Search results for : bar

Did you mean : BBQ

Showing 841 to 860 of 1000 results


News Article

October 04, 2011
CEDA urges higher export standards

Armed with 500,000 euros from the European Development Fund (EDF), the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) is encouraging Bahamian food exporters to apply for grants and training to help bring their operations up to international standards.
"The best approach is to be ahead of the curve," said Elliott Paige, the Manager of Trade and Export Development at CEDA.
"We're dependent on trade and our markets are small.  We also depend on the U.S. and the EU, and their concern for food-born illnesses is serious and understandable.  This gives us the opportunity to improve our standards."
Back in January 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Although the full ramifications and requirements have yet to be enforced, this push with CEDA is partly a reflection of that signing to ensure governments and the private sector are not left behind.
Food safety is a global problem, Paige said, and governments are trying different methods to deal with it.
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the Executive Director of CEDA, believes regional enterprise cannot be "sidelined" by inertia or indecisiveness, and companies must be able to respond at the same rate as competitors.
"As an agency charged with building the export capacity of CARIFORUM companies, we must have a leading role in ensuring that whenever regional exports are threatened or compromised we respond and respond quickly," she said.
Paige felt the Act out of the U.S. was absolutely necessary.
"The Act in the U.S. increases standards related to food safety and makes them more stringent over the next 18 months," he told Guardian Business.
"Part of our role is to ensure the Caribbean meets international standards and market requirements and help companies grow and look at simple things, such as supply chain, management and food safety."
Saying The Bahamas has "pretty good standards" due to the importance of tourism and the service sector, the funds and training are meant to help companies of all different levels of need.
Some entities will need a few tweaks, he said, while others require more fundamental changes.
Food warnings, measures to prevent bacteria, certification, control points and meticulous documentation are all covered in the improved standards.
The 500,000 euros and Special Assistance Programme will consist of technical workshops to raise awareness and provide access to accurate information.  Individual companies can access up to 5,000 euros to pay costs associated with carrying our assessments and diagnostic tests, according to CEDA.
Meanwhile, qualified firms in further need of assistance can apply for up to an additional 30,000 euros under the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme Program.
A two month pilot project in Jamaica is expected to begin on Oct 26.
Paige hopes Bahamian companies and their counterparts through the Caribbean still step up and prepare for the future of food exports.
"Although the FSMA in the U.S. has not come into effect yet, we're in constant communication with the FDA, and as it evolves we're on top of it and making sure we inform our clients so they can modify their procedures well before this comes into force," he said.
"It's about being ahead of the game before it impacts trade."

read more »


News Article

November 16, 2010
Runway Report: Islands of the World Fashion Week

Spurred on by the entrancing
beat of goat skin drums, eight barebacked male dancers donning tribal
paint exploded onto the runway heralding the start of the third annual
Islands of the World Fashion Week (IWFW.)

Five Bahamian designers joined
by over 10 designers from island nations around the world including
Jamaica, Turks & Caicos and the Dominican Republic, converged at the
British Colonial Hilton for the three evening event which ran from
Friday, November 11 to Saturday, November 13. Here are the highlights of
the fashion week.

Read my daily highlights for all three Runway shows inside...

read more »


News Article

June 04, 2014
Anonymous witnesses allowed in murder trial

A murder trial will proceed with anonymous witnesses, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday.
The decision reverses a decision by Senior Supreme Court Justice Jon Isaacs who refused an application by prosecutors to protect the identities of the witnesses against Leroy Smith, 27, of Old Boat Alley, and Tony Smith, 26, of Kelly Lane.
They are accused of the February 2012 death of Tristan Bartlett, who was shot in the head in Mason's Addition.
The appellate court also overturned a decision by Isaacs not to permit the witness to testify via videolink.
They will now be tried on August 18.
The controversial Criminal Witness Anonymity Act became law in November 2011.
The court has to be satisfied that the witness would face intimidation or harm if his or her identity is revealed.
Offenses that qualify for anonymity orders are: murder, manslaughter, robbery while being armed with a firearm or an offensive instrument, rape, drug offenses, terrorism and trafficking in persons.

read more »


