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Q & A on pet adoption with the Humane Society of Grand Bahama
We will be announcing a fantastic holiday adoption special very soon and thought it might be useful to answer some commonly asked questions and debunk a few myths along the way.
You have so many dogs and cats - why don't you just give them away for free?
Good question! We charge a nominal adoption fee for two reasons. One; it costs us (often far more than the adoption fee) to care for each pet, to provide medical care like vaccines, deworming and preventatives for heartworm and fleas and ticks. Sometimes animals come to us with injuries and illnesses and this adds to the cost of their care. The nominal adoption fees we normally charge - $75 for dogs and puppies, $50 for cats and kittens - allow us to recoup at least some of these costs which then allows us to continue to treat and care for more animals in need. And two: if adopters can't afford our very reasonable adoption fees, we wonder if they can afford to provide proper care for their adopted pet. However; we often run specials with much lower fees, and senior citizens (65 and over) are never charged a fee. (Although we welcome donations at all times!)
You have so many dogs and cats - why are you so picky and why do you have to come to my house?
One of the reasons we have so many dogs and cats is because not everyone buys, adopts or takes in a stray animal for life. Not everyone is truly prepared to provide everything that pet needs. A large number of the animals that enter our shelter are surrendered by their owners for various reasons. A small sampling of those reasons: moving and can't take the pet, fleas or ticks, the pet is sick or injured and don't want to pay a vet bill, the kids are not taking care of the pet, the dog barks too much, or not enough; the cat is scratching the furniture, the cat or dog "won't stay home", the dog digs up the plants or pulls the clothes off the line, tired of the dog or cat having too many babies, can't afford to take care of anymore, and we've even heard "got new furniture and the cat has to go", and "moving to an upscale area and the dog and cat won't fit in"! Many more animals are picked up or brought in as strays, yet they are friendly, some even wearing a collar, and it's obvious they had a home but no one ever come looking for them.
Nassau, Bahamas - Attention all graphic designers, painters, digital painters, printmakers and photographers!
Islandz is pleased to announce our
"Spirit of the Islandz" Art Competition
just in time for the Holiday season. With $1,800 dollars in cash prizes
up for grabs, this is a great opportunity to showcase your skills and
compete for some Christmas cash. All you have to do is download our
Call for Submissions and see if you're up for the challenge.
Islandz is a new Bahamian social entrepreneurship
enterprise whose mission is to provide local artists with innovative
channels for them to market and distribute their work. They are the
winner of the 2010 Tourism in the Caribbean Business Plan Competition
held by the Inter-American Development Bank's Opportunities for the
On July 10, 1973, when the Union Jack was lowered and the country's national flag raised for the first time, Bahamians everywhere stood in pride. Today, that same joy is felt through the accomplishments of our athletes competing on the local, regional and international stages.
It is that sense of national pride that pushes our athletes forward and keeps the fire burning in the hearts of the executives of the various sporting federations who work extremely hard to make the dream possible.
A wide range of sports are played in The Bahamas but only 10 are referred to as the core sports in the country, and a handful come under the Bahamas Olympic Committee. Here's what the various federation heads had to say about the development of their respective disciplines.
Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA)
President Mike Sands
The success of the association over the years is directly attributed to the outstanding performances of the athletes. The BAAA is an organization that creates opportunities for athletes to participate in various meets internationally and regionally.
"We also have taken a very special interest and care in certifying our coaches through courses. We encourage and support them in taking advantage of the courses that are available through the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as well as USA Track and Field," said Sands.
These programs allow participants to improve their skills. "Over the years we have seen a growth in the number of coaches who are certified at the top level. The association has provided them with opportunities to become knowledgeable about the sport and through that extent, we have seen outstanding performances from our athletes. We have taken great pride in making that one of our priorities."
There have been some challenges as the association tries to reach new heights and improve, but nonetheless improvements on all levels have been achieved.
"The association has recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, [during] which we have highlighted numerous athletes and persons who have contributed to the programs. There is no doubt that we have grown and that the history of the organization is rich. Our founders have fought hard and the athletes have capitalized on the accomplishments from those before them. The association has become the victim of our success to an extent because the ability to fund the teams is challenging. But through the support of corporate Bahamas, the government and other sponsors we were able to provide athletes with the many opportunities. There are a number of initiatives we would like to improve upon and we are now viewing our strategic plan to determine how we will do so," according to Sands.
As far as accomplishments, there have been many.
"We can go far back as Thomas Robinson and others who were the first to make a mark on the international scene. The torch has been passed on and we thank persons like Thomas Robinson for their contributions," he said.
"Our success is notable. Athletes have excelled on all levels. The BAAA does not count medals but looks at the personal achievements of our athletes. That is key. Over the years, we have collected a lot of medals, but seen so many improvements from our athletes. That is our driving force, our motivation."
Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF)
President Algernon Cargill
"Our focus is ensuring that we can develop a comprehensive National Learn to Swim program and provide an opportunity for every young Bahamian to swim. Those with potential will be identified so they can move onto more competitive swimming. We've noticed that there are too many Bahamians who cannot swim, and given the geography of The Bahamas that is really not a very good thing," said Cargill.
