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There are some ideas many claim to understand, but which few actually do, such as national youth service (NYS), which the country should better define before moving ahead with any new initiatives that bear the name but have little resemblance to more authentic models of NYS.
In defining an idea, it's clarifying to acknowledge what it isn't. Efforts to rehabilitate non-violent juvenile offenders or provide alternative programs for school-age youth the public education system is unable "to handle" have been wrongly defined and mislabeled as national youth service.
Military and penal oriented programs are not examples of NYS. The former Youth Empowerment and Skills Training Institute (YEAST), for all its merits, though not without its problems is similarly not a form of NYS. Despite criticisms, those who initiated, built and supported YEAST deserve our gratitude.
While successive governments have spoken eloquently of the importance of NYS, they have failed to define the concept. But, despite this lack of clarity, there has been an enduring effort to provide our young people with opportunities to contribute to the common good through community service.
This spirit has produced fine programs such as the Girl Guides, Kiwanis' Key Clubs and an impressive list of private efforts to develop character and promote active citizenship among our youth.
But these laudable programs are also not NYS. National youth service by its definition is broader based involving significant numbers of young people.
Whether we realize it or not, the country has already developed a form of NYS, namely, the mandatory community service program in our public and most of our private secondary schools.
This is an example of having a good thing and not recognizing its goodness, especially with regards to the thousands of hours of service thousands of Bahamian youth have already given to the nation.
But this good idea, yet underdeveloped program, is quite flawed in terms of its mission, direction, oversight and effectiveness. We have to make this good thing even better by holding these school-based programs to a higher standard and providing them with clearer guidelines and better management and accountability.
While there are other forms of NYS that can be geared towards college and post-college young people, and should be thought through, the country already has a national youth service infrastructure, namely, our junior and secondary schools filled with all of the nation's youth, to whom we can provide myriad citizenship building and community service-learning experiences.
Our national challenge is not to launch new programs that check-off some box called national youth service, but to take what we already have and dramatically revise it so that the promise of NYS, already realized in some form, can more fully fulfill the idea and ideals of national youth service of which we have long dreamed.
Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors will join volunteers working at the 42nd BTC CARIFTA Games in the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium this Easter weekend. They will be distributing Coca-Cola beverages to attendees from March 29 to April 1.
Donnisha Armbrister, Coca-Cola's marketing manager, said: "Community is top of mind for us as it is with Rotary. We assist as much as possible with opportunities to educate, or develop young Bahamians. When one of our products is purchased, a portion of the proceeds is invested in the community. We are glad to contribute to the charitable initiatives that Rotary conducts around the country."
Lindsey Cancino, assistant district governor for Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas, said: "This is a big job for us, but the Rotary family abides by our motto, 'Service above Self'. We are always looking for opportunities to serve and raise funds for community projects. It is a privilege to partner with Coca-Cola and lend assistance to the CARIFTA organizers."
Atlantis has vamped up its approach to New Year's weekend, with a resort executive saying a diverse experience is the focus for the Paradise Island resort.
Senior director of special events at Atlantis Cecile Raubenheimer told Guardian Business that guests will have multiple ways to ring in 2012 - and the attention to detail will be fully reflected over the weekend.
"This year, we focused on giving our guests several different experiences; there will be five different events for them to choose from," Raubenheimer said. "They get to customize what type of New Year's evening they want to have. That was our primary focus, making sure each demographic has the option of doing something they like to do."
Raubenheimer added that more events have been included this year compared to last year and most of the activities are catered towards the adult crowd. Non-hotel guests will be able to join in the festivities as well - which include several themed parties at the various bars and nightclubs on the property.
"We have several things going on the property in regards to our nightclubs, bars and restaurants," she said. "We will have midnight toasts and bottle services at Club Aura and Dragons, we will have late night dining at certain restaurants, and the casino will have an event as well."
With the Christmas period being one of the busiest times of the year, Raubenheimer admits that this holiday seems busier than last year. She added that the guests are enjoying the festive environment and the amount of options they have at their fingertips.
Amanda Felts, vice president of guest activities, said the feedback received from hotel guests has been tremendous and they have taken advantage of all the added amenities.
