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News Article
Air tax hitting Bahamas tourism
May 11, 2010
Air tax hitting Bahamas tourism

Travel experts assert the best way for The Bahamas and the Caribbean to combat challenges like the recent U.K. air tax hike is for regional countries to band together with initiatives promoting inter-country travel.

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News Article

December 08, 2010
Technical Workshop on the Economic Partnership Agreement , December 9th, 10th

Nassau, Bahamas - The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce
in conjunction with Caribbean Export Development Agency and the CARICOM
EPA Implementation Unit will be hosting a two day

Technical Workshop on
Market Access and Trade in Services / Investments to be held on

December
9th

and 10th.
The workshop is designed to provide a deeper appreciation of the
CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement and to assist the various
Countries with the EPA implementation.

The workshop will take place at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort...

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News Article

August 25, 2011
Hurricane warnings still active as Irene assaults Abaco

6.18pm - Initial reports out of Eleuthera indicate the damage caused by Irene was significant, but not as bad as expected, however the islands are still being battered by hard wind and rain.
Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder, who's father Marvin Pinder is from Spanish Wells, said he understands a fibre-optic cable has been severed in North Eleuthera cutting off all communications in the area.
However second hand reports out of Harbour Island indicated there was no major damage except for trees and shrubs, beach erosion and destruction of beach huts.
In Spanish Wells shingles have been ripped off roofs and trees are down, but residents said they have fared better than expected.
Mr Pinder said hi ...

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News Article

August 22, 2011
100 Bahamian firms hired for Baha Mar

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

"Close to" 100 Bahamian companies have been engaged on $100 million worth of contracts awarded on Baha Mar's $2.6 billion Cable Beach expansion, a senior executive yesterday saying the project was "on target" to achieve its projected economic impacts.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice-president for external and governmental affairs, told Tribune Business that some 1,060 Bahamians had been employed on the Baha Mar project to date as Phase One construction moved to a close.

The "first coat of paint" was being placed on the bank and government buildings comprising Baha Mar's Commercial Village, Mr Sands said, with ...

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News Article

December 05, 2010
30 million in water system upgrades at Cable Beach for Baha Mar

The Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) will spend more than $30 million upgrading its infrastructure in preparation for the $2.6 billion Baha Mar project, Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour confirmed.
In August, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the government would need to borrow $50 million to complete infrastructure upgrades at Cable Beach.
Neymour told The Nassau Guardian on Friday that WSC works will include a number of main renewals, upgrades to either the Blue Hill Road or Windsor Road plant facilities and the construction of a reverse osmosis plant at Arawak Cay.
Neymour added that $5.5 million would need to be spent on interconnector piping from John F. Kennedy Drive ...

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News Article

January 16, 2013
Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award - Call for nominations

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Each year The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation offers The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award at the Annual Heart Ball. This award has been presented since 1968. The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award was initiated by The Heart Foundation to applaud and give recognition to individuals who have selflessly given of themselves to promote human welfare and dignity, thus making life better for their fellow man.

At the 2012 Heart Ball Ms. Marjorie Davis received The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award. She is known for her work as an educator, and Girl Guides leader. She joined the ranks of noble giants such as Lady Camille Barnett, Mr. Lowell Mortimer, Ms. Mary Profilo and Dr. Donald Gerace.  These persons were all chosen from a pool of worthy candidates, to be the winners of this award.

As the deadline for the award fast approaches, interested persons are invited to nominate an individual, to be accompanied by a letter or statement explaining why the person recommended should receive the award. Nominations are to be submitted to:

The Golden Heart Award Committee
P. O. Box N-8189
Nassau, The Bahamas

Alternatively, submissions can be hand delivered to Grosham Property, Cable Beach. This is the office site for The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation.

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News Article

September 03, 2010
Letter: If you jog, do so responsibly

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 ...

