Nassau Guardian Stories

Griffin: Thousands using new Social Services debit card by end of June

May 18, 2015

Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin said there may be as many as 4,000 or more people in New Providence alone using the new prepaid debit card from Social Services by the end of June. The cards will start being handed out to people who access food vouchers from the ministry's Horseshoe Drive center today...

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Civil aviation overhaul complete by December

May 18, 2015

An overhaul of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) designed to promote greater transparency and accountability within the Ministry of Transport and Aviation will be completed by December 2015, according to Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin...

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Call for nat'l arts endowment, not 'overblown' party

May 18, 2015

With no comprehensive accounting as yet of how the $9 million supposedly allocated to Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival has been spent - or even if all the money was spent after all - alternative proposals for how the money used for the three-day event could have been spent abound. Such a proposal has been proffered by College of The Bahamas (COB) Vice President of Advancement Dr. Ian Strachan...

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New leadership paradigm: promote 'relationship' people

May 18, 2015

Happiness at work was the focus of a workshop in The Bahamas last week, and one of the featured presenters - Alexander Kjerulf of Denmark - recently gave Guardian Business his prescription for a new leadership paradigm, suggesting that prevailing models of promotion in the workplace need to be re-examined...

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Collie-Minns, Hart shine at SEC Championships

May 18, 2015

Latario Collie-Minns is the latest Bahamian who has solidified his spot on Team Bahamas for Beijing, China this summer!

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Vanderpool-Wallace comes close to best times at pro series event

May 18, 2015

Bahamian multi national record holder Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace made major statements in two short sprints, the 50 meters (m) free and fly events, over the weekend at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, North Carolina...

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Athletes shine at 8th Fritz Grant Invitational

May 17, 2015

Despite minor delays throughout the day due to inclement weather, junior and elite athletes still took part in the Ambassadors Track Club's eighth Annual Fritz Grant Invitational...

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The race is set to begin for the national titles

May 17, 2015

This evening, Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace will be a beehive of activity as the campaign for the 2015 Bahamas Bowling National Champions (men and women) gets underway...

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100 mil project for

May 15, 2015

The government signed a heads of agreement with Cotton Bay Holdings and Mine Holdings Limited yesterday for a $100 million development in Eleuthera that is expected to create about 300 permanent and 200 construction jobs, Prime Minister Christie announced...

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Firefighters exposed to harmful chemicals during warehouse blaze

May 15, 2015

Several firefighters are suffering from health complications after they were exposed to a harmful chemical during their efforts to extinguish a fire at the abandoned City Market warehouse on Thursday afternoon, according to Police Fire Services chief, Superintendent Walter Evans...

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Fashion designer found dead

May 15, 2015

The naked body of fashion designer Jeff Johnson, also known as Jeff St. John, was found in a Collins Avenue home that was set afire early yesterday morning...

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Obie Wilchcombe: Carnival here to stay

May 15, 2015

Despite the criticism from some members of the opposition, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is here to stay and will be a permanent fixture on the Bahamian cultural calendar...

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Gomez 'somewhat comforted' by AG's statement on files

May 15, 2015

Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez said he was somewhat comforted by Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson's statement earlier this week that the matter involving the missing extradition files is "receiving full attention"...

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A party for some while the rest suffer

May 15, 2015

Dear Editor,

The government has shown that if given several million taxpayer dollars and six months, it can throw a grand three-day party for the merry hedonists among us...

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Reparations: Deciding we are worthy

May 15, 2015

Dear Editor,

Have you ever joined a game of Monopoly that's already begun? You get your $1,500 and you feel rich. You choose from among the pieces that are left, the one that best represents you (you convince yourself that the shoe or the iron has deep symbolic meaning and isn't in fact just the one that no one else wanted)...

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Dispute makes Christie 'uncomfortable'

May 15, 2015

Dear Editor,
Imagine that. Prime Minister Perry Christie is "very uncomfortable" with the dispute between the Melia Resort and the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union.
The prime minister seems to be tiptoeing around the issue of the union members standing their ground in wanting to retain the 15 percent gratuity that they have been receiving for the past 30-plus years.
Without saying it, the prime minister is probably wishing that the union would back off because the government and the country cannot afford to allow "small issues that I think can be resolved" to bring about industrial action at a critical time.
He is basically talking to the union members when he says thousands of lives are tied to Baha Mar's success and that, "The country is looking forward for the relief Baha Mar will give."
How can anyone take Christie seriously when the government has its own contentious dispute with Baha Mar and is refusing to pay the balance owed the resort owners for the realignment of West Bay Street and the new road leading from John F. Kennedy Drive?
What will it be? Will the government quietly pay Baha Mar the remainder of its money and then leave BHCAWU members to fend for themselves?
The Bahamian public needs to know.

