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October 31, the scariest time of the year is upon us again and if the sudden appearance of witches, goblins, zombies and ghouls aren't enough to get you spooked then who knows what will. This frightful season known as All Hallows' Eve, or more popularly Halloween, is said to come from various origins in the 11th century but has since become a more secular celebration of costuming and merry-making.
The newest beer on the Bahamian market is getting rave reviews as island people simply love the taste of lime in the Bahamas' premium beer, Kalik. The new addition of Kalik Lime makes it the fourth Kalik product, following the success of Kalik Regular, Kalik Gold and Kalik Light.
Phat Groove Entertainment's Bad Boys + Bad Girls of Comedy
Laughter rose to the ceiling at the riotous Bad Boys + Bad Girls of Comedy on December 7th. Though the event organizers at Phat Groove Entertainment did not get their expected sold-out event, the Rainforest Theatre in the Wyndham Resort was still packed to near capacity; and rightly so.
A surprise, special performance by Willis and the Illest Band headlined the event, the crowd singing along to their soulful cover of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ with an unexpected encore...
The Nassau branch of SistahFriend Book Club has partnered with Buy the Book bookstore to host award-winning author, Victoria Christopher Murray, in a book signing of her latest novel"Sins of the Mother."
While most soon-to-be parents dream big dreams for their unborn child, for 27-year-old Tonia Gibson and 35-year-old Kevin Cartwright those dreams were tempered and had to be put on hold. During Gibson's pregnancy, all they could do was hold out hope that their child would be born normal - from head to toe.
Both parents knew that despite their prayers and wishes the chances that the son they would name Kylan would be born normal. They knew that Kylan's normalcy would be reduced due to both parents having suffered from congenital glaucoma in their childhood which resulted in them both losing their vision by their teens. Although they loved each other and wanted to start a family, Gibson and Cartwright, knew that Kylan, like any child they had together, would have a high likelihood of suffering the same condition that they had.
When they learned in early 2011 that Gibson was pregnant after almost two years of companionship, Gibson and Cartwright imagined their son would luck out and have a small chance of growing up without the same difficulties they had. In spite of the couple's hopes and prayers, Kylan was born with visual problems. This bothered the couple at first, but they saw a ray of hope in the situation because their son's visual condition called congenital cataracts is curable.
"When I knew I would have Kylan I was so happy," said Gibson. "I had grown up taking care of younger family members like nieces and cousins and I always knew I wanted to have a baby of my own one day. Although my son has a visual problem as I do, I have hope for him. And I am looking forward to doing more for him so he can live as normally as possible."
In spite of his son's vision problems, Kylan's father, said he could not imagine anything more perfect than his son.
"While it would've been wonderful if my son had no problems at all, I am still glad that what he has is treatable and he is healthy otherwise," said Cartwright. "I really would want my son to have the best chance at life as he can. He is a wonderful child and being blind, while it does not stop life from going on, makes things harder. Not so much in the way you see yourself, but in the way others see you and treat you," said Cartwright.
The parents want their son to have the best chance in life and are presently trying to get medical help to have the cataracts that cloud their five-month-old son's vision removed, as well as fix any other problems with his vision that can be diagnosed and fixed while he is still early in his development.
Gibson, a secretary at the The Bahamas Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Cartwright, a teacher at the Erin H. Gilmour School for the Blind where he teaches Braille, mathematics and computer science do not have medical insurance are trying to raise funds to take Kylan to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. It is expected to cost the couple in the region of $30,000.
"We want to do this for Kylan and ensure he will be well. We just need help at this point so he can have the best chance at life. He still has a chance to see and it would not be fair to let him go through what we did if it can be avoided," said Cartwright.
Although optical conditions like cataracts and glaucoma can sound scary, there is little to fear as long as treatment is sought immediately according to Dr. Ebbie Shearer-Jackson, optometrist at Palmdale Vision Center.
