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Up to 130 Bahamians are now working side-by-side at Schooner Bay, with $9 million worth of infrastructure and underground utilities striking the earth.
By July 1, the Abaco project will indeed become a community by connecting more than 100 lots to the grid.
"We're putting in the infrastructure to make this place a village," said James Malcolm, director of marketing, sales and public relations. "It includes a water plant, a sub-station and a number of other pieces of heavy duty equipment. These subcontracts have been awarded."
Schooner Bay aims to have up to 30 homes completed by the end of this year. Several businesses, including a general store for basic food items, should also be online by Christmas.
While all of these additions are important, Malcolm called the infrastructure and utilities the "final piece in the puzzle" to make Schooner a livable place for residents.
Two large houses, measuring 2,500 square feet, are now under construction on beachfront lots.
In total, 12 homes are in various stages of development and eight have been completed.
Perhaps one of the more significant centerpieces of the rising community is the Black Fly Bonefish Lodge, Malcolm noted. The restaurant, inn and social epicenter, located at the mouth of the development's harbor, will be 9,000 square feet when it's completed this time next year.
The $3.5 million lodge is intended to attract high-net-worth tourists.
Clint Kemp, the managing director at Black Fly, called the clientele "top of the food chain when it comes to tourism".
The first floor of the facility is now complete.
Developers have recently added four "angler cottages" to the back of the hotel to be sold off to private investors. Coming in at $350,000 each, the two bedroom units will be managed and maintained by Black Fly, but investors will reap all of the equity benefits.
"You own it, you have the title, but there is an agreement with Black Fly where you have unlimited use, but when it's not used they maintain it as part of their room inventory," Malcolm explained.
Executives at Schooner and Black Fly intend on renting the cottages for up to $400 per night during peak season, with the owner of the property pocketing 70 percent of the profits.
However, Black Fly would charge $750 per month in management fees.
"We're predicting in the first couple of seasons that they will be filled most of the year. So if you run the numbers, it pays for itself," Malcolm told Guardian Business. "It's a very good deal."
He added that one of the four units has already been sold, and more will be built in the future as the community grows.
Schooner Bay is now looking forward to Spring Fest on May 19, bringing together up to 1,000 people for entertainment, food and artistry.
The Rotary Club and Abaco Nature Tours will help put on the event.
"This is a community outreach event that shows we are a real place," he explained. "In the long run, it also translates into marketing awareness."
The Abacos, The Bahamas -
Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts and the famed Green Turtle Club in the Bahamas
announced today a new alliance between the two, naming the Club the inaugural member
of the new Expedition Properties Portfolio by Guy Harvey Outpost. The alliance
becomes effective immediately.
announcement was Outpost President Mark Ellert and Club owners, Adam Showell
and Ann Showell Mariner of Ocean City Maryland. Guy Harvey Outpost was founded
by Ellert along with Dr. Guy Harvey and his long time associates Charles Forman
and Bill Shedd to promote adventure travel, watersport recreation and
sustainable tourism in unique destinations...
The Jeff Rodgers Basketball Camp is now in its 25th year.
For the man who was there from its inception, the years have flown by. The event itself has become a main staple in the sporting landscape of this country, that young kids look forward to, from year to year. This year, according to organizer Jeff Rodgers, will be no different as the camp embarks upon its 25th Silver Anniversary camp. This year's camp will be held July 25-27 at the Bahamas Academy of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) on Wulff Road.
"I'm more excited this year than ever before," said Rodgers yesterday. "One of the things that is taking priority this year, is to get fathers and mothers involved. It's good to teach the fundamentals of basketball but there is so much more to life than our young people playing basketball or playing sports. I think sometimes, we kind of miss the boat when we don't take quality time to spend with our children. There is going to be
a father-son evening where fathers play like a one-on-one with others fathers and sons, and then the same thing with mothers and daughters. We're just trying to build some excitement to the camp. I expect some great things to happen and I'm looking forward to making this year very successful."
