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Two Saturdays ago, February 26, the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) staged the second official conclave in the 42-year-old history of the organization. The first was held in 1969. That parley helped to form the embryonic body that came out of an idea the then current Bahamas Heavyweight Champion, Bert Perry, had.
This forum of present boxing leaders and participants was inspiring and I believe, will nicely shape the future of the sport. The event was quite impacting for boxing. The gathering bridged the gap between 1969 and 2011 very well.
It was very good to see such significant boxing figures under one roof, together. That had not happened in a very long time. For instance, joining m ...
Guardians of the Galaxy (Rated T)
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista
Genre: Action Adventure
Dwight's Rating: 3.5
Sometimes having low expectations can be a very good thing!
The previews for "Guardians of the Galaxy" left me cold and uninterested in the film. Commercials made the characters look like laughable rejects from the "X-Men". And it seemed this would be another dud of a movie that only comic book fan boys familiar with these Marvel characters would even care about.
But after learning of its massive success in its opening weekend in the United States (it was the largest ever August release in history), my interest was peaked. And not only did it exceed box office expectations, but it managed to exceed mine as well -- and in a way as big as our galaxy is vast.
In the film, brash adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits: Gamora (Zoe Saldana); Drax the Destroyer (professional wrestler Dave Batista); Rocket, a genetically enhanced, gun-toting, talking raccoon; and Groot, a verbally challenged, tree-like humanoid. The galaxy's fate rests in the hands of this motley crew.
Yes, you read right. There's a talking raccoon, and a walking-talking tree, among many other oddities. Nevertheless, one can apply just about any and every positive superlative to this superlative movie. It is the funniest and most fun film so far this year!
No comic-based movie has felt this refreshingly humorous since the original "Iron Man". And the humor comes at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. The main sources of the laughs come from some of the characters that initially had me most skeptical about the film -- which greatly contributed to those low expectations. But Drax, Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and the tree, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), are the life of the party, and at the center of the movie's snappy dialogue and overall spirited pacing.
And who knew Chris Pratt -- a supporting player on TV's "Parks and Recreations" -- had it in him to be the next great leading man? There have been little hints here and there, including with his small role in the film "Zero Dark Thirty". But it's certainly cemented here. He demonstrates extreme versatility, with a classic leading man combination of comic timing, action ability and capability, and romantic chemistry with Zoe Saldana.
She, too, is arguably better here than in pretty much anything in which I've ever seen her, including "Avatar" -- the last blockbuster in which she played an oddly colored alien (this time she's green instead of blue).
Lest one assume it's all fun and games, there are scenes of sensitivity and emotional depth. Each one of the core characters has a touching back-story and is overcoming some form of loss or pain in their lives. These elements could have easily derailed everything into one giant, cheesy mess. But in the deft hands of Director James Gunn, who co-wrote the screenplay along with Nicole Perlman, these moments are skillfully managed and not overdone or overbearing. Instead, we are treated to a clever and witty balance of exuberant humor and spectacular action.
All of this high praise and buzz might now lead you to have overly great expectations for the film. But "Guardians" is unlikely to disappoint. I was tempted to give it my top four star (excellent) rating, but I've settled on three-and-a-half (very, very good). It is not for everyone; I'm pretty sure my mom would not appreciate all the weird aliens, talking raccoon and fighting tree. But it is more accessible and palatable than many movies of this genre, even some regarded as classics.
This movie sets up a sequel (scheduled to be released in 2017), and possibly the next, long-running movie franchise. While that's an exciting proposition, it comes with a bit of trepidation too. As we've seen before with "Iron Man", often the bar is set so high with the original that it makes it exceptionally difficult for any subsequent movie in the franchise, or even in the genre, to fill the galaxy-sized shoes. Great expectations, indeed!
o Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of " Morning Blend" on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.
