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News Article

December 08, 2014
Managing change in the workplace

By Billie Bowe / Benchmark Consulting Services
I believe it is fair to say that The Bahamas has undergone a tremendous amount of change over the past two years and will continue to do so. Many of these changes, whether viewed in a positive or negative light, may have impacted us emotionally, physically or even financially. While we all know that change is inevitable, there is a resistance to change that is natural to all human beings. It's not just a Bahamian thing. Undoubtedly as the world, our country and our lives change, so do our workplaces.
For many of us who spend most of our time at work, changes on the job may present even bigger challenges when it comes to adjusting. However, once we understand the change process as individuals and as leaders, we are better able to weather the storm and adjust without sacrificing our wellbeing in the process.
Managing change in the workplace is becoming one of the most critical competencies an organization can build. Although organizations are constantly introducing change, few are educating their leaders and employees, on the importance of change management. In the change management process, there are two elements at its core - the solution and cultural acceptance. Let's delve deeper into these two elements.
Change in the workplace often comes about due to a challenge or perhaps a need for a change in direction. The first inclination for most companies is to focus on the solution. What can we do to solve the problem or change the process? When you think about it, isn't this what happened with the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT)? The solution to the problem of reducing the financial deficit of our country is the introduction of a new form of taxation. In essence, the government needs to reduce borrowing and increase revenue and VAT is the solution. Well in business, a similar approach is often taken. Although the solution is critical to a change effort, the cultural acceptance could determine if the change is successful. Therefore, managing the solution is only half of the equation.

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News Article

June 04, 2012
South Andros Students Group Up in National Arts Festival

Kemp's Bay, South Andros, The
Bahamas - South Andros High School group "Three Musketeers" performs a
pantomime and song, during the recent E. Clement Bethel National Arts
Festival Adjudications, in Kemp's Bay, South Andros.

South Andros High School
group "The Silver Songbirds" performs a rhythm and blues piece, during
the recent E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival Adjudications, in
Kemp's Bay, South Andros...

