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A meeting of the Caribbean's Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) is scheduled to take place on November 27-28, 2012 in the Bahamas. Entitled "Strengthening our Foundation, Expanding our Reach" the two-day conference will explore strategic approaches for increased collaboration between investment promotion agencies within the framework of a Caribbean Association of Investment Promotions Agencies (CAIPA).
Over the course of three days, the country's leading program for young people -- the Governor General's Youth Award (GGYA) -- presented 425 awards in Abaco, New Providence and Grand Bahama.
The first round of presentations took place on Abaco where 27 students received their bronze awards from the internationally recognized program which promotes community service, skills development, participation in physical activities and adventurous journeys.
Island Administrator Preston Cunningham delivered a charge to the students during the ceremony held at St. John the Baptist Parish Hall.
In Nassau 177 awards - 114 bronze awards, and 63 silver awards - were given out in Nassau by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr. Daniel Johnson during the ceremony held at Epworth Hall.
Johnson presented 114 bronze and 63 silver awards to participants during Wednesday's ceremony held at Epworth Hall.
In Freeport, 121 awards - 103 silver awards and 118 bronze awards - were presented to GGYA participants at the Foster B. Pestina Hall.
Delivering remarks were Deputy Director of Education Sandra Edgecombe and Ian Fair, chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and member of the GGYA's honorary board of trustees.
To achieve the bronze award, participants were required to engage in three months of physical recreation, skill development and service, plus an additional three months in any one of those areas. Participants also had to produce a diary of their activities and undertake a two-day/one-night adventurous journey covering 15 miles.
The service component fosters a sense of responsibility to the community, while the skills aspect develops a personal interest or vocational training. The physical component promotes a healthy lifestyle. The adventurous journey (hiking) component cultivates resourcefulness, problem-solving skills, environmental awareness and the importance of team work.
Once the bronze award is achieved, to become eligible for silver, participants must complete six months of each of the three aforementioned components. Participants must once again produce a diary and complete an adventurous journey lasting three days and two nights, hiking for a minimum of 30 miles.
"The ministry is impressed with the work of the GGYA and the response we're getting from our youths," said Johnson. "Youth service is about teaching independence, self-sufficiency, survival skills, personal skills, patriotism and working together to build the common good. This program has done it so well."
He said the national program is deserving of public recognition.
"I want to put it on a national stage to show everyone that this is what it looks like to get it right," he said.
Thanks to a three-year partnership entered into with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture back in 2010, the GGYA has successfully attracted more participants, particularly on the Family Islands.
The G.O.L.D. Initiative
partnership is set to expire this December, and according to Dr. Johnson, the ministry will seek to renew the agreement.
"We have a challenge in this country. We have some serious problems that require attention and some solutions. This is why I am here to support the GGYA," said Dr Johnson. "I give GGYA the highest rating and commendation possible for what we're trying to do in this country."
During the New Providence ceremony more males received silver awards than females. It was a first in the GGYA's history, according to officials. Combining both awards, however, the participation ratio in the national program is split 50/50 between the sexes.
The right track
Twenty years ago, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly was a participant in the program and knows first-hand the impact the program has on young lives.
"I'm happy I participated in this program. I am so proud of these students and proud of the achievements of GGYA and how far they've come," he said.
"One of the great things about GGYA is that it gives you the experience you need to build your capacity for life, to improve your skills, and basically to cope with issues that one may face in life. It builds leadership abilities."
The large numbers of youths obtaining awards provides proof that a vast majority of the nation's youths are on the right track, said GGYA National Director Denise Mortimer.
"It shows that if there are avenues for them to make personal achievements, they will jump at the opportunity," she said.
Principal of Hope Academy, Arlington G. King agrees. Voicing pride in his students, he's adamant that "all of our young people are not lost".
The GGYA is a model youth program for a national project. The award program operates throughout the world, sometimes under different names, but always under the auspices of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Programme -- the brainchild of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
The program is in operation in 152 countries. Eight million young persons have participated.
