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Focused effort and creative initiatives including the "Walk for the Cure" event have resulted in record-breaking fundraising amounts by CIBC FirstCaribbean management and staff. The bank's fundraising events, which began in September and continued through October 31, raised $42,583 in The Bahamas, contributing to the regional total of $198,661 for cancer patient care organizations and surpassing the previous two year's figures combined.
In the bank's third year of fundraising for the cause and observance of October as Cancer Awareness Month, the "Walk for the Cure" event produced the most money and brought together many people affected directly and indirectly by the pervasive disease.
CIBC FirstCaribbean Managing Director for Customer Relationship Management and Strategy and Co-Chair of the event Trevor Torzsas initiated the event throughout The Bahamas' bank network and in the Caribbean three years ago. He took his lead from the bank's parent company's successful fundraiser, "Run for the Cure" in Canada.
"We initiated the event throughout our branch network to do some good for the communities where we live and serve," said Torzsas. "Everybody has been touched by cancer, whether in their family or amongst their friends."
Since its regional launch, the event has been growing exponentially, in participation and funds raised. With each passing year, the bank has expanded the activities and ways to give. The increased accessibility has made a noticeable impact on the final numbers.
"In our inaugural year, we raised $30,000 across the Caribbean from just employees and their networks," said Torzsas. "By our second year, the event started to take root. The teams got more involved; we began decorating the branches, clients began asking to donate, and we raised close to $107,000. This year, our third year, we passed last year's numbers early out of the gate. Clients were enabled to donate through online banking and for the first time we invited our corporate clients to sponsor. We have now surpassed $335,000 raised in our first three years regionally."
Opening up walker participation to the public for "Walk for the Cure" and engaging corporate sponsors made a marked difference on numbers in The Bahamas, which increased from last year's 290 registrations to a whopping 462.
Funds raised in The Bahamas will benefit several local cancer organizations: Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group; The Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation; and the Cancer Societies in Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
The funds raised in each country or territory are donated to one or more local cancer support charities in each, selected by CIBC FirstCaribbean to affect the greatest impact in the communities they serve. Torzsas said that the model of distribution was chosen to address each country's area of greatest need.
"The great thing about proceeds from Walk for the Cure is that it does not address just one cause or type of cancer," he said. "Within the different Caribbean countries where we hold fundraisers, different cancers are prevalent. Breast cancer is a serious issue here, but prostate cancer is very high in Jamaica, for example. We allocate the funds for the greatest local impact in each territory. We try to focus on detection, treatment and care because there are so many who do not have access to these essentials."
Next year, CIBC FirstCaribbean intends to make donating and participating even more accessible with plans to launch a website to enable online donations and sponsorship from clients and non-clients alike. Torzsas says that this year's numbers and enthusiasm were an encouragement for next year, and he is already looking forward to 2015's events.
"We are already excited about the walk for next year. It's heartwarming to see the snowball effect we have created. Even at our Walk for the Cure event, people were stopping us on the street to ask how they can contribute and get involved next year. I look forward to seeing how this wonderful project grows."
Not many emerging artists at The College of The Bahamas get a chance to spend their summers just focusing on developing their work in a dynamic community of practicing contemporary artists, but this past summer at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts four student artists flourished.
Veronica Dorsett, Yutavia George and Steven Schmid were the 2012 recipients of the Popop Junior Residency Prizes sponsored by Popopstudios ICVA and The D'Aguilar Art Foundation. Meanwhile, Christina Darville was selected for the 2012 Antonius Roberts Award.
Now in its third year, the awards not only recognize the great potential displayed by the four emerging artists in their work, but also gives the students a space at Popopstudios ICVA for the summer months to strengthen their artistic practice.
In addition to developing their practice, the residents are exposed to the larger Popopstudios community of practicing artists, workshops and other projects in the space to fully immerse themselves in Bahamian contemporary art.
