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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.
The Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO) represented almost 93 percent of Buckeye Partners' revenue from international operations in the first six months of this year.
According to the U.S. company's financial report, the Grand Bahama facility generated $93.3 million in revenue for the six months ending June 30. That compares with $90.3 million from the year before. Buckeye Partners, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, operates one of the largest independent refined petroleum products pipeline systems in the U.S. It has 100 active terminals with a storage capacity of more than 69 million barrels.
Buckeye holds a liquid petroleum product terminal in both Puerto Rico and Grand Bahama, although the latter represents the lion's share of its international operations.
This segment now has an aggregate storage capacity of 27.2 million barrels, or well over one-third of the company's total storage, after just completing BORCO's 1.1 million barrel expansion.
The report revealed a total capital expenditure of $185 million for Buckeye's international operations, with BORCO featuring prominently in this category.
In addition to the barrel storage expansion, this expenditure includes repairs to the damaged jetty at the BORCO facility as a result of a ship collision in May.
"We believe the recovery of the costs to repair the damaged jetty is probable," the report stated.
The adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) from international operations was $63.3 million for the first six months, the company reported, which is an increase of $6.1 million.
"The increase in adjusted EBITDA was primarily related to a $1.6 million increase in storage fees, which includes a full period of operations for BORCO, $1.7 million of non-controlling interests income related to the remaining 20 percent in BORCO not acquired by us until February 16, 2011, and a $3 million net decrease in expenses primarily related to lower professional fees."
The report from Buckeye further underlines the Grand Bahama facility's key importance to the future of the company.
During a recent conference call with investors, top management at Buckeye revealed that BORCO's 4.7 million barrel expansion, expected to be completed next year, is 65 percent leased out.
Buckeye is anticipating rising demand for its services based on production coming online in Brazil and continuing demand for bulk cargos going to Asia.
The other side of the coin is the recently acquired Perth Amboy facility in New York Harbor, which the company purchased for $260 million. The acquisition included four million barrels of storage, four docks, and pipeline, rail and truck access.
It is expected to provide an essential conduit to its international operations in the Caribbean and beyond.
The trial of two people accused of defrauding the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been adjourned until next year.
Stanley Nixon and Valderine Watkins appeared before Supreme Court Justice Roy Jones for the start of their trial yesterday. The pair are accused of stealing $50,000 from the disaster management agency after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.
However, the trial did not proceed and Jones adjourned the case to March 18, 2013.
Nixon and Watkins were first arraigned before a magistrate on the accusations in 2008.
Darell Taylor appeared for the Crown. Cheryl Bazard, Dorsey McPhee and Romona Farquharson appeared for the accused.
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.
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...
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Work is underway on the Grand Bahama Power Company's new 80 million dollar plant thanks to the efficient work of Waugh Construction, a local contractor in Grand Bahama. GBPC announced a few weeks ago their contractual agreement with Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) and MAN Diesel & Turbo (MAN) to construct GBPC's new 52 MW HFO diesel plant, on 6 acres of land adjacent to the current Steam Plant.
"We are excited to have bulldozers on site and clearing getting underway," noted Sarah MacDonald, GBPC's new President and CEO. "The new plant is proceeding on schedule and providing much needed construction jobs to the local community."
The new plant will benefit customers providing a long term solution to improving reliability and stabilizing rates for GBPC customers. Customers also benefit from the new cost structure approved by the Grand Bahama Port Authority which ensures that the plant is built without an increase in customer's rates.
While the international contractor along with an expected local work force of over 70 will build the new diesel pant, GBPC customers will benefit from supplemental generation brought on Island in early June. Once site clearing is complete construction of the physical plant will commence later this month and is projected to be completed in 2012.
Photos: Waugh Construction clears the way for new 80 million dollar GBPC Generation Plant - Local contractor Waugh Construction has been busy this week clearing the way for the new Grand Bahama Power Generation Plant. GBPC announced a few weeks ago their plans to construct GBPC's new 52 MW HFO diesel plant on 6 acres of land adjacent to the current Steam Plant, the project is due to be completed in late 2012. 'We are excited to have bulldozers on site and clearing getting underway,' noted Sarah MacDonald, GBPC's new President and CEO. 'The new plant is proceeding on schedule and providing much needed construction jobs to the local community.' (Photos courtesy of Erik J. Russell / Keen i Media Ltd)
Rate reductions for mobile services could come as early as July as Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) begins to roll out some of its plans for the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, BTC CEO Geoff Houston announced yesterday.
The rate reductions depend on approval from the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA).
"We're expecting to see the first big change in our mobile rates in July," said Houston at a press conference at BTC's John F. Kennedy Drive headquarters.
"I would like to tell you what they are today but unfortunately we have yet to get final approval from URCA. But suffice it to say we are really excited that we will start to really bring down the cost of mobile calls in The Bahamas very, very soon."
BTC's vice president of marketing Marlon Johnson noted that the approval process takes about a month for rate reduction applications.
