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A summer of record heat has led to extreme challenges for the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) which once again shut down power to thousands of residences and businesses yesterday, as the demand for electricity simply could not be met.BEC blamed yesterday's rolling blackouts - the latest in a series of load shedding exercises - on another failed generator. This was the third generator to go offline this week.The generator has not been properly maintained due to the corporation's strained financial situation, said BEC in a statement. The corporation staggered yesterday's blackouts in two-hour intervals, impacting different areas of New Providence.BEC said between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. it would shut down power to customers in Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Hills, Charlottesville, Jacaranda, Blake Road, Sea Beach, Caves Village, Sandyport and Soldier Road between Abundant Life Road and Balliou Hill Road.BEC expected to cut electricity supply to customers in Tyler Street, Nassau Street, West Bay Street (between Xavier's Primary School and Vista Marina), Augusta Street, Deans Lane, Meeting Street, Balliou Hill Road South, College Drive, Boyd Road and all side streets between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.BEC expected that between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. it would shut down supply to customers in Westward Villas, the Cable Beach strip, Lake Cunningham subdivision, Skyline Drive, Sanford Drive, Stapledon Gardens, Sea View Drive, West Bay Street, and John F. Kennedy Drive.Between 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. customers in Bamboo Boulevard, Pinewood Gardens, and South Beach were expected to have no electricity."Once again, the corporation apologizes to its customers and will continue to provide updates on the status of its generation challenges," BEC said in its statement.There have been rolling blackouts in New Providence since Monday when two of BEC's generators at its Clifton Pier plant failed.
One of those generators has since been brought back online. BEC said it has identified the problem with the second generator.
"The need for parts and extensive repairs means that the generator may be out of service for several days," said BEC.The corporation said the third failed generator is expected back online today. That generator is also located at the Clifton Pier plant.
"During this time, the corporation will continue to utilize the Generation Assistance Plan (GAP), relying on customers with large capacity standby units [capable of producing more than 1,000 kilowatts] freeing up capacity for other customers," BEC said. "Additionally, BEC is preparing to install the 20 megawatts of rental units. These units are expected to be operable by mid-month."BEC said with the GAP and the installation of the rental units, it would be able to limit the impact of any future generation problem on its customers.
Nassau, The Bahamas - The Government is committed to scouting for potentially great athletes in the country and preparing them for the 2016 Olympics and
other future sporting events, the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry
Plans to construct a $102.3 million seawater district cooling (SDC) system at Baha Mar have been momentarily derailed due to failed revisions to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) plan, Guardian Business has learned.
According to multiple well-placed sources, the bone of contention lies with alterations to Cable Beach's ecosystem, more specifically the area around Goodman's Bay.
Machinery and equipment running both underwater and on the surface have sparked concerns on the impact to the natural environment. Likewise, local residents and those that frequent Goodman's Bay have grown increasingly outspoken on the project.
The SDC plant, projected to reduce the $2.6 billion mega resort's electricity demand by up to 90 percent, is being spearheaded by Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTEC). The U.S. company has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deliver two renewable energy plants to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).
Recent events, however, have cast doubt on OTEC's ambitions in The Bahamas.
"I think it has to do with their ability to get approvals and meeting conditions that would be acceptable to the EIA," said one well-placed source. "While they have made revisions to it, they have not informed the authorities of that revision in writing."
The threat to the $102.3 million plant comes shortly after a document surfaced at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which revealed OTEC rejected a number of alternatives to the design.
The renewable energy company is seeking up to $40.9 million from the IDB for the project.
One of the many areas of concern, environmentally speaking, is certainly Goodman's Bay.
The report notes that the pipeline would have to traverse six national and international telecommunication cables beneath the bay. Representing a significant link for the country to the rest of the world, trenching and installing the OTEC piping "would involve an undesired level of difficulty and risk of damage to the cables".
The report outlined a number of alternative routes and proposals for the pipping leading to and from the proposed SDC plant. One alternative is to construct landing sites east of the Baha Mar resort at Arawak Cay. While there are many benefits identified, multiple utilities located along West Bay Street and "major interference with traffic" help caused this idea to be thrown out. Baha Mar even considered shifting the route of the golf course to accommodate the plant.
Robert Sands, vice president of external and government affairs, said the OTEC project was not factored into the original business plan of Baha Mar. As such, the developers do not expect any fallout should the endeavor be officially squashed.
"It was purely based on cost savings, but for us and BEC. The original plan was already based on conventional air conditioning," he added.
Executives at OTEC did not respond to requests for comment.
There has been much discussion this week over an upswing of housebreakings, burglaries and rapes in parts of New Providence. Police have taken at least three people in to custody in connection with the problem, but it is unclear if these individuals are involved and it is also unclear how many people are committing the crimes.
Housebreaking has been a problem in The Bahamas for several years - particularly in New Providence. According to police statistics, there were 3,237 housebreakings in 2011, up three percent from the 3,141 cases of housebreaking in 2010. The 2010 figure, however, was 17.5 percent higher than the 2,673 housebreakings recorded in 2009.