Nassau, Bahamas - It
was an inspiring meeting for some, for others it was an enjoyable trip
down memory lane as 24 past presidents of Toastmasters Club 1600 met for
only the second time in the club's 44-year history.
'First Bahamas Branch' goes before the club's name, denoting its
premier, historical standing as the first local branch of the
international organization which develops communication, public speaking
and leadership skills.
The club's official charter, issued
January 1, 1969, was presented to the club's founding president, Ernest
T. Strachan in April of that year by Lynden O...
Cast: Craig Pinder, Claudette Allens, Dana J. Ferguson, Duncan Casey
A poolside setting at the charming Jacaranda House provides a fitting locale and a refreshing change of pace for a new local play.
"Hibiscus Hotel" (which runs through Saturday, May 10) eschews the limitations of the traditional stage, and makes interesting use of the great Bahamian outdoors.
The play is described as a "comedic look at the family-run hotel". It's set on the fictional Bahamian family island of "Shalimar", and the hotel was once the most glamorous in the country, but it's best days are long behind it.
Owner, Eli (Craig Pinder), is still stuck in the past, and is always reminiscing about the good-old days. Well, at least when he's not bickering with his wife Cora (Claudette "Cookie" Allens).
Hotel guest Edward (Duncan Casey), visiting from England, is thrown in the middle of the family squabbling, especially when Mia (Dana Ferguson) shows up, uncovering some still raw wounds from the past.
Written and directed by the Bahamian-born, UK-raised Robin Belfied, and produced by Kim Aranha, this is the third production of Yellowtale Theatre Company. It follows their "Dat Bahamian Ting" and "Othello or the Tragedy of Conchy Joe" which played at Nassau's Shakespeare in Paradise Festival in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Although it's an original Bahamian work, that production pedigree affords "Hibiscus Hotel" an international feel, especially compared to most original local productions of late. We are spared the overt and often preachy messages, political commentary or bizarre monologues. Instead, we are served a simple and straight-forward story.
While it may not be frequently laugh-out-loud funny, it is humorous and pleasant enough.
Pinder steals the show as the boorish Eli, displaying not only his strong acting skills and comedic timing, but also his great singing and musical ability (he strums the guitar). Allens, as always, and Ferguson deliver strong performances, as well. And what at first seems to a be a lackluster, wallflower role, is developed slowly but soundly by Casey, as we learn more about his character. Casey also shows off his singing and musical ability on that same guitar.
Despite being outdoors, there are impressive production values, with creative use of set lighting, and clever incorporation of aspects of the Jacaranda property into the story.
However, being outside does present an interesting set of challenges. The night I attended, a nearby and very loud air conditioner or generator became an annoying distraction. That, along with a couple of sirens, and the meows of a cat roaming about the property occasionally made it difficult to hear the cast.
Nevertheless, the simplicity of this four-cast member production is commendable. Far too many local stage productions of late have been bloated and overwrought, and would benefit from paring cast numbers, eliminating extraneous speaking parts, and truly fleshing out and defining their characters, all of which is largely successfully achieved with "Hibiscus Hotel".
We've been blessed with some very pleasant evenings. And luckily, there are still two chances to take advantage of this nice weather and see "Hibiscus Hotel" tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Jacaranda House on Parliament Street. There is strong language, and adult situations, so this play may not be appropriate for all audiences.
When: Tonight and Saturday, May 10
Where: Jacaranda House, Parliament Street
Time: Lights go up at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $40 premium seats, $30 adults and $20 students, free parking is available at the Royal Victoria car park with Jacaranda providing full security.
Ticket outlets: Logos Bookstore, Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza; Fab Finds Gift Shop, Blake Road Shopping Plaza; Blanco Chemicals Service Centre, Prince Charles and Fox Hill Road; Bahama Art and Handicraft, Shirley Street and on the website www.yellowtaletheatre.com/tickets.o Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of " Morning Blend" on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email email@example.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.