Add to that a trip to Schooner Bay, Abaco where they worked on an installation with Antonius Roberts and a 10-day excursion of museums and creative spaces in New York City - which gave the residents fresh perspectives on their artistic practices - and the program becomes a turning point in their artistic careers.
Now coming to a close, the four junior residents take a look back at how they have grown during the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and prepare for an upcoming feature at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas early next year.
With a very process-oriented approach to her own work, Veronica Dorsett aimed to think through her ideas fully before committing them to paper.
Her work over the summer centered on the repetition of a single object: a casket - the remnants of a traumatic loss earlier in her life. It began as a jarring body-sized representation, but has diminished in scale through the summer as she worked through its significance.
"I wanted to use this experience as a self-healing process and that's why I think I had trouble producing work sometimes," she says. "Because it's not just about me making work; it's about making it through this and a battle of representing it properly. It was a personal battle."
Through the trips to Schooner Bay - where process made up most of the final simple installation piece there - and New York City - where she discovered the value of streamlining process - Dorsett came to terms with her artistic practice.
"When we see artists doing work that show us the simplicity of process, it allows us to step back fifteen steps and ask if all of the steps are necessary," she says. "There was a sense of freedom and possibility in that, and of pushing the envelope and it helped me to stop limiting my mind."
Through this as well as through feedback and encouragement from a community of artists in these spaces and especially at Popopstudios, Dorsett feels ready to push through her last classes this semester at The College of The Bahamas for her associate's degree in art and to plan for study abroad in 2013.
"I've been able to work out my process better and I've grown more as an artist, especially to have more confidence in my ideas and decision-making," she says.
"I was hesitant at first. But now starting this school semester I have a lot for confidence and I'm able to stand by my work and commit to it and be responsible for it. So I've grown a lot personally."
Steven Schmid came into the residency thinking and working big - yet over the summer, he's developed an appreciation for scaling back.
Though he has continued to explore in his work the balance between beauty and grotesque through intricate mixed-media pieces, he challenged himself to make smaller pieces for a variety of exhibitions and projects over the summer - especially as the two trips abroad refocused his process.
"A lot of us came into the residency with ideas of what we wanted to accomplish but our time in Schooner Bay and New York made us rethink that," he says.
"Schooner showed us that the idea is just as important as the finished piece - the idea of thinking more before you do work. Schooner Bay was mostly talking and collaborating, and the conversation became 90 percent of the work."
Indeed, the value of slowing down and editing the artistic process became even more apparent for Schmid in New York City, where he was blown away by the quality of finished work in the museums they visited including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Guggenheim and Dia Beacon.
"New York showed me how to be confident in my materials and decision-making," he says. "As young artists I think we try everything and work on and abandon different projects instead of really immersing ourselves in one thing completely to problem-solve it."
"So that realization helped me commit to my practice and not let anything go and completely explore it," he continues. "New York also showed us the idea of clarity - that we have to make 100 pieces and present only one to choose what works in your practice and space and context for a clean show."
Only completing two final classes before receiving his associate's degree in art, Schmid is excited to continue to prepare for studies abroad while taking part in various art exhibition opportunities that Popop has exposed him to in Nassau.
"Being here I was working constantly and I think that's going to carry over because we have between all of us three exhibitions to be a part of through to the end of the year," he says. "The opportunity here is great."
For Yutavia George, working at Popopstudios has given time to focus on what ideas truly speak to her in what media, as she shifts from installation work to mixed-media work.
Her paper stencil silhouettes have allowed George to explore value in a new medium and show her the importance of editing - not just through the input from others, but also through developing her own eye.
"Being here forced me to be more responsible for my work," she says. "There are people you could talk to here at Popop, but it's more about listening to an internal conversation - about asking yourself is this important? Should I edit this?"
