Search results for : BEC abaco
Showing 181 to 190 of 1000 results
I once held the view that the October 15 by-election in North Abaco would be a crucial test for Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis (Killarney). I was of the view that if Minnis fails to win this electoral contest, his leadership position would be in grave jeopardy.
On July 14 you printed a letter to the editor from a Committed FNM. Is that FNM committed to staying in opposition or committed to the failure of the Free National Movement (FNM) party? They said that the FNM is having difficulty getting a candidate for North Abaco and that Hubert Ingraham should stay on as the representative. First of all, no one kicked Hubert Ingraham out of the House of Assembly or the FNM party. He decided to quit. I recall when he came out of retirement last time, saying they wanted him back and asked him to return. So the committed FNM must have been one of those people who asked him back last time, so I don't expect them to support anyone else but Hubert Ingraham and all of his political operatives.
No one man makes any party. There will be an FNM party after Hubert Ingraham just as it survived after Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, same as there will be a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) after Sir Lynden Pindling and Perry Christie. People need to accept that the organization will survive as long as the remaining people have the same goal. However, if there are more 'committed' FNMs like the one who wrote this article, the party is in deep trouble because they will destroy themselves before the next general election.
Supporters like Kevin Evans and the Committed FNM are trying to resurrect the political careers of the same political rejects the Bahamian people voted out on more than one occasion. Look at the track record of Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes. Not only did voters reject them this time, but they were defeated before. They were not the dream team to lead the FNM into victory then and they are in a worse position to lead the party now. Carl Bethel has been in political exile for a while now. Not only was he defeated in the last election but his own party rejected him as chairman.
The Committed FNM feels that Loretta Butler-Turner is doing well in her role in opposition. At least she is better organized now than when Melanie Griffin was ripping her apart about her own ministry. Loretta Butler-Turner can argue a point to the gates of hell because she is good at being loud and boisterous, but she lacks organization and content. When confronted with the organized ministerial attacks of the then Shadow Minister Melanie Griffin, Loretta Butler-Turner would resort to below the belt personal attacks describing Melanie as uneducated. She may not have attended the best schools as you Mrs. Turner, but she sure did a better job as minister of social services. Many people think that Turner, though an eloquent speaker, lacks focus and is very disorganized. I wonder how Ingraham coped with her style, which is polar opposite to his? That must have been challenging for him.
Dr. Hubert Minnis, whose style is similar to Ingraham's in terms of organization, promptness and focus, will have his hands full with Turner, who will try her best to undermine and displace his leadership. Dr. Minnis has already led a conclave for the wounded FNM party to provide the vision for the organization moving forward. He seems dedicated to bringing more focus and improvements to the party. He seems focused on mentorship and leadership roles for the youth and women in the party, which would be attractive for those joining the party. If he brings the machinery and methodology of the FNM Killarney branch, with its pro-active communication, use of technology and his new style of politics to the FNM party, they will be well positioned to win the next government.
So Committed FNM, that is your leader you are dissing. You should be ashamed of yourself, causing this type of embarrassment to your party. Show you can be really supportive of the new leaders of the FNM. And, would the real committed FNMs stop writing destructive articles that air the dirty laundry and instead turn their attacks on the PLP who is laughing at these articles as we fight among each other.
- Concerned FNM
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Yet another relevant and exciting speaker was brought in by the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce to present at its monthly luncheons, Dionisio D'Aguilar, spoke to the over 70 attendees at the packed event held late last week.
Mr. D'Aguilar, a well respected businessman and former President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce was invited to give his views on the topic: The Freeport Model ... Obsolete Relic or Untapped Opportunity.
While this often outspoken member of the community is from Nassau, he does business in Freeport, being the Chairman of the Board of AML Foods, owners of Solomon's and Cost Right. In declaring his familiarity with Freeport, he said he was very involved in the expansion of Solomon's to the Lucaya Shopping Centre, commented that the Grand Bahama Port Authority was very welcoming and accommodating in helping that store get up and running in record time. He said that Freeport is very important to AML Foods as this island provides for 40 percent of its total sales.
At the onset of his presentation, Mr. D'Aguilar shared the history of Freeport Model, namely the Grand Bahama Port Authority, which was created in 1955. He stated that in essence, Freeport became a company town, with the company charged with developing the city and handling every aspect of its administration.
