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News Article
Baha Mar 25 percent complete

The $2.6 billion Baha Mar project is 25 percent complete, according to Vice President of China State Construction Tiger Wu, who said yesterday the 850 construction workers currently on-site have a herculean task ahead of them if they are to meet the 2014 completion deadline.
However, Wu said as the project goes along he expects more expatriate workers to come in to assist.
"The workers are coming in on a regular basis based on the needs of the project," Wu told reporters shortly after he took Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and his wife Lady Joan Foulkes on a tour of the construction site.
"So they come in every month based on the needs of the construction."
Of the 850 people working on the ground, most are Chinese workers. However, Wu could not provide an exact number of expatriate workers currently on the project.
As the tour progressed, more than 100 Chinese workers weaved through the site towards the man camp during their lunch break. Some had taped straw brims around their hard hats to help protect them from the sun.
Of the four hotels under construction the casino hotel has advanced the most.

"The casino hotel has reached the 12th floor. The convention hotel, the second four star hotel, it's on the fifth level right now," Wu said. "And the two five star hotels, the Rosewood and Morgan hotels, are under construction at this moment."
Work also continues on Cable Beach.
Beach access surrounding the Baha Mar property is blocked by boulders and a long sea wall to facilitate a beach restoration exercise.
Additionally, Wu said the two towers at the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino will be demolished by the end of the year.
"So we have about a quarter of the project completed," he said. "But we still have lots of works. And I don't know if you have seen a rendering of the project and see that there are lots of external works, all the poles, landscaping work, bridges, and show lakes.
"And so it'll be quite an undertaking to get the whole project delivered. The completion date for the total project is December 2014. That's when we want the whole project complete."
Following the tour, Sir Arthur said he is pleased with the project and the level of work.
"This whole project represents a tremendous vote of confidence in our Bahamas, the Bahamian people, in the economy of The Bahamas and in our institutions and in our political stability," he said. "This is a huge vote of confidence. It is going to benefit us on many levels. As I said it underlines that confidence that the investing world has in The Bahamas.
"It will provide jobs for Bahamians in the future. It will provide good paying jobs and I think it's just quite wonderful."

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News Article
Bahamas Business Outlook to Celebrate 20 years

Nassau, Bahamas - The Bahamas - Marking
its 20th anniversary, Bahamas Business Outlook (BB0) is scheduled to
take place January 13, 2011 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Cable Beach.

was in 1992 that The Counsellors Ltd, (TCL) developers and organizers of BBO,
launched the forum, with Ernst & Young, chartered accountants. Widely regarded as the foremost event of
its kind, BBO was created to assemble experts and other knowledgeable informants
from various sectors to present well- considered views and statistics to make
predictions on the economic outlook for the year. The symposium has steadily
grown in popularity to the point where it has been attracting an attendance of
hundreds for some years now...

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News Article
Book explores what makes companies successful

Growth and profitability is the top priority for most Bahamian businesses, but one that's becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. However, some companies do it well, delivering sustainable growth year on year. So what makes these companies so successful? And more importantly, what can your business learn from them?
In their book 'Growth Champions' Tim Jones, Dave McCormick and Caroline Dewing provide a revealing insight into 20 of the world's leading companies such as PepsiCo, Audi, Rolls-Royce and Apple. Their aim being to identify how such organizations have achieved their success by assessing what they all have in common and understanding the strategies they have implemented.
To achieve this aim, 'Growth Champions' is split into three core sections:
1. The Growth Agenda - what it means and how it is changing
2. The Growth Champions - how leaders have achieved success
3. The Growth Challenges - the issues that we all need to address.
The Growth Agenda is explored by presenting an overview of the change drivers and strategic approaches to achieve growth using academic theory and case studies. This helps to demonstrate why companies such as Amazon, BASF, Google, LEGO, Nestle, Novo Nordisk, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, Shell and Tata have grown into market leaders.
These market leaders are used to identify the key characteristics of Growth Champions, which includes:
o Clarity of Ambition: Growth aspirations must inspire and be specific
o Shared Values: Clear ambitions that fit with the organizational values
o Organizational Confidence: understanding strengths and areas for development
o Innovation: across core products, services and internal processes
o Foresight & Insight: understand the trends shaping markets and their implications
o Leadership: being prepared to challenge conventional wisdoms.
Finally we are led into the Growth Challenges for the next decade, which bares an uncanny resemblance to the current economic environment within The Bahamas. The authors argue that the three key 'Growth Champions' are likely to include attracting Chinese investment, working collaboratively with companies with different approaches, and delivering sustainability to drive growth. You only have to look around to see that it's already here, with the Baha Mar development on Cable Beach being a perfect example.
My only complaint is that 'Growth Champions' allows many of the top-20 senior executives to promote their companies' virtues in a manner that would make their PR departments blush - as saying goes 'don't believe the hype'. However, it's a quick read, relevant, inspiring and 'Grows' on you, which is a big plus for a business book.