"Cataracts are an opacity (cloudiness) in the eye that many people may associate with older folks but this is not necessarily true. Some people can be born with it. Eventually with age we all will develop cataracts if we live long enough. Having a cataract blocks light from entering and getting to the back of the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today. The only means of treatment for this condition is to have a lens removal and replacement surgery," said Dr. Shearer-Jackson.
Due to technological advances the procedure to remove cataracts can be done on young children who are born with the condition, which means their visual development will not suffer much. In the case of babies like Kylan, the earlier a surgery can be done the better it will be for his normal visual development, according to the expert. But other conditions, like glaucoma, are incurable no matter how much treatment is sought.
"Glaucoma is an eye disease that occurs due to there being increased pressure in the eye as a result of fluids in the eye not flowing out sufficiently," said the doctor. "As a result excess fluid would increase within the eye causing too much pressure which can damage the optic nerve - a nerve that transfers visual information from the eye to the brain. As the excess fluid suppresses and squeezes the nerve it slowly kills the cells. This will eventually result in vision being lost peripherally and over time this increasing tunnel vision will give way to blindness. There are numerous categories of this condition, like onset, primary open angle and acute onset glaucoma. The main form of glaucoma found in the Bahamian population is primary open angle glaucoma."
Depending on the intensity of the eye pressure and the form of glaucoma, a person with a personalized form of treatment can be sought. The most common form of treatment for this condition is the use of medication or eye drops to manage it. If surgical methods of treatment are advised due to failure of other options, a surgeon may insert a little pump in the eye to help to alleviate the pressure in the eye. Other surgical options may result in a surgeon putting a hole in the eye using a special laser.
Due to how painful and tedious managing the condition can be, many people would want to avoid getting it at all costs, but unfortunately there is no way to prevent it said the eye doctor.
"When you think about who can get glaucoma and how to prevent it, there is no real answer for that. The thing about glaucoma is that much like hypertension and diabetes which are more common in black people, so is this condition. As a result it is very common in this and other black populations and as a result it is passed along in many families. So when you think about it, many people are just prone to developing this condition genetically and there is no running from it. So it is best to be aware of what can be done especially if this condition runs in the family. This will prepare you should it happen to you. It won't be a big shock and you will already know what to expect and what to do. Don't ignore it because unchecked glaucoma can lead to blindness."
oTo contribute to Kylan getting the medical attention he needs, contact Kevin Cartwright at 394-3197, 676-3489 and 448-3863 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested persons can also deposit donations to Scotiabank account number 38980.
Kylan's mom said she has hope for her son and is looking forward to him living as normal a life as possible.
Geno D, KB, Funky D, Stiletto, Ancient Man, BJ Smith, Simeon Outten, D Mac, Terez Hepburn, Tropical Heat, Veronica Bishop and the Singing Bishop - it's a star-studded line up for the eighth annual Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival. It's expected to be the ultimate Bahamian experience.
In true Bahamian fashion, the real showstopper will be the Junkanoo rushout. But throw out your vision of Junkanoo today and think back to the Junkanoo of your great, great-grandparents probably and this is what this rushout will be. Instead of typical cowbells and beating goatskin drums, people will shake rocks in bottles and scrape saws. And for the costumes, think newspaper print fringe.
"This is not going to be anything Nassuvians are used to," said Ministry of Tourism representative Kendenique Moss. "It will be an array of the island life really and truly. It will be amazing. You don't want to miss this."
The Music and Heritage Festival takes place Thursday, March 15 through Saturday, March 17 at the Regatta Park in Georgetown, Exuma under the theme, "Come Celebrate, Dis We Tings". It's a cultural event that will be truly nostalgic.
With events like the greasy pole, onion peeling contest, ugly man contest, conch cracking contest, sack races and even a sculling competition, people will have the time of their lives.
Not to be forgotten is the fact that island food just tastes so much better, so you won't be able to say no to the fresh fried fish, crab n' rice, peas and rice, macaroni, conch fritters, duffs, cakes, tarts and sweet confections - no matter what kind of diet you're on.
