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News Article

September 01, 2011
PM: Acklins damage not as bad as reported

The total cost of damage to Acklins caused by Hurricane Irene should be determined by Friday.
Government officials yesterday completed their assessment of Acklins, exactly one week after Irene ripped through that island.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Minister of Public Works Neko Grant and officials from the Department of Social Services were on Acklins Wednesday afternoon making final checks of the damage, and maintain it is not as bad as reported.
The delegation also visited Crooked Island, Mayaguana and San Salvador.
"I came particularly to Lovely Bay and Chesters because they were the ones reports said were 90 percent destroyed.  That is not so," said Ingraham.
However, the prime minister did admit that the northern part of the island received a lot of damage.
"We're happy that supplies are getting in.  We're happy that teams are on the ground doing assessments both from the public works perspective and from social services," he said.
"We are providing supplies and people are also volunteering, but the government will do what it has to do."
Acklins Island Administrator Stephen Wilson told The Nassau Guardian that nearly 300 homes were assessed in order to see what supplies were needed, and how much money would need to be pumped into the island.
Wilson added that the assessment information would be sent to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which will then decide how many supplies will be shipped to the island.
The island administrator said he believes Acklins can be restored to a state of normalcy in about two months.
When The Nassau Guardian visited the island yesterday, debris was cleared from the roads and many residents had cleared fallen trees and debris from their yards.
However, there were still several homes in the same condition as they were last week, and many power lines were still down in the Pinefield settlement.
There is still no power at the clinic in Mason's Bay.
According to Ingraham, power has been restored to Selena Point and more than 40 percent of residents in Spring Point have electricity.
He said he expects the power supply on the entire island to be restored soon, but could not say exactly when.
For many residents however, not much has changed in the past week.
Urlene Collie, a resident of Pinefield, said she has no electricity or running water.  Collie and her husband have been suffering since last week.
"It's very hard because I have [high blood] pressure and my husband has to take a straw hat during the night to fan me.  We don't have any power, and we buy water but it still makes you feel bad because it is very hot," she said.
"We've lost everything in our fridge and now we're surviving off of canned goods."
Lovely Bay resident Elvis Collie said it will take him many months to repair his home, and he is struggling to do so with no assistance.
"I'm still in a bad position and nothing has changed.  I have no power, no water and I'm still just waiting for help," he said.
"People say that help is coming but no help has come around here yet."
Humanitarian organization Bahamas Methodist Habitat promised to send international and local teams to Acklins, Cat Island and Crooked Island to assist in rebuilding and restoration efforts, once the government sends supplies.

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News Article

October 27, 2011
Elite lounge seeks 'best of the best'