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News Article

March 15, 2012
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

June 21, 2011
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

January 04, 2012
Standing out from her peers

The pursuit of higher education is commonplace in today's world, but in an effort to stand out from their peers, a number of Bahamian students are opting to seek tertiary education in a foreign country whose native language is not their own. The immersion course expands their horizons and makes their resumes that much more impressive. And that was the attraction of a year-long study of Mandarin in China for Larissa Sawyer.
Rather than settling for expanding her horizons in a familiar place, the adventurous 24-year-old opted to travel far outside of her comfort zone to make her dreams come true. Her destination was China.
"Going to China was about the challenge and the experience. There is nothing like being young and wanting so much to do more and see more while I can," said Sawyer. "After I completed my Bachelor of Arts in mass Communication at the University of West Georgia in May 2010, I knew I didn't want to stop there."
She recently returned home from the Asian country after the year-long immersion studies in the Chinese language and culture. Of all her educational pursuits, she says completing her intermediate certificate in Mandarin was one of the most difficult, but rewarding ventures she had ever undertaken.
"I made the leap to go as far as China because I didn't feel I got a rich enough cultural experience at my school, and I wanted a greater challenge. I'm not saying university was easy, but I wanted to take my mind to a whole new level of learning and doing something different that a lot of other Bahamians haven't done. It was an experience like no other," she said.
After graduating from her American university, Sawyer researched and applied to three Chinese universities. She was accepted into Tsinghua University in Wudaokau, Beijing.
"At first I really didn't like it (China) because I had to adjust so much. Everything was so different. I couldn't even imagine how different China would be. It was a serious culture shock in every way. The food, the people, the way of life was so different. I didn't eat much Chinese food, and to be honest I was miserable for most of my first semester. But by midway everything just changed and I saw China with new eyes. I became more open and accustomed to all the changes. I wouldn't say I dove into everything per se, but I became a lot more open to what I was experiencing."
She now speaks Mandarin at an intermediate level, and is happy she chose that course of study, rather than Spanish or any of the other more popular languages, because she is able to communicate with 1.3 billion people and her marketability grew as she entered the workforce.
Sawyer has already found use for Mandarin at home. She has given tours to Chinese visitors for a tour company.
She now works in marketing. Even though at her current job she has yet to utilize her Mandarin skills, she says she can see the potential for it in the future.
Her advice for Bahamians that have the urge to broaden their educational horizons beyond the norm is to just go for it. Looking back, if she could do it all over again, she says she would utilize government funding better when it came to paying for her expenses for her Chinese odyssey. There are Chinese scholarships available for Bahamian students offered by the Chinese embassy. Sawyer paid for her odyssey at a cost of $2,000 per semester, because she missed the scholarship deadline. She was also forced to live off campus since there was no room in the dormitories at the university. She advises future students to apply early so they can live on campus. She paid $800 per month in living expenses.
"You have to get your application in long before time," says Sawyer. "The deadline may be April but try to get everything in by February or March. Mail is slow and the application has to be accompanied with detailed medical information. There are lots of things you will have to do to get ready and in a way it's a little more work than the average university. But once you get over this hump you just go from there."
She urges fellow Bahamians who will follow in her footsteps to learn as much as they can beforehand about the country, because she says it can be a culture shock. Her shock and inability to adjust in the beginning she said, was mostly due to not doing in-depth research about her school or the environment she would be in. Doing an introductory class into the language she said would also make life easier -- if only for street communication.
"When I first got to China I had no idea about the language and all the books I had read that were supposed to help me didn't really. I had looked up apartments and saw some great ones online, but I didn't go to Google Maps to see just where these places were. So really finding an apartment was very challenging once I got there, especially without knowing the language. A hotel concierge helped me for the first few days and eventually I met up with some Bahamians studying and even living in the country. From there it got a lot easier. You really want to go prepared because if you can avoid awkward moments and frustration in your experience by all means do it."
But even if you do go as
prepared as you can be, she said not to assume you know everything because every area has a unique culture within the wider culture. Sawyer said it also helps to be open to meeting people from around the world. She got a shock realizing there were corners of the world she had not heard of -- like Kyrgysan and Tajikistan --and only came across them in the many other students she met in the melting pot that is Beijing.
"I think being in China will really humble a lot of Bahamians because it is so different and you get a wake up call just being there for leisure. You really learn quickly that The Bahamas is not the center of the universe and the Bahamian view of what is considered 'pretty' or 'smart' is completely different in China. Although the entire adventure was a challenge I can honestly say at the end of the day I experienced some of the best months of my life and I am now better off than I was before. I really hope more young people take advantage of their youth and go to places like China or wherever they want to go. You may not enjoy every second of it, but I can say you will not regret doing it because there is nothing like seeing the world first hand," she said.
If an Asian country is not their dream location to pursue further studies, Sawyer said more young people should really consider just going to any foreign country for studies.
"Travelling to a different place for school even if not China is invaluable for a young person. Being immersed in the culture makes you think about things differently and it gives a greater appreciation for what you have. You also get to meet so many interesting people and learn great things about their culture. But I think the greatest thing it did for me is make me realize is that if I could study and excel at what some people consider to be the hardest language in the world -- then I can do anything."

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News Article

November 21, 2011
No Stenographer Delays Gun Court Trials

The Gun Court could not hear trials for two days last week because no stenographer was available to record the proceedings, The Nassau Guardian can reveal.

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News Article

June 16, 2011
NEMA fraud case discontinued

Prosecutors formally dropped charges yesterday against two civil servants accused of defrauding the government after a judge refused an adjournment.
The fraud trial against Joseph Ferguson of Fresh Creek, Andros, and Patrick Evans of Flax Terrace, Malcolm Allotment, was supposed to begin on Wednesday.
However, AG prosecutor Ambrose Armbrister asked Justice Watkins to adjourn the matter because two prosecution witnesses were not available.

