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The Abaco Beach Resort at Boat Harbour’s new family entertainment programs and special events delight Resort guests, visitors to the Island and locals alike. In true traditional Bahamian fashion, the Resort proudly offers an array of exciting events and uplifting Island entertainment, earning the title, 'Entertainment Capital of the Abacos!' One of the newest programmes the resort now offers is their unique 'Bahama Buddies' Kids Club.
Many Bahamians have an irrational fear and hatered of homosexuals. It is not uncommon in this country to encounter people having conversations advocating for violence against homosexuals.
Such hostility is unfortunate. Homosexuality is a normal phenomenon in human societies. A certain small population of every human community is gay. Some display homosexual inclinations as children, suggesting they were born gay, and others come to this place later in life. Homosexuality is not new and it is not rare.
We therefore should all be reasonable enough and accept that homosexuals are people entitled to the same protection under the law as heterosexuals when it comes to discrimination. Certainly, no sensible person should assert that a person should be fired, beaten or molested for being gay.
The United Nations Human Rights Council resolution affirming equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, passed earlier this month, is a positive progressive step.
The resolution, which narrowly passed in the council 23 to 19 with three abstentions, expressed "grave concern" about discrimination against gays throughout the world and affirmed that freedom to choose sexuality is a human right. Surprisingly, when asked about the issue, both the Free National Movement (FNM) and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supported the resolution.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette said the government supports the expansion of rights for "people of any persuasion."
Opposition leader Perry Christie said the resolution is humane and therefore his party is in favor of it.
"I think from our point of view we understand the sensitivity of this matter," said Christie, adding that the PLP has "always been committed to progressive policies -- policies that emphasize our commitment to human rights."
The parties demonstrated maturity by taking the public stands they did. It is not popular to support homosexuals in any way in The Bahamas. However, at times public officials must lead debates of conscience and not merely follow ignorant popular views.
The Christian church in The Bahamas has been vocal in its opposition to the more welcoming attitudes towards homosexuality that are being demonstrated in developed western societies in recent years. The church, as is its right, has affirmed that homosexuality is a sin.
The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC), in its release after the UN resolution, said it supports the protection of everyone from all forms of discrimination. However, it warned that The Bahamas government's support of the UN resolution could open the door to all rights afforded heterosexuals to be offered to GLBT people, including marriage.
"We in the Christian church firmly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman -- period. As imperfect as that might be at times, it is between a man and woman -- full stop," said the BCC.
For now the issues are separate. The step the Bahamian political parties have taken by embracing the resolution is simply to state that they support the right of homosexuals to live their lives free of discrimination based on their sexual orientation. This should mean that the parties will not support laws or practices that discriminate against gays.
As the Bahamian democracy evolves, however, the parties will be confronted with more difficult issues. The law in democracies usually evolves through citizens challenging discriminatory practices via the court. The court, which is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting minority rights, has to determine if statues violate the broad principles of liberty enshrined in democratic constitutions.
Courts around the world have forced the hands of legislatures when it comes to gay rights. Some have argued that laws declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman discriminate against homosexuals. Hence, the old way is ruled unconstitutional and gay marriage is allowed.
Homosexuals understand that their fight for equality, as it was for blacks, has to be won one step at a time. As the homosexual lobby becomes more organized in The Bahamas and it understands that the court can help its cause, The Bahamas may be forced to accept gay marriage, gay adoption and further normalization of homosexuality.
On Thursday past, the Marathon Bahamas Board officially launched the program that will culminate in the third annual long distance sports/tourism extravaganza on the weekend of January 14-15, 2012. Plans internationally and nationally are unfolding quite well for what is swiftly becoming the marquee sports/social event of the year in The Bahamas.
More so than any other factor however, the announcement by Board Chairman Franklyn Wilson that there will be a focus this time around on ensuring that the pace will be faster than in the two previous years, is huge.
Indeed, the objective is for the finishing time for the winner of the 2012 Sunshine Insurance Marathon Bahamas event to be well under three hours. This decision will no doubt elevate Marathon Bahamas on the competitive scale.