Tomorrow we celebrate the 39th anniversary of Bahamian independence. The Commonwealth of The Bahamas was established by an act of the British Parliament which was passed on June 20, 1973 and took effect in the early hours of July 10, 1973, when thousands on Clifford Park witnessed for the first time the raising of the Bahamian flag after the Union Jack was lowered for the last time on this colony, ending 325 years of British rule.
This week, we begin a series of articles on The Bahamas constitution and for part one would like to Consider This... what were the salient issues facing those charged with shaping our constitution as we moved to independence, and how were those issues reconciled?
A natural progression
Bahamian independence in 1973 was a natural progression following a decade of rapid transformation, not just in The Bahamas but also in the Caribbean. In The Bahamas, the constitution twice prominently featured in the body politic, first in 1964 and then again in 1969.
The Bahamas received its first written constitution on January 7, 1964, which granted full control over its internal affairs to The Bahamas government, with the governor retaining responsibility for external defense and internal security. Cabinet government was introduced, and the upper house of the legislature, previously the Legislative Council, became the Senate. The Senate's membership increased from 11 to 15, while the House of Assembly retained its designation and the number of elected representatives numbered 33. In 1969, the British government turned over the internal and external affairs to the Government of The Bahamas and replaced the office of premier with that of prime minister.
During this period, Caribbean countries were also obtaining independence from Great Britain. It started with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in August 1962. Guyana and Barbados followed in May and November 1966, respectively. The Bahamas was next in 1973 and, by the end of that decade, Grenada, Dominica and St. Lucia had also gained their independence from Great Britain.
We can appreciate that the fervor for national independence for Caribbean (and African) countries was inextricably tethered to nationalistic and socio-political realities of the era, aided by Great Britain's willingness to release its grip on the empire, upon which the sun was said never to set. For The Bahamas, the movement to independence was a natural progression, propelled by the "trade winds" of the time.
The independence conference in London
The general election of September 1972 was contested with the understanding that a victory for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) would begin the process of national independence for The Bahamas. It won and Loftus Roker was appointed to liaise with the official opposition Free National Movement (FNM) regarding matters relative to the Independence Conference before going to London.
Therefore, beginning in early December 1972, the PLP, headed by Sir Lynden Pindling, and the FNM, headed by Sir Kendal Isaacs, led a delegation to London to discuss an independence constitution with the British government.
Because The Bahamas already had the 1964 and 1969 constitutions, there was no need to start afresh so 90 percent of the issues regarding independence were agreed upon by both political parties before leaving for London.
The mood of the Bahamian delegation was upbeat and the talks were conducted in a very congenial atmosphere. Several of the delegates to the Constitutional Conference have noted that the drafting of the constitution was a moment in time where the PLP and FNM worked harmoniously, notwithstanding several philosophical points of departure.
One of the early issues discussed at the Constitutional Conference was Bahamian citizenship. The British attempted to persuade the delegation to accept the precedent that had been established by other colonies; that is, for British citizens and "belongers" living in the colonies to register at Government House, so that, at independence, they would automatically become Bahamian citizens. The Bahamian delegation unanimously objected to this, arguing instead that citizenship should not be so open-ended, and that there should be a process by which citizenship would be determined by the government. The Bahamian delegation was adamant and united, and the British relented and accepted the Bahamian position.
Another area of disagreement surrounded gender equality. The PLP proffered that full equality for women should not be enshrined in the constitution. The FNM argued the opposite view. Ultimately, the British government agreed with the PLP's position.
There was a discussion on the issue of rustication and the freedom of movement and the right of Bahamians to leave The Bahamas. Some in the PLP expressed the concern that Bahamians might depopulate the Family Islands and were also concerned that, in the absence of a rustication provisions, the country could suffer a brain drain. This fuelled the debate about giving Bahamians the right to leave not just their native islands but the country. The British agreed with the opposition on this issue, and consequently there were no prohibitions on Bahamians' ability to move freely within or outside The Bahamas.