o 'Growth Champions' edited by Tim Jones, Dave McCormick and Caroline Dewing.
Published by John Wiley and available from

o Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within an academic, managerial and strategic leadership role. He is a member of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management and can be contacted at or follow him at .

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News Article
Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham Welcomes RBC Executives

Nassau, Bahamas - Prime
Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham welcomes executives of the Royal
Bank of Canada during a Courtesy Call at the Office of the Prime
Minister, Cable Beach, on Monday, November 22.

Pictured from left to
right are: Ross McDonald, Nathaniel Beneby, Prime Minister Ingraham,
Suresh Sookoo and David Hockett...

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News Article
Problems at the new LPIA

Dear Editor,

Your editorial "Welcome to chaos" only touches the problems at the new Lynden Pindling International Airport. You give attention to the arrival of baggage and the customs procedure. But you do not mention the very long walk (it seems like a mile) from the gate to the immigration hall, with no travelators? Hardly a welcome to visitors or returning residents, who carry heavy bags as carry-ons.
On reaching the arrival hall a band such as Blind Blake's sometimes plays to keep the tourists and others in a good mood. The immigration officers do their best to process arrivals with a big smile. The delay is sometimes slow when three or four planes arrive at once. Sometimes the baggage never arrives on the same plane, a fact you discover only after waiting hours to locate it. Yet technology is supposed to record every bag on the plane. Cannot this same technology advise passengers when their bag is left to come on a later flight and that the airline will arrange delivery to their hotel?
My experience in the customs area has been that tourist arrivals are given preference, and are processed with only minor inspection. If a long wait is experienced it may be caused by the lack of operating conveyer belts. There should be better signs to direct tourists to tourist only customs officer lines, and better management of Bahamas residents only lines, where one person with excess baggage can hold up the line for half an hour.
If The Bahamas is serious about welcoming our visitors and sending them home with happy memories, there is need for an improved system for both arrival and departure for all travelers. We have a new airport, but unless thought is given to the problems of large numbers arriving at the same time, or leaving at the same time, there will be nothing but complaints. What will happen when the 2500 extra rooms on Cable Beach bring more and more travelers at the same time?

Word soon gets around the traveling public. As the retired population increases and enjoys more vacations, the quick trip to The Bahamas will be off their short list when word gets around of the long waits in arrival and departure halls. Senior citizens won't put up with this and may stay at home or choose other destinations. All the money spent on advertising The Bahamas is soon counteracted by such negative publicity and word of mouth.