A multi-million-dollar fishing lodge now under construction in Abaco plans to attract "the best of the best" when it comes to tourism, while providing the heart of a development that could change the island's economy.
Through a powerful joint venture, The Black Fly Fishing Lodge in the Schooner Bay development is trying to catch the big fish.
"Fly fishing clientele are top of the food chain when it comes to tourism in this country," said Clint Kemp, one of the key investors behind the project.
"Not only are they high net worth, but they tend to come in private aircrafts and are excellent repeat visitors. They aren't just coming for one week. They bring their friends and family and their presence often leads to further investment."
The lodge, slated for completion in 2013, will feature eight large rooms, a restaurant, bar and supplies store. A new fleet of boats will also be offered, giving guests access to salt-water fly fishing and deep water fishing.
Coming in at $1,000 per night for the full experience, the boutique lodge is meant to cater to exclusive guests which are often synonymous with the sport.
Meanwhile, Black Fly has also partnered with Nervous Waters, one of the most recognizable names in fly fishing, which operates 14 establishments all over the world.
Kemp told Guardian Business that Nervous Waters has bought a stake in the lodge and now acts as a shareholder.
"They bought a substantial stake in the company," he explained.
"That gives us the good housing seal of approval."
Kemp said the lodge will also be open to the general public, although certain areas are meant for guests only, such as the cigar smoking room on the top floor.
Kemp estimated the initial cost of the project to be between $4 million and $5 million.
But beyond the exclusivity of one lodge, Orjan Lindroth the president of the development company behind Schooner Bay, added that this venture serves as a centerpiece for what should one day become a flourishing harbor town.
"The lodge sits at the head," he told Guardian Business.
"It's very important architecturally and creates that feel. It will become a meeting place for friends and family."
Lindroth explained the idea behind the property is to create a "robust business model" that can cater to not just the tourists but the community as well.
As work on the lodge kicks into gear, Schooner Bay continues to rise up around it.
Lindroth said five houses are now complete, and another 10 are expected to be done in the late winter or early spring. Five other separate dwellings are slated to begin construction around Christmas.
A six-unit condominium unit, consisting of traditional buildings with both residential and commercial units, is breaking ground in February 2012, he added.
Several of these units have been sold already, with prices ranging from $250,000 to $350,000.
Lindroth said the pricing is meant to reflect the wide cross-section residents Schooner Bay wishes to attract.
The harbor opened in June, with the lodge resting at its mouth.
The name for the lodge, Lindroth added, came from Vaughn Cochran, the artist and owner of Black Fly Outfitters, which sells world-famous merchandise bearing his logo.
Cochran is also a shareholder in the new lodge.
Kemp called Cochran's involvement and the Black Fly name a "lifestyle statement" lending further credibility to the project.
He said no other lodge like this exists in The Bahamas. What makes the venture particularly unique, he felt, was the fact the lodge is located in a community.
"This is the only one that incorporates itself into the community," he said.
"To have a fishing lodge in a community where they can interact with people is important. It means a higher, more textured experience. As it becomes a living town, our guests will want to be a part of that."

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News Article
What's Wrong With Zhivargo Laing
November 21, 2011
What's Wrong With Zhivargo Laing

The short answer: nothing. There's nothing wrong with him. An interesting thing happened in Jamaica recently.  Political junkies didn't miss it, I'm sure. Prime Minister Bruce Golding, 63 years old, stepped down and his Jamaica Labour Party has selected 39-year-old Andrew Holness, the minister of education, to be their leader and consequently, prime minister.

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News Article

September 14, 2012
The Young Bahamian Music Society's Annual Report on Fairness to Youth Entertainers - 2012

Nassau, Bahamas - The following has been presented by Dwight Jones of The Young Bahamian Music Society:

For the sake of clarity this initial
report will be presented in basic terms of public money invested by successive
governments, no matter the party in power, in well-thought out and designed
programs supported by the professional staffing of buildings, necessary equipment
and supplies, all dedicated to various fields of endeavor to assist youths
starting out.

If you wish to pursue traditionally
admirable careers in life, youth are encouraged and supported by going to
these locations...