Housebreaking is a serious problem that we have not been able to address. The crime, and its nighttime version burglary, is often accompanied by sexual assaults against women. These assaults are dastardly acts, with females at times being raped in front of other relatives and even their children.
The public feels particularly affected by and invested in these types of crimes. Women are afraid for their safety and men are afraid for the safety of their wives, sisters, daughters and friends.
Police have a policy of rarely mentioning rapes and sexual assaults to the media in their public crime reports. The argument is that they do not want to identity victims by naming the areas where the incidents occurred. If people know a rape happened last night on Malcolm Road, then everyone in the neighborhood who saw the police at a particular residence would know a woman who resides there was raped, so the argument goes.
Yes, police do have a responsibility to protect the identities of victims of sexual assault. However, they also have a responsibility to prevent other sexual assaults from happening by warning the public of disturbing trends when they begin. The current problem with break-ins and sexual assaults was only revealed this week because a reporter pressed a senior police officer on the issue.
Simply put, police should issue general area warnings about sexual assaults and break-ins. Rather than saying three rapes occurred on Skyline Drive, police could say that a problem with rapes has emerged in western New Providence, or in the Cable Beach area, giving those who live there the opportunity to change their habits and be more cautious.
Police always ask for the help of the public in solving crime. We the public now ask police to provide us with the necessary information so that we can protect ourselves.
Police must remember that the information held by the force is held on our behalf. It is not just special power or knowledge for police and senior government officials. Of course, police cannot release every detail of information the force has for obvious reasons. But a general notice to women about sexual assaults when the problem begins certainly should not be too much to ask.
Jazz music will never sound the same again after listening to the diverse style and expertise of the amazing line-up that has been set for the musical spectacular that will be the Ralph Munnings Jazz Band Concert.
Ronnie Butler, Duke Errol Strachan, Freddie Munnings, Naomi Taylor, Osano Neely and Anushka Wright headline the Saturday, June 23 event at Old Fort Bay Clubhouse which will be the talk of the town, as it celebrates jazz saxophone legend Ralph Munnings. The evening kicks off at 7 p.m.
Adding even more flavor to this jazzy affair, the legend himself -- Ralph Munnings will perform.
"This is going to be a great occasion. I have always been passionate about my work and I intend to bring that same love and talent I've always displayed to this upcoming event," said Munnings.
"This event will be really special to me, not only because I'm being honored which is an amazing thing to me, but also because I will be playing in concert with some old friends from when I first started as well as meeting up with some new musicians who I've had different opportunities to play with."
He said the concert will be a treat for jazz enthusiasts and even those who will listen to the music for the first time.
"It will truly be an evening of entertainment, relaxation and sensation. The level of talent that will be displayed throughout the event is not something one sees everyday and the fusion of more modern jazz fusions should be an exciting experience," he said.
Concert organizer, Naomi Taylor, believes the evening will be a sensational, classy and elegant way to spend a Saturday evening.
"It will be a black tie affair with wonderful hors d'oeuvres, beautiful music and singing, great company and a great environment," she said. "Not to mention honoring Ralph Munnings in this way is something special. He has really done a lot to influence the current generation of musicians and we should honor him for what he has done. It's time to recognize the men and women who have paved the way for us in this industry and give them their accolades while they are alive."
The fusion of youth and maturity, old-school jazz to modern mixtures will add an extra pop of character and intrigue to the event according to Taylor. As one of the featured vocalists she said she feels honored to be a part of the melting pot of talent that will be performing on Saturday night.
"You can expect a wide array of talent and style with the performers all evening long. It has been well organized and the execution will be flawless. You can expect to hear different jazz and music styles from Latin jazz, classic jazz, blues and even famous Bahamian ballads. This will be dynamic and beautiful. You do not want to miss out on this event."
Adding more vibrant flavor to the show will be musicians like pianist Clinton Crawford, bassist Adrian D'Aguilar, drummer Neil Symonette, alto saxophonist Tino Richardson, tenor saxophonist Dion Turnquest, trombonist Teddy Russell, trumpeter Lamont Gibson, and percussionists Peanuts Taylor and Kevin Dean.
Proceeds from the night that is expected to be the talk of the town will go to the Ralph Munnings Musicians Mentoring Fund which was recently established to encourage upcoming musicians. With the new program Munnings will be coming to New Providence to do monthly master classes in woodwind instruments for interested youngsters.
The classes are a way for Munnings who began his career in music in the 1950s and has played with the likes of Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte and Ben E. King to give back, and train the next generation.
"It would be a crime to let musicians like Munnings die out and the younger generations not benefit," said Taylor.
Tickets for the jazz concert can be purchased at Custom Computers locations in the Cable Beach Plaza and Harbour Bay Shopping Centre.
When: Saturday, June 23
Where: Old Fort Bay Clubhouse
Time: 7 p.m. for cocktail 8 p.m.