There must be a better way to process all travelers including the sick, the elderly, the lame and young children. No preference or consideration is given to those travelers, except that airlines offer wheel chairs and preferential boarding. No preference is given to senior citizens proud enough to join the rest of the public. No seats are made available in the customs hall while you wait to be processed or wait for your luggage. Even the lowly auto parts shops have a ticket system so you know how many people are in front of you, so that if there are many you can return to your car, or spend time looking at other merchandise. As for the lame or elderly, if they all took advantage of the complementary wheel chair services even more chaos would result. And why is there not better information on plane arrivals and departures and delays? Surely this should also be posted in the U.S. customs hall. Once in the U.S. customs hall you are a trapped. There is no way out, no way to get to a toilet, nowhere to sit down, and the wait can be over 90 minutes.
The commercial banks give preference to senior citizens, and big commercial customers, and make no profit from doing so. All LPIA travelers are paying good money to travel, and much of that money goes to the government and the Airport Authority and the U.S. government. You cannot blame the airlines.
If The Bahamas has negotiated for U.S. customs and immigration to pre-clear passengers at a cost paid by the traveler of $20.00 or more per person, they should be required to provide a better service. They know the flight schedules. They know the number of persons to process each hour. Yet they limit the number of officers allocated at peak hours, resulting in waits of two hours from the time the electronic ticket is processed by the airlines, to the time you clear U.S. immigration and customs. If the planes decide to wait for passengers delayed in this queue, this is a cost and a disruption to the airline and the various agencies handling passengers, not to mention the delays in the next flights later in the day.
Much is made of new technology. The requirements of the U.S. to have all travelers listed 24 hours before departure so that they can be pre-processed means they have no excuse. There should be a system to weed out suspected persons needing more scrutiny, so that the honest travelers can avoid these long queues.
Don't blame the system of pre-screening passenger luggage and body searches. This works in a reasonable time, and cannot be accelerated when the U.S. immigration and customs line is already starting well behind the entry to their hall. The patient passengers think they will soon be processed, and then find another hour or more in another queue inside the U.S. hall. It is worse than Disney World at peak times. At least they tell you if the wait is half an hour or two hours and you can choose to go or not on the ride.
Why do travelers need to be at the airport 3 hours before departure, then find that the flight is another 2 hours delayed? Five hours wasted before you get on your flight to the U.S.A., sometimes only 25 minutes in the air before arrival in Miami, for example. Again the technology exists to keep passengers advised. We pay $350.00 for a return trip to Miami, 180 miles. yet only $1200 for a return trip to London of at least 9 hours each way.

- Concerned Bahamian resident and traveler

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News Article
Vendors in Nassau Straw Market critical of new rules

Straw vendors in the Nassau Straw Market on Bay Street are upset about new rules governing how they display their merchandise in the market, with some vendors claiming it is unfair.
According to the vendors, compliance officers from the Straw Market Authority met with them early yesterday morning, outlining that they must break down the extensions on the top of their stalls and remove merchandise from the bottom of their stalls.
Vendors said that the stalls alone do not offer enough space to display their wares, and items stored inside the booths do not sell.
"In my entire life I have never experienced [this]," said Wendy Nixon, who has been a vendor in the market for nearly 30 years.
"We always had some type of rules, but never like this. This is bringing us back to when Moses went to Pharaoh and asked to let his people go. Pharaoh didn't comply. These officers are worse than Pharaoh.
She continued, "We know if we came out of Egypt, should we be back in Egypt or [in] the Promised Land?
"They have a problem that they don't want us to be able to display our work in a neat fashion. We have to display our work in a way that the tourists can see and be able to buy."
Cheryl Brenan, a vendor for over 20 years said, "I would like to know why they keep on telling us that we must only display one of this and one of that in the shop. How do they expect us to make the money to pay the rent?"
Chairman of the Straw Market Authority Ron Pinder said he was surprised vendors went to the press with their concerns.
"I am really taken aback that they would have taken that approach, after I extended open doors [to them]," said Pinder yesterday.
"[I] met with them, met with the leaders and anytime they have any questions when I am passing throughout the market they would stop me and talk to me."
Pinder said he would not comment further and would bring the issue up during the authority's first board meeting, which was to be held yesterday evening.
Wendy Lightbourne, a straw vendor for over 30 years, said she won't comply with the rule.
"I have a medical issue [and] my shop has to be here to help me pay my bills," she said. "I don't think we need to move the [extensions] because we need space to display our work in this market."
Lightbourne noted that many of the vendors are upset and ready to fight as their livelihood is at stake.
Nixon said she wants to talk directly with the prime minister.
"We need to call on [Prime Minister] Perry Gladstone Christie... to come and see about our business because it is much too long now, May 7 has passed and we haven't heard anything from them," she said. "We only see puppets walking about. Since Perry Christie holds the puppet strings we need to hear from him. We need to hear from [Deputy Prime Minister Philip] Brave Davis. We need to hear from the persons that we elected to come into this market and stop oppressing us."
Vendors subsequently marched in the market, chanting "we will not be moved".
They also complained about the lack of fans or an air-conditioning unit in the market.
The $12 million market officially opened last December, more than 10 years after the old market was destroyed by fire.
There are 497 vendors in the Bay Street market and 103 in the Cable Beach market.

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News Article
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.
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?

