Sort results by:
Search results for : pool service
Showing 1 to 10 of 299 results
Weeks after parting ways with Bimini Big Game Club, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts has reached an agreement with the Abaco-based Green Turtle Club.
The new alliance becomes effective immediately, as the Green Turtle Club will become the inaugural member of the new Expedition Properties Portfolio by Guy Harvey Outpost. President of Guy Harvey Outpost Mark Ellert said the partnership is a perfect chance to showcase one of the hidden gems in The Bahamas.
"We are extremely excited to launch the Expedition Properties Portfolio with the famed Green Turtle Club as our inaugural member hotel," Ellert said. "Our intent with Expedition Properties is to showcase small, independently owned properties in unique destinations that are focused on watersports recreation and whose owners are committed to customer service, sustainability and conservation.
"Given the Club's legacy, the professionalism of its staff and dedication of its owners, I'm hard pressed to think of a better opportunity in The Bahamas than this."
The news comes after Guy Harvey Outpost cut ties with Bimini Big Game Club earlier in the month, with foreclosure issues influencing the move in another direction. The two former partners had a business relationship for two years, in which Guy Harvey Outpost pumped $3.5 million in renovations to revitalize the Bimini-based resort.
Due to the foreclosure setback, it prevented Guy Harvey Outpost from purchasing the property when it wanted to, which spurred the decision to take its business interests elsewhere.
As an Expedition Property, Guy Harvey Outpost will market the club and offer travel and booking services to its customers through its Outpost Travel Desk and central reservation office. Co-owner of Green Turtle Club Adam Showell said the company led by Ellert was an ideal fit for both parties.
"Guy Harvey embodies the personality of the club, and its guests," Showell said. "His authenticity, commitment to excellence and passionate outreach to those of all ages and accomplishment are hallmarks of the Green Turtle Club."
While the deal between Guy Harvey Outpost and Green Turtle Club is still fresh, Ellert hinted at more opportunities that may await.
"Thirty degrees north and south of the equator, there are a lot of great properties with committed owners like Adam and Ann who share our vision of sustainability and hospitality," he said. "In growing the Expedition Properties Portfolio, our intent will be to spotlight these properties and encourage our customers to support them."
Green Turtle Club offers 31 guest rooms, a 40-slip marina and fuel dock, restaurant, bar/lounge and poolside bar. The Club hosts the annual Green Turtle Club Billfish Tournament, having just concluded its 25th Silver Anniversary last week.
SkyBahamas has invested $1.4 million in a new maintenance hanger at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) and plans to train up to 20 Bahamians as technicians.
The CEO of the local carrier, Captain Randy Butler, said the materials for the new facility are currently "on the dock" at Arawak Cay. The airline is waiting for final approvals from LPIA, and hopes to launch the maintenance facility in three months.
The initiative is being seen as not only a means to service aircraft at SkyBahamas, but also to provide an alternative maintenance facility for other airlines.
"We will bring people in and train Bahamians to get Bahamian and U.S. maintenance technician licenses," Butler revealed. "Initially, we will take on 15 to 20 guys. We want to start training our people to fix and maintain airlines, so I'm hoping The College of The Bahamas and the government can help with that."
With an emphasis on "developing our people", the SkyBahamas chief is targeting an entirely new revenue stream for the local airline.
Meanwhile, Butler told Guardian Business that most of his airline's domestic routes are doing "extremely well".
For SkyBahamas, the challenge continues to be the international market. The airline is hoping to gain government support to develop the Florida market in particular. Butler believes that more incentives for domestic carriers are needed, which would ultimately create jobs for Bahamians.
Vision Airlines, a U.S. airline that received considerable incentives from the former Free National Movement (FNM) administration, operated several direct routes from the U.S. to Grand Bahama last year. Bahamasair will take up many of these routes in 2012, and Butler hopes similar opportunities will be made available to SkyBahamas.
"I also feel strongly about establishing a civil aviation authority here to have a division between the government, the operator and the regulatory committee. We need to create some sort of dialogue between the industry stakeholders and the government, where the stakeholders can help with the way forward," he added.
In other words, the country needs an aviation authority that empowers leaders to help shape the industry.
The framework is in place, he explained, and documents exist on how to move forward. There just needs to be the political will to make it happen.
Butler said he looks forward to working with the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and whoever is selected as minister of tourism and aviation.