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News Article

September 03, 2010
Bahamas Conference of Seventh Day Adventists present book to Prime Minister

Nassau, Bahamas - A book
entitled Inspirational Sayings and stories from A to Z by Dr. Leonard
A. Johnson, president, Bahamas Conference Of Seventh 'day Adventists
was presented to Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham on
Thursday, September 2 at the office of the Prime Minister, Cable Beach.
Pictured from: Prime Minister Ingraham and Dr. Johnson...

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News Article

August 23, 2012
Man accused of home invasion charged with another robbery

A man accused of a home-invasion robbery in 2010 is back in prison charged with another hold-up.
Prosecutors allege that 56-year-old Jeffrey Wilson, and Laron Grant, 19, robbed a Chinese couple at gunpoint of a deposit bag containing $12,500 outside the Cable Beach branch of Scotiabank on August 20.
Wilson, whose street name is 'Capone', was on bail in connection to the robbery of a family at Coral Harbour in February 2010.
Wilson, of Thurston's Close, Oakes Field, and Grant, of Malcolm Road, are accused of making off with the money that belonged to a Chinese restaurant.
The men are also accused of robbing another person of a purse that contained Chinese currency, $500 cash, a bank card and a driver's license.
Police allege the men fled the scene in a white Honda Accord. The car, a white 2008 Honda Accord, belongs to Donell Ferguson.
Wilson and Grant are accused of stealing the vehicle, which was recovered following their arrest, on August 16.
The men were not required to plead to the armed robbery charges, but they denied the car theft allegation at an arraignment before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez yesterday.
They have been remanded to prison.

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News Article

December 13, 2010
Prime Minister to Deliver Keynote at Bahamas Business Outlook 2011

Nassau, Bahamas - Prime Minister the Right Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham has
confirmed his participation as keynote speaker at Bahamas Business Outlook (BBO)
2011. Under the theme

"Diversifying The
Bahamian Economy: Fact, Fiction or the Real Alternative?", the premier
event is scheduled to take place Thursday, January 13, 2011 at the Wyndham
Nassau Resort, Cable Beach.

Following Prime Minister Ingraham to the podium will be a series
of dynamic speakers, who will inform on a range of timely subjects including tourism, financial services, agriculture,
telecommunications, oil exploration, entrepreneurship...

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News Article

August 11, 2011
Cable Bahamas fiber optic lines cut

Cable Bahamas customers in western New Providence had their internet and cable television services interrupted for several hours yesterday, after an excavation crew at the Baha Mar site unintentionally cut several fiber optic lines.
Cable Bahamas officials said the incident occurred on the Cable Beach strip around 4 p.m.
The severed line provided service to most neighborhoods west of the Sheraton resort in Cable Beach up to Sea Beach estates.
Delaporte, Sandyport, Westridge and Caves Village were also among the areas where service was lost, according to Cable Bahamas officials.
The company said the lines should have been repaired and service restored, sometime after midnight.

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News Article

August 15, 2012
Government committed to training athletes, says Prime Minister Christie

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
Christie said.

He
made the statement during a press conference on the Bahamas men's 4x4
metre relay team gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. The quartet of
Ramon Miller, Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, and Michael Mathieu paid a
Courtesy Call on the Prime Minister at his Cable Beach office on
Tuesday, August 14, 2012...

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News Article

August 27, 2010
Christie:Baha Mar needs government intervention

By CANDIA DAMES
Guardian News Editor
candia@nasguard.com
Opposition Leader Perry Christie has toldThe Nassau Guardianthat the government should intervene to help speed along a conclusion to Baha Mar's ongoing loan resolution discussions with Scotiabank, which helped to finance the acquisition of the company's Cable Beach hotels.
It is understood that the outstanding loan amount is in the order of$200 million.
The bank is holding the properties as security and a resolution must be reached before Baha Mar and its new Chinese partners could move forward with the planned$2.6 billion development.
In addition to final approval from the Bahamas government, the loan matter is the final hurdle Ba ...