Over the years, the camp which caters to hundreds of Bahamian youngsters, has grown by leaps and bounds. Rodgers has even branched off to other countries in the region, staging camp sessions in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica. This year, he has committed himself to having a camp in Abaco, and quite possibly, returning to the Turks and Caicos Islands and Jamaica.
"Wherever we go, the message is the same - to encourage young people to believe in themselves and in their futures," said Rodgers. "Most people have callings in life - some accept them and some don't. I think mine is to work with young people. It's been a blessing to me because it has helped me to keep my life together.
"It is a joy when you can touch young people's lives and motivate them and encourage them. There is always hope when you're focussing on the positive things in life, and young kids need to know that. When we look at the kids who have been touched by this camp over the years, to see some of them working as instructors in the camp is a blessing. We've helped some of them go off to college and we have seen them come back home and are now working in the community. It's a joy to be able to see that."
Working along with the kids this year are Cleveland Cavaliers' Head Coach Byron Scott, Cavaliers NBA 'Rookie of the Year' Kyrie Irving, Detroit Pistons assistant coach Dee Brown, Tyrone Bogues, former NBA player Scott Burrell and Klay Thompson - son of former Bahamian NBA great Mychal 'Sweet Bells' Thompson and current starting two guard of the Golden State Warriors, just to name a few.
"It's a great crew that we have coming down," said Rodgers. "I'm sure all of the kids and their parents will appreciate what we have in store for them this year. I'm just looking forward to putting it all together for the kids."
Sponsors coming on board to assist with the camp this year include: Scotiabank Bahamas Ltd., Royal Bank of Canada, J.S. Johnson Insurance Ltd., Colina Insurance Ltd., Family Guardian, Bamboo Shack, Bahamas Business Solutions, Jewel Party Supplies, Freddie's Barber, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and The Bahamas' Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA). Rodgers said that he is grateful to all of them.
Although the general election is over, arguably the election season is yet to come to a close. There is at least one imminent by-election in North Abaco following the announcement by former Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham that he will resign from this seat on July 19, 2012. Meanwhile many individuals continue to weigh in on the possible causes of the Free National Movement's (FNM) defeat, the victory of Perry G. Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Democratic National Alliance's (DNA) impact.
It is apparent that a number of factors contributed to the FNM's loss even though it is difficult to unequivocally state which particular issue impacted the voting population the most. The most obvious contributors to the aforementioned defeat from a macro-economic perspective were the poor state of the economy, record unemployment levels, inflation, labor unrest, the perceived opaque immigration policy of the FNM government and rising crime levels.
It has been suggested that the FNM's insistence on turning the entire election campaign into a leadership and/or personality contest between Ingraham and Christie played a significant role in the downfall of the FNM. This coupled with what many deemed to be a growing tyrannical and dictatorial style of leadership by Ingraham is also being cited as part of the reasons for the FNM's loss and the PLP's landslide victory. As can be expected, a rejection of Ingraham by the electorate would spell doom for the FNM. The perceived incidents of fragmentation, scandals and corruption within the Ingraham administration that prompted voluntary or involuntary resignations of long-time politicians along with constituency reassignments also played a role in the outcome of the elections.
The Ingraham administration also had its fair share of controversy including the sale of the Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) to a foreign-owned firm over and above Bahamians, significant cost overruns and delays in the New Providence Road Improvement Project that also contributed to the closure of several small to medium-sized businesses and the perpetuation of a monopoly of the nation's most important gateway by way of a public-private partnership agreement to an elite group of families through the Arawak Port Development.
Notably, the FNM could also be accused of political tokenism - an exercise in which under-represented groups are placed in races that they have little or no chance of winning. Arguably this occurred with some FNM newcomers and female candidates who were placed in historically PLP strongholds or incumbent constituencies. The constituencies of Englerston, Bains Town and Grants Town, Centreville, Golden Gates, Tall Pines, Fox Hill and West Grand Bahama and Bimini readily come to mind. These constituencies, for the most part, witnessed PLP candidates commanding the majority of the votes by a minimum margin of 645 to a maximum of approximately 1,390 votes. As admitted by the FNM's chairman, the party failed to attract the female vote - this in spite of the FNM's impressive fielding of nine female candidates. The PLP, however, fielded five female candidates, four of which were successful compared to one for the FNM.
