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB). The opening is free and open to the public. For more information, visitwww.nagb.org.bs, email email@example.com or call 328-5800/1.
"Master Artists of The Bahamas" continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Featured artists are John Beadle, Jackson Burnside, Stan Burnside, John Cox, Amos Ferguson, Kendal Hanna, Brent Malone, Eddie Minnis, Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith and Max Taylor. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 328-5800/1.
The 10th Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) runs December 5-13 in Nassau and Eleuthera. For more information, visit bintlfilmfest.com.
"Watering the Spirit", a four-day healing retreat hosted by writer Helen Klonaris and musician and healing coach Tanya Hanna, takes place Thursday, January 9 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, January 12 at 5 p.m. at Gaulin House, Ten Bay, Eleuthera. For more information or to register, visit helenklonaris.com or email email@example.com.
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour. For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.
Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the food and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.
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November 30, 2013
Just three weeks into the season and teams in the New Providence Women's Basketball Association (NPWBA) are already jostling for the top position.
All four of the top finishers from last year's season have lost players. The player movement, according to president of the association, Simone Beneby, has balanced out the league, in terms of play, and the games are more competitive. Beneby believes that an upset can happen on any given night and warns teams like the Career Builder Cheetahs, the Boomer G. Operators, Super Value Cybots and The College of The Bahamas Caribs, that teams in the fifth and sixth positions have improved and are "gunning" for them.
"The league is going good, and I am really impressed with all of the teams this year," said Beneby. "Any given day any of these teams can be handed a loss. I don't want the teams that finished in the top four last season to get too comfortable. I have seen the teams, in what we call the bottom part of the standings, and they have improved tremendously. Even though they might need a little more work, they come to play hard every night when they step on the court. The scores in their games are even better.
"Right now we are seeing a division where the top four teams are competing amongst themselves and the remaining squads are doing the same, at the bottom part of the standings. As we approach mid-season, I expect to see one or two of the teams emerge and become the dominant team in the league."
Other teams competing in the league are the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and a junior All-star squad. The league host games every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings over at the D.W. Davis gymnasium. Tonight's match-up will start at 7 p.m.
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November 30, 2013
A delegation from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays Bahamas 2014 local organizing committee (LOC), which included Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, provided an update on the organization of this inaugural event to the IAAF Council.
The delegation assured the Council that The Bahamas stands ready to host the world-class relays on May 24 and 25, 2014. They also confirmed that transportation between the team hotels should be swift and smooth and the main route will incorporate a dual carriageway between the hotels and the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, with police escort. In addition, it was assured that access to The Bahamas' capital, Nassau will be smooth as the new wing to the local international airport has recently been opened.
The LOC Bahamas 2014 also reiterated that plans for a junior relay meet, incorporating The Bahamas' top teams, would take place before the main competition program each day immediately before performances by the elite athletes.
Last month, an IAAF delegation visited Nassau to carry out a two-day site visit. The delegation included IAAF Senior Vice-President Robert Hersh, Council Member Alberto Juantorena Danger and senior staff from the IAAF led by General Secretary Essar Gabriel. "Since my last visit on October 30- 31, I am impressed and satisfied with the amount of work and progress that has been made so far by the LOC," said Juantorena Danger.
Hersh said: "The LOC knows what has to be done in order to host the event, and I too am satisfied that the committee will be able to achieve what is necessary."
The IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 is expected to welcome more than 700 athletes and 300 team officials, from more than 40 nations. Praising The Bahamas LOC, IAAF Council Member Nawal El Moutawakel said: "I congratulate the organizing committee for their professional presentation of high quality."
Noting that she was impressed with the caliber of the delegation, she added that the IAAF has rarely had the presence of past international athletes and high-ranking government officials for a progress report. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's newly appointed leader for sports tourism, Olympian Greg Rolle, was a part of the team that provided assurances to the IAAF that the islands of The Bahamas is ready to provide the best in world class hospitality for the great event.
In response to feedback received from IAAF Council members, LOC Chairman Keith Parker commented, "We are continuing to work towards making this event a success - there is a sense of confidence and excitement for the event." Also expressing satisfaction with the Council response and promises, LOC Vice Chairman and President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Mike Sands said: "We are looking forward to delivering a first class event, always keeping up with the IAAF standards and expectations."
