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Lightweight boxer, Richard 'The Hammer' Pitt may surprise himself if he decides to train harder for a big fight.
With only two days of training, Pitt stepped into the ring on Saturday night and landed a victory. The technical knockout (TKO) came in the third when Pitt hammered Dencil 'Death' Miller to the canvas. Having already boxed his opponent out of his shoes, Pitt put together a series of punches that staggered his opponent. The referee moved in, instructed Pitt to the corner and then put Miller under the count. The delirious Miller would not recover in time.
Pitt said: "I had two days of training. My coach who brought me in, Ray, he can tell you that he saw me twice in the gym training about an hour the most. After that I had to head back to work. If that was a name brand fighter, I would have had to [have] been in the gym regularly, but he is a no-name brand cornflake and I didn't have to train like that to fight a no-name brand.
"The boxers know that I am right- and left-handed. I kept putting it on him and I thought he would have understand. When I got tired of giving him my left, I changed it up and gave him a right and another right and that worked out. The right hand got more knockouts with him than the left, but the left hand ended up putting it on him more than the right hand. So the left is a little bit mad with the right, but they still work out. I almost beat the shoes of his foot; that's how bad I beat him."
In his debut as a professional fighter, 16-year-old Lester Brown is off to a grand start. He knocked out Anthon Ward in the first round. The fight lasted a minute and a half.
"All I can say is he is a good fighter, but we did what we came here to do," said Brown who also thanked his trainer. "We trained really hard. We sparred a lot, did a lot of running and a lot of endurance work. I am pleased. You can expect a Bahamas championship title in the next year or two."
When asked why he decided not to continue on in the amateur ranks, he said, "Because [in] amateur, I wasn't getting any fights like that, so we made the decision to go pro. I have the talent and it will move my career along quicker."
The King of the Ring Series also showcased fighters in the Mixed Martial Arts field. Ronald 'Smokey' Martin emerged victorious after pinning Herbert "The CEO" Heastie to the canvas.
I wish to respond immediately to The Nassau Guardian's editorial of February 21 in which it called for me to apologize to Dion Foulkes for words spoken by me in my own defense last week.
You can hold your breath for that apology. You will see the second coming first.
Help me understand the logic here. Here I am minding my own business. I have conducted myself with all decorum and responsibility in every public office which I have had the opportunity to have in this country. Suddenly and without warning, a minister of the government whose government had in its possession a report which discredits the very accusations he is about to make, puts into the public domain comments which injure me in my character and reputation. The attacks were unwarranted; the allegations are false and defamatory. They were investigated and the issues settled five years or more ago. The minister knew this at the time he laid the document in the Senate last week.
The Nassau Guardian based on these reports in the Senate carries a headline which says that I am accused of corruption. This goes to the heart of my existence as an individual, as a public figure. It imperils my job and my living. It threatens my ability to travel and makes me a target of physical harm. Yet The Nassau Guardian in its editorial is now saying that I must sit back and be a punching bag for every Tom, Dick or Harry because I am PLP and in public life and allow these persons without penalty to make allegations of corruption against me. I must simply sit back and say nothing. Worse, and in the most perverse logic I have seen in my career, I must now apologize to Dion Foulkes. You have got to be joking.
It's only my mother's home training that has not caused me to do worse.
The charges of fomenting violence are so contemptible, I hesitate to respond. Obviously, we all speak a different language. Those who know me, know if that is what I wanted to say I would have said so.
Dion Foulkes, Hubert Ingraham as prime minister, Brent Symonette as foreign minister and Lynn Holowesko as president of the Senate are all complicit in this matter. I hold them personally responsible for the consequences of their official actions. Let me make that abundantly clear. This is no joking matter to me. The police report now in the public domain speaks volumes about the accuser.
