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Members of the National Culinary Team have been selected and practicing for several weeks for the Taste of the Caribbean regional competition later in June in Miami. Meanwhile, the team will display their culinary skills at two upcoming public events starting with 'Sunset Tapas on the Bay' set for Tuesday, May 29 at Blu Restaurant and Lounge on Elizabeth and Bay.
According to team manager Executive Chef Devin Johnson, the team will showcase an assortment of tapas menu items at the reception which will be a blend of locally infused international works of culinary art.
"I believe the public will delight in both the creativity and taste of what the team is putting together," states Chef Johnson. "Mixing indigenous foods with traditional appetizers helps to hone our chef's skills. At the Taste of the Caribbean competition the judges will look for an infusion of international and local flair."
Tuesday's event will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. "With the backdrop of cruise ships berthed in Nassau Harbour, against the sounds of live Bahamian music, and the team's unique tapas selection and beverage offerings, this is a great opportunity for people to unwind from a busy day while showing their support for our up-and-coming young chefs," according to Bahamas Hotel Association President Stuart Bowe.
The tapas selection will include: cracked conch sushi; jerk chicken tartlets with guava BBQ sauce; Bahamian crawfish spring rolls with Asian dipping sauce; vegetable spring rolls; homemade combined veal, pork and beef meatballs with fresh sage and a tomato basil fondue; an asparagus, wild mushroom and roasted pepper pinwheel; and watermelon, papaya, cucumber and goat pepper gelee.
"The team has been practicing for six weeks and every week we see improvement," states Chef Johnson. "They've been working on techniques, beginning to gel more, and everyone knows their role. In the coming weeks it will come down to execution. That's why the tapas event at Blu and an upcoming team dinner at Atlantis on June 12 are so important."
The competition is sponsored by the Bahamas Hotel Association, the Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Culinary Association with support from team member hotels and restaurants and corporate sponsors Bahamas Food Services and Bristol Wines and Spirits. Blu and Atlantis are also assisting with hosting the team's two showcase events.
This year's team is comprised of: Team Manager Chef Devin Johnson from the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort; Team Captain Chef Jamal Small from Blu Restaurant; Chef Mychal Harris from Atlantis; Junior Chef Kevyn Pratt from One&Only Ocean Club; Chef Charron McKenzie and Pastry Chef Wenzil Rolle from the Lyford Cay Club; Chef Shanique Bodie from the Old Fort Bay Club; Bartender Gerard Knowles from the British Colonial Hilton; and Dwayne Sinclair, the National Young Chef from Temple Christian High School.
Over 14 Caribbean culinary teams will be vying for the culinary honors next month.
For additional information or tickets contact the BHA at 322-8381 or the Ministry of Tourism at 328-7810. Tickets will be available that evening at the door.
Itís nearly time! This voyage is nearly over. Soon we will bring the Bahamian Ship-of-State back to Port.
When we pull into Port here in Nassau some people will have difficulty recognizing the place as the same City from which we set sale on May 4th, 2007. When we disembark we will offer to provide a tour of New Providence for some of the returning crew who have been on this heavy tour-of-duty, working and producing and not necessarily counting many of the accomplishments along the way:
My Fellow Bahamians:
Tonight I address you on the eve of a momentous day.
Tomorrow Bahamians will go to the polls and participate in a free, democratic and fair election. As this country makes its choices on its path into the future, we must also look back and thank God for the gifts he has given us.
Pandora's box, of Greek mythology, was actually a large jar containing a miasma of evils. Once opened, it was near impossible to contain the evil now escaped. The lid on the Pandora's box of gun violence in The Bahamas was blown open in the late 70s with a lethal compound of mass drug trafficking and vulgar greed by those who facilitated and benefitted from the deadly trade.
We became entangled in a double-bind and the cross-fire of battles waged with illegal weapons from North America over illicit drugs headed to North America. Today, the killing fields of drug-, gun- and gang-related violence stretch across the Americas.
Geography is only partly destiny. With our archipelago of islets and inlets ideal for trading in illicit gain, and proximity to the world's largest gun producer and largest consumer of illegal drugs, we too became addicted to drugs, fast-money and blood-letting.
Like fish-poisoning, it is difficult to rid one's organs and bloodstream of certain toxins once in the system. Likewise with the toxins unleashed by the drug-induced frenzy of the last three decades of the 1900s.
Now into the second decade of this century we are besieged by an expanding gun culture. All of which make the decision to allow the minister of national security and his junior minister to carry handguns an alarming development.
The Christie administration has blundered with eyes, seemingly, wide shut. More important than the politics are the ramifications of a potential policy disaster that may ricochet beyond the capacity of the incumbent and future administrations to contain.
The new government may have opened even wider the Pandora's box of greater gun usage, a development troubling to Bahamians of every, or no, political stripe.
It cannot beg the excuse of advice from the Royal Bahamas Police Force in allowing for the carrying of such weapons by Ministers Nottage and Bell. This is primarily a policy decision by the country's civilian leadership.