Last year the SkyBahamas chief was an outspoken critic of the FNM government, blasting Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the former minister of tourism and aviation, for failing to support local airlines.
He also criticized the government for high aviation fees that make it too expensive for tourists to explore the Family Islands.
"How in the world can domestic carriers play an effective role?" Butler asked. "Our costs are more, and most of these costs are driven by fees and taxes the government has put in place."
I wish to thank Hubert A. Ingraham, prime minister of The Bahamas, for acknowledging and being attentive to the concerns of pilots at Lynden Pindling International Airport. Pilots are faced with many challenges daily. As the founder of the Bahamian Pilots Alliance, my deep passion and dedication is focused on executing positive changes in my workplace (the airport and other airports within this chain of Bahama islands).
I also wish to express appreciation for the support of the Minister of Aviation Senator Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace for his help in changing the maximum hours my colleagues and I are allowed to be on duty and the sectors that can be flown. We now work up to 10 flights or a maximum of 10 hours (which ever comes first).
About a year ago, the member of Parliament for Fox Hill, Fred Mitchell, heard our plea and reached out by attending our press conference. His words were very encouraging and we are grateful for his support.
As my colleagues and I continue to provide superior service to our commuters who fly back and forth throughout The Bahamas on a daily basis, we are encouraged by the prayers and kind words of many. We rely on the prayers of many, especially our family and close friends, as we take on the daring task of embracing the skies. Thank you all for your commitments to keeping us loved, supported and "prayed-up".
We embark upon this new year, and we are all blessed to have jobs. Although we have courage to skillfully carry out our duties (sometimes in stressful environments), our successes (as pilots) would be incomplete without the professional support of our cabin attendants, air-traffic controllers, mechanics, customs and immigration officers and all our other aviation-based teammates. Daily we all face various challenges. Thank you for your support.
It is time to take leadership of our Civil Aviation Department. Based on comments and concerns, the department needs help. We welcome the idea of bringing new inspectors on board.
The issue of hiring immigrants before considering an eligible Bahamian is still a concerning factor. There is no reason why, in 2012, any airline in The Bahamas has to bring in and train any foreigners. There are many capable and qualified Bahamians who can fill these positions in aviation. The concerns have been voiced and your expressions of concern are not going ignored.
Are pilots still being coerced to fly unsafely? Yes, it is still happening - even today. Do labor issues still exist? Oh, yes! Are tired pilots being asked to fly, tampering with logs, and are the regulations and the laws that govern us still blatantly being pushed aside? There are laws and regulations that govern this country. There are many concerns, but as united and committed professionals we will find a resolve.
I humbly ask every Bahamian pilot in The Bahamas to remember your professional decorum. The time is here for us to change this industry and move ourselves upward to the next level. Let us understand that there are investors in our country, and it is time that we seriously consider an urgent need to invest in ourselves.
We are 50 miles southeast of the world's largest economy. We have a peaceful and stable democracy. We have a tremendously beautiful climate - paradise! Our friendly people and free lifestyle is inviting. Best of all, as I look around at my colleagues, I see highly trained professionals. We take control of our craft and our major concern is always the safety of our passengers and as well as an appreciation for our own lives. We soar from destination to destination with a mantra of "safety first"!
I pray that the $50 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is spent on our local airline companies and not the non-locally owned companies that we compete with daily.
Finally, I wish to encourage our visitors to consider booking tickets on Flamingo Air, Lee Air, First-Class Charters, Dove Wings Charters, Regional Air, Abaco Air, Atlantic Blue Charters, Southern Air, Bahamasair and many others, and explore all that The Bahamas has to offer in its uniquely beautiful outer islands. Consider all local aviators as you make plans to explore our islands.
We can and we will do it - take responsibility and leadership in our desired professions. Many of us, since childhood, have dreamed of becoming pilots and we've accomplished our goal. Now it is time to dream further. I ask all Bahamian pilots who have not registered as yet for the Bahamian Pilot Alliance to join us. Connect with us on Facebook or please contact us by email at email@example.com.
We need your support as the elections draw near. Just as the Free National Movement, the Democratic National Alliance and the Progressive Liberal Party are relying on your votes, the Bahamian Pilots Alliance is important and needs your support. We will continue on our mission to ensure that your concerns are heard and regulations are put in place that will benefit all. Continue to do your best. Put safety first! May God continue to grant us His favor and blessings.
