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News Article

August 31, 2011
Irene cost govt 37m

Hurricane Irene caused nearly $37 million in government losses in The Bahamas, a regional insurance body has estimated.
But the country will not receive any payout from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) as the damage is not considered significant enough for The Bahamas to qualify, according to Simon Young, CEO of Caribbean Risk Managers, the facility supervisor of CCRIF.
The CCRIF, which is a non-profit risk pooling facility owned and   operated by Caribbean governments, said its board and team share the belief of the Bahamian government that the impact of Hurricane Irene was not as bad as had been feared.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham declared last week that the country was not devastated by the storm.
"Early damage reports indicate low to moderate impacts except for some southern and eastern islands in The Bahamas, which lay directly on Irene's path," said a statement from CCRIF.
"Critical tourism infrastructure, on which these countries largely depend for economic activity, was not badly affected. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism indicated that the major tourism areas of Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama have seen a quick return to normal operations."
Speaking from his office in Jamaica yesterday, Young explained to The Nassau Guardian that CCRIF policies feed off of the loss estimates that it makes within a catastrophe loss model.
"The computer models use wind speeds, storm surges and waves across The Bahamas through the whole of the storm then it calculates what the estimated loss would be for the economy of The Bahamas with particular focus on things that the government will have to pay for. Then it comes up with a national loss number for The Bahamas as a whole.
"So what happens, because The Bahamas covers such a large geographical area, what we saw with Irene was a relatively high level of damage on the Family Islands. But because their value in terms of the national economy is not very large then that doesn't turn out to be a big loss proportionate to the whole Bahamas."
He explained that because the Bahamian government has a policy for the entire country, losses need to be significantly higher.  "The hurricane needs to affect areas with more contribution to the economy than just the Family Islands, which is what Irene impacted," Young said.
CCRIF estimated the government losses to be somewhere around $36.8 million, Young said.
Asked what amount of damage would be needed to trigger the policy, Young said the information was classified. However, he said the $36.8 million is "quite far from the trigger level."
Young said with New Providence and Grand Bahama being the major economic hubs in the country, it's unlikely that the country's policy would be triggered unless those islands are severely impacted.
"It would be very difficult to get enough losses in the Family Islands to trigger the policy," he said, adding that even if the Family Islands were wiped out some damage may still be required on New Providence or Grand Bahama.
Most of the damage in the Family Islands was done to private homes and buildings.
Young explained that the policy is not designed to cover private structures.
He added that CCRIF will discuss with the Bahamian government whether an additional policy is needed specifically to cover the outer islands.
In the meantime, he said CCRIF has already contacted the government to see what other ways it may be able to assist, for example through CCRIF's technical assistance program.
The Bahamas was one of six member states in the region impacted by the storm.  Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) will also not benefit from the policy.  The CCRIF noted that of these territories, the highest losses were determined for The Bahamas and TCI.
None of the other four territories was "impacted by more than lower tropical storm force winds (under 50 mph)."
CCRIF reported that it contacted the governments of TCI and The Bahamas to advise them that their policies were not triggered.
"Turks and Caicos' financial secretary confirmed that the damage was not as significant as was expected and indicated that the damage was primarily associated with flooding," the CCRIF statement said.
Since CCRIF's inception in 2007, the facility has made eight payouts totaling just under US $33 million to seven member governments.