If the Secret Service had its way the U.S. president would rarely leave the confines of the White House or be allowed to work rope-lines at events. At home, the implications of the decision are many; the obvious one is that of perceived fairness.
Bahamians want various public officials well-protected. Those of different political affiliations desperately need the government to succeed in combating crime. But potential excess is another matter.
Despite armed protection by the best of the RBPF including additional personnel, who are armed, protective vehicles and home security by the force, the ministers are now allowed the further protection of a personal handgun.
Will other officials now clamor for such a weapon? The potential applicants may include Supreme Court justices and magistrates dealing with criminal matters, prosecutors in the attorney general's office, off-duty police and prison officers, and others in the national security and criminal justice establishments.
Business owners, single mothers, heads of households and ordinary citizens will ask as a matter of equity why they are restricted from carrying a handgun. The mantra cum logic is clear for many: "If they can have all of this protection, why can't I get a handgun to protect me and my loved ones?"
The message the public has digested is, "Be afraid, very afraid." A frightened public may demand access to handguns, a sense of inequity heightened by tougher gun laws which will land someone in possession of an illegal weapon with a mandatory sentence.
With an increasingly angry and fearful public made resentful by a sense of unfairness, the government may be increasingly pressured to relax a long-standing national policy restricting access to licenses for handguns.
Bahamians often have a strong communitarian ethos. But when frightened, even the more communitarian-minded may evince a libertarian streak on handgun-ownership when it comes to their safety, and that of their family and businesses.
The glorification of guns in popular American culture and the prevalence of gun-ownership in the United States may increasingly be affecting the psyche of law-abiding Bahamians relative to greater tolerance for handgun-ownership.
Just as the country transitioned from police officers rarely carrying hand guns to being armed as a matter of course, how quickly might we move to civilians demanding that they be allowed to do likewise?
Matters of internal affairs quickly have international implications. It is not only the message certain decisions telegraph purposefully or inadvertently. It is what external publics perceive that often have unintended consequences. How will various publics overseas view the carrying of handguns by the top civilian national security officials?
None of this has been helped by the comments of Senator Keith Bell. His response to the revelation that he and Nottage were armed with handguns misfired tonally - he came across as belligerent - and in terms of the substance of his remarks. It was like a bullet gone astray, missing its target resulting in collateral damage in the form of friendly fire on his colleagues.
His explanation that he and Dr. Nottage needed to carry handguns because former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham allowed the country to "become a war zone" is unconvincing and not a substantive rationale for the decision taken.
His language was more than intemperate. It was reckless. If it is indeed a war zone citizens will ask to be armed. If a war zone, Bahamians are caught between the difficulty of getting a handgun license or going to jail if they purchase an illegal weapon for what many may view as the legitimate end of protecting their very lives. This poses an ethical dilemma.
A weary public is more concerned with actions than excuses. For most, the issue is not Hubert Ingraham. The compelling fear and overriding issue is the virulence of unabated violence and the nature of the most recent gun-violence and murders.
Tourism officials must be incensed that Bell said to the world that The Bahamas is a war zone. That should sell very nicely with summer promotions, inviting tourists to a tranquil Bahamas complete with tropical daiquiris, pristine beaches, and oh, by the way, bullets flying and dead bodies.
With the country struggling economically and millions being spent to attract tourists, talk of a war zone by a government official is incendiary risking damage to tourism bookings.
Every diplomatic mission in the country has likely sent a note to their respective governments detailing the junior minister's comments. Such comments today often become tomorrow's travel advisory by foreign governments.
A more hopeful picture appeared in the media of Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez, a regional expert on HIV/AIDS, and Dr. Duane Sands, one of the region's best trauma specialists. Despite differing political affiliations, they enjoy common cause in saving the lives of crime victims and combatants.
Some months back, Dr. Sands spoke to the notion that various aspects of crime and gun-violence are also public health issues. With three medical doctors in the Cabinet, one of whom is minister of national security, the government must more fully appreciate the public health aspects of criminal and other violence.
But even as the government grapples with the complexity of crime, it might recall a classic oath of medical ethics, namely, "First, do no harm". Doctors also know well the unintended consequences of various actions and perceived remedies.
The potential harm and unintended consequences of Nottage and Bell being armed may not be immediately felt. But given time, a seemingly singular event can mushroom into unforeseen problems.
We have, thus far, resisted the insanity of mass gun ownership. With the decision to arm the two ministers, the Christie administration may be opening the door to a citizenry demanding access to the same firepower available to Nottage and Bell. Our great challenge is to curb the gun culture, not encourage it whether inadvertently or not.
When 2012 rolled in, the excitement of being in media was at an all-time high as the country prepared for a final showdown between Perry Gladstone Christie and Hubert Alexander Ingraham.
In the weeks and months that followed, there was not a dull day in the world of news and no shortage of headlines produced from the treacherous campaign.
In the lead up to the May 7 election, the Progressive Liberal Party released its highly-anticipated Charter for Governance with specific 100-day promises included.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has said repeatedly that he is focused on fulfilling those pledges, although the timing of their implementation, in some respects, may need to be adjusted due to the poor state of public finances.