- Captain Philip L. Armbrister
The first 100 days frame is famously the invention of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as he first took office in 1933 promising a "New Deal" in response to the Great Depression. Since then, the frame has been used to evaluate the early days of new presidential administrations.
During the election campaign the PLP employed the frame detailing for voters what the party promised to accomplish during its first 100 days. The wisdom of utilizing such a frame will become clearer in the months ahead as many will use it in assessing the Christie administration's first months in office.
But it is not that pledge that is the main thrust of today's Front Porch. The first 100 days of a new government also concern the nature of political transitions. The remarkable thing about the transition of office from the FNM to the PLP is that it was unremarkable. After a hard fought election, power was transferred peacefully.
Hubert Ingraham conceded defeat. Perry Christie claimed victory and was sworn in the next day.
Hubert Minnis is now leader of the opposition. There is a new Cabinet in place. What a wonderful democracy and example to the world!
And, no, this was not the most contentious general election we have ever had. There have been elections with more serious incidents of violence and greater invective. This was not 1962 or 1987 when the will of the people was likely thwarted by widespread irregularities and fraud.
Yes, there continue to be various corrupt practices including voting irregularities on Election Day and vote-buying. The question of campaign financing, especially from foreign sources, remains a deeply troubling element of our campaigns. Still, our democracy is flawed, not failed.
The usual suspects and some taken in by their hackneyed analysis were again proven wrong. Ninety percent of registered voters cast ballots. The Elizabeth by-election was not predictive of voter turnout in the general election. And the overwhelming number of voters supported one of the major parties.
The PLP's pledge aside, the first 100 days after a change of government offer important clues about the future of a new government and of the opposition. The content of the Speech from the Throne and the debate on the government's legislative agenda will be an early test for the PLP and the FNM.
What are the long-term implications of Prime Minister Christie's Cabinet selections? For example, Christie has appointed Jerome Fitzgerald as minister of education. It takes experienced ministers time to grasp, much less master the bureaucratic behemoth that is the Ministry of Education, the largest ministry.
Just as Hubert Ingraham persuaded Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, an expert and innovative thinker in tourism, to serve as minister of tourism, might Christie have prevailed upon someone like Sean McWeeney to serve as minister of education? It was also curious that Christie chose as speaker of the House of Assembly someone who has no experience in Parliament.
In addition to personnel choices, the immediate and intermediate fiscal and policy choices the newly incumbent administration makes will have longer-term consequences for its success. The assessment by the international credit agency Moody's of the PLP's home mortgage plan presents the new government with of one of its first major policy conundrums.
There are not only the policies and pronouncements of a new government. There is also the tone set over matters like civil service reassignments, the awarding and cancelling of contracts, and other decisions which give voters first impressions of a new administration.
By example, the country wants quick action on various fronts. Punting critical decisions to commissions or committees will not sit well with a public anxious about crime, jobs and the economy.
It is not only the new government that is in transition. So too, the opposition. With Hubert Ingraham leaving frontline politics, the FNM is set to have a new generation of leaders take center stage in the party and in Parliament. While unhappy with its loss the FNM is not in a defeatist mood.
Having lost, the FNM is now in better position than the PLP to present a new face to younger voters, many who voted for the DNA, and others desirous of a new generation of political leaders.
Following May 7 there has been disingenuous commentary by a handful who queried whether the FNM can survive its loss at the polls. One such sanctimonious pontificator appeared on television offering pompous purple prose masquerading as informed commentary on the FNM's survivability.
The beauty of a verifiable historical record is that it easily rebuts the self-serving historical revisionism by some. The movement and ideals which gave birth to the FNM not only survived, they continue to flourish.
The attempt to stab and perhaps kill Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield the night of the no-confidence vote against Sir Lynden Pindling in 1970 failed. The Free PLP went on to form one of the country's two major parties surviving two decades in opposition before winning office in 1992. As some supporters of the FNM like to say, the party is used to getting a cut (expletive deleted).
The FNM and its leaders survived a vicious attack in 1970 at Lewis Yard in Grand Bahama where Sir Cecil and others were brutally attacked as police officers turned a blind eye. FNM leaders and supporters were denounced as traitors even on ZNS Radio.