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News Article
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
Quality Supermarket 'a winner' on Cable Beach

The new Quality Supermarket on Cable Beach is officially a "winner" and should only gain in popularity with the opening of Baha Mar in late 2014, according to the president of Super Value.
Rupert Roberts revealed that the former City Market, abandoned for months following its previous tenant's demise, is producing sales equivalent to a Super Value location that has been in operation for 20 years. The revamped supermarket, still bearing the name of City Market on the exterior, has fundamentally changed inside.
Residents in the high density neighborhood have responded to the resurrected location and shown up in droves. Roberts felt the reception is only the beginning for this up-and-coming area of western New Providence.
"Baha Mar is coming," he said.
"That end of the island is going to explode. Business is going to flock there, and it'll be a high volume area."
As for the failure of City Market, the top executive said when the economy was good, and the location run by Winn Dixie, the store did very well. City Market coming in and out of the area "really had nothing to do" with the true potential of the spot.
"When Finlayson took it over, it failed. He should have never touched it. When a business hits a slippery slope, it takes real experience in the industry to bring it back," according to Roberts.
With a Super Value just down the road, also in Cable Beach, the president told Guardian Business there is "more than enough room for both stores".
Roberts has decided to keep the City Market sign up on the outside for the forseeable future, as it "denotes location" and sticks in the minds of consumers. While the franchise might not have done well, he insisted that messing with names can sometimes do more harm than good.
"And it will get stronger every day," he added. "I'm not sure the total population knows it's open yet. It takes a long time for information to seep through. Lots of people were away for the summer."
As for the South Beach and Seagrapes locations, also acquired by Roberts during City Market's demise, the president reported that equipment is now on order for these locations, although it is expected to be many months before opening. The company will invest millions in the process.
He said work has already begun, however, on the South Beach location. The company is enlarging the warehouse section, the store room and taking some more space from the landlord to make it more convenient to do business.
In so doing, the company hopes to create more space for high-volume periods, such as Easter, Christmas and when the country is on the cusp of a hurricane.
Commenting that Hurricane Irene, for example, caused unexpected strain on the existing stores, Roberts expressed satisfaction that the expansion to South Beach and general acquisition of the three stores should widen his capacity.
"I always felt guilty not being able to serve the public better during those outstanding periods," he said.
The three new outlets are opening under the Quality Supermarkets banner, the Super Value chief said. The company is expected to gain a 40 percent share of the market once the acquisitions are complete.

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News Article
Apostolic Nuncio of the Vatican pays courtesy call on the Prime Minister

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie met with His Excellency The Most Reverend Nicola Girasoli, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See at the Office of the Prime Minister Cable Beach, Thursday, July 14, 2012.During the meeting, the Prime Minister praised the Catholic Archdiocese for its "defining role" in educating countless Bahamians, as well as for its creation and participation in numerous outreach programmes throughout the country.
Prime Minister Christie said he hopes that the Catholic Archdiocese continues its outstanding contributions to the Bahamian people.Furthermore, he noted that the Catholic Archdiocese and other church denominations would be called upon by the government to play a big part in the revival of the Urban Renewal Programme. Through the programme's rebirth, the government hopes to reduce crime and bring help and hope to individuals who are going through economic and other hardships.
The Prime Minister said progress has already been made so far as the programme gets underway under this new administration.Archbishop Patrick Pinder of the Archdiocese of Nassau, who was also present at the meeting, promised the Prime Minister and the Bahamian people that the Archdiocese would continue its good works in the country. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Girasoli the new Apostolic Nuncio to the region, and the announcement was made December 21 by Fr Daniele Liessi, Chargé d'Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature.

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News Article
The glass is always half full

Peter Nicholson has worked in the investment industry since 1987. Peter has specialized in tax reduction and philanthropic tax planning since 1995. He is the president and founder of WCPD Inc., a Canadian-based financial services company. His public foundation, the WCPD Foundation, has helped him and his clients give over $60 million to charities in the last three years. Peter started investing in Exuma in 2004 and has completed several real estate projects, including the recent purchase of 40 percent of Grand Isle Resort & Spa.

Guardian Business: What is the biggest challenge facing your business or sector? What measures need to be taken in The Bahamas to solve it?