"We feel that we've achieved a lot with this race in just two short years. Now, we want to get the kind of runners who will guarantee faster times and give our race a different perspective," said Wilson.
This is a step that will go a long way toward putting the annual event in the mainstream of the second level marathons run around the world. It is understood that Wilson and company need a few more years yet to begin thinking in terms of being comparable to the major marathons like those of Boston, New York, London, Berlin, Chicago, Honolulu, etc.
The world record (2:03:59) was set in 2008 by Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, at the Berlin Marathon. He lowered his previous mark (2:04:26), set in 2007, also in Berlin. Gebrselassie became world marathon king by unseating Kenya's Paul Tergat who ran 2:04:55 in 2003, in Berlin.
Before Tergat, Khalid Khannouchi of Morocco was the standard by which marathon runners were measured. Representing his native Morocco, he ran 2:05:42 in 1999 at the Chicago Marathon. He brought the record down to 2:05:38 at the 2002 London Marathon, competing as an American citizen. Paula Radcliffe of the United Kingdom owns the women's record of 2:15:25, accomplished in 2003, at the London Marathon.
Wilson is not thinking about those aforementioned finishing times... not just yet. However, the time is right for Marathon Bahamas to move beyond the novelty stage. The initial Marathon Bahamas was won by Bahamian Delroy Boothe in 2:59:31. His national mark is 2:34:49.
Earlier this year, in Sunshine Marathon Bahamas II, German Simone Maissenbacher was the fastest finisher. Her time was 3:02:39. It made Wilson and his group take notice. They seek to take the event into another category, more like the marathons in Jacksonville, Florida or Tuscan, Arizona.
Human societies are fickle - norms are always changing. Who knows what will be acceptable in The Bahamas a century from now. A century ago the thought of blacks and whites being equal and then 'inter-marrying' was offensive to many. Now, interracial marriage is a non-issue.
The winner of the 2010 Jacksonville Marathon was Justin Gillette. He clocked 2:29:17, followed by David McCollam in 2:31:13. At the Tuscan Marathon, Eric Laaughlin was the winner in 2:32:21. BJarne Fruergaard was second in 2:41:35. It is in that area, Wilson wants Marathon Bahamas to go.
The international marketing campaign has started in earnest and already scores of runners, inclusive of competitors from Europe and North America, have registered.
Marathon Bahamas is on the move! The 2012 race weekend should be quite the sports/tourism bonanza.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)
A century from now maybe Mr. Smith marrying Mr. Smith on a beach on one of our islands too may be normal.
Last week we reviewed what we believe will be the 'sexy' general election races to watch in New Providence, namely Bamboo Town, Montagu and Fort Charlotte.
This week we would like to Consider This...are there any 'sexy' or especially thought-provoking campaigns that should be more closely watched in the Family Islands? We can think of several and suggest that those worth watching closely are Long Island, The Exumas and Ragged Island and both Andros seats.
Long Island has traditionally been a seat where men have dominated that island's politics. If Loretta Butler-Turner, the FNM's candidate, wins there, she will score a historic achievement because there has never been a female Member of Parliament on Long Island. Whether her claim that her grandmother, Sir Milo Butler's wife Lady Caroline, is from Long Island will be sufficient to gain her the victory remains to be seen. It is more likely that her party affiliation will play a greater role in her successful bid than any familial connection to the island.
Mario Cartwright possibly represents the DNA's best chance for winning a seat in the upcoming foray. Mario was born on Long Island, lives there and is a known quantity. His father ran for the PLP on Long Island and whether he is able to succeed where his father did not remains to be seen.
Alex Storr, the PLP's Long Island standard bearer, is neither from there nor does the PLP have a track record of successfully convincing Long Islanders that a PLP should represent them. He has a challenge ahead for his candidacy to gain sufficient traction in order to prevail.
Mangrove Cay and South Andros
None of the candidates in Mangrove Cay and South Andros provide any real inspiration to the people there. Picewell Forbes, the incumbent PLP Member of Parliament, has not been particularly star-studded in Parliament, and his representation of that constituency during the last five years has been lackluster.
Ronald Bosfield, the FNM's standard bearer and the winner of the by-election in 1997, will best be remembered during his last outing as a nondescript and uninspiring sleeper.