Armbrister presented a document that ended the proceedings when Justice Watkins refused to delay the proceedings. The case against Ferguson and Evans was discharged.
However, new charges can be brought against them.
On Tuesday, Chief Counsel Neil Brathwaite stepped down from the case because he knows one of the defendants personally.
He asked for the matter to be set down until Thursday, but the judge refused.
The men were first arraigned on charges that they defrauded the National Emergency Management Agency in May 2008.
Prosecutors decided to bypass a preliminary inquiry in the magistrate's court to speed up the trial process.

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News Article

October 13, 2010
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

December 02, 2011
Vincent Lorique Wilson, 75

Funeral service for Vincent Lorique Wilson, 75 yrs., a resident of Mason's Addition, who died on 21st Nov. 2011 will be held at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, West Hill Street, on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.  Officiating will be Fr. Glen Nixon.  Interment follows in Catholic Cemetery, Infant View Road.
Vincent is survived by his wife: Norlean Wilson; two sisters:  Florett Hepburn of Miami, Florida, and Theresa Bruno of Washington, D.C.; one brother: Clunis Devaney; one sister-in-law: Naomi Devaney; one brother-in-law: Edward Hepburn; nieces: Joy Maria Ann Dixon-Ferguson, Brenda Marina Dixon-Price of Queens, New York, Lonnie Emmeline Dixon-Rolle of Eleuthera, Junnette Priscilla March-Radjpaul of Queens, New York, Catherine Joyce March-Butler; Jermaine Manley; Latanya Devaney; Yolande, Heather and Candice Bruno; and Lorraine Bethell; nephews: Robert Frederick Hall;  Edward Jr., Gerard and Gary Hepburn; Tio, Stephen and; Webster, Peron, Dillon, Darius; Cedric A. Rolle, Sr. of Eleuthera and Norval Radjpaul of Queens, New York; grand-nephews and grand-nieces: Oswald Ferguson, Jr., Troy Ferguson of Miami, Florida, Rev. Terrence G. Morrison, Valentino Bethell, Cedric Rolle, Jr., Robert Terrell Hall, Tarvan Symonette, and Sean and Kevin Price of Queens, New York; Ava R. Bain, Tamika P. Symonette, Meisha M. Ferguson, Angelique K. Butler, Sophia Higgs and Chrystal Bethell; Mareen Ferguson, RoyAnne Morrison, Alana Bethell, Denice Rolle of Eleuthera and Elizabeth Symonette of Miami, Florida; Terrence Bain Sr. and Darron Higgs; great-grand nephews and great-grand nieces: Hugh and Travis Ferguson; Demetrius Ferguson of Miami, Florida; Cedric III and Cordero Rolle of Eleuthera; Christopher Price of Queens, New York; Tristen and Tyrese Higgs; Terrence Bain Jr.; Tamara, Shakira and Jamie-Lee Ferguson; Dianna Ferguson of Miami, Florida; Alicia Major; Moesha, Denicia, Lonisha and Angel Rolle of Eleuthera; Nia Price and Brittany Grooms of Queens, New York; Teranne and Terroy Morrison; great-great-grand nephews and nieces: Tarvan Symonette Jr.; Vanlese Symonette, Darren Mackey Jr., Trevayne Pinder Jr.; Demicia Deveaux; and Lamond Davis; many cousins including: Beulah, Wilbur, Elsie and Veronica Smith of Mars Bay, Andros; Ashiel Smith of Freeport, Grand Bahama; Alvin, Lionel and Allan Smith of Miami, Florida; Edithmae Ferguson, Verlee Curtis; Jim Nixon of New York and family; Barbara Sweeting; Roger Nixon and family, Perky & Hugh O'Brien; Rhonda, Terry, Terria and Tyler Murray; Michael and Maria O'Brien and Marguerite Grant; Margaret Duncombe and family; Lorraine Rolle and family; and other relatives and friends including: Monsignor Preston A. Moss; Whitney Forbes; Jacqueline and Judy Toote, Helena Dean, Dawnette Mitchell & Shervone Burrows.
 