In the midst of it all, it appears that the electorate rejected the FNM's approach to the myriad socio-economic issues that plagued the country during its term in office. Further, on the campaign trail, the FNM's message focused mainly on its delivery of infrastructure projects. The FNM, however, failed to "touch the pulse" of the people who for the most part were suffering due to unemployment, the rising cost of energy, food prices, foreclosures and high taxes just to name a few.
Ingraham's strategy of painting Christie as weak, indecisive, unable to control his ministers who were all eager to get their hands on the proverbial "cookie jar" was obviously ineffective and failed to resonate with an electorate that had become weary of that old form of "politicking".
An analysis of the PLP's modus operandi and efforts during the 2012 election campaign is imperative in order to complete this piece. The former prime minister, the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling, in response to a question as to the reason for the PLP's success at the polls was quoted in The National Observer's January 14, 1967 edition as stating: "Organization, good candidates, red-hot issues, complete unity".
The aforementioned quote can easily sum up the PLP's 2012 election campaign. It was clear from the beginning that the PLP led an organized campaign by campaigning on the issues that affected the Bahamian people the most - crime, economic recovery and job creation. These were obvious issues in the wake of increased criminal activities, widespread economic hardship and joblessness. Further, the PLP introduced what it coined as "a new generation of leaders" who in the run-up to the general election (when compared to their FNM counterparts) spent months to years on the ground in their respective constituencies, made many platform appearances at constituency office openings, rallies and the talk show circuit. These provided them with opportunities for increased exposure and introduction to the electorate.
Finally, the success of any political party at the polls hinges on the ability of its members to be unified and stand together. During the election campaign, the PLP spoke with one voice and had a common understanding which allowed for the resonance of its message.
As for the impact of the DNA, there are some 20 parliamentary seats that could have changed the results for the PLP or FNM but for the DNA's presence. However, the absence of the DNA may have also resulted in low voter turn-out in a general election that witnessed high voter registration with a record 172,000 voters.
The DNA's showing was historic and impressive as it garnered approximately eight percent of the electoral vote, the highest by far for a third party. The party's presence deepened our democracy, provided voters with an alternative and forced the established parties to improve their political campaigns. Their future existence and relevance will depend on their commitment to "stay on the ground" and be a formidable opposition from the side-lines.
Considering the 14-year rise to power of the PLP and the 20-year journey of the FNM, it will benefit the DNA to study these parties' voyages. Invaluable lessons abound for the DNA in the successes and failures of the PLP and FNM in the past. The DNA and its supporters should draw inspiration from the rise of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom whose ascension in UK politics led to the Conservative/Liberal Democrats coalition in 2010, the first in Britain's history since World War II. The Liberal Democrats' victory silenced naysayers that had asserted that third parties have no place in a Westminster system. With a clear philosophy, purpose and perseverance, the DNA can hope for a similar testimony in future.
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When parties lose elections, the faithful are distraught. Some see doom around every corner.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) did not win a landslide, really. Many of the swing seats in New Providence were decided by 250 votes or less. And many Family Island seats, such as North Andros and The Berry Islands and Central and South Eleuthera, were decided by less than 100 votes.
The Free National Movement (FNM) now needs to embrace the concept of generational change. Many of its candidates who lost this time have been around for quite a while. They may appear reasonably young, but as politicians they are exhausted. This group should go with Hubert Ingraham.
By that we do not mean that they should totally leave politics. They should not run again, however. Instead, these individuals should offer their experience to the party from behind the scenes. They should graduate and become elder statesmen of the party giving advice to the next generation of FNMs. Those younger capable candidates of the party should be featured going forward.
Dr. Hubert Minnis will have his first test when he appoints his party's senators. If he uses this moment to present a vibrant group of young FNMs, the country would take note that the opposition is on the road to comprehensive change. If he appoints individuals who are past their primes just to keep their political careers alive, people will think that Dr. Minnis and this version of the FNM are just an extension of the Ingraham era.