He and the PLP have been given a clear mandate and the prime minister expects to be held accountable as he goes about seeking to fulfill those promises in the face of still difficult economic circumstances.
It is too soon to realistically expect much of what has been promised to have materialized, especially since we are a good ways off from that much-talked about 100-day mark.
In any event, any reasonable minded person would expect the substantive accomplishments of the Christie team to take much longer than 100 days to be achieved.
But it is not too soon to examine those "promises" that appear to be dead on arrival.
These are just some:
1. Leslie Miller's promise that one of the first actions of the Christie administration will be to rid the country of Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC).
At a rally days before the election, Miller, now the MP for Tall Pines, declared that one of the first actions of the new Christie administration would be to rid the country of Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles, the Argentinian company spearheading the controversial project.
That declaration drew loud cheers from the Gold Rush crowd and raised even more questions about the wildly over-budgeted project.
But it appears that Miller's declaration was his own.
The new government did not rid the country of Jose Cartellone in the initial days or weeks of its administration and has not announced any plans to do so.
Minister of Works Philip Brave Davis has stated the government's position that it will carry on with Jose Cartellone and complete the project as soon as is reasonable to do so.
The new administration inherited the project and all the frustrations and challenges associated with it.
It is now left to borrow to pay for cost overruns that at last reports had exceeded $90 million.
Miller, who is now chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, remains highly critical of the road project.
He said BEC would have to dig up the medians along these new roads if it needs to get to its underground cables.
Miller has also said he would not support any additional borrowing to complete the road work.
One Facebook commenter claimed -- incorrectly so -- last week that the PLP campaigned to kick Jose Cartellone out of the country.
Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts had this response: "The PLP did not campaign to kick out JCCC, the campaign in part was to kick out the FNM who gave the contract to JCCC. The government is working to bring this contract to conclusion ASAP without incurring additional cost for the taxpayers. Please let's speak the truth and shame the devil."
2. Philip Brave Davis' promise to move for a commission of inquiry within the first 100 days to investigate the road work project, BTC sale, Arawak Cay port deal etc.
Another example of a promise from an individual candidate that is not a commitment of the new administration was the one made by Davis, who is now our deputy prime minister.
This was indeed a noteworthy declaration from Davis at a PLP mass rally at Clifford Park in April. So much so that it grabbed headlines and made our front page.
"I shall agitate for the commission to be appointed so it can call for people and papers to examine and explore the facts surrounding specific matters of great national importance," Davis said.
"With this fact-finding body, we shall seek to examine and reveal the role of special interests involved in the grant of a 40-year monopoly at the Arawak Cay Port."
Davis said at the time that Bahamians still don't know the names of the people "hiding behind the corporate veils". He questioned where the "people's money" went. "Inquiring minds want to know," Davis said. "Let the chips fall where they may."
The PLP deputy said the commission would also be mandated to examine matters pertaining to the sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
The government sold 51 percent of the shares in BTC to Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC) last year.
Davis said, "Investigations into that sale should include matters related to the selection of the Cable and Wireless company as the preferred purchaser of the Bahamian peoples' value and profitable asset."
Davis said he would also support the commission's examination of the New Providence Road Improvement Project, in particular the "massive levels" of the cost overruns.
Then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reported to Parliament earlier this year that the project was $77 million over budget.
The PLP has called the project "poorly managed".
But there has been no talk of a commission of inquiry within the first 100 days -- not from Davis or anyone within the administration, at least not publicly.
The new government's focus is elsewhere.
When asked about the commission of inquiry promise last month, Prime Minister Perry Christie was noncommittal.
Christie indicated that the government would have to look carefully at the matter before making any determinations in this regard.
"With respect to a commission of inquiry, the government has to determine whether that goes forward," he said.
"We have to determine whether it is in the best interest of our country to hold a judicial inquiry into the port, into any matter that we might consider necessary."
Davis said not long after coming to office he still supports the appointment of a commission of inquiry, but for now the government must deal with "more pressing issues".
"I said I would support such an inquiry and that would be a matter that Cabinet would have to discuss and deal with," he told The Guardian.
He explained that the government had not yet reached the stage to appoint a commission as yet.
"We will deal with the more pressing issues that are facing us now, which are crime and the economy," he said.
"Those are things that we are interested in now."
He continued, "We have not forgotten BTC but at the moment we are trying to get our streets safe again."
3. Philip Brave Davis' promise to create 10,000 "immediate" new jobs for young Bahamians.
A key issue on the campaign trail was the high level of unemployment in the country.
The most recent Labour Force Survey, which was released by the Department of Statistics in February, contained some insightful but at the same time alarming information on the current state of unemployment in The Bahamas.
Apart from the distressingly high unemployment rate of nearly 16 percent overall and the continuing challenges to the Grand Bahamian economy, with an unemployment rate of 21.2 percent, the data on youth unemployment was perhaps the most disturbing.
Youth unemployment was pegged at 34 percent.
So any promise relating to job creation, particularly for the youth, stood out in the lead up to the election.
Two months in, there has been no indication from the new administration of these 10,000 "immediate" new jobs for young Bahamians.