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News Article

January 12, 2013
BVF prepares to host the second round

Members of the men's national volleyball team believe the best way to move onto the next qualification round for the World Championships is to win the second at home in front of a large crowd.
With a regional title and first round win under its belt, The Bahamas' men's squad was spiked the hometown favorite by the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) for the qualification tournament. Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) executives are making preparations and will meet with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, to confirm the hosting. The qualification round will be played at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs gymnasium, May 11-12. The last time the federation hosted an event was in 2006, and that was the Caribbean championships. This is the first qualifier the BVF will stage."The Bahamas Volleyball Federation is in the process of writing the letter to the ministry for permission to host the event," said Joseph Smith, first vice president in the BVF. "That letter to the ministry should secure the venue and give us the permission to host. It won't be one that will request financial assistance, but moreso the approval so we can forward it to NORCECA.

"Once we can get that approval then we will deal with the National Sports Authority and face any other challenges that may arise. But one of our concerns is accessing the gym. The area is still under construction, and parking is not as clear cut as it use to be in the past. So, hopefully, we should have final words from both of them in a week or two. We need to secure a meeting with the minister to let him know exactly what we are doing and what we plan to do as well."
Meetings with hotel executives, transportation and food vendors are also priorities for the federation. Right now, according to Smith, the executives are looking at the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, SuperClubs Breezes and the Royal Palm Hotel. Smith said he's awaiting another communication from Mushtaque Mohammed, president of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA). That document, Smith stated, should have all the requirements the federation will need.

He said: "I think the higher the round is and level you play at, the more upscale everything must be. Even the hotels must be at a high standard. So if you did a two star hotel in round one, the hotel must be three or four star in the next round. We are waiting on that information from NORCECA so we can know exactly what hotel on the Cable Beach strip to book. The confirmation that will be sent back to the board will basically be for the accommodations or hotels, transportations and venue. They also ask federations to send a list of food so they can forward to the other teams. Once we tie those areas down, I think we will on the way."
The Bahamas will play host to Barbados, Saint-Martin and Nicaragua. The men's squad won the first round, held in Curacao in December. Playing in that first round were Jamaica, Martinique and host country Curacao. In July of last year, the men's squad captured the CAZOVA Championships. Both titles were the first in the history for the men's program.

"This is the first time we are hosting a world championships qualifier, so this an inaugural time for us," said Smith. "We are looking to host more tournaments, but the gym has to be up to international standards. We were approached about hosting the Junior World Championships, but we can't. I don't think we are ready for that as yet for a lot of reasons, one being the gym must be able to seat about 5,000 to 10,000 minium seating. The gymnasium needs to have practice courts, along with the courts you will be playing on. So we can't bid for things like that as yet. We are hoping we can in the not too distant future. Tournaments like this will be good for The Bahamas, a good investment."
Smith said the country will now get to see how far the program has come, and share some of the moments through plays when the tournament is held here. The team will welcome a new trainer in March to help with preparation.