With the issues fully aired and agreed, Sir Kendal Isaacs and the FNM delegates returned to The Bahamas. Some of the PLP delegates, including Sir Lynden, remained in London to finalize the terms upon which the new Bahamian constitution would be presented to the British Parliament. The delegation understood that the British Parliament would introduce and pass that all-important Bill for an Act to grant Independence to The Bahamas.
The surviving signatories of the Bahamian constitution are: Sir Arthur Foulkes, Arthur D. Hanna, Sir Orville Turnquest, Paul L. Adderley, A. Loftus Roker, George A. Smith and Rev. Philip M. Bethel. Deceased signatories included Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Clement Maynard, Rev. Carlton E. Francis, Sir Kendal Isaacs, Cadwell C. Armbrister, Henry J. Bowen and Norman S. Solomon. Although there were other Bahamians present at the conference who were not part of the official delegation, these 15 signatories to the Bahamian constitution should rightly be recognized as our nation's Founding Fathers.
After returning to The Bahamas, the government developed the country's flag, the coat of arms and the national anthem. It is worth noting that the official opposition was not consulted on any of these matters.
After the Constitutional Conference, the government engaged in the most impressive public relations exercise ever conducted in Bahamian history. There was a massive national campaign to inform civil society and the Bahamian people about what independence meant to the country. The post-conference activities were spearheaded by George Smith, who was the parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and headed the Independence Secretariat.
In the early hours of July 10, 1973, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was born.
There is no doubt that the men who assembled in London to frame the constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas 40 years ago performed as impressively as the American Founding Fathers who assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 to craft that country's constitution. The Bahamian delegates to the London Constitutional Conference are to be applauded for their superlative efforts in drafting a social contract which has served us these past 39 years.
In the weeks ahead, we will examine key articles of the constitution that have guided our ship of state. We will also consider some of the issues that should be addressed in amending our constitution, hopefully before we celebrate the 40th anniversary of a nation that was born on July 10, 1973.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Anglican Hymnbook - Ancient & Modern Standard Edition, attributed to Martin Luther, there is a hymn that begins with the words "Great God what do I see and hear?" When one looks at what is happening in our formerly great country, we can readily see the relevance of that question.
Supposedly intelligent Bahamians, who possess legal minds no less, have attempted to defend the indefensible. That which was promulgated by no less a person than our prime minister regarding the situation involving the esteemed VAT consultant cannot be defended, no matter who tries to do so.
When Ishmael Lightbourne started on his VAT journey, he was informing the Bahamian populace of what their fate would be if they fail to pay VAT when the law is put in place.
Passports would be taken, heavy fines would be levied and prison terms could even be part of the package.
How in the name of all the gods at once do you appoint a person who has not paid real property tax on his residential property and on his commercial property as VAT co-ordinator? It should be obvious to all that only the PLP could make an attempt to defend someone in this predicament, having regard to the fact that he did not pay for decades.
For those who may not know, the real property tax law makes provision for exemption for the persons who are genuinely suffering from hardship. The affected taxpayer would be required to apply for relief from payment and the chief valuation officer would have prepared an examination of means to determine if the tax would be exempted in part or in full. Of course, the treasurer would make the final determination in this regard.
So the law provides for those who are unable to pay. It also makes provision for those who refuse to pay upon receipt of their respective assessment notices. The courts are there to ensure that they do. There is also a real property tax tribunal set up to deal with those individuals who want to dispute their tax assessments.
The problem has been that since October 1969 when the first notices were sent out, thousands of individuals, including politicians, have not respected the law and have refused and continue to refuse to pay. There are many who should have been taken to court and the punishment that the law calls for should have been carried out.
But, we are a lawless society and while we want the government to provide the services we require, we do not feel that we should have to pay for them. We also see that there are other areas where the law is broken with impunity and while there have been threats from the police commissioner that he will deal with those matters, the threats have not been taken seriously by the gaming establishment. The evidence is so clear that the law continues to be broken that even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could see it.