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News Article

August 31, 2011
Irene costs govt 37m

Hurricane Irene caused nearly $37 million in government losses in The Bahamas, a regional insurance body has estimated.
But the country will not receive any payout from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) as the damage is not considered significant enough for The Bahamas to qualify, according to Simon Young, CEO of Caribbean Risk Managers, the facility supervisor of CCRIF.
The CCRIF, which is a non-profit risk pooling facility owned and   operated by Caribbean governments, said its board and team share the belief of the Bahamian government that the impact of Hurricane Irene was not as bad as had been feared.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham declared last week that the country was not devastated by the storm.
"Early damage reports indicate low to moderate impacts except for some southern and eastern islands in The Bahamas, which lay directly on Irene's path," said a statement from CCRIF.
"Critical tourism infrastructure, on which these countries largely depend for economic activity, was not badly affected. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism indicated that the major tourism areas of Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama have seen a quick return to normal operations."
Speaking from his office in Jamaica yesterday, Young explained to The Nassau Guardian that CCRIF policies feed off of the loss estimates that it makes within a catastrophe loss model.
"The computer models use wind speeds, storm surges and waves across The Bahamas through the whole of the storm then it calculates what the estimated loss would be for the economy of The Bahamas with particular focus on things that the government will have to pay for. Then it comes up with a national loss number for The Bahamas as a whole.
"So what happens, because The Bahamas covers such a large geographical area, what we saw with Irene was a relatively high level of damage on the Family Islands. But because their value in terms of the national economy is not very large then that doesn't turn out to be a big loss proportionate to the whole Bahamas."
He explained that because the Bahamian government has a policy for the entire country, losses need to be significantly higher.  "The hurricane needs to affect areas with more contribution to the economy than just the Family Islands, which is what Irene impacted," Young said.
CCRIF estimated the government losses to be somewhere around $36.8 million, Young said.
Asked what amount of damage would be needed to trigger the policy, Young said the information was classified. However, he said the $36.8 million is "quite far from the trigger level."
Young said with New Providence and Grand Bahama being the major economic hubs in the country, it's unlikely that the country's policy would be triggered unless those islands are severely impacted.
"It would be very difficult to get enough losses in the Family Islands to trigger the policy," he said, adding that even if the Family Islands were wiped out some damage may still be required on New Providence or Grand Bahama.
Most of the damage in the Family Islands was done to private homes and buildings.
Young explained that the policy is not designed to cover private structures.
He added that CCRIF will discuss with the Bahamian government whether an additional policy is needed specifically to cover the outer islands.
In the meantime, he said CCRIF has already contacted the government to see what other ways it may be able to assist, for example through CCRIF's technical assistance program.
The Bahamas was one of six member states in the region impacted by the storm.  Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) will also not benefit from the policy.  The CCRIF noted that of these territories, the highest losses were determined for The Bahamas and TCI.
None of the other four territories was "impacted by more than lower tropical storm force winds (under 50 mph)."
CCRIF reported that it contacted the governments of TCI and The Bahamas to advise them that their policies were not triggered.
"Turks and Caicos' financial secretary confirmed that the damage was not as significant as was expected and indicated that the damage was primarily associated with flooding," the CCRIF statement said.
Since CCRIF's inception in 2007, the facility has made eight payouts totaling just under US $33 million to seven member governments.

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News Article

August 28, 2012
Custom Computers celebrates excellence for the new school year

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The national average remains low, but you wouldn't know it by passing through Custom Computers Ltd. in the Harbour Bay Shopping center this past Saturday, where students, parents and teachers all gathered together to celebrate excellence in education.
The Fifth Annual "A's for Excellence" campaign, hosted by Custom Computers kicked off the new school year for some lucky and hardworking students whose "A" grades on their latest report card made them eligible for a drawing of fun and educational prizes -- such as computers, printers, an iPad, and phones -- sure to help them go above and beyond in their studies.
Speaking before the drawing, Custom Computers Marketing Manager Pia Farmer noted that the event continues to encourage excellence among Bahamian students.
"Although we face many challenges in education, it is important that we celebrate those students who are working hard and excelling in their studies, and to appreciate the teachers who make a big difference in the lives of our children," she says.
"At Custom Computers we would like to bring to the forefront some of the good news and positive stories about children who are succeeding and gaining life skills in school."

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News Article

September 07, 2011
Custom Computers A's for Excellence Continues to make a Difference in Improving Education in The Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas - Continuing in its tradition of
rewarding excellence in education, Custom Computers teamed up this year with The Hewlett-Packard Company to
present brand new computers to the winners of its Fourth Annual A's For
Excellence Awards Competition on Saturday, September 3rd, at its
Cable Beach Location. The promotion which started earlier this year, allowed
students throughout the Bahamas who received at least one 'A' grade on their
final report card, a chance to win the prizes donated by HP.

On hand for the presentation this
year were the Minister of Education, the Honourable Desmond Bannister, and Mr.
Polo Sanchez, Sales Manager for Hewlett-Packard...

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News Article

December 16, 2010
Leaving the Island Sale, Grand Bahama - December 18th

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island -

Leaving the Island, so Everything must go! 