There was mass victimization of FNMs including the particularly egregious case of Wellington Smith, a Turks Islander living in Inagua who worked at Morton Salt. Though not himself an active FNM supporter he was deported back to the Turks and Caicos because his wife supported the FNM. He had to leave his Bahamian wife and seven children in Inagua.
The Smith family and others were torn apart by this and other acts of victimization by successive Pindling administrations which victimized the FNM rank and file. Some of the bitterness lingers up to this day.
The party went through a disastrous split in 1977. Yet, the FNM survived.
In due course it will return to office just as it rebounded from a worse beating in 2002. Some likewise predicted the demise of the PLP which got a shellacking in 1992 and 1997, only to return to office in 2002 after which it lost power in 2007, and has now returned to government.
Some commentators are still of the view that the natives can't govern themselves, that voters would stay home in droves, and that "this" election - 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012 - would be "the year" of the independents or third parties. That they have been repeatedly proven wrong does not matter. Some prejudices will never give way to facts.
Other disingenuous commentators in a fit of magical thinking want to wish away the FNM because of where their sympathies and interests rest.
It is a like a theology of the absurd in which some people's syllabus of errors and dogmatic certitudes remain untouched by a certain quality of faith or reason.
By JAMMAL SMITH
Guardian Business Reporter
Another Canadian airline could possibly be landing on Bahamian runways in the future with Guardian Business learning that the country is in negotiations with a flight carrier from Canada.
Air Transat could be the newest airline from Canada offering services to The Bahamas if an agreement is reached between the two countries. Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace told Guardian Business that no final agreement has been reached yet, and several details must be ironed out before the deal is officially done.
"This is really only the opportunity for us to develop a partnership but we haven't finalized as yet,...
Tourism from Latin America to the Caribbean is growing eight percent each year, and carriers from that region invested $14 billion in new planes last year alone.
These impressive statistics were revealed during an address at Routes Americas 2012 by the executive director of the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA).
Alex de Gunten sat down with Guardian Business to discuss the future of arguably the most important region for tourism growth in The Bahamas.
The executive director said Routes Americas is an essential moment for the county to build on the momentum created by Copa Airlines.
Arrivals in Nassau through Copa surged 38 percent in 2011, according the Ministry of Tourism.
"It's amazing you have Copa here because Copa covers all of those countries in South America. It will allow you to see all of the traffic and see how the product is welcomed in those countries," he explained. "It's a great door opener. It allows the travel agencies to test the waters.
"I think a lot of people here are looking forward to meeting with Latin American carriers."
These sentiments are consistent with comments made by Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, who told Guardian Business on Tuesday he could envision two daily flights from Panama to fill the demand.
"So many countries in South America can connect through there. So I believe we are still only scratching the surface, in terms of cultivating centers such as Brazil or Colombia. We want to see them become non-stop service, or perhaps through Panama," he said.
Gunten was reluctant to speculate which markets in Latin America will emerge as major tourism contributors first. But he did note that airlines such as Copa and TAM Airlines still have a relatively small market share compared to U.S. carriers. He anticipated, based on demand and investment, a dramatic rebalancing will occur over the coming years.
The gross domestic product (GDP) in Latin America and foreign trade continues to rise, he added. Inflation has also gone down dramatically, he noted, and all of that has helped reduce poverty.
"This has increased the size of the middle class and people who can travel to the region," he told Guardian Business.
In fact, according to ALTA, in 2011 up to 10 million Brazilians got in a plane for the first time. A staggering 30 million Brazilians joined the middle class over the last seven years.
With the exception of China, Gunten said this level of growth is unrivaled in the world.
While $14 million was spent on planes in the region last year, $35 billion worth was purchased between 2006 and 2010, the ALTA chief explained.
"The fleet in Latin America is younger than the North American or European fleet," he said. "There has been great investment into the region."
But has the growth been too fast?
Gunten expressed concern as to whether the authorities and regulators will keep up with the rapid development of the airline industry.
In Europe, he noted that political integration happened first, which was followed by airline integration and the removal of barriers to make flights between countries more seamless.
He said Latin America still remains "fragmented".
Differing regulations, licensing and certifications between Latin American nations still make flying more costly and inefficient than it needs to be, he argued.
"So airlines are poised to keep growing," Gunten said.
"Our big question is whether the region will keep up. Will all of the other things that are needed be there in a few years? Hopefully we can work together to make sure that happens."