Peter: My biggest challenge is attracting potential villa buyers and rental guests for the first time to Great Exuma and my resort, Grand Isle Villas (GIV). When people come once, they tend to return after discovering the gorgeous turquoise water, talcum powder beaches and the quality workmanship of our well-appointed villas. We are not only marketing to North America, Europe and South America, but also to residents of Nassau and Grand Bahama. As exciting as life is in bustling Nassau and Freeport, an escape to our outer island paradise can be relaxing, rejuvenating, and offers a retreat which is unmatched. I really believe once they visit Grand Isle, many will choose to purchase a villa as a close-by getaway offering an excellent return on their investment.
We need to rejuvenate the economy of Great Exuma, and with increased airlift, the support of The Bahamas Tourism Board and newly-elected Prime Minister Christie -- who is favoring the return of the duty exemption on construction materials bound for Exuma -- we will partner together to make Grand Isle Villas (GIV) an important economic catalyst for this beautiful, yet unknown to many, outer island.

GB: How has your business or sector changed since the financial crisis?

Peter: Everyone's business has suffered from the economic downturn. The important thing is to see the opportunities presented during these times, and take full advantage to prepare for the day when some measure of recovery is evident. Ironically, when the first owner of GIV ran into financial challenges, it gave me an opening to purchase 40 percent of the project and make plans to turn it into a world class destination resort. Our efforts are already paying off when GIV was named eighth best luxury resort in the Caribbean by the readers of the influential survey website, Trip Advisor. Finding success in a still uncertain economy means keeping a sense of optimism and an open mind. Change is inevitable and the economy will always have its highs and lows -- knowing how to turn adversity into success is why I enjoy being a business entrepreneur. In my Canadian business, I counsel my clients not to see the glass as half empty, but view it for the potential to be half full. Once recovery comes, it is often too late to get into the game. The most successful business executives are those who put themselves out there and aggressively pursue what is possible.

GB: Briefly, can you describe a life experience that changed how you approach your work today?

Peter: I really did have a life changing experience which brought me to my current involvement in GIV. My friend and business partner, Tyrone Monroe, was born in 1959 on the tiny settlement of Farmers Cay, Exuma. He left there in his early twenties and traveled to Ottawa, Canada to seek a better life and more opportunities. Twenty years later he returned to his home for a family reunion and was amazed to see his tiny community had modernized in many ways. Tyrone realized a computer chip had allowed his home to enter the 21st century with advancements including electricity, desalinated drinking water, high speed Internet and cable television. With that realization, Tyrone also recognized the potential beauty of his seafront village and the surrounding property as a prime real estate opportunity. While he had a vision for the future, Tyrone lacked capital. This is where I came in, and a friend made an introduction between the two of us. Tyrone's enthusiasm convinced me that Exuma presented a rare investment opportunity. He knew the local real estate and totally understood his native culture. The rest, as they say, is history. Tyrone and I have a close professional and personal relationship over the past eight years. I had the capital, and the ability to raise more, giving us the chance to seize opportunities when they arose.

GB: What are you currently reading?

Peter: I am an avid reader, and my tastes can best be described as eclectic. I tend to read multiple books at the same time, as well as Canadian and Bahamian newspapers, which are critical to keep up with political and economic changes. On my current book list is "Island Fever", an autobiography of Charlie Phleuger. A true pioneer, he was Exuma's Peace and Plenty Hotel general manager for thirty years. At the same time, I am also fascinated with the book "Dead Aid" by African born Dambisa Moyo. This PhD in economics has created controversy in the philanthropic world by making the argument that if wealthy Western countries really want to help Africa, they should cut economic aid and instead replace aid with significant investment. The Chinese are doing this already.

GB: Has the high cost of energy hurt your business? What solutions have you initiated or considered to combat it?

Peter: I am always looking for new and innovative techniques to reduce energy costs, whether in my Canadian business or in Great Exuma. The sunny, frequently windy weather in Exuma, coupled with its small 7,000 population makes it an ideal candidate to be an example to the world to have sustainable ways of producing energy. Exuma has a particular challenge because energy is mainly created by diesel generators run by Bahamas Electricity Corporation. Finding techniques and technology to reduce energy costs and introduce new options is a priority for me. I treasure the eco-friendly atmosphere on Exuma. While reducing energy costs and developing new resources is a lofty goal, I am looking for people who have ideas or projects which can help us meet the need. I invite them to share their thoughts and start a conversation with me by e mailing me at

GB: What makes a great boss? What makes a bad boss?

