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News Article
Trial of woman accused of killing mother delayed

A?Supreme Court judge adjourned the murder trial of Zyndall McKinney and Madison Pugh to Wednesday after the prosecutor said he was not ready to proceed.
McKinney and Pugh are accused of killing Anna Garrison, whose decomposed body was found on Fox Hill Road wrapped in a plastic bag and bed sheet on July 4, 2009. She had been reported missing since February 25.
Prosecutor Ambrose Armbrister requested an adjournment yesterday. The trial date was scheduled since July 2010.
Armbrister told the court that he had just received yesterday a videotape he needed to share with defense lawyers Murrio Ducille and Elliot Lockhart.
He also said that the investigating officer in the case was off the isla ...

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News Article
Spoil your significant other

The day of love may have passed, but if your Valentine's Day did not go as planned, then a "make-up" meal should be on your agenda right about now, according to Sandals Royal Bahamian Hotel Executive Banquet Sous Chef Jamal Petty. But if you really need to "make-up" he says forget a meal and plan a day's worth of decadent dining to spoil your significant other.
For the chef who is a fan of fusion cooking, he takes classic dishes like French toast and New England clam chowder and puts a twist to them with the addition of Bahamian ingredients.
To start things off right he suggests his Coconut Bahamian Toast with Dilly Yogurt for breakfast. For a delicious lunch or to end the day, his Coo Coo Soup he says is delicious enough to satisfy any palate. And rather than sip on champagne, he says the perfect option is a glass of his Sexy Switcher.
Even though Valentine's Day may have passed, he says chocolate is always fashionable so presenting a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, although simple, he says is perfect for any occasion.
"I love to play with flavors in my mind, and I wanted to create a breakfast that would take your taste buds on a journey ... almost like overexcite it in a comfort kind of way, which is how I came up with the Coconut Bahamian Toast with Dilly Yogurt," said Chef Petty who also hosts the Island Flare cooking show. "I wanted to infuse flavors of The Bahamas into dishes that are internationally recognized." He actually made his Coconut Bahamian Toast with Dilly Yogurt for a tourist who he says proposed to him after tasting it.
The toast is made similar to French toast with the addition of Bahamian flavors. But the one thing you must do the chef says is to always use bread that's at least an inch thick. The end result he says is so delicious it's a treat you'll want to recreate again and again. If you're not a fan of dilly, he says you can easily substitute mango in the recipe.
The toast is topped with a coconut syrup which is made of maple syrup infused with toasted coconut, cloves, cinnamon and star anise.
If you start off the day with his Coconut Bahamian Toast with Dilly Yogurt he says to take it all the way and make the coconut syrup as well. "When you're going to splurge, you should just go all the way, so if you're going to make this toast, then you might as well put the syrup on it. As real maple syrup is costly, he says you can purchase the imitation maple syrup, because the addition of the spices jazzes it up.
Coming up with his Coo Coo Soup, a riff on New England clam chowder also wasn't difficult. He added conch and goat pepper into a classic New England clam chowder recipe to give it a Bahamian flair.
"The conch does two things - conch is the Bahamian version of the oyster and one of the most powerful Bahamian aphrodisiacs, and I wanted that in there. The conch also has more chew to it, so people who like a bite will appreciate it."
That special heat that only goat pepper can give to a dish he says also comes through.
Since fresh clams aren't readily available, the chef says canned and even frozen clams will work well in this recipe.
"When I cook, I try to see where I can add Bahamian influence into what I'm preparing. When I thought about these flavors, I married them together in my mind and because just thinking about it got me so excited, I knew they would make sense when I put the dishes together. They exceeded my expectations."
A pairing of lemonade and mango rum is what makes up his Sexy Switcher. But he says to beware as the mango rum makes for a drink that sneaks up on you.
As chocolate never fails, to end the evening, he says a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries is a simple yet decadent end to make up for a ruined Valentine's Day.
 
COCONUT BAHAMIAN TOAST WITH DILLY YOGURT

Coconut batter
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp finely ground nutmeg
1 tbsp toasted coconut
1 tsp brown sugar
½ cup coconut milk
6 large eggs
Assembly
4 tbsp butter
8 slices Texas toast
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
Dilly Yogurt
1 medium ripe dilly, strawberries can be substituted
Yogurt, plain or vanilla
Coconut syrup
3 ozs grated, toasted coconut
7 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
8 ozs maple syrup
 
For coconut batter: In large bowl, combine all ingredients for the batter and mix well. Refrigerate until batter is needed.
For dilly yogurt: In food processor blend dilly until smooth. Place dilly in a medium bowl and fold in yogurt.
For coconut syrup: Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to steep 20 minutes or longer to develop flavors. Strain syrup and set aside.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter until foamy. Dip the Texas toast into coconut batter and coat both sides thoroughly. Fry the toast for two to three minutes on each side or until it is golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan. Arrange on plates as desired and dust with confectioner's sugar.
 