Duke Errol Strachan
The core band
Clinton Crawford - pianist and musical director
Adrian D'Aguilar - bass
Neil Symonette - drums
Tino Richardson - alto sax
Dion Turnquest - tenor sax
Teddy Russell - trombone
Lamont Gibson - trumpet
Peanuts Taylor - percussion
Kevin Dean - percussion
The Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino will be closed beginning in September due to low occupancy levels.
Robert Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, announced that the resort usually experiences significant losses during September and October.
"Occupancy levels at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino have been pretty challenged most of the time, because of the major construction and demolition of the two towers taking place. It's also the slowest time of the year," according to Sands.
He confirmed that this is third time that the resort has undergone a temporary closure and the second time it is offering employees the option of taking an "early retirement and voluntary separation plan". The resort closed its doors temporarily both in 2009 for eight weeks and for six weeks in 2010. The closures impacted more than 1,000 employees.
Now it is being closed for five weeks.
"This is not the first time that this is happening. This is in fact the third time that we are doing this. We have done it once before when the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort was closing," Sands explained.
According to a statement from Baha Mar, all full-time staff members have been offered a one-time, completely voluntary opportunity to end their employment with the establishment and receive an attractive compensation package based on their position and length of employment.
"Actual early retirement and separation dates will vary based on the employee and his or her role and function. The plan is non-discriminatory as to age, gender, position and length of employment, and Cable Beach Resorts maintains the right to accept or reject any individual application to participate," it stated.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe told Guardian Business that he is hoping this won't happen again.
"We do understand the difficulty that the hotel faces, given the fact that you have construction going on just near the towers of the Wyndham. Once it's beyond the stage that it is at now in another three, four months, we believe that we will be in better shape," he shared. "Early next year, we begin the year with several major conferences that will be held at that hotel. We are hoping that they move with haste. The decision made by the company will also allow for employees to consider the future by accepting the package. It's an internal decision that can be made by the employees or they can remain at the property. We are hoping that this five-week closure goes by very quickly and we are hoping that construction remains on schedule."
The temporary closure takes effect from September 4 to October 17. Those employees interested in accepting the early retirement and voluntary separation plan will have a four-week window in which to accept it.
Sands said once the resort is re-opened, an assessment will be made as to how much was saved during the temporary closure.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has accused the government of seeking to develop the former Island Palm Hotel in Freeport into administrative offices to create jobs for Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supporters.
Minnis also said yesterday there has been no evidence to support the increase in homelessness in Grand Bahama alleged by Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis on the recent campaign trail.
"Are they now saying they are changing the Island Palm to administrative offices, knowing that a lot of renovations are needed to provide jobs to their people and cronies?" Minnis asked.
A week after Davis revealed that plans were in motion to use the property as a temporary homeless shelter, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the government's revised plans.
Last Friday, Christie claimed the government took its queue from the response the plan had received from Grand Bahamians.
The Ingraham administration acquired the 156-room three-story property adjacent to the Rand Memorial Hospital at $1.9 million to develop Grand Bahama's healthcare product and a medical tourism market.
"The stories about people living in cars, people living on the beaches when we have that property sitting there doing nothing," Davis told reporters in Grand Bahamas.
"We are looking now at the possibility of bringing some of those persons off the beach, out of the cars, placing them there on a temporary basis until we can find something more suitable for them - either jobs and then moving them away from there."
Minnis questioned whether the deputy prime minister and prime minister were just "hawking whatever sounds good politically" instead of driving national development.
He suggested that the government abandoned its original plans because the level of homelessness that Davis claimed during the campaign trail was inaccurate.
"They were preaching throughout the campaign that there is an increase in homelessness in Grand Bahama, but show me the data for those people who are supposedly living on the beach and otherwise, and the individuals living in cars," Minnis said.
"If Mr. Davis has any interest in the homeless he has not made any statement as to what he plans to do for them."
Minnis advised the government to increase the budget for social services to support Grand Bahamians faced with financial challenges, instead of abandoning the plan to expand the Rand.
He said the government is ignoring Grand Bahama's health sector and its future development.
The acquisition of Island Palm came shortly after $9 million in renovation at the Rand.
"They are not using the building to address the problems that the Rand Memorial Hospital is faced with today and those problems will continue to escalate once we continue to have problems with chronic non-communicable diseases and the incidence of violent crime," Minnis said.
"There is already a shortage of beds. With us expanding and giving the Rand the most modern facility in their institution the plan was for a lot of the patients awaiting surgery in New Providence [to] have it done in Grand Bahama, therefore developing health domestic tourism.
"With that facility you would also be able to expand health tourism to the Caribbean and elsewhere."
"And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?" - Khalil Gibran.
Yesterday was Father's Day, a day we normally set aside to honor our fathers, perhaps the single most important person who, after our mothers, represent the most significant, pivotal and inspiring person in our lives.
In the early hours of Wednesday, June 6, 2012, the ICU bedside of my father, and the father of my other eight siblings, was surrounded by those siblings, my mother, his loving wife of 58 years, most of his grand-children and Fr. Glen Nixon. At 12:18 a.m., in the words of my loving spouse, Tonya, my father "was carried from time to eternity by sweetly uttered assurances that his labor had not been, nor would be, in vain".