Peter: A great leader is not afraid to listen to their people and encourage their active participation in sharing new ideas. Grand Isle's Board of Directors is a group of inspiring, great bosses. Jon Wright, our board chairman, has a sign in his company which wisely advises, "None of us is as smart as all of us." On the other side of the equation, a bad boss takes all the credit for business success and blames employees for the failure. History shows us that whether a corporate president or a politician, being an inclusive chief executive makes for a good boss.

GB: If you could change one thing concerning business in The Bahamas, what would it be?

Peter: I would certainly like to see The Bahamas surpass other destinations, including the United States of America, as the leader in providing award winning service. The most successful hospitality economies are those who invest in training their service sector employees to see the advantages of providing exceptional guest service. This means being polite, attentive, and understanding that providing excellent service attracts affluent tourists who expect nothing less than the best. Excellent performance as a service provider opens the doors to many career opportunities and advancements. People will not return to The Bahamas if their experience is marred by indifferent service and impolite attitudes. The Caribbean is known for warm hospitality; we must continue to improve our dedication to visitors.

GB: What keeps you grounded? Do you have any major interests other than work?

Peter: My family (including my four children), friends and employees keep me grounded. They know my faults, but appreciate my positive traits. No one is perfect, but I continue to aspire to fix the things that need improvement.

GB: What should young businesses keep in mind in this current economic climate to survive?

Peter: We all encounter tough times. It is not always easy to see the glass half full, but research shows optimists survive tough times better than pessimists. You can take tough times as a disaster, or you can vow to work harder, identify the problems and remember the words I have always liked: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Nothing was ever accomplished by wallowing in misery during tough times. It may be very hard, but at the end of the tough times, opportunity awaits for those who have been prepared.

GB: How would you describe or classify the ease of doing business in The Bahamas?

Peter: Doing business in The Bahamas is a learning experience, which I have honed over the past eight years. Personal relationships with the people and influencers is the best form of networking. With more than 800 islands, logistics and communication can be an issue. I would not be here if I did not believe Grand Isle, Great Exuma and The Bahamas provide a world of opportunity. The scenic splendors of the region, the amazing waters and beaches, and the traditions of centuries make it the place where I am confident it truly is "Better in the Bahamas". I am here to stay!

oI invite interested people to contact me personally at if they would like more information on all Grand Isle Villas has to offer.

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News Article
World Mart contractor to hire 1,200 Bahamians

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Top executives from Beijing Construction America and influential investors from China have arrived in Freeport to hammer home a project that could change the Grand Bahama economy.
The foreign delegation is engaged in a series of meetings with government officials. The 1.1 million-square-foot facility, representing a total investment of $200 million, 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.
Beijing Construction America is slated to be the general contractor, while The Export-Import Bank of China will help provide financing for the $200 million project. World Mart has received preliminary approval from the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), and Ian Fair, the chairman, is reporting "considerable progress".
Zac Henson, the president of Beijing Construction America, told Guardian Business during an exclusive interview that his company is "aggressively investing in the U.S." through his counterparts in the Chinese banks. That eye for opportunity has now led them just a few dozen miles off the coast of Florida, to Grand Bahama.
Henson said the construction of World Mart, over the course of two years, will generate up to 1,200 jobs for Bahamians. While construction would be overseen by Beijing Construction, a series of sub-contractors will be enlisted.
And when the complex is complete, World Mart is estimated to create up to 3,000 jobs.
"We are here to design, build and possibly finance this project," he added.
Henson and his team are joined by top-level investors from China to scout the site. Kenneth Hutton and Joe Thompson, the Bahamian executives behind the distribution center, were also in attendance and introduced the foreign delegation to local government officials.
The World Mart team is expected to meet today with Ryan Pinder, the minister of financial services, and Michael Darville, the minister for Grand Bahama.
Comprising 1,600 display stalls, 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.
Each district is in the shape of a circle, and perhaps most interestingly, a clear glass cube lies in the middle for displays and private meetings.
The Bahamian business model has been fashioned from Yiwu International Trade City, one of the largest wholesale centers in the world.
"Manufacturing is aging in China. They aren't cranking it out like they were a few years ago. That's why you see Export-Import Bank being so aggressive, and their state-owned partners," Henson said.
The notion of a free trade zone between the U.S. and China, and China and the U.S., is very attractive within the free trade bubble, he explained.
The concept of World Mart, however, is not to just bring big business to The Bahamas, but create a destination in itself.
Plans are in the works for a hotel and several restaurants. The spill off effect, Henson added, would be tremendous for an island in dire need for employment.
In size and scale, World Mart, as a Chinese project, would only be rivaled by Baha Mar, the ongoing $2.6 billion resort development on Cable Beach.
According to the latest numbers from the Department of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Grand Bahama is around 21 percent.
Henson and his team will be in Freeport until Friday.
"I think there is an incredibly unused asset here. It has tremendous potential," he said. "But because of the economy, and because of world circumstances, it has a stomach ache, and it needs medical attention."