A special thanks to the Eucharist Ministers of St. Anselm's Catholic Parish; a special thanks also to the doctors and nurses of the Culmer's Ward at the Geriatrics Hospital who took exceptional care of Vincent.  Thanks to the doctors and nurses of the Accident and Emergency and Male Medical II wards at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday from 9-12:00 noon & at the church from 1:00 p.m. until service time.

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News Article

January 18, 2012
Child rapist sentencing to be delayed again

The sentencing of convicted child rapist and accused robber Andrew Bridgewater will be further delayed.
Supreme Court Senior Justice Jon Isaacs directed that Bridgewater, 38, appear before Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans today so that she could complete his case.
However, The Nassau Guardian can reveal that the magistrate is on circuit in Long Island so the matter will have to be adjourned.
Bridgewater pleaded guilty to robbing Patrice Butler of her handbag and personal items valued at $100, when he appeared before Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans for an arraignment on November 25, 2011.
However, she declined to sentence Bridgewater at that time because she felt he deserved more than her five-year sentencing cap, owing to his extensive criminal history.
Bridgewater appeared before Isaacs for the sentencing hearing Monday. However, the judge noted that the transcripts of the proceedings revealed that Vogt-Evans did not conform with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) because she did not accept his guilty plea and move to a conviction.
As a result, Isaacs directed that Bridgewater appear before the magistrate today so that she could follow the provisions of the CPC.
Bridgewater remains on remand at Her Majesty's Prisons.
This was the second adjournment for the sentencing hearing. Isaacs put off sentencing because transcripts of the case were not available.

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News Article

April 22, 2011
Small Abaco Schools Take Part in National Arts Festival

MURPHY TOWN, Abaco,
The Bahamas -- Wesley College students strike up the band, during the
recent E. Clement
Bethel National Arts Festival adjudications, at Aldersgate Methodist
Church, in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.  The students dance "Bahamian stlye",
during the adjudications; and Cyber Learning Centre students
perform as a choral verse speaking group ...

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News Article

December 16, 2011
Several key bills remain outstanding

When Parliament reconvenes on January 23, the government will have only a limited time to fulfill the legislative promises it made to the Bahamian people more than a year and a half ago.
Despite passing more than 45 pieces of legislation since Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes read the Speech from The Throne, the government has to bring several more bills before it fulfills the agenda it set out in April 2010.
"We have a couple that we still want to do before the end of the term," said National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest, who is leader of government business in the House of Assembly.
"The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is on the agenda now, we hope to deal with that before the end of our term."
The bill was tabled in the House of Assembly in October, but debate has yet to begin.
While the FOIA would provide the framework to allow anyone to ask any public institution for information without giving reasons, the language determining what is "exempt" from the act is wide ranging and would allow public institutions the ability to withhold information in a variety of circumstances.
The government is also hoping to present the Disabilities Bill, which has been promised to people with disabilities since the 1990s.
Minister of State for Social Services Loretta Butler-Turner announced last month that the government intends to table the Disabilities Bill in Parliament within this term.
However, Minister of Labour and Social Development Dion Foulkes said he is unsure whether that promise will be fulfilled.
Foulkes told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that the final draft has been sent to Cabinet. He added that the government intends to post the draft legislation on the government's website so that the public can view it and make recommendations.
"We also hope to have a press conference shortly to notify the press about the salient points of the bill," he said.
Asked if he believes that the government will succeed in getting the bill to Parliament before the end of the term, Foulkes said he is not sure. He explained that there are many factors that will determine whether the bill is ready in time, including the expected public feedback.
Successive governments have promised to bring disabilities legislation to Parliament.
A draft of the bill that was being circulated last year would make it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities in connection with education, employment and the provision of goods, facilities and services.  It also proposed the establishment of a national disabilities rights commission.
 
