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News Article
U.S. gift to further ensure RBDF's 'competitive advantage'

NASSAU, The Bahamas --- The "generous and gracious gift" of a 25ft Full Cabin Response Boat and ancillary package from the United States of America will serve to strengthen the Royal Bahamas Defence Force's capabilities in the areas of maritime domain awareness and counter transnational criminal operations, Minister of National Security, Dr. Bernard J. Nottage said Thursday.
Dr. Nottage said the donation will further ensure the Defence Force's "competitive advantage" in that war, and fits in well with the Government of The Bahamas' strategy of protecting the country's national security and maritime and other assets by ensuring "safe borders" through the decentralisation of the Defence Force's operations via the establishment and deployment of patrol craft at strategic locations throughout the Commonwealth.
"It is critical to note that the Response boat will operate primarily within Nassau's Harbour, supplementing the Defence Force's existing Harbour Patrol vessels and ensuring the safety of thousands of visitors and the economic viability of The Bahamas' tourism product," Dr. Nottage said.
The donation of the SAFE Response (Secure All-Around Flotation Equipped) Boat along with a two-year supply of spare parts and a two-week training course for RBPF marine personnel, took place on Thursday (January 9) at the RBDF's Harbour Patrol Unit, East Bay Street, and was made possible through the United States Embassy's Office of Defence Cooperation (ODC) and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

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News Article
1st Annual Authentic Bahamian Christmas Festival
1st Annual Authentic Bahamian Christmas Festival

Autumn Crop Authentically Bahamian and MoNifa UnJinga Collection presents its 1st Annual “Authentic Bahamian Christmas Festival“, scheduled for Wednesday, 19th December 2012 at the Independence Ballroom, Sheraton Cable Beach, Nassau from 12Noon to 8pm. Admission is $2.00 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under.

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News Article
GB Children's Home receives a gift of art

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The Grand Bahama Children's Home was the recipient of $500 from local artist  Leo Brown and his publisher recently.  Leo, as he is well-known,  is a Bahamian Impressionist whose works are in demand both locally and internationally.  
Recently, he teamed up with Daniel Lowe, President of Bahamas Printing & Publishing, to create a series of greeting cards, making his work more accessible and affordable to mainstream audiences.  In creating the box of 10 litho, quality cards and envelopes, both also felt it was important to give back to the community.  To this end, Leo and Mr. Lowe have committed to donating part proceeds of these cards, for a full year, to the G.B. Children's Home.  
"We are very blessed by this donation," said Geneva Rutherford, GBCH Executive Committee, "Leo and Daniel have not only created a beautiful keepsake gift for visitors and residents, but they are also helping us keep the children safe in our Home. We thank them so very much!"    
Pictured at the first donation from the card sales are (left to right) Brennamae Cooper, GBCH Administrator, Leo Brown, Artist, Geneva Rutherford and Daniel Lowe President Bahamas Printing & Publishing.  Leo's cards are on sale at Leo's Art Gallery, Bahamas Printing & Publishing and the Art of Giving.

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News Article
PLP members host Stapledon Park Christmas party

Mount Moriah's Stapledon Park came alive on Saturday as PLP area candidate Arnold Forbes hosted a Christmas event for residents over the weekend.
Hundreds poured onto the grounds from surrounding communities and descended on McKinney Avenue for the holiday event.
PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis, also joined the huge event, where gifts, food, music and entertainment by marching bands all filled the grounds.
Davis and Forbes also made presentations on behalf of the party to civic groups, as they shared the spirit of gift giving with the children present.
 
 
 

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News Article
Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders visit the Grand Bahama Children's Home and spread lots of cheer

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Thanks to a contact from the Grand Bahama Tourism Board, the Grand Bahama Children's Home had a WONDERFUL visit from the NFL's Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders over the Easter holiday.  
In addition to the donation of gifts to the Home and a personal cash donation from the ladies themselves, the Ravens cheerleaders spent time with the children playing games and teaching them cheers - drawing loads of smiles and laughter from them all.  
"It was wonderful for our children to receive such love and kindness from these talented ladies," said Assistant Administrator Enzy Jones.  "We are continually blessed by wonderful visitors to our island who amaze us by reaching out to our Home. We want to thank the entire Ravens Cheerleaders Squad and their administrators who organised this visit - which was such a fun time for everyone!"  
Megan Collins, Events & Entertainment Manager noted "The Ravens were excited to be able to give back to the Grand Bahama community. Shooting our calendar on the island was a wonderful experience and playing with children of the Grand Bahama Children's Home was a very memorable and rewarding experience for members of our team."