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News Article

October 01, 2014
Energy policy goal one considered

The Christie administration's National Energy Policy, which has already drawn some harsh criticism on its pronouncements on renewable energy, hangs on four strategic goals, and seeks to support a vision of a Bahamian energy sector that is "modern, diversified and efficient" and provides Bahamians with "affordable energy supplies and long-term energy security towards enhancing international competitiveness and sustainable prosperity".
Each of these goals is supported by strategies aimed at bringing the policy into actual practice.
The first goal of the policy is for Bahamians to become aware of the importance of energy conservation, to use energy wisely and continuously pursue opportunities for improving energy efficiencies, "with key economic sectors embracing eco efficiency".
The policy separates the strategic actions by relevance, calling on households and businesses to develop and
implement programs to influence market behavior toward energy efficiency. It also encourages them to promote efficient use of energy, and goes on to highlight the use of energy-efficient appliances and equipment and the importance in exploring options for energy efficient building designs. The policy looks to set and enforce standards for public sector organizations.
The policy also urges the private sector to provide opportunities for access to clear and consistent information on energy efficient products and services; it encourages businesses to conduct independent energy audits, the costs of which would be deductible from business license fees for the year an audit is carried out.
Bahamians should, according to the policy, develop programs to facilitate the infusion of energy conservation and efficiency (ECE) across the curricula in all levels of the educational system; identify energy efficiency skills requirements across the economy and associated training, accreditation and higher education needs; establish networks and partnerships with government, private sector and academia to promote the development of energy efficient technologies and - particularly in the information arena - develop an energy information clearing-house, using information and communication technologies that will enable information to be easily accessible and available in a user-friendly format to relevant stakeholders.
The policy calls for development of institutional capacity to implement demand-side energy management programs. It also calls for the commercial sector to ensure an adequate supply of energy efficient products, goods and services and to promote energy efficient standards and product labelling.
Citing the government as a "leader in energy conservation and efficiency", the policy cites strategies designed to enable the government to become a model of efficient energy usage and environmental stewardship, resulting in a reduction in the public sector consumption of energy and other resources and providing a stimulus for private sector and community action.
According to the policy, the government must ensure that its ministries and agencies develop and implement environmental stewardship action plans, with special emphasis on energy and fleet management, including the initiation of energy audits in the first instance.
The government must also increase efforts to ensure the capital projects are evaluated for its potential to incorporate more energy efficiency technologies within the scopes of the projects. For example, housing subdivisions.
The policy urges the private sector and industry to support and assist in the establishment of energy service companies (ESCOs) that derive their incomes by generating energy savings for their clients.
Private sector and industry actors are also urged to facilitate the development of a national approach to encourage companies to develop internal systems to assess and prioritize energy efficiency opportunities.
The policy calls for: the promotion of best practices and innovation within energy-using corporations and the energy services sector, through case studies; the promotion of best practices in design of new hotels and industrial facilities; retrofitting existing hotels and industrial facilities to maximize energy efficiency and reduce operational costs, thus assisting businesses to retain or expand staffing; and the facilitated sourcing of low-cost development funds for productive enterprises for energy technology projects.