More and more web shops continue to be established notwithstanding the vote taken by the Bahamian people on January 28, 2013. The tourism minister, in what was an obvious rebuke to the church, said that the church must teach and preach and the government will govern. In other words, we do not care what the people have decided so the prime minister has apologized or expressed regret for having asked the opinion of the people and his tourism minister stated that he was going with his proposal to the Cabinet to regularize web shop gaming - so there!
Revisiting the real property tax situation once again, it is worth noting that our three prime ministers, who are/were all lawyers, did a rather poor job in ensuring that those (except for those exempted by law) who should have been paying since the last quarter of 1969 failed to do so. Then again, what do we expect from our politicians, who broke and continue to break the public disclosure law and with impunity?
It is no wonder that the society has become rather lawless at all levels. By the way, some of the disclosures that were submitted for past elections were not properly completed and those who notarized some of them did not, in many instances, know what they were doing.
If three prime ministers, in some instances also finance ministers, could not get the staff of the Valuation Section to do the job that the taxpayers pay them for, one can only surmise that that was how the political class wanted it.
The honest politicians in the current Parliament should have no difficulty in leading by example and laying their tax receipts on the table of the House to show that they are current.
The government should not have to hire private debt collectors with the attendant expenses to try to collect the more than half a billion in outstanding taxes (real property). All that is necessary is for the politicians to butt out and leave the civil servants to do their jobs.
Finally, all that is required to redeem the situation is for all of our leaders to lead by example and then those whom they lead will no doubt follow. We cannot move to the First World if we continue to fail our country by our failure to obey our own laws.
But what can we expect from a government that has yet to reveal the number of persons assisted under its failed mortgage relief plan? Telling us that less than 10 persons have been assisted does not help. Was it nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one or even zero? Inquiring minds want to know.
As stated by James Russell Lowell "once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side." Are we good or evil?
- Oswald C. Munnings
Ian D. Fair has been involved in the financial services industry in The Bahamas since 1969. He is currently deputy chairman of Butterfield Bank (Bahamas) Limited and chairman of Bahamas First Holdings Limited, the largest general insurer in The Bahamas.
On December 2, 2013, I celebrated my 80th birthday with much gratitude. Having reached such an important milestone, I paused to reflect on my youthful days when I became a part of an organization dedicated to the struggle for social justice.
Today, my soul mourns the social, economic and political state of the nation and I must conclude that we have travelled from slavery to slavery. We have to agree that something is drastically wrong in our nation and we must unite to seek an effective remedy.
My struggle on the battlefield was rough and sometimes disappointing. However, I remained steadfast and focused in my resolve to preserve democracy. Recently, I was shocked and disappointed in the minister of tourism regarding his revelation of the intention to establish a gaming mecca in The Bahamas. Our forefathers must be in misery as they turn over in their graves. My, my, what a serious departure from our heritage culture and the things we fought for not so long ago. Questions about who should get the next casino license and the establishment of a gambling economy should be cause for serious reflection by all Bahamians.
I vividly recall that in March, 1972 I was informed that Cabinet was to develop a green paper on independence. A green paper is a working document that is sent to Parliament for further development of a final document called a white paper. I was elated because this meant that we were continuing to uphold the primary underpinnings upon which our election rested. My joy quickly vanished when I found out that the venue for the national conference was to be the casino theater on Paradise Island.
I immediately sought an audience with the prime minister to find out what was the reasoning behind his decision to discuss and develop independence for a nation in a casino theater. The prime minister confirmed that the casino was the intended venue and bluntly told me that if I had a better location to suggest he would accept that location. I accepted the challenge and within days identified Harold Road Auditorium (A.F. Adderley School gym) located over the hill. The prime minister accepted the Over-the-Hill location and fortunately the conference was opened on April 15, 1972.