 
COO COO SOUP

2 medium conch
2 tins canned clams
4 thick slices bacon, cut into small strips
1 large onion, cut into small dices
Kosher salt
1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch dices
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 bundle thyme
2 bay leaves
Goat pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil
 
Drain clams and reserve the liquid for later. Coarsely chop clams and set aside also. Tenderize the conch with a meat mallet and chop into small pieces.
Drizzle a few drops of oil into the bottom of the pot and toss in the bacon. Bring the pan to a medium heat. When the bacon has let off a lot of fat and become brown and crispy, toss in the conch and onions and season lightly with salt. Cook the onions until they are very soft and aromatic but have no color, seven to eight minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for another five minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the yummy mixture and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in the reserved clam juice. When the clam juice has been whisked in and there are no lumps, whisk in the milk and heavy cream and toss in the bay leaves and thyme. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Toss in the reserved clams. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed and add goat pepper if using.
 
SEXY SWITCHER
Makes: 6 servings

2 quarts iced water
4 large limes, cut and squeezed
Sugar to taste
Mango rum (optional for sexy switcher - adults only)
Ice cubes

Pour lime juice into container with water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours. When chilled, pour into glasses with ice. Decorate with slices of lime.
Tip: Pour some of your switcher into ice trays and freeze them. This will allow you to enjoy the wonderful full flavor of your switcher without the ice diluting the taste.
 
CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

3 ounces semisweet  or white chocolate, chopped
1 pound strawberries with stems (about 10), washed and dried very well
 
Place the chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Gently stir until smooth.
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet or baking pan with waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the wax paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
Tip: You can also melt the chocolate in a microwave at half power, for one minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted

 

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News Article
Thursday is Ladies Night at Neptunes - Chandon 6.50 a glass

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Ladies love to dance, and Ladies love champagne!

Every Thursday night at Neptune's, aside from their ever popular Happy Hour from 7 - 9pm, the Ladies can enjoy

Chandon for only $6.50 a glass (regular price is $12.95).

Enjoy music by DJ Lochs or DJ Say My Name and make it your night to hang with the girls and dance the night away to the most upbeat tunes.

Ladies Night is perfect for a birthday, Hen Night, or Wedding Shower, or simply a night to get away with your BFFs...

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News Article
Severe thunderstorm warning

The Bahamas Department of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning from 1:15pm until 3:15pm, and maintains a watch until 5:00pm Thursday 24th, may 2012.

A severe thunderstorm warning is now in effect for, Bimini, Grand Bahama, Abaco and their adjacent waters while a severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for Berry islands, North Andros and their adjacent waters.

At 1:10pm, radar and satellite data indicated clusters of strong thunderstorms moving northeast from the Florida Straits toward the warning areas, and isolated strong thunderstorms approaching the watched areas.

Some of these thunderstorms have the potential to be severe at times causing strong gusty winds, dangerous lightning, heavy downpours and possible waterspout or tornadic activity.

Boaters in the warning and watch areas should remain alert and seek safe harbour and residents in the warning and watch areas should stay indoors and away from windows until conditions improve.

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News Article
National Arts Festival should be 'household name' in Bahamas, says organising secretary

Organizing Secretary of the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival Keva Cartwright said recently that the Festival should be a "household name" in The Bahamas because of the range of islands and genres of the performing arts it covers annually.

"This festival is truly a national festival," Cartwright said at the recent announcement of the 53rd annual run of the festival. "It is the only festival of its type in the entire country, something that I think we should be so proud of."

Cartwright added that she spoke to a regional cultural stakeholder who was"dumbfounded"at how long the festival movement has endured. She added that the festival is not just for seasoned artists, but gives opportunities to those new in the arts.

"It is to sharpen the skills of young artists," Cartwright said. "It is also something for you to play at," she added, pointing to its national reach. "To be a national winner is really something big. You can use this on your resume when you go off to college, even at the workplace or on certain jobs. It is a big deal."

Cartwright explained that if a singer enters a class, such as gospel singing, they are competing against every singer in the country who enters that heavily contested class.