But as the term "immediate" is subjective, some may argue that the government has several months left to fulfill this pledge.
Several days ago, Prime Minister Christie said his administration was feeling the pressure to deliver on its campaign promise to create jobs.
"It takes time to bring about the jobs that are necessary for people and we can hear the clamor already of people who elected us that they are impatient and they want progress," he said.
"It's pressing me very hard, I'm at it for many hours in the day working at this."
Just over a week ago, Prime Minister Christie announced that 300 new jobs will be created on Bimini when a new casino opens in December.
4. Dr. Perry Gomez' promise at an Andros rally that National Health Insurance will be made reality WITHIN THE FIRST YEAR.
I considered carefully whether to include this as an example of dead-on-arrival promises.
It is, but only in the sense of Gomez's recent backtracking on the timeframe for implementing NHI.
Dr. Gomez -- the now minister of health and former director of the National AIDS Programme -- chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission on NHI under the first Christie administration.
Several months before the 2007 general election, the then government brought an NHI Bill to Parliament.
Although the bill was passed, the election took place before the promised regulations to flesh out the details of NHI were drafted.
"If the term of government was not interrupted in 2007, The Bahamas would be well on the way to achieving many of the goals that we had set for it, including National Health Insurance," he said at the rally.
"I can assure you that if that were not the case that National Health Insurance would have been implemented by the next Christie term; that didn't happen. And I assure you tonight that when the bell is rung and the votes are tallied and the PLP is announced the winner, National Health Insurance will be on the front burner of the PLP government and will be implemented within a year."
After coming to office, Dr. Gomez quickly conceded that implementing NHI within the first year of the new Christie administration is not realistic.
He explained that the rate of unemployment is too high, and since NHI is a contributory scheme it would be difficult to bring on the program before more Bahamians are employed in significant numbers.
While campaigning, he had told The Nassau Guardian that most of the work for NHI was already done between 2002-2007 and implementing it within the first year of the new government was realistic.
It is unclear what new information the now minister accessed that made him have a change of heart on the timeframe.
No new unemployment numbers were released between the time he made his campaign declaration and the time he admitted that the scheme is not doable in year one.
A new timeframe for NHI is unclear, but Prime Minister Christie has reiterated that it remains a priority of his government.
5. Michael Darville's and Greg Moss' promise that a Ministry of Energy and Industry will be located on Grand Bahama.
At the launch of the PLP's Grand Bahama team of candidates early this year, Michael Darville, now Senator and Minister of Grand Bahama, made this announcement.
"Understanding that the expansion of the economy requires reduced energy costs, the Progressive Liberal Party will embark from the first day in office to establish a new Ministry of Energy and Industry to be located on Grand Bahama," Darville declared.
"The primary mandate will be to reduce the overall cost of electricity per kilowatt hour throughout The Bahamas, and to improve the inefficient failing electrical infrastructure of BEC, while working with the owners of the Grand Bahama Power Company to reduce the fuel surcharge by expanding alternative energy sources."
At that same event, Greg Moss, now MP for Marco City, made the same promise.
He said, "A new Ministry of Energy and Industry will be the nation's first ministry to be situated outside the capital. We will also name a Minister for Grand Bahama with direct responsibility, in consultation with other relevant government ministries, for the oversight of the various government agencies and departments in Grand Bahama.
"We will conduct an extensive review of the cost of electrical power in Grand Bahama to ensure that customers are not being overbilled.
"The present cost of electricity in Grand Bahama is alarming in light of the fact that the Grand Bahama Power Company is not paying any customs duties on the import of fuel."
In the end, the prime minister decided against this Ministry of Energy and Industry.
He however immediately kept his promise to establish a Ministry for Grand Bahama.
The ministry was previously promised by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, but was never established under the former government.
It's not clear why Prime Minister Christie decided against a Ministry of Energy and Industry on Grand Bahama, which according to Darville would have been mandated to look at reducing energy costs throughout the entire country.
These are but a few of the promises made during the campaign on which there has been some backtracking.
They might be a good lesson to voters that promises of national significance that are made by individual candidates ought not be taken seriously as they may not be the position of the party, and the new administration when it takes office.
Itís nearly time! This voyage is nearly over. Soon we will bring the Bahamian Ship-of-State back to Port.
Funeral Service for Jerome Benjamin Major, O.B.E., age 78 years, of Windy Castle, Winton Heights, formerly of Roses, Long Island, will be held on Friday December 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Matthew's Anglican Church, Shirley and Church Streets. Officiating will be Father Crosley Walkine, assisted by Deacon Lynden Douglas. Interment will follow in Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church Cemetery, East Shirley Street.
