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News Article
Paradise behind fences: The creation of a two-tier state

Dear Editor,

Tourism is a wonderful industry; it pays our BEC, BTC, Water and Sewerage and Cable Bahamas bills, gives us money to shop in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and creates mega-resorts that we wonder around as if in a dream. It creates the hottest, coolest clubs, restaurants and discos. It removes most resources from the local grasp, enclosing them within the resort's limits. Locals can only venture there at the owners' pleasure; it is private land on what may have been once upon a time public access property. Sadly, as I walked along the lovely newly fenced in Paradise 'public' beach access, it became clear that Bahamians are up against a monster. While the beach on this part of Paradise Island has been open to the public for years, it has not been public in the true sense of the word in many years. Atlantis actually acquired the beach years ago. Unfortunately, Bahamians were probably unaware of that fact.
As the beach access is controlled and restricted, Bahamians seem to be unaware that they are losing rights that they thought they had as a part of their birth. Yet, people seem nonplussed by it. As the gate stands locked across the 'public access', tourists approach from the inside and are confused as to how to leave. Locals simply duck under, jump over or somehow negotiate in and out. Ease of access is gone. The owners are asserting their right to the land. As the new owners/managers of Atlantis flex their muscles, asserting their ownership of the land that allows people to access the beach, the public wonders by apparently unaware.
A few years ago, Adrian Gibson (Tribune 13/11/09) wrote a piece on public beach access and the right to it. Yes, Bahamians may use the beach up to the high water mark, but he left out that we are not guaranteed access to the high-water mark. Private property extinguishes the right to that access, unless there is a common law right-of-way provided to the beach, which is usual for many coastal communities, but seems to be tentative on Paradise Island. However, the signs do say, as is customary, that the beach is accessible to Paradise Island residents. This does not include New Providence residents. Tourists are less important - or perhaps more important than locals; they do not live here, they simply play here, they do pay though. However, they may gain access by the virtue of their identity; they are not local.
All governments talk about tourism's benefits for the local economy, but what are they? It seems, to date, that they include jobs, at the expense of land. Low-paying service jobs at the expense of high-earning professions, all of which allow for diversity. Yes, we must recognize that the government has provided Goodman's Bay for public use, and so kindly too, along with Montagu. However, as the population grows two public beaches with a smattering of a few other local access points seem rather inadequate. Perhaps, though, we matter less in this country. Unfortunately, the more people feel penned in and ghettoized, the more they begin to act as people do when in confined spaces and not allowed to enjoy the pleasure they see on the other side. As the tourism areas grow, the local area shrinks. Areas such as Bain Town and Millennium Gardens become more crowded and other troubles brew.
What tourism actually develops, as the title indicates is a two-tier community where the tourists that can afford, or apparently afford, the pleasure of luxury have the pickings of the coast and all the accoutrements of the resorts, while the locals serve them to be able to afford to eat. As tourists go, they are unaware of the disparity that they create. They save for months, or in some cases years to come here for a few days of luxury, or to take a cruise. Often, they live out their dreams while here. So the country becomes a place of play, according to Mimi Sheller and John Urry in Tourism Mobilities. It also becomes a place in play; a place that is created according to the whims of the tourist or those catering to them. The place is produced to attract tourists. What is the actual cost of that production? Local development is sidelined in favor of the mega-resort.
As Frantz Fanon argues, locals become second-class citizens. Tragically, the resentment and anger build and it often turns in on itself until it becomes too explosive. Rather similar to colonialism, tourism creates a separation between those who serve and those who are served. This separation is not only mental but physical. Or, it is not only physical but also mental.