News Article

December 03, 2012
Govt Embarks on Agriculture Reform

The government is seeking to modernize the country's modest agriculture sector in an effort to promote trade and growth in the industry.
Ryan Pinder, minister in charge of trade and manufacturing, recently attended the 20th meeting of the CARIFORUM Council of Ministers in the Dominican Republic.

read more »


News Article
Bahamian Pastor For Miami Church
December 05, 2012
Bahamian Pastor For Miami Church

It was a proud moment in Bahamian-American history when Denrick Ephraim Rolle, 36, was inducted as rector and pastor of the historic Saint Agnes Episcopal Anglican Church in Overtown, Miami.

read more »


News Article

December 01, 2012
Twenty Questions

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
When the Prime Minister chose me as chairman of the board of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. That was a singular honor. And I am truly inspired to have a good go at it.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
I don't have a least favorite piece of artwork.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
My favorite period is NOW in The Bahamas. We are sitting on a mother lode of remarkably talented artists here. Painters, sculptors, and the list goes on... they are doing phenomenal, world-class work. And we haven't even begun to tap into our design genius, when you consider that we have a couple thousand designers on Bay Street come Boxing Day and New Year's and we still have a multimillion-dollar souvenir industry just waiting to be harnessed. There are exciting days ahead.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
a. Buck and the Preacher. b. Raisin in the Sun. c. The Godfather.
d. Seven Beauties. e. Natural Born Killers (please forgive me for this choice.)

5. Coffee or tea?
Tea, with lemon and honey.

6. What book are you reading now?
Love and Responsibility: The Dawn Davies Collection, edited by Erica Moiah James, PhD., layout and design by Dionne Benjamin-Smith and photography by Roland Rose.

7. What project are you working on now?
I have a number of projects going on in the studio and out of the studio. They will be revealed in due course.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
Well, there were two shows that surprised me, almost
simultaneously. "NE6" at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and "Fix Ya' Face" at the D'Aguilar Art Foundation.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
All of we is One Family!

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Cat Island.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
"Nation's Navel", an oil painting by my brother, Jackson L. Burnside III, which can be viewed at The D'Aguilar Art Foundation. This is an incredible painting that says so much about the way we live as Bahamians. It's a backyard scene where people communicate and congregate and the use of color is influenced strongly by his work in Junkanoo, and there's a pointillist treatment to portions of the painting that are very much like the French painter Georges Seurat. The impressionists were color freaks just like Junkanoo artists. When my brother first finished this painting and I saw it on the easel, I was so moved by it and I recognized that I had experienced a similar, but not quite as strong, feeling when I first viewed the painting by Pablo Picasso called "Guernica" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I have seen many paintings that I love over the years but I can truly say that particular painting speaks to me like no other.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
You ain' serious... want get me in trouble, eh?

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
Any one of my four children... they are all great company and funny.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
Me... no, I'm joking. There are so many great Bahamians, too numerous to mention and it would be unfair to single one out of the lot. I think that is a blessing, rather than a curse - don't you?

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
I'm not gonna tell you, but I will give you a hint. He or she is a Bahamian.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrise, because it's like the beginning of a painting. So much promise.

17. What role does the artist have in society?
To answer 20 questions for the local newspaper.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
If I told you, I would have to kill you.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
What I wouldn't do without is spiritual nourishment. I have found that spiritual nourishment in my church and when times get hard, I have some ammunition to fight against the situations that will try to break my spirit. Going to church and taking my communion is like putting on an armor for life... I feel protected.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
For me, the definition of beauty is not exact... there are multiple configurations that exist between here and infinity... between the life-giving beauty of woman in all her glory to that which is found in the artist's imagination. It is in this vast and ever changing firmament that I travel, searching and discovering... it is here, there and everywhere.
In any case, that's my story and I'm sticking to it... what's yours?

read more »


News Article

September 30, 2011
U.S. Ambassador Avant Meets with Youth Leaders Representing The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and St. Kitts

U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas, Her Excellency Nicole Avant, met with members of the Bahamas National Youth Council (BNYC) and CARICOM youth leaders on Friday who are visiting Nassau to participate in Caribbean Youth Day celebrations. CARICOM designated October 1 as the official day to recognize the contributions made by young people in the region with the goal of promoting regional integration and fostering increased civic participation among youth.