"The guests are loving it," Felts said. "All of our events over the past couple of weeks have been full and with Atlantis enhancing our entertainment this year, they have jumped on it."
Felts added that there are a number of "great" things on the horizon and they plan on rolling out a host of other events in 2012. Having multiple options, she said, makes their experience more enjoyable.
"That's what makes Atlantis special because we make sure that everybody gets everything they desire on a vacation," she said.
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Twenty proud security personnel representing 17 airports in 13 Family Islands received Train the Trainer certification at the closing ceremony of the five-day "Excellence in Screening Techniques Course," held January 21-25 at the SuperClubs Breezes Resort.
Course graduates represented Family Island airports in Mangrove Cay, Andros; Georgetown, Exuma; New Bight, Cat Island; Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera; Marsh Harbour, Abaco; Bimini; The Berry Islands; North Eleuthera; Inagua; Rock Sound, Eleuthera; Stella Maris, Long Island; Treasure Cay, Abaco; Fresh Creek, Andros; Freeport, Grand Bahama and San Salvador.
Director of Civil Aviation Captain Patrick L. Rolle explained that this training course met all of its objectives with an emphasis on the customer service side of airport security. He expressed his expectation that this level and quality of training will continue and that Bahamian security specialists would consistently meet and exceed international security standards and service delivery.
"I believe all of our goals were accomplished and met for the week that our staff were here. Excellence in screening is important to us because the customer service side of our business is not recognised or adhered to. What we will see at the end of the day is a group of persons who have developed a passion for service," he said.
If the economy is ever going to improve, Bahamians need to keep spending and broaden their horizons so the country is ready for a rebound.
Michael Turnquest, the deputy chairman for the FNM, said his experience in politics and as a businessman has taught him valuable lessons.
Perhaps the most significant, he said, is to never stop moving.
"People say the economy doesn't look good. They say economies are collapsing all around us," he told Guardian Business. "But one of the things that creates a stagnant economy is when you stop spending. You can only keep going by spending."
At the end of the day, while the debt might increase, Bahamians need to stimulate the economy. According to Turnquest, consumers often decide if they are in a recession.
As the owner of two businesses, keeping activity robust is a principle he puts into action each day. Turnquest recently launched a restaurant business in April - a move many of his peers thought was far too risky. He also runs Bahamas Water Storage, an established company that served as one of the sub-contractors for the new Blue Hills water tank. Capable of holding up to six million gallons, it is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean, Turnquest said.
Bahamas Water Storage also handles maintenance for sewerage facilities and other related industries.
The FNM deputy chairman said Water and Sewerage Corporation's (WSC) recent decision to out-source waste water treatment plants is a perfect example of creating jobs and keeping the company dynamic.
WSC and the government have agreed to take on a $81 million loan from the
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to revamp the system in New Providence, as reported by Guardian Business, and a big part of the project is the construction of new plants.
Turnquest said his company, among others will be vying for maintenance of the facilities when the time comes. He felt the decision to out-source was a smart move not just from his perspective, but it will also allow WSC to focus on the water side of the operation.
"What WSC has done is sub-contract to build, own and maintain waste water treatment plants. They are passing on that cost. It is cost effective for them and lessens man power. Meanwhile, it enhances business."
Turnquest told Guardian Business it's a model that can be duplicated in The Bahamas. Maintenance of government buildings will be efficient in the hands of the private sector and stimulate the economy.
"They can better manage it when it is out-sourced, straight down to the mechanics of it all," he added. "A lot of this stuff can be out-soured and other government entities can follow suit."
Although his company will be bidding on WSC contracts, Turnquest pointed out the company already has a lot of work to handle. He said Bahamas Water Storage has recently signed on with Bahamas Food Services to help expand their plant. It will also be working with Baha Mar, he revealed, namely on the waste water plant the resort is building for SuperClubs Breezes as part of a land swap.
Turnquest said it's tough out there, but if you keep your head up and stay moving, opportunities present themselves.
"From an economy standpoint, things could always do better," he explained. "We almost had nothing to do some time ago. Now, once we leave a job, we get into another. There is a lot of work out there now."