D'Aguilar then asserted, "Yet somewhere along the way, things went wrong! Over the past 50 years, Freeport has not experienced the kind of growth seen in Nassau or even Abaco for that matter!"
I would be grateful if you would print a letter in your editorial that I sent to former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham on June 25, 2012:
Re: 'You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucile'
I write these words with a heavy heart but I feel I must say them. You are wrong for quitting on the people of North Abaco after they showed great faith and elected you to represent them for what you coined as your last and final term. I don't care how you look at it, you are wrong and I urge you to reconsider. You have a right to change your mind about quitting just like those who are now in charge have been changing their minds about promises they made since they came to office.
You did a stellar job, gave exemplary stewardship and governed with integrity, but your time of being prime minister and leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) is finished. There is no more coming back to that. However, you owe the people of North Abaco the full five years in office as they held confidence in you and, in spite of the money, fanfare and distractions of the other side, they elected you to represent them in the House of Assembly from 2012 to 2017 and not from May 7 to July 19, 2012, as you and some others now have it.
I take you back to 1997 and the by-election in South Andros. I was 19 years old, a young voter that you had convinced to support you when Sir Lynden had resigned. My parents threatened to throw me out and I, along with another friend of mine, literally almost got assassinated in Mangrove Cay because we decided to support the FNM. I'll never forget that at the last rally held you had the deejay play a song by Kenny Rogers - You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucile - a fitting symbolism of the message that Sir Lynden had abandoned South Andros at a time when we (supposedly) needed him most. It grieves my heart that, 15 years later, I am watching you do the same thing to the people of North Abaco at a time when there is no doubt in anyone's mind that they need you to hold on, be there for them and represent them.
What happened to the man who charted his own course regardless of consequences? The man who took responsibility for his actions and held to his beliefs and decisions in spite of grave opposition? What happened to the man who didn't allow history to dictate his actions but rather he wrote new and different chapters in history? What happened to the man who challenged one of the most difficult leaders in this country within that leader's own party and then defeated him in a political duel? What happened to the most fearless Bahamian politician that the world has ever known? What happened to the man who made me believe that there is still integrity in Bahamian politics? What happened to the man who convinced me that a barefoot boy from the island with a speech impediment could be prime minister? Where is the real Hubert Alexander Ingraham?
While I am sure you would have preferred not to lose the election, the reality of the matter is that you are human subject to faults and failures like anyone else. Some days you will win and some days you will lose. I know that you are not concerned about what those on the other side have to say to you. You had your time to criticize and throw jeers and now it is their time to do the same. Let them get it off their chest as you bellow that infectious laughter like you always do because you know their days of getting off on you will be short-lived. Everyone in this country knows them and their track record and, like real leopards, they cannot change their spots. However, everyone in this country also knows you, especially the people of North Abaco, and for you to give up on them and leave them to wolves is shameful and disgraceful.
Let me have you early told - if there is a by-election in North Abaco, because of your resignation, the other side will win. Our party does not need any additional losses right now because we cannot afford it. We are in debt and from the looks of things, while we have new and promising leadership, things will not get better anytime soon. Our representatives in Parliament are few (we have seen worse) but there is strength in numbers and you would provide excellent support should you remain. Demonstrate your humility, put away your personal differences and desires, get over yourself and do what is right by the people that you offered to serve.
Your representing North Abaco is not as demanding as being prime minister or being in charge of our party. You are only required to be in Parliament once every 90 days although I expect you to show up much more regularly. You promised the people of The Bahamas that if you were returned as prime minister, you would serve your entire term in office. You promised the citizens of North Abaco full representation if they re-elected you. While the masses failed you in this regard, the voters of North Abaco kept up their end of the bargain. What happened to the Hubert Alexander Ingraham that made his commitments and kept them?
Sir, I mean you no disrespect but if you continue with your resolve to resign you will disappoint many who looked up to you and respected you as a virtuous, honorable character. All that you would have done in the past would not matter if you are seen as a quitter and sore loser in the end. Do not walk in the footsteps of Sir Lynden. Surprise me and the rest of The Bahamas. There are many who would prefer that you complete your term and, yet, everyone is expecting you to go away; let those who feel they've conquered you continue to be hyped up on that idea that you are gone and then snatch that joy away from them and do right by the people who you claim you are forever indebted to.