"I think each one of us went through that process of trying to define our work. My work has evolved even just in the way I think about it - through concept and composition. "
Meeting and speaking with artists on their trips to Schooner Bay and New York City, says George, also showed her the value of collaboration in the artistic community as they spoke extensively with a New York City artist about their struggle as a community and also created an installation at Schooner Bay with input from
"After the trips, collaboration has also put on a pedestal," she says. "It's more important to share ideas than to keep them to yourself because when you share ideas, you can find more to add on to your idea or even change the way you think about it."
The process of idea-sharing is important to George who will go on to complete her bachelor's in education at The College of The Bahamas and then teach, which she looks forward to doing. But her time at Popopstudios has given her invaluable feedback that she will continue to use to explore her artistic process.
"Popop has been so different from working in school because we have been able to get direct feedback on our work from established artists we admire," she says.
"They would provide us with examples or things to research that allowed us to develop our work creatively instead of opinions from our peers at the college where it would be very concrete or less constructive. It's such a creative environment."
Darville started her residency as the recipient of the Antonius Roberts Award with the ability to make beautiful intricate designs on paper, but the summer has allowed her to think about how to use the designs on different objects in order to transform them.
From transforming bottles, paper bags and more into pieces of 3D art with her pen work, Darville found a passion for repurposing old and found materials, like the shipping pallet she made into a beautiful shelf.
"I was interested in using found objects and materials and having my mentor as Mr. (Antonius) Roberts inspired me and helped me realize that I could use different materials," she says.
"I'm gravitating more to installation work because of that. I love to do graphic work and I want to tie it into what I do with my designs now."
Like the junior residents, Darville found an appreciation for streamlining her process into less complicated ideas during the two trips to Schooner Bay and New York City.
"I had to narrow the ideas down," she says. "I had to say, ok, this is an important idea but you need to do this and not that. Having the residency made it more of an open-ended process instead of having deadlines you panic about in school."
But more than that, Darville found the courage to pursue her true passion in life - art - rather than in education, which she had committed to in her studies at The College of The Bahamas years before. Now, she looks forward to finishing her associate's degree in art and then pursuing art, especially graphic design, at an institution abroad.
"Being at the Dia Beacon in New York influenced me a lot," she says. "When I was looking at work by Sol LeWitt, I knew at that moment I didn't want to do teaching anymore. That was a problem I had been facing the whole summer, and to see artists using lines like I was, it inspired me to realize I didn't need teaching anymore, because this is what I want to do. I'll make it work."
"If you don't have that ambition, you aren't saying anything in your work," she continues. "You have to have that drive to wake up in the morning and say this is what I want to do; this is the art I want to make. I feel like I've changed so much. Winning this residency puts into perspective what you want to do in life."
By LEDEDRA MARCHE
Senior FN Reporter
Edwin Bauld Jr. and Wilfred Gerard McPhee Jr. are expected to learn today if a trial date will be set for the murder they are accused of committing.
The 27-year-olds are set to reappear in court before Justice Hartman Longley in connection with the murder of Moore's Island, Abaco boat captain Alexander Alex Davis.
The convicted cop killers were in court on Thursday for a fixture hearing into the matter, but because Bauld's attorney, K. Brian Hanna, withdrew his representation and there is the possibility of McPhee's attorney Mario Gray doing the same, the procedure had to be adjourned.
Forty-eight-year-old Davis was found bound ...
The search for the best and brightest students coming out of primary schools began in November 2013, when administrators began keeping an eye out for the shining achievers who will, this year, be awarded a share of approximately $110,000 in scholarships and prizes at the 18th annual Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards program.
The winner will be named National Primary School Student of the Year and walk away with the top prize of a $5,000 scholarship and a computer.
The first runner-up will receive a $4,000 scholarship as well as a computer, and $3,000 will be awarded to the second through fifth runners-up. The second and third runners-up will also receive a computer; the fourth runner-up will receive a tablet phone. Sixth through 15th place finalists will each receive a $2,000 scholarship, with 12 finalists receiving a $1,500 scholarship each. Thirty-two semi-finalists will walk away with a $1,000 scholarship.