BSF wants to have continuous growth and development in the sport.
"The progress and success of our age group is measured by our success at CARIFTA. From 2003 to date, we have placed in the top three at those games. In 2006, we came within seven points of winning CARIFTA. So we see a lot of progress in swimming, especially at the CARIFTA level, in terms of growth," said Cargill.
The federation was represented at the Olympic Games and the FINA World Championships. At the last Olympic Games, The Bahamas had four swimmers, two females for the first time. In 2004, The Bahamas had the first female swimmer qualify for the Olympic Games, Nikia Deveaux. In the last Olympic Games, 2008, both Alanna Dillette and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace qualified. This summer, Vanderpool-Wallace will be the lone swimmer. But she has already won a world medal. The Bahamas has never before made it to the finals of the World Championships. To win a medal speaks to the success of the program.
"The success of our female relay team in placing at such a high level, globally, speaks to the potential of swimming in The Bahamas. We need more Olympic swimmers, and create more scholarships for swimmers. For some reason swimming doesn't receive the same profile in the eyes of college recruiters as track and field does. But we want to see more Bahamians on athletic scholarships to colleges abroad," said Cargill.
"The BSF wants to open more doors for our swimmers. We have had tremendous growth and the increase is phenomenal. Our swimmers have so much potential. And as a result we are looking beyond the CARIFTA Games and are now looking to win other competitions like CCAN. We want to develop aquatic sports like water polo and synchronized swimming. Diving is also on our list. There was a female's water polo team that just stopped and now the male team is in the developmental stages. But we haven't done anything in diving and synchronized swimming. We haven't explored the open water swimming as much. There were a few open water meets but we need to develop it more so we can compete at the regional and international levels," he added.
"Since we were founded we have expanded in terms of facilities, but we still need more pools. We have one 50 meter pool that is heavily used. There should be a pool in the east, west and south of New Providence. There were the addition of more swim clubs in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands and we look to improve on this as well in the coming years."
Bahamas Football Association (BFA)
President Anton Sealey
"Over the years we have competed on every level. We have competed in senior men, women, under-23 boys and girls, under-19, under-17 and in the under-15 divisions. We have seen tremendous growth, certainly in terms of numbers and the participants in the various groups. We have had an increase on the junior side, which has assisted with the growth in the league. There have been some peaks and valleys when it comes to the senior league. We had a women's league established years ago and for various reasons that league stopped. But over the last two years, under the leadership of Daria Adderley, we started to rekindle the women's league and we are going to be putting on some tournaments in the next year or so. In Grand Bahama, they've always maintained a vibrant women's program and a competitive women's league. That is a flip to their men's league, which has not been participating over the last three years," said Sealey.
"I am not as satisfied with the level of growth but I have always maintained and believe that growth has to be managed and that we have managed our growth. Because it is an amateur sport, you rely on volunteers, for the most part, to do these things. Because of the growth at the youth level, a lot of the volunteers are spending their time at that level. Therefore, we don't have the quality and the number of volunteers for the senior level that will really commit you to see any meaningful growth. But, because of the amount of juniors we have coming through, we need to do something to address that senior level football. That is the challenge that the federation faces right now."
Sealy and his team took the helm in 1996 but the association was founded long before. Prior to 1996, the emphasis was always on senior soccer.
"During the years 1973 to about 1996, we had a very vibrant senior men's league here in Nassau and to a lesser extent in Freeport. But the level of play was very high and competitive. We had a heavy influence of foreign nationals participating in the league because we had foreign teachers and croupiers at that time. So these people made up the football teams that played here. At that time we had a very good senior program but nothing was happening on the junior level," explained Sealey. "In 1996, when the current administration came into office, we recognized this and our first plan in action was to develop a youth development program which would be the feeder system to the senior league. So there was a renaissance of the game when the league took a decline in the number of teams participating and that is when we embarked on the youth development program. That had a tremendous affect. Now we have competitive games, a good crowd and are performing favorably in international competitions."
Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF)
President Burkette Dorsette
The federation has transformed over the last 40 years, according to Dorsette.
"One time we were at our pinnacle in softball when we finished third in the world in the men's and ladies'. We had a lull in that progression sometime around the 1990s and early 2000s but we are gradually getting back there. The last time the men competed in the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games we finished fourth. So we are heading back there and want to improve on our placing. We have teams who are now working out for a couple of very important tournaments," said Dorsette.
The Pan American Games and the World Qualifiers are high on the schedule. Those matches will be played in September of this year. When it comes to the juniors, the International Softball Federation (ISF) has stepped up its programs and the BSF wants to feed off that.
"We had sent a novice team off to the under-16 tournament last year. They didn't fair too well but we expected that because that was their first international trip. Since then a good junior program has been developed, which we hope the teams in New Providence can piggy back off [of]," he said.
The federation also assists the associations with the development of their programs.