IRONS IN THE FIRE

In the Speech from the Throne, the government also promised legislation to simplify and make more effective employment dispute adjudication and determination.
Similarly, the Land Adjudication Bill has been promised. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham mentioned that the legislation would be brought forward, however Turnquest said he is not sure whether that will happen during this term.
"There are too many dissenting views on it.  So I can't guarantee that we would do it.  We'd like to but we're not sure that we would be able to finish that one," Turnquest said.
Despite several outstanding bills, Turnquest said the government is satisfied with its progress this year.
"I think we are doing a very good job in terms of legislation," he added.
Another key piece of legislation promised by the government that has not yet been brought is a bill to modernize the public service.
In the last year, the government has made good progress in bringing to Parliament other pieces of legislation that were also promised.
Most recently Parliament passed the Penal Code Bill, Criminal Procedure Code Bill, Bail Act Amendment Bill, Magistrates Court Bill, Road Traffic Bill, and Parliament Elections Bill.
"We have a couple and there are a number of other bills in various draft forms and approvals processes. We have a lot of irons in the fire that we may be able to do before the election, or if God willing and if the people return us we will do immediately when we come back," Turnquest said.
"There are a number of bills that have gone through the consultation process and the various drafting forms and approval processes that have not be yet been tabled in Parliament that may or may not move forward. That will depend on how ready they are between now and the end of the year."
The general election has to be held on or before May 2012. Some political observers believe that it will be called before that date. But as Prime Minister Ingraham indicated earlier this year, no one knows the date of election but him.

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News Article

July 19, 2012
The Bahamas beats Guadeloupe!

The senior men's national volleyball team sent a strong message to the other squads playing at the 14th Annual Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Championships, in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Tuesday.
After receiving a first day bye, the national team took to the court against Guadeloupe. Led by captain Prince Wilson, the team served up its first win, 25-17, 25-20 and 25-13. The match lasted 73 minutes and Wilson finished as the top scorer with 14 points. Teammates Renaldo Knowles and Byron Ferguson added 10 and eight points respectively.
The Bahamas is playing out of Pool 'B' with host country the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), and Guadeloupe. Over in Pool 'A' are the defending champions Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados and Martinique. Head Coach De'Vince Smith likes the start the team is off to, and was looking to keep the win/loss record blemish free when they took to the court against the U.S. Virgin Islands last night. The result of that match was unavailable up to press time.
Smith said: "Our players had the opportunity to compete against most players throughout the Caribbean in numerous club and semi-professional tournaments prior to traveling to the Caribbean Volleyball Championships. However, we were placed in a pool with southern countries in the likes of Guadeloupe and the U.S. Virgin Islands where we had no prior opportunities to see the level of competition of these teams.
"Fortunately, host country USVI played Guadeloupe on the opening night which gave us an opportunity to watch and scout both teams. Guadeloupe plays a relatively slow and high game, with most of their sets to the outside or right back position. During our practice session, I had players assimilate the exact style of play in an effort to strategize our game. For the most part, we quickened our offense to beat the taller, slower blocks and used the three-man block to defend the high balls being set to the wings. It was of utmost importance to win the first game and set the tempo. We wanted to make a statement for the remaining games."
The national team was training in preparation for the tournament for over three months. The team is missing Shedrick Forbes, a right-side attacker who plays an integral part in the team's offense. He was unable to travel because of technical issues with his passport. The team was forced to re-adjust the offense, shuffling players around into various positions.
"We have a very versatile team and so we were able to make the necessary adjustments," said Smith. "He (Forbes) is going to be missed. It did bring the mood down a bit but the guys were all hyped and excited to finally hit the court and show that they belong here, and that the title can be won by them. We jumped on Guadeloupe from the first point which was a perfectly executed slide from Byron Ferguson.
"From that point Prince Wilson went to the service line and gave the team a comfortable seven-point lead. The team never looked back as setter Tony Simon ran a consistent offense, coupled with strong blocks at the net from Byron and Renaldo Knowles. Team libero Jamaal Ferguson played a steady reception and defensive game allowing the setter to take control of the offense.
"If we continue to play and have a well-balanced game every time we step on the court, it will be hard to beat us."
The quarter-finals will start on Friday and continue on Saturday. The championship will wrap up on Sunday. The women's segment will come on the heels of the men's, commencing on Tuesday. The women's national team will leave on Monday.