"If you win that, you are the best in the nation at that age level," she said. "People believe that everything is happening in New Providence; but some of our best people come from the more remote islands,"

Cartwright added: "In drama, for instance, Inagua is 'off the chain'. Grand Bahama and New Providence sometimes seem like they believe they are the only ones on the map and they are not."

Cartwright said the festival could average as many as 30,000 entrants per year, is free to the public for viewing during adjudications and is open to adults for entries in the community classes.

"I hope that the day comes when we can bring them all together to New Providence so that we all can see that the rest of the country is there (culturally)," Cartwright said. "It is just that they do not have that exposure."

The 2012 E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival is slated to begin adjudications March 5 on New Providence, March 6 on Grand Bahama and then nationwide.

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News Article
sports in brief

SPORTS MEDICINE:

DAVIS IS CERTIFIED CCEP

BAHAMAS chiropractor Dr Jennifer Davis has completed a certification programme offered by the Council on Extremity Adjusting and has become a Certified Chiropractic Extremities Practitioner (CCEP).

Dr Davis is one of 900 extremity specialists worldwide. The course of certification he/she has completed required 105 hours of study and the passing of a final exam on the following subjects: Upper and Lower Extremity Adjusting, TMJ, Ribs and Shoulder Girdle, Foot, Gait and Orthotics, Extremity Rehabilitation, Soft Tissue Methods for the Extremities, and Global Assessment of the Extremities.

As a CCEP, Dr Davis is trained to pinpoint and trea ...

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News Article
Cameron Hepple's soccer outlook - Part I
Cameron Hepple's soccer outlook - Part I

On Tuesday past, in this space midfielder Cameron Hepple was officially introduced to readers as the new team member on the KF Tirana Club in Albania. He has been one of the high profile Bahamian soccer players in recent years, along with Lesly St. Fleur and Happy Hall.

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News Article
The Crack in Chiropractic

"Crack my back for me will
you please?" Or someone will point
a finger and say, "Doc I just need you to crack my neck right here." I hear it all the time in and out
of practice. Crack this or crack
that and I think, "If I wanted to help someone go to the chiropractor and
improve his health how in the world will

cracking his bones entice them to visit one?" I wouldn't want my bones cracked. And why and how do they make that
cracking sound when they are adjusted?

First of all if we address
the phenomenon of sound coming from manipulation of the body parts, it is not
the bone that is cracking. In fact
nothing is cracking at all.The
noise of the manipulation comes from the surfaces of the joint itself. And not all of the body joints are
capable of giving up the "cracking sound" when manipulated. Or as we say in chiropractic, the sound
comes when the joint is "adjusted...

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News Article
Severe thunderstorm warnings for Bimini, Grand Bahama, and Abaco

The Bahamas
Department of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning from
1:15pm until 3:15pm, and maintains a watch until 5:00pm Thursday 24th,
may 2012.

A

severe thunderstorm warning is now in effect for,

Bimini, Grand
Bahama, Abaco and their adjacent waters while a severe thunderstorm

watch remains in effect for

Berry Islands, North Andros and their
adjacent waters.

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News Article
KFC reveals payroll details in contract spat

A pension fund payment, a health and welfare fund and 18 pounds of ham and turkey at Christmas are just a few of the perks embedded in the contracts of KFC workers.
Cooks, food service workers and customer service employees make nearly double that of equivalent employees working for the competition, according to a payroll disclosure by KFC management.
Whereas a cook, for example, makes $358 per week at KFC, the competition pays out just $200.
The details from KFC's Nassau office were published in one of the country's daily newspapers on Tuesday. It serves as the latest blow in an ongoing fight between KFC workers and management at the fast-food chain.
The two sides have been trying to negotiate a new industrial agreement since October of last year. Management has claimed since the beginning that wages and benefits of KFC workers must be brought in line with industry standards and reflect the current economic conditions.
Darren Woods, secretary general of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers union (BHCAWU), said he's surprised at the level management has "sunken to".
"Workers didn't just get those salaries and benefits. They didn't put a gun to their head," he told Guardian Business. "They have been in negotiations for years. There was a signed contract. Those people go to work and they perform for the money they make. They didn't get all of that by accident. They were negotiated over many years."
According to the KFC, employees are guaranteed a seven-and-a-half work day under the current contract, whereas the competition provides no such assurances. KFC workers receive $1,066 annually as a pension fund payment, $420 annually for the health and welfare fund,  and two-and-a-half weeks of bonus pay at Christmas.
Management claims none of these benefits are offered by the competition.
Under the current contract, workers also get 21 paid sick days per year, an average of 18 days of paid vacation and a long-service payment for employees that have been with the company for eight years or longer, equivalent to two weeks pay.
The publishing of wages and benefits is consistent with a more aggressive stance toward negotiations. Last week, Guardian Business reported how the company posted a notice in both major dailies declaring a new wage structure will be enforced on February 20.
The ultimatum sparked outrage at the BHCAWU.
Woods said the two sides plan to meet today to discuss the areas of possible concessions, although optimism isn't at an all-time high for the BHCAWU.
"I'm surprised at the level they have sunken to," he added. "I don't know what they are trying to get out of it. At the end of the day, we cannot agree with the reduction of salaries."
Winston Rolle, the chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, said many contracts in the past were negotiated during different economic times.
In the case of KFC, concessions must be made for the greater good and to save jobs. KFC is one of the oldest franchises in the country, he added, and rising competition and increased prices for goods have squeezed companies considerably.
"I also think what you find is other entities are in a non-unionized environment," Rolle explained. "A lot of these contracts were also negotiated at a different stage of economic activity. You would like to think they will find a medium ground here. The last thing you want is people losing jobs."
As a business owner, Rolle told Guardian Business that cutbacks are never pleasant, but sometimes it is a "fact of life".
While he didn't know what has to be done in this specific case, he expressed hope that approximate adjustments are made to ensure the longevity of KFC.
"Costs are rising but you also have competition coming from all sides. Businesses must make adjustments," he said.