As I informed Members of the House of Assembly yesterday I will be using the occasion of my visit to Canada for the Annual Meetings of the Inter-American Development Bank to lead a trade and investment promotion mission while in Canada. The mission will include stops in Western and Eastern Canada.
I will be joined in the Trade and Investment Mission by the Attorney General, Sen. the Hon. John Delaney, QC and the Minister of Tourism, Sen. the Hon. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace and by Minister of State, Zhivargo Laing who is attending the IDB Meeting and who departed for Canada this morning.
It was an oversight on my part not to have previously mentioned the Attorney General’s participation in the trade mission.
As you may be aware Senator Delaney holds portfolio responsibility for the promotion of the financial services sector while the Ministry of Finance holds responsibilities connected to the regulation of the sector and the negotiation and implementation of Tax Information Exchange Agreements.
Our trade mission to Canada will include officials from the Office of the Prime Minister/Bahamas Investment Authority, Ministry of Tourism, The Bahamas Maritime Authority, members of the Bahamas Financial Services Board including bankers, lawyers, and hoteliers, the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) and the Head Officers of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board and the Out Island Promotion Board, the President of The Bahamas Real Estate Association and representatives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and BORCO.
The BFSB will host financial services and international business seminars in both Calgary and Toronto. The seminar in Calgary, the largest city in the province of Alberta in Western Canada, will be followed by a luncheoan meeting at the Calgary Petroleum Club during which Government and private sector presentations will be made on business opportunities in The Bahamas.
In Toronto, the Royal Bank of Canada and Scotia Bank will jointly sponsor a luncheon meeting at the Toronto Board of Trade where again we will have the opportunity to make Government and private sector presentations to interested persons of note in Canadian business and commerce. I am advised that we closed the Toronto luncheon event at 1:00 PM yesterday at which time some 218 persons had confirmed attendance.
While in Calgary, I will be interviewed by The Globe and Mail newspaper for an article scheduled for publication in their national newspaper next Thursday.
In Toronto I am scheduled to be interviewed by the Sun News Network for a programme to air in April and by the Business News Network for an interview that will air on Wednesday 30th March at 12 noon with a repeat at 6pm.
I wish to unveil to you this afternoon the promotional material which The Bahamas Investment Authority will be taking to Canada.
The principal piece is an updated edition of our promotional booklet entitled “The Bahamas – A Paradise for Many Reasons”. Additionally, there are three individual flyers – one each for Tourism, Financial Services and Grand Bahama.
You should note that when these documents were first developed in 1994/95 they were produced overseas.
These new and updated versions have been produced in their entirety in The Bahamas.
The revisions to the text, taking into account new developments in our economy, new infrastructural developments, new legislation enacted, and new and additional overseas offices of the Government, were all done by the officers of the Bahamas Investment Authority.
Mr. Knowles also spearheaded the introduction of new photos. The photos were provided by BIS and the Ministry of Tourism as well as by a number of private banks and trust companies and other private sector companies.
The BIA was fortunate to obtain the assistance in the final layout of the new brochure by Benchmark Publishing, whose principal had also been instrumental in assisting with an earlier update of the brochure in the late 1990s.
I am especially pleased to say that the books have been printed in-house by the Government Printing Department – from cover to cover. I told them today, that they must not be so modest as they have been this time. In the future I expect them to place on this document “Printed by Government Printing Department”.
I am happy to make copies of the brochure and flyers available to the press together with a list of the participants in the Trade and Investment Mission. I am happy to take your questions.
The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) will harness high traffic from the business and tourism communities through its new downtown location.
The new store, located across from the British Colonial Hilton, follows the grand reopening of the Mall at Marathon branch in December. A third location on Shirley Street should open its doors by the end of this month.
But while all three locations should dramatically improve BTC's overall presence in New Providence, this downtown hub provides unique accessibility for more than just the average Bahamian.
"It's in the gateway of the downtown core, so visibility is very high," said Marlon Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing at BTC. "It will take advantage of the tens of thousands that work there. It is a high business area and very accessible. The other advantage is the tourism foot traffic."
The BTC executive said many tourists bring their phones on holiday, many of which require technical support and information. Meanwhile, for longer-stay visitors, particularly those staying at the Hilton and other hotels, it is not uncommon to have a Bahamian number.
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, believes there is a "recognition" on the part of BTC that "a substantial percentage of volume can be delivered by a growing tourism market.".