U.S. Charg presents Missouri Sherman-Peter with The Bahamas' 2013 International Woman of Courage award
NASSAU, Bahamas -- For the last seven years in honor of International Women's Day, the United States Government has asked its embassies around the world to nominate one female leader for the International Women of Courage Award. Each year, U.S. Embassy Nassau proudly recognizes a Bahamian female leader who has demonstrated perseverance in the struggle to address inequalities faced by women throughout The Bahamas.
On Friday, March 15, 2013, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires John Dinkelman along with senior U.S. and Bahamian government officials came together at the SuperClubs Breezes Resort on Cable Beach to recognize the U.S. Embassy's 2013 International Woman of Courage (IWOC) award recipient, Ms. Missouri Sherman-Peter, for her courageous leadership in advocating women's rights and empowerment throughout her 40 years of public service in national government and multinational organizations. Two previous International Women of Courage award winners were also on hand for the celebration; 2012 award recipient The Honorable Janet Bostwick, a Bahamian national and "matriarch of women's rights" and the 2010 honoree, Dr. Sandra Dean Patterson, founder and director of The Crisis Center.
In his remarks Chargé Dinkelman he noted that International Women's Day is a time when each of us must recommit to ending gender inequality around the world, so that every woman and girl can live up to her full potential because all societies benefit when women are healthy, safe, and can contribute their labor, leadership, and creativity to the global economy. He also applauded Ms. Sherman Peter for personifying the possibilities that have been created by female Bahamian women trailblazers and urged young women throughout The Bahamas to take the reins.
There has been much good work over many years to expand opportunities for disabled Bahamians. Various individuals and charitable organizations are noteworthy for their contributions in this important work.
Among the aforementioned are organizations such as Abilities Unlimited, the Bahamas National Council for Disability, the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled, the Physically Challenged Children's Committee and others.
Various social outreach groups, service clubs and businesses have likewise provided generous financial and material assistance to persons with disabilities.
A number of intrepid individuals have also lent their considerable time, talents and other resources.
They include persons such as Sheila Culmer, Sir Durward Knowles, Drexel Deal, Harold Longley and Dr. Patrick Whitfield. We recall too the work of others now deceased, including Sir Etienne Dupuch, Shirley Oakes-Butler and Beryl Hanna.
Still, despite past accomplishments and the work of many individuals and organizations, there is considerable work to be done to enhance the integration of and to better utilize the gifts and energies of more individuals with disabilities.
There is work to be done in the areas of public education, elimination of discrimination, better access to economic and training opportunities and other measures.
After years of rhetoric, many disabled persons and their families have grown tired of what they feel are promises without action.
As with any group seeking fuller integration into society, disabled persons are still their own best advocates.
They should continue to agitate for change and opportunity. The aforementioned can be enhanced through better coordination and networking among disability organizations.
The government proposes to introduce long delayed but welcomed legislation, namely, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities) Act.
The legislation is geared towards further reducing discrimination against persons with disabilities.
Former president of the Bahamas National Council for Disability Sheila Culmer told The Nassau Guardian recently that discussions surrounding the rights of the disabled have been ongoing for the last 20 years.
She noted that the legislation will "make it unlawful to discriminate against persons with disabilities in connection with education, employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services and the disposal or management of premises, to make provisions in respect of the employment of persons with disabilities, to establish a national disabilities rights commission and for connected purposes."
Culmer also indicated that education, transportation and accessibility to public buildings were key issues she hopes the bill addresses.
They are hoping that 2011 is the year that landmark legislation for the disabled is finally passed after many years of delay by successive governments.
To be effective, such legislation must be accompanied by the provision of resources for its enforcement and enablement.
Such legislation should cause individual Bahamians, including business owners, to consider how their attitudes and practices are supporting or helping to end discrimination towards our disabled citizens.
Leno Corporate Services Limited has partnered with the Barracuda Swim Club to host the Leno-Barracuda Invitational Swim Meet this coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Center.