"We have stepped up our game, in terms of our development, and would like to supply more to our associations, whether it is equipment or technical support. The technical aspect will come in our game officiating and we would be taking full advantage of the ongoing umpires clinics," said Dorsette.
The BSF has just received word from the ISF regarding international certification courses for umpires. There are about six internationally certified umpires now and the BSF wants to add to that.
"Over the years we have seen a decline in the administrations of some of our associations. There are plans to host some administrative courses," he shared.
Two new associations have joined the federation.
"Inagua is in full swing and we have just received application from Spanish Wells. I recently returned from Cat Island and they have expressed interest and are preparing a field for softball play on that island. So softball is picking up in the country whether it is fast pitch, modified pitch or slow pitch. There have been a lot of improvements since the founding day. We've hosted numerous tournaments and added various associations under our umbrella," said Dorsette.
"The progression over the last 40 years has been tremendous. We will continue to pursue avenues on where and how we can improve the game. These improvements will also be seen on the adminstration, technical and upkeep of facilities. The future is very bright and we want to continue to grow by leaps and bounds. We have some young talented players who are great prospects and that is always an encouragement."
Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF)
Acting President Joseph Smith
The changes in the game have affected the BVF in a positive light, said its acting president Joseph Smith.
"There has been an increase in all of our programs, from the junior to the senior development side. The game has changed drastically and The Bahamas has been improving from then. We have competed on high levels. There were teams who represented The Bahamas at many qualifiers in the past and we are back on track with playing in these qualifiers. At one time, The Bahamas was number one on the women's side and on the men, we were ranked number two in the English-speaking Caribbean," he noted.
"When the changes to the rules of the game were first introduced we had a little lull, but as time progressed our players caught on. The federation was able to bridge that gap around 2000. That is also the year when we revamped our program, adding more of our junior players to the senior teams. The older teams had seen success and we wanted to infiltrate the juniors into this program so when our more senior players bowed out, the juniors would fill in.
"The executives made sure that our coaches and officials were up to international standards. That has trickled down to our players who are now coaches themselves. So overall, you would have seen a quicker game with a defensive player."
The list of players who have gone on to college on a volleyball scholarship is "very long".
"We still have some in the pipe line. Not only was the past a strong one, and the foundation sound, but the future looks bright. We have climbed our way back up the ranking ladder," said Smith. "Some of the older players have returned to assist the teams, departing some of the knowledge they know on the younger guys."
Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF)
President Charles 'Softly' Robins
The Bahamas Basketball Association was the governing body back in the day and the sport grew under Mr. Vince Ferguson. I watched it grow from then to now, and I have seen basketball come a long, long way. Many people might say that the sport is not growing, but it is definitely growing. There was a time that it seemed like we had better players, but we didn't have better players. What happened was there were a lot of players on one team. Players either joined the Kentucky Colonel, Fox Hill Mangoes or the Cougars. Those teams were so good because they had the numbers. So everyone enjoyed basketball back then. The actual game, comparing to now, was much better because we played more basic basketball and the players back then were fundamentally sound. But the game itself has grown, it is quicker and flashier.
Bahamians enjoyed the game and it showed every time the players stepped on the court. It was a joy to see players like Quant Sterling, who was ranked number one at one point in the Caribbean, play. He along with many others gave you a show that was worth every dollar spent. Nowadays, we have players who can make it into the NBA, who have even played at the high level, but their commitment wasn't like how it was in the past. They were a committed group of players who were willing to learn the game. There was a point when wearing the flag on your chest meant a lot. They took pride in the game and it showed in their dominant performance. Some people will say the players today can not compete with those in the past, but I believe that they can.
There is much more competition now. But we still were able to produce professional players who have played in the NBA. We also had a lot of other ball players who tried out for the professional rank. Now I see a lot of potential and we can surpass the numbers that we had in the past. I don't think the sport is in a decline. Not all of our professional players are in the NBA, they are playing in other leagues as well. We are coming back. This crew of ball players now, they are really good. So in the coming years, we should be able to produce at least three or four basketball players.
Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA)
President Derron Donaldson
Over the years we have built on the accomplishments of some of our more notable players like Mark Knowles, Roger Smith and Kim Cartwright. Their, along with many others', achievements on the local and international stages have paved the way for players like Nikkita Fountain, Larikah Russell, Kerrie Cartwright, Devin Mullings, Marvin Rolle and others. We are now seeing a resurgence in the sport and the main reason for that is because we created a feeder system. More juniors are now coming forth and are playing at a very high level. They are getting opportunities many persons in the past did not get. A number of our players are ranked.
At the recently held Davis Cup, we changed the look of the team and sent the young players. We wanted to give them an opportunity. This year was our 24th appearance at the tournament. From since we started playing in the Davis Cup, in 1989, we've played in about 66 ties. We have never made it to the World Group but I think we can get there. We did make it into the World Group play-offs, that was back in 1993. So you can see our tennis players have the potential.