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News Article

December 10, 2011
Stealing arraignment postponed

A former controller and paymaster at Armoured Car Services accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the company over a year remains on police bail until it is determined whether she will be arraigned.
Michelle Bowe originally appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell on November 24 to be arraigned on 49 counts of stealing by reason of employment.
At the time, her lawyer Romona Farquharson raised a preliminary objection saying that the six-month statute of limitations had expired on 33 of the charges.
Bethell agreed and adjourned the matter to allow the prosecution time to get a fiat from the Office of the Attorney General authorizing the court to proceed.
When Bowe appeared yesterday, no fiat had been presented.  The prosecutor, Inspector Ercell Dorsett, said no fiat was needed because of newly passed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code.
However, Farquharson pointed out that the amendments which came into effect on November 4 were not retroactive so the court still did not have the jurisdiction to arraign Bowe on the charges.
Bethell agreed and adjourned the matter to December 12.

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News Article

October 19, 2010
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

April 19, 2011
Amy Roberts Primary Green Turtle Cay, Abaco at the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival

Green Turtle Cay, Abaco

- E. Clement Bethel
National Arts Festival Arts and Crafts adjudicator Kishan Munroe
(right) and Arts and Crafts Officer in the Department of Culture Ellery
Deveaux examine a number of torch boxes, at the Amy Roberts Primary
School, Green Turtle Cay, on April 5, 2011. Torch boxes were used on
the island in the era before television for entertaining the children
there.  The children would make the boxes and later parade around the
island with candles in them.

Amy Roberts Primary
School students Makayla McIntosh (left) and Shelby Sawyer sing
"Standing on the Promises", during the  E. Clement Bethel National Arts
Festival adjudications on Green Turtle Cay, on April 5, 2011...

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News Article

July 24, 2014
Chamber: Simplified VAT 'very smart'