The minister attended the grand opening of the downtown store opening on Monday evening.
"I think more people have come to realize that the visiting population is an important part of their business. As more people come to The Bahamas for business or pleasure, more will bring their smartphones. There is opportunity for revenue growth."
Vanderpool-Wallace also told Guardian Business the new store will benefit downtown's ongoing revitalization. Not far away, Pompey Square, which is to be constructed on the temporary straw market site, is in the midst of site preparation before construction begins.
Like the Mall at Marathon outlet, the BTC downtown store is intended to be sleek and interactive, providing consumers with the chance to try out the merchandise and speak with staff.
Johnson said the company expects to hire more Bahamians as part of this effort.
"This store is very similar to the one at Mall at Marathon. It really is a brand new way of working. Our ambition is to make sure we have something that is fresh, appealing and hands on," he said.
According to executives at BTC, this latest opening cost the telecommunications firm $200,000. That compares to the $500,000 invested in the much larger outlet at Mall at Marathon, inching the company's bill close to a million or beyond with the opening of the Shirley Street branch later this month.
In February, BTC opening two other branches in Grand Bahama with a combined price tag of $240,000. The company is pushing forward on a new retail strategy and expanding services throughout the country.
Stores in Abaco and Exuma are also on the agenda for this month and the next.
In addition to more jobs for Bahamians in the stores, BTC is working to entice Bahamians to become franchisees and take up the company banner.
Johnson told Guardian Business up to 35 percent of total storefronts could be acquired by Bahamians.
"We're working on our dealer model, to have in place a proper structure, and we hope to be rolling that out in the next couple of months," he explained.
A huge burden is presently placed on the private sector in the Caribbean. In the midst of steady economic decline of many Caribbean countries, governments have turned to the private sector to continue to earn foreign exchange, to keep down prices for goods and services, to maintain and expand employment and to pay taxes.
It is in this reality that the Caribbean Export Development Agency held a colloquium that gathered ministers of the governments of The Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica with representatives of large and small companies from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, St. Lucia and Antigua. They were joined by academics and trade negotiators.
The outcome of two days of practical and realistic discussion reflected: widespread alarm about the Caribbean's current woeful economic condition; the recognition that growing the economies of the region is absolutely urgent; deepening and widening markets for Caribbean goods and services must be a top priority; the private sector across the region has to raise its profile and its voice and governments have to engage the private sector as a genuine partner in growing their economies to provide employment and improve the quality of life of people.
I will return next week to the outcomes of the colloquium. This commentary contains the remarks I made at that event on the urgency for action.
No one needs reminding that the Caribbean is facing its most challenging economic times in recent years. Indeed, the parlous state of some economies border on collapse, burdened as they are with high debt, alarming budget shortfalls and disquieting balance of trade deficits.
Some governments are unable to provide the goods and services that their communities require, and they have borrowed their way into calamity. Some are already in the clutch of the International Monetary Fund as a lender of last resort, complete with its iron-hard conditionalities; conditionalities that in Jamaica have impacted severely on domestic creditors who have been required to endure greater sacrifices than foreign creditors.
It is this same private sector who is also being asked to maintain employment, keep down prices, and to maintain and expand exports that would lead to increased economic growth.
Throughout the region, there is a steady break down in the institutions that are vital to the region's well-being and progress. The consequences are higher unemployment levels, increasing crime, crumbling infrastructure including roads, ports and tourism plants, education - including the University of the West Indies - and restricted access to capital markets, and even then at higher rates of interest.
Altogether this is a troubling scenario that makes the private sector in the Caribbean less competitive in the global marketplace.
At the same time, in a region where some of its member states produce enough food to feed the entire area several times over, there is food insecurity and a US$4 billion bill for imported food that is unsustainable. In a region where there is no energy security beyond dependence on the generosity of an external government, there is no regional plan to pool regional resources in joint action to develop access to energy that would include oil and gas but also renewable sources of energy.
This is the scenario in which the private sector is expected to lead growth through exports.
It is the private sector, not governments, that exports or achieves export earnings from services. Yet, except in Trinidad and Tobago, where there is a government-appointed Standing Committee on Trade consisting of private sector and government bodies, the private sector is notably absent from the table of national policy-making and implementation in the region.
In Canada, the United States and the European Union - and now in China and India - governments consult widely and fully with their private sectors who are affected by trade rules and trade agreements. The negotiators for these governments negotiate for their national private sectors to expand and deepen their market penetration, to put them in the best competitive position.