The policy calls for the creation of relevant legislation to support required investments in energy efficiency, and the provision of incentives for the use of innovative/clean technologies in power generation to improve energy efficiencies.
It urges legislators to: design and introduce appropriate financing mechanisms to facilitate the spread of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies; develop an energy labeling program; conduct periodic reviews and updates of building code in respect of energy efficiency; and incorporate requirements for the efficient use of energy in buildings.
The Ministries of Works and Urban Development, Environment and Housing, Transport and Aviation, Finance, Education and Labour and National Insurance are envisioned as the facilitating actors in respect of this goal.

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News Article

December 28, 2011
Hurricane Irene's destructive path

Hurricane Irene weaved a destructive path across The Bahamas in August, ripping off roofs, toppling trees and breaking utility poles.
As the storm barreled toward the country, just over 1,000 people sought refuge at hurricane shelters.
Packing winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, the powerful storm made landfall on August 23.
Four months later, rebuilding efforts continue.
The category three storm flattened houses and left several Family Islands without electricity for weeks, including Cat Island, which also partially lost its telecommunication services.
Water supplies throughout several islands were also affected.
The storm caused serious structural damage to some government offices, clinics, schools, police stations, and other infrastructure across the country.
Serious damage was also done to public docks in Cooper's Town and Moore's Island, Abaco, and in George Town, Exuma.
Private dwellings and businesses in some Family Islands, including Acklins, Crooked Island, Cat Island, Mayaguana, Exuma and some communities in Abaco were also damaged.
In Orange Creek, Cat Island, 20 percent of buildings were rendered uninhabitable.
Speaking to reporters following the passage of Irene, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said, "Most other island communities have reported varying degrees of damage to private homes, businesses, farms, fishing boats and churches.
"Roofs of homes and other buildings sustained damage in Mayaguana, Rum Cay, San Salvador, Long Island, Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island, Exuma, Abaco, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
"Thankfully, Grand Bahama, which bore the brunt of the hurricanes impacting our country in 2004 [and] 2005, was spared the worst of the impact of Hurricane Irene.  Reports indicate that while the eastern end of the island was harder hit than other parts, much of the island received minimal impact from the storm's passing."
New Providence was also spared the brunt of the storm.  Fallen trees and damaged roofs were reported throughout the island.
However, the temporary site that housed the downtown straw market was destroyed, forcing vendors to set up shop on the nearby wharf.
Vendors have since been relocated to the new straw market.
Despite the damage, Ingraham acknowledged that "things could have been much worse".
While The Bahamas was spared serious devastation, the damage was estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
Relief poured in to affected residents from around the country and from outside agencies.
Additionally, the government spent over $300,000 on repair-related expenses for homes in the MICAL constituency that were damaged, and thousands more in other parts of the country.
The Bahamas Electricity Corporation and the Water and Sewerage Corporation also paid substantial sums of money for the repairs made to the electricity and water services.
Hurricane Irene caused nearly $37 million in government losses in The Bahamas, according to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).
In September, Ingraham signed a grant agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for $200,000 that went toward hurricane relief efforts overseen by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
NEMA received more than $850,000 in cash donations-- not including grants, according to officials.