Therefore this week, we would like to dedicate this installment of Consider This... to our father, Clifford Neville Galanis.
He was born in Staniard Creek, Andros on March 15, 1934 to the late Zelma Mae Antonio of Andros, and the late Drosos Galanos of Kalimnos, Greece.
As an infant, he and his mother moved to Nassau, where he grew up and spent the remainder of his life. Because of the hardships of the Great Depression, his mother was forced to move to the United States for several years to work on "The Contract," leaving him in the care of his maternal "Aunt Ross" with whom he maintained a close bond until her death.
He was educated at Western Prep, Western Junior, and Eastern Senior Schools, but, financial constraints prevented him from attending high school. Instead, he worked to help his mother pay rent, put food on the table, and make ends meet. At age 13, he found his first job at The Nassau Hobby Horse Race Track where he initially fed and walked horses, eventually becoming a jockey. Thus began his lifelong love of horses and horse racing.
Although he loved the race track and established many lifelong friendships there, he realized that this work was seasonal, and that it did not provide prospects for much advancement, or for a long-term career.
Dad therefore pursued his education, which he saw as key to achieving his goals. He enrolled in evening classes under the tutelage of the late great educator, Donald Davis, and eventually completed a high school equivalency. Years later, after sending many of his children to college, he finally went back to school to continue his formal education, enrolling at Florida International University. In 1984, at the age of 50, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering, with Honors.
When he was 17, he met Zoë Neely of the Bluff, Eleuthera, and immediately fell in love with her. After pursuing her, dad eventually won her heart and her hand in marriage. They got married in 1954 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral and honeymooned at a beach house in Adelaide.
His young wife bore him nine children, most of whom he personally delivered. Dad was an excellent provider, serving as the family's sole breadwinner for most of their marriage. By the age of 25, he purchased a piece of property in Oakes Field, and built a home for his family with his own hands.
In 1956, he joined the maintenance staff at the now defunct Emerald Beach Hotel, repairing the electrical, refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.
Three years later, he accepted the position of assistant chief engineer at Nassau Beach Hotel. By 1965, he had passed both the Single-Phase, and the Triple-Phase Electrical Contractor's Examinations, making him a licensed three-phase electrical contractor. In 1967, he was promoted to chief engineer at Nassau Beach Hotel, and held that position for the next 13 years.
After 20 years at Nassau Beach Hotel, he accepted a position as director of engineering of Resorts International on Paradise Island, thus becoming the first Bahamian to occupy that position. In 1992, at the request of George Myers, president of the Myers Group, dad moved to the Radisson Cable Beach Hotel, where he served as director of engineering until his retirement in 2000 due to ill health.
Dad was an attentive and meticulous husband who absolutely adored and was extremely protective and affectionate toward mom, constantly complimenting her beauty, her goodness, her warm and generous spirit, and her cooking skills.
He often spoke of her total dedication to him, especially in the last few years when his physical disability demanded her constant care, effort, and attention. He truly appreciated her, and sang her praises to whoever would listen, even up to the last few minutes that he spoke.
Dad was a hands-on father, who often rushed home to wash diapers or help with homework, even after working an extremely long and hard day. He set very high standards for his children and led by example.
He emphasized education, and ensured that all nine of his children either went to college, flight school or both. He and mom insisted that their children be given constant spiritual nourishment. Growing up, the family never missed Sunday Mass, and, after retirement, he and mom often attended Daily Mass until he was no longer physically able to do so.
On Saturday past, we buried our father at St. Francis and in the funeral booklet many of his children and grand-children offered tributes to dad. Although each tribute bore similar themes of his goodness as a man, a husband and father, perhaps the one that most poignantly captures his spirit was written by his third child, Stephen, and we wanted to share it with you:
The Lion Sleeps
Stand aside! Please! Mighty angels, Give us room that we might grieve,
Make way! Make way, you sons of God, our father's spirit takes its leave
Mournful tears so deep and many for this Old Lion called away
But with our laughter we will greet him on his resurrection day.
Tall he stood, proudly he walked, this mighty leader of the pride.
In open battle, faced his challenge, he would neither flinch nor hide.
"And like a lion, who dares rouse him?" This old Judah in his time,
Mighty fearsome, maned young lion, fought and won when in his prime.
Now rest Old Lion from your warfare, know your pride is safe, secure
All your cubs are grown and able; all their steps are firm and sure.
Know your Queen is well-protected, all your cubs, their strength they lend
To protect, comfort and keep her, her support and her defend.
Rest Old Lion, rest in peace now, you have fought your final fight
Your brave spirit lives in us now, all your wisdom, all your might.
We who issued from your belly, bow our heads and here we weep
Not too long, and not too loudly. Let the mighty Lion sleep.
We love you Dad!
And so, as we celebrated his life on Saturday past and remembered him yesterday on Father's Day, we wanted to honor him today by paying tribute to our dad, who lovingly sacrificed so much for so many during his short 78 years sojourn.