read more »


News Article

June 04, 2014
GB chamber executive: Tax approach 'a bit schizophrenic'

A Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) senior executive has described government's plans to postpone reducing the import duty across the board "a bit schizophrenic" and questioned whether it represents "responsible fiscal management."
Kevin Seymour, a former Grand Bahama-based partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers and present chairman of the Ethics and Legislative Committee of the GBCC, said that the move may also leave international credit rating agencies "shaking their heads".
"I understand that the government was under tremendous pressure to have the rate lowered, and some were suggesting they don't go the route of VAT. Now they have a situation where they lowered the rate, but what is clear to me and most people who understand these things is that at best we'll be benefiting from a 7.5 percent rate for no more than six months before that is dramatically changed; I don't know that that is responsible fiscal management.
"They will have to change the rate in order to proceed with plans for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to me they should've done both things at the same time, because the international agencies are watching us and when you have a situation where you simply did nothing with respect to accession plans to the WTO and you know you'll have to do that later on anyway, it seems a bit schizophrenic. That to me doesn't appear to be a very well-thought-out strategy."
In the budget communication, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the government anticipates a January 1, 2015 implementation of VAT at 7.5 percent with no "wide-scale duty reductions" and fewer exemptions. However, he pointed out that "more general tariff rebalancing" remains a requirement that will need to be implemented once The Bahamas concludes the ongoing WTO negotiations.
Last year, Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder had initially indicated that the government was targeting a December 2014 accession to the WTO. He later said that the process could extend into 2015.
With accession would come wide-scale reductions in duty rates, given that WTO membership requires the lowering of such duty rates, which are considered barriers to international trade. It is for this reason that Seymour and others - including government officials - have suggested an increase in the rate of VAT might be needed in order to compensate for the revenue lost when this reduction occurs.
In an interview with Guardian Business earlier this week, Coalition for Responsible Taxation Co-chair Gowon Bowe said that in a meeting with the coalition, Christie said that WTO accession could be delayed depending on the performance of the new tax system, which the government intends to implement in January 2015.
"I think Christie said he's not going to rush the WTO accession until he sees how the tax inflows work. He said it might get pushed back six months to see how the government can withstand a duty reduction," said Bowe.
Asked to respond to Bowe's comment in this regard this week, Pinder said he "does not know why the coalition would say that" and told Guardian Business that the accession process "continues as it always has".
As to whether this means a mid-2015 accession, Pinder did not comment further.
Seymour said: "If we have to reduce our rates to join the WTO and he is still sticking to the timetable he's given in the past, then it means the second half of 2015 will be quite tumultuous, because those rates will have to go down and the VAT rates will go up and we will have calamity.
"I can't see how you have a government with coordinated policies when you have one minister saying we are going full throttle to join the WTO and another saying we are not going to reduce rates."
"It also raises the question: What was the motivation to accede to the WTO? Certainly there were some benefits that they outlined with respect to our exporters that we would have some products placed in jeopardy."
Speaking on Guardian Talk Radio yesterday morning, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said the government will undertake "selective" reductions in import duty when VAT is implemented.
"We understand; of course people are concerned, the cost of living is high - they are concerned about anything that would increase that, and we are too, and we are going to try to mitigate that.

read more »


News Article

November 29, 2012
Global Watchdog Barks At 'Fierce' Brewery Feud

A feud brewing between the two alcohol producers in The Bahamas has caught the attention of a global watchdog. Brauwelt International, an organization specializing in the brewing and beverage sector, has chosen to focus on the increasingly tense relationship between Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company in Grand Bahama and Commonwealth Brewery Limited (CBB) in Nassau in its November report.

read more »


News Article

October 01, 2011
U.S. Ambassador Avant meets with youth leaders representing The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and St. Kitts