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News Article
Wishing for a better life: Ailing woman may benefit from govt's help

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.

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News Article
PM encourages job program participants to embrace opportunity

Addressing the first wave of participants during the orientation seminar of the multi-million-dollar National Job Readiness and Training Program, held yesterday at the Sheraton Resort on Cable Beach, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham acknowledged that the need for jobs in The Bahamas is great, and he encouraged participants to take full advantage of the opportunity as current job prospects are slim.
The program is expected to employ thousands of Bahamians over the next year, but even with the initiative, Ingraham pointed out that thousands of Bahamians will remain on the unemployment line.
"The number of applicants seeking to participate in this program demonstrates that our economy, like economies throughout the world, is severely affected by one of the worse global economic crisis in a century.  Unemployment is far, far too high in our country," Ingraham said.
According to government officials, 12,800 Bahamians signed up for the program.  However, the $25 million program is only designed to accommodate 3,000 people.
"The government cannot hire all unemployed persons.  My life would be so much easier if we could.  Indeed, the government's finances are stretched.  You will be aware of projects which my government has undertaken creating thousands of new jobs in the construction and allied services sector.  Still, there is a limit to the burden which tax payers are able to afford."
He continued, "That is why in addition to providing some stimulus to job creation, we are also taking advantage of opportunities for shorter term and temporary placements, the PM added."
About 400 young Bahamians showed up at the Sheraton to participate in the first orientation program.  In Grand Bahama, where the participants viewed the orientation in New Providence via simulcast, 240 people were selected for the first phase.
Ingraham revealed that in New Providence 200 people will be trained at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), beginning in the current semester.
The government will pay the training cost and provide a stipend to participants. The same will happen in Grand Bahama, Ingraham said.
The orientation, which is the first phase of the program, will last two weeks and will provide a smooth transition into the workplace.
The orientation course is designed to develop soft skills including: Work ethics, a positive attitude, aptitude, reliability, punctuality, problem solving, social interaction, team work and time management.
Participants will be paid $210 per week while in training over the next year.
"At the end of your engagement, if you are not employed permanently, you will be eligible to receive an unemployment benefit from NIB (National Insurance Board)," Ingraham said.
"While this Job Readiness and Training Program is designed to last only 52 weeks, we seek to encourage an environment where many, if not all of the participants can find long-term employment, primarily in the private sector.  It is our hope and expectation that a general improvement in the nation's business and economic climate will assist in this regard."
Ingraham said he expects the job market to grow in the next 12 to 18 months as the economy slowly recovers.
He added that the core priority of the government is to enhance the skills and job readiness of unemployed persons.  The program's aims are: Ensuring that job seekers have job readiness skills, upgrading and enhancing skills; making it possible for job seekers to acquire new skills, and improving the marketability of the workforce of The Bahamas.
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the program is the most "comprehensive jobs and skills initiative in the history of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas".
The remaining selected participants will begin their cycles in the coming weeks.
Several participants at the orientation commended the government for introducing the program.
Nineteen-year-old Javaughn Rolle, who recently graduated from high school, said he is grateful that the government is giving him the opportunity to be trained.
Rolle said he wants to study information technology.
"This is a good thing that the government is doing.  I'm happy to be a part of it," he said.
Kevin Black, 18, said he wants to be an electrician.  Black said he's prepared to study hard and take full advantage of the opportunity given.
The program is designed to prepare unemployed Bahamians for entry into the labor market.  One hundred and fifty businesses have registered to participate in the program as employers.