It becomes real and as Fanon and Camus illustrate, manifests in physical and psychological ways. We not only begin to kill each other, we also begin to hate ourselves and what we see ourselves as. But we downplay the violence and crime, we protect the tourist areas with increased police presence, all the while encouraging the others out of those areas. Regulations are made to limit local access to said areas, after all, it is private property and if you do not look the part, management reserves the right of admission.
As the coastline becomes out of bounds for many of the blacks who inhabit paradise, it becomes a place where those who fly in for five days and four nights enjoy all manner of pleasure. They play. Meanwhile, the locals who can no longer freely access the coast or most of the desirable spaces unless paying top dollar, are consumed as mere pawns to a hungry industry.
As the local community gains jobs and loses land, it also feels like it has more disposable income. At least that is one of the objectives. We want to buy things. We are willing to sell our souls to buy some thing, any thing that we are told will make us better looking, more desirable or happier. We assume that the tourists who inhabit the destination that paradise promises are happy and rich. That is the image we see.
When I walked past the beach this morning and realized that I no longer had access to it, a button was pressed and a sad realization took hold. As many of the taxi-driven, cruise-shipped-in tourists also realized, but they had to find an entrance. That entrance is at the pleasure of the owner. Tragically, the government did not have the foresight to write in a clause that would protect coastal land for continued enjoyment by locals and others who may wish to live near it. They simply sold it. The owners who bought then also sold and made massive profits. The ones who lost out and continue to lose out are those very people who are meant to be benefiting from all this development.
In the long run, the tourists may be willing to pay $10 or $20 to visit the beach for a few hours as their ship passes by, but what of those rich, and noble locals who braid hair day in and day out, work in hotels, restaurants, banks, shops, laundries, those who work to pay to stay alive? If we go to the beach daily do we have to pay $10 or $20 to swim? It may sound like a little, but $10 times 5 equals $50. A mere drop in the bucket to swim in the beautiful aquamarine waters that hem in these islands. Many can afford to pay this and others will pay it and smile, because they look rich paying it. But the fact is that we have sold our navel string and birthright for a song, much like the yellow bird caught in that sickly sweet rendering of paradise.
To be sure tourism is a great provider of jobs that pay bills. It creates wealth for some and pleasure for others. It also creates envy and discontent. More fully, it creates a two-tiered country where those who can pay to play and fly in for the pleasures of paradise, luxuriate in spaces that protect themselves with chain-link fences against the vagrancies and dalliances of those beyond.
The segregation of the 1950s does not compare to the mindful segregation of a people no longer able to enjoy the natural pleasures of their land because said nature has been mega-resorted. More tragically, we do not even realize it is happening. The Bahamas is certainly becoming a destination, but not one that we can all pay to play in. Paradise truly exists behind fences.

- I. Bethell-Bennett

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News Article
Christmas season officially begins Saturday for The Salvation Army

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The season of giving officially kicks off because The Salvation Army's familiar Red Kettles make their seasonal debut on New Providence, starting Saturday, November 24th, you'll find those kettles and the jolly ting-a-ling-ling of handheld bells that accompanies them.

The Red Kettle Campaign supports the mission of the organization and provides support to a number of programs arranging from special meals for needy individuals and families, toy and clothing for disadvantaged children, personal care products for the elderly and institutionalized, and vital funding for year round programs.

Last year, through the Red Kettle Campaign, over $100,000 was donated to support The Salvation Army's programs and services thanks to the generosity of the community and the gift of volunteer time by many social service clubs, businesses and individuals.

This year, Divisional Commander Lester Ferguson is asking the community to give just as much and maybe even a little bit more. "We need all the help we can get," Ferguson said, "because the need is great. We hope that people understand that."

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News Article
'Project Read' receives much needed facelift

AFTER nearly two months of planning and preparation, friends and members of the Rotary Clubs of East Nassau, Bahamas and the Rotary Club of Joplin, Missouri partnered in a Rotary International community service project.

The Rotarians spent a weekend at 'Project Read' where they renovated a staircase and built a new entrance to the building, ultimately making it a safer place.

According to Brian Moodie, chairman of Project Read, "The difficulty some of our tutors and students had climbing the existing spiral staircase was preventing them from accessing the facilities at Project Read."

When Project Read administrator Arthurlue Rahming appealed to local Rotarians for help, they ...