Those young FNMs, hungry to make their marks in public life, would be more energized to lead the fight against the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) than men who are in the twilight of their political careers.
In politics, there comes a time when your political currency is spent. The people have seen enough of you, they have heard enough of you, and the best thing to do is go with dignity and grace. The time has come for a number of people who lost Monday night.
The new opposition leader should block from the frontline those who do not know it is time to go - that is, if he wants his party to win in five years.
Ingraham's change of heart a good move
On election night, Hubert Ingraham said he would not take his seat in Parliament and that he was gone as FNM leader. He has wisely moderated those decisions, staying on as FNM leader until the party's May 26 convention and now saying he will formally retire from politics on July 19, the anniversary of his first election in 1977.
Ingraham made the July 19 announcement at his goodbye party in Abaco on Saturday.
So, we should see him in the House of Assembly, at some point, for his formal goodbye to the nation. The country deserves to hear his summary of his time in public life and those of his contemporaries.
The nation will watch. We hope all members realize that the occasion will be historic and that they should speak reasonably. Ingraham contributed a lot to the development of the modern Bahamas. He also had shortcomings. The full account of his 15 years as prime minister and eight election victories to the House of Assembly should be taken into account by our MPs. The venom of the campaign trail should be left there.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said while he is sorry that the Free National Movement (FNM) was defeated in the May 7 election, he is not sorry to be relieved of the "great burden" that came with public life.
Ingraham met with his North Abaco constituents over the weekend to thank them for their support over the years.
"But I've been ready to go a long time," he told The Nassau Guardian in an exclusive interview last week.
"I'm really relieved of a great burden and responsibility. I'm sorry the party is not in government, but I'm not sorry that I'm not in government. I don't regret anything I did. I don't regret losing. I don't feel badly about it. I have relief."
The FNM won only nine of the 38 seats in the House of Assembly.
On the night of May 7, Ingraham, who is one of the elected members, announced he will not take his seat in Parliament. He also announced that he will resign as leader of the party.
"I gave all I could," he said. "I did the best I could for the public of The Bahamas. I served them well. I served them honorably and I still owe the public of The Bahamas. So whatever experience I have or knowledge I have will be made available to the party."
Killarney MP elect Dr. Hubert Minnis was sworn in as leader of the Official Opposition at Government House last week.
The FNM is expected to elect a new leader along with other party officials at the party's convention on May 26.
The former prime minister plans to return to his law office in Nassau and reopen his Abaco office. He has also said he intends to do a lot of fishing.
He added that he is also looking forward to spending more time with his family.
Speaking specifically about his constituents, Ingraham said he hopes they will understand his decision to leave.
"I've served them for 35 years. I ran to become prime minister. I had to become an MP to become prime minister," he said.
"I have no desire to serve as an MP anymore. I made that decision back in 2002 and I ran because the party needed me to ensure that we won Abaco and then I came back in 2005 because the party and others called for me."
Ingraham said he will continue to assist the FNM whenever the new leader asks him to.
Following their successful inaugural exhibition in 2011, the Public Treasury Art Program is preparing an equally stunning group display in the Pubic Treasury Building for 2012, opening May 18 - one that takes a departure from the 2011 all-women "Bahama Mama" tribute to female Bahamian artists and gives Bahamian male artists a platform in "Nurturing Brotherhood".
This exhibition, however, will not only be a chance for male artists to shine but also puts the importance of positive male relationships in the spotlight. Every one of the 16 male Bahamian artists invited to contribute to the group exhibition paired with a high school student in order to produce work together.
Curator of the PTAP, Keisha Oliver, points out that unlike last year's exhibition, more emphasis is placed on the process of meaningful exchange for a better future of artists and self-aware young men than the end exhibition itself.
"We often hear the expression 'Where are the good young men of today, what's happening to them?'" says Oliver. "Nurturing Brotherhood is a positive response and affirmation that talented men are here in The Bahamas and they're just waiting to be encouraged and grow."