NASSAU, Bahamas -- U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas, Her Excellency Nicole Avant, met with members of the Bahamas National Youth Council (BNYC) and CARICOM youth leaders on Friday who are visiting Nassau to participate in Caribbean Youth Day celebrations.  CARICOM designated October 1 as the official day to recognize the contributions made by young people in the region with the goal of promoting regional integration and fostering increased civic participation among youth.   
During an in-depth discussion held at the Ambassador's residence the emerging leaders shared with Ambassador Avant some of the common issues impacting youth in the region and their efforts to impact change through youth organizations locally.  The youth leaders agreed that increased information sharing is needed among young people in the region, possibly through a virtual forum where members of National Youth Councils throughout the Caribbean could share best practices on ways to tackle common issues affecting youth.
BYNC's Caribbean Youth Day events kicked off on Thursday, September 29, with a forum on regional integration at The College of The Bahamas that featured the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Charles Maynard. Events culminate on Saturday October 1, with a Youth Market on Rawson Square where young people will showcase the culture of various Caribbean countries through music, art and dance.

read more »


News Article
Festival Noel Promises a Night of Fun Under the Stars
December 07, 2012
Festival Noel Promises a Night of Fun Under the Stars

The Rand Nature Centre will be filled with lights and fun as "A Not So Silent Night" promises lively action during Festival Noel tonight. This popular annual event is the main fundraiser for the Grand Bahama branch of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT).

read more »


News Article

September 22, 2011
Mr. Christie, stop this embarrassing act

Dear Editor,

I cannot watch this charade any longer. I keep remembering the songs "Send in the Clowns" and "Fools Rush In".  But nothing could be more disingenuous when a man who knows better, intentionally does not do better.
The art of deception has been perfected.  But the worst is that the level of disrespect of the Bahamian people by the PLP is most disheartening.
Crime is where it is because "we" allowed and facilitated drugs to run rampant throughout The Bahamas.
Just in case age has caught up with Mr. Perry Gladstone Christie, or he is so punch-drunk from the roller-coaster ride his top brass is taking him through, I will have to bring his thoughts back in focus.
Even though Mr. Christie must have a clearer picture of the handwriting on the wall, he must not forget the events of the past that have created the foundation for what we are now experiencing today. No amount of playing in "male cow droppings" is going to cause sensible people to see him in a positive light.
Mr. Christie, a member of the world of make-believe, was part of a government that has already been accused of making it very easy for drugs to 'flow through The Bahamas' with little resistance.
Mr. Christie must remember how the international newspapers smeared the good name of The Bahamas as a "Nation for Sale".  Drugs were the order of the day.  Mr. Christie was there.  No sensible investor wanted to come too close to The Bahamas.
Politicians, policemen, doctors, teachers, preachers, parents, students, bankers, lawyers, overseers, all professions, black and white, christians and sinners, were all full participants and many benefitted. Parents knew that their children were involved, but hollered when they were either shot down by the authorities or disappeared on a boat going nowhere.
Everyone is so busy looking for a scapegoat, and intelligent people are listening to fools that are repeating the foolishness that they are saying.  But truth be told, it all started when we allowed drugs to take over our streets while the government of the day not only looked the other way but also provided a safe haven.  Now after creating a culture of drug traffickers, we are acting like we "can't recall".
The scourge of drugs smothered us all.  We have lost several generations from the use, involvement and consequences. We said nothing while our small children looked on.  Now those children are adults and they are doing the same things we were doing then.  The chicken has come home to roost.
So Mr. Christie, I strongly advise you to cease and desist from allowing others to use you, because the words that are now being uttered by you are not your style.
It is patently clear that you are being poorly coached.  But if you allow them to sweeten you up with promises they do not intend to keep, then that's your business.
We all recognize a sham when we see one.  Intelligent Bahamians know full well the crime we are now experiencing and the frequency, is a combination of many things and is a full manifestation that we fed this monster all of these years by slackness that was allowed to happen unabated.
Now that we have set the record straight, we should stop playing games and talk about how "all of us" are going to clean up the mess.  Let me hasten to say that the scent of the mess is on all of us. No one is excluded.
 