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News Article
House Night at Neptune's Cocktail Lounge, June 24th

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - You
are officially invited to

House Night at Neptune's Cocktail Lounge in Port Lucaya this

Friday, June 24th, 2011 from 10pm.  Come early and enjoy Happy Hour from 7 - 9pm.

Listen to the latest , greatest

Soulful, Funky, Electro,
Dance, Dubbstep, Tribal, Minimal and all your favorite songs played by
Freeport's very own resident HOUSE DJs - Lochs and DJ SayMyName.

Request
or suggest in advance any house music you would like to hear!

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News Article
Deveaux: More than 1 billion spent annually on electricity

As the government continues to promote efforts to conserve energy, Minister for the Environment Earl Deveaux revealed that Bahamians spend more than one billion dollars annually on electricity.
"The cost of supply of energy in The Bahamas represents significant challenges and opportunities for all residents," Deveaux said as he announced National Energy Awareness Week at the Police Headquarters yesterday morning.
"The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) spends in excess of a quarter of a billion annually to produce electricity.  Collectively Bahamians spend over a billion dollars to light their homes and businesses, to cook, wash, dry, to cool their homes and workplaces and to heat water."
National Energy Awareness Week will take place during the week of November 4 under the theme "Public/Private Partnership in Energy Conservation".  The purpose of the initiative is to raise the awareness of the importance of energy conservation, promote the wise use of energy, and to promote ways to avoid energy waste, Deveaux said.
This awareness initiative comes as Bahamians grapple with high electricity bills.  It had been expected, however, that electricity rates would decrease this month.
But even with higher electricity costs, Deveaux said Bahamians in general have done little to curb their practice of high electricity consumption.
"We've been having rather cool weather recently after a summer of severe blackouts. Curiously in spite of the cool weather, how many Bahamians have adjusted the temperate on their air conditions, especially in their work places where they do not have the direct responsibility of paying the bill?  Indeed what is our awareness of our general energy use? As an example, just a two degree increase in the temperature results in up to a four to six percentage increase in savings. Turning off computers and other unused energy devices in your homes and businesses can significantly reduce energy consumption."
Deveaux said the heating of water accounts for 25 percent of average electricity load in Bahamian households.  "We must make a permanent adjustment in behavior, both in how we use energy and how we get it," he said.
Deveaux said the time has come for Bahamians to choose an alternative energy source, as was noted in the reports that were commissioned by the National Energy Policy Committee.
The latest report - The Bahamas National Energy Policy 2010 - gives recommendations on how the government can conserve energy in The Bahamas, and what it can do to promote the development of renewable energy.
The report states that the electricity sector is presently facing three major challenges: The sector's high dependence on imported fuel, BEC's financial constraints and an expected increase in the country's electricity demand in the medium term.
The government is considering reducing the dependency on imported oil by tapping renewable energy sources, waste-to-energy sources and improving and ensuring the quality of the electrical supply.
According to the report, possible renewable resources which can be utilized in The Bahamas include bio-energy, solar (hot water and power generation by photovoltaic systems), wind, ocean energy, and waste-to-energy at residential, commercial, industrial and utility scales.
The report also acknowledged that the demand for electricity is projected to grow over the next five years, mainly due to large, new private tourism investment projects.  As a result, the report indicated that electricity expansion costs will be high and financing will be a challenge.
The report further notes that The Bahamas' dependence on imported fuel has already shown tremendous growth in the last several years.
"A comparison of the Central Bank oil imports for local consumption and the estimated tourism expenditures between 2001 and 2008 reveals that the percentage of funds repatriated to purchase oil for local consumption grew from 16.6 to 26.7 percent over the period.  The value of oil imports grew from 273.3 million to 1.147 billion Bahamian dollars over the eight-year period," the report said.