This conference was indeed symbolic because we created a mock parliament setting up the auditorium like the House of Assembly. We borrowed the paraphernalia from the House, including the mace, and constructed a replica of the House over the hill.
It was a national event and it seemed like everybody attended. In attendance were social and cultural organizations, a delegation from every Family Island, unionists, taxi drivers and persons from all walks of life. It was a historic event and we were able to openly discuss and share our views on what we thought an independent Bahamas should be. The official opposition members refused to attend the meeting because they felt as if we should not have created a mock Parliament over the hill and while they believed in independence they did not believe that we were ready for it in 1973.
The opening of the mock Parliament took the form of the official opening of Parliament held in Parliament Square today. During the meeting we were able to develop the green paper and place the completed draft of the proposed format on the prime minister's desk. It was sent to Parliament in the fall of 1972 and a date was set in January 1973 for independence on July 10, 1973.
On December 12, 1973, there was a serious rift within the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the government over casino operations and ownership in The Bahamas. I recall the nasty confrontation between former Minister of Development the late Carlton Francis and the former Minister of Finance A.D. Hanna. It was truly a rude awakening for those present. The confrontation came about because of the critical position taken against the United Bahamian Party in 1967 by the PLP. As a matter of fact, the PLP waged a vicious campaign against casino gambling and the mafia bosses during the 1967 campaign which led to majority rule. It was unthinkable to many of us that the government would want to form a partnership with the mafia group that we campaigned so vehemently against after winning the government. We must not forget the remarks made by Francis that day on the floor of Parliament in connection with the government's plan to take over the casinos in The Bahamas. Francis, who was also perceived to be speaking on behalf of the Baptist Convention, stated the following, "I am making it clear that as far as I am concerned this is a conscience matter. This resolution raises a fundamental question for me. I am making a clear divergence between my principles and political considerations. Leaving conscience aside, I would like to raise the point that we are a young nation. We have not yet found a national identity. I feel that the white paper (on independence) and the speech from the throne put before us certain ideals and qualities that I would like to see in a young and growing nation. Gambling is a cancer eating away at the qualities that help to make people what they are. I believe there are alternatives, but no one will find these alternatives as long as they can find the easy way out. I do not believe that gambling is good for the country."
Francis was forced to resign as minister of development and it is my opinion that his reaction was brought about by the behavior of Hanna. Further, I found it difficult to understand why the prime minister seemed eager to let his most able minister go and demonstrated no compassion or sympathy for him. Francis' removal from the Cabinet table created a void that was difficult to fill.
Some 41 years ago, our government seemed hellbent on lying in bed with casino operators and today nothing has changed. The mission of the Quiet Revolution has been betrayed.
On January 26, 1974, I made the following statement at the First Annual Conference of the Coconut Grove constituency, "The introduction in this country of an economy based on organized gambling will surely destroy our cultural heritage."
Today, 40 years later, I stand by that statement and call upon the nation to take a stand. We do not need any more casinos in The Bahamas. I humbly beg the government to reconsider its present position. We all know that there are alternatives, but we refuse to explore them. We must act now and we must be creative.
I was first elected to Parliament on Tuesday, January 10, 1967 to represent the Coconut Grove constituency. I soon found out that the Progressive Liberal Party government inherited a system of oppression and had no intention of changing it. I called my constituents together and we decided to seek help to embark on a social, cultural and economic development program. The program was a success and to our credit the constituents of Coconut Grove gained a community center, Jumbey Festival, and Jumbey Village on Blue Hill Road. I recall our first classical and folklore concert on March 9, 1969 at the Government High School Auditorium. The Rt. Hon. L.O. Pindling attended the concert and expressed surprise and shock at the talents displayed by our young people from the Coconut Grove constituency.