I look forward to your favorable decision in this regard.
- Marvin R. Z. Gibson
In 1985 or thereabouts, I asked my mother, "Who do you believe could become prime minister of The Bahamas following Sir Lynden Pindling?"
Without hesitation, she replied, "Hubert Ingraham".
I had not heard of the man before that and did not and could not know that one day I would work closely with him as that which my mother said he could be, prime minister of The Bahamas. I was 18 years old then.
In 1990, I would have an opportunity to get a first look at the political prowess of this man my mother said could be prime minister, as he was the lead player in the unfolding drama of the Marco City by-election in that year.
By that time he had already succeeded Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield as leader of the Free National Movement. He cut his political leadership teeth in the Marco City by-election, defeating the great Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling and his then entrenched and seemingly invincible Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). So began the legend of Hubert Ingraham, a genuinely brilliant political mind.
From 1992 to 2012, no personality loomed larger than Hubert Ingraham on the political landscape of The Bahamas. Between 1990 and 1997, his was the rising star while that of Sir Lynden was setting. In our history, they loom large at the center of the stage of political astuteness and outstanding leadership.
But to think of Ingraham merely in terms of political prowess is to miss the reality of the brilliant leadership skills he possessed. Hubert Ingraham possessed great vision, uncommon focus, dogged determination, impressive industry and work ethic and unassuming compassion. He has a sharp mind with photographic memory. Yes, he is demanding, watchful and jealous to guard his public integrity.
Diplomacy may not have been his hallmark at times, but it only suffered to get the job done and to pursue progress. He is a reformer, a doer, a results-minded person. His commitment to public service is 24/7 and in government it was a thing of beauty and wonder to behold. His timing in politics was often impeccable, as was his ability to make political points with just a word or a phrase.
In the true recorded history of our country, he will be credited with many achievements: freeing of the airwaves; introduction of elected local government; introduction of a school board system; implementation and modernization of the infrastructure of The Bahamas; the granting of autonomy to The College of The Bahamas; the upgrade of the social safety-net of The Bahamas; and the restoration of the good name of The Bahamas in the global community, just to name a few.
More than anything else, however, he will be that leader The Bahamas needed to navigate its ship of state through some of the worst experiences in our nation's history: the pre-1992 economic and social decay of The Bahamas; the effects of the terrorist attacks of 2001; and the Great Recession of 2008. In time, most, if not all, will come to see just how steady were his hands, how thoughtful his mind and how committed and courageous was his heart.
In this life, your detractors can be many, especially when you are a person on the move seeking to do great things and trying to make a difference. Your enemies can be ruthless in their characterization of you. Ingraham was the target of the venom of many such detractors and enemies. I say target and not "victim" because being around him, he never seemed to let the venom get to him. I know he was not immune but the poison never overcame him.
In fact, Ingraham's ability to ignore reacting negatively to the attacks of his detractors, both personal and otherwise, was admirable to say the least. Exacting revenge never seemed to occur in his response to those who would damage his reputation or misrepresent his efforts. Ingraham is not a perfect man. None of us are, but his seems a perfect love and dedication to public service and for this he shall long stand out as one of a kind.
I have no special dispensation to say so, but it is my opinion that blessed was this man who ascended from the humble shores of Abaco to the most powerful office in the land. Purposed to become one of the great leaders of our Caribbean region was this barefoot boy from Cooper's Town raised by his grandmother. Destined was this man who walked with kings and commoners with an ease seldom seen on such strong and accomplished leaders.
When they ask me about the times in which I lived, I will proudly tell them I lived in a time of promise, I lived in a time of better, I lived in a time of trust, for I lived in the time of Ingraham.
- Zhivargo Laing
Recently, a leading politician enthused: "Sir Lynden Pindling will have his place in our history. But to my mind, Hubert Alexander Ingraham is the greatest prime minister in the history of an independent Bahamas. History will be more than kind to him. History will celebrate him as the great reformer and modernizer."