Yours, etc.,
IVOINE W. INGRAHAM

read more »


News Article

November 28, 2012
Q A on pet adoption with the Humane Society of Grand Bahama

Q & A on pet adoption with the Humane Society of Grand Bahama
We will be announcing a fantastic holiday adoption special very soon and thought it might be useful to answer some commonly asked questions and debunk a few myths along the way.
You have so many dogs and cats - why don't you just give them away for free?
Good question!  We charge a nominal adoption fee for two reasons.  One; it costs us (often far more than the adoption fee) to care for each pet, to provide medical care like vaccines, deworming and preventatives for heartworm and fleas and ticks.  Sometimes animals come to us with injuries and illnesses and this adds to the cost of their care. The nominal adoption fees we normally charge - $75 for dogs and puppies, $50 for cats and kittens - allow us to recoup at least some of these costs which then allows us to continue to treat and care for more animals in need.  And two: if adopters can't afford our very reasonable adoption fees, we wonder if they can afford to provide proper care for their adopted pet.  However; we often run specials with much lower fees, and senior citizens (65 and over) are never charged a fee.  (Although we welcome donations at all times!)
You have so many dogs and cats - why are you so picky and why do you have to come to my house?
One of the reasons we have so many dogs and cats is because not everyone buys, adopts or takes in a stray animal for life.  Not everyone is truly prepared to provide everything that pet needs.  A large number of the animals that enter our shelter are surrendered by their owners for various reasons.  A small sampling of those reasons: moving and can't take the pet, fleas or ticks, the pet is sick or injured and don't want to pay a vet bill, the kids are not taking care of the pet, the dog barks too much, or not enough; the cat is scratching the furniture, the cat or dog  "won't stay home", the dog digs up the plants or pulls the clothes off the line, tired of the dog or cat having too many babies, can't afford to take care of anymore, and we've even heard "got new furniture and the cat has to go", and "moving to an upscale area and the dog and cat won't fit in"!  Many more animals are picked up or brought in as strays, yet they are friendly, some even wearing a collar, and it's obvious they had a home but no one ever come looking for them.

read more »


News Article

January 27, 2015
Leslie Miller's lawyer demands apology from BEC union chief

The legal firm that represents Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller has demanded that Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard publically apologize over numerous allegations and insinuations he made in a recent letter addressed to Labour Minister Shane Gibson.
"Our client requires you to write a letter containing a full and complete withdrawal and apology in terms to be approved by us on our client's behalf and publish this apology in The Tribune, The Nassau Guardian and The Bahamas Journal," said McKinney, Turner & Co. in a letter addressed to Maynard dated January 19.
"[Our client requires you] to give us your written assurance and undertaking that you will not further publish this or any similar article concerning our client; to pay to our client a proper and suitable sum as damages for the injury to his reputation and for the embarrassment and distress caused to him and to indemnify our client in respect of the costs, which he will have [incurred] in this matter."
The firm said if Maynard failed to respond within seven days it would proceed with legal action in the Supreme Court.
In a letter dated January 13, Maynard accused Miller of signing a contract recently with a foreign company without the board's approval to maintain the engines at BEC's Clifton Pier Power Station.
The letter was copied to Prime Minister Perry Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.
The union president also made other allegations regarding Miller's alleged relationship with the company in question.
He said that while Miller has railed against overtime at the corporation, this is to
"smoke screen" the issues concerning the Denmark-based company.
Miller has insisted that nothing could be further from truth.
Miller said BEC has no contract with the company.
He said the corporation has used purchase orders, a commercial document generated to acquire goods or services, since the 1990s for the company to maintain and overhaul the engines at Clifton.
He pledged to take "immediate legal action".
In response, Maynard said he welcomed Miller's decision to sue, noting that "the truth of the whole matter" will come out in court.
In its letter, which Maynard said he received on Monday afternoon, McKinney, Turner & Co. reaffirmed that the allegations are "completely untrue and constitute a grave libel upon our client".
"Indeed your highly defamatory statements are very serious and damaging to our client," McKinney, Turner & Co. said.
When contacted yesterday, Maynard said he stands by what he said. He said his attorney is also involved.
Asked whether he is prepared to apologize, Maynard said, "No. That is not happening. And I want you to know that no one can be shut up."
"I will not be bullied," said Maynard, who was out of the country.
"It is what it is, so do what you have to do."

read more »


News Article
FNM Leader's Contribution in Parliament
November 23, 2012
FNM Leader's Contribution in Parliament

Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing the official opposition to make a contribution as well as some constructive criticisms as we debate this bill for an act to amend the constitutional referendum act to provide for a framework for the conduct of a constitutional referendum, or any other referendum.

read more »


News Article

December 06, 2013
BBA offers no comment on application to have president imprisoned

FOLLOWING the conclusion of chamber proceedings yesterday, no comment was offered by the Bahamas Bar Association on an application by one of its members to have the BBA president committed to prison for contempt.

read more »


News Article

June 02, 2014
Light in the tunnel

"...Through my government's dedicated and responsible
approach to governance, the future looks very bright indeed."
- Perry G. Christie
The last Wednesday in May is one that most politicians and many citizens look forward to because, for the past two decades, it has been the date that the minister of finance delivers his budget communication to Parliament and tables the government's budget for the ensuing fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.
On Wednesday past, the prime minister, who is also the minister of finance, tabled the budget for the fiscal year 2014/2015. The budget was met with varying views, some skeptical, others incredulous and still others impressed.
This week, we would like to Consider this...What can Bahamians make of the recently announced national budget for the ensuing fiscal year?
In answering this question, the most important consideration is whether the government has demonstrated any significant improvement in the country's fiscal management. Let's examine the country's fiscal baseline in 2012.
When the Christie administration assumed office in 2012, it found in place an appalling fiscal pathology. In just five short years, from 2007 to 2012, the Ingraham administration had racked up unprecedented fiscal deficits, expanded the national debt to an all-time high, disposed of the country's most valuable national asset at a bargain basement price to a foreign purchaser under terms that were ill-advised and poorly considered and incurred cost overruns in several key national infrastructural projects.
It was against this backdrop that Christie realized that something radical had to be done to arrest the actions of successive administrations and reverse what was clearly a potentially precipitous plunge of the Bahamian economy.
Faced with systematic deficits on the recurrent account and very little room to maneuver as well as an increasing allocation of the budget to service the debt, and notwithstanding the plethora of naysayers, Christie took the very difficult but urgently needed decision to implement tax reform, which was the cornerstone of his multi-year fiscal consolidation plan.
That plan called for the implementation of certain policy initiatives that included holding the line on recurrent and capital expenditures, while simultaneously improving revenue collection. While attempting to do this, the prime minister's primary motivation was to strengthen the foundations of the economy by attracting foreign direct investment which would secure steady growth through employment and empowerment of the private sector. What has the prime minister achieved?
Foreign direct investment
We believe that the underlying principles espoused in the budget communication represent several positive steps in the right direction. The prime minister has laid the framework and road map to catapult us out of the financial doldrums into which we have sunk and in which we have continued to flounder for the past six years.
It is clear that, while we might not yet see the manifestations of his labors, the prime minister and some members of his team have been hard at work in New Providence and the Family Islands to spur economic activity. If his government is able to realize a fraction of the projects he delineated during his budget communication for the islands of Bimini, Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Salvador and Rum Cay, the country will receive a collective shot in the arm that should augur well for the overall health of the nation.
While it remains to be seen precisely which of the announced plans will actually materialize, the Christie administration deserves high marks on the foreign direct investment front.
Expenditure reduction
Many of the government's critics have correctly concluded that revenue enhancement without expenditure reduction is a formula for fiscal failure. We agree with that thesis. It is therefore very encouraging to observe that the 2014/15 budget has addressed this concern. The government's budget calls for an overall reduction in spending by the government, when such spending is taken as a percentage of GDP.
Recalibration of revenue
At the cornerstone of this year's budget is the government's announcement that it will introduce value-added tax (VAT) on January 1, 2015 at a rate of 7.5%. For some persons this is a double-edged development. On the one hand, most persons are relieved that the VAT rate will be one-half of the 15% that was initially suggested, but at the same time they believe that establishing VAT without a commensurate reduction in customs duty will be inflationary.
The issue that some persons have with the announcement regarding VAT is that the prime minister indicated that there would be no commensurate decrease in customs duties at this time. For those who don't understand 'political speak', the operative words are "at this time".
It would be imprudent for the government to announce a reduction today for an event that will not take effect for another six months, especially when the revenue from the new tax source, VAT, will not come into effect for at least another six months. To do so would significantly reduce the revenue, which would be counter-productive.
However, the very next sentence in the communication regarding VAT is a bit more worrisome.
"Based on the revenue performance of VAT early next year, the government may be in a position to consider tariff and excise reductions at the time of the 2015/16 budget."
It would be as imprudent - and heartless - for this government to expect already financially struggling and economically besieged Bahamians to bear what would be an onerous burden of the 7.5% VAT on top of existing tariffs and excise taxes for the entire six months from January 1, 2015 to July 1, 2015. It is imperative that the government convey to the people its understanding and awareness of the hard times they are going through.
It should immediately rethink this announced non-reduction of duties in the January to July 2015 period - and perhaps beyond - and allow for a decrease of some duties when VAT is rolled out in January 2015.
Conclusion
In short, the budget is both instructive and impressive. It is instructive because it lays out a framework for re-engineering the public finances in a coherent, methodical manner and provides a definitive approach as to how the government proposes to grow and diversify the economy, create jobs and empower more Bahamians.
It is impressive because the end-game was formulated as a result of a consensus-building exercise, which included many of the stakeholders who will be directly affected by the implementation of the tax reform initiatives. It is also impressive that the government has been extremely transparent and has announced that the private studies that were conducted by those with whom the government consulted will be posted on the government's website.
Throughout the entire budget communication, the prime minister reiterated the theme of hope for a better future for all Bahamians in light of the proposed new taxes, the approach to collecting them and returning to a more disciplined approach to our public finances after two decades of behaving in a pre-programmed manner while expecting different outcomes.
For the first time in a very long time Bahamians can sense a glimmer of hope in the flickering light in the tunnel and not be overly concerned that it is an oncoming train.
While we are not completely out of the woods just yet, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief and take comfort in the reasonable expectation that finally, we are solidly on the path to recovery.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic and Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