Shortly after this concert, the prime minister invited me to his residence for a talk and congratulated me for the work that I was doing in the community and invited me to become a parliamentary secretary in his office with responsibilities for community development known these days as Urban Renewal. I accepted the post and received my instrument of appointment in December 1970.
I arrived at the prime minister's office in January 1971 to receive instructions and was shown a nine by 12 office in the Cabinet building very near the prime minister's office and instructed to set up the community development program from there. I expressed some concern about the space I was offered and was informed that it was the only space available. I sought some assistance from Carlton Francis, minister of finance, and with his help I was able to set up satisfactory machinery on the second floor of the Spotless Cleaners Building on Madeira Street.
I was eager to get started and immediately contacted the community development unit of the United Nations requesting assistance in the development of a community development program. An officer from the United Nations was dispatched to Nassau to assist us and we developed a program for The Bahamas. On September 15, 1971, I wrote to the prime minister expressing my frustration and disappointment in the government's attitude towards social problems in the country. The following is an excerpt from that letter, "Our educational system is nearly up to par at present, however, we must remember that we took this country over just four short years ago and all who voted for us at that time are now in the cold and in need of social development machinery. Immediate steps should be taken: To improve and build the minds of the masses in Over-the-Hill areas like Grants Town, Bain Town, the Five Pound Lot etc. and to develop a program that will allow our people to further participate in the economy of the country. Then and only then will we be able to say that we represent all our brothers and sisters."
In October 1971, I presented that community development program to the Progressive Liberal Party's convention and it was unanimously adopted by the convention.
The Coconut Grove Community Centre was an ambitious venture but the residents of the Coconut Grove constituency and their member of Parliament rose to the task undauntedly. The community library and clinic,
preschool, cultural workshops and a small theater were a part of a self-help project. This was the first time that a member of Parliament had personally done something so significant in his constituency. The first fundraiser, a telethon, was held on Sunday, June 15, 1969. We received pledges of donations in the sum of $10,000 and donations of labor and material. In October 1972, we delivered to the government of The Bahamas two complete units, namely the community clinic and
library, which are still in operation today. Both units, which are located on Acklins Street, were fully equipped and professionally staffed, putting in operation the first of its kind over the hill. It may be interesting to note that the clinic served women and infants from as far away as Gladstone and Carmichael Roads. The pre-school unit was completed at a later date and that too is still in operation today.
Cabinet initially agreed to provide funds for the completion of the center, the cultural workshops and small theater with a seating capacity of 200, but later we were denied by the powers that be. God knows I tried. The theater on Acklins Street was to be a training ground for artists, an opportunity for them to sharpen their skills and talents before they performed at Jumbey Village Theatre, which was likened to Carnegie Hall.
Every year we constructed a site for the four-day street festival on Coconut Grove Avenue called the Jumbey Festival, which brought thousands of persons in to the Coconut Grove community to experience indigenous Bahamian culture and way of life. The site included a replica of a typical Bahamian village. It was a strenuous task having to build and take down the site every year and I recognized that eventually we had to develop a permanent site.
In 1970 I had a vision for a cultural center, Jumbey Village. I knew that through self-reliance and self-help, we could produce life from a former dumpsite on Big Pond to create and construct a beautiful heritage village. In 1970 our Jumbey Festival on Coconut Grove Avenue provided the financing to begin land clearing at Big Pond. I was able to get the entire community involved. The proposed Jumbey Village was a three-prong mission: social, cultural and economic. Donations came in the form of monies, trees, trucks and delivery drivers, to name a few items.
The Coconut Grove Women's Charity Club, Junior Jaycees, Southern Youth Corporation, College UNICOMM, churches and the nation's schools, private and public, all played a major role in the development of the Village, as it was called.
The junior and secondary schools had a function and the proceeds were donated and the teachers donated a half day's pay towards the Bahamian people's Jumbey Village. Dame Doris Johnson, then minister of transport, and Livingstone Coakley, then minister of works, provided assistance in materials and equipment.
o Edmund Moxey is a former member of Parliament. The second and final part of this piece will be published in tomorrow's newspaper.