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News Article
Palacious: Fatherhood is a gift of responsibility

Fatherhood is a precious gift God gave His people. To be presented with the responsibility of another's life and well-being is a feat to take seriously from the moment one takes up this title. If more men took their role seriously and provided for their children as they should, the country would be in a better state. And getting men to see how essential it is to get back to the basics of praying, protecting and providing in their homes was the message that Archdeacon James Palacious left with the congregation during the Father's Day service at Holy Spirit Anglican Church.
"Being a dad is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it is not something to do just because you can, Father Palacious told the congregation. "It is easy to be a father, but it's another story to be a dad," he said.
The Anglican archdeacon said men are willing to father children all over the place but forget that the real work comes in raising the child in the right way. He said men have to be everything their children need no matter what life may throw their way.
As a provider, he said a father should aim to meet his children's needs, and that it's not so much about giving into their every whim, but teaching the value of what they do have and giving them what they need to succeed. He also said providing did not mean financially, and that being a good father also means providing for the emotional and psychological needs of children.
"Good fathers make sure their children know who they are -- that they are special and important. Their daughters know they are beautiful and loved. No one else has to come and tell her so. Your sons will know where they stand and what it means to be a young man. They will not be confused or wonder where they belong and seek bad company to fulfill their need to fit in," said Archdeacon Palacious.
The priest encouraged the men in the congregation to also provide the template their sons should be emulating and their daughters should be searching for when they look for a husband one day. He told them that a good father figure should be able to encourage their children and build up their self-esteem and confidence so they are sure of themselves and not at the mercy of the opinions of others.
"Fathers today need to step up and do what they are mandated to do by God. They are to be there for their children and should not be sidetracked into thinking providing financially will suffice," said Fr. Palacious. "Children need just as much to have a sense of love and belonging from both parents."
He said many fathers today are doing their job, but that there are more out there not taking up the mantle.
Fr. Palacious also said that being able to protect children is also a good sign of a good father. Ensuring that children aren't polluted by the world via the Internet, television or even other family members is something a parent needs to do to raise a child right in this media-driven world. He told them that the job of the
father is even more rigorous today because it is easy for children to be influenced, and that it is not easy to control all elements in society which is why fathers should be vigilant and not dump the responsibility of raising children on mothers or other family members.
The Anglican priest also said that setting the right spiritual example is an essential part of being a father and that protecting and providing are all well and good, but ensuring children know how to walk in Christ was even more important. He said fathers should make it a point to pray with their children, and attend church as a family often. And that showing rather than telling is the best way to instill the right values, and to really get children to understand the value of spirituality.
Archdeacon Palacious said God meant for fatherhood to be a privilege within marriage, but that most children are born out of wedlock. He said the child who lives with married parents is a statistical anomaly.
"There is no surprise that the country is going in a downward spiral. We are not doing as God ordained and not all men are living up to what He expected of them. You have to be there more than financially. It is not enough. The greatest things that shape your child cannot be bought with money," the minister told the congregation. "In my family we use the three 'F' words -- free ... family ... fun. It's just about spending quality time. Not harassing your children or stressing out over life. Just have a good time and let them feel loved. This can be a ride in the car or a visit to the beach. You should want to spend time with the kids. They will remember that more than the hundreds you spent on a game or the endless hours you worked to provide for them," he said.
Fr. Palacious said men should be thinking about the legacy they will be leaving behind for their families. He said when their children look back on their youth, that fathers should want them to remember the good times, the fun occasions, the morning prayers and life lessons. And that they should not want their children's only memory of them to be of them working and never showing up to important events in their lives.
"Everyone leaves behind a legacy. You never know when the Lord may call you, so it is best to utilize the time you have to set the foundation you would want your children to build upon. No matter how old your child is, it is not too late to try to set things right and guide them in the ways they should go. God gave fathers a responsibility to be heads of the home and a staple in their children's lives. So to me it is very wrong to shirk this duty," said the priest.

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News Article
Government is a collective responsibility

Government is not a person, but rather it is an instrument given to a body of people to uphold the institutions to govern society.  The instrument, which is the law, regulates everything in a society from personal behavior to societal norms.
God in his wisdom has instituted the instrument of government.  The instrument of government is made up of a body of laws.  The laws are a system designed to regulate and preserve and protect the rights of all persons, organizations and nations.  The enforcement and carrying out of the instrument of the law, when it is done in various arenas, brings wholeness and provides for the protection of people to develop and progress in a civil manner.
Consequently, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most profound and prolific leaders in the last century, stated that "all reality has spiritual control.  And there is a God that upholds and stands behind that reality".
Laws are primarily given to constrain the waywardness of man's depraved and fallen nature.  They are the penal code of man's morality.  Man's morality is designed to bring the best out of every person.  Civic society has various educational and social institutions with systems that are proactively intended to help people discover their gifts and in so doing lend their support to the national development of their country.  It is one's moral and God-given responsibility to actively and creatively contribute to civil society.
So it is in the observing and obeying of these principles, that are the penal code, that a nation is protected from imploding from the activities of lawlessness or being destroyed ultimately by the judgment of God.
God in his mercy towards man has created redemption for him and empowered the church through his Holy Spirit to adhere to the penal code.  As a church conforms to the standards of morality it assists in building its community, society, and indeed a nation.  In so doing, God blesses that nation.  That is why he said: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord," Psalm 33:12.
The quality of a nation is determined by the quality of its government.  Characteristically, this responsibility needs to be carried out with respect to loyalty, fidelity and sincerity by those who occupy the office.  The government is accountable for law and order in a civil society; this instrument of accountability has been designed by God.
Therefore, government is not about personalities.  It is about systems and structures and persons being held accountable for positions of trust to carry out specific duties.  Civil society has a right to demand accountability of its elected leaders and appointed or engaged officers.  As a people in The Bahamas, if we do not collectively hold our elected leaders accountable then we lose control of our ability and power to ensure that government acts in the best interest of the people.
 