This encomium to the former prime minister was delivered at an FNM function a few weeks ago by the party's Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner. What makes such high praise even more noteworthy is that its author is the granddaughter of Sir Milo Butler, a father of the nation and a colleague of Sir Lynden and others in the struggle for majority rule and independence.
As Hubert Ingraham readies to retire from frontline politics, the assessment of his premiership will begin in earnest. Many are already of the view that, thus far, he has served as the nation's most illustrious prime minister in an independent Bahamas.
Sir Lynden, also a father of the nation, is a pivotal figure in an independent Bahamas, and will be accorded his due in the nation's history. In the pantheon of heroes, Sir Lynden is a sort of mythic figure, his portrait adorning the one dollar bill and his name on the nation's leading international airport.
Yet, leaving aside the Pindling mythology and the inevitable hagiography surrounding such a figure, Hubert Ingraham may prove, in the objective light of historical analysis, to have been a more transformational figure in significant ways. There is precedent for this.
By example, though Winston Churchill ranks high for leading Britain through World War II, it is Clement Atlee whom many British historians rank higher for his social welfare reforms and domestic policies including the inauguration of the National Health Service.
Sir Lynden and the early Progressive Liberal Party deserve credit for building many national institutions and empowering black Bahamians including helping to build a strong black middle class.
But as Sir Lynden's legacy is examined more dispassionately by historians and new generations of Bahamians he will be compared on his own merit and compared also with subsequent prime ministers, including Hubert Ingraham.
Stripped away from that analysis will be the cult of personality mentality that the country "owes" Sir Lynden or indeed any prime minister for what they did for The Bahamas. We live in a democracy where the very people who afford leaders the privilege of service may dismiss them at their will.
Though gratitude is due to those who serve the country, what is owed political leaders is a fair and honest assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and accomplishments and failures.
It is an odd notion forwarded by some, that because he is a great man, that we should ignore Sir Lynden's failures. This bizarre notion was even advanced by some men of the cloth during a commission of inquiry investigating various matters relating to Sir Lynden's tenure as prime minister. Great men or women don't need their biographies whitewashed in order to maintain their greatness.
It is remarkable that those who seek to ignore Sir Lynden's failures are loath to afford Hubert Ingraham the same pass. Like his mentor, Hubert Ingraham will have to be judged in his full measure, by what he did and by what he failed to do.
Even as Sir Lynden is afforded his historic due, weighing down his legacy is what he failed to do and, more importantly, the terrible mistakes he made at great cost to the country. This is especially so given the giant of a leader that he was as the independence prime minister and as the iconic Moses figure having led Bahamians towards a promised land of majority rule and greater economic prospects.
Yet, having helped to secure these democratic rights and economic opportunities, Sir Lynden squandered what could have been an even more profound legacy for him and for the country. It would fall to Sir Lynden's self-professed, "most illustrious protégé... " to advance many of the promises Moses failed to keep.
To assess the successes and failures of our post independence prime ministers is to measure their tenures by the promises of majority rule and independence. Such an assessment will be more fact-driven and less reliant on one's emotional response to a given individual.
While some are driven to distraction and silly commentary by Ingraham's often brusque personality, it will be more his accomplishments and considerably less his personality that will be judged by history.
The Ingraham whom some delight in labeling a dictator, freed the broadcast media, which subsequently helped to play a role in the FNM's electoral defeats in 2002 and in 2012. One of the greatest weapons dictators have long enjoyed is control or intimidation of the media. Ingraham also instituted sweeping measures to make elections freer, fairer and more transparent.
Sir Lynden presided over an erosion of democracy keeping rigid state control of the broadcast media engendering and deepening a climate of fear where many were afraid to express their views. Under Sir Lynden's PLP, elections were much less free, fair and transparent, possible causing the FNM's 1987 election defeat.
So, who will historians judge as the more democratic prime minister when comparing Sir Lynden and Hubert Ingraham? Ushered into office by the flowering of Bahamian democracy, Sir Lynden followed the route of other strongmen, thwarting and sometimes strangling the very democratic ethos he promised to uphold. Hubert Ingraham followed another path, deepening our democracy and enhancing freedom of expression.
Yet, this is but one of many areas where history and generations to come will accord Hubert Ingraham a higher grade or status than his immediate predecessor.