Sometime before he died, dad wrote his own obituary which was included in the funeral booklet, as well as a loving letter to mom in which he concluded, "So you see my darling wife - I believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - His promise to keep. I did not die, I have only fallen asleep. With Love, dad."
Because of dad's time spent with us and the love he showered on his family, for each of us, every day will be a Happy Father's Day.
o Author's note: You can access his entire funeral booklet on Facebook at "In loving memory of Clifford Galanis". Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beijing Construction America is considering an equity position in the $200 million World Mart, pointing out that Baha Mar is made up of essentially the same "ingredients".
Zac Henson, the president of Beijing Construction America, drew strong parallels between himself and Tiger Wu, the vice president of China Construction America and a top executive behind Baha Mar.
The latter is now full steam ahead on the $2.6 billion resort rising on Cable Beach.
"It is undetermined whether we would take an equity position, but as with many projects, we build and finance," he explained. "We are a state-owned enterprise, we are owned by the government; the banks are owned by the government. Baha Mar is run by China State Construction, which is one of our counterpart companies. We essentially do the same thing, we have the same ingredients and we're owned by the same people as they are."
Henson and other top executives of Beijing Construction America were in Freeport last week finalizing some of the particulars behind the 1.1 million square-foot facility.
He was joined by influential Chinese investors and Bahamian executives.
World Mart is designed to provide merchants from China and around the world with an international platform to promote, sell and distribute mass quantities of goods to corporations throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
While Beijing Construction is under a similar umbrella to its counterpart at Baha Mar, Henson told Guardian Business there are a few significant differences.
Unlike China State Construction, which tends to import labor, Beijing Construction will employ up to 1,200 Bahamians for the high-profile project.
World Mart executives hope to start construction by early next year.
"As you can see, our counterparts at China State deploy Chinese workers onto the island. We don't do that," he said. "At Beijing, we sub-contract work. And so, the workers and the work community will come from the sub-contract community. Where they get their works is up to them."
The statement could indeed mean a new beginning for Grand Bahama and provide a remarkable solution to the island's 21 percent unemployment rate.
Challenges, however, remain before shovels can be stuck in the ground.
Henson said Beijing Construction America is looking forward to hearing more details from the government and other local officials on exactly what international merchants can expect if they set up shop in World Mart.
The deal is beyond "dollars and cents", and foreign investors will want to perfectly understand the value of investing in The Bahamas.
"The biggest resource they have here is 'Freeport'," he added. "Those words. Free port. Free trade. Exchange. Business. Culture. You can wordsmith it any way you want, but that is the core that should be on the tip of everyone's tongue. You have something to do with trade? Come give me a hug."
Fundamental to making the World Mart concept work, however, is being sensitive to the guest experience. He told Guardian Business that the business traveler is quite different than the typical tourist, particularly a client that is coming from 9,000 miles away. He called it a challenge, but also an opportunity.
Air travel to The Bahamas is another challenge to overcome and consider.
While Nassau has gained all of the attention, Henson felt Freeport would need to generate more direct flights and attract greater attention to make the ease of travel, and business, easier.
Comprising 1,600 stalls for merchants, World Mart, as the name suggests, would not simply be populated by Chinese. In fact, executives revealed a "household name" from Korea has already made a commitment to the project.
Securing key investors in different corners of the world is considered essential for the concept to snowball.
World Mart will be divided into five districts geared towards specific areas of trade and distribution: Fashion Boulevard, Technology Way, Home Goods Avenue, Manufacturing Place and Season Street.
It is expected to include a hotel, restaurants and other amenities, and ultimately employ up to 3,000 Bahamians.
Rosander Clarke spends almost every hour of her life in a bed in a tiny room of her small Nassau Street home.
She needs help just to sit up and wishes she could do the things normal 37-year-old women do.
Holding her head in her hands as she wept, she said she leaves the house about once every three months and can barely afford the $70 she has to pay someone to transport her to and from Princess Margaret Hospital.
Clarke was diagnosed several years ago with lupus, a disease that affects the immune system. She said she has also been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which has left her left foot permanently twisted and her fingers disfigured.
She said she has dealt with the ailments for the past six years. When she does get out, she uses an old wheel chair her brother brought second hand and had repaired.
Clarke shares her small bed with her 18-year-old daughter. The only other bed in the house is even smaller. It is the first thing anyone sees when they walk through the door to enter the home. It's where Clarke's mother sleeps.
There's not much else that makes up the home -- a tiny kitchen and a small desk are the only other things visible.
Although her 59-year-old mother has a job as a janitress, Clarke said they barely survive. Clarke said her daughter never finished school because she dropped out to take care of her.
The young woman (Clarke's daughter) stared into the distance as she told The Nassau Guardian she gave up on her dreams a long time ago.
"If feel like I robbed my child of an education," said Clarke as she wept.
She said Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell visited her recently.
As part of the Urban Renewal Programme, Bell has been helping to identify structures in inner city communities to repair or tear down.
Clarke said she is unsure what help the family may get from the government or anyone else.