The government has been applauded for being "very smart" in its decision to simplify the administration of value-added tax (VAT) for businesses in newly-tabled legislation, having eased filing and accounting requirements and the level of exemptions of goods and services.
Chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) and Co-chair of the Coalition for Responsible Taxation Robert Myers told Guardian Business he is "very encouraged" by what he had heard of the adjustments made by the government to the Value-Added Tax Bill 2014, tabled in Parliament yesterday.
"It sounds good. It sounds like they've listened, and I'm very encouraged by what I've heard. From what I can tell it's headed in the right direction," said Myers.
With regard to the simpler filing requirements, Myers added: "This was a big part of what we were saying. The simpler you make this - and this is the big issue - what happens is the more compliance you have. You have less tax cheats.
"So the real bonus there is that it's not so hard for the private sector and it's not so hard for the government to administer. The simplicity makes it easier and cheaper and creates greater compliance for everyone, and with a lower rate you need that compliance.
"I think it's very smart of them to have taken that advice."
Finally tabling the bill, which will pave the way for the introduction of a new system of taxation for The Bahamas in January 2015, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday that the bill "sets out a solid world class policy and administrative framework for fiscal reform".
This, he said, is one "that would be successful in moving our nation to a system of taxation that is both economically efficient and adequate to service the needs of modern government and to promote economic growth and prosperity."
He again defended the decision to pursue a VAT, pointing out that advice received by the government indicated that it would have the least detrimental impact on the economy among the various forms of taxation as the government moves to overhaul its currently outdated tax model and replace it with one that captures a wider base of economic activity.
Exemptions
The bill to a large extent follows what had been presaged by the government, including a "lower rate, fewer exemptions" model. No goods will be exempted from VAT, while a smaller list of services will be exempt. These include financial services covering all forms of lending and savings products issued by banks, insurance companies and other financial services; sales and rentals of dwellings; education services, specifically tuition; public, but not private, healthcare; day care; care facilities for the indigent and infirm; religious services; services by charitable organizations and government services connected with taxable activities. Notably, utilities such as electricity will not be exempt from VAT, and neither will general and medical insurance.
Following on from its commitment to lower a small set of tariffs come the introduction of VAT in 2015, government tabled a Tariff Amendment Bill that reduces duty on a number of items come January 1, in some cases to a lower rate and in some cases to zero. These items, listed in documents already posted to the government's website, include jewelry, apparel, certain food items, construction materials, machinery and appliances such as refrigerators and stoves.
Filing requirements
Significantly, the new bill has been adjusted in a number of significant ways, which should ease the administrative and cost burden on the private sector. The final version of the legislation has markedly been tweaked to take into account the advice of New Zealand VAT experts Dr. Don Brash and John Shewan in a variety of areas.
These include having less frequent filing requirements than the initial proposed monthly filing for all registrants. Under the new bill, businesses with annual taxable sales over $5 million will file monthly, and those with sales exceeding $400,000 will file quarterly; those under the $400,000 threshold but over the $100,000 registration threshold will file semi-annually.
The former draft of the bill called for accrual accounting for VAT. The newer version, per the New Zealanders' advice, now calls for a less complex, cash-based accounting system. This change, Myers said, has made the chamber "very happy".
"It will make it a lot easier. They are not making any less money; they are just cutting all of their administrative costs," he said.
Besides being a more simple form of accounting, Halkitis said that this should eliminate "working capital concerns over the treatment of bad debt". Also with respect to bad debt, the bill includes provisions which should make receiving refunds on VAT paid on unpaid invoices less complex.
The government will also introduce a "simplified VAT return", using a flat rate scheme for those with turnover under $400,000. In this case, VAT will be calculated as a fixed percent of cash sales, with no need to account for input tax paid.
Meanwhile, groups of companies will be able to register, eliminating the need to recognize VAT on intra-company transactions.
Task force
Halkitis also said that the government will, as earlier anticipated, appoint a three person task force to educate the private sector on the tax, just as New Zealand brought on board private sector representatives to spearhead its VAT education effort. These individuals have yet to be identified.
Myers said that notwithstanding the fact that the government has taken into consideration many of the recommendations of the coalition with respect to the legislation, the coalition is continuing its campaign on tax and fiscal reform with a view to ensuring the government follows through on other commitments key to ensuring the "overall objective" of debt and deficit reduction is achieved.
"Tax reform is only one aspect of what has to happen to get back on the road to fiscal recovery. So it's great that we've got that done, but what's critical is fiscal reform, energy reform; all of those things are of critical importance."
Another prominent businessman, speaking on condition of anonymity, was more critical of the legislation tabled overall, in particular the decision to keep most duty rates where they currently stand.
"If there is no duty reduction, then there will be no 'buy in' from the private sector. The private sector has made it clear: lower duties vis a vis VAT rate, put in place a Freedom of Information Act and engage in genuine fiscal reform. Without these three demands being worked into VAT reform, there is no reason for the private sector to support the government's position on VAT. Chaos will result. The deficit and debt will get worse."
The government and the opposition committed to going into its summer break once it has finished dealing with several sets of bills, including value-added tax.

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News Article
Severe Weather Warning
August 03, 2012
Severe Weather Warning

THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FROM 10:45AM EDT UNTIL 12:15PM EDT, FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST, 2012.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR, CENTRAL AND SOUTH ELEUTHERA, THE MIDDLE EXUMA CAYS AND THEIR ADJACENT WATERS AND A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH IN EFFECT FOR BIMINI AND ITS ADJACENT WATERS.

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News Article

April 14, 2011
Emma E. Cooper Students Showcase Eleutheran Talent in Arts Festival

Palmetto Point,
Eleuthera, Bahamas - Students at the Emma E. Cooper Primary School in
Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, perform as a descant recorder group, during
the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival adjudications, on April
12, 2011.