Straw work, carved figures and even jewelry will be available for purchase at the down home craft center where the artisans will showcase their work.
Being able to enjoy all of this on the calming and beautiful island of Exuma will make it a weekend to remember said Janet Johnson, director of group services and event strategies at the Ministry of Tourism.
"The event started off as a means to welcome the annual stream of international boaters and winter guests that came to the islands around this time. It was meant to be a reception of sorts for them and to show that we recognized their presence," said Johnson. "The festival was also a great way to capitalize economically while sharing the Bahamian culture with our guests as well as inform younger generations. This is a really fun and exciting event that people will not want to miss," she said.
In true Bahamian fashion, Thursday's opening night will kick off with a gospel extravaganza with the likes of Bishop Lawrence Rolle, Al Gibson, Jacqueline Taylor-Smith, Janelle Ingraham, the Anglican Mass Choir and Cindy Romer. Friday has been dubbed Exuma night and that's when Puzzle, BJ Smith and Dillon McKenzie take to the stage. Saturday's closing night will feature some of the hottest Bahamian performers who can really get the crowd riled up, including Terez Hepburn, Veronica Bishop, KB, Ancient Man, Funky D and Geno D.
For those that love the world of the culinary arts, there will be an old-fashioned competition that will pit local culinary masters against each other preparing typical native dishes.
"It's going to be amazing and people should want to attend if only to support their own," said Johnson. "It is expected to be a great event and attract hundreds of people. This event has truly grown from being a small event to something remarkable. In addition to what is going on for the festival this is also a wonderful time of the year to go down to Exuma. People need to see what other islands of this country offer. This will be big and a lot of fun. Older and younger folks from this island need to come back home and see what's going on down here as well," she said.
Jessica Ferguson, a native Exumian is one of those people looking to make a trek back to the island of her youth for the festival.
"I make it a point to go to this event every year," said the 21-year-old. "It's a lot of fun and I expect this year will be even better. This time I intend to take my friends with me so they can see what they are missing," she said.
The Bahamian Heritage and Music Festival
When: Thursday, March 15 - Saturday, March 17
Where: Regatta Park, Georgetown, Exuma
Time: 12 noon - until
Cost: FREE admission
Is there a sure-footed alternative to CARICOM?
Since the historic failure of the West Indies Federation, our reasons for integration have slipped gently from short-sighted fears into hurricane storms, vanishing under the ruthless winds of self-doubt. Historians have argued that this lofty experiment didn't work because of concerns over the balancing of weights, personality politics, inhibiting structural factors and the need to hold onto independence.
Except for the advantages of talking about the importance of integration and the need to promote unmatched allegiance to bridging gaps, CARICOM leaders are unable to connect our people with the wider issues that hold the Caribbean together.
I am not convinced that we believe that the efficiencies of integration outweigh our small size. Our shoulder muscles are under intense strain to harness shared values, regardless of minor differences. Yet, the general perception across the Caribbean and in the Diaspora is that integration is for show and tell. It is not for practical use or agreeable value.
This implies that CARICOM is dead to success, but alive as a symbol.
Let me flood us with questions for sober re-thinking. Freeze clever answers.
What image comes to mind when we think of CARICOM? What message is CARICOM communicating to the world? Do we bring anything of relevance to the international community? Why should the G20 take us seriously? When we negotiate with powerful countries, is it from a position of strength or from a disposition of weakness?
Pause. We are usually significant to the superpowers when we are playing their tunes or when they disguise their interests as our benefit. We need to focus on fine-tuning our intrinsic value!
Too many of us carry village politics to global meetings. We are still learning how to turn what we have into something of worth, to the point where we earn the world's respect. These efforts at self-preservation suggest that we never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, but we must laugh instead of weep over it.
Are Caribbeaners themselves, prepared to figure out homemade solutions to today's economic ellipse and social starvation, and put political will behind them?