Locally, we have hosted several international and regional tournaments. Bahamians have competed in these tournaments, and done extremely well. All of this is a part of our growth. There are a lot of changes we are going to make in the upcoming months. The changes that were made in the past we have built and improve on them. We competed in the Olympics. That was a major accomplishment and we want to get back there. We know that we will need to get our players in tournaments where they can earn more points. This opens the doors for them.
Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF)
President Danny Sumner
The BBFF started off with Hubert Wong, Cyril Smith, Edison Deleveaux and Dr. Norman Gay.
"They were the principal people who got the ball rolling and organized the association. Wong was the first president. That was the year they got a commitment from the International Federation for Bodybuilding's (IFB) president Ben Weider for The Bahamas to be added to the international list.
"We were the third member of the IFB that year. As we moved forward a lot of Bahamians became interested. Dr. Gay was president and was working extremely hard to promote the sport. One of the more notable athletes in the first era was Kingsley Poitier," recalled Sumner. "He was the most prolific. Kingsley Poitier won Mr. World. That was the highest award you could have won in bodybuilding at that time. Other persons who were outstanding on the international level were Glen Wells. He competed in Mr. Universe. There was Tony Carroll, Edison Deleveaux and Aurthur Eldon, who was around a long time. Those names were like the pioneer names who competed internationally. They sparked the fire for bodybuilders on the local scene. We had a lot of top bodybuilders going all the way back to Jeremy Knowles, Della Thomas, Joel Stubbs, Raymond Tucker and so on. We've had success at the Centeral American and Caribbean Games and next month, August, we will be heading back there," said Sumner.
He said the numbers have decreased over the years but the federation is finding ways to spark interest.
"We went into the schools and the new segments have attracted more females," shared Sumner. "So, yes, we've grown but we have also had our fair share of ups and downs. We are now working on ways to bring more people in."
Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF)
President Craig Kemp
"I think we're the youngest federation formed," said Kemp.
In the past BBF was governed by the Bahamas Baseball Association and about 10 years ago the federation was formed.
"Our focus is making the athletes better and ensuring that baseball is played in the country. We have grown tremendously from the day of inception."
The BBF's most notable tournament is the nationals, named after Andre Rodgers, one of the country's most outstanding players who went on to play in the major leagues in the U.S.
"Our nationals have grown from 12 teams to about 44 or 46 teams now. We never had an accurate count of teams that were playing back then or the number of players that were professional players. Looking back at history, we can tell you that we did have professional players and they have excelled. That has paved the way for so many of our younger players who are looking to move into the professional ranks. Antoan Richardson is just one of our professional players," said Kemp.
Over the past 10 years the federation has assisted players with obtaining scholarships to attend college, universities and high schools in the United States.
"That is something we are very proud of," Kemp boasted. "Many of these players came up through the leagues under the umbrella. Our junior league is very strong. Yes, we had a decline in the sport but it has nothing to do with the fact that we don't have any stadium. We had a void for about two decades where there was very little organized baseball being played."
The countdown is on to the Taste of the Caribbean competition and as long as the team members stay focused and don't worry
about what other people are doing, they should be okay says team coach Devin Johnson.
Prior to heading off to Miami on Wednesday for the June 22-26 competition at the Hyatt Regency the team prepared a presentation
dinner which Chef Johnson says had some ups and downs, but he told the team that now is the time for them to stay together
and operate as a unit, straight through the conclusion of the competition.
"They have to stay together and be one straight throughout. They have to know each other like they're married. All the other
things they used to do before, they have to put aside and get to know more about each other so that they know each person's
movements in the kitchen.
For the five-course presentation dinner held at Old Fort Bay Club the team served crawfish and okra broth with mini dumplings;
pan-seared Nassau grouper atop grilled shucked corn and grits laced with Auntie Vicki's stew gravy and curry coconut conch
balls on a bed of vanilla infused callalo with grandma's backyard tomato jam and fever grass oil; Abaco key lime sorbet; duo
of island jerk flank steak with fence line mushrooms finished with jerk-tamarind reduction and smoked sour orange scented
duck sausage accompanied with sweet potato bread, wild thyme flavored vegetable slaw; and chocolate coffee mousse, local strawberry
guava pudding with Myers' dark rum emulsion and mango ice cream with mango-mint chutney.
The meal served at the fundraising dinner was 85 percent what the team's management were aiming for, says Chef Johnson who
brought the errors to the team's attention before the evening was finished.
"The meat wasn't as tender as I expected, some of the crisps and components and some of the flavorings that I wanted just
weren't there. Some of the consistency -- like the entrée was one of the weakest dishes on the evening with the meat as well
as the sauce. It wasn't what we expected."
Despite the errors, Chef Johnson said the team was getting stronger daily, and being more consistent in what they do, and
because of that he said they were getting more confident.
"I've told them to stay focused, stay to the plan and stay doing the same things they've been doing all along which will better
He also switched up the dessert because he wanted the pastry chef to be able to think on his feet.
"Because there will be other teams there, and in case another team picks all of the fruit before them and there's only one
fruit left, we want them to know what they're going to do. We want them to be able to think on their feet. If there's just
banana left, I had them do banana three different ways, because it may be the only thing left, and that's what we had them
Besides the actual competition, Chef Johnson says the team should expect to engage in lots of classroom work leading up to
the competition, and they're going to have to do their time cards.