"So starting at the end of June, you'll start to see us roll out promotions for rate adjustments," he said.
When asked how the rate reduction would affect overall customer bills, Johnson declined to answer, saying that it would prejudice the approval process.
However, it was previously announced that CWC would among other things reduce cell phone rates by 36 percent within three years.
Asked why BTC had not sought to reduce rates previously, Johnson said one of BTC's mandates was to maintain its profitability.
BTC is also in the process of making several other improvements, officials announced.
Houston said BTC is making adjustments to improve the quality of its network until such time as a new network can be introduced.
He said the current network does not have the capacity to become a "world class performing network."
"So we're hoping to plug a few holes in terms of dropped calls and call quality," Houston said.
He added that BTC also intends to fix the billing system, which over the past few years has been extremely challenged.
"We've set a very ambitious work plan to fix the billing system," Houston said. "I think that was probably the top of mind for a lot of the people and we've made some good progress there.
"We're confident that we'll have that fixed by the end of the summer. It's a big challenge but we've got a full team focused on it."
He said customer service has also been a "big challenge" for the company.
"We know that we have a lot of work ahead to position ourselves as a great service organization," Houston said.
He said BTC is also working on eliminating the bureaucracy in the company.
"So that's going to be another big thing."
As it relates to the voluntary separation packages, Houston said all employees have received their offers and have been given a month to decide.
He would not divulge how many people have already accepted the packages or how much money was set aside for the exercise.
Houston said one of the biggest concerns with the separation packages is that too many people may apply to leave BTC.
"It gives us a lot of sleepless nights. We have the right of last refusal but I think the big risk is we get too many people from one area coming forward," he said. "That places the business at risk. We really just need to deal with them on a case by case basis."
In the coming months, BTC will introduce a larger variety of smart phones and will launch its new flagship store in the Mall at Marathon before the end of the year, Houston said.
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
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
4 tbsp butter
8 slices Texas toast
Confectioners sugar, for dusting
1 medium ripe dilly, strawberries can be substituted
Yogurt, plain or vanilla
3 ozs grated, toasted coconut
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
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
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.
Makes: 6 servings
2 quarts iced water
4 large limes, cut and squeezed
Sugar to taste
Mango rum (optional for sexy switcher - adults only)
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
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.
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...
THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY HAS ISSUED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR GRAND BAHAMA AND MAINTAINS A WATCH FOR ABACO FROM 11:35AM EDT UNTIL 1:00PM EDT, FRIDAY 8TH JUNE 2012.
A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FOR GRAND BAHAMA INCLUDING THE SETTLEMENTS OF WEST END, EIGHT MILE ROCK, PINDERS POINT, FREEPORT, LUCAYA ESTATES, McLEANS TOWN, SURROUNDING CAYS AND ADJACENT WATERS. A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTH AND CENTRAL ABACO, SURROUNDING CAYS AND ADJACENT WATERS.
LONDON, England - For the first time ever, The Bahamas can boast of a swimmer being in an Olympic final, and that is more than enough to celebrate at these 30th Olympic Games.
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace touched the wall in eighth place in the 50-meter (m) Free final on Saturday night, in 24.69 seconds, but said that she was pleased to be competing with the world's best on the world's biggest stage for sports.
"I went in there as good as I can be and I came eighth in the Olympic final - that's not something to frown about," she said. "I think that I over-thought the race a little too much and I should have just let it go but it is a learning experience - first time in an Olympic final, so I'm pretty happy with what just happened."
Vanderpool-Wallace was just five hundredths of a second off her national record setting time, which she swam in the semi-finals. She appeared to be slightly behind the field when the ladies got into their freestyle strokes, but the race was close throughout, and apart from gold medal winner, Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands who set yet another Olympic record, no one really separated themselves. The second through eighth places were separated by a little over four tenths of a second.
"Overall, it was a good race," said Vanderpool-Wallace. "It was right there with my best time in the 50 Free. I think I did what I needed to do. The biggest thing I got from this was confidence that I can compete with these girls. I'm very confident going into the future," she added.
Vanderpool-Wallace had qualified for the final with the sixth fastest time, having swum her national record of 24.64 seconds in the semis. It was 15 hundredths of a second faster than her previous national record time, set at last year's Shanghai World Championships. She was seventh and 10th in the 50m and 100m Free at the FINA Worlds last year respectively, and finished eighth and 10th in those events at the Olympics this year.
Gold medalist from the 100m Free, Kromowidjojo, set her second consecutive Olympic record as she won the 50m Free, in 24.05 seconds. Aliaksandra Herasimenia, of Belarus, was second in 24.28 seconds, and Marleen Veldhuis, of the Netherlands, won the bronze medal in 24.39 seconds.
The only other swimmer from this side of the world, Jessica Hardy of the United States, finished seventh in that very fast final Saturday night, in 24.62 seconds.
