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Swiss adventurer has become the first person to fly solo across the English Channel using a single jet-propelled wing.
Known as Fusionman, Yves Rossy, 49, landed in an English field after around ten minutes having jumped from a plane above France and fired up the four kerosene-burning jets on his homemade wing to soar across the Channel.
Nassau, Bahamas - The Hon. Jerome
Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology with students
of Albury Sayle Primary School at the
Opening of their computer lab September 11. The more than 50 computers were donated
by Cable Bahamas' Cable Cares Foundation...
The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson has provided the Bahamas Boxing Commission with a home. The commission will now be headquartered at the government community facility in the Carmichael constituency.
In furthering his "spirit of cooperation" concept, the minister has lived up to the promise of facilitating a home base for the commission. The Carmichael building will be used by the commission to conduct its affairs, by the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) for training as well as other enthusiasts of mat sports such as judo and wrestling.
For the commission, it's the end of a long road of lobbying for a home base. Over the last 10 years, under several different executive administrations, the commission sought to be physically situated in an office space. However, although shuttled to three different buildings under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the commission was never able to officially begin conducting its business before being told that there was a change of plans.
In two instances, furniture items and computers to accommodate the commission in an office were actually purchased and provided. Yet the commissioners were ultimately left without a home. In steps, Minister Johnson and it's official, the commission has an office.
The building at the Carmichael facility is being speedily renovated and the commission should be operating by the end of the month from the new office. The development is at the ideal time for the commission. Apart from the regular duties mandated by the act that governs pro boxing in the country, the commission, as soon as the newly appointed executive meet formally, will begin to structure plans for a benevolent fund.
The undertaking of such, presents a huge challenge for the commission. Such a program is badly needed. The Benevolent Fund, once structured, will enable all registered members of the professional boxing community to begin to prepare for some form of financial assistance network.
The details will have to be worked out. The structure must be done right and receive the endorsement of the ministry before officially being put in place. However, the initiative is considered to be a landmark happening. It will be a turning point for those within the professional boxing family. With an office base, the handling of the project will be that much easier. The Benevolent Fund planning and other tasks before the commission in this 2012-2013 fiscal year will be formally addressed shortly when the first meeting of the new group is called.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minister propels pro boxing control body
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A forensic audit of the Public Hospitals Authority's (PHA) supply of pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies alleges
a "culture of slackness and corruption".
The report reveals that, at the end of 2013, there was a $10 million difference in pharmaceutical inventory between the physical count and what is reflected in the Princess Margaret Hospital's (PMH) computer system.
The auditor quotes a separate report produced by the hospital's Internal Audit (IA) Department.
"Sample results revealed that an excess of $10 million in inventory did not physically exist in the pharmacy during the year, but remained in [the computer system]," the IA's report says.
The forensic report says there has been no satisfactory explanation for this.
The auditor also reports that at least one approved wholesaler took advantage of weaknesses in the materials inventory procurement process to re-use a purchase order number at least 100 times.
"This wholesaler also failed to deliver goods as contracted, was overpaid by PHA and held on to the overpayment until asked to return the funds or provide the goods. This wholesaler is still on the approved listing of PHA," says the report, completed by John Bain.
It adds that the integrity of the procurement process was compromised when internal control measures were circumvented and unauthorized advance payments were made to a wholesaler to provide materials.
The report also speaks of
a "questionable" transaction with a company that does not have a history of being the supplier of pharmaceuticals
"that provided less than adequate results in the due diligence procedure".
"The company was given a pharmaceutical license just three days before entering a lucrative contract with the PHA, circumventing the tendering process," the report says.
It says the company was not able to provide the contracted drugs.
The auditor concluded, "The PHA operates a defective system of procurement that allows for the continued control of the market by a cartel of pharmaceutical suppliers and suppliers of medical and surgical supplies, using a theory called 'selective tendering'.
"The process of selective tendering effectively excludes new entrants into the marketplace and introduces extreme risks of bid rigging, collusion, kickbacks, and corruption."
The report said best practices were not enforced in relation to the management of the inventory process that expended approximately $30 million per year.
"The computer systems that control the process were inadequate, lacked proper design, and its use is ineffective," the audit said.