- George Thompson

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PM may seal his party's fate with NHI

May 15, 2015

Bahamians are trying to cope with the significant cost of living increase since the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) at 7.5 percent at the beginning of this year. Along with passing on the consumption tax to consumers, businesses have had to raise prices even more to compensate for VAT-related implementation costs.
VAT was instituted - the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) said at the time - to help reduce our deficits and to pay down debt. Since then, however, the governing party has suggested that VAT proceeds would help pay for social programs the country "needs" - that is, more wasteful government spending.
The PLP seems tone deaf to the concerns of Bahamians when it comes to tax increases. Instead of allowing voters a moment to adjust to VAT, the governing party is giddily preparing for its next assault on Bahamian taxpayers via the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.
People like PLP MP for Fort Charlotte Dr. Andre Rollins and former Free National Movement (FNM) Senator Dr. Duane Sands have said publicly that now is not the time to tax the Bahamian people further. The national unemployment rate was last measured at 15.7 percent in November 2014. Youth unemployment stood at 31 percent. These are difficult times.
A report on NHI completed by Costa Rican consultants Sanigest Internacional revealed that implementing the scheme would cost taxpayers between $362 million for a basic benefits package and $633 million for an expanded package annually. The report proposes three revenue scenarios to pay for NHI.
Under the low scenario, payroll contributions would not be introduced beyond the one percent approved for the National Prescription Drug Plan. This scenario calls for limited additional taxes assessed on auto and other insurance policies and only a partial transfer of existing government health spending.
Under the medium scenario, contributions of three percent would be introduced, with two percent split between employers and employees, with a National Insurance Board (NIB) wage ceiling increase to $800. The current NIB wage ceiling is $620 per week.
Under the high scenario, contributions of five percent would be introduced, with a wage ceiling increase to $1,200.
The medium and high scenario also call for additional taxes on alcohol and tobacco, auto insurance and other insurance, and nearly all-existing government funding of healthcare would be channeled to NHI.
Christie said in March that if the government was to "hesitate again" to implement NHI, hundreds of people would die because they cannot afford adequate healthcare. Several months before the 2007 general election, the first Christie administration brought the NHI Bill to Parliament. It was passed, but the election took place before promised regulations to flesh out the details of NHI were presented.
"And you have to call a spade a spade because if we hesitate again, there are people by the hundreds, who when we analyze why they died, it will be because they didn't have the means or even the knowledge or they didn't live in a country that provided [healthcare] through the intervention of the state and would be subject to the same animalistic manifestation that only the strongest survive," Christie said as he addressed the 9th International Labour Organization (ILO) meeting of the Caribbean Ministers of Labour at the British Colonial Hilton.
"That's the choice we have."
Christie should realize that the Bahamian people now only see their spending power decreasing under the weight of the taxes implemented by this government. Many Bahamians think health reform is important. But they also know they cannot afford to give one more dollar to the state. If they do they will be unable to pay their electricity bills, school fees for their children and their mortgages.
Christie should know his party is not popular. Three years in to this term and the murder rate is near record levels and people still can't find work. The only economic plan the PLP has is Baha Mar, which was a deal cemented by the last FNM administration.
Taking more from a frustrated people will not gain votes for the PLP at the next general election. Christie must remember that in the run-up to the 2007 general election he thought he was doing what the people wanted. Clearly he was not, as they voted his party out of office.
This time he should know that the people do not want more tax increases. Gradually improving the health care sector is necessary but it does not have to be done in the manner being considered by this government.
If Christie wants to be prime minister again he should think long and hard about NHI. Those with little, who will be asked to pay more, will not be happy with the party that emptied their pockets.