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News Article
Baha Mar Ltd. opens new lane in roadworks on Cable Beach Strip

Nassau, Bahamas - Motorists travelling
west along the Cable Beach strip will now experience an even smoother
flow, as they now have access to a new lane. Baha Mar management report
that road works connected to the mega resort project are moving along
as planned.


 "The purpose
of opening this westbound lane is to allow us to get to the scope of
work we need to do on the eastbound lane. This lane is phase two of
the overall management plan for the roundabout by the Sheraton," said
Frank Wood, Director of Non-core Works, Baha Mar. "It allows us access
to an area to work which is where the traffic was flowing before. The
westbound traffic is on the westbound lane...

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News Article
Harrah's urges court to approve 12.17m Baha Mar payment


Tribune Business Editor

US gaming giant Harrah's Entertainment has filed a motion in the New York State Supreme Court for a September 14 hearing to approve the payment of $12.174 million in legal costs to it by Baha Mar, warning that if the Cable Beach developer opposes this it will seek to also gain the $116,492 it was denied.

James Kearney, an attorney with Latham & Watkins, in an affidavit filed with the New York courts earlier this week, affirmed that Harrah's and its Caesars Bahamas subsidiary were moving to recover the legal costs they had allegedly incurred in defending themselves against breach of contract and other claims made over the two parties' f ...

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News Article
A Story By Nellie Day - What Types of Houses Do People Live in the Bahamas
A Story By Nellie Day - What Types of Houses Do People Live in the Bahamas?

Located in the heart of the Caribbean, the islands of the Bahamas can provide the perfect place to lay your roots and build your dream home--as long as you can afford the price tag that many luxury homes boast. For those who can afford to live the life of luxury, the Bahamas has all the construction, design and real estate services anyone could wish for. For many local Bahamians, however, life is less glamorous. The islands' ample working-class section often inhabits shacks and huts, which can make them vulnerable to hurricanes and constant rebuilding efforts.

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News Article
Crime has new government under the gun

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."

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News Article
Winners of Islands of the World Fashion Week, May 2012

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.

Taking the

Jackson Burnside III Fashion & Design Award was...

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News Article
U.S. report: Crime threat level critical

The United States Department of State has rated the crime threat level in New Providence as "critical" and "high" in Grand Bahama.
"New Providence Island, in particular, has experienced a spike in crime that has adversely affected the traveling public," said the Bahamas 2012 Crime and Safety Report, which was recently released. "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."
It added: "In previous years, most violent crimes involved mainly Bahamian citizens and occurred in 'Over-the-Hill' areas, which are not frequented by tourists.
"However, in 2011 there were numerous incidents reported that involved tourists or have occurred in areas in tourist locations. These incidents have specifically occurred in the downtown areas, to include the cruise ship dock (Prince George Wharf) and the Cable Beach commerce areas.
"Residential security also remains a great concern as the number of incidents involving house burglaries and break-ins has also increased."
In last year's report, The Bahamas' crime rate was rated as "high" overall. New Providence and Grand Bahama's crime threat levels were not separated in that report as it was done this year.
The latest report notes however that criminal activity in the Family Islands occurs on a much lesser degree than on New Providence.
"The [US] Embassy has received reports of burglaries and thefts, especially thefts of boats and/or outboard motors on some of the Family Islands," the report said.
"The Bahamas has experienced a spate of armed robberies at gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, banks and residences.
"Perpetrators of these types of crimes typically conduct pre-attack surveillance by watching the intended victim.
"There were several reports in 2011 of victims being followed home after closing the business in an attempt to steal the nightly deposit. Several victims were severely injured. This underscores that common activities can directly impact personal security."
The report also provided crime statistics, specifically pointing out that murder and armed robberies have dramatically increased.
"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," it said.
The report pointed out that the police believe that many of the murders were related to drugs, domestic violence and retaliation/retribution.
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 said that the cash-for-gold business in The Bahamas may have resulted in the increase of these types of crime.
The report noted that the U.S. Embassy has received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, in diverse areas such as casinos, outside hotels, or on cruise ships.
"In several incidents, the victim had reportedly been drugged," the report said.
"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.
"Two American citizens were murdered in Nassau in 2009, both in residential areas. Home break-ins, theft and robbery are not confined to any specific part of the island."
The report noted that while tourists are not always the intended target of crime they could be impacted by being innocent bystanders.
The report, is the latest in a series of reports highlighting the crime problem in the country.

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