"Nurturing Brotherhood for me is relevant is in a time of escalated violence and crime that always seem to come back to young men, so it's a positive response to those negative claims and gestures."
With help from the Ministry of Education, PTAP selected sixteen male high school students--and one student from junior high--who displayed promise in arts through school and in nation-wide competitions, including three such students from Freeport and one from Abaco.
"They were so excited as young students to be selected to work alongside artists they know and hold in high regard," says Oliver. "Likewise the mentors were over the moon because I think we take for granted in our successful professions the sharing of skills and care that can impact other lives, so to see that growth just makes you so proud."
Over a period of weeks, the pair worked closely together to provide one piece from the mentor and one piece from the student for display in the Nurturing Brotherhood exhibition. The opportunity provided the students with hands-on guidance in their creative expression and the chance to see male Bahamian artists making a living through their talents in different ways.
With participating artists including Allan Wallace, Andret John, Anthony Morley, Damaso Gray, Desmond Darville, Dion Lewis, Ellery Deveaux, Jace McKinney, Kenon Grant, Kishan Munroe, Lou Lihou, Omar Richardson, Scharad Lightbourne, Sheldon Saint, Shieko Hoyte, Theodore Sealy and Zyandric Jones, there was quite a range of inspiration for the budding artists.
"We wanted to provide a realistic scope to students to help them understand that artist professions range--from the tourism sector, to someone who places art in public spaces, to some who travel the world," says Oliver.
"Showing these young men that have artistic talents that working in a creative space is important, it gives them options," she continues. "We have to encourage these young people that this is an option or else art and culture will die. It's about showing them we appreciate them and we want them to become the men that these artists are."
Indeed, the pieces in "Nurturing Brotherhood" promise to be a poignant display of inspiring mentorship, providing direct reflections of the mentor's individualized style and subject matter in the impressive pieces by the up-and-coming generation of emerging Bahamian artists.
But most importantly is the guidance and inspiration provided by these mentors outside of art itself. In a time where Bahamian society is losing its young men to violence and crime and the graduating classes of the College of The Bahamas reflect an alarming low for male graduates, cultural programs--like the National Bench Program by Antonius Roberts, Junkanoo shack activities and now PTAP's activity--work to change the dynamic. Such programs not only provide positive outlets for and creative opportunities for young men, but also the chance to work with positive male role models they can emulate.
"The mentorship to me seemed more important than the exhibition," says Oliver. "The intention is to equip students with tools and skills but ultimately an appreciation for relationship-building, collaboration and creative independence. It's a life-learning experience, for them to be selected for this."
Indeed, for the students involved, the opportunity is a game changer, and Oliver points out that the relationships formed these past few weeks will continue long after the Nurturing Brotherhood exhibition has opened, making this a monumental event in shaping the minds and creative talents of the next generation.
"I think if the artists don't have hectic schedules and the students are willing, the option to keep working together has been opened up," says Oliver. "There's also us doing it again in the future. We definitely want to continue the program, it's something that can progress from here on in and can be something good."
"Nurturing Brotherhood" opens at the Public Treasury Building on East Street North this Friday, May 18 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. and will remain on display for five months. For more information, visit www.ptapbahamas.blogspot.com or e-mail email@example.com.
The Olympic Charter includes the mandate of reform regarding more substantive positioning of women and a larger profiling of the fairer sex. In this light, the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), with vice president Cora Hepburn as the chairman of the Women in Sports Commission, has come up with an excellent initiative.
An awards banquet under the theme 'Celebrating the Success of Women in Sports' is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, at the Atlantis Resort. The categories earmarked, are particularly impressive and send an encouraging message throughout the Olympic Movement that women can expect more attention and recognition for their contributions going forward.
Honorees, Administrators and Names to Watch are the categories. This is good because such a format will bridge the eras in recognizing the top contributors to national development by women of sports in The Bahamas. Those responsible for the National Hall of Fame would be sensible to go the route of categories also. The Old Timers, the Modern Day, the Media, and an Associate category for people like Dr. Patrick Roberts who have assisted generations of Olympians, (to be lauded), should be considered by the National Hall of Fame organizers. I like the approach of Hepburn and company. They are on a good wicket with this project.