In contributing to the budget debate last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie said a portion of the $15 million specially set aside in the new budget will be used to assist the neediest Bahamians.
He advised that the relevant ministers will be involved in helping identify these people.
When contacted by The Nassau Guardian yesterday, Bell said he has been back to the home since The Guardian's visit on Friday and the government will see what it can do to help the women.
Bell said he is looking into getting the house repaired, but if a contractor determines it is too far gone for repairs he would have a proposal drawn up and submitted to the Ministry of Housing to determine whether any other assistance can be provided.
Madline Demeritte, Clarke's mother, said any assistance would be welcomed.
"There's nothing I can do. I'm trying, I'm struggling, I'm dong my best," said Demeritte, her voice cracking.
"I pray God that it will be a better life for us because she was sick so long. There's nothing I can do but keep praying to God that she will get well. I have to do everything for her. I have to go every where to get everything for her."
Lying in her small bed, Clarke -- who said she gained most of her weight from medication -- told The Nassau Guardian there is much she wishes she could do and see, like the simple things many people take for granted.
She said she has not yet seen the new Cable Beach strip but she heard it's amazing.
While returning from a visit to the doctor, she said she recently saw the new library of The College of The Bahamas -- a stone's throw away from where she lives -- and thought it was "beautiful".
"If I could go back and turn the hands of time, as they say, I would try to make everything right," Clarke said.
EDITOR, The Tribune.
The story in this morning's paper about a Ministry of Works road worker being struck by a car lends even more credence to the following.
As a frequent 6 am commuter in the Cable Beach area one can't help but notice the many joggers and walkers using the road instead of the sidewalks and foot paths and yes, before you squeal, I know why you do it. However the question begs which is least painful, a twisted ankle or skinned knees and elbows from running on an uneven surface, sidewalk, or full contact with a vehicle moving at 30 mph?
After another near miss yesterday morning it is my observation that while some joggers wear reflective vests, arm and head bands th ...
Nassau, Bahamas - Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham (right) greets Clayton
Green, leader of the Progressive National Party of the Turks and Caicos Islands
during a courtesy call at the Office of the Prime Minister, Cable Beach on Thursday,
Nassau, Bahamas - The
$3.5 billion dollar Baha Mar project that is infusing Cable Beach with
new life and upscale resorts, coupled with an improving economy, are
projected to fuel sales at a nearby multi-million townhome development
that is 'right-priced' for young professionals, according to a local
Sheldon Pitt, estate agent at Mario Carey Realty,
co-exclusive agents for the $6 million, 20-condominuim complex to be
known as The Devonshire off West Bay Street, says he and developers
worked together for nearly a year...
Nassau, Bahamas - The
New Providence Body Building and Fitness Association will be
hosting, it's first ever
June, 16th 2012 8:30pm at the Rain
Forest Theater Cable Beach. The event is in aid of the National Team members
travel to Puerto Rico in October for the CAC Championships, where they
will be trying to better their 2nd place finish in 2011.
Classic will be honoring and paying tribute to some of the veteran body
builders and fitness athletes who've won the National titles in
previous years, and have represented the country and won medals at the
CAC level or higher.
Some of the names being
honored are Della Thomas, former middleweight, lightweight and
heavyweight champion as well as CAC medalist..
The Perry Christie administration rode into power on the crest of a crime wave that no doubt played a huge part in wiping out the Ingraham administration at the polls on May 7.
Progressive Liberal Party election campaign billboards screamed that nearly 500 people had been murdered during the Free National Movement's (FNM) last five-year term.
While that shocking number may have been one of the final nails in the FNM's coffin, it just may haunt the new government that now has to grapple with the same unbridled street violence that grew between 2007 to early 2012.
Since May 7, 13 people have been killed, bringing the country's murder count to 57 for the year. As of May 20 last year there had been 48 homicides recorded, according to The Nassau Guardian's records.
'Critical' crime threat
Just over a week into the PLP's term, the United States released a candid report calling the crime threat level in New Providence "critical", and "high" in Grand Bahama. The report also noted that in prior years, crime was mostly a problem in the Over-the-Hill communities but recently criminal behavior had spilled out of the inner city and into other residential areas and tourist hotspots.
New Providence Island, in particular, has experienced a spike in crime that has adversely affected the traveling public," noted the U.S.' Bahamas 2012 Crime and Safety Report.
"Armed robberies, property theft, purse snatchings, and general theft of personal property remain the most common crimes against tourists. There has been a dramatic increase in general crimes in 2011.
"Residential security also remains a great concern as the number of incidents involving house burglaries and break-ins has also increased.
"Home break-ins, theft and robbery are not confined to any specific part of the island," said the report.
The report singled out Prince George Wharf, where many cruise ships dock, Cable Beach and downtown Nassau as areas where tourists are targeted.
The report also noted that while tourists are not the common targets for violent crimes they could end up as collateral damage in robberies and shootings that occur in busy areas.
The report also pointed to a sharp increase in murders and armed robberies.