Tablets are shaping up to be THE big-ticket gift item this year. Fifteen percent of respondents to a ChangeWave survey said they want one. Top on the tablet wish list is the iPad 2, with 65% of respondents voting for it over the next contender, the Amazon Kindle Fire. What's more, analyst Gartner Inc. predicts Apple will sell 22 million iPads just between September and the end of December.
But before you rush out to buy one yourself, you have to think about the future, about the next iPad coming down the pike. So let's try to read the tea leaves on iPad rumors to determine if you should buy the iPad 2 now or wait for the next version.
Emancipation Day, celebrating the criminalization of slavery, is more than just a long weekend with a day off work, yet many don't stop to reflect on what this means.
Now, however, a group of community-based organizations are coming together to put on an annual event during Emancipation Day weekend to redefine what it means to celebrate the day.
The Black Power Community Film Festival, held by the Indaba Project and the Movement for Change organization, will screen throughout this weekend a selection of thought-provoking, educational and revolutionary films and documentaries, as well as moderated discussions, in the Hay Street, Fowler Street and Mason's Addition areas.
The project, says festival coordinator and member of Indaba Noelle Nicolls, came out of the nonprofit community-based organization's biannual lecture series, which brought in speakers from all around the world - including leading scholars on African identity and history - to give talks under the theme "Nyon Nyor Nyan?" (Who Are We?). Now, in partnering with Movement for Change, the Black Power Community Film Festival will be an annual event that will add to these conversations.
"Film is a very powerful medium," said Nicolls. "There are so many good films and documentaries that the community is not exposed to - we want to create exposure for the community to acknowledge that they don't have access to through normal channels of education and socialization."
"I think as we grow, we're going to have a more objective means of selecting films, like with a jury," she added. "This time it was very personal - we stuck with films in our recent memory that had moved us and that we wanted to share with the community."
The result is a mix of feature films, short films and documentaries made both locally and internationally for a wide range of audiences.
Last night at the Hay Street Basketball Court, the film festival kicked off with a screening of Spike Lee's "Malcolm X". Today, on the Fowler Street Basketball Court, the children's matinee will screen "Kirikou and the Sorceress" at 2 p.m., while "The Interrupters" will be shown at 6 p.m. and "Motherland" at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday August 5 at Mason's Addition Park, the festival will screen "The Price of Being a Man" at 7 p.m., and there will be a Junkanoo rushout by the Saxons at 10 p.m.
Holding The Black Power Community Film Festival as an annual event every Emancipation Day weekend also gives them a chance to recontextualize the holiday. Rather than view Emancipation Day as almost a memorial day-like celebration, says Nicholls, it should be seen as a chance to reflect on the history surrounding the day as a way of moving positively forward - an ongoing process that the community is still engaged in.
"Emancipation as it's celebrated is a day a proclamation was signed, but really and truly, it is more than that - there was a whole resistance movement amongst enslaved Africans that led to an emancipation movement and we still don't even know those stories enough that we can draw inspiration from those stories," she said.
"So in the post-emancipation period and beyond, how have things evolved, how have things stayed the same, where are the areas we still need to grow?" she asked. "This is really about bringing knowledge to all of these questions in order to grow, and to create dialogue around them so that the commemoration around emancipation isn't just a static event but rather a time to reflect and engage in community dialogue about the active work we still need to do."
Indeed, the film festival is just another event that ties into the Indaba Project's motto "Teach them to fish". The nonprofit organization committed to community and nation building was founded in 1994 by Thomas Cleare and Ian Maura. Through their events - like their core after-school program which tutors 40 children in the Fowler Street area three days a week in academics, social development and creative activities - the Indaba Project empowers the community to be responsible for its own development.
"I hope the viewers and participants walk away with a deeper understanding of what we call 'sankofa', which means 'Go back and fetch it'," said Nicholls. "We want people to understand that they have to go and fetch the knowledge of their past, they have to connect with that to be able to understand themselves and who we are as a community. Hopefully the films will help bring them get closer to understanding that philosophy in their own personal way."
"Also I hope that they walk away with a sense of responsibility to the community and how we need to work together to grow as a community that shares a collective past and has a collective vision for the future."