It's long been my view that the National Olympic Committee of the country ought to have had at least one signature social event each year that heightens the profile of the organization and makes a better general connection to the public. Those honored will link the BOC to their immediate families, friends and associates at home and abroad.
Such a development broadens the horizon of the BOC. Perhaps the BOC would consider being further proactive. The BOC can orchestrate a new culture of more inclusion of the Family Islands by moving their national events to other parts of the country. For sure, it would be very expensive and illogical to have events in another island location each year.
The view here though is that a shift to Grand Bahama or Abaco on occasions would make the Olympic Movement in the country more vibrant. Just as national competitive events have been moved to Grand Bahama from time to time, the same could be the case with big sports awards functions.
As the national sporting industry expands, I advocate a greater inclusion of the Family Islands in all instances that are feasible and an occasional switch to the affluent ones that are more suited for the bigger events. I salute the BOC in this instance!
This strong focus on highlighting women in sports is overdue, but welcomed.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
I predicted, months ago, that any political leader who did not appear on the most influential and listened to radio talk show in the nation would, ultimately, lose the now mercifully concluded general election. To his credit and good sense Perry Gladstone Christie (PLP-Centreville) appeared twice. Hubert Alexander Ingraham (FNM-North Abaco) promised, ad nauseum, to appear but never lived up to his word.
The rest is history. I was very instrumental in persuading Ingraham to come out of his voluntary retirement in 2006-2007. He, Alfonso "Boogaloo" Elliott and I worked very closely in the months leading up to the May 2007 general election, but I was, in my view, cut loose shortly after his successful return to high office.
Sometime after I started to work in the media, I saw one of his fanatical cronies in McDonalds. He called me all sorts of gratuitous names, some of which are unprintable. I responded, calmly, that we brought him in and that we'd take him out, politically. He must have thought that I was joking. Yet another crony "hangs" out in the same eatery and he "threatened" my job a few weeks ago.
The Ingraham who miserably lost the recent general election is not the Ingraham I used to know. He was no longer the focused, the compassionate and the tactician of old. He had, right before my very eyes, changed. He had become in his own alleged words "a one-man band". While nothing was wrong with this, the sad thing is what he did or contributed towards the absolute decimation of the FNM and countless of his candidates.
Politically, Zhivargo Laing, Carl Bethel and my erstwhile friend, Tommy Turnquest, are, literally, "finished" in frontline politics. I could care less about the first two, but I feel for the third one, whose father has been a lifelong friend and benefactor. Laing should have stayed in Marco City. Carl never had a genuine chance of re-election due to any number of "problems" which stalked him for years. Even the hardnosed Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes is now passé. All gone.
The natural successor to the leadership post of the defeated and demoralized FNM is Hubert Alexander Minnis (FNM-Killarney). This was my opinion a week or so before the ill-fated (for the FNM) general election. It will be his task to bring about the resurrection of a Lazarus like political party.
Reasons as to how and why the FNM lost so badly are clear and overt. Ingraham, God bless his soul, had lost contact with the average Bahamian. He was no longer "feeling" them and they were, clearly, not "feeling" him.
The badly managed road works; the total disregard for input from stakeholders in nation building; the inability to "solve" crime; the high unemployment rates in New Providence and Freeport; the apparent awarding of contracts to alleged political cronies and sycophants; his seemingly petty attitude and in-your-face challenges to all and sundry were the final nails in his political coffin.
Ingraham may have been an "illustrious" son of the late great Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling but he treated him and his political legacy like shaving cream.
"The maid gone! The car gone!" What goes around comes around my brother. Don't cry for me, lamented Eva Peron. Cry for Argentina!
The PLP and its leadership, especially Deputy Leader Philip "Brave" Davis (PLP-Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador) and the national chairman, Bradley Roberts, are to be complimented on a well run national campaign. At times, Ingraham appeared to get personal and even contemptuous with the PLP's leadership but, at the end of the day, he was rebuffed and voted, unceremoniously, out of office, his legacy in tatters.