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News Article
A young lady who strives to always do her best

There's an adage that goes "like mother, like daughter", and in the case of Stacey Williams and her daughter Kayashia Williams, that saying is apt. Kayashia's mom has had a strong influence on her daughter's educational pursuits and long-term goals.
Kayashia, a 3.88 grade point average (GPA) student, who will commence her junior year at Bethune-Cookman University (BCU) in the fall, has found that both her love for numbers and growing up with her mother, a private banking loan administrator who has worked in the financial sector all of her professional life, have played a role in her decision to tackle a double major in accounting and finance.
"I have a love for dealing with numbers -- not necessarily mathematics, but numbers in general - and because my mom works in the financial field, I was attracted to it," said the 19-year-old.
Kayashia plans to obtain her doctorate degree and said her long-term plans include landing a position in the financial sector, working specifically in financial auditing or analysis with an accounting firm. She ultimately wants to open her own business.
Kayashia, the daughter of Stacey and Gerald Williams, is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society chapter at BCU. She was accepted into the honor program after her freshman year by virtue of finishing in the top 15 finish of her class, together with her known leadership ability and service.
As a part of the honors college, it was expected that she would set the standard for other BCU students, exemplifying excellence, integrity and high standards. As an added perk, Williams was able to move into the honors dormitory with like-minded academics.
To be accepted into the honors society, Kayashia had to maintain a GPA of 3.00. It was a goal she considered easy, so she set a personal objective of obtaining and maintaining a GPA of 3.4 or higher, in her quest to be accepted into the society.
She also wrapped up her second year with a perfect record - "A" grades in all subjects, including principles of accounting I; principles of accounting I lab; statistics I; leadership and professional development; ancient to late medieval humanities; applied business calculus and physical science.
The St. John's College graduate has made the honor roll since her primary school days; her academics have always been a priority and now that she's in college, she says they have become that much more important.
"In high school I did not take education as seriously as I do now. I took it seriously, but now that I'm in college, I know that I now have to study, whereas in the past it was like, 'let me cram the night before'. In high school I always just made the honor roll, hovering around 3.00, but I now strive to do better than that, aiming for the 3.4...3.8 mark," said Williams.
The honors student makes studying a priority. If she has an evening class, she uses her free time during the day to revise or studies during the night after her dance practice. Not your average college student who is always looking for a party, Williams knows when to give herself a break to "ease her mind".
Her mother's only child, Williams said it makes her happy to know that she is able to make her mother proud. She attributes it all to her mom.
"[My mother's] hard work has pushed me to not let obstacles keep me from pursuing my educational goals and striving to be my best," she said. "Getting an education means striving to do my best at all times and not depending on anyone to push me, but wanting to do my best to make others proud of my accomplishment."
A well-rounded teenager, Williams is no stranger to extracurricular activities.
She was in a number of clubs in high school, and the trend hasn't stopped since she got to college.
At home for the summer, the college student is hoping to secure a summer job in the financial sector, but she isn't putting all her eggs in one basket. Refusing to remain idle, Williams has signed up for a summer class at The College of The Bahamas, where she will study business law.
"Seeing as I'm doing a double major, and I don't want to graduate a semester behind, I decided to take the summer course at COB because I want to be right on time with my May 2016 undergrad degrees," she said.
As she strives to continue to excel, Williams encourages her peers to do the same, despite the obstacles they may face. She believes excelling means prioritizing.

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News Article
French bridge to Brazil: The Caribbean should not be stranded