"Leno Corporate Services is honored to support and endorse the Barracuda Swim Club. We have always believed that investing in the talents of our athletes is a priceless endeavor," said Khalil Braithwaite, Manager of Business Development and Client Relations at Leno Corporate Services. "Leno is excited and enthusiastic to have this opportunity to contribute to the continued success of swimming which develops discipline and values as swimmers pursue their goals."
Dion Gibson, president of the Barracuda Swim Club, said: "We are so pleased and excited to enter into this partnership with Leno Corporate Services. We are grateful to them for choosing to support our club and the sport of swimming. This is Leno's first swim meet and we welcome them to our swim family and look forward to a successful relationship in the future." He also said: "Our coaching staff has prepared our swimmers well for the meet this weekend which promises to be very competitive and exciting. This meet give the swimmers a chance to achieve qualifying times as well as better their times to qualify for the upcoming 42nd RBC Bahamas National Swimming Championships which will begin Thursday evening on June 20."
The Bahamas Swimming Federation's (BSF) National Championships are set for June 20-23, 2013.
Swimmers both locally and internationally will compete this weekend as it is also the last FINA qualifying meet before the CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation) Swimming Championships, which will begin on the last Saturday in June.
The Barracuda Swim Club is asking the Bahamian public to come out and experience the excitement of what should be an extremely competitive swim meet. About a dozen swim clubs throughout The Bahamas are expected to take part in the meet which will get underway on Friday at 6 p.m., and will continue on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- This past weekend a great humanitarian in Grand Bahama was rewarded for his work through the Rotary Clubs in Grand Bahama. Harold "Sonny" Waugh, of Waugh Construction, is the first Rotarian in Grand Bahama to receive the esteemed Sir Durward Knowles Humanitarian Award. This award was presented to Mr. Waugh on Saturday night during the Rotary Club of Freeport's 50th Anniversary.
While the club has been in Grand Bahama for 50 years, it was noted that Waugh had been a Rotarian for 40 years and during that time, his love for the organization and his community was so visible he was nicknamed "Mr. Rotary."
In the anniversary commemorative booklet, Waugh was also congratulated by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham in his address to the club, as well as Assistant District Governor K. Peter Turnquest and many fellow Rotarians.
Turnquest stated that Waugh has been a pioneer and a giant in Grand Bahama in both community service and business, lending his time and treasure in the service of mankind locally and internationally. "He has worked tirelessly and admirably to further the cause and principles of Rotary and stands as a shining example of what we all should aspire to be," continued Turnquest. "Sonny proves that by selflessly working to change your own corner of the globe, your influences and impacts can be felt worldwide. Congratulations Sonny on being awarded the Sir Durward Knowles Humanitarian Award, recognition well earned."
Making the presentation on behalf of the four Rotary Clubs in Grand Bahama and Sir Durward Knowles was past Rotary International Director Barry Rassin.
Photo: Guest speaker, past RI Director Barry Rassin, presents Harold 'Sonny' Waugh with the Sir Durward Knowles Humanitarian Award. (Photo: Erik J. Russell / Keen i Media Ltd.)
Click HERE to read more in the Freeport News
Click HERE to view a gallery of photos from the event by Keen i Media Ltd.
Click HERE to view video of "Mr Rotary" if no display above.
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Minister of Health indicated that non-communicable diseases account for 45% of deaths in the Bahamas. Heart disease (non-communicable) is the number one killer of persons in the Bahamas. The Bahamas Heart Association is the educational arm of The Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation. 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 has scheduled several events during heart month to create awareness to heart disease and to help persons live heart healthy lifestyles.
The events for heart month are:
February 5th - Church Service at Heritage of Redeeming Love Methodist Church
February 11th - Free CPR Classes at SC McPherson School from 10 am to 2 pm
February 16th - Doctor's Hospital Lecture at 6 pm, with blood pressure checks from 5 pm. Free.
February 17th - Go red for Women day: Free
February 18th - The 48th Annual Heart Ball
February 23rd - The Annual Health Fair at Town Centre Mall from 9 am - 4 pm. Free.
February 23rd - Bahamas Surgical Associates Center / Cleveland Clinic Free Heart Health Seminar at British Colonial Hilton. Reception at 6:30 pm, and seminar starts at
February 25th - The Annual Fun / Run Walk