The premier Caribbean competition provides education and inspiration to industry peers and consumer culinary enthusiasts and
provides education and inspiration through seminars, workshops, tasting and demonstrations created to enhance performance,
style and profitability in food and beverage operations.
With the rookie team, Chef Johnson's advice to them is to stay focused, and not watch, or worry about what other people do.
"When we won the gold last year, we had to choose between going first or last. I picked last, the reason being, while they're
in the room I can be going around to see what the other competitors are doing."
The road to Taste of the Caribbean starts in the Caribbean as each island holds individual competitions to select three chefs
-- one pastry, one junior chef and one bartender that comprise the national team. There are four new components to the competition
-- the taste of the nation street festival which allows competitors to depict two savory dishes, one sweet and one rum beverage
and three individual competitions -- seafood, beef and chef of the year,
At the competition, a random drawing takes place where teams are assigned their competition spot, lunch or dinner. The competition
is a hot food one where the competitors cook and present food to be judged on taste as well as execution of skills and presentation.
Ingredients for the basket are the same for everyone and are not revealed in advance.
Bartenders representing their individual countries, similarly prepare a variety of drinks, demonstrating their creativity,
bartending skills and personality. There are three-rounds of competition in the non-alcoholic, vodka and rum categories. The
top four bartenders go on to compete for the title of Caribbean Bartender of the Year. In the final round they have 30 minutes
to design and prepare a cocktail of their choice.
The Bahamas has participated in Taste of the Caribbean annually since 1998, and has captured four team gold medals, and one
silver medal. Two persons have been selected as Pastry Chef o the Year, Sally Gaskin in 2004 and Tracey Sweeting in 2006.
The Bahamian team has been honored for the best Caribbean menu, and won numerous individual gold medals.
Research has shown that learning music facilitates the ability of students to learn other subjects and enhances skills that they inevitably use in other areas. It is also an avenue for students to be able to further their education by being awarded scholarships.
After the recent National High School Marching Band Competition, Yonell Justillien, director of bands at Government High School, says people should realize that music is a talent, and once a child is gifted in the arena, he or she should be encouraged to pursue that talent in hopes of obtaining a music scholarship.
Justillien said student participation in marching band is a positive way to keep children off the streets and to foster an interest in music. Today, a number of students have much to be proud of after their school bands won various divisions at the recent high school competition.
In the senior schools division, Central Eleuthera High School took the parade band title; Government High School walked away with the sound sport competition win as well as the drumline battle.
The battles for the various titles up for grabs in the junior school division were won by C.H. Reeves Junior School in the drumline competition; L.W. Young in the parade band; with A.F. Adderley taking the sound sport competition.
Through participation in marching bands, Justillien said, the children can also receive the attention they crave. The more they get that attention, the harder they will work.
"We just have to steer their energies into the right direction," said Justillien.
He believes that the competition, that is the first of its kind, will mushroom into something bigger in the years to come, which he said would be great.
"I was very proud and the kids worked hard, and to see them rejoicing that brought a lot of joy too."
During the first competition, Justillien was in for a surprise, as he had to battle three of his former students who coached bands in the competition in which 16 schools participated. When the final note had sounded he said his former students still had a lot to learn from their teacher, but that they did a great job.
Music in the education system has come a long way according to Dr. Jewel Dean, senior education officer for performing arts in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. She said that the earliest presence of music in the public school sector was in the 1940s. The focus at that time was on choirs, and the few instruments that were available to students were the piano, guitar and recorders.
"In the 1970s, bands were added to the curriculum and developed through the contributions of persons who had expertise. Persons such as the late Kermit Ford and the recently retired Elizabeth Thornton are credited with being the foundation of band education in schools," she said.
Dr. Dean, whose career spans 43 years in the public school system, said she was proud to see the staging of the first high school marching band competition and opportunities for students.
Thornton, who was a fixture in music education retired in 2011. Her career spanned 39 years. She came to The Bahamas from the United Kingdom after responding to an ad for jobs. She left the United Kingdom on August 16,1972 and "never looked back". During her career she worked in two schools, C.C. Sweeting and C.V. Bethel Senior Schools.
Looking back, she said one of her earliest challenges as a music teacher in The Bahamas was outfitting her newly formed band with instruments. She took a proactive approach by flying to Miami for a day, where she searched pawn shops, to purchase second-hand instruments for the band. Thornton said she also spent many nights baking cakes to sell at school to raise funds to purchase instruments. By the early 1980s she had gotten a school band started and they were well on their way.
In the 1970s, the government started to invest in band programs by purchasing equipment for schools, and more trained teachers became available to teach students in instrumentation.
Many members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band trace their musical routes back to the likes of Ford and Thornton. In recent times the Ministry of Education has developed a partnership with the leadership of the band and allows its members to go into the various high schools in the Family Islands to teach students in band performance.
The marching band competition is the newest platform that the education ministry has introduced to open doors for musically talented students.