The world is about to see Europe linked to South America in a way that has never happened before.  A bridge will link French Guiana, the last European outpost in the Americas, with Brazil, the largest country in South America and now the sixth largest economy in the world.
There are other physical links to Brazil, but none from Europe.  Once the bridge between French Guiana and Brazil is opened, so too will open the opportunity for greater trade and investment between the European Union (E.U.) and Brazil, since for all administrative purposes French Guiana is as much a part of France as Paris.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country is just ahead of Brazil in the rankings of the world's largest economies, will probably announce the opening of the bridge across the Oyapock River, French Guiana's border with Brazil, while he is in French Guiana as part of a campaign whipping up support for his shot at a second term as president.
His interest in the relationship between French Guiana and Brazil will go beyond the physical link between the two neighbors to the economic opportunities it can provide for France and by extension the E.U.  Brazil has a population of about 200 million and its economy grew by 7.5 percent in 2010, and was forecast to grow another 3.5 percent in 2011.  It is rich in natural resources and is open to European investment.
On the other side, Brazil has a vibrant manufacturing sector and, remarkably, it sells more to China than it imports.  For Brazil, the link to French Guiana could lead to a direct land-crossing to the Atlantic Ocean for parts of its huge territory from which overland transportation to its own Atlantic coast is expensive.
This possibility will be additional to a border-crossing established in 2009 between Brazil and Guyana, when a bridge was built over the Takutu River that barely divides the two countries at Brazil's northern point.  However, while the bridge accommodates regular traffic between Brazil's northern area, Roraima, and Guyana, there is not an all-weather road from the bridge to Guyana's coast.  Until the all-weather road is constructed, Brazil still cannot use Guyana effectively for transporting exports from its northern region.
If French Guiana opens the 1,240-ft long bridge for business, it will connect the towns of Saint-Georges-de-l'Oyapock and Oiapoque on the French and Brazilian sides respectively, and the opportunities for commerce not only between the two neighbors, but between France and Brazil, will expand rapidly.
The opening of this bridge need not rival or displace the already-opened link between Guyana and Brazil, an all-weather road, estimated at US$40 million, was built from the Guyana border town, Lethem, to Guyana's Atlantic coast.  Guyana's Foreign Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett recently announced that Guyana has completed a feasibility study for the Lethem Road paving project.  She is reported to have said: "We would like to see this project accelerate quickly, but we also have to be very patient."  While she did not say so, the minister's caution could be based on the level of concessional financing that Brazil is willing to give.
Meantime, authoritative reports show that, as a result of the Takutu Bridge, the flow of commodities from Guyana to Brazil has increased.  There is also a flow of Brazilians into Guyana especially into the gold and diamond mining industries, and, increasingly, into the establishment of nightclubs and restaurants in Guyana's capital city.
The completed road would not only give Guyana an opportunity to sell commodities to northern Brazil, it would also earn Guyana revenues from Brazilian exports moving to Guyana's sea port which would have to be converted into a deep water harbor.  Services to Brazilian transport vehicles would also provide new economic opportunities for Guyanese and very likely lead to new townships along the hundreds of miles of road.  If the Brazilians extend their cooperation further to provide concessional financing for a deep water port in Guyana, both countries would benefit.  So too would the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), whose people would find jobs in an expanded Guyana economy, and whose manufacturing industries could access Northern Brazil through Guyana.
The Guyana-Brazil relationship would have to be carefully negotiated to ensure that Guyana is not overwhelmed.  While there is no tension between Guyana and Brazil, some of Brazil's other neighbors in South America - particularly Bolivia and Paraguay - have complained about Brazil flexing its newfound political and economic muscle.
Marcel Biato, Brazil's ambassador to Bolivia, said, about infrastructure financing in Bolivia and elsewhere in South America, "We want Brazil to be surrounded by prosperous, stable countries."
Other Brazilian authorities have argued that their country has access to sources of raw materials other than its immediate neighbors and that it has routes across the continent through which it can send goods to ports on the Pacific.  That may be so, but it is cheaper for Brazil to secure raw materials it needs from their closest point, and the governor of Roraima has made it clear that it would be cheaper for manufacturing industries in his state to be able to ship their goods to the Atlantic through Guyana.
It is very much in Brazil's interest to allay the fears of its neighbors and to monitor carefully the behavior of some of its companies operating in nearby countries, or, over time, it could be tainted with the same image of bullying that Latin American and Caribbean countries applied to the United States.  That would not be good for Brazil or its neighbors.
As the Brazilian economic ship rises in the sea of economic fortunes, it has the chance to pull along the smaller economies around it in a manner that commands respect and support.
The bridges to two of the Guianas - Guyana and French Guiana - as well as the increasing economic links to the third of the Guianas - Suriname - offer great opportunities for Brazil.
As for Guyana, the all-weather road to Brazil will be a catalyst for further economic growth and a gateway to South America for the Caribbean Community countries.  As two developing countries with shared interests in the international arena, Guyana and Brazil should cement a fair, balanced and co-operative agreement to ensure mutual benefits and gains whatever happens with the connection between France and Brazil through the use of French Guiana.
Sir Ronald Sanders is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on small states in the global community.