The report speaks to an alleged lack of accountability at the PHA.
The Authority spent approximately $1.8 billion over the last 14 years, with $334 million going for pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies.
This audit is one of several ordered by the PHA board, The Nassau Guardian understands.
Last night, PHA Chairman Frank Smith said he had no comment.
For a detailed reporting on the audit see today's National Review section.
The lanes are being polished and participants are working on their skills that will give them a 'strike' when the 2nd Annual Cindi Smith Bowling for Breast Cancer rolls in.
The two-day tournament is being held in aid of all breast cancer survivors and their families. It is the only fundraising event for the month of October that the Sister/Sister Breast Cancer support group will host. The tournament will take place at Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace, October 20-21. Part proceeds will be donated to the group which offers financial and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.
The Sister/Sister Breast Cancer support group played an integral part in the life of Cindi Smith who passed away on June 17, 2012. She was 31.
Darlene Sands, Smith's sister is the organizer for the tournament. She said: "She was a wonderful person, who went through so much in her final years. To see and know she was going through so much pain was crushing. It was hard on us as a family because we wanted to help. We wanted to take the pain away. But there was nothing we could do in terms of getting relief for her. She would always ask for us to massage her feet and rub her where it hurt and we never refused. That was our little way of assisting making sure she was in comforted.
"When we first found out I leaned heavily on Shantell. She offered her support as a friend and a breast cancer survivor who is involved in the Sister/Sister Breast Cancer support group. We as a family needed that because it was new to us. Cindi was very grateful for all the support."
The annual bowling tournament is just one of many fundraising initiatives the female support group hosts. According to Shantell Cox-Hutchinson, a member of the group, more programs are being looked at to raise additional funds so more support can be given.
A public appeal was extended to individuals, families and small businesses as well as corporate Bahamas earlier this week. Since the main thrust of the support group is to assist women going through breast cancer treatment and those who were recently diagnosed, the venture can be very costly.
Cox-Hutchison explains: "I met Cindi through Darlene when she was diagnosed in 2008. Being a breast cancer survivor myself Darlene came and asked me to talk to Cindi at that time. I spoke to Cindi so I've been with Cindi and her family during the entire ordeal. It was very, very rough because Cindy was only 28 at the time she was diagnosed. She had a very hard time accepting that she was diagnosed and that she had any kind of cancer. I think that took a toll on her mental state. She was depress a lot.
"Being a part of Sister/Sister which is another arm that offers support during that entire time. In 2011 she needed to go for a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, she didn't know what it was. But she was having some issues with her bones. She was feeling weak and she had a lot of symptoms. This is what Sister/Sister is all about, garnering funds for these type of events. We help people to go and get PET Computed Tomography (CT). They can range anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000.
"This is one of the things we offer especially to young women and Cindi. When she took the PET CT and it came back we knew that something was wrong. The cancer had spreaded through her entire body, mainly in her pelvic area. That was one of the reasons she couldn't walk she had to be lifted everywhere. So the whole community was behind Cindi."
The bowling tournament will cater to teams who are encouraged to register by September 30. There is a small charge of $25 for the 10 person team. Trophies and other prizes will be awarded to the top three teams and bowlers.
Freeport, Bahamas -
The students of St. Bonaventure University are back in Grand Bahama for their annual trip of doing good and giving to the local community. The group is led by
Dr. Todd Palmer. Part of this year's mission is Operation Boot Up.
Boot Up has acquired over 100 computers and monitors from various
donors, our current objective is to install these computers and monitors
in eight primary schools across Grand Bahamas Island in early 2011.
These computer labs will serve as educational tools and also bridge the
technical gap between the Bahamian schools and the rest of the world.
Our end goal is to build a usable computer lab in each primary school -
an unprecedented venture in the world of educational and instructional
technology. Our ultimate goal is a fully functional computer lab, with
trained teachers, in every primary school on Grand Bahamas Island...
Neighbourly compassion drives the Bain and Grant's Town community to unite through free afterschool programmes and computer classes for the young and the old.
This should be a political boom time for the FNM. But it isn't because of the disastrous leadership of Dr. Hubert Minnis, who has proved to be so dismal a leader, that he has near single-handedly created a crisis within the FNM, driving away FNMs and general voters.