Whitney Bastian, the independent candidate and one-term Member of Parliament for South Andros, also has considerable challenges to conquer.
Wayde Forbes Ferguson, the DNA candidate, is as generally unknown as the other candidates are uninspiring. None of the candidates are thrilling prospects for the people of the constituency that was long-represented by Sir Lynden, who, despite his notable national contributions and legacy, left little of note for his constituents during his many years as their representative. The race in Mangrove Cay and South Andros will, perhaps more than any other, represent a melee of the mediocre.
North Andros and the Berry Islands
The exceptionally impressive candidates in North Andros are at polar opposites to their colleagues in South Andros. Each of the offerings for the three major parties is remarkable in his own right. Captain Randy Butler (DNA), Dr. Perry Gomez (PLP) and Desmond Bannister (FNM) are all stellar candidates, so impressive that it could cause one to wonder in amazement as to whether, at least in the case of the two major parties, the candidates in North Andros were selected by the same persons who chose their South Andros counterparts.
Given his impressive ministerial performance over the past five years, Desmond Bannister is the candidate to beat. He is perhaps the best candidate that the FNM has ever fielded in that constituency although he has taken a calculated risk of abdicating what would have been a safe seat for him in Carmichael. Desmond Bannister was born in Staniard Creek, grew up there and in Mastic Point and has strong family ties in the constituency, which he hopes will contribute to his success.
Dr. Perry Gomez is a prominent medical doctor who is best known for his sustained efforts in the battle against AIDS in The Bahamas. His roots go deep in the Berry Islands and he also hopes that this fact will not be lost on the voters of North Andros.
Captain Randy Butler, the DNA candidate, is a high profile aviation businessman who heads up SkyBahamas and represents the kind of individual who would bring tremendous business experience to Parliament and governance.
This race will be very interesting to watch, although we think that Desmond Bannister presently has the advantage.
The Exumas and Ragged Island
The PLP's candidate for The Exumas and Ragged Island, Anthony Moss, who is the parliamentary incumbent, is also lackluster, does not excite the voter and has spent a 'sleepy' decade in Parliament. His selection is shrouded in controversy and some of the island's stalwart PLP supporters still question whether the selection process was open, transparent and democratic. Whether some of the prominent PLP stalwarts on Exuma will support him will be an important factor in how that contest will be played out. George Smith's views about Moss' parliamentary performance and his electability are well-known and to what extent the party leadership will attempt to reconcile with Smith's views and that of other noted PLP supporters on Exuma who disagree with Moss' candidacy will be revealing.
Phenton Neymour, the current FNM Member of Parliament for South Beach has apparently determined that he has been a failed MP in that constituency and has opted to move to Exuma for fear that he might not be re-elected in South Beach. Notwithstanding this, Neymour is personable, outgoing and confident and the FNM party machinery will be in full gear for his candidacy.
Floyd Armbrister, the DNA's candidate, was born in Steventon, Exuma and is a bright, talkative, aggressive individual who will likely take votes from disgruntled and disaffected PLPs.
Reginald Smith, the independent candidate, is a former ZNS broadcaster, and is currently a realtor on Exuma. He is smart, affable, and speaks with a rich accent. Born in Georgetown, he is an attractive candidate who promises to raise the standard of debate and speak to the vision that Exuma could play an important role in the development of a modern Bahamas.
The contest in The Exumas and Ragged Island is shaping up to be a race best described as one where it appears that the voters don't like what they have and are not confident of what they might get. The outcome will depend on whether the candidates can count on party loyalties and how the significant number of workers from Long Island who have moved into the Exuma Cays since the last general election will influence the vote.
The stage has been set and the only truism is that "it ain't long now"! It will be interesting to see, despite the candidates who have already been presented, whether there will be last minute adjustments in candidates for any number of presently unforeseen reasons. The only critical date for concretizing any uncertainty in that regard is nomination day. Nonetheless, there are many sexy races, and in the words of a fallen master politician, "The world is watching"!
oPhilip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Beach MP Cleola Hamilton yesterday suggested Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins is a "turncoat" who is trying to "dismantle" the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
While the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not name Rollins, she made clear references to Rollins' verbal attacks on Prime Minister Perry Christie.