"There were 127 homicides in The Bahamas in 2011, up from 94 in 2010, with nearly all the victims being Bahamian. This is a 35 percent increase from 2010," the document said.
According to the report, in late 2011, there were "numerous reports by cruise ship tourists and others regarding incidents of armed robberies of cash and jewelry. These incidents were reported during daylight and night time hours."
The report noted that the U.S. Embassy had received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, in diverse areas such as casinos, outside hotels or on cruise ships. Many times the rape victims alleged that they were drugged, according to the report.
"The Bahamas has the highest incidence of reported rape in the world, according to a 2007 United Nations report on crime, violence, and development trends. The number of reported rapes increased 37 percent from 78 in 2010 to 107 in 2011."
Last year a similar report released by the U.S. said that The Bahamas' crime rate was "high" overall and did not place New Providence and Grand Bahama crime threat levels in separate categories.
The U.S. State Department's report on crime noted what Bahamians who have not had their heads buried in the sand have known for some time that crime is out of control and something must be done about it before more people lose their lives and their livelihoods.
But the question is what?
To be fair the crime trends mentioned in the report occurred under the Ingraham administration's watch; however, it is safe to say that the seeds for this type of behavior were sown decades ago. For five years while in opposition, the PLP hammered away at the then government for its inability to curb the rising murder count and keep Bahamians safe.
But an electorate hungry for change and tired of the daily news of bloodshed will not give the new administration a grace period to deal with the crime situation.
PLP under the gun
On May 10, Prime Minister Perry Christie promised to unleash the toughest assault on crime this country has ever seen. His comments came after two national security ministers -- substantive minister Dr. Bernard Nottage and junior minister Keith Bell -- took their oaths of office and were sworn in.
"This is no longer about winning votes," Christie said. "It's about stopping the slaughter on our streets and putting criminals behind bars... We are in a crisis that calls for immediate, resolute and sustained action."
There is a lot of pressure riding on Christie's national security minister. Nottage spent his years in Opposition chairing a crime council and using the floor of Parliament to shed light on the crime problem.
Bell is a lawyer and former police superintendent, who undoubtedly brings a wealth of experience and perspective on the issue.
Last week, Nottage said getting the country's murder count on a downward trend is the mission of his ministry, an accomplishment that eluded his predecessor Tommy Turnquest.
"We must reduce, for example, the number of murders," Nottage told reporters last week. "We cannot carry on like this. There are far too many guns in this country. We must find them. We must find the perpetrators and we must put them behind bars. We must destroy the weapons (and) the drugs. To be realistic it is necessary. We must get control of it and we must get control of it now. "
There is a well-known story about King Canute, a former ruler of England, who once supposedly commanded the tide to stop coming into the seashore only to be shocked by the tide's disobedience. As the story goes, Canute was a ruler who was praised and flattered by all men. Filled with arrogance, one day he set his throne on the seashore and ordered the tide not to roll in. Despite his ardent commands the tide continued to lap onto the shore and wet the king's throne and robes.
I mention this story because a politician or government has no more control over criminal behavior than King Canute had over the ebb and flow of the tide that follows its own rules.
However, a good administration can create tough crime legislation, ensure that the judicial system works efficiently to prosecute offenders and give victims justice, sweep guns off the streets, order police to beef up patrols and put in place systematic intelligence operations to infiltrate gang and drug operations.
A responsible government can create lasting social programs and outreach systems to target people who are more susceptible to criminal behavior.
The PLP has laid out its crime fighting strategy in its Vision 2030 charter for governance. Within its first 100 days in office, the new administration plans to launch "key elements" of its crime fighting strategies: Project Safe Bahamas, Operation Cease Fire and Urban Renewal.
The PLP also plans to reintroduce school policing and unveil a new initiative that involves sending young men with street credibility into the inner city to intervene in the lives of at-risk youth. Project Safe Bahamas and Urban Renewal will be released in about two weeks, the PLP has said.
What impact these plans will have on crime is yet to be seen but even Nottage knows the results will not be felt immediately.
"We are, like the prime minister said, in a crisis," Dr. Nottage said shortly after he was sworn in as national security minister. "But we are fooling ourselves if we think because we became the government it's going to change overnight. It's not. We're going to be very aggressive though, and over the course of the next month or so you'll see us introducing a number of new strategies, some of which were not detailed during our election campaign."
The government and a popular restaurant franchise yesterday combined efforts in a joint initiative aimed at keeping a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking, in an effort to protect actual and potential victims.
In a special presentation at its Cable Beach location, Wendy's Bahamas announced that all of its New Providence locations will provide dine-in customers with an informational tray liner aimed at raising public awareness on the subject and to aid the country's ability to tackle the issue.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said human trafficking is one of the most "vicious and cruel violations" of human rights confronting the world today.
"As unbelievable as it may seem to many of us, there are people in this world that use force, fraud or deception to recruit, transfer, harbor or receive or simply abduct other human beings for the sole purpose of exploiting them," said Nottage.
The national security minister compared human trafficking, in which victims are usually drawn away from their homes and transported to foreign countries where they are strangers and have no one to turn to, to modern day slavery.