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said the marching band competition is a means of getting more students on the road to college through scholarships. He said the competition's objectives are to showcase the music programs of schools and the talents of students; expose students to international music competition, one which can take them outside Bahamian borders; and secure scholarship.
Central Eleuthera High School was one of four family island schools that participated in the competition and enjoyed the sweet taste of success, capturing a gold medal in the parade band category and silver medals in sound sport and drumline, which school band director and music teacher, Andrew Lewis was elated about.
"We were confident that we would do well. Our band practiced and were focused," Lewis said. "When I look at it, Government High only beat us by an eighth of a point in one of the categories."
National High School Marching Band Competition Results
Junior School results
C.H. Reeves School
S.C. McPherson School
74 Silver 2nd
L. W. Young School 67.7 Bronze 3rd
A.F. Adderley School 55 Bronze 4th
L. W. Young 67.3 Bronze
Sound Sport competition
A. F. Adderley School 86 Gold 1st
S. C. McPherson School 81 Silver 2nd
H.O. Nash School 72 Silver 3rd
Government High School 95.3 Gold 1st
Central Eleuthera High School 87.8 Gold 2nd
C. R. Walker Senior High School 79.3 Silver 3rd
Central Eleuthera High School 91.6 Gold 1st
C. R. Walker Senior High School 75.6 Silver 2nd
Doris Johnson Senior High School 66.2 Bronze 3rd
R.M. Bailey Senior High School 62.3 Bronze 4th
Sound Sport competition
Government High School 96.3 Gold 1st
Central Eleuthera High School 95.7 Gold 2nd
Anatol Rodgers High School 93.3 Gold 3rd
C.R. Walker Senior High School 87.3 Gold 4th
Mangrove Cay High School 86 Gold 5th
North Eleuthera High School 75.7 Silver 6th
Doris Johnson Senior High School 75.3 Silver 7th
C.V. Bethel Senior High School 72.3 Silver 8th
Preston Albury High School 71.7 Silver 9th
C.I. Gibson Senior High School 63 Bronze 10th
In what is expected to be the biggest musical showdown of the year, in less than two weeks six Bahamian bands will go head to head for a chance to compete for the coveted title of the "Best Bahamian Band".
But this isn't a karaoke competition. The bands will have to perform original music in front of a live audience. And after the last note is played, a champion will be crowned and will have the opportunity to travel to Thailand to do it all over again - only this time it will be on a much bigger stage.
The Global Battle of the Bands competition will take place at Botanical Gardens on November 30. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the competition begins at 5 p.m.
Every year local qualifying heats and finals take place in participating countries around the world, with the winners of these going forward to the world finals.
Competing bands include Johnnie Christie and the Floating Boats, The Truth, Avante Guarden, Kontact, New Entry and Plati Dred, according to Chairperson of the Global Battle of the Bands Bahamas competition Ricardo Berris.
"Our mission is to find one band in every country that has the potential of being successful internationally, and then we'll put them all together in a world's final and award the top band with a $100,000 band development package, a chance to tour the world and sign a contract with a record label," Berris told Guardian Pulse yesterday.
The Bahamas is only in its second year competing in the competition, which started in 2004. Despite being the new kids on the block, Berris said The Bahamas' band has already made its mark on the competition.
Stinkin' Wayz, last year's Bahamian winner, placed third against 30 countries during the September 15 competition in Romania.
Berris, who is organizing the local leg of the competition, said the people can expect a "fabulous show". He said the country has to live up to the reputation it created last year.
"We brought the standard of the competition to an extreme high to the likes that we've never seen before," Berris said.
"The rest of the world actually looked on and gave praises to The Bahamas and Zamar (audio visual and productions company) for executing at such a high level. Most other countries never really went that far. We take this very seriously and our bands do too, so it will help lift the competition globally."
But while contending that The Bahamas has a lot of talent, Berris said there have been some issues finding bands.
"We had some challenges because bands share members a lot and that's not something that we look for in our quest to find a band," he said.
"Another challenge is they don't write a lot of music. We are featuring original music that is played live. That's essentially our mission.
"So you may not see your band perform this year because they have to prep and it takes a while to prep and sometimes bands just don't have such a long life. They will form today and then they'll be out tomorrow."
Tickets for the event are $10 in advance and $20 at the door.
Berris estimates that it will be a sold-out event.
"Last year we had about 6,000 people," he said. "This year we expect the same thing."
Berris said the local organization is hoping to host the finals in The Bahamas in the near future.
As for how winners are chosen, Berris added that both local and international judges have been chosen to rate the bands. However, those attending will get the opportunity to have their say.
The viewers' choice will go toward the final score.
"It's important to come to enjoy but also to come and help us to decide," Berris said. "This is your competition really. It's about you helping us to determine which one of the bands will be the best. You know what quality music should be."
Tickets can be purchased at CTI Cellular and Electronics, Negril Cafe, The Counsellors, Maranatha Music or Audio Plus. Children under 12 will be admitted without charge.
You live (and work) in The Bahamas. You know how the story goes.