There will be many other areas of accomplishment where the mentee will outstrip his mentor ranging from environmental protection, to creating a greater shareholding society, to local government to more progressive labor laws and social protections.
The range of Ingraham's and the FNM's accomplishments are extraordinary. We would be living in a more backward, less free, less modern country were it not for the soon to be former member of Parliament for North Abaco.
When Sir Lynden gave his farewell address in the House of Assembly in July 1997 he praised the still young Hubert Ingraham as, "the most illustrious protégé of mine thus far". A relatively short decade and a half later that protégé is set to give his farewell address to the House.
With his leave-taking, that protégé will be remembered mostly not as the Delivery Boy or Papa. He will be remembered, in the words of Butler-Turner as "the great reformer and modernizer", and in the minds of many, and quite possibly in the broader view of history, as the most illustrious prime minister, thus far, in an independent Bahamas.
The little Moore's Island community came alive on Thursday, July 12 when the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson visited and announced plans for the government to provide a sporting facility.
It was a historic day of sorts for the island, one of those within the Abaco group, as the journey began for a landmark accomplishment. Enthusiastic representatives of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture along with island officials greeted the minister and his delegation.
Minister Johnson's party traveled directly to Marsh Harbour where they were met by Whelma Colebrooke, Benjamin Pinder and Ishmael Morley.
Colebrooke, the former outstanding track athlete, who continues making vital contributions to her country in the civil service, has moved over to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture from Local Government where she was a deputy administrator. She is now first assistant secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Office and heads the Marsh Harbour Office. Pinder serves as an Administrator for Abaco and Morley is the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Sports Coordinator for the Abacos.
At Marsh Harbour, the New Providence party made the connecting flight by charter to Moore's Island. Welcoming them were Chief Councilor Tommy Dames; Deputy Chief Councilor Thomas Heild; Councilors Lillian Laing and Dencil Stuart; and Rev. Anthony Williams, the noted coach of the outstanding young athletes.
The Moore's Island officials identified an area for the proposed facility and with Minister Johnson, discussed the suitability for a mini sports complex. Minister Johnson was impressed and pointed out that the ridge that lines the border at the rear section of the property would be ideal for bleachers.
"That hill area is perfect for seating. Spectators would be able to clearly see whatever is happening on the track or the infield," said the Minister.
In making the visit, Minister Johnson was fulfilling an early promise made by him. With emphasis, Minister Johnson informed the nation shortly after he became a part of the winning political group at the May 7 General Election, that a priority of his was to quickly visit Moore's Island and with advice from the residents, officially designate an area for a sporting facility.
Moore's Island got worldwide acclaim back in 2009, when Coach Williams led a team of surprisingly talented young boys and girls who grabbed the spotlight at the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA) National Championships, staged in the capital and subsequently the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since that explosion on the sports scene, Williams and his athletes have given Moore's Island a strong identity for sporting success.
Minister Johnson is driven "as part of my portfolio, to ensure that Moore's Island and all other communities in our Family Islands are provided as much assistance as is possible, to maximize the potential of the various sporting programs."
The visit to Moore's Island was step one of his overall plan for the Family Islands. The minister is convinced that the visit will impact the program for the Family Islands positively. Island and sporting leaders elsewhere in islands of The Bahamas can now recognize the seriousness of the intention of Minister Johnson and the government to finally focus fully on facilities that would provide a more competitive development base.
In New Providence and Grand Bahama, the athletes are afforded multiple quality facilities. In many island communities, Moore's Island being a prime example, there is not one appropriate facility.
Coach Williams has had to build his fantastic club of young boys and girls with just an uneven running surface at the Moore's Island School and the airstrip to be utilized for training.
In a special interview before traveling to Moore's Island, Minister Johnson lamented the situation.
"It cannot be fair for our athletes in the Family Islands to have to make do with perhaps just one or in many cases no proper training facility at all. I marvel at what those athletes in Moore's Island under Coach Williams have been able top do. I want my visit there to set the tone for what is to come. I intend to make the sports development program of the islands, a priority.
"It's a challenge to do all that you wish to do, or even most of it, given the financial situation we met but we're there now. We must get the job done. Our athletes in the Family Islands, collectively, will be a big focus of mine.