Two students, one from the Family Islands and another from New Providence, who would have been semi-finalists if the Foundation and Awards Committee had the money to award them the disbursement, will also be the recipients of computers.
An independent panel of judges is expected to review the portfolios of the 118 students nominated to represent their respective schools from throughout the country and determine the winners. Judges will select winners based on the merits of the achievements documented in the students' portfolio, which will include transcripts, essays, letters of recommendations and copies of awards. Students will be judged without regard to the schools they attend, color, creed, religious affiliation, nationality or family heritage.
Winners will be announced on Saturday, May 24 at the Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries on Carmichael Road. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m.
"Each year a select group of students are nominated to accept one of the most prestigious national recognition for primary school students in this country. This awards program, which is the premier program for primary students is an excellent opportunity to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement, leadership ability, campus and community involvement and good citizenship," said Ricardo P. Deveaux, president and chief executive officer of The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation.
Children are awarded a one-time financial scholarship payable to a Bahamian educational institution for secondary school purposes only. The recipient has one year to access the award. The number of awards meted out annually depends on the number of corporate and civic donors that support the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program.
The competition, established in 1997, was founded to fill a void in recognizing young achievers, because it was felt that major emphasis was being placed on the achievements of high school students.
The program was introduced by Deveaux, who was impressed with the Florida College Student of the Year Awards Program and felt the need to establish a national awards program in The Bahamas. Deveaux was one of seven finalists in the 1992 Florida College Student of the Year Awards Program. Deveaux himself had flunked out of a private high school in 1983, and was motivated to provide an opportunity for students who are striving for excellence.
The judges assembled to identify the winner and scholarship finalists include Jacqueline Bethel, chairman; Autherine Turnquest-Hanna, deputy chairman; Philip Stubbs, chief tally judge; Beryl Armbrister, Rubyann Darling, Zelma Dean, Lionel Elliott, Tanya Wright, Sister Mary Benedict Pratt, Philip Simon, Barry Wilmott, Nakera Simms-Symonette and Stuart Howell.
According to Deveaux, the judges had a difficult task identifying the 2014 winners, as each nominee was qualified to be selected as the student of the year.
2013 -- Lauryn Rolle, St. Thomas More Catholic School
2012 -- Nadja Simon, Genesis Academy, New Providence
2011 -- Anna Albury, Hope Town Primary, Abaco
2010 --Jared Fitzgerald, Temple Christian School, New Providence
2009 -- Khes Adderley, Temple Christian School, New Providence
2008 -- James Boyce, Hope Town Primary, Abaco
2007 -- Taran Jay Carey, Tarpum Bay Primary School, Eleuthera
2006 -- George F.D. Zonicle, Bahamas Academy Elementary School, New Providence
2005 -- Shridat Jadoo, Maurice Moore Primary School, Grand Bahama
2004 -- Saul Salonga, Mary Star of The Sea (Catholic) School, Grand Bahama
2003 -- Tenielle Curtis, Sts. Francis and Joseph School, New Providence
2002 -- Zachary Lyons, Queen's College, New Providence
2001 -- Kenny Roberts, Spanish Wells All Age School, Eleuthera
2000 -- Sasha Bain, Walter Parker Primary, Grand Bahama
1999 -- Tiffany Moncur, Carmichael Primary School, New Providence
1998 -- Andrea Moultrie, St. John's College, New Providence
1997 -- Vashti Darling, St. John's College, New Providence
In the wake of disasters occurring worldwide -- earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, famine, crime and lawlessness at every turn -- the newly elected president of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church (BCMC) Reverend Christopher Neely says there is definitely hope for this world as long as a few good men are willing to take a stand and work together.