Collective responsibility
The safety and security of The Bahamas rests at the feet of government.  However, in The Bahamas, we have several areas of government, the executive, the judiciary, and the enforcement agencies.  While the government cannot control what goes on in someone's bedroom, and in our homes and our private space, it is responsible for the control of the collective environment in which we operate.  Government is to ensure that the laws are enforced, applied and fully executed.
The regulation of the law is to be enforced by the government.  Government has agreed to join in the collective responsibility for law and order in our country.  Threats and breaches of peace are the collective responsibility of the executive branch, the judiciary and the armed forces; these all makeup the government.  However, ultimately, the executive branch sets the agenda and brings forward laws that are required to meet the challenges of society, under which the other arms of government function. While collective security is an idea with a long history, its implementation in practice has proven problematic.  Several prerequisites have to be met for it to have a chance of working.  Therefore, the government should have worked on those prerequisites immediately upon taking office so that these should have been satisfied by now.
Before the FNM government took office in 2007, crime, criminality and murder were at high levels in The Bahamas.  A prerequisite of taking office should therefore have been the formulation of a plan to address these burgeoning issues.  Subsequently, in 2009, 86 persons were murdered in our country - the highest occurrence in the modern Bahamas at that time.  In 2010 the upward homicide trend continued and 94 homicides were recorded.  And now in 2011, at the end of 9 months, it stands at more than 104, an increase of more than 40 percent since the current government took office.
The sad thing in all of this is that there seems to be no national plan to bring some arrest to this problem in our country.  Over the past three years the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) sought partnership with the government with the hope of reducing criminality and crime in our country.  As president, I specifically addressed three of the ministers of the government: Minister for National Security Tommy Turnquest, the prime minister and Minister Zhivago Liang, who I wrote after being turned around by the others respectively.  To my surprise all three ministries did not accept the proposal to partner with the BCC.  As past president of the Bahamas Christian Council, in one of the meetings with the prime minister he told to the church leaders: "You as church leaders do what you need to do and as the government, we will do what we need to do."
Not to mention, the prime minister was not in attendance at the last parliamentary service, which was held at the Salvation Army, Mackey Street.  He sent an apology.  Further, the prime minister did not attend the 2009 Independence service, held at Bahamas Faith Ministries.  Now about six to eight months or so from general election, the prime minister has attended three of the last services held by the Bahamas Christian Council.
As past president of the Bahamas Christian Council, we call on the government to own up to its elected responsibility and to do its job on behalf of the Bahamian people.
We look forward to the prime minister's upcoming address on crime this Monday.

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News Article
The Gift of Life From Grand Bahama Island to Our Family

Dear Editor,

This letter is about a gift of life given to my family by the doctors (private and government), nurses at the Rand ICU and the remarkable EMS in Freeport. Over the years, people have been heard to say: "don't get sick in Freeport"; "medical care in Freeport is non-existent".

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News Article
Volunteers bring joy to Cat Island Christmas

THE children of Cat Island's Old Bight Mission Home again welcomed the BTC iVolunteers when they arrived for a second year to entertain the children with a Christmas party complete with gifts and entertainment.

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News Article
Scurvy Few Motorcycle Club raise funds for the Beacon School

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The Scurvy Few Motor Bike Club members love to get on their bikes and go for long casual rides during the weekends.
The members are not hell raisers, but rather consist of big hearted members of the community who are business persons, serious about riding, road safety and are passionate about helping others.  They are no strangers to reaching out and making things better for others.
Vicky Martel of Santa's Helpers can attest to this, as some of the Club's members have become 'the reindeers on wheels' as they roar into various communities to meet the kids and distribute thousands of gifts provided by generous donators.
The Club Members saw a need at the Beacon School who continue to champion the cause for special education and provide training for our challenged youth.  Determined to find a way to assist, they planned a Bike Night at Red Beard's Restaurant, whereby an entrance fee was charged to patrons entering the establishment.

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