"We are not talking about major sporting facilities in every location. We must give them something though. A nice track surface, a proper basketball court, a good softball field, and equipment...this is the focus. Just consider what has happened for Moore's Island. What more could happen throughout the Family Islands if we just give them the assistance they need?
"Concentrating on the development process in the Family Islands" is essential, said Minister Johnson.
When he was about to depart Moore's Island, the minister marveled at the capacity for help being demonstrated on an ongoing basis by Coach Williams.
"Can you imagine what he has put on his shoulders? He actually has a mini sports academy going. He houses, feeds, trains and maintains a wholesome program for athletes. We've got to give him some assistance. We don't want him to be overburdened," said the minister.
Coach Williams has in his charge some 40 athletes and he has about 10 of them living at his home.
"Here is where they all stay," he informed while giving Minister Johnson and his party a tour of the area within his home set aside for the athletes. I keep them comfortable and guide them not only in training but otherwise. There are time schedules they have to keep to maintain their proper development. I see to that," said Coach Williams.
The coach indeed has a template that the ministry would do well to emulate. Minister Johnson was impressed.
Accompanying the minister were Under Secretary Calvin Balfour and Sports Director Tim Munnings. On hand also was John Shaffer, an Abaco-based engineer from the Ministry of Works.
He will coordinate the process along with Administrator Pinder, First Assistant Colebrooke, Morley and Moore's Island local government.
o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Six international companies are bidding to outfit Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) with a new radar system, Guardian Business can reveal.
Roscoe Perpall, president of Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union (BATCU), noted that the government is trying to secure a $50 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to purchase a new radar and communication system to improve services at LPIA.
So far, Perpall said he is pleased with how negotiations have been going and once approved, Perpall estimates that the new equipment could be in place within the next year and a half.
"The government is still in the process of trying to secure the new radar and communication system for the LPIA as well some further expansion to the air traffic service throughout the entire Bahamas," according to Perpall.
"That process involves a $50 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. We are now considering six bids from international companies towards the purchase of the radar. I can't say for sure when this process will be completed but it is underway. At the end of the process, one of the bidders will be chosen. The radar should be in place somewhere within a year to a year-and-a-half of the contract being awarded."
He shared with Guardian Business that the $50 million price tag would be inclusive of the full installation of the radar in Nassau and some will be directed to continued improvement in Abaco and other Family Islands.
"That negotiation has been quite favorable. I don't see any obstacle to concluding those negotiations. As far as I know, everything is going smoothly," Perpall noted.
However, the BATCU chief admitted that the only delay that's being experienced in negotiations is the bidding process. According to Perpall, it was back in 2000/2001 when the government purchased a $10 million radar for the airport that was never used.
Recognizing that, Perpall said the government is being extremely cautious not to repeat that mistake this time around.
"The government is not in the mind set of repeating the mistake it made several years ago when the last radar that was purchased for the airport and never used. So they are being very careful and taking both local and international advice including persons from the air traffic controllers to make sure that we do not repeat the same mistake," he explained.
"I think the government at that time spent in the neighborhood of $10 million for NASAR radar. It was purchased between 2000 and 2001. It wasn't delivered until 2003/2004. It was never used because it did not meet the requirements and was not a proper one for our particular environment. With all of the testing that was done, it could not provide the service that we needed in Nassau."
Perpall's comments to Guardian Business come not long after Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe declared that his ministry hopes to attract more than two million airlift passengers to The Bahamas. The country received a total of 1.34 million stopover tourists through last year.
He believes once the new equipment is in place and the necessary improvements are made to the country's main gateway, LPIA should be capable for handling more than 900 aircrafts on a daily basis.
One of The Bahamas' largest poultry producers is expected to see its orders reach up to 80 percent within the next two months.
"Within the last two weeks we increased our chick orders by 30 percent. So in September, we will be back up to 80 percent. By November, we should be back up to full speed here at the farm, so we are very encouraged," said Lance Pinder, operations manager at the Abaco Big Bird Poultry Farm.
"We have gotten a lot of small orders because I guess they have to get their customers back. People do look for Abaco Big Bird Chicken. We have gotten quite a few calls from wholesalers and retailers in Nassau."