Emma E. Cooper Primary School students Tyrin Culmer and
Bernard Bethel  perform as a descant recorder group, during
the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival adjudications

at
Palmetto Point, Eleuthera school,

on April 12, 2011...

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News Article

January 16, 2012
The Bahamas finishes 2-3 in half marath

David Ferguson and Mackey Williams gave the fans in attendance a treat yesterday, as they battled for most of the race in the third running of Marathon Bahamas.
They ended up second and third respectively, in the half marathon. Ferguson, a physical education teacher at Government High School, finished second in 1:20.32, and Williams finished third, in 1:21.29. American Cobi Morales took the half marathon title, in 1:17.00.
Just like his WildSide Online Elite Racing teammate Bryan Huberty, who took the full marathon title, Morales said that his strategy was to pace himself in the first part of the race and finish strong coming down to the end of the race.
"It was a beautiful course and the people were beautiful as well," said Morales yesterday. "They kept cheering and that was a big motivational factor. I had a blast. I came here expecting to have a good time - not really focussing too much on winning but just to come here and compete well. Winning was a plus and I accept that, and I'm very happy with it. It wasn't my best time, but it was good considering how powerful the wind was."
Second place finisher Ferguson said that he was hoping for a better time, but is thankful for finishing the race in good health and being the first Bahamian to cross the finish line.
"It felt good," said Ferguson. "I've been doing a lot of training in the last five months, trying to get ready for this race. I feel like I should have ran about three minutes faster today but it's okay. I made a few mistakes but I'll make the adjustment for next year's event. I did the preparation and trained for the bridge so it didn't throw me off at all. We knew what to expect from the bridges so that wasn't a factor. I just didn't adjust to the wind like I should have," he added.
Williams said that he enjoyed the back and forth battle he had with Ferguson, and will look to come out on top next time.
"It was a workout, but I felt good. There is always room for improvement," said Williams yesterday. "I felt that I could have done a little better but the headwind played a factor today. It was like a battle of the fittest out there. He (Ferguson) prevailed today but there's always next time. We were going head-to-head straight through today and he edged me out."
Distance runner Williams said that he was motivated from the crowd yesterday and just having a desire to finish the race, and finish strong.
"There was a lot of self motivation and to know that it is being done for health reasons is an added benefit," said Williams. "My motto is, 'Your health is your wealth', so I believe that you have to take care of the body and eat right. The bridges were a challenge but by the grace of God, I made it through and I was able to finish. It was more mental than physical today. Thank God that I was able to hold on."
American Jessica Crate, from Melbourne Beach, Florida, was the first female in the half marathon. She finished fourth overall in 1:21.47.
"I felt great," said Crate. "It was an amazing course and it was a lot of fun. The wind was a little tough coming back, but it was a good challenge. The people here were great - along the route and at the finish line. People are always a good motivating factor in any race and today wasn't any different. They played a huge part in me going on. It was very inspirational. The scenery was amazing as well. Overall, it kind of reminded me of all the marathons that I ran in combined into one. The bridge was a lot of fun because we got to overlook the entire area. To top it off, it was a beautiful day. I'm just thankful that I was able to come here and perform well."
Crate finished seven and a half minutes ahead of the next female competitor in the half marathon. The first Bahamian female finisher in the half marathon was Jessica Murray. She was 13th overall, in 1:34.47.
Bahama Drie won the male team competition yesterday in 3:31.29, Kananga was second in 3:44.28, and One Team Campbell rounded out the top three in 3:47.37. S. Bahamas of SDA Female Team won the female team competition in 4:10.42. In the Co-ed Division, Island Street Art prevailed in 3:02.13, Pat Kemp Carpet and Wall Covering finished second in 3:17.38, and C.R. Walker Sr. High School was third in 3:36.24. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Team number two finished fourth in 3:45.17.

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