Very few tears, if any, will be shed for the precipitous departure from high office of Ingraham. Yes, he did his best, but was he, in hindsight, better than all the rest? Tina Turner, had she appeared as promoted, may have made a difference.
An appearance on my radio talk show, without a doubt, would have cemented his reelection chances. None of those events, however, occurred and today Ingraham is on the outside looking in. History has, alas, passed him by.
Post-mortems are never pleasant and they, certainly, are not "pretty".
As a trained mortician, however, I know where to insert the appropriate needle and where to stitch the cadaver.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.
- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
The chairman of KPMG International is no stranger to the power of Chinese investment.
With his head office in Hong Kong, Michael Andrew, leading one of the four biggest accountant firms in the world, plans to double the size of his Chinese workforce within four years.
From America to Africa, he has seen the global impact of China's surging economy.
But on his first trip to The Bahamas, Andrew, an avid cricket fan, was excited about more than finding the nearest pitch. The top executive, in town for the 2012 TOG Partners' Conference, was impressed by the mounting influence of the Asian superpower in this modest archipelago.
"I must admit it was a revelation to learn of the size and scale of Chinese investment this week," Andrew said. "China likes to invest in countries where they feel welcome, where they can work with the local regulators and local business people. There is a cluster mentality. Once you get one Chinese investor talking a good story, then the others tend to follow."
The critique certainly tells the story in The Bahamas.
Baha Mar, a $2.6 billion mega resort now under construction in Nassau, is being built by China Construction America and financed by the state-owned Export-Import Bank of China. A number of other Chinese-led projects have emerged over the last year or so, including a $41 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to build a port in Abaco and the construction of a national stadium that cost tens of millions of dollars.
The latter, according to the local government, was a gift by the People's Republic of China to The Bahamas.
This close relationship, and indeed China's involvement in the Caribbean at large, is now on the mind of KPMG's global chairman.
In fact, as a financial services hub, he sees "explosive growth" if the country, and similar jurisdictions, becomes a trailblazer for Renminbi denominated securities.
"I think you're about to see the emergence of another sovereign currency tradable around the world in five or 10 years," he told Guardian Business. "It's interesting, when you look at Singapore, Hong Kong and even London, they are all starting to gear up for Renminbi securities and shares. I think there will be explosive growth for those countries that can put in a regulatory regime and a settlement regime."
The KPMG chairman said that The Bahamas can take advantage of many opportunities through its ongoing relationship with China. While their skill is often in large-scale infrastructure, chiefly because they have the design, execution and funding capacity to pull it off, Andrew anticipates that Chinese banks will no doubt "follow" the path previously traveled.
The emerging superpower continues to liberalize its financial system. And as banks grow increasingly international, "you'll see Chinese banks become much more active on the global scene, but they'll do it in a very targeted and strategic way".
As a financial center, Andrew feels The Bahamas has made strides through its regulatory framework. The country is in a position to compete and be on the cutting edge. What The Bahamas needs to do, however, is advertise.
"I don't think it's very well known outside of The Bahamas on what progress has been made. I'm not sure all the foreign investors and funds fully comprehend the sophistication here in The Bahamas," he explained.
Between its Chinese links and close proximity to the emerging markets of Latin America, The Bahamas needs to think big, think differently, and look to alternative fund industry right at its back door.
Andrew, who is now approaching a year as chairman of KPMG International, said if there is one thing he has learned, it's the profound shift from West to the East, and North to the South.
It's up to The Bahamas, and indeed other jurisdictions like it, to wake up to this reality.
"I don't think people fully understand or comprehend the scale of what is taking place," Andrew added. "It is almost unprecedented in history that you are seeing now more GDP in emerging countries than in developed countries. These are countries that have no leverage and no debt. So their capacity to continue to grow and respond is impressive. They have increased their educational standards dramatically. I think the world will never be the same going forward."