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News Article

August 07, 2012
BEC eyes solar energy plan with China

The chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) says the government will be meeting with the Chinese ambassador to discuss a partnership for the proliferation of solar panels throughout the country
Leslie Miller revealed that talks are also expected to take place with the Chinese developers behind Baha Mar in an effort to reconcile demanding energy needs going forward. The chairman told Guardian Business "we need to get Bahamians involved in solar energy".
"We are looking at a situation where BEC would be able to get credits or receive those panels from China at a very affordable price," Miller explained. "This would enable BEC to sell those panels to the Bahamian people.
"We are hoping this initiative can get underway before the end of the year."
The intentions of the BEC chairman echo some of the bold statements made from the previous administration. Nevertheless, discussions with the Asian superpower could spark a renewed emphasis on green energy and ultimately change how Bahamians think about power.
Miller noted that Bahamians consume more energy, per capita, than any other nation in the region. He said the annual fuel bill of $350 million is a "known fact" and unsustainable for the long term.
Alternative energy continues to be a hot topic among those in the energy sector, with the prevailing belief that The Bahamas' low population, surplus of sunlight and comparatively low energy needs makes it an ideal candidate for the technology.
While duty incentives on solar panels have helped spur interest and resulted in a number of local companies offering the technology, the government has grappled with ways to make the technology more mainstream.
The need for fresh thinking when it comes to energy has never been more important than now.
As many Bahamians struggle to keep the lights on, Miller told Guardian Business that Baha Mar, the $2.6 billion mega project on Cable Beach, has indicated it will likely not be going with alternative energy for its air conditioning needs.
The agreement with U.S.-based Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTEC) has taken a hit in recent weeks. OTEC had planned to construct a $102.3 million seawater district cooling (SDC) system at Baha Mar that would have reduced its air conditioning bill by up to 90 percent.
However, Guardian Business understands that process has been derailed, partly due to plant's impact on the local environment near Goodman's Bay.
"They indicated they will not be going with that," Miller explained. "They were looking at them providing them with air conditioning and refrigeration. That appears to be on hold."
The chairman revealed that Baha Mar is now looking for BEC to generate an additional 25 mega-watts of power by October 2013, approximately a year before the resort comes fully on stream. "We need to order the new engines almost right away if BEC is going to be ready to serve Baha Mar," he said.
This anticipated demand makes the need for alternative energy, such as solar panels, all the more pressing.
Miller added that the current administration is also pushing forward with natural gas as an alternative to convention fossil fuels. Noting that all BEC engines are enabled for multi-purpose use, the chairman speculated that the country could reduce its fuel costs by up to 30 percent if it made a switch to LNG.
He pointed to the Dominican Republic as a neighbor in the region that is already having LNG shipped to its electricity plant.
Another initiative for the government-run corporation is bringing the Clifton Pier plant up to code.
"We need to get Clifton in a position where it generates 85 percent for New Providence," he explained. "When that takes place, you will see a 25 percent decrease of electricity for all Bahamians. The goal is to put our energy into bringing Clifton back to where it should be, which is the number one generating plant in New Providence."
At president, Miller said Blue Hills is producing the equivalent power or more than Clifton. Blue Hills was always intended to be a back-up power plant, he insisted, but at the moment it is functioning as the primary, causing more inefficiencies.
Clifton also requires significant upgrades to the engines now operating, as many of the machines are up to 30 years old.