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News Article
Living up to a legacy of excellence

Dreams are bigger than the problems that try to disillusion you.  This is the belief of 14-year-old Kathie-Lee Petsch, a tenth grade student at N.G.M. Major High School in Long Island.  The over-achiever, who was recognized at the Ministry of Education's annual national awards presentation for the best overall performance by a female student in the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) in the public schools, with seven A and two B grades, said hard work and perseverance are the things she lives by when it comes to her education.
Kathie-Lee chalks up her incredible drive to the loving memory of her father, Andreas Petsch, a German electrical engineer who was murdered when she was just 15 months old.
Although she never got to know her dad she feels that her academic achievements make him proud and she hopes to keep doing her best.
Even though he's not actively in her life, she still believes she is connected to her father and inherited his passion and love for education.  In her dad's memory, the student with the best BJC results in Math and Science at North Long Island High School are presented with an award. Petsch has proudly presented the award to a deserving student for the past four years.
To get to where she is academically, Kathie-Lee understands the value of time management and takes advantage of opportunities.
"I did not get where I am overnight," said the honor roll student.  "It's about working hard and being consistent.  It's about balance and time management.  It's about making goals and sticking to them.  I am not saying it's not always going to be hard to stay on top, but it's important to do the extra work even when you don't have to, so you don't get overwhelmed."
Her method for studying effectively is to find a quiet corner in any given environment (preferably her home) and tackle her most intense subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics and English first. Then she relaxes and catches up on subjects that are easier for her like Spanish and Commerce.  She has a strict evening schedule that she adheres to after school so that she does not lose her focus or fall behind in her studies.
Kathie-Lee also believes in always challenging herself and not getting comfortable even if she attains a goal. Even though she did well in her BJC's and received A grades in English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Health Science, General Science, Religious Knowledge and Technical Drawing, and a B grade in Art and Design, she said that does not distract her.  She's upping the ante as she aims for a perfect 4.0 grade point average.  It's currently 3.39.
"I know I am capable of getting a 4.0 grade point average, so I am looking forward to really showing that I can.  I am currently still getting used to my new courses and I am sure in no time I will do what I set out to do."
She said she really needs to keep up her grades if she wants to get into a good university and make her dream of becoming a pediatric psychologist a reality.
Determination and persistence is only one of the key ingredients to Kathie-Lee's recipe for success.  Her familial support system which she feels is unshakeable is also key.  She's an only child, but she lives in a home with five other people, including her mother, Lucinda Petsch and aunts Janetta and Dezerine Cooper, grandmother Rowena Cooper and an eight-year-old cousin Deneshia Johnson. She says their presence gives her the sense of home and support that makes her comfortable and relaxed enough to study her best.
"My mother is especially very supportive of me and is always interested in what I am doing or studying.  She ensures she knows exactly what is going on and if I don't know something she helps me.  If she can't help, she ensures she gets me the resources so I can learn and do my best."
While she strives to do her best academically, Kathie-Lee says she also knows that there is much more to life and to being a good student than simply cramming her mind with facts and equations.  She also values extra-curricular activities and makes time to have fun.  She is active in the Governor General Youth Awards Program and has gotten the bronze and silver medals of achievement.  She is also part of the Bahamas Youth Network -- a Christian-focused group that focuses on community services. To enhance her Spanish-speaking skills she also joined Club Bajamar and hopes to travel to Cuba during the Easter break to make use of what she's learned.  She also ensures she keeps her focus on God in all that she does in being a member of her church's (Church of God the Bight) youth and young adult group, the Family Training Hour.  The smart student even takes time out to be a part of the peer tutoring program in her school, which encourages academically-gifted students to assist those who are struggling with their work.
"I think it's very important to be active in things other than my schoolwork.  Being in numerous activities forces me to manage my time better," she says.  "I also am useful to my community and make myself more well-rounded [because] being in numerous clubs also looks good on my college resume.  Besides you do need to relax sometimes, learn new things and just have fun."
Her advice to all students who wish to excel is to always continue to strive for excellence in all they do.  She says achieveing perfect A grades is always great, but said it is not right to judge what others can do to what you know you are capable of.  If your best grade is a C or a B, then she said you should do your best to achieve those grades. As long as you work as hard as you can, she said knowing that you could not have given anything more -- whatever achievement -- should make you proud.
"I understand that not everyone is the same and what is easy for me is hard for others or the other way around.  I always advise others to do what is best for them and work as hard as they can.  If you need help get it, but the real key to all of this is doing what you personally can and continuing to challenge yourself.  Do not procrastinate when it comes to your work, and it never hurts to ask questions.  No one knows everything, so as long as you remember that you will not only do well but you will be the best that you can be."