However, this is not happening in the Caribbean where the distance between governments and the private sector is huge and the level of mistrust is high.
Private sector organizations are as much to blame for this damaging state of affairs as are governments. For instance, in which Caribbean country has the private sector said to governments that the fiscal situation is unsustainable, and asked for a plan in which they could play a meaningful role?
And at the regional level, where is the Caribbean-wide private sector organization that commands the attention of governments by laying out its own plan for overall economic growth and development?
Two private sector organizations presently stand out in this otherwise barren field - the first is the Caribbean Hotels Association in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and the second is the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association. Both organizations are vital to the region's foreign exchange earnings and to employment, and they, at least, have put forward proposals for the survival of their industries. Regrettably, governments have not reacted rapidly to these serious concerns.
And in any thinking that might be occurring about export-led markets, what private sector plans have been made for China which now enjoys a huge balance of trade surplus with the Caribbean?
China is the world's second largest economy after the United States. It has over US$3.3 trillion in foreign reserves. What is the Caribbean plan for penetrating the Chinese market with goods and services, apart from the extractive industries that China wants?
In the best of times, there should be in the region a standing structure of regular and meaningful dialogue and consultation between governments and the private sector. In the worst of times - such as the times in which we now live - the urgent necessity for such a standing structure is a vital necessity.
The creation of that structure of government-private sector consultation ought not to be a waiting game. The Caribbean's economic well-being is teetering at the brink.
o Sir Ronald Sanders is a consultant and visiting fellow, London University. Send responses to: www.sirronaldsanders.com. Published with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.
American Eagle is terminating the lease of nine ATR turboprops flying out of Miami, Guardian Business has learned.
The move, part of the airline's restructuring process, impacts all of the planes that normally service The Bahamas.
While the American Airlines affiliate said destinations should be backfilled with regional jets, "the schedule is still being finalized".
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, said a meeting is scheduled for next week with the troubled airline to discuss "a whole series of matters".
He expressed confidence that airlift into the country can be negotiated and should be unaffected by the restructuring.
"We think The Bahamas will always be an important destination for American, be it Eagle or the parent company," he added. "We have already had long conversations about expanding our relationship, rather than reducing it, so we are not concerned we'll find ourselves at a disadvantage here."
The nine ATRs will begin to be phased out in May of this year.
In a statement from the company, American Eagle acknowledged that "this will again impact employees".
A displacement bid is expected to be released in the coming weeks for employees. The statement went on to mention that restructuring brings about "difficult changes for all of us".
Vanderpool-Wallace felt the current restructuring could end up being an advantage for The Bahamas, as the carrier moves from smaller propeller planes to larger jets for regional travel.
These planes hold more passengers, and when the process is complete, hopefully the country will come out on top.
"In terms of perception of airlift, it might be an unintended positive consequence. I know they are having conversations to increase the size of regional jets," the minister told Guardian Business.
Also being discussed with the airline is "Bahamianizing" the D-60 terminal in Florida. The Ministry of Tourism hopes to partner with officials there to help generate a strong local feel before visitors even get on the plane.
This initiative would involve more Bahamian flavor in the terminal, providing videos, reading material, entertainment and other attractions to get tourists thinking about activities before they arrive.
The minster said that according to research at the Ministry of Tourism, visitors are less likely to spend more than what they planned to once they arrive at hotels.
Planting the tourism seeds early should generate more spending for the country, he explained.
Darrell Richardson, the CEO of Silver Airways, told Guardian Business that the loss of ATRs out of Miami is indeed a blow for American Eagle.
He felt that, depending on what happens in the coming months, it could "open the door" for Silver Airways to do more airlift from Florida to The Bahamas.
"We're talking a lot to the Miami market and to Nassau these days," he said. "If we added airlift, it would be later this year and it's on the table. If they are pulling down it will speed us up."
Silver Airways is currently in the middle of an expansion as its new Saab 340 aircraft arrive in the U.S. The third of six 34-seater planes touched down last week.
The Saab 340s are in the registration and training process. Service to The Bahamas should begin by the middle of March.
The airline recently named one of these new planes "The Spirit of The Bahamas".
"We're sitting here with a new fleet of airplanes," Richardson said, "so if American Eagle scales down, we'll take advantage of it."