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News Article
Thursday is Ladies Night at Neptunes - Chandon 6.50 a glass

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Ladies love to dance, and Ladies love champagne!

Every Thursday night at Neptune's, aside from their ever popular Happy Hour from 7 - 9pm, the Ladies can enjoy

Chandon for only $6.50 a glass (regular price is $12.95).

Enjoy music by DJ Lochs or DJ Say My Name and make it your night to hang with the girls and dance the night away to the most upbeat tunes.

Ladies Night is perfect for a birthday, Hen Night, or Wedding Shower, or simply a night to get away with your BFFs...

read more »


News Article
Summer time and the living is easy
Summer time and the living is easy

The final school bell has tolled for all school aged kids whether they are in the public or private sector and it's time to "veg out" -- or at least that's what many students may think. The seemingly endless days of summer may finally be officially here but educators at all levels of education say while it is good for students to enjoy their break it does not mean that all they learnt during the school year should just go out the window.

Educators say summer break is the best time to catch up on leisurely reading that students didn't get to engage in due to school work, the perfect opportunity to review old assignments they may have struggled with and have the time to better understand where they went wrong and research topics they are likely to encounter in the upcoming academic year.  Simply put -- summer break they say has more potential than just being the season of endless beach days or becoming a "couch potato" in front of the television.  They say it is the perfect opportunity to assist your child in becoming a well prepared student who will lead the pack in the next school year.

PRIMARY SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
Kristan Burrows, a first grader teacher at Claridge Primary School, says the worse thing a parent can do during the summer break is to relax all sense of discipline or academic rigidity so their kids can have unhindered fun.

"Kids need a break and they should enjoy themselves during the break I agre, but please do not let them have so much fun that academics and all they learnt through the school year goes down the drain," says the educator.  Kids, especially those in primary school who are still forming their academic foundation, need an extra push so they stay fresh and the information they have learnt is retained and applied.  So putting them in a summer school that has some focus on Math and English is important."

Burrows says it is amazing how much primary school-aged children will remember if they do simple assignments on a regular basis throughout the break.  My school [Claridge Primary School] has a special book that we advise parents to buy for their kids for the summer called Summer Fit.  It allows the students at every grade level to review subjects covered in the previous year and explore new ones that they will have in the coming year.  They have little assignments to do after each topic and it's fun.  Just finishing a book like that can do wonders just to keep kids on the go mentally throughout the summer."

She also suggests parents encourage their young children to enjoy learning by letting them choose a book they want and letting them read it aloud.  Instead of watching television aimlessly all day she says you should ensure they watch some educational programs and that you question them about what they learn and like or didn't like about it.  If they are older kids, she says they can do book reports or reviews to ensure they are comprehending what they read and watch.  And rather than letting them play games on the latest video game console, Burrows urges parents to get their children to use the internet to play interactive educational games.  She says this will not only entertain and educate the children but will also assist in improving their computer literacy as well.

"There is so much that parents can do to ensure their kids do well academically.  As teachers we cannot do everything. We need support and we need parents to be behind their children even more than we are so what we teach is consistent in the home and retained as well.  It's pointless to work all semester with the kids and they do well, only for summer to come and their foundation falls apart because they have no support or do not build on it.  [Children] not being up to par academically during the summer often means teachers have to back track a whole lot more than they should be doing to reteach a concept kids should already know when September comes around again.  This can be avoided if parents chip in."

JUNIOR SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
C.H. Reeves Junior School Language and Literature teacher Hallnika Bodie is also of the view that students should not fully neglect their studies just because it's summer break, but to use the weeks off school to improve academically and socially.

"[Parents] can make it easier on them by keeping them in a routine much like they had during the year.  Especially at this stage, grades seven through nine, students are preparing to take the Bahamas Junior Certificate [BJC] and they will need to be focused in order to do well," says Bodie.