"We want this tray liner to prompt Bahamians to begin a discourse on trafficking of persons - what it is and what it does to human beings," Dr. Nottage said
"...Up to 2011, no person claiming to be a victim of trafficking has come forward in The Bahamas and consequently no trafficker has been prosecuted. We cannot confirm, however, that there are no cases of trafficking of persons in The Bahamas. Indeed, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest otherwise, but this is a complex and well hidden crime as victims are not in a position to speak up for themselves."
The previous administration created a National Task Force on Trafficking earlier this year, comprised of the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs; the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and Labour and Social Development; the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces; the Department of Immigration and the Department of Customs.
The task force was created in an effort to make The Bahamas compliant with U.S. standards in the fight against human trafficking.
Last year, The Bahamas' human trafficking rating was downgraded after the country did not meet benchmarks set by the U.S State Department.
In 2008, the United Nations estimated that 2.5 million people from 127 countries were being trafficked around the world, with up to 80 percent of victims being women, who were being sexually assaulted.
Sandals Resorts has introduced a new wedding planning concept that give couples the
opportunity to add their personality and style to their wedding
all-inclusive resorts for couples which operates 14 luxury resort
properties across the Caribbean including Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma and
Sandals Royal Bahamian, Cable Beach in the Bahamas.
Launched its all
'Your Wedding Your Style' wedding planning concept
which now allows couples to customize their dream wedding at the resort...
Nassau, Bahamas - On
May 11th, the runway at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort in Nassau was alive
with the latest styles of Bahamian designers as well as those
visiting from island nations around the globe for Islands of the
World Fashion Showcase now being held in May and November annually.
After an extremely successful night of the fashion, the awards
presentations were made the following night at a closing reception with a
V.I.P dinner at Blu Restaurant.
Jackson Burnside III Fashion & Design Award was...
The president and managing director of Kerzner International in The Bahamas says Atlantis is expecting occupancy in the mid-90s during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, capping off a strong start to 2012.
During the first quarter of this year, George Markantonis said the property has seen a six percent rise in bookings compared to the previous year. Strong numbers for Memorial Day Weekend, which features a Michael Douglas celebrity golf tournament and Kenny Chesney concert, has injected optimism into management going into the summer.
"Our preliminary data is outstanding. It has continued after the first quarter," he added. "Lets hope that the summer is strong. That is our x-factor. We have some compelling offers that are about to come out that should excite summer tourists."
Markantonis said the marketing strategy will be to entice families, particularly with young children.
While no additional concerts are in the works, the Kerzner executive pointed to the 2011 Miss Teen USA pageant in July, the sixth time Paradise Island has hosted the nationally televised event. Another development of note is the airing of "The Big Break", a realty show on the Golf Channel that was filmed last year.
Beginning on next year, the show, filmed entirely at the Ocean Club Golf Course, will air for a total of 10 episodes, providing the destination with much-needed exposure.
But beyond the next few months, executives at Atlantis are working feverishly behind the scenes to shore-up airlift into the country in anticipation of Baha Mar's opening in December 2014. Markantonis revealed that a powerhouse delegation, including Atlantis, Baha Mar, the government, the tourism boards and executives from the Airport Authority, will meet with American Airlines in Dallas at the end of this month to plan for the future. The high-level meeting follows a similar conference with Delta Airlines in Atlanta earlier this month.
At stake is indeed the future of the tourism product in The Bahamas.
"The reception from Delta was positive. I think the one comment that stuck out the most was they had never been approached by a united group such as The Bahamas. It was obvious we had one goal in mind. This is relationship building. Now they will go back and look at their schedules. We didn't get any promises, but we did get a positive outlook," according to Markantonis.
Don Robinson, the president of Baha Mar, estimates that the country requires 30 percent more airlift by the time the $2.6 billion mega resort opens.
That represents approximately 400,000 more seats in the market per year.
"We are aggressively becoming a world-class destination," Robinson said. "Atlantis and Baha Mar can co-exist."
As Baha Mar continues to rise in Cable Beach, Atlantis has begun work on the Royal Towers revamp, reportedly taking up a large chuck of the resort's $50 million budget for annual capital expenditures. Up to 600 rooms are expected to receive a facelift this year, with the other 600 in the Royal Towers next year.
"We don't have anything new this year. The Royal Tower will be the biggest project," he said. "There will be new attractions and restaurants, just not this year."
U.S. Charg d'Affaires John Dinkelman Lends Support to the International Trade and Financing Seminar in Nassau and Freeport
U.S. Embassy Nassau
is proud to co-sponsor two "International Trade and Financing Seminars"
hosted by The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation
and the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce. The International Trade and
Financing Seminars will be held at the Sheraton Nassau Resort on Cable
Beach in Nassau May 22-23 and the Pelican Bay Resort at Lucaya in
Freeport May 24-25.
United States Embassy's Chargé d'Affaires John Dinkelman will be a
featured speaker at the Nassau event on May 22 and Freeport the event on