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News Article

July 27, 2012
Hubert Ingraham was right to endorse NB12 news

Dear Editor,

On the July 20 edition of his radio talk show Issues of the Day, Jones Communication Network (JCN) CEO Wendall Jones took grave exception to former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham endorsing Cable News 12.
Ingraham told reporters at a press conference in the House of Assembly that he now watches channel 12 news. He also advised the Bahamian public to do the same. The former prime minister accused the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration of abusing the state-run media (the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, or BCB).
This was the complaint that was levelled against the Pindling administration during its 25-year tenure in high office. Few can look at you with a straight face and deny that ZNS was the unofficial propaganda mouthpiece of the then PLP government. I remember watching those old boring Shakespearian plays on Sunday afternoons back in the eighties. We had no cable TV back then so we had to put up with the foolishness ZNS rammed down our throats. It was ZNS or nothing.
There were talk shows back then on ZNS TV 13, but they were ferociously partisan and boring. On more than one occasion, a ZNS news reader would leave the world of journalism and enter into frontline politics.
I can think of at least two who ran for the PLP. To be fair, though, I know of one former ZNS newscaster who ran for the FNM (Mike Smith in South Beach). Still, as a young man growing up in the turbulent eighties, I thought that the PLP literally owned ZNS. It never dawned on me that the state-run media was fully subsidized by the taxpayers of this country.
Nobody had the temerity to call a spade a spade while on the air. And if anyone did so, he would have been fired either that day or the next. And when that happened, you had nowhere to go. Open dissent was simply not tolerated at ZNS. Today, however, if ZNS fires a newscaster for openly disagreeing with the incumbent government, he can go to one of the many privately-owned media houses that are in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and even Exuma, I think. For example, the BCB fired Chrissy Love from Immediate Response. But she was soon afterwards hired by Guardian Radio. In the eighties, a fired ZNS newscaster would either move to another country in order to find work in his field or change profession.
Bahamians should thank God that Hubert Ingraham opened up the airwaves. Now, the Bahamian people don't have to put up with ZNS TV's subpar programs like they used to before August 1992. We can now watch Cable News 12.
For some reason or another, Ingraham said that ZNS has been turned into a propaganda station by the PLP government. I am not in the position to say if the former FNM leader is accurate or not with his latest accusation against the Christie administration, because I don't watch ZNS TV News. Its news production, in my opinion, is not up to 21st century standards. Cable News 12 just started broadcasting TV news either two or three years ago, yet it has left the dinosaurian ZNS TV News in the dust.
ZNS TV News has been around since the late seventies. It continues to frustrate me that the government of The Bahamas pumps millions of dollars annually into a corporation that no longer has any justifiable reason for continued existence. ZNS TV is anachronistic and hopelessly irrelevant. Seeing that it has been in existence for so many decades, how is it even remotely possible that ZNS cannot stand on its own two legs? Like the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and the Water and Sewerage Corporation, the BCB is a financial albatross around the collective necks of the Bahamian people. The taxpayers are not getting their money's worth. Like BTC, ZNS needs to be privatized.
I can understand why Jones was peeved at what Ingraham said in the press conference. His JCN also produces its own TV news. But I believe that Ingraham was only saying what the majority of Bahamians who watch TV news are raving about: Cable News 12 is by far the number one rated TV newscast in The Bahamas. Its quality is second to none. Oftentimes I wonder if its newscasts are produced in the U.S. because of its superb quality and outstanding production. What's more, Cable News 12 gives you more news stories than either ZNS or JCN.
I have heard over and repeatedly from Grand Bahamians that they prefer Cable News 12 to ZNS. Therefore, I am not at all surprised that Ingraham would endorse Cable News 12. Like most Bahamians, he knows good TV programming when he sees it. Rather than chiding Ingraham for his endorsement of Cable News 12, Jones should do what they are doing in order to compete with them in terms of getting high ratings. Maybe then I would start watching JCN TV News.

- Kevin Evans

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News Article

July 03, 2012
Diplomatic postings: China

So close are we to the U.S. in terms of geography, history and popular culture that we remain ignorant of the history and culture of China, and often deeply suspicious of its contemporary intentions.