Caught red handed with yesterday's reality, our burdens are expressed in vicious crimes, grim hopelessness and bitter joblessness. We need a knowledge-based upgrade.
It is clear that we don't give the Caribbean the best we could muster in a lifetime. We turn common sense wisdom and intellectual capital into enemies when they are best friends.
Outrageous. That's why we do not make things happen by turning to possibilities yet to be discovered. We prefer to mimic what's already known.
But can we get more of our academics and grassroots folks to accommodate principled compromise? Our children are waiting for us to epitomize indigenous intelligence, problem solving, courage and innovative risk taking to respond to the new challenges that engulf us.
They want to see us step away from foreign dependency into competitive global interdependency without losing our strategic assets of land, dignity, people and soul.
Can we dare to dream for them? We can transfer to the next generation overcoming instincts riveted in a vision to think creatively and act selflessly. We can encourage our children by example, to function as doing people.
Why not integrate specific island interests into a framework for regional development? On rare occasions, I am prone to believe that our time for action has come and gone. We are too comfortable being carnival-moving and cricket-breathing people without a regional vision.
I don't think we've searched deep enough to find ways that keep us connected to each other. Rather than being most alert under conditions of a stubborn recession with voters' apathy taking effect, our whole psyche has gone into emergency mode. We are sticking to our unproductive ways.
Integration requires all of the pain of letting go, regrouping and cultural departure from an overload of foreign goods and external solutions. It galvanizes concrete change.
Camouflaged by geography and institutional alliances, there is room for shared prosperity. Psychologically, we can dance and dream. The single most important action we can take to resurrect CARICOM from symbol to success is to find the road to CARICOM's development, and fight wholeheartedly to achieve it.
We have to demolish trite ideas that ricochet with false beliefs and deep distrust. All action must be about a serious mission. We must break the skin of fear. Who amongst us would rather fight than eat to make CARICOM succeed?
We simply do not have the luxury to avoid the complexities that are involved in CARICOM. We have no time to wear other people's clothes or copy what worked for the European Union. Confidence inspires creativity and creativity drives competence. We need to do things that stand out from the inside out.
Success and CARICOM must marry in the chapel of real results. They will either enjoy all the provisions and pain of shared love or contaminate their marriage with petty divisions, stealing love on the side, and separate misery. In short, meaningless integration will backfire. Toothless structures can fire back. Mindless talks have repercussions. Putting into action a functional Caribbean Community will become a special sanctuary flourishing like a calm sea.
Another key to the root of our rhythm is to put to rest the subconscious conviction that CARICOM's success is hammered out in eloquent expressions and round table conferences. These may be necessary but not conclusive.
There is no such thing as Caribbean integration without cultural imagination, emotional goodwill, passion for self actualization and deep spiritual values.
Material objectives alone will not solve our pressing problems or dissolve our weary worries. We need raw audacity cranked up with sustainable action.
That's why we must educate the young and inspire the grown-ups to reconcile island desires with regional longings. There is greater value in integration than in going it alone.
I want to see an effective CARICOM with soul food and soul, consciousness and confidence, embrace and example, fortune and fortitude. No uptight institution. The two are not intertwined.
Symbols are not irrelevant. They infuse magical charm and cultural energy into our intuition and collective imagination. Applied to the Caribbean, symbols are tour guides to principles of mutuality; they contain common fire, a sense of the greater good and values-based politics with a dash of CARICOM spices. They compel us to act.
o Dr. Isaac Newton is an international leadership and change management consultant and political adviser.
Re-printed with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.
The pastor who has been a member of the church for five years assumes the post as Bishop Simeon Hall retires from the senior pastor's position after 30 years.
Bahamas Sailing Association (BSA) President John Lawrence, following the successful National Optimist Championships staged over the October 1-2 weekend in Freeport, Grand Bahama, emphasized his organization's intention to focus on the Family Islands.