Left to cherish his memories are; his loving wife of 51 years: Avis Major; his adopted children: Horace, Tony, Tasha and Yogi; one brother: Lorenzo Major; one sister: Ella Major; six grand children: Maya, Justin, Brittany, Aliya, little Yogi and Andrew Miller; eight sisters-in-law: Evelyn D'Aguilar, Heather Rahim of New York, Phyllis Shakes of Baltimore, Maryland, Shirley Francis, Sadie Miller, Rose Miller of Miramar, Florida and Sally Shakes of London, England and Corrie Major of New York; four brothers-in-law: Adrian D'Aguilar, Easton Miller of Jamaica, Zai Rahim of New York and Joseph Francis of Miramar, Florida; three daughters-in-law: Schevon, Karen and Tanya; nephews and nieces: Tasha and Kevin Dorsett, Lola and Eddie Rogers, Racquel and Christopher Patterson, Tara and Omar Rahim, Oliver and Lamar Miller, Rudy Francis, Michelle and Bill Jeffreys, Carol Dyer, Troy and Nicholas Rogers, Maureen Shakes, Gloria Berchell, David and Margie Major, Reuben Major, Sandra R. Major, Joyce Johnson, Sarah and Douglas Ausberry, Jackie and Enrique Sewer, Courtney Major, Douglas Major, Doris McCray, Cecil, Charles and Phillip Major, Princess Major, Elizabeth McDonald, Eriamae Saunders, Annemarie Archer and Reitha Curtis, Sandra Major, Paulette and Stephen Humes, Karen and Michael Belfield, Lauren and Bill Higgs, Mark Miller and Rodney Lionel Dean and family; other family and friends including: The Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham and Mrs. Ingraham, Rt. Hon. Frank Watson, Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie and Mrs. Christie, Manfred and Mae Ginter and family, Gaynell Bullard, Hycianth Nicolls, Thelma Fernander, Bob and Angela Carroll, Ian Mitchell, J.M. and Laverne Pinder, Arlene Ritchie, Harvey and Betsy Morrison, Velma Cartwright, Fairy Kraft, Kirklyn Marche, Dr. Patricia Rogers and Emily Rogers, Dr. Quentin and Mrs. Richmond, David Burrows and family, Carlton and Carla Seymour and family, Nigel Bethel and family, Jerome Young and family, Andrew Rogers and family, the staff of Centerville Food Market, Grace, Vanessa, Freddy, Ace, Charmaine, Bendy, Kenny, Toya, Jackie, Samson and Annalee; Food Delite staff: Anne, Rosie, Sista, Shorty and especially Maria, Jeffrey Beneby and family, Rosemary Beneby and family, the management and staff of Beneby & Company, Chartered Accountants, the management and staff of Harry B. Sands Law firm, Raymond Rogers and family, Robert Pritchard and family, Caleb Hepburn and family, Karen Archer and family, Robert d'Albenas and family, Glen Pritchard and family, Phillip Lightbourne, Tracy and Sidney Godet,
Mike Cartwright and family, Gussie Turnquest and family, Walter Wells and family, Pat Treco and family, Trevor Kelly and family, Rupert Roberts, Camille and Damien Gomez, the American Embassy, Ship Liaison Office and the Coast Guard Division, the management and staff of d'Albenas Agency, the management and staff of Bahamas Food Services, the management and staff of Bahamas Wholesale Agency, the management and staff of Lowes Wholesale, the management and staff of Lightbourne Trading, the management and staff of Thompson Trading, the management and staff of Phil's Food Store, the management and staff of Caribbean Bottling Co, the management and staff of Jamaica Bahama, the management and staff of Nassau Diary, the management and staff of Kelly's Home Centre, the management and staff of Kingston Miami, the management and staff of Ocho Rios Miami, the management and staff of Palmdale Service Station, the management and staff of Hardings' Lock Smith, the management and staff of Nassau Pest Control, the management and staff of The Nassau Guardian, the management and staff of The Tribune, the management and staff of The Punch, the management and staff of Nassau Underwriters, the management and staff of Bahamas First, the management and staff of R.H. Curry, the management and staff of United Shipping Company, the management and staff of Wendell Jones & the Love 97 Media family, the management and staff of Bonaventure Lab, the management and staff of The Amoury Company, the management and staff of Battery and Tyre, the management and staff of Paradise Bottling, the management and staff of Aquapure, the management and staff of M & E Limited, the management and staff of First Caribbean International Bank, Palmdale and Shirley Street branches, the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, Gurney Pinder of Spanish Wells, Terry Bain and the winter residents of Farmers and the Exuma Cays, the management and staff of Nassau Paper Company, Vaughn Higgs, Paul Major and family, Dwayne Adderley and family, William Mortimer, Harry Bowleg, Jeff Lloyd, Sammy Taylor, Brendon Watson and Agatha Watson, Tom Watson, Douglas Turnquest and family, Michael Turnquest, Nisha Miller, Gary Sands and family, Retired Chief Superintendant Steven Seymour, Sergeant Terrance Moxey and family, Sergeant Franklyn Ferguson, Inspector Dencil Barr, the Dean family, the Darville family, the Major family, the Mortimer family, the Long Island Association and others too numerous to mention.