Prominent FNMs have left, with more likely to leave under Minnis. Many independent voters equally loathe the prospect of voting for the PLP under Perry Christie or the FNM under Hubert Minnis. In a quandary, they are wondering where to turn.
The country continues to reel from economic problems and high unemployment as well as high rates of violent crime and public anxiety. The PLP's promise to tackle these issues has turned to dust, with the government bumbling from one failure to the next.
The PLP is immeasurably worse than its last term in office. It has broken promises with abandon, betrayed voters on the gambling referendum and failed to bring mortgage relief as promised. Perry Christie is as incompetent, weak and dysfunctional as ever as head of government.
There are mounting questions of scandal and corruption in an administration brimming with arrogance and smugness, one that is indifferent and out of touch with the daily struggles of the Bahamian people. There is an overwhelming sense that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
Bahamians are struggling to keep the lights on, to pay grocery bills, to pay for health care and other costs. Next year they will be hit hard with VAT as the government continues to waste money on many fronts, while most Bahamians struggle to decide what portion of which bills can be paid in any given month.
Yet, amidst this perfect storm of widespread public discontent and the massive failures of and loss of trust in the Christie administration, the opposition Free National Movement flounders, largely unable to take advantage of the current national malaise.
The opposition's failure is two-fold. It has generally failed to effectively oppose the government or to offer an alternative vision.
The failure is overwhelmingly that of Minnis, who has proved to be spectacularly incompetent, woefully inarticulate and now a punch line for many jokes. Hubert Minnis has become the Sarah Palin of Bahamian politics, with voters cringing at many of his public utterances.
Our Bahamian Palin stated, "...Everyone reaches a certain level when they would be maxed out, suffer from brain drain and become stagnant." He has spoken of a "quagmire of web". In criticizing the government, he made a distasteful reference to the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 then failed to apologize for his comments.
Speaking in reference to the seizure of computers from the home of FNM Chairman Darron Cash, Minnis noted that he didn't fear the police seizing his computer because the information on it was "cryptic". Presumably, he meant encrypted.
Like Palin, these are not simply verbal gaffes. Instead they speak to mangled and poor thinking, a pattern signifying an inability for comprehensible and clear thought on a host of issues. Palin and Minnis are not folksy. They are uninformed, inarticulate and profoundly out of their depth.
Sarah Palin would have been a disaster as the American vice president, with the world laughing at the United States. Hubert Minnis would be a disaster as head of government, with other countries snickering at the country.
Bahamians have had more than two years to assess Minnis' performance as opposition leader. Arguably, the majority of voters are horrified, not just by his verbal gaffes, but also by his stunning ignorance of basic facts, his ongoing policy flip-flops and his general abysmal performance.
He has gotten deficit numbers wrong, has been made fun of repeatedly by the PLP in the House for the mistakes even a rookie MP should not make and has mangled so many responses in public forums and in press interviews, that he has enough material for a blog of bloopers, stumbles and incomprehensible mistakes.
Recall his mindless and disastrous decision to sign off on a House of Assembly Select Committee report recommending a salary and allowance increase for parliamentarians, an introduction of grants for parties in the House, the building of a new Parliament and other recommendations.
How bad is Minnis? A comparison is in order. DNA Leader Branville McCartney is an empty vessel in terms of policy and substance. He is a wiz at showboating and the sound bite, endlessly regurgitating the ideas of others, with precious little original thinking.
He is more actor than serious politician, often fumbling his responses. His performance on a recent talk show on Guardian Radio was exceedingly poor, which was no surprise, as when pressed beyond sound bites, McCartney's studied character and appearance, and his credibility, easily collapse like flakes.
There have always been political charlatans and jives. McCartney's swollen ego and seizing ambition is to revel in the glory and the trappings of being prime minister with the paparazzi broadcasting his celebrity status far and wide.
But Minnis is so bad, so unappealing to arguably the majority of voters, so lacking as a leader, that increasingly more voters are falling for McCartney's shtick.
The FNM must face the external challenge posed by the PLP and the DNA. But it must first face the internal challenge of a leader who makes Branville McCartney and his ego party look somehow attractive.