She says summer break is the perfect time for parents to go to the Ministry of Education's Testing and Evaluation Center on Harrold Road to get copies of older exams so students can do them as a means of studying and preparation. Ensuring they go through their old notes especially for Math and English throughout the break for a few hours she says a day is a good way to keep them on their toes especially in the last few weeks leading up to school reopening.

The Language and Literature teacher also says allowing your children to keep a journal of their experiences helps build their writing skills immensely.

Bodie is also big on allowing children to get a lot of rest during the summer months after a hectic school year.  She says allowing them to stay up late is okay a few times a week, but to always ensure that they get to bed at a reasonable hour so that they can be physically and mentally rested during the break as well.  She says students who are allowed to do whatever they want, and don't get enough sleep regularly tend to be unproductive and still drained by the time school reopens.
The educator says to help your child develop more socially don't just send them to any old camp, but enroll them in camps where they can participate in character-building summer programs like Vacation Bible camps, police camp, maritime camp and rangers summer camps which allows them to be team members, but to study skills and learn responsibility.

Bodie urges parents to use the summer break to get to know their children as well and expose them to life experiences.

"It's not just about getting back on track with school but reforming your relationship as well," says the educator.  "Doing things like going to dinner, to the zoo, to a Family Island, a museum, visiting national sites or whatever else you can find fun to do together is a good thing to do because it makes them more worldly.  This means when students go on field trips and meet new people during the school year they are adjusted and know how to react, they aren't out of their element and they can appreciate what they see more.  They will have fun, experience different aspects of society and learn at the same time. These experiences are good for children to have and it makes the summer vacation a little more interesting."

HIGH SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
The key to an academically successful, well-adjusted high school student depends heavily on what is done at home during the long breaks away from the classroom says automechanics teacher Michael Clarke.   He says it is important not to let your high-school aged child get lax in 5his studies and discipline and that keeping a level-head and a focus on academics even during the summer months is the best way to ensure your child excels in the next school year.

"First and foremost, parents need to be more vigilant and aware of what their kids are doing.  Yes, it is the summer break, but kids still need to have guidance.  Don't let them get too relaxed or assume they are doing what they should.  Ensure they do make time to study twice a week or more so they stay fresh-minded.  They need a break from the structured classroom setting but that doesn't mean learning stops.  Ensure they are doing something academically and test them to make sure they are remembering what they learn.  Parents need to draw the line and know that their children can have fun, but they still have to remember that they will have to face another school year and it is best to be prepared."
The eight-year automechanics teacher stresses that summer is a perfect time for parents to form a better relationship with their child's teachers as well.  He says it would be a good idea to find out which teacher will be in charge of their child's class in the coming year and contact him/her to find out what he/she would advise as good summer reading in preparation for different classes.

If this is not an option, he says parents should then find out early from the school administration which books are required for their child's upcoming school year so they can be purchased as this gives your child time to read through his textbooks and familiarize himself with different concepts he will encounter in the next semester.

For children that have already selected class options, the teacher says it is a good idea to get books other than the required texts for him to read through so he has a wider understanding of the subject. He says fictional works that incorporate academic subjects are often entertaining and keep the mind fresh and creatively churning.
If your child is preparing for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations, Clarke says he should be using the break to study and do research on the topics, so putting their coursework together and preparing to take the exam is easier once the term begins.

"School does not have to be hard or a chore if your child learns
to love learning.  As a parent it is just as important for you to find ways to get your child to want to learn even at home on breaks.  Find ways for this passion to be incorporated in their lives.  Take them to libraries and let them stay there to study for a while so they aren't home alone.  They may not study, but they may just read a book that interests them.  It's still reading and it can help to at least keep them engaged academically to some level. Go places with them instead of dumping them off to one place or the other since school is closed. Since these are older kids let them get a job in a field they like for the sake of experience instead of allowing them to just stay at home.  They will get a taste of the real world and learn some responsibility as well.  At the end of the day, just let your child experience more and use the summer break productively.  It has a lot of potential and parents can help their children make the best of it with their support and guidance."
 