Special thanks to Doctors: Dr. I. Francis of the Heart Centre, Dr. Darville at ICU, Doctors Hospital and all the nursing staff of the ICU at Doctors Hospital. Especially, Nurse Shobhana Nair and special thanks to: Sandra Major, Mr. and Mrs Fred Ginter, Gaynell Bullard, Thelma Fernander, Camille and Damien Gomez, Nisha Major, Maria Solomon , Carlton Seymour, Trevor Kelly, Jerome Young and all who played an integral part in our hour of bereavement. Many thanks to those who have travelled from abroad.
Friends may pay their last respects at Butlers' Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Ernest and York Streets on Thursday December 1st, 2011, from 10:00 a.m until 4:30 p.m. and at the church on Friday December 2nd, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
As a Bahamian consumer (in The Bahamas), you get abused by businesses on a daily basis.
Sometimes you don't even realize when it happens. But when you do, you row, argue, fire off some cuss words so everyone can hear you, maybe call for the manager, kick up a fuss in the moment, but are you creating an environment for enduring change?
Do you make such a lasting impression in the few minutes you're disgruntled that a business has no choice but to develop a real customer service policy that is attentive to you, the consumer, and is not just for appearances or to meet a corporate requirement?
Do you make a difference for others by first standing up for your own rights once you know what they are?
The typical attitude of Bahamians is to sit back and accept whatever happens. We have a suffering culture. We get brainwashed into sacrificing our contentment and individual rights because if something happens to us it must be meant to be. We feel as though there is little or nothing we can do to change the way we're treated in so many ways in our own country, so we seldom, if ever, agitate for real change.
But as a consumer you have more power than you realize.
A business is in business to serve you. And that includes any business. Any organization that takes money from you and gives you a product or service in return for your hard-earned money is operating as a business and is doing it to serve you with the hopes that you will be satisfied enough to spend money with them again.
Yes, they bring you many of the things you need and maybe most of the things you want. But their reason for being is you.
Many businesses will say they are in business to make money. And good business sense does require a profit at the end of the day.
But if no one buys what businesses sell, then what are they in business for?
The reality is that they rely on you, the consumer, to buy what they sell.
So, they must determine with a great deal of accuracy if they can supply your needs or desires, and then set about trying to do that. But you determine whether they succeed or fail in this. And it all hinges on the quality of product(s) and service(s) they offer you.
And we're not talking about just flashing you a friendly smile as they ring up your selected items at the point of sale or traipsing around the store behind you while engaging in a psychological battle and small talk to coerce you into buying what they sell.
We're talking about real customer service. And real customer service goes beyond the smile and small talk; it's about making and keeping good relationships with consumers. And good relationships require good treatment, in both directions, in those relationships.
Evaluating your relationship
Would you get involved in any relationship where you knew or could already see that the other person only wants to boss you around or take advantage of you?
A business can't just sell you what it wants, however it wants, treat you how it wants, and be done with it. There is more to be considered in a business transaction before and after the exchange of money. And consumers are wiser when they know this.
Are you being sold a product or service that is of good quality?
Are you getting that product or service you paid for in a manner that suggests a business values your patronage and wants to keep you as a customer?
Are your needs being met every time you come into contact in the business-consumer relationship?
Do you and the business you patronize want to achieve the same end goals in your relationship?
Now there is always some element of persuasion involved in marketing a business, given its profit-earning focus, and companies will try hard to convince you why you should buy what they're selling.
But they should never aim to deceive you, boldly lie or misrepresent and not expect that you will give negative feedback at best or create substantial havoc at worst. No good or productive relationship would involve any of these things. And a productive relationship usually brings reward to both parties.
As a satisfied consumer, you want to reward a business, whether it's complimenting the chef, giving a good survey rating or leaving a generous tip. And you will not do any of these things unless you're pleased with the product and/or service you receive.
We know that tipping (gratuity) is something many Bahamians are familiar with. In fact, some Bahamians rely on these forced tips to feed their families, so they are quite important. The problem is that the people who rely on these tips often, like many other things people in our society seem to believe they're entitled to think that you have to give it regardless of the treatment they give you. And this is counterintuitive to the act of tipping, which is essentially a reward based on good service and good products you receive.
A business or its employees must know that if you were perfectly open to the prospect of giving a tip but are instead forced into paying a gratuity, you are probably going to give less or be less likely to give at all because of the fact that they've made you do it. Being pressured to tip also makes you more critical of the product or service you receive and changes your frame of mind for giving.
The biggest offenders
The worst possible offense by a company that charges gratuity, which not only changes your frame of mind for giving, but also for patronizing their establishment, is engaging in deceptive practices like concealing the percentage rate of gratuity charged by not disclosing it clearly on the list of services and products or on your receipt or labeling it vaguely as a general 'service charge'.
When it does this, a business is making it very unclear to you what it is you're paying for or if it's something you should or are required to pay at all.
A business that does this ultimately meets its demise in a free market economy, because the dynamics of a free market system will push them out of competitiveness. The only way a business can sustain this conduct is if it maintains a monopoly on the product or service it provides and consumers remain ignorant of their rights and complacent in their actions.
But with more competition, a message you as a consumer have heard countless times, the market share of a monopolistic business is sure to be eroded when consumers are provided viable alternatives for products and services in that real free market economy, as well as better information about the industries that exist in that economy.