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News Article

August 27, 2011
Libya: A rough road ahead

For those governments that had been courting Muammar Gaddafi for the money that he handed out to spread his influence around the world, his fall from power in Libya is bad news.  And, the news is unlikely to get better whatever regime replaces him.
As this commentary is being written, Gaddafi is being sought in and near Tripoli.  If he is still in the country, it is only a matter of time before he is caught.  His treatment, if he is captured alive, will depend on who catches him.  In any event, his almost 42-year rule as leader of Libya, which began when he seized power in a military coup in 1969, is at an end.
Despite the recognition by several Western governments of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), it is by no means certain that as events unfold in the coming months, the Council or the persons who constitute it, will remain in charge.  Indeed, confusion and chaos are likely to reign for some months to come.
There are now large groups of people throughout Libya who are armed with heavy weapons and who feel that, having confronted the Gaddafi power machine, they are entitled to share in the spoils.  They are unlikely to go quietly into the night.
Perhaps it is in acknowledgement of this reality, that Western governments and commentators have been calling for no recriminations (except against Gaddafi and his sons) and to maintain in office the military and public service that served Gaddafi.  They recognize that they made an error in Iraq by getting rid of the military establishment, police and public servants.  There was no one in place, except the Americans and the British to take charge and they had little or no experience of Iraq.  They also had to train a complete police force and rebuild military capability.  In the meantime, lawlessness was rampant everywhere.
One thing is for sure, whether it is the NTC or some other body, Libya now needs a government urgently so as to bring order after months of chaos.  And, whatever government it is, it will be a long time to come before it starts seeking influence and allies by spreading abroad the revenues from Libya's oil.  The focus of any new government will have to be on rebuilding Libya's damaged physical infrastructure and in building a democratic society.  Building such a democratic society will be much more challenging that replacing physical infrastructure.
Libya is not short of money now.  Nor will it be in the future.  The immediate problem confronting the NTC, which will seek to run the country, is that more than $150 billion of Libya's assets are locked up abroad, much of it frozen as part of sanctions applied against Gaddafi.  No doubt the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) who backed the uprising against Gaddafi will want to release some of that money to NTC to allow it to assert its authority in the country.
Other countries, such as South Africa, where Libyan assets are also lodged, will want to be more cautious about whom the funds are released.  They will want to be sure that there is a de facto government in place.  South Africa President Jacob Zuma is on record as saying he wants to see a government in place in Libya and his government has criticized Nigeria for recognizing the NTC even before Gaddafi is officially no longer in any kind of authority.
At the moment, many government salaries have gone unpaid, including the police and the army.  The NTC will only persuade these people to work if they are assured of being paid, and they see an early sign of it.
The NATO countries, themselves, are unlikely to release all of the frozen funds to the NTC at once. The United States, Canada and the European Union countries will be keen to see swift attempts at drafting a constitution for Libya and no doubt will expect to see it in the model of constitutions governing Western countries.  They will also want plans to be put in place for general elections by which the people can choose a government from contending political parties.
The latter will not happen overnight.  A country with no history of political parties and general elections will require a great deal of information and training simply to put the necessary institutions in place. Forming political parties will be even more difficult because they are bound to be fashioned first on narrow political and regional interests before those interests can be merged into bodies with a national reach, if that can be achieved.
It can also be taken for granted that the NATO countries will be pulling strings behind the scenes and openly.  The NTC will clearly do business with the countries and agencies that helped them to topple Gaddafi.  Those countries that remained supportive of Gaddafi or assumed a neutral stance will hardly get a look-in.  The only two exceptions to that rule would be China and Russia with whom Libya would want to continue sensible relations for strategic reasons related to security.
The experts claim that Libya has Africa's highest oil reserves.  But, its national production has been reduced to virtually nothing because of the conflict over the last few months.  They also claim that it will take at least a year before production reaches the level it was before the conflict.  All the more reason why Libya will not be opening a check book to governments around the world any time soon.
The spoils of oil are already well and truly in the hands of French, British and Italian companies and the US can be assured of supplies to meet its demands in the coming years.  What is more, the price of oil is showing signs of going down.  The UN Security Council in giving NATO a chit to help save lives in Libya by protecting those, who rebelled against Gaddafi from his warplanes and bombs, also unintentionally provided a license for helping with regime change.  Many will rightly ponder how to guard against a similar occurrence in the future.
It appears that the majority of people inside Libya are pleased to see the back of Muammar Gaddafi and his reign of terror both inside and outside of the country, but the vacuum he has left needs to be filled.  No one should expect Libya to be stable and well-ordered for some time to come - NATO countries had a role in the war; they must now play a significant role in ensuring the peace.
In the meantime, Libya's check book diplomacy is also at an end.
o Sir Ronald Sanders is a former Caribbean diplomat. Re-published with the permission of Caribbeannewsnow.com