You walk into the government office and Shaqueela (no reference to any real person intended) is standing there engaged in the deepest, most animated conversation on her personal mobile phone, or on a personal call on the office landline (I don't know which is worse), chewing on a chicken bone or clacking a piece of gum. This is not fiction.
Shaqueela and others like her in various government and, yes, some private, offices around the island, around the country perhaps, appear oblivious to your shock (if you're not already used to it) and disgust at her outrageously unprofessional demeanor. I won't go so far as to say that Shaqueela doesn't know what she's doing, because sometimes she does it just to annoy you and because she can.
But, aware or unaware, there's a very good possibility that she thinks her behavior is quite normal. It's another day at work for her, and you should be happy she's even there to 'help' you - because she wanted to call in sick. Her phone call is important to her, so it should be important to you, too. Besides, you should be happy to know that she has an exciting life and happier still that she chose to share the details of it with you - because it is entertaining and impressive. Plus, she didn't eat breakfast (or dinner, by the looks of that chicken bone), so you should expect her to be chomping when you walk in bothering her with your questions at her 'service' window.
If you dare point out to her that her actions, attitude and overall gross lack of professionalism is unbecoming and unacceptable, Shaqueela will ignore you, cut her eye at you, suck her teeth at you, backtalk you, curse you, delay you, go to early lunch on you and ultimately prevent you from conducting the business you came to that office for in the first place. If she doesn't make you wait longer, she will make you come back, or she will make it so that you can't or don't come back. She's used to this game - and you need to get on-board, because you need her, she doesn't need you.
Yes, Shaqueela is clearly under the wrong impression.
Now you might be a Shaqueela, or you might know a Shaqueela. Every Bahamian at least knows a Shaqueela. She is the gatekeeper, unfortunately for you, and as uneducated, untrained and insolent as she is, she is all that stands in the way of your productivity and possibly even your success, even if for that one day she lays waste to your plan because you can't get on-board "wit her wibe". She "done turn off" because "you too uppity", and 'think you better than her'.
On top of that, you don't even want to slip her a 'slow five' under the table so she can do the job she was hired to do. And don't be a woman; you just won't get what you want from Shaqueela, because all you are to her at that point of contact is competition.
It's disheartening, but we - patrons, business people, whether resident or visiting - all experience this blow to productivity on a regular basis. Too frequently, we might encounter this multiple times in one day - it is that pervasive. It is the norm. As a people, we really don't understand the infinite value of good service and support. And not the service that comes because a tip is involved, but because we actually care to do good and to be better at whatever we do every day.
What does this lack of efficiency and real service at every turn mean for the outlook of business in The Bahamas?
It means that you, as a professional, and we, as Bahamians, need to work harder, longer and faster to get even the simplest things done in our daily lives and in the course of business. It also means we're not producing good quality all the time, and what we produce is not really competitive on the world stage. What Shaqueela gives no second thought to could cost you thousands in lost income from inefficiency, lost time or lost opportunities.
But Shaqueela isn't trying to run a business - she doesn't even understand why that's important. She's just happy for a couple dollars every week, every two weeks or every month, so she can get her hair and nails done. And maybe buy a new outfit.
Maybe Shaqueela doesn't know any better. She can't see the big picture because she can't make the connection. She can't make the connection because she lives in a bubble of a country that goes to work every day without producing much of anything. Shaqueela is insulated from reality. As far as she can see, which is not far at all, all these tourism and banking dollars you keep telling her about are endless. She is set. Because we are set.
By example, we've inculcated this laziness in her; we don't have to work hard because the tourists and the foreigners' money will take care of us forever, and we don't even have to do anything for it - because they just come here.
No one ever taught Shaqueela that the same bad attitude she has in that office each and every day she will eventually have to answer for, and so she will move from one office to the next and never have to change - because her conduct is the norm everywhere she goes. Besides, as long as she has a government job, 'she straight'. Right?
Anyway, who are you to say Shaqueela shouldn't have this government-sponsored job? Who are you to say how she should spend the money she earned taking up space? Who are you to say she shouldn't 'ball' on the job and call it networking?
Lesson one for Shaqueela: You, in point of fact, are the consumer she is paid to serve every day. Without the money that comes from your pocket, her office doesn't get paid or has nothing to show for getting paid, and therefore she can't pay today, tomorrow or next year for her hair and nails - a connection the average Bahamian doesn't seem able to make, even after all this time. Because at the end of the day, the government will find the money from somewhere to pay for slackness.
Chances are, too, that Shaqueela is also pretty young, though not necessarily. But the younger she is, the less likely she may be to grasp this concept. No one has taught her. She's only seen the same thing she's doing done around her.
But, worse than not being taught, it is also not the norm for people who encounter a Shaqueela to make a tactful complaint or bring this service failure to the attention of Shaqueela's manager. Or, if they do, Shaqueela's manager might also have the same mentality that Shaqueela does, and they band together in unity, a united front against progress - because it's more important for them to be right or look good.