Saturday, December 18th from 9am to 3pm; and

Sunday, December 19th from 9am to 12noon

Furniture, computer equipment, printers, hundreds
of movies, books, kitchen equipment, linens, storage, shelving,
decorative items, etc.

No. 3 Bentley Drive, Bahama Terrace off of Lunar Drive (near Stop and Shop)... 

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News Article

October 08, 2014
Employees protest 'poor working conditions'

Nearly 300 employees of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture were sent home early yesterday due to "unbearable working conditions", officials said.
The early dismissal was due to a malfunctioning air conditioning system, which has been out of order for nearly one week.
About 100 disgruntled employees staged a sit-out outside the Thompson Boulevard office.
Those who were not outside gathered in the building's lobby.
Officials brought in large fans, however, employees said it was still difficult to concentrate on work.
Only a handful of employees remained at their desks yesterday.
Education Director Lionel Sands admitted that the conditions were "unbearable" because of the "oppressive heat" and lack of ventilation. He sent Ministry of Education staff home at 10 a.m.
However, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson said his staff would work until midday.
Wendell Demeritte, who works at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, said employees are fed up with the working conditions.
"For the past three days we had no AC," he said as he stood outside the building.
"It's extremely hot and unbearable.
"There is no ventilation. There are no windows, and there is also a funny scent with the mold. Some people are getting frustrated and agitated, so we decided to sit out. It's just unbearable."
Sands said technicians were working on the problem.
"The AC system has been down since last Thursday," he said. "...The air quality has been unbearable for the staff since Monday.
"We've sent staff home at 10 a.m. and we are seeking to do the same today (Tuesday) because it's unbearable to work in a building where there are no windows and the air conditioning isn't working properly.
"So we are waiting on the technicians to have the problem resolved and that is what we are doing at this moment."
Sands said he hopes that operations can continue as normal today. However, he said if the technicians are unable to address the problem, he would likely dismiss staff again.
"It's not a good situation to work in. You can feel the oppressive heat," he added.
Johnson said operations at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture were minimally impacted by the malfunctioning air conditioning system.
He said some executives were working from home.
"All of the computer lines are up. All of the phone lines are functional," he said. "All of our core teams are at work."
Johnson said some of his ministry's work requires employees to leave the office.
"This is a good opportunity for us to get on the road and get our work done," he added.

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News Article

October 06, 2014
Police seek suspect in immigration break-in

Police have identified a suspect in last month's break-in at the Department of Immigration on Hawkins Hill as officials work to beef up security at the office.
According to Central Detective Unit head Superintendent Paul Rolle, police are looking for Charles Dupuch in relation to the break-in.
This is the second break-in at the office, which holds sensitive information, in four years.
During the trials of Wayne Toussaint, Sergio Williams and Julian Evans, then Director of Immigration Jack Thompson claimed that gaps in the department's security protocols were addressed following a 2010 break-in.
William Pratt, the present director of immigration, told The Nassau Guardian that he was not working at the department when the 2010 break-in occurred, so he had "no idea what security measures were in place then or what promises were made".
Rolle said he was not aware of the modus operandi of the 2010 break-in, but added "authorities are working with the Department of Immigration on security issues".
Burglars entered through a ground floor entrance in 2010 and, recently, a burglar allegedly entered through the roof of the three story building.
During his testimony, Thompson told the court that he did not notice anything unusual when he went to the Hawkins Hill office at 10 a.m. on August 2, a public holiday, to catch up on work. Thompson said he left the office at 6 p.m. and set its alarm.
The following morning, Thompson said, he found the accounts area and data processing center ransacked. He added that culprits took computers used for the department's electronic identification system and $6,100.
According to Thompson, an electronic identification system was introduced in the department to minimize the fraudulent reproduction of permits.
Thompson said that gaps in the security system were recognized and fixed following the break-in.
After the most recent break-in was discovered, Pratt said he was baffled by it, considering that the department's security system was fully operational.
Magistrate Derence Rolle acquitted Toussaint, Williams and Evans of the break-in due to a lack of evidence after he tossed their purported confessions after finding they were obtained illegally.
The men were also cleared of break-ins at the Passport Office, the West Bay Street satellite office of the Road Traffic Department and Magistrates' Court No. 9.