Pinder confirmed to Guardian Business that just a few months ago, the company had considered shutting down its operations because business was extremely bad. In fact, the farm's production was down by 60 percent.
"Despite being open for the past 17 years, business had gotten worse in recent years. Our production was down by 60 percent," he explained.
He noted how the company's bottom line was significantly impacted when import controls were removed two years ago. This is in addition to high operational costs and natural disasters that negatively impacted the firm.
"It has definitely affected our bottom line. After they got rid of import controls, we lost a lot of money that year because we didn't even know that was going to happen. At the time, we were just adjusting to the market but still it was not enough to keep this place going," Pinder revealed.
"Hurricane Irene impacted us badly last year. On top of imports coming in easily, our operational costs are going up so it has been a two-edged sword that has been cutting through us. BEC is a cost that you can't do a lot about. We are also getting an increase in foreign competition from places like Brazil, coupled with our costs going up at the same time."
Solomon's, Super Value, Asa H. Pritchard, Phil's Food Service and the D'Albenas agency are just some of the places that Abaco Big Bird Chicken is supplying.
Pinder further shared with Guardian Business that the farm is encouraged because it has an all-natural product, in comparison to foreign produce. He explained that purchasing local is healthier, and is more cost-effective overall.
"It's really not that much more. It probably costs a restaurant five cents more on a dinner to serve Abaco Big Bird chicken. You're talking about five, ten cents a pound. And that's competing with the lower grade chicken out of the United States. If you bring in the top quality brands out of the U.S., if you are paying duties and are not smuggling, our chicken is actually cheaper except for leg quarters. They are sold below cost and are undervalued," he said.
On average, Abaco Big Bird Poultry Farm can produce 6,000 birds daily and up to three million pounds annually.
V. Alfred Gray, minister of agriculture and marine resources, said there is presently a policy in place where the Bahamian buyer must prove that at least 30 percent of its chicken and eggs are bought locally, before a permit is even considered for the buyer to bring in the remaining 70 percent.
Earlier this week, Gray said he would consider a ban on certain imports if Bahamian farmers prove they can produce food in sufficient quantities at a reasonable price.
"We are encouraging Bahamian farmers in the production of Bahamian foods. I'd rather help a Bahamian out, even if the product is a few cents more, because at the end of the day it's our job to keep Bahamians employed," according to Gray.
Retiring North Abaco MP Hubert Ingraham wrapped up a farewell tour of his constituency last night ahead of his resignation from the House of Assembly on Thursday.
The former prime minister and past leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that he began visiting constituents on Friday and planned to host a final meeting with some of them in Murphy Town last night.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the event was also a part of the FNM's campaign for the upcoming by-election in the area, which must be held within 60 days after Ingraham formally resigns.
"I'm just having a little reception for some of my constituents to say farewell to them up in the Dundas, Murphy, Central Pines area," Ingraham said yesterday, speaking to The Nassau Guardian from Abaco.
"I was in Grand Cay yesterday and I have been to Cooper's Town, Green Turtle Cay [and] to Little Abaco since this is my last week before I put my resignation in on Thursday.
"This is my farewell political tour."
FNM leader Dr. Hubert Minnis flew to Abaco yesterday for the party.
The FNM's Central Council is considering four men for the FNM's North Abaco candidate selection: Greg Gomez, Cay Mills, Jackson McIntosh and Perry Thomas.
On Monday, The Nassau Guardian revealed that Gomez did not meet the constitutional requirement to run for public office because he lived in the United States for several years.
Minnis said Gomez returned to The Bahamas last August. The constitution requires that a person be an ordinary resident of the country for at least a year before he or she is eligible to be elected to the House of Assembly.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) plans to run Renardo Curry, who lost to Ingraham in the recent general election.
After the FNM's defeat on May 7, Ingraham announced that he would step down as leader of the party and not take his seat in Parliament.
However, he later decided to delay his resignation from the House until July 19, the anniversary of his first election to Parliament.
Ingraham won his seat in Parliament eight consecutive times -- once as an independent, twice as a PLP and five times as an FNM.
He served as prime minister for three non-consecutive terms.
He told The Nassau Guardian in an earlier interview that he will spend his retirement from public office fishing, with family and operating his law firm.