The Black Power Film Festival will continue this Emancipation Day weekend with films and discussions free and open to the public. Today, Saturday August 4, on the Fowler Street Basketball Court, the children's matinee will screen "Kirikou and the Sorceress" at 2 p.m., while "The Interrupters" will be shown at 6 p.m. and "Motherland" at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday August 5 at Mason's Addition Park, the festival will screen "The Price of Being a Man" at 7 p.m. and a Junkanoo rushout (Saxons) at 10 p.m.
IF THERE IS RAINFALL; the screenings will all take place on Fowler Street under the tent.
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.
For cancer survivors taking part in the Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure, today will be a walk in the park.
The second annual event has focused on attracting cancer survivors, according to event organizer Shelly Wilson.
The race begins at 7 a.m. from St. Matthew's Church at the intersection of Church Street and Shirely Street and ends on Paradise Island.
As of yesterday, more than 900 participants were registered for the 5K race, however, Wilson expects that there will be 1,000 to 1,100 people taking part today, which is an increase from the 900 participants in 2011.
She pointed out that over 70 cancer survivors have registered for the race with many more expected to participate. Just fewer than 100 survivors participated in the Komen race last year, according to Wilson.
"Of course, it is a fun run/walk but really the whole essence of the race series, whether that is in the United States or The Bahamas, is to showcase our cancer survivors for their strength and courage," said Wilson in an interview yesterday.
"We end the race with a wonderful survivor ceremony where there will be local entertainment and we have a survivor only tent where they receive additional gifts, and the real white glove treatment."
Wilson said that attracting survivors to the event has been quite successful, with a large contingent from the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group participating.
Stage four breast cancer survivor of six years, Shantell Cox-Hutchinson, said the event shows cancer patients and survivors that they have the support of the Bahamian community.
She will participate in the 5k fun run/walk today sporting a pink wig in support of other cancer survivors.
"Statistically speaking they always say that people who have the greatest family support tend to survive longer and I am testimony to that because I have a great family support," Cox-Hutchinson said.
"This kind of race shows women out there, who are going through breast cancer that they are not doing it alone. There are other people out there that are rooting for you, who feel what you're going through and this is a community event."
Cox-Hutchinson explained that after participating in several Komen races in Miami and Washington she looks forward to meeting newly diagnosed survivors.
"It is such an emotional event for them and it is very impactful because they then begin to believe that they can survive with all of that support," she said.
"What I really look forward to is the survivor ceremony that showcases the survivors talking about what they have gone through and the fact that they have actually survived."
In the still fresh second decade of this century there continues to be a fundamental shift in humanity's moral imagination with regard to respecting the dignity and advancing the equality of gays and lesbians.
In this decade and during this century, gays and lesbians will experience less prejudice and witness the end of discrimination on various fronts.
Fear-mongering accompanied by malevolent rhetoric are the eager co-conspirators of prejudice and bigotry, all of which gay and lesbian Bahamians continue to experience as targets of malicious attacks on their humanity.
It is unacceptable to publicly attack someone as a "nigger" whether from a public platform, in a blog, in a tabloid or in Parliament; in the case of the latter whether from a member on their feet or from their seat.
Similarly, it should no longer be tolerated when the rhetoric of intolerance is applied to gays or lesbians in these venues, with venom like "sissy" or the feminization of a man's name.
Shamefully, in the vanguard of the hate- and fear-mongers have been clerics, decidedly not heaven-sent, but hell-bent on perpetuating pernicious stereotypes about gays and lesbians. Yet, God's love will not be defeated by hate, even when it is disguised as defending morality.
Today, there is another awakening or epiphany in the arc of history which constitutes the second emancipation narrative of the Bahamian experience.
The second emancipation liberated black and white Bahamians from the deceits and conceits of racist ideologies. It liberated women and men from much of the legal codification of sexism and male supremacy.
Today, gays and lesbians rightly lay claim to the vision and values of the movements for racial and women's equality which remain pivotal struggles in the living tradition and democratic tapestry of the second Bahamian emancipation.
Today's struggle for equality will help to liberate many who hold prejudices against those who by happenstance have a different sexual orientation.