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EU's moral and legal obligation to Africans

May 15, 2015

We, in the Caribbean, are familiar with the phenomenon of thousands of persons - primarily from Cuba and Haiti - that for years have been risking their lives, leaving their homes in rickety boats to reach "greener pastures''.
Recently, we also have been witnessing thousands of persons from Africa and the Middle East risking their lives, through the same method, trying to get to the shores of Europe, to escape political and social instability.
Needless to say hundreds - if not thousands - have lost their lives in the process, beginning with the on-land, cross-country journey in their nations where, in many instances, it is necessary to travel through deserts. Those who survive the deserts then must face the seas that often-times become a watery grave.
It is heart-wrenching to listen to the stories and the plight of these asylum-seekers and refugees. Most are merely fighting for survival. And, one wonders how in a world of so much plenty - a world in which boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, in one single contest, share $300 million between themselves - there is so much abject poverty and all its accompanying ills, such as armed conflicts and starvation.
As it concerns Africans, I cannot help but remember the late Walter Rodney and his liberating work, "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa''. If Rodney was still around, he would have written volumes more on that subject. The lasting legacy of exploitation of African countries by the west is there for all to see; that legacy includes the artificial division of these countries for the purpose of sharing the spoils between European powers. These historical western misdeeds, no doubt, are still haunting the African continent.
Now, that does not explain fully why some countries - if not all African countries - continue to struggle and why their poverty rate is so high. Even Nigeria, the biggest economy on the continent, now struggles with serious religious fanaticism. African presidents and prime ministers must take their fair share of responsibility for reckless and corrupt leadership.
However, unlike Israel, no African country enjoys the love of a godfather like the United States; and, unlike our Jewish friends, black people are yet to be compensated for the slave trade and slavery.
These issues come to the fore.
In the Middle East - and in particular Libya (an African country) - America's shortsighted foreign policy helped rebels to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, without any single, unifying leadership to take over the reins. Now, Libya is nothing short of a failed state: different militias control different areas of the country, including the airport. Libya is simply lawless.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq, it is well-established, was based on lies; and now, look at what's happening. The American action - which was solidly supported by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair - has allowed for the growth of radical Iraqi Islamic groups that pose one of the most serious security threats to Iraq and the world. And, of course, the U.S. policy towards Syria has inadvertently led to the same result.
Now, I carry no brief for these leaders who were toppled, but the reality of what followed their removals is staring us in the face and we simply cannot ignore it.
At the moment, the world is faced with one of the worst refugee crises ever. The United Nations has estimated that there are currently some 43 million uprooted victims of conflict and persecution worldwide; more than 15 million are refugees fleeing their countries. Coupled with that are some 27 million internally displaced people; people who are "refugees'' in their own countries.
It appears, to me that this represents one of the greatest challenges of our time; and while we, in the Caribbean, may not be directly affected by it, we must not ignore this reality.
The wealthy developed nations continue to give lip service to these issues. The European Union is now forced to triple its spending on search and rescue of migrants to save face, after the loss of nearly 2,000 lives so far this year. It is estimated that nearly 40,000 persons will attempt the crossing to Europe by year-end.
The European Union must be told that this is not just a moral and humanitarian responsibility; the EU countries, for all the centuries of looting the wealth of Africa, also have a legal obligation to house, feed, clothe, educate and employ Africans.
It may be argued that not all European countries were involved in the looting, pillaging and exploitation. But, I will answer and say, that all of them now benefit - directly and indirectly. And, since they are one community now, they should share the burden.

o Arley Gill is a magistrate and former Grenada minister of culture. This article is published with permission from Caribbean News Now.

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Bahamian art around the world

May 15, 2015

Over the past few years, the Bahamian visual art scene has experienced a noticeable ripening. Younger artists have appeared; established practitioners have made it a priority to pass their knowledge on, and members of the visual art community have employed their abilities to comment on and challenge primitive ways of thought and barriers to society progression.
What makes this more exciting is the fact that members of the Bahamian visual art community are also making their talents and voices known and heard in the international arena. Some of the globetrotting names that have been popping up in creative spaces around the world are Janine Antoni, Blue Curry, Arnold Kemp, Lavar Munroe, Holly Parotti and Tavares Strachan.