This ignorance and suspicion, studied and reflexive, is often stoked by a similar mindset in the United States.
None of this is to suggest that the People's Republic is singularly a benevolent giant dispensing its largesse and proclaiming friendship simply out of the goodness of its heart. Likewise, with our American friends.
Proximity, historically and geographically, breeds familiarity. Having achieved independence in 1973, the British Empire is a recent memory, and the American superpower is what the name implies. We are rooted in, and deeply influenced by Anglo-American culture.
But today, there is another international player capturing our attention in terms of economics and geopolitics, though only slightly in terms of culture thus far. Even as the British were getting ready to shutter its High Commission, China and The Bahamas were ramping up diplomatic relations.
When the Chinese Embassy near the Montagu foreshore is completed, it will mark the first time that a diplomatic partner has constructed its own embassy in The Bahamas. While the U.S. will clearly maintain an embassy in The Bahamas, the Chinese intention is equally as clear. China is here to stay.
One of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of a sovereign Bahamas was the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1997 during the first administration of Hubert Ingraham and the FNM.
It was not exactly U.S. President Richard Nixon going to China in reference to his 1972 visit to the People's Republic launching a new era of strategic engagement between what are now the world's leading powers. But it was in that vein of realpolitik, yielding significant results over the past 15 years and counting.
Pragmatism
Though often cautious and conservative on various foreign policy matters, the launch of relations with China showcased Hubert Ingraham's pragmatism. Given the role the Chinese ruling party plays in its system and the weight afforded certain personal relationships, the Chinese remain mindful of which party established relations.
The PLP and the administration of Sir Lynden Pindling were readying to send former Cabinet Minister Ervin Knowles to Taipei as resident ambassador to Taiwan. That would have been a major foreign policy blunder.
We would have been more isolated, and taken less seriously by various international partners and in various forums. To put it less diplomatically, we would have looked foolish.
Which brings us to today. As China continues to "rise" or "emerge" or some other verb depending on one's strategic calculus, much of the analysis is obscured by all manner of tunnel vision including near-sightedness. Many fail to adequately appreciate China's thousands of years of civilization and its long-term vision.
China is not rising. It is rising again. China is not emerging. It is re-emerging. In 18 of the last 20 centuries, "...China produced a greater share of total world GDP than any Western society. As late as 1820, it produced over 30 percent of world GDP - an amount exceeding the GDP of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the United States combined."
Yet, there is something different about the China which re-emerged in the latter decades of the 20th century. It is moving past ideological and near-beyond geographic borders to secure its future and ambitions. China intends to secure its global position way beyond the South China Sea.
Many have written of the Chinese and Anglo-American worldviews as captured in the respective games of wei qi (pronounced "way chee") commonly known in the West by its Japanese name go, and chess.
In his latest book, "On China", veteran Chinese watcher and American foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger explores the Western and Sino approaches to international relations and the balance of global power as demonstrated in chess and wei qi. It is worth quoting Dr. Kissinger at length.
Positions of strength
Of wei qi Kissinger writes: "Each player has 180 pieces, or stones, at his disposal, each of equal value with the others. The players take turns placing stones at any point on the board, building up positions of strength while working to encircle and capture the opponent's stones."
Kissinger continues: "Multiple contests take place simultaneously in different regions of the board. The balances of forces shifts incrementally with each move, as the players implement strategic plans and react to each other's initiatives. At the end of a well-played game, the board is filled by partially interlocking areas of strength. The margin of advantage is often slim, and to the untrained eye, the identity of the winner is not always immediately obvious."
The former secretary of state notes of chess: "Chess, on the other hand is always total victory. The purpose of the game is checkmate, to put the opposing king into a position where he cannot move without being destroyed. The vast majority of games end in total victory achieved by attrition or, more rarely, a dramatic, skillful manoeuvre. The only other possible outcome is a draw, meaning the abandonment of hope for victory by both parties."
Kissinger then compares to two game theories: "If chess is about decisive battle wei qi is about the protracted campaign. The chess player aims for total victory. The wei qi player seeks relative advantage. In chess, the player always has the capability of the adversary in front of him; all the pieces are always fully deployed.
"The we qi player needs to access not only the pieces on the board but the reinforcements the adversary is in a position to deploy. Chess teaches the Clausewitzian [Prussian military strategist Carl Phillip von Clausewitz] concepts of center of gravity" and the "decisive point" - the game usually begins as a struggle for the center of the board.
Kissinger notes: "Wei qi teaches the art of strategic encirclement. Where the skillful chess player aims to eliminate his opponent's pieces in a series of head-on clashes, a talented we qi player moves into 'empty' spaces on the board, gradually mitigating the strategic potential of his opponent's pieces. Chess produces single-mindedness; we qi generates strategic flexibility."
'Empty spaces'
In a March 2012 edition, the venerable magazine The Economist reviewed the Chinese presence in the Caribbean, especially in The Bahamas, in an article entitled, "A Chinese beachhead?"
The article concluded: "Yet it is hard to see the Caribbean becoming a Chinese beachhead on America's doorstep - a mirror image of Taiwan. Despite the presence of small ethnic Chinese communities in many islands, the Caribbean continues to look north. China keeps promising a stream of tourists, but few come. Baha Mar will be managed by Hyatt and other American companies."
The article and other observers are missing the point. China may not be looking for one big thing from The Bahamas - such as involvement in the financial services and oil sectors - or in the region.
By moving into many "empty spaces" in the region and around the world, it is gaining various strategic advantages while others are looking for the big Chinese play. The game is more advanced than many realize.
Reportedly, a WikiLeaks cable from the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas queried whether the intense interest of China in The Bahamas had something to do with the ongoing liberalization and opening up of Cuba. If this analysis is meant to be taken seriously, it also misses the point.
The Chinese don't have to come through The Bahamas to get to Cuba. China is already in Cuba. And, it is strategically encircling other powers through economic, political and military influence and alliances, occupying "empty spaces" left open by those who are missing the medium- and longer-term strategy.
For those interested in understanding the multiple threads of Chinese civilization, and its approach to international relations, one may study Mandarin at the new Confucius Institute at The College of The Bahamas as well as study the manner in which China courts allies through gifts large and small, diplomatic visits and flawless hospitality. And, is anybody up to a game of wei qi?
o frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article