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News Article

August 31, 2011
Little light searches for spark to shine

Ask anyone to list the Bahamian institutions licensed by the Ministry of Education to grant associates and bachelors level degrees and see how many will mention Atlantic College.
Even with notable graduates and about a thousand Bahamians benefitting from Atlantic's education and training programs since its 1995 rebranding, the college continues on quietly and unrecognized by many - a situation its Dean of Academic Affairs wants to change.
The institution can trace its roots to 1939, and hundreds if not thousands of commuters heading to and from downtown pass by it every day.
It's located on Hay Street, just off East Street North in the heart of Nassau.
"This little light needs to shine, and shine brightly now," Dr. Diane Major said, the Dean of Academic Affairs.  "The country needs us."
She and the college's president, Rev. Dr. R. E. Cooper, spoke with Guardian Business from the adjacent Mission Baptist Church office. Their discussion moving seamlessly from education to compassion, from training to urban development, and from self-improvement to nation building.
The college, they said, plays a unique role in The Bahamas - creating access to a quality education and training from an institution that cares about the success of each of its students.  This goal is something Major said is summed up in the college's motto: "The college at the heart of the nation with the nation at it's heart."
"There's a difference here," Major said, mentioning that she has been part of other post-secondary institutes and can make that statement from first-hand experience.
"We have a call, a commission, a compassion, a spirit for the people of the nation.  We're not just a business, like many of the others might be.  This is a mission."
Major Atlantic College is the most affordable fully recognized associates programs available to Bahamians.  With its physical presence in the inner-city and the accessibility, it offers programs and opportunities to so many people from all walks of life. Cooper said the college opens its doors to everyone.
"People see us as that ray of hope when it comes to academics, affording them an opportunity to improve their qualitative skills in a setting that is convenient, accessible and provides that inspiration for learning - that also offers them an opportunity to study in a caring environment with hands on training/instruction, providing students with the opportunity to strategically feel a part of the learning process, where they are essentially given an opportunity to aspire for the best.   Not as a number, but as a person," the president said.
Atlantic's initial programs were geared toward Christian studies, offering bachelor's degrees in several related areas.   Since 1999, however, it has expanded to include programs in computer information technology, business administration, criminal justice, financial services, psychology and several other fields.
Associates degrees are available from the liberal arts college for popular business, computer and criminal justice tracks.  It also offers specialized certificate courses that can be tailored to the students' needs.
Major said that many women are upgrading their skill levels and employability by taking advantage of early-learning and classroom management training offered through the college, for example.
The business community is a beneficiary of Atlantic's training efforts as well.
Major said that Domino's Pizza recently sent 18 mid-level managers there for a customer-service training certificate program.
In a time of continued financial restraint as the national economy struggles to shake off the recent recession, Bahamian businesses may find Atlantic an affordable answer to some of their training needs - while the college itself has not been immune to tightened purses across the nation.  The college is reaching out to the business community for support during these times, according to Major, including a local PR firm, Di Philips & Associates, to help get its message out.
"To say we need sponsorships would be a small thing to say, because in a big way, we do.  We need help - what school, what mission doesn't need help?" Major said.  "We need support so we have begun to reach out."
In the past, response from corporate Bahamas has been minimal. Major added that the college has had "just a little".
Cooper mentioned several prominent Bahamians who have come through Atlantic's programs, listing Sherwin Hall, deputy permanent secretary at parliamentary registration department, John Rolle, the retired deputy commissioner of police and Errol Farquharson, a senior police officer.

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News Article
The world's largest swimming pool
September 08, 2011
The world's largest swimming pool

It is the world's largest swimming pool and is more than 1,000 yards long, it covers 20 acres, has a 115ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.

The Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world.

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News Article

December 27, 2010
It's all about the brand

The conventional wisdom at business school is that you stick with what you know. Of the top 20 brands in the world, 19 ply a well-defined trade. Coca-Cola specializes in soft drinks, Microsoft in computers, Nike in sports shoes and gear. The exception in this list is Virgin – and the fact that we’re worth several billion dollars really bothers people who believe that they know “the rules of business” (whatever they are). We’re the only one of the top 20 that has diversified into a range of business activities, including airlines, trains, vacations, mobile phones, media, the Internet, financial services and health care.
We have created more billion-doll ...

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