Neely, the pastor at New Hope Methodist Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama, was elected president during the 18th Annual General Conference of the BCMC held in Eleuthera, and will officially begin his three-year tenure on Thursday, September 1, with a slate of goals he and his executive council want to achieve with guidance, support and cooperation of God and those around them. The incoming president takes to his new appointment with a passion he knows is God-given.
"Being elected president is an awesome task," says Neely. "I believe that it is God's call to me and to the church to take this time to be more sensitive toward the mission given to us by Jesus Christ. We believe that the Methodist Church has been called to reform the nation. We have a voice and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to help us to make that difference in our Bahamas. I will use this term to fulfill God's task to me and try to bring people together to make this a better conference and nation."
The 53-year-old incoming president says that there are three main things he wants to focus on during his tenure. He wants to ensure that there is a greater awareness of the church's mission by spreading the good news. He says this will mean better evangelistic methods and going into the communities. He wants to expand youth ministries so that more young people are touched and brought to Christ. He says this could mean going to the youth no matter where they are or what they are doing and getting through to them somehow so they know that they do have a place in the church.
He also has a mission to enhance outreach to people in need whether they are Methodist affiliated or not. He also hopes to continue the current programs the Methodist Church has such as the Bilney Lane Children's Home, the building of the new Zion's Children's Home in the Current, Eleuthera, visitations at the prison and work at the HIV camp. He anticipates more programs being put in place and older ones continuing to be enhanced because he believes ministry should never be confined to the four walls of a church structure.
Pastor Neely says he has come a long way to be able to take this bold step forward from the introverted young man he was in his younger days. He recalls never being one to push himself to his limits or to set goals or challenges to better himself. He says the nonchalance he embraced in his teenage years regarding his education is the biggest regret he has in his life.
"Everyone makes mistakes and I am sure I have done something here or there that has not made me proud, but as a person, what really stands out in my past as my biggest mistake would be not valuing my education and my days in school as I should have. I graduated from school with no qualifications such as the A-levels or O-levels. I took the regional CXC [Caribbean Examination Council] exams and even then I did not receive high grades. I really never pushed myself and it was only when I had to enter the real world after finishing high school that I wished I had done more. I saw just how much I was not living up to God's potential for my life. I made a choice after that to do more and continue my education at The College of The Bahamas."
After enrolling in numerous evening classes where he excelled, Neely decided to obtain an associates in sociology and psychology. With the passion of learning finally gripping his life he didn't stop there and opted to challenge himself by pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The pastor says it was this fire in him and a desire to learn and do more that drove him to expand his wings and take leadership roles in other areas of his life.
"I was always interested in the church as a young man," says the incoming president. "I was encouraged by the older church members to always be involved in the church and what was going on. I found myself becoming a Sunday School teacher and then a youth pastor. I always wanted to be of service in the church no matter which capacity I could fill -- but even so, my goal was never to really be the pastor. So becoming one was something that just happened for me. God has always been calling me to do something in the church and with the path that I was on I guess it naturally happened even though my qualifications were leading toward becoming a counsellor or even a psychologist."
Pastor Neely has been in ministry since 1983, but was officially ordained in 1996. Although it was easy to sit back and accept his position as a minister he says he was not done yet with his education and pursued a degree more focused on religion. He studied for a Master's of Divinity in Theology at the School of Theology at Emery University in Atlanta, Georgia. The newly-elected BCMC president says he is glad that he made that choice as his life continues to expand and grow with each passing day.
His love of learning and desire to give back has also manifested in his accepting a position at the Jack Hayward School in Grand Bahama as a religion teacher which he says is the perfect environment for him to push young people to live up to their position in their youth so they won't have to regret not doing all they can now and later have to work even harder to catch up in life. He is glad that his life lessons are things his students can learn from without having to experience them. The minister says continuing to encourage young people in the right ways and to value their gifts and blessings is something he will continue to stress even during his tenure as BCMC president.