And if Shaqueela's manager does reprimand her, then woe be unto you the next time you need the help of that office, because Shaqueela will be waiting for you with two chicken bones.
But this should never happen. Whoever you are, whenever you pay your money, you deserve quality service and quality products for that money. It may not be a lot of money, but it's your hard-earned money, and Shaqueela can't be the reason it slips through your fingers without providing you the benefit for which you spent the money in the first instance.
We know that some consumers can be quite unreasonable with business people, but let's assume you are a reasonable consumer. At the least, you want the service or product you paid for. Preferably, you'd like to get it with a good feeling and the thought that you have made a reliable and trustworthy contact through your business transaction - a place you can happily plan to revisit even when there are other places, services and products to choose from.
Lesson two for Shaqueela: When the government can no longer carry the deadweight of your nonperformance, it will be forced to cut you from the payroll. And the time is nearer than you think. While your government is probably more responsible for your irrational thinking than you are, you will be ultimately responsible for your own welfare when that proverbial caca hits the fan.
Very soon there will be a turn in the tide and the extraordinarily lax approach to work and productivity many Bahamians take now will come back to haunt them. Many will find themselves unemployed in the face of fierce competition. They will be stunned when they should have seen it coming and been prepared for it. It is already happening.
When we finally wake up and realize we can't keep beating the dead tourism-banking horse, and markets and trade are wide open and competition for what we'd like to think are our jobs comes from every corner of the globe, Bahamians who don't have good customer service and good business sense will be out of the market and out of the money.
The great inefficiencies of government are well-known. But the same government has trained its people to be as wholly reliant as they currently are upon the government. They've created this monstrosity, and now it is time to fix it. They should be the first to accept the challenge.
Before long, even the government will not be able to carry the dysfunction of the civil service. Perhaps it has recognized this before and ignored it, because no one has yet been brave enough to take a stand against incompetence in the public sector workforce. But, a simple cost-benefit analysis by the right person, at the right time, will provide a wake-up call that government pockets are really, really not that deep after all. When the reality hits that the civil service has no choice but to shave off all the many layers of excess, Shaqueela and her compatriots will be dust in the wind.
o Nicole Burrows is an academically-trained economist. She can be contacted via Facebook at Facebook.com/NicoleBurrows.
Gay concerns with the Bahamas wedding promotion, Bahamas 16 Islands Invitation has led to the withdrawal of one of the judges, and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism having to clarify competition rules.
LONDON, England - Raymond Higgs might have the best jump in the world this year, albeit wind-aided, but his best on Friday night wasn't enough to get him into the Olympic final.
Higgs finished ninth in his group and 21st overall, with a best jump of 7.76 meters (m) - 25' 5-1/2". He said that he had some problems adjusting to the wind and couldn't get his marker in the right place.
"It was a good experience and a good opportunity for me, and I just thank God for getting here," he said in an interview.
"I'm disappointed but those things happen sometimes. It was difficult to get my mark set because the wind kept twirling. If the wind is blowing hard, you have to move your mark up and if it isn't blowing then you have to move it back.
"Today, it just kept twirling so I wasn't able to get in a good jump. It was very frustrating. I tried my best but it just didn't happen for me today."
Higgs scratched on his first jump, recorded his legal leap of 7.76m on his second attempt, and scratched his third and final jump. The automatic qualifying distance was 8.10m (26' 7"). Higgs has a personal best of 8.15m (26' 9") and a season's best of 8.07m (26' 5-3/4").
The 21-year-old athlete was jumping in his first Olympic Games. He got a taste of senior competition at last year's Daegu World Championships, but failed to make the final there and was looking to have a breakthrough performance at the 30th Olympic Games in London. However, it just wasn't to be.
"I think it all comes with experience," said Higgs.
"As a jumper, you have to know how the wind is blowing, get the mark and your approach right and just give it your all. I'll just have to try harder next time."
Mauro Vinicius da Silva, from Brazil, and American Marquise Goodwin were the only two jumpers who surpassed the automatic qualifying leap for the final. Both jumpers leapt 8.11m (26' 7-1/4"). Aleksandr Menkov, from Russia, had the third best qualifying leap, with a distance of 8.09m (26' 6-1/2").
Despite only recording a best of 7.76m on Friday night at Olympic Stadium, Higgs is one of the most versatile jumpers in Bahamian history. He is the only Bahamian to ever jump 26 feet in the long jump, 49 feet in the triple jump and over seven feet in the high jump.
The young star is looking forward to competing in many more senior meets for The Bahamas. He said that he definitely plans to be back on The Bahamas' Olympic team, and he has his sights set on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
Nassau, Bahamas - "The sailing competition was extremely tough in Puerto Rico" explains
John Lawrence, President of the Bahamas Sailing Association and Team
The best sailors from sixteen Caribbean and Central American countries
gathered there to compete which is a record of participation to the CAC
Games never reached before in the sport of sailing.
"The wind conditions have had some very big shifts and the wind has
tended to drop out every day that we have raced." says Donico Brown who
sailed the Laser.
Indeed, the sailing conditions were particularly difficult for our