July 06, 2012
A place to call home

After years of being displaced, local golfers will finally have a place they can call home.
Although the negotiation process is still ongoing, President of the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) James Gomez said it is looking up. He is encouraging local golfers to brush the cobwebs off their golf clubs and return to the greens.
"We have negotiated a lease with the owners of the South Ocean property, the golf course," said Gomez. "The lease itself has not been signed nor has the service agreement, which allows us to begin work prior to the commencement of the lease. But I am confident everything will work in our favor.
"I was in a meeting with the minister of sports who gave assurances that the government will give some support to the federation to secure our position with the leasing of the property. We are moving in the right direction. A number of members have already contributed to assist with the reconditioning of the golf course. We are looking at a positive outcome and the only thing that can stop us right now is the owners. If they are not comfortable with some of the things that we have forwarded to them that will hold us up a bit. But whatever it is, our job is to try and make it work."
The Cable Beach Golf course was the temporary home for the federation. Since closure, local golfers played at the Ocean Club Golf course. As a result, a major decline has been seen especially in New Providence, revealed Gomez.
The president also noted that the BGF's Driving Range is heavily used by local golfers who are not in the financial position to play on a consistent basis over at the Ocean Club Golf course, located on Paradise Island.
Leasing the South Ocean golf course is an expensive venture which has an estimated cost of $300,000. But Gomez is confident that the federation can allocate the funds for a much needed initiative.
Gomez added: "At this particular time we are having difficulties accessing courses. That means that our players, when we go to championships we are not that competitive because they don't play enough competitive rounds and tournaments on an annual basis. Because of that problem our performance in the regional championships is generally subpar. We are looking to improve upon that.
"We are still in the discussion phase. There are a number of companies who have offered assistance, in the form of equipment or otherwise to assist with the reconditioning of the golf course. That is positive. If we are able to get started in the next two weeks or so, the intent is to then branch out, in terms of sponsorship with corporate houses who may be so inclined to sponsor a hole. If they do their company's name will be attached to that hole. At the end of the day the benefit of this golf course is going to be for the entire Bahamas."
According to Gomez, the course will cater to all persons in the western district of the island. He said it will be accessible and affordable to all, not only Bahamians, but visitors that stay along the Cable Beach strip. He believes that the course can be an option for tourist until Baha Mar opens.

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News Article

July 16, 2012
Atlantis would welcome locals in casino

While the government is not currently considering whether to change the law that prohibits Bahamians from gambling in local casinos, a senior official at Atlantis Resort said the property would welcome the move if it ever happened.
"Obviously, we will conduct our operations according to the laws of the country that we're in," said George Markantonis, president and managing director of Kerzner International Bahamas.
"We'd be delighted if there was a method to allow locals to participate in games of chance in the casinos, but realize that there are reasons why the rules are in place today.
"So we will wait and see what shows up in a national referendum and what the public debate leads to in the future."
Public debate on gambling heightened in recent weeks after Prime Minister Perry Christie said he intends to call the referendum before the end of the year.
But Christie reiterated last week that casino gambling for Bahamians in The Bahamas is not up for discussion.
"The referendum is about whether or not we have a national lottery, whether or not we legalize the web shop gambling, full stop. It's not about whether Bahamians gamble in casinos," Christie said.