Also elected to officer were Philip Clarke, a lay person from Ascension Methodist Church, as vice-president; Deacon Elmena Bethell, pastor of Coke Memorial Methodist Church, as general secretary; Reverend Jacinta Marie Neilly, ministerial moderator for the eastern Abaco region of the conference, as treasurer; Andrea Gibson, principal of Queen's College, and Reverend Philip Stubbs, pastor of St. Michael's Methodist Church, as assistant secretaries; and Audrey Culmer, a member of the Wesley Methodist Church in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, as assistant treasurer.
BAHAMAS CONFERENCE OF METHODIST CHURCH OFFICERS
President: Reverend Christopher Neely, pastor Of New Hope Methodist Church, Freeport Grand Bahama
Vice-president: Philip Clarke, Lay person from Ascension Methodist Church, New Providence
General secretary: Deacon Elmena Bethell, pastor of Coke Memorial Methodist Church, New Providence
Treasurer: Reverend Jacinta Marie Neilly, ministerial moderator for the Eastern Abaco Region of the Conference
Assistant secretaries: Andrea Gibson, Principal of Queen's College and Rev. Philip Stubbs, minister of St. Michael's Methodist Church, New Providence
Assistant treasurer: Audrey Culmer, a member of the Wesley Methodist Church in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera
ABACONIANS told the problems with their power supply would be solved this week had their hopes dashed yesterday as the islands were thrown into darkness once again.
Angry business owners called The Tribune to report the power cut following Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) chairman Michael Moss' statement on Monday that the almost daily power cuts over the last three months would end with the arrival of three new generators.
The mobile generator and two hired generators installed last week will boost the 40-year-old Marsh Harbour power plant by 4.2 MW for four months, by which time the new Wilson City power plan ...
The Abaco Contractors Association (ACA) is up in arms over what it calls the rampant exclusion of Bahamians in the construction industry.
With a number of large-scale projects throughout the island, the association estimates that Bahamian contractors are missing out on up to 75 percent of the work available. The situation is so bad, according to the ACA, that many contractors have folded up business and gone back to working on an hourly rate.
Michael Lundy, the executive secretary of the association, felt that the new government is doing a better job of keeping developers on their toes.
But there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure Bahamians are given the right jobs.
"We're missing out on 75 percent of the work. I don't have the exact numbers, but it is definitely more than half going to foreigners. It is a vexing problem," he told Guardian Business.
Lundy, who owns his own contracting firm, said he is one Bahamian that refuses to go back to hourly work.
He expressed hope that the new government will continue to pressure developers to hire Bahamians. Lundy reported that the ACA's president recently met with Philip Brave Davis, the deputy prime minister, to discuss the association's concerns.
One development on the ACA's radar is Baker's Bay, the elite island undergoing up to $1.4 billion in total development over the next few years. Construction is indeed ongoing on this 600-acre site, and it has served as a major driver of employment for Abaco.
That said, Lundy insists that local contractors are not receiving their slice of the pie.
"We spoke with the hierarchy of Baker's Bay, and it was agreed we would build several houses. They never fulfilled that agreement. Some of our people might have been pulled in that are part of our organization," he explained.
Livingston Marshall, vice president of Environment and Community Affairs at Baker's Bay, told Guardian Business during a recent tour of the site that the project intends on engaging local contractors, as it has done in the past.
A number of Bahamian contractors have joined the effort, he noted.
"We have a model we follow, which includes both the quality and the cost," Marshall said.
Geoffrey Jones, the head of sales, told Guardian Business the development plans on opening the door to substantial retail opportunities to service its hundreds of residents. There are 150 members at Baker's Bay now, and up to 400 are expected to come on in the coming years.
All of these retail opportunities would be left to Bahamians.
"There are lots of projects in Abaco," Lundy agreed. "We just want a level playing field so we can feed our families. What people would like to see happen is for the association to be in on the ground floor of any big developments coming in, whether it be government or a foreign project. We would like to have a policy in place whereby a certain percentage of the work is reserved for us."