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News Article

January 25, 2014
Provisional and temporizing solutions not the answer to Caribbean problems

The extent of the damage and human suffering on the island of St Vincent caused by unprecedented rainfall and flooding over the Christmas holiday period is much greater than originally estimated. When the full assessment is done, it appears that costs will amount to between 15 and 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In any country in the world, losses totalling between 15 and 17 percent of GDP is a grave blow, but for small islands, which lack the productive capacity and resilience to bounce back, the effect is even more severe.
The seriousness of the damage and the real likelihood that such disasters will reoccur with greater frequency and intensity strongly points to the necessity of two actions. Individual Caribbean countries and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as a whole should establish disaster funds from which affected territories can draw for immediate rehabilitation of infrastructure and restoration of homes for the poorest, and every Caribbean country should push for the expansion of the size of resources for entities such as the Commonwealth Disaster Management Agency (CDMA) and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) run by the World Bank.
In the case of CCRIF, the latest public figures show that it has a claims-paying capacity of US$132.5 million. This is a small sum in relation to the damage on St. Vincent and the Grenadines alone. When St. Lucia and Dominica - two islands that were also affected by the Christmas holidays flooding - are added to the equation, the available insurance money available to affected countries becomes even smaller.
In his budget statement to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines parliament, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves provided a graphic picture of the disaster on St. Vincent. He said over 11,000 persons or over 10 percent of the population were directly affected, and by December 31 over 50,000 persons or roughly 50 percent of the population were still adversely affected by extensive disruption of water supplies. He also explained the extensive and "huge" damage to physical infrastructure including 14 bridges destroyed; 14 bridges severely damaged; several miles of secondary roads and feeder roads ravaged; forests substantially denuded; and 662 houses damaged or destroyed. The prime minister put the aggregate cost at over US$120 million.
Prime Minister Gonsalves also stated that an international donors' conference is being proposed to be held within the next three months to receive pledges for the rehabilitation and recovery processes in the three affected countries. Additionally, governments will apply to international agencies for loans to start rebuilding programs. But, it will be months before loan applications can be made in conformity with the requirements of the agencies so that they can be appraised and approved for disbursement. In the meantime, the three islands are forced to cope as best they can.
In this connection, Prime Minister Gonsalves has shown creativity and imagination in mobilizing between US$13.4 million and US$19.0 million in new monies, of which he told his country's parliament he has already assembled US$11 million.
Significant in all this is that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has sophisticated disaster management machinery, namely a National Emergency Council, of which there are 44 members chaired by the prime minister; a National Emergency Executive Committee, with 10-sub-committees; and over 40 district disaster management committees. The country is to be congratulated for this machinery which, in part, must have contributed to ensuring that, in the aftermath of the disaster, as the prime minister put it "the immediate humanitarian/relief challenge did not metamorphose into a humanitarian disaster".
But, in the final analysis, the effects of climate change are now defying prediction and preparedness. At the same time as there was exceptional rainfall and flooding in the islands of St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Dominica, there was a massive ice-storm in Canada that left 250,000 homes without electricity and heating in temperatures at minus 20 and below; Britain was battered by storms that affected over 150,000 homes; and there was snow in Cairo. It is now reasonable to assume that disasters will come suddenly and devastatingly. Therefore, preparation now calls for the unexpected.
Unlike Britain and Canada, disasters in small islands are comprehensive in their effects on people and economies. And, unlike places like Britain and Canada, small islands do not have the capacity and resources to "bounce back" - to restore infrastructure swiftly and to recover from economic losses.
That is why small countries need access to funds that are immediate. The bulk of such funds ought to be grants or loans on the softest terms. This is also why, as soon as their economies are capable of it, Caribbean countries should collectively design their own disaster fund in addition to the existing Commonwealth and World Bank disaster insurance schemes.
Prime Minister Gonsalves painted in stirring terms a haunting picture of the disaster in his country and its consequences. He said: "In five hours of rainfall, floods, and landslides, hundreds of families have been reduced from vulnerability to indigence and from poverty to a 'dirt poor' condition. Large numbers of people have been suffering harsh conditions as a consequence of the natural disaster, although the humanitarian response has eased some of the pain and hardship. The journey to recovery would be long and difficult. Psychological anguish or trauma is evident among the suffering and vulnerable people".
The prime minister's statements were all contained in a Budget presentation to his country's parliament, as he warned that, in light of circumstances, he would introduce a further Budget in a matter of weeks as needs and resources becomes clear. In an intriguing description, he said the Budget was "interim" in nature, but this did not mean that it was "provisional or temporizing" in fact or law.
Five hours are all that it took to wreak havoc on St Vincent. The prime minister is right to look beyond the "provisional" and "temporizing" to strengthening his country's socio-economic base for recovery and reconstruction. Others in the region should do so too.

o Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and Senior Research Fellow at London University and a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group appointed to recommend ways to reform the Commonwealth. Responses to: www.sirronaldsanders.com

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News Article

October 13, 2011
Wu- Baha Mar 'part of our growth'

Tiger Wu doesn't mince words. As the Vice President of China Construction America Inc- a subsidiary of the largest construction company in China- his focus can be easily summarized: Dec. 31, 2014.

That's the day Baha Mar, the$2.6 billion colossal project in Nassau, is slated to open its doors.

But there is far more at stake than the promise of thousands of luxury hotel rooms, the 1,000 square-foot casino or the sprawling list of features and attractions. For China, Baha Mar-financed by the Export-Import Bank of China and built by state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation-represents perhaps its most significant collaborative venture into the Western hemisphere.

If all goes well, the launch of Baha Mar could more accurately open the doors to the world.