Despite his comment, there continues to be widespread discussion about whether casino gambling should also be up for consideration.
Markantonis, who was contacted by The Nassau Guardian for comment, was asked whether it would be good for Kerzner's business if the restrictions were lifted.
"I think it would be good business for Kerzner, but I also think it is one more amenity for everyone who lives in The Bahamas, one more entertainment option," he said.
"Now you have to balance that with the fact that if it were allowed, the guidelines would have to make sure that they were responsible and that people didn't go and injure their personal incomes.
"So, as I said, we respect what the laws of the country are. We would like to see it spread out a bit more as it's done in other nations and we'll see how it all shakes out."
Robert Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, told The Nassau Guardian he is an advocate of "limited and not complete relaxation" of regulations prohibiting locals from gambling in casinos.
"I believe that gaming regulations as written today do not put The Bahamas in a very competitive position and require a major overhaul if we are to level the playing field, certainly in The Bahamas, and be competitive with other jurisdictions that exist... in North American and Europe and Asia," he said.
"I am also an advocate for the consideration and review of limited relaxations of Bahamians gambling in casinos."
In 2009, the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) presented a list of recommendations to the government to ease stringent requirements on gaming.
The proposal, however, did not call for the government to make it legal for Bahamians to gamble in local casinos.
The association asked the government to widen the net of people who can gamble legally, including permanent residents and people on short-term work permits.
At the time, Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian told The Nassau Guardian that Baha Mar backed the proposal.
"It happens everywhere in The Bahamas," Izmirlian said, referring to gambling. "You might as well legalize it and let the government benefit from those tax revenues."
Asked whether he would welcome Bahamians gambling in his casino, Izmirlian said at the time that he already welcomes Bahamians everywhere on the properties at Cable Beach.
"One thing that we've done, not just in the design of Baha Mar, but in the hotels today, is we've tried to embrace the community," he said.
"I feel that some of the other resorts have turned their backs a little bit on Bahamians and some didn't even use the word Bahamas in their advertising. We're different from that; not only did we embrace the design and culture, but we want Bahamians to come into our resort."
In that 2009 interview, Izmirlian also said there are very few jurisdictions that don't welcome locals in casinos.
He added that gaming in The Bahamas was being hurt by outdated laws that fail to make the jurisdiction competitive.
"Our gaming laws in The Bahamas are just not competitive versus other jurisdictions in the U.S. and other places in the world, and we really need urgently to address our gaming regulations here in The Bahamas," he said.
"It's a detailed list of recommendations which we believe should be implemented as soon as possible. We need to be competitive on the types of games we can offer [and] how quickly we can implement new games as they become available on the market. And we also need to realize that there are certain residents here, whether it's permanent residents or others, who should be allowed to gamble."
Today, hoteliers still make similar statements about the need for the industry to be more competitive.

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Hoteliers have long sought more competitive gaming sector

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News Article

June 28, 2012
Prime Minister Christie tells govt officials to express their views

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie told Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Department that they must express their views on how the Ministries and Departments must be directed.He was speaking at the Ministry of Finance Budget 2012/13 Budget Symposium at the Sheraton Cable Beach, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
The Prime Minister said, "If when we make the final judgment, it flies in the face of your opinion, you would have done your job, because you have too much invested in you, to conform to what you think is politically right. "You are no good to me, none, if you just listen to what I say." He said when a new Government administration comes into power, offices are fixed up for Ministers and they also receive new vehicles, while in sharp contrast the Simpson Penn Centre For Boys and the Willie Mae Pratt Centre For Girls are in desperate need of repairs.
"These contradictions must be challenged by you," the Prime Minister said. "You have an obligation to recognise what is happening in our country, and when the systems that we have, do not allow that to happen, we know they are deficient. Therefore, make recommendations for them to change." He told the senior government officials that they represent an "incredible assembly of brainpower" that must be used for the maximum benefit of the country.

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