"Mr. Speaker, I sometimes question what is the price to those of us who seek to carry out such obvious backstabbing methods of politics," she said during debate on a resolution to borrow $16 million for The College of The Bahamas.
"What is the price for what appears to be trying to force the PM to resign?
"Mr. Speaker, I ask what is the price for trying to disrupt the government?
"What is the price for trying to dismantle the party [that] took us in and embraced us?
"I believe this practice is called scorching the earth.
"It appears that those of us who desire to leave the party, rather than just leaving are trying to force the party to fire us.
"To this I say, if you desire to leave, do the honorable thing, man up your testicular fortitude and leave."
Rollins has said the country needs new leadership and he is tired of hearing Christie quote scripture.
He said while Christie "waxes eloquently with his words", those words must live up to actions.
He also said that the PLP used young politicians as tokens to win the election.
But Hamilton said the new members of the PLP knew what they were getting into.
"...Some of us young politicians, who because we knew we did not have a chance in the bottomless pit with the other parties, used the PLP to get in this honorable place," she said.
"Then they...tried to dismantle the PLP and demean our leader.
"What is more concerning to me, Mr. Speaker, is how the phrase 'in the best interest of the constituents and the Bahamian people', is being used as a motive.
"Mr. Speaker, one thing I find with Bahamian people, we are not stupid. We love our parties. We love our politics.
"But one thing we despise is a turncoat who would stop at nothing for what appears to be political mileage. Not principled, but political mileage."
Hamilton said as a child she had to read William Shakespeare's political tragedy Julius Caesar for her Bahamas Junior Certificate exams.
"I can see the plot of this story being played out over and over again," she said.
"But we are not worried. We see the dagger coming. We have seen it for a while. In time, we will know what is the real purpose.
"One thing I have always found is that time has a way of revealing all things."
The PLP's National General Council has demanded that Rollins apologize in Parliament.
But Rollins has said he will not apologize to Christie for anything he said based on his convictions.
One of the major fears the United States has with the Baha Mar project at Cable Beach is that as a result of the large number of Chinese coming into the country to build the resort, the smuggling of Chinese into the U.S. from this country will increase dramatically, according to a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau.
"Regardless of whatever number of workers the parties agree upon, the continuous arrival of thousands of low-wage Chinese workers in The Bahamas will likely lead to a significant increase in illegal migration of Chinese from The Bahamas to the United States," said the November 2009 secret cable obtained by The Nassau Guardian via WikiLeaks.
"The GCOB (Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas) does not have the institutional capacity to effectively monitor the movements of the Chinese workers nor effectively detect inauthentic travel documents."
The $2.6 billion Baha Mar resort is being financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. The China State Construction Engineering Corporation is building the resort.
As a part of the deal, 8,150 foreign workers will help build the resort along with 4,000-plus Bahamian workers. The majority of the 8,150 workers will be Chinese.
Citing a conversation an embassy official had with former Chamber of Commerce president Dionisio D'Aguilar, the cable said that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was very wary of allowing that number of Chinese into the country, hoping only 1,000 to 2,000 Chinese would be needed.
Before the deal was sealed Ingraham publicly expressed his concerns about the labor component of the deal.
The Americans had intimate conversations with Baha Mar senior vice president Robert Sands on the Chinese laborer issue, according to the cable.
"Sands did emphasize that Baha Mar and the GCOB were concerned with [the] legitimacy of individual [workers], or those that would come to The Bahamas solely to illegally migrate to the United States," said the cable.
"He noted that the workers would be 'highly regulated, close to the site in a fully contained camp,' though the men 'will be let out occasionally.' Sands indicated that they were looking into biometric identifications to help manage the workforce."
According to the cable, at the time, Baha Mar wanted to establish a large work camp for the Chinese laborers at the Cable Beach Golf Course.
"Baha Mar executives and the GCOB are clearly cognizant of the negative message they will send to tourists, as well as the Bahamian public, by maintaining a 4,000-strong Chinese laborer camp in a highly visible and affluent section of town," said the cable.