As for Vanderpool-Wallace, it's been a four-year journey for her to get back to the Olympics. In Beijing as a teenager, she finished 24th and 28th in the 50 and 100m freestyle races overall, in times of 25.40 and 55.61 seconds respectively. She was significantly better, and is looking forward to even greater performances in the future.
BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - A Supreme Court jury was empanelled on Monday in the murder trial of Coletor Johnson and Glinton Louis, but the matter was adjourned to allow defence counsel Paul Wallace-Whitfield to meet with his client.
Senior Justice Hartman Longley adjourned the matter to Tuesday morning when the prosecution is expected to open its case against the pair.
Prosecutors Erica Kemp and Olivia Blatch, of the Attorney General's Office, are appearing on behalf of the Crown.
Johnson, 23, of Drake Avenue; and Louis, 32, of Garden Villas, are accused of the hit-and-run death of Markinson Justin, 23.
Justin was struc ...
Nassau, The Bahamas - The Cabinet Office wishes to advise the general public
that Eastern Standard Time will commence at
2:00 a.m. on Sunday, 6th November,
2011 and will continue until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, 11th March, 2012.
Clocks should be turned back by one hour, ideally at bedtime on the Saturday night before.
Manually adjust any timepieces and timekeeping devices that do not automatically
Nassau, Bahamas - On the heels of winning several awards during the 2010 DJ Awards, a
local radio house, Broadcast Services Ltd., is again
lauding one of its DJs, Giles Wells, for winning Best Gospel
Personality as host of the morning show on Spirit Gospel.
For Wells, the achievement is a by-product of a career that
started out on a very different path.
He studied business and finance in college, but his own finances
forced him to take a job in sales at The Broadcasting Corporation, selling ads
for ZNS-TV and radio...
Three families were displaced after a reported tornado touched down in Murphy Town, Abaco, on Thursday and ripped off portions of roofs, tore down power and phone lines and turned over cars.
A team from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) headed by NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell flew to Abaco yesterday morning for an aerial and land assessment of the damage.
NEMA officials received a call about the reported tornado around 3 p.m. Thursday from Cooper's Town Administrator Cephas Cooper.
No one was injured or killed during the storm, said NEMA Operations Manager Gayle Moncur at a press conference at the agency's headquarters yesterday. She said it was too early to tell if the severe weather reported in Murphy Town was an actual tornado.
Greg Gomez, an employee at the Administrator's Office in Cooper's Town, toured the area after the reported twister passed through.
He told The Nassau Guardian the storm ripped off a portion of the roof covering two bedrooms of an apartment complex in Murphy Town. The storm also damaged the roof of an adjacent apartment and a nearby laundromat, he said.
Gomez also reported that the storm broke power and phone lines and caused damage to at least two businesses on Shell Road in Murphy Town.
The reported tornado was part of a series of bad weather experienced across The Bahamas this week due to incessant rain brought on by a low pressure system near The Bahamas.
The system caused flooding in New Providence and heavy rain in Grand Bahama, Abaco, Bimini and the Berry Islands, said Chief Climatological Officer Michael Stubbs.
On Thursday, the Meteorology Department issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Bimini, Grand Bahama, Abaco and adjacent waters and warned that the thunderstorms had the potential to cause strong gusty winds, dangerous lightning, heavy downpour and possible tornadic activity.
Convicted pedophile Andre Birbal will have to wait a little longer to appeal his guilty verdicts for having sex with two male students from the Eight Mile Rock High School.
Birbal is now unrepresented as he fired his court-appointed lawyer Craig Butler at the Court of Appeal yesterday. Birbal, who is appealing his conviction and 35-year sentence, has appeared before the appellate court four times.
Birbal, an art and computer assisted design instructor, taught one of his victims for five years and the other for just six weeks. The victims reported the alleged abuse to the police after they graduated from the school.
Moments after Butler began to outline his grounds of appeal, Birbal told the panel of Court President Anita Allen and Justices of Appeal Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh that he wanted to speak to his lawyer because he had "some serious concerns".
The court recessed for 15 minutes to allow the meeting. When the hearing resumed, Butler told the court, "Having consulted with Mr. Birbal, Mr. Birbal's wish is that he be assigned other counsel to prosecute the appeal on his behalf."
Asked if he had anything to say, Birbal complained that Butler did not come to see him personally and sent two associates, who only met with him for half an hour. Birbal said that he had given Butler's associates a list of additional grounds of appeal, which he felt were not presented to the court.
Butler said that he attempted to encapsulate Birbal's grounds into his legal submissions. He added, "If Mr. Birbal has no confidence in me, it would make it difficult for me to advance this matter."
Allen asked the appellant, "You understand this is going to occasion further delay?"
Birbal replied, "I understand that."
Justice Allen directed that Birbal be appointed new counsel. She set a status hearing for May 21.
At a hearing in February, Butler requested an adjournment because he did not have an opportunity to meet with Birbal. At the time, Butler assured the court that he would be ready to present the appeal at the adjournment. However, he filed his submissions late Friday afternoon.
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.
or suggest in advance any house music you would like to hear!
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."
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."