"This project is essential to developing business in the Caribbean and into the U.S.,"Wu toldGuardian Business."It's only the beginning. This is part of our growth. We hope with successful completion, it will open up more opportunities in the area."

Indeed, as the face of the company in The Bahamas, a great political and economic responsibility rests with the Chinese executive's shoulders.

In a way, the revolution has already begun.

China Construction America has quietly won a series of major public works projects in the U.S., including the$91 million Metro-North Railroad station at Yankee Stadium, work on a ventilation system in Manhattan and, according to Wu, most recently a$10 million road works project in New York.

However, few projects, if any, rival the scale and glamor associated with Baha Mar.

The resort boasts world-class brands, including Rosewood, Mondrian and Grand Hyatt. It will also feature a John Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a conventional hall, wildlife reserve, 3,000-square-feet of beachfront and a casino hotel.

Meanwhile, in the boardroom, The Bahamas and China have forged a strong and growing economic alliance. Last month, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, on his way to the Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, signed another technical assistance agreement with The Bahamas, bringing the total up to$30 million.

The Airport Gateway Project and the National Stadium are two other major projects in Nassau being spearheaded by the Chinese.

"There has been a quiet and long-standing relationship with China,"said Robert Sands, Senior Vice president of Administrative and External Affairs at Baha Mar."Do not underestimate it. They have been here a long time-silent but effective."

Working closely with their quiet Chinese counterparts, Bahamians expect to be the beneficiaries of the rising economic giant through the creation of jobs, a new market for tourism and other major investment opportunities down the road.

Baha Mar, and The Bahamas at large, is"East meets West"in the truest sense of the word, Sands said, and a testing ground which shows the world that great things can be accomplished between two very different places.

Wu, for his part, said he is very conscious of the need to change certain stigmas or perceptions of China as it seeks its place near the top of the global order.

He called the relationship between China and The Bahamas"fascinating".  "Here we are, working together, and we have very different cultures,"he said."In the end, we find things in common."

In the future, Wu envisions a variety of new projects in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and in North America.  He pointed out the expansion of the Baha Mar brand could be a distinct possibility.

But first things first-soon, more than 10,000 containers of building supplies will begin their two-month voyage from China. Other materials will be coming from the U.S.

And on the other end, more than 8,000 Chinese workers will be filing in and out during the project and housed in a man camp, with construction reaching a feverish pitch around nine months from now.

Many local business are involved and thousands of Bahamians are also finding employment through the construction.

Working hand in hand, this original odd couple might be building more than a resort.  "Who knows what happens after this,"Sands said.

"The synergy here goes beyond construction and financing. It's the beginning of a continuum."