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News Article
12.2 million more spent on fuel imports

Bahamians paid $12.2 million more to import 25 percent less barrels of oil into the country in the first quarter of 2011, an indication that while Bahamians may have been on a fuel diet for the first quarter of 2011 - their pockets weren't.
Former Chamber of Commerce president and businessman Dionisio D'Aguilar said the fact that the sharp decrease still did not stave off a 7 percent increase in the value of imported fuel could mean other factors were at play.
"[The decline] might be because of less economic activity -- we may be making less and therefore we consume less.  It's probably partially a function of energy consumption, and probably a lot of it to do with the fact that we have less economic activity -- our output of goods and services has reduced, so we are using less oil," D'Aguilar said.  "It could also be [that] people are becoming more sensitive that there are alternatives out there that cause you to use less energy."
He doubts heavily, however, that Bahamians adjusting to the new norm of energy consumption has been a dominant factor in the decrease.
According to the Central Bank, the first quarter of 2011 saw total consumption down by 530,000 barrels, to 1.63 million barrels for the quarter.  For the same period, the total cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of oil imports grew by $12.2 million to $177.7 million, according to the May 2011 quarterly statistical digest.
"Motor gasoline" was behind much of the fall-off, down 264,000 barrels or 68 percent for the first quarter.  "Gas oil", or diesel, saw a 42 percent fall-off to 410,000 barrels.
The statistics may factor into government calculations as it determines how to adjust margins on gasoline and diesel to allow operators a better return on their operations. Environment Minister Earl Deveaux announced last week that changes were in the pipeline for the sector.
Currently, retail distributors get $0.44 cents per gallon on gas and $0.19 on diesel.  The numbers suggest that for the first quarter of 2011 they divvied up $170,720, $116,160 less than they did for the first quarter of 2009.  For diesel the numbers suggest $77,900 taken in the first quarter of 2011, down $32,870.
If consumption remains reduced, the reduced demand may not support the same number of operators in the market.  The quarter's figures may suggest considerable price elasticity of demand - meaning as prices climb, Bahamians really will reduce demand accordingly.  Typically, the summer months see the fuel prices climb.  If operators secure higher margins, that will likely send prices up too.  It could mean further reduced demand, or at least very little strengthening all things remaining constant.
Government revenue likely took a hit from the reduced import numbers for the quarter.  Despite having a bit of a 'cushion' in stamp duty, which is based on a percentage of fuel cost, much of the revenue is also a flat margin assessed on a per-gallon basis.
 
 

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News Article
Confronting the debt crisis pt. 2

Last week we explored the effects that monetary policy at the turn of the millennium may have had upon the current mortgage and overall debt crisis. As several individuals are calling for a further reduction of the discount and prime rates (DR and PR), it is important to note the impact such a move will have on individuals' credit positions and financial wellbeing.
There is no doubt that the reduction of the DR and PR proved beneficial to the government in that it provided the government with an opportunity to service its debt at a lower interest rate, even though the overall benefits to consumers appears to be minimal. On the other hand, the reduction of the DR and PR would have negatively impacted some organizations, Financial Institutions (FIs) and the National Insurance Board, as they would have lost millions of dollars in investment income.
In the final analysis, FIs usually win and are rarely dealt the bad hand of the stick in any situation within a credit-driven and consumer society like The Bahamas. Financial Institutions in response to the aforementioned reduction imposed charges in other strategic areas, increased some of their fees and maintained their rates for consumer loans. We have witnessed quiet increases in FIs' fees for transactions such as ATM or passbook withdrawals - service charges on accounts and additional fees were applied to loans in the aftermath of the rate reductions. A well-known fact is that the ultimate and main loser is usually the consumer who on the one hand receives a 'supposed' break on his debt servicing due to the DR and PR reduction, but pays hidden fees and charges on the other hand.
The net effect on the consumer is that he/she ends up paying the same amount and in some cases more to the FIs, which may result in non-performing loans or lost property to foreclosure. This reinforces the point that an active Consumer Protection Commission ought to be in place to provide checks and balance on behalf of consumers relating to financial transactions among other things.
In addition to providing debt-servicing relief, it is expected that further reduction in the DR and PR should have also provided access to credit at a cheaper rate for individual and business consumers. The positive effect for business owners is that it creates the opportunity for expansion of the business and/or maintenance of inventory levels. However, it is estimated that approximately one third of commercial banking loans extended to Bahamian companies are in arrears. If businesses are faced with increased energy and gas costs combined with tax increases in National Insurance, business license fees and other diverse areas, it becomes less possible for businesses to be sustained during the current economic climate and more importantly create jobs that will help stem the growing unemployment rate.
The likelihood of FIs extending credit under already constrained circumstances is lower than normal and the underwriting of new loans is being done with extreme caution - a prudent course of action. This further emphasizes and highlights the importance of and the urgent need for a functional and effective credit bureau. It is noted that the Central Bank of The Bahamas had obtained assistance from the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) with the aim of establishing a credit bureau, albeit the process has been ongoing for a few years. Considering the history of adjustments to the DR and PR, these rates are normally revised (downwards for the most part) not more frequently than in five-year intervals. Whereas this does not suggest that monetary policy should be stalled or be predictable, the historical trends suggest that there is ample time to establish a credit bureau prior to any potential adjustments to the DR and PR.