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News Article
Charity attracts record yacht numbers

Hundreds will descend on the country's largest resort to participate in a boating event that benefits at-risk youth.
The 25th Annual Showboats International Rendezvous, hosted by the executives of the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County, is designed to raise money for 12,000 at-risk youth. According to event organizers, the annual charity is one of the largest social superyacht gatherings in the world, raising more than $30 million to date.
Brian Quail, the organization's chief executive officer, said he believes that the three-day event will not only raise the much-needed dollars for the children, but also serve as the kick-off to the yachting year.
"Hopefully, we are going to raise a lot of money to meet the needs of at-risk youth that we serve here in Broward County, Florida. We have over 12,000 members that we take care of on an annual basis and most of our kids, 61 percent of them come from single parent homes. Incomes are usually less than $20,000. Fifty-two percent of our membership falls within that category," he said.
"We actually started this event in The Bahamas 25 years ago, so it's really fun for us to be back. We think we have put together a fun-filled weekend for those who will be attending and participating."
The Boys & Girls Club of Broward Country is partnering with Showboats International, the Atlantis resort and the Ministry of Tourism to host the popular boating charity event. Organizers are looking to raise more than $1 million over the course of the weekend.
Mike Busacca, an executive committee member for the event, said he is excited about this year's event, as it is expected to be the biggest one to date. The response from sponsorship and participants has been promising.
"We are bringing quite a bit of yachts. There has been $1 million in donations to assist with the auction. There are owners who donate their boats to charter for a week. People are very excited. Sponsors are paying fees from $5,000 all the way up to $50,000," Case shared.
"We felt that The Bahamas would be the perfect location because a resort like Atlantis is all-inclusive when owners decide to come with their yachts, everything is there for them to have and to see. They don't have to leave that resort at all during their stay. They want to party for a great cause."
Rick Case, the event's founder, pointed out to Guardian Business that Nassau and the Atlantis resort is the perfect location to host the yachting event. It was first launched here 25 years ago.
"They needed to raise money and I came with the idea for this event. We started at Cat Cay in The Bahamas. Every year the event grows. We are going to have more yachts than we've ever had in our existence, as well as guests. We are always limited to 15-20 yachts where now we have room for 2,500 people and we have room for 60 yachts," he added.
"We went from being able to service three clubs with 1,000 kids with a $1 million budget to having 13 clubs, servicing 12,000 kids with more than a $10 million budget. From this annual event, we raised over $30 million."
The three-day event begins this evening with the sponsor welcome reception at the Atlantis marina, to be followed by a yacht hop. On Friday there will be a fishing tournament and a poolside party. On Saturday there will be a beach BBQ, Admirals Club cocktail party and a 'White Gala' to be held in the Imperial Ballroom.