Janine Antoni
Freeport-born artist Janine Antoni is currently being featured in 'Incubator' - a collaboration with New Jersey choreographer Stephen Petronio that explores the relationship between sculpture and dance.
Curated by Louis Grachos and Andrea Mellard, the presentation at testsite, in Austin, Texas, will feature site-specific installations, video work, sculpture and photography. Incubator includes the artists' first visual collaboration, "Honey Baby", a video of a folding, tumbling body within a honey-filled environment.
Antoni's work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, SITE Santa Fe, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the 1993 Venice Biennale. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 1999, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2011, a 2012 Creative Capital Artist Grant and the 2014 Anonymous Was A Woman award.

Blue Curry
Blue Curry is one of those who have been making their marks in creative spaces across the globe. The Bahamian artist, who is based primarily in London, was recently featured in 'Unsettled Landscapes', a biennial exhibition held at SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico. Unsettled Landscapes focused on contemporary art from the Americas and examining the "urgencies, political conditions and historical narratives that inform the work of contemporary artists across the Americas". The show was on display from July 2014 to January 2015 and studied the work of artists responding to three themes: landscape, territory and trade.
Curry's childhood memories of a tourism-saturated Downtown Nassau were the catalyst for his proposal for Unsettled Landscapes. Curry offered the concept of presenting Downtown Nassau as a "site for sculpture and installation, rather than a site for just consumption".
Curry's work can also be seen at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas next month, when he takes part in the two-person show, Double Dutch, in collaboration with Bermuda-based artist James Cooper. Double Dutch opens June 2. His work will also be shown at PopopStudios in Freak Dancing, which opens on June 4.

Arnold Kemp
Chairman of the Department of Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University, Arnold Kemp's work has made a name for him abroad.
The Bahamian artist lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. His work has been shown on both coasts of the U.S. and in-between. Kemp is also a writer whose poems have appeared in "Callaloo", Three Rivers Poetry Journal, Agni Review, MIRAGE #4 Period(ical), "River Styx", Nocturnes, Art Journal and "Tripwire".
Currently, Kemp's work in Headless, an exhibition on at creative space Soloway, in Brooklyn, examines the body - specifically one
designed to "navigate today's and tomorrow's increasingly mechanistic, efficient and brutal existences". Headless examines the human senses, particularly in relation with modern-day society, pollution and cyber space. Headless will be on display until May 23.

Lavar Munroe
Born and raised in Grant's Town, New Providence, these days Lavar Munroe is no stranger to international acclaim. His pieces been exhibited in the U.S., Brussels, London and, most recently, in the main exhibition at this year's Venice Biennale.
The biennale is the world's oldest international art exhibition of its kind. Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is comprised of a grouping of individual national pavilions along with a main exhibition led by a respected curator, who selects his or her own theme for the exhibition.
Three of Munroe's large-scale cut-out canvas, collage and mixed media works are featured in the exhibition, which is considered a grouping of some of the world's most foremost and current positions in visual art. Entitled All The World's Futures, the show has been curated by renowned Nigerian-born curator Okwui Enwezor.

Holly Parotti
Holly Parotti will be featured at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in upcoming exhibition 'Field Notes: Extracts'. Recognized for her use of digital and sculptural media, Parotti frequently explores human relationships and themes of belonging through her work.
MoCADA is known for using visual art to promote dialogue on race-related sociological issues, particularly those affecting the African Diaspora. Curated by Holly Bynoe, Field Notes: Extracts will open in June and will feature the work of seven emerging artists from the Caribbean and its diasporas. Deborah Anzinger, Gilles Elie-dit-Cosaque, Jasmine Thomas Girvan, Vashti Harrison, Kelly Sinnapah Mary, Joiri Minaya and Holly Parotti will be highlighted in the exhibition, which responds to socio-political, gendered and imagined realities.

Tavares Strachan
Tavares Strachan is another Bahamian artist leaving his impression in the United States. Strachan's large scale floating sculpture was recently featured as part of the Prospect New Orleans, Prospect3: Notes for Now biennial, based in New Orleans.
Entitled "You belong here", Strachan built a 100-foot long and 22-foot high neon work that traveled on a 120-foot barge on the Mississippi River. The piece floated up and down the water during the evenings of the biennial's opening weekend, and was docked at Esplanade Street Wharf during other times.
Intended as a message to the city, the work encouraged viewers to examine themselves in relation to space. Strachan uses a seemingly straightforward phrase, "You belong here," to evoke a dialogue about the historical undercurrents present throughout the city.
To keep up with visual arts news, subscribe to the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas newsletter by contacting the NAGB at

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