The Sir Lynden Pindling Room, a special exhibition space to honor the legacy and life of the former prime minister was officially opened this week.
The room is located in the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at The College of The Bahamas. It will showcase personal effects, family and political photographs, as well as gifts received from world leaders during the Pindling era.
Widely credited as the "Father of the Nation" and visionary architect of the modern Bahamas, Sir Lynden's vision has impacted nearly every facet of nationhood in The Bahamas.
Sir Lynden's daughter, Monique Pindling-Johnson, said her father strongly believed that education "liberates people".
In the months leading up to independence, when teaching Bahamians about why he thought such a move would be good for The Bahamas, Sir Lynden's basic tenet was, "in order for a people to understand where they are headed, it is important for them to understand from whence they came", Pindling-Johnson noted.
"Ours is a rich history that should be preserved and information about [it] should be easily accessible, so that all Bahamians, particularly school children, can learn more about the history of The Bahamas and about themselves, first hand," she said.
College Librarian Dr. Berthamae Walker hopes the college will see a lot of research coming out of the Sir Lynden Pindling collection.
"We invite the public in to learn about The Bahamas, learn about Bahamian authors and to do more research," she said.
The Sir Lynden Pindling Foundation has given $300,000 towards the establishment of a permanent exhibition in honor of Sir Lynden's life.
Under Sir Lynden's leadership, The Bahamas achieved its independence from Great Britain and was steered through a marked period of growth and development.
Born on March 22, 1930, Sir Lynden served as The Bahamas' first black premier from 1967 to 1969. His term as prime minister of The Bahamas lasted from 1969 to 1992 and his leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party came to an end in 1997, when he resigned from public life. Sir Lynden passed away in August 2000 at the age of 70.
The Sir Lynden O. Pindling Foundation was established in 2001 as a nonprofit, non-partisan charitable company. Its primary purpose is to promote Sir Lynden's legacy "by developing programs and projects for the benefit of the people of The Bahamas, which are geared to enhance national pride, social responsibility, historical and environmental awareness".
Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Francis has again made Junkanoo history by creating the first textbook on Junkanoo, "Manual of Junkanoo Costume Construction: A Beginner's Guide to Junkanoo Design".
The launch for this first ever handbook on Junkanoo will take place today at ChapterOne bookstore from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special guest speakers will include Dr. Hubert Minnis, Dr. Hervis Bain and Percy 'Vola' Francis. This event is sponsored by Burn's House Ltd.
Junkanoo legend Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Francis was introduced to Junkanoo by his brother, Percy (Vola) and Phillip Cooper in 1966, with the Saxons, at the age of 15 while attending GHS.
Dr. Francis has designed many winning costumes, the first of which was in 1969 while attending GHS, when he led the Saxons to its second victory over the 'invincible' Valley Boys on New Year's Day, 1970, under the theme, "Egypt 1,000 BC".
He was a mentor to many of today's renowned Junkanoo designers, but saw the need to chronicle his expertise in a handbook on the basics of Junkanoo design for teachers and students of Junkanoo.
Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Francis is the founder of the "University of Junkanoo", a concept which recognizes the potential for educational development through Junkanoo.
In 1969, he discovered that Junkanoo costume design and construction for a competitive group was indeed an educational exercise involving science, history, art, sociology, religion, economics, parenting, mentoring, communication, acting, sports, sanitation, hygiene, safety, etc., requiring training and discipline in many areas (much like a university).
The final production we see on Boxing Day and New Year's Day is the culmination of many credit hours of didactic and practical study in libraries and Junkanoo laboratories (shacks).
The courses are hard and long, and freshmen can enter at any academic level, which makes teaching a wonderful challenge for Junkanoo professors. It is very rewarding to witness the personal development of these students as we find innovative ways to build their self-esteem and release their inner brilliance.