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News Article
Sunquest lifts off with direct flights from Halifax

Tourism officials believe that expanding its Canadian market will only have a positive impact on The Bahamas' bottom line.The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is teaming up with Canadian tour operator Sunquest, as it announced direct flights to Nassau from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tourism's National Manager for the Canadian office Janet Cuffie said the venture is part of the ministry's expansion strategy.

She believes the key to ensuring that The Bahamas is seen as a strong destination by vacationers is through successfully convincing travel partners to offer more destinations in more markets.

"There will be two weekly departures on Thursdays and Sundays aboard Thomas Cook Airlines' 217-seater Boeing 757 aircraft," she said.

Cuffie told Guardian Business the launch of this newest service is in addition to the year-round flight from Toronto to Nassau that Sunquest currently operates.

Cuffie revealed that in addition to the flights, Sunquest will offer Nova Scotia residents the opportunity to book three, four and seven night stays at any of eight Nassau or Paradise Island area resorts.

These resorts include Atlantis Paradise Island, Comfort Suites Paradise Island, Paradise Island Harbour Resort, Best Western Bayview Suites, Superclubs Breezes Nassau, Wyndham Nassau Resort&Crystal Palace Casino, Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort.

Sunquest's Vice President Steve Buchart toldGuardian Business the company is delighted to offer direct flights between Halifax and Nassau as part of its winter 2012 program.

He called this move a win-win situation for all involved.

"This new route not only allows our customers in Halifax to experience, first-hand, our Thomas Cook Canada flights and the best-in-class service that goes with that, but it also provides us with the opportunity to further promote Nassau as a fantastic vacation destination.

"Not only does Nassau offer great resorts, beautiful beaches and ample opportunities for fun, it is now easier than ever to visit with this new direct service."

The Halifax program to Nassau with Sunquest is showing strong sales for the month of February.

In fact, last night's inaugural flight was sold out.

Sunquest has been offering Canadians vacation packaged holidays for over 40 years, specializing in the Caribbean, The Bahamas, Central America, southern Europe and Mediterranean cruises.

Halifax is the largest city in Canada's Atlantic region.

The nonstop seasonal service from Halifax to Nassau commenced yesterday and will end on April 8, 2012.

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News Article
Heart Month events throughout February bring awareness of heart disease

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Heart disease is the number one killer of persons in The Bahamas and around the world. According to statistics from The Department of Statistics over 24% of all deaths in the Bahamas are directly related to heart disease.  February is celebrated annually as Heart Month. The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and The Bahamas Heart Association want you to get involved.
The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation is a non-profit entity that helps to repair the hearts of children in The Bahamas. The Heart Ball Committee is the fundraising arm of The Heart Foundation; it consists of a group of dedicated volunteers who help to raise funds to repair children's hearts. The Heart Foundation works along with The Bahamas Heart Association to educate and inform the public about living heart healthy lifestyles. The Bahamas Heart Association comprises of volunteers who provide their time and services to the following goals:
1. Assist the children in need, in our community with the cost of heart investigations and surgery.
2. Advises the public through the media of all aspects of heart disease, risk factors and preventative care. Speakers and educational material are available to schools, youth groups, service clubs and other public meetings.
The Bahamas Heart Association and The Heart Foundation, with the aid of the Heart Ball Committee, have jointly scheduled several events during heart month to create awareness of heart disease, to help persons live heart healthy lifestyles and to help raise funds to repair children's hearts.  Additionally, Doctor's Hospital will host their monthly health talk.

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News Article
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Hosts Blood Drive

Nassau, Bahamas - Recently,
the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Pi Xi Chapter, held the
Charles Drew Blood Drive and Health Screening.  The event took place at
the newly developed Saunders Beach.

Citizens  of  the  Bahamas  stopped by the venue for screening for
diabetes mellitus,  hypertension  and hypercholesterolemia.  A total of
twenty units of  blood  were  collected  by the Rotary Clubs of the
Bahamas Mobile Blood Van.

Participants  were  treated  to  a barbeque and music in the parking
lot of Saunders  Beach.   The brothers of Omega Psi Phi had good
fellowship during the successful service event...

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