The LOC also announced that a communications plan, including a very aggressive promotion plan for ticket sales, will commence in December of this year and discussions with sponsors were well advanced and announcements, including a title sponsor, were imminent.
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November 30, 2013
Today, the Bahamas Boxing Commission is completing a weekend visit to Long Island. The venture is an initiative to bolster the national sports development program.
Long Island student/athletes, coaches, trainers, educators, parents/guardians were afforded an overview of the process for boxing development throughout the nation. Conditioning and health care were priority items on the commission's agenda in Long Island.
Also, the trip was capped off by a free clinic for members of the student population and other residents of Long Island. The commission's core group, headed by Chairman Alvin Sargent, includes Deputy Chairman/Secretary Fred Sturrup, Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Patrick Roberts, Officials Chairman Fernley Palmer, Alvin Davis, Duane Murray, James Tynes and Walter Rolle.
The commission with its Family Islands project has undertaken to assist the central administration with crafting a nation-wide program of development that will provide a solid foundation for the National Sports Academy. The Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture has invited all federations and sporting groups to develop projects that can help in the overall growth of the many disciplines that are active in the country.
The general shortcoming of federations in the country is the inability to put together a thorough national development program for respective sports. Baseball (the Bahamas Baseball Federation), soccer (the Bahamas Football Association), sailing (Bahamas Sailing Association) come closest in that regard and are to be congratulated for the continuity of efforts to involve all of the inhabited islands in the development mix.
They have not been totally successful in connecting the entire country in the development process, but the BBF, the BSA and the BFA are headed in the right direction. The same cannot be said for the rest of the core sports inclusive of boxing.
Recognizing the financial limitations of the Amateur Boxing Federation of the Bahamas (ABFB) the commission seeks to begin an educational process in the islands about boxing. The commission's concept will prioritize health care and conditioning. The idea that the commission wishes to convey is the importance of recognizing the value of keeping the body in good physical condition and doing health checks regularly.
A clinic in every island that is visited will be one of the major planks of the commission. Also, the commission is pursuing avenues to collect equipment to make available to island communities. It is hoped that future representatives in regional and international competitions will evolve out of the commission's Family Islands Program.
However, residents of the islands would be able to avail themselves of the commission's program, simply for getting and staying in shape. Males and females, the young and old, are invited to be a part of this new dimension to boxing in the country.
Dr. Roberts is keen on making his contribution to the roving clinics in the islands.
"This is something that is very near and dear to me. I've always been interested in healthcare for all. I am happy to be a part of a group that is adding other aspects to its general role of boxing development. It is very good that we will be assisting all, not just those who want to box competitively. In the overall sense, we will do a better job when we reach out to everybody," said Dr. Roberts.
The medical committee chief is a distinguished veteran in reaching out to provide healthcare.
He is best suited for the role at hand.
The commissioners are expected to return to the capital, from Long Island, this evening.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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November 29, 2013
If there is a season where donations are given generously, Christmas is usually that season.
This holiday season, Guardian Media will again give Bahamians and residents throughout The Bahamas an opportunity to show their generosity with our second annual Stocking Stuffer Holiday Promotion.
The Nassau Guardian, The Freeport News, Guardian Radio, Star 106.5 FM, Hot 91.7 FM, NB 12 and Print Masters will promote the need to donate toys, gifts, clothing and school supplies for the less fortunate during the yuletide season.
This year, Guardian Media has partnered with Super Value, The Mall at Marathon, Sky Bahamas, The Grand Lucayan, Scottsdale Bedding, The College of The Bahamas Union of Students, and Nassau Paper Company.
In a season characterized by hope, love, joy, understanding, harmony and charity, the promotion will offer a unique distinction to the annual Christmas charity donations that some Bahamians participate in each year. Guardian Media and our corporate partners will take the lead in ensuring that hundreds of Bahamian children have a happy holiday season.
On Monday, November 25, the Stocking Stuffer Holiday Promotion was launched and S. Ali McIntosh Charities donated 300 pairs of shoes - 200 for New Providence and 100 for Grand Bahama. People wishing to donate toys, gifts, clothing and school supplies can do so at The Freeport News, The Grand Lucayan, The Mall at Marathon, Super Value Cable Beach or Winton locations, Colina East Bay, or at The Nassau Guardian. The delivery of the gifts will take place on Monday, December 23 to children in Grand Bahama and New Providence.
o For more information, contact Paul Fernander at email@example.com or 302-2345.
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