What are the fiscal policies of the political parties?
In light of the challenges that our economy faces and the general consensus that we must revisit our economic model, it is disturbing to see that little is being said about the proposed fiscal policies of political parties as we enter the heart of the general election campaign. It is a well-known fact that during the election campaign seasons in the past, we have heard politicians produce their grand ideas of what they intend to do for the Bahamian people. The important part of the equation is, however, often omitted and very rarely if ever do we hear about how they propose to 'foot the bill' for their grand but necessary ideas.
It seems inevitable that the next government post the 2012 general election will have to continue this spate of borrowing at least during year one of governance to ensure the government is able to meet its obligations. Fortunately, government debt servicing has been aided by one-off payments in 2011 from the sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company and capital inflows from Baha Mar. However, the likelihood of similar capital injections for 2012 is slim. A part from a significant turnaround and increase in tourism numbers and the government's ability to constrain its spending habits, it is difficult to see how we will get ourselves up out of this national disaster.
Our politicians seem to have mastered the art of avoiding reality and failing to inform us that hard decisions will have to be made. In essence, austerity measures are not unforeseeable and it could be argued that these measures are unavoidable. Of course such declarations are unpopular (albeit they would be truthful) and politicians fear the potential backlash of such honesty. The government has continued to borrow in the midst of declining revenues and increased taxes that placed a heavy burden on the Bahamian people. It would not be surprising, therefore, if the current tax levels are maintained or increased to meet budget requirements. Unfortunately, the persons most affected by these tax burdens form part of the working and shrinking middle classes. In the absence of foreign direct investment or new sources of revenue, any reduction in taxes will most certainly require the government to carry out extreme measures to cut its spending, increase the efficiency of state-owned enterprises to stop wastage and implement efficient tax collection policies.
The national debt crisis constitutes an unwanted and unsolicited gift to future generations of Bahamians that threaten their opportunity for economic prosperity. This crisis and prevailing macroeconomic indicators makes it difficult to see any significant economic growth in the near future. Our leaders and all of us must rise above the partisan politics and make a concerted effort to place our economy back on track.

o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at arinthia.komolafe@komolafelaw.com.

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News Article
Pianists Perform at E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival

Nassau, Bahamas - St. Andrew's School student Jared
Fitzgerald performs a piano solo, during the E. Clement Bethel National Arts
Festival Adjudications, on March 22, 2012, at the National Centre for the
Performing Arts, on New Providence.

Tambearly School student
Alexandra Gardner and Lyford Cay International School student Danielle Myers
perform a piano duet, during the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival's New
Providence Adjudications, on March 22, 2012, at the National Centre for the
Performing Arts...

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News Article
Recorder players showcase skills at National Festival

Nassau,  The Bahamas - Sts.
Francis and Joseph School Recorder Ensemble entertains the audience,
during the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival's New Providence
Adjudications, on March 26, 2012, at the National Centre for the
Performing Arts, on New Providence.

Centreville Primary School
student Alphonso Leadon plays the recorder impressively, during the E.
Clement Bethel National Arts Festival's New Providence Adjudications,
on March 26, 2012, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, on
New Providence...

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News Article
Murder trial due to resume today

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@ribunemedia.net

FREEPORT - Following a two-day adjournment, the murder trial of Samiko Rigby is expected to resume today.

The trial was adjourned on Friday for a voir dire hearing, which is conducted in the absence of the jury.

Rigby, who is represented by Carlson Shurland, is on trial for murder, armed robbery and burglary.

It is alleged that in the early morning hours of January 7, 2009, the accused was one of three men who shot 32-year-old Erison Tanelus at his apartment in Hepburn Town, Eight Mile Rock.

According to evidence given at the trial, at around 2am three gunmen forced their way into Apt 5 at Sam Rolle's Apartme ...

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News Article
Thursday is Ladies Night at Neptunes - Chandon 6.50 a glass

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Ladies love to dance, and Ladies love champagne!

Every Thursday night at Neptune's, aside from their ever popular Happy Hour from 7 - 9pm, the Ladies can enjoy

Chandon for only $6.50 a glass (regular price is $12.95).

Enjoy music by DJ Lochs or DJ Say My Name and make it your night to hang with the girls and dance the night away to the most upbeat tunes.

Ladies Night is perfect for a birthday, Hen Night, or Wedding Shower, or simply a night to get away with your BFFs...

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