"Still, the GCOB believes that the completion of this massive project is a vital component of its long-term plan to provide thousands of new jobs for Bahamians."
A February 2009 cable, also labeled secret, indicated that Bahamian officials were so concerned about the laborer issue that they approached the Americans for help.
"Senior GCOB officials expressed concern to the Charge' over the Chinese request for foreign workers. They requested U.S. assistance with obtaining background checks and mused that it would be preferable if the Chinese workers were first routed through the U.K. or U.S. so that they would be properly vetted," said the cable.
"Of primary concern is ensuring that...adequate accounting methods are in place to track that those that enter eventually leave."
Timothy Zuniga-Brown was, and is, the U.S. Charge d' Affaires referred to in the cable.
In 2008, Harrah's Entertainment pulled out of an earlier joint venture deal with Baha Mar to develop the mega-resort. Chinese financing and partnership revived the Cable Beach redevelopment plan.
The Ingraham administration always appeared less enthusiastic to the Baha Mar project than Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). The last PLP administration began negotiations with Baha Mar.
A March 2009 cable, also labeled secret, said that Bahamian officials told the Americans they were not, at the time, enthused about Chinese involvement in the deal.
"Senior GCOB officials privately expressed that China is not their preferred partner and acknowledge that negotiations are difficult," said the cable.
The Bahamian officials expressing that view were not named.
The cables also revealed that the Chinese expressed their concerns to the Americans about getting so deeply involved with Baha Mar.
"Chinese Embassy officials privately told (an embassy official) the China Ex-Im Bank would prefer another investor in the mix in order to diminish the financial risk," said the March 2009 cable.
Baha Mar has said it will not comment on the cables.
The company has said 11,000 Bahamian jobs will be created as a result of the project. There will be 6,500 to 7,000 permanent jobs when the resort is completed; and 4,000 construction jobs for Bahamians will be created during the build phase of the project.
There will be six hotels at the property, almost 2,250 new rooms and condos, the largest convention center in The Bahamas, the largest casino in the Caribbean, a world-class golf course and a retail village.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Government and Baha Mar have invited other Cable Beach area resort operators, such as Sandals and SuperClubs Breezes, to join them in a 'co-operative marketing campaign' that will "reintroduce to the marketplace" the redeveloped area, with each committing $20 million to the effort.
This campaign was one of the changes revealed in the supplemental Heads of Agreement for the $2.6 billion Cable Beach redevelopment tabled by the Government in the House of Assembly, and is set to start once there has been "substantial progress toward" completion of Baha Mar's redevelopment of the Cable Beach strip.
"The parties agree t ...
On Monday, February 10th, more than 30 beautiful Bahamian girls will be contesting to win the Miss Moreno Bahamas crown and to become Ibiza Bahama Nightclub’s first calendar girl...
Freeport, GBI -
On Saturday, August 11th, members of the Rotaract Club of Freeport
conducted a clean-up at Silver Point Beach (immediately east of Island Seas
Resort), where they picked up several bags of garbage over a few hours.
A few years ago, the Rotaract Club of Freeport decided to unofficially
adopt this portion of Silver Point Beach, which is a popular location for
locals to have parties, to be cleaned up a few times a year. The fact that
numerous bags of garbage are picked up each trip is evidence that littering on
one of this island's greatest resources it still a major problem...
SAFETY TIPS FOR SWIMMERS, BOATERS AND DRIVERS
The National Heroes Holiday is usually a day
for family activities which include picnics at the beach, parties,
sailing or cruising around the island and visiting family and
friends.Police would like to encourage residents that are planning
activities at the beach or at other public areas to be extremely
vigilant. Pay close attention to your surroundings and be alert to
suspicious people, activities and vehicles...
Nassau, Bahamas - A
message from The Royal Bahamas Police Force - "Working together for a
safer Bahamas"in light of Easter Weekend:
The Easter Monday Holiday for many residents is a day for family activities which
include picnics at the beach, parties, sailing or cruising around the island and visiting family and friends.
would like to encourage residents that are planning activities at the
beach or at other public areas to be extremely vigilant. Pay close
attention to your surroundings and be alert to suspicious people,
activities and vehicles.