The major challenge for the FNM is not mostly from without. In Minnis, the party is faced with a leader who is dragging down the party's popularity, especially with many younger voters. It is faced with someone most voters seem to have concluded would be a disaster as prime minister.
As noted in a National Review piece in this journal: "If he [Dr. Minnis] cannot get simple things right in opposition, we have to wonder how he could competently lead an entire nation as prime minister. These small things speak to ability, and Minnis has thus far been unconvincing in this regard...
"He is not what the FNM needs if it intends to again do serious battle with the Progressive Liberal Party."
Several serious and properly conducted polls reveal how Minnis is not a leading choice with the voting public.
Much of the press have written him off. If the FNM continues with his leadership, it will be a suicidal pact, with the party having to wait until 2022 at the earliest for another chance to win the government.
The FNM needs every advantage possible to win the next election. Despite disaffection with the government, the next election will not be easy. The PLP will have plenty money. Its base will likely hold. The DNA will press its advantages.
With Minnis as leader, quite a number of FNMs may not vote or may vote for another party. Most frightening, those who go to bed with Branville McCartney on election night 2017 will almost certainly wake up the next morning with Perry Christie. Is this what it will take for FNMs to get the message about Hubert Minnis' disastrous tenure as leader?
o email@example.com, www.bahamapundit.com.
A fifth grade student at E.P. Roberts Primary School sat in her empty classroom and watched cartoons yesterday morning.
A trash can filled with water, a dirty mop and a large puddle of water were on the floor a few feet away from where the girl sat.
Plastic bags covered the computers as water continued to drip into the room. Classes were canceled after the teachers decided to sit out because of the leaky roof.
The roof was reportedly damaged at the Miami Street school during the passage of Hurricane Irene three weeks ago.
Since then, every time it rains, water leaks into the fifth grade classroom block and causes flooding, according to school officials.
Teachers, who have had to deal with those wet conditions for the last week, have had enough, according to Bahamas Union of Teachers Secretary General Stephen McPhee.
He said the teachers had been patient and were forced to take desperate measures. "Last week they had a meeting and a number of concerns were [raised]," McPhee said.
"They were told that by Friday at 3 p.m. the matters would be resolved so that on Monday school could flow as normal. Unfortunately, those concerns still exist and so the teachers are unable to teach."
McPhee said in addition to the structural concerns, teachers are also concerned about staffing levels. "Teachers don't wish to sit in a class and have another class unattended," McPhee explained. "It's impossible for them to function in the normal school without those matters being resolved."
E.P. Roberts Principal Kendle Burrows said work is being done to address the leaky roof and the shortage of teachers.
He said work was done on the roof all weekend. "I am surprised it's not fixed yet but I've been assured that there is nothing that can't be fixed in a short time," Burrows said.
The principal confirmed that two additional teachers were recently hired and should start teaching soon. Burrows added that it is unfortunate that students had to miss school.
A parent also expressed concern over the situation.
Denise Rolle-Johnson, whose daughter is a second-grader at the school, said she was surprised to learn that school had been canceled for the day. "No one informed me," she said. "The principal is good but I'm surprised at the move that the teachers took. It bothers me especially because these children are so young."
Rolle-Johnson said she didn't learn that school had been canceled until she noticed several E.P. Roberts students walking away from the school about an hour after she dropped her daughter off.
"I don't like the movements that the teachers made -- just to strike all of a sudden. They should consider the little children and the parents should have known in advance. The children should not have been left unattended in this manner because of the teachers. They need to be role models.
"I'm not saying they can't strike. They can strike but they should have informed us first because the children can not be here unattended." She said some parents work and are unable to pick up their children quickly.
Burrows said the administrators attended to the children when they realized that the teachers had withdrawn their services.
Evette Brown, a janitress who said she has had to mop the classroom every day since school started last week, said she is growing weary of the task. "I'm tired of drying up water," she said.
Another janitress, Augana Brown, said she doesn't think it's fair that they have to mop up the water every day. "This school is in a terrible state," she said.
Burrows said this is the second time that the teachers withdrew their services in recent times. Teachers sat out last Monday after expressing similar concerns, he said.