The secretary of the ACA pointed to the arrangement between the Bahamas Contractors Association and Baha Mar as an excellent example of how to circumscribe participation from Bahamians.
Lundy estimated up to 50 percent of Bahamians in the construction industry are now unemployed, a statistic that can be easily changed if Bahamians are given jobs that they're qualified to perform.
The ACA said it hopes to bring in more trainers to provide further qualifications for its members, "because multinationals beat us because we sometimes don't have the credentials".
The high school test event for the world relays is now just a few hours away, and the athletes expected to be involved have been training daily in order to get ready to represent their schools at the event. The high school relays will serve as the qualifying event for the finals, entitled "One Island, One Lane", which will be run on May 24 and 25 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, about two hours before the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships.
High schools from around the island have compiled their best athletes to compete at the qualifying event. Just the opportunity to represent New Providence at the IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 is an opportunity of a lifetime.
To celebrate the opportunity, there will be a motorcade and pep rally this evening. The motorcade will begin at 4 p.m., and the pep rally begins at 6:30 p.m.
When the idea of the high school relays was first announced, it did not receive positive feedback, but as time has grown closer to the date, more and more schools have come forward to become a part of the historic event. Not only is the chance of competing in front of such a large audience a good opportunity for the athletes, but it will serve as a chance for smaller schools to make a name for themselves. More established schools will be able to showcase their quality athletes.
The high school test event will start on Friday and will run through Saturday.
The top teams from that event will be invited to compete during the World Relays. The high school relay runners will compete in the 4x100 meters (m) and the 4x400m and the sprint medleys.
The 'One Island, One Lane' event will allow athletes to unite with teammates from their respective islands to compete for the crown of top team in The Bahamas. The participating islands will be New Providence, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Abaco, Andros and the Berry Islands, Long Island, Cat Island, San Salvador, Mayaguana, Inagua, Acklins and Crooked Island.
Former Minister of Public Works and Transport Neko Grant said the government should abandon plans to make changes to the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project, and any alterations to it would cost the public more money.
Grant said motorists in New Providence consistently tell him that the road project has minimized traffic for people traveling north to south and east to west.
He said that changes to traffic flow as a part of the NPRIP were done after numerous studies and if changed could cause confusion for motorists who have gotten used to those changes.
"It would be a big mistake to reverse the traffic flow that has been in effect for over a year, that is traffic going north on Baillou Hill Road and south on Market Street," Grant said.
"We didn't make those changes haphazardly. There were studies that went into it. I believe it's working and the public is pleased."
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis recently said that the government may commission additional "design adjustments" to the NPRIP.
He said proposals dealing with the costs associated with the changes are still under review. He added that any changes will be made "for the purpose of the safety of the traveling public" and more efficient traffic management.
While he did not specify which roads might undergo changes, Davis has previously been critical of the western portion of Robinson Road, Market Street and Baillou Hill Road.
Grant said he did not think making changes to those roads was a good idea because motorists are used to the traffic flow on those streets. Market Street and Baillou Hill Road were made one-way thoroughfares under the NPRIP.
"I think the public has become accustomed to the way the roads are and those who wish to shop in those areas have made the necessary adjustments."
The NPRIP began in 2008 after the Ingraham administration signed a $119.9 million contract with Argentinean contractor Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles. The project ran nearly $100 million overbudget and behind schedule. It was heavily criticized by the opposition.
Grant said the government should focus on repairing the main road in Marsh Harbor, Abaco instead of fiddling with the roads in New Providence.
"People in Marsh Harbour are complaining that they are falling in potholes already. They are supposedly fixing them but are not doing a good job."
In January the government signed a $1.3 million contract with Bill Simmons Construction and Heavy Equipment Co. Limited for the patching and sealing of five miles of road in Central Abaco.
Grant said the road sealing is being done with sand instead of asphalt, which he believes will not last in the long term.