read more »


News Article

September 10, 2011
US Embassy marks the 10th anniversary of September 11th with two community service projects

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Ten years ago on September 11, nearly 3,000 people from more than 90 nations perished in a terrorist attack targeting the United States.  U.S. President Obama took inspiration from the victims and survivors of this tragic event by establishing September 11 as a National Day of Service.  Last year, 11.5 million people -- including the president and First Lady Michelle Obama -- participated in the day of service, helping charitable organizations and community groups throughout the United States.   
In response to U.S. President Barack Obama's call to service, U.S. Embassy Nassau marked the anniversary of September 11th with two community service projects on New Providence.  On the morning of September 9th, The U.S. Embassy's Chargè d'affaires, Mr. John Dinkelman, visited the G.K. Symonette Library to donate a collection of over 400 new Scholastic books for young readers as well as bookshelves, a rug, brightly colored pillows and a large nursery rhyme mural to brighten up the children's corner.  
The donation was a way for the U.S. Embassy to give back to the community of Yellow Elder Gardens by creating a bright, vibrant space where children can explore the world through reading.  On hand for the donation were second graders from C.W. Sawyer Primary School and Ms. Dorcas Bower from the Ministry of Education.

read more »


News Article

September 11, 2011
Serve and Remember, 911 Anniversary Message by Barack Obama

On the tenth anniversary of the horrific attacks of
September 11, 2001, we will mourn the innocent lives lost, honor the
heroic first responders who rushed to the scene, and pay tribute to our
troops and military families who have served over the past ten years to
keep us safe and strong. 

But, I also hope you'll remember how the worst terrorist attack in
American history brought out the best in the American people. From
giving blood, volunteering time, and donating clothing, food and money,
in the weeks and months after the attacks, we were united as a nation,
everyone doing their part to lend a hand and help the country move
forward together...

read more »


News Article

September 10, 2011
Alert for Tropical Storm Maria Lifted

FINAL ALERT ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY AT NOON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2011.

TROPICAL
STORM ALERTS FOR MAYAGUANA AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS HAVE BEEN
DISCONTINUED AS TROPICAL STORM MARIA IS BARELY A TROPICAL CYCLONE AND IS
LIKELY TO DEGENERATE INTO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR TROPICAL WAVE LATER
TODAY.

THIS IS THE LAST ALERT TO BE ISSUED ON TROPICAL STORM MARIA...

read more »