Consumers must show a stronger desire for information that helps them make the best purchasing decisions; they must become better educated about their rights and the options available to them to hold businesses accountable for their conduct, and they should demand more with respect to the enforcement of consumer rights, regardless of the type of business involved - even if it's a government service.
In fact, a significant red flag for you, the consumer, is a business that does not have an accessible method of allowing you to express your level of satisfaction and offer your feedback about a product or service they sell, or one that does not publicly disclose this information to you.
Because not only does your constructive criticism in the ratings you give help to improve and further develop that business, those ratings also help other consumers to make important buying decisions for themselves and for their families.
If you have no option for providing those constructive criticisms, then you, as a consumer, should be less inclined to do business with that company.
o Nicole Burrows in an academically-trained economist. She can be contacted at: email@example.com.
o First published December 15, 2012
Cuba has long been an economic, trade and investment opportunity that has been neglected by the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. This neglect could become a matter of grave regret as Cuba continues to open up its economy to other countries and groups of countries, for by the time businesses in the CARICOM countries wake up to the opportunities Cuba offers, companies from Europe, Canada and Latin America might already have filled the space.
European and Canadian companies are already in Cuba and more are entering the market. Whenever the U.S. embargo is lifted on Cuba, the space for investment and trade will become even smaller and more highly competitive as U.S. companies (especially those owned by Cuban-Americans) enter the fray.
To the government of Cuba's credit, it has continuously sought to encourage CARICOM governments to establish machinery that would promote trade and other economic relations between them. In 2000, Cuba and CARICOM signed a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, but in the 12 years that have elapsed there has been little investment of any significance by any Caribbean companies, except one hotelier from Jamaica. What is more, despite a request from Cuba to expand the coverage of the agreement, it has lain dormant.
Under the same 2000 agreement, CARICOM countries had committed to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Cuba to be brought into effect in 2001, but nothing was done. Since then CARICOM countries have each signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union that would make the terms of any FTA they might now conclude with Cuba less advantageous than it could have been.
This situation has not stopped Cuba from contributing meaningfully to CARICOM countries. Scholarships given by Cuba have increased the number of persons trained in a range of areas including health, engineering, agriculture, sports and culture. Additionally, the establishment of clinics and the provision of medical personnel by Cuba have allowed for the delivery of health services many of these countries would not have been able to afford.
As CARICOM's current chairman, St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony has observed, "What is most striking about the solidarity displayed by Cuba with CARICOM is the quantum and diversity of the assistance that Cuba provides despite the constraints placed on its own economic development by the United States economic, commercial and financial embargo."
Cuba has continued its assistance to CARICOM countries because the Cuban government recognizes the courage it took 40 years ago - on 8 December 1972 - for the newly independent Caribbean countries - Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago - to defy the wishes of the United States government by establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. When they did so, Cuba was isolated in the Western Hemisphere except for Canada. By risking the wrath of the U.S., that single act by four small CARICOM countries opened the way for other countries to similarly recognize Cuba.
The Cuban government has continuously pushed for the implementation of trade and investment as set out in 2000 Economic and Trade Agreement. Part of its proposals is that the six independent countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States would not have to grant preferential duty access to Cuban goods, and Cuba would seek preferential access to the markets of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago for an additional 167 products (over those named in the 2000 agreement) while, in return, it would give these four countries preferential access to the Cuban market for 227 additional products.
There are of course difficulties in transacting commercial arrangements with Cuba. An important consideration would be the means of being paid and of repatriating profits. But, Canadian and European companies are doing it. Further, at least two Trinidad and Tobago banks are operating in Cuba to facilitate trade between the two countries. So, the means of overcoming these hurdles exist, particularly as Caribbean banks have correspondent relationships with banks in Canada and Europe through which transactions can be handled.
Cuba and CARICOM have had a Joint Commission since 1993 - even before the 2000 Economic and Trade Agreements was signed. It is supposed to meet every year, but it has met infrequently. Nonetheless, if it were to meet, it could iron out any practical difficulties so as to make the terms of the 2000 agreement work.
One of the clauses of the 2000 agreement provides for the establishment of a CARICOM-Cuba Business Council to review business opportunities, furnish information and promote trade. So, if it is that the CARICOM business community needs to interact with Cuban companies to explore areas of investment and trade, why not initiate the Business Council to provide that opportunity?
Often when Cuba is discussed in the context of the U.S. government lifting its embargo, it is said that an "opened-up" Cuba will pose a real threat to those CARICOM countries that are dependent on tourism. There is no doubt that Cuba - without the U.S. embargo - will provide even greater competition than it does now, and in more than just tourism. But, apart from speculating on that competition, very little is being done to counter it even though another article of the 2000 agreement specifically encourages cooperation in tourism covering multi-destination travel, training, language exchange and passenger transport.
CARICOM's business community should insist now on the launching of the CARICOM-Cuba Business Council and they should take advantage of a recent memorandum of understanding between the agency, Caribbean Export, and the Cuba Chamber of Commerce to do business. If this does not happen soon and meaningfully, the Cuban economy will be occupied by others who are taking advantage of it to the exclusion of CARICOM.