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News Article

February 23, 2012
Donald Porks, Doc Neely, 50

Funeral service for Donald "Porks, Doc" Neely, 50 yrs., a resident of #80 Palm Beach Street, will be held at New Bethany Baptist Cathedral, Key West Street, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Bishop Victor Cooper Jr. Interment follows in Lakeview Memorial Gardens, JFK Drive.
Left to cherish his memories are his Mother: Sylvia Neely; Sons: Donald III and Danavio Neely; Grandmother: Deaconess Evelyn Stuart; Sisters: Julie, Janet, Linda, Beverly Neely and Bernadette Colebrooke; Brothers: Eugene Sr., Adrian Neely Sr., and James Mackey; Aunts: Francis Stuart, Maria Cooper, Annamae Thurston of Grand Bahama, Anita and Yvonne McKenzie, Eleanor Wilson and Olive and Lauretta Neely; Uncles: Leonard Neely Jr., Freeman Thurston of Grand Bahama and Tyrone McKenzie; Nieces & Grand-nieces including: Latoya Neely-Fountain, Denise, Yolanda, Desarie, Alexis, Alicia, Symphony, Tameka, Evonie, Aleska, Adannika, Katonia and Latoya Neely, Priscilla Cox-Maxey, Lanisha Sands, Jeffette, Jesselle and Jaliyah Colebrooke, Lloydra Rolle, Milchand Adderley, Y'Sheika Glass, D'Andrea Sidra Sturrup, Rhordricia and Rhodisha Francis, Jatish Colebrooke, D'Asia and Devana Neely; Nephew's & Grand-nephew's including: Brian, Darrell, DeVaughn, Eugeno, Eugene Jr., Thomas Jr., Timothy, Prescott, Adrian Jr., and Kadin Neely, Jeffame and Javonta'e Colebrooke, Tameko Campbell, Terrell, Brian Jr., Lavon Sands Jr., Michael, Marlon and Joaquim Fountain, Jamie Moxey, D'Angelo Dawkins, Rodriquez Francis Jr., Camelo Moss, Javonta'e Jr., Jeffame Jr., Jeffrey and Javin Colebrooke, Lavon Sands III and Sidney Henfield III; Brother & Sisters-in-law: Jeffrey Colebrooke, Lynette and Karen Neely; Numerous cousins including: Samantha Stuart, Chauncey Thompson, Atwane Arnette, Andrew Colebrooke, Evangeline Hanna and family, Leatha Colbey-Smith, Patricia Whitfield, Coral Forbes, Claudia King, Julian, Michael, Patrick, Christopher & Kevin Russell Charlene Wilson, Dolce, Bradley, Queden, Devon, Sandy, Dalia, Sophia, Bertram Jr., Sean, Antoine, Devardo, Angel, Andrew, April and BeAngelo Cartwright, Faydora Miller & family, Brent and Keith Deveaux, Trevor Bostwick, Sharmaine Ferguson, Christopher Pennerman, Donna, Maria, Angela, Anthony, Sharon, Tyrone, Kevin & Caron Neely, Frank, Cheryl Thurston, Sandra Minnis, Marva Forbes-Minnis, Leon Bain of Miami Florida and family, Terry and Unika Neely; Godchildren: Kiprell Johnson and Sterling (Rambo) Strachan; Other relative and numerous friends including: Phillip Bethel & family, Franz Smith, Melbourne and Donald Miller, Ray Anthony and Diana Johnson, Kurt Stubbs, Lionel Rolle & family, Jeffrey and Marvin Johnson, Patrick Rolle, Calvin Rolle, Rio Major, Arnold Bain, George Rolle, Lavon Sands Sr. & family, Raymond Strachan, Pemmie and Michael Reckley, Sheila Gomez & family, Vanwright Dean & family, Valentino Josey, Mark Pedican & family, Harry and Veronica Seymour & family, Nicole Tinker & family, Shirley Adderley & family, Nyisha Smith, Kenneth Oliver, Carl Evans, Tashawn Cartwright, Yvelise Joseph, Merlinda Clayton, Jeancilia Lamond, Jerome Moss, David Adderley, Vernita Mackey & family, Wayne and Mavis Cartwright & family, Wilton Stubbs, Arlington Stuart, Robert Murphy, Ruth Johnson, Leah and Lisa Wright & family, Gwendolyn Thompson & family, Prescott Cooper & family, Debbie Adderley, Estella Gray & family, Bernard and Kenneth Bain, Reno Brennen, Hubert, Origin Fyne, Charmaine, Doril and Dornell Sturrup, Arthur Cooper & family, Maurice Armstrong. The entire Hanna's family (Hanna's Hardware & Plumbing Supplies), Rev. Dr. Victor Cooper, Elva Stubbs, Rhoda Munnings, Margaret Pratt & family, Glennis Hanna-Martin, (M.P), Jill Henry-Cooper, Mark Lett, The entire Palm Beach Street & Englerston Community, The entire Stuart, Stubbs, Newbold, Neely and Martin family, Cartwright Building Supply, Valley Boys, Bahamas Junior Brass Band, Bahamas All Star Band, RBDF Rangers, C. H. Reeves, Order of Eastern Star Youth Dept., and National Workers Credit Union and many, many others too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.

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