As with black and female Bahamians, gays and lesbians are not asking for special rights. They are demanding equality and social justice under the canopy of rights and freedoms enumerated in the constitution.
Those prone to proof-texting the Bible as they are the preamble to the constitution should know that the preamble is a hortatory prelude, but carries no legal force, nor is it dispositive in the adjudication of questions of various rights and freedoms. Indeed, despite the reference to Christianity in the preamble, freedom of religion is guaranteed in the charter of rights and freedoms. Perhaps some of those itching to amend and chisel into the constitution their prejudices and social exclusions, might wish also to dispense with freedom of religion for non-Christians.
One cleric infamously deployed incendiary rhetoric, referencing Guy Fawkes as a role model. Might there also be a grand inquisitor or two wishing to fuel a bonfire of their vanities and prejudices, perhaps using the constitution as tinder to help eviscerate certain human rights as protected in that very document?
Some question whether the struggles for equality by black and female Bahamians are the same as the struggle for equality of Bahamian gays and lesbians.
They are not exactly the same. But they are profoundly analogous and similar on democratic and ethical grounds, constituting a rainbow of promise or an arc of history concerning mutual human and civil rights, sometimes creeping, sometimes galloping, but ever bending towards justice.
Barack Obama's second inaugural address was a plea continued from a preacher King in 1963, echoes of whose dream reverberate still, nearly half a century later, across the quilt of memorials, museums and marches binding the National Mall in Washington, D.C., from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol Building.
The cadence of call and response between the martyred preacher and the re-elected president resounded in Obama's "Our journey is not complete", a refrain of Martin Luther King Jr.'s plea for equality and "I Have a Dream".
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law - for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," said the president.
The second inaugural of America's first black president was more than an oath-taking. It was a pageant of the mythology and history of the American experience. Obama narrated the pageant with magisterial sweep, invoking the nation's founders, and Lincoln and King, on whose bibles he swore his oath, as well as the now iconic triptych of Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, referencing respectively the struggles for equality of women, African Americans and gays and lesbians.
Reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Obama used one of the highest civic rituals of the American Republic to recalibrate America's cannon of equality by calling for the full equality and rights of gay and lesbian citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Seneca Falls recalled the eponymous convention of 1848, an epochal moment in the struggle for women's equality. Selma recalled the 1965 Selma, Alabama, marches for civil and voters' rights.
In 1969 came Stonewall, a series of spontaneous demonstrations, the proximate cause of which was a police raid on a gay establishment. Longstanding grievances of discrimination and harassment exploded into an event which was pivotal in "the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States".
After the swearing-in, many wondered what Obama was imaging, as he paused to survey the National Mall when walking back into the Capitol. Whatever was in his mind's eye, many imagined what he or they may have seen from that vantage point. The National Mall Obama surveyed stands witness to America's own second emancipation. With the Washington Monument as its centerpiece, calling to mind America's founding promises and original sins; the mall has been trod and sanctified by those who fought to bridge the gulfs of equality in America's history.
The 1963 March on Washington at which Dr. King famously intoned his dream of equality was largely conceived and organized by the brilliant Bayard Rustin, both African Americans and gay, the content of whose character was foremost that of an American patriot and a drum major for justice.
Suffragettes and those fighting for women's equality have also marched the mall. So too have gays and lesbians and their families, who formed a literal and human quilt in response to the HIV-AIDS crisis, a disease which never discriminated based on sexuality.
The Bahamian parallels to Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall are different by date and occasion, yet no less significant, including the vote for women in 1962 and majority rule in 1967.
For gays and lesbians, the calendar of emancipation has been more staggered. In 1991, The Bahamas, through progressive legislation by the PLP, became the first independent, former British colony in the Caribbean to decriminalize sexual activity by adult homosexuals.
In 1998, in an extraordinary statement in response to a demonstration against a gay cruise, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham issued the most humane statement of tolerance and non-discrimination ever made by a Bahamian government.
We are on the cusp of another groundbreaking moment relative of the fuller inclusion of gay and lesbian citizens in terms of a fundamental human and civil rights issue.
Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett recently noted that the question of marriage for same-sex partners would likely come before the courts. Appropriately, he did not discuss his views on the issue.
He did note that the courts would likely review legal decisions from other jurisdictions, including the United States, where there are a variety of cases before state and federal courts, and now the Supreme Court.Sir Michael and U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts are Roman Catholics.
They appreciate that marriage is partly a religious institution. Yet, it is also a civil institution, and in the end, the question of same-sex marriage should be decided on this basis.
Those who do not want same-sex marriages performed in their churches are within their rights. Yet, the state has no right to ban gays and lesbians from exercising their civil right to marry, a right that should be challenged in the courts.
o firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bahamapundit.com.
TREASURE CAY, Abaco -- The 2013 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend was a great success, and in the second year managed to more than double the participation from the inaugural year. This year 185 persons participated in the athletic events - including a 1-mile open water swim, a Sprint triathlon, an Olympic triathlon, a kid's 1-mile run, and a 5k/10k fun run/walk.
The weekend opened on Friday afternoon with a 1-mile open water swim, sponsored by BTC, in which 25 participants entered the water at the beautiful Treasure Cay beach in Abaco. The out and back course attracted athletes as young as 8 and old as 76, and all skill levels from competitive swimmers to recreational snorkelers. The gorgeous Abaco weather allowed for a fast course, with Peter Wagner being the first swimmer to finish, defending his 2012 title with a time of 25:32. The first female was Abaco local Christina Pyfrom, just thirteen years old, in a time of 28:01. A young competitor, Ryan Knowles, managed to complete the swim in full clothing after forgetting her swimsuit, proving that determination and effort can overcome adversity.
The opening ceremonies and swim awards were held immediately following the swim. The Member of Parliament for North Abaco, Renardo Curry, was present along with Ministry of Tourism representative Wynsome Ferguson. The notable growth of the event was evident, as the Coco Beach Club was packed with participants, volunteers, spectators, and sponsors. Sands Beer and Cocozona provided refreshments while Treasure Cay provided appetizers for the event.
Saturday morning brought overcast weather, a blessing for the athletes preparing to enter the challenging Sprint and Olympic triathlons presented by Carlo Milano. The Sprint triathlon consisted of a 500m swim, a 20km (12.4 mile) bike ride, and a 5k (3.1 mile) run. The Olympic triathlon was approximately double the distance, with a 1500m swim, a 40km (24.8 mile) bike ride, and a 10k (6.2 mile) run. With 60 athletes entered into the events, including individuals and relays, the excitement and camaraderie could be felt well before the sun came up. Entrants included 5 Olympic individuals, 34 Sprint individuals, and 7 Sprint relays consisting of 21 athletes.
Participants in the Governor General's Youth Award honoured the life and legacy of Bahamian nation builder, renowned scholar and community activist, the late Dr. Keva M. Bethel, in partaking in an inaugural Service Day held in her memory.
The GGYA had a strong presence among the nearly 200 persons from various civic organizations and social groups who turned out in full force for five hours on Saturday, October 6, to extend a helping hand in the cleanup and restoration of the Bain and Grants Town community.
The massive clean-up began 8am and wrapped up around 1pm. It was a fitting tribute to someone who devoted her life to community service, according to the initiative's steering committee chair, Dr Gail Saunders.
Parents of Walter Parker Primary School students gathered outside the offices of the Ministry of Education in Freeport yesterday morning to protest the transfer of principal Barbara Thompson. The parents said they learned that Thompson had been appointed
By K. NANCOO-RUSSELL
Freeport News Reporter
Parents of Walter Parker Primary School students gathered outside the offices of the Ministry of Education in Freeport yesterday morning to protest the transfer of principal Barbara Thompson.
The parents said they learned that Thompson had been appointed principal of Freeport Primary School, while that school's principal, Sheila Scavella, will be the new principal at Walter Parker Primary.
The group, holding placards, marched around the parking lot of the International Building beginning shortly before 9 a.m.
Walter Parker Primary School Board Chairman Godfrey Pinder said the parents are upset at the fact that the board was ...