CARICOM businesses could be a real part of a bustling Cuban market of 11 million people in the future, if they and CARICOM governments take advantage of what is on offer by the Cuban government today.
Cuba has laid out a welcome mat for CARICOM trade and investment - why ignore it?
o Sir Ronald Sanders is a business executive and former Caribbean diplomat who publishes widely on small states in the global community. Send responses to: www.sirronaldsanders.com. Published with the permission ofwww.caribbeannewsnow.com.
It was my first time at a James Catalyn and Friends stage play, so I was more than excited to see "Lost Love". It turned out to be funny, interesting and relevant. For the most part, I enjoyed it, even though it dragged at times, but despite that it's a play I think people should see if it returns to the stage.
"Lost Love", a play that holds a magnifying glass to issues of ageism in The Bahamas, played recently to a packed house at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
It confronts how old people with dementia and Alzheimer's are relegated to geriatric homes and treated horribly by their families, and encourages a more positive attitude toward the social issue.
Set in a traditional Bahamian home, the play's main theme runs throughout the drama and is centered around Addie and her sister Annie. Addie is the primary caregiver of their elderly mother, Rebecca, who has Alzheimer's and becomes increasingly difficult to take care of. Annie on the other hand lives a carefree life and is only concerned about her life's pursuits and illegal job of selling numbers. She has no time to help Addie with the care of their mother.
Other members of the drama include Addie's son Samson who is for all intents and purposes a responsible young man -- a refreshing change from the societal depiction of young men today; Claudius, Addie and Annie's brother who chips in to take care of his mother when needed. There is also Emma, a caring neighbor; Enty, a charming old friend of Rebecca who represents an old person of sound mind but not of sound body, and last but not least, the family priest who does his best to help lead Annie down the right path.
From curtains up, the characters fit into their roles perfectly. Their use of "Bahamianese" and funny colloquialisms seemed natural and unforced. The comedic factor flowed seamlessly. Annie quipped sayings only your grandmother knew one after another, which kept the audience in good humor for the duration of the play.
While the play is undoubtedly a comedic piece of work from Catalyn, some of the jokes in the play seemed a bit predictable. I could almost see the punch lines coming. I had the pleasure of sitting beside a lady who got so into the play she kept talking to the characters in moments of silence, often preempting things they would say.
One of the biggest highlights of the play was the character of Rebecca, who provided a good portion of the comedic value. Her sayings of "Well who you is?" and "They ain't feed me for the day" right after eating kept the play moving along quite nicely. Her character was written and directed with a lot of insight into older adults with dementia and Alzheimer's and the toll such a situation can take on families. The way Rebecca addressed the burden of her disability on her family touched on how difficult it is to take care of an older person with the disease -- but did so charmingly without too much seriousness that might have weighed the play down.
One of the characters I found interesting was Annie, the recalcitrant daughter of Rebecca. Annie is introduced in skin tight jeans and a sexy top and mimics old fashioned ideas of a good time girl. Annie is completely selfish and dabbles in illegal numbers selling to support her lavish lifestyle. She is notorious in the community for cavorting with men and presents herself as entirely materialistic and unconcerned with her mother's plight.
Addie, who is the complete opposite constantly admonishes Annie about her behavior which seems to push Annie farther away and makes her act out even more.
Annie stays very consistent to her character until the third act where she does a sudden about face and turns into a good person who cares about her mother and comes to take care of her regularly. This was a bit anti-climactic, not only in the suddenness of the change, but the about-face happened as a result of a conversation Annie had numerous times with her family members about her behavior. One was left wondering what was so different about this conversation to sway Annie to the other side so quickly and completely.
The overall story speaks to a well-known issue in The Bahamas and connected with the majority of the audience. The play clipped along in the first two acts and dragged a lot in the last act for me, but Rebecca's charming portrayal of memory loss prevented the audience from becoming too bored.
For me the themes of the play were almost too well developed, becoming very repetitive after the second act. I kind of felt beat over the head with the admonition to take care of the elderly over and over again -- which coincidentally the older audience did not mind, but as one of the few young people in the theater, the constant repetition took away from my overall enjoyment of the play.
I was delighted to see that a lot of effort went into character development. That being said, there were moments when the characters seemed to be reaching for their lines as there were lots of pauses and shuffling to get back on track, but the fumbles were skillfully handled, and did not detract from their stage presence or acting.
And it was sometime during the second act that I wondered where the title of the play fit into the story, since it seemed to have no real correlation at the time, but during Annie's redemption, she recited the poem "Lost Love" and tied it in quite nicely. The poem was one of the more poignant moments of the play and seemed to note the redemption of a person lost in the world find themselves and love as result. After the poem Annie embarks on her new journey as a better person.
No matter what, the play, which played to a packed house on opening night was most successful in its real factor and the audience seemed to have a good time relating to the vibrant characters and the funny colloquialisms. James Catalyn and Friends did a great job of pulling off a good Bahamian play.
"Lost Love" was written by James Catalyn and directed by Omar Williams.