I ask these public officials this however: a Bahamian foreign service officer by a document which they have now clothed with parliamentary immunity initiates a meeting with an agent of a foreign government; she makes to that foreign government agent an allegation of corruption against a Bahamian minister, her boss at the time. She admits she has no evidence but makes the allegation anyway. Before doing so, she did not complain to the permanent secretary of her ministry, the Bahamian commissioner of police, the Bahamian leader of the opposition, then Hubert Ingraham, nor the Bahamian prime minister, then Perry Christie. She did not even go to the Bahamian press. This is an officer who is sworn to uphold the integrity of the Bahamian state, who by the government's own document has provided information to a foreign state, yet by all accounts that officer is still sitting in office.
Foulkes, Ingraham, Symonette and Lynn Holowesko all have sworn to uphold the constitution and uphold the sovereignty of The Bahamas. They have done nothing to deal with the foreign service officer. Rather what they have done is to revel in the discomfort they have caused me for political purposes. I can assure you it is only a joke to them and perhaps to The Nassau Guardian. Not to me. The Nassau Guardian has had nothing to say about that dereliction of duty on the part of those named officials.
It is even more egregious since the charges made by the officer are false.
And The Nassau Guardian says Fred Mitchell must apologize. In this forum I cannot tell The Guardian the words I would like to say.
- Fred Mitchell, Fox Hill MP
Guardian Sports Reporter
Lightweight boxer, Richard'The Hammer'Pitt may surprise himself if he decides to train harder for a big fight.Âº
With only two days of training, Pitt stepped into the ring on Saturday night and landed a victory. The technical knockout(TKO)came in the third when Pitt hammered Dencil'Death'Miller to the canvas. Having already boxed his opponent out of his shoes, Pitt put together a series of punches that staggered his opponent. The referee moved in, instructed Pitt to the corner and then put Miller under the count. The delirious Miller would not recover in time.
Pitt said:âEUR^"I had two days of training. My coach who brought me in, Ray, he can tell you that he saw me twice in the gym training about an hour the most. After that IâEUR^had to head back to work. If that was a name brand fighter, I would have had to[have]been in the gym regularly, but he is a no-name brand cornflake and I didn't have to train like that to fight a no-name brand.
"The boxers know that I am right-and left-handed. IâEUR^kept putting it on him and I thought he would have understand. When I got tired of giving him my left, I changed it up and gave him a right and another right and that worked out. The right hand got more knockouts with him than the left, but the left hand ended up putting it on him more than the right hand. So the left is a little bit mad with the right, but they still work out. I almost beat the shoes of his foot; that's how bad I beat him."
In his debut as a professional fighter, 16-year-old Lester Brown is off to a grand start. He knocked out Anthon Ward in the first round. The fight lasted a minute and a half.
"All I can say is he is a good fighter, but we did what we came here to do,"said Brown who also thanked his trainer."We trained really hard. We sparred a lot, did a lot of running and a lot of endurance work. I am pleased. You can expect a Bahamas championship title in the next year or two."
When asked why he decided not to continue on in the amateur ranks, he said,âEUR^"Because[in]amateur, IâEUR^wasn't getting any fights like that, so we made the decision to go pro. IâEUR^have the talent and it will move my career along quicker."
The King of the Ring Series also showcased fighters in the Mixed Martial Arts field. Ronald'Smokey'Martin emerged victorious after pinning Herbert"The CEO"âEUR^Heastie to the canvas.
The names read like a who's who of the best in boxing history.
Carmen Basilio, Willie Pastrano, Ralph Dupas, Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, Louis Rodriguez, Sugar Ray Leonard and Jimmy Ellis are just some of the noted boxing figures the late, great trainer Angelo Dundee guided through historic bouts.
There is though, that Bahamian connection also, that has been very special in the overall progress of boxing in The Bahamas.
Angelo Dundee passed away on Wednesday in Tampa, Florida and left to mourn along with a multitude of associates throughout the boxing world are those of us whose early positive boxing activities were crafted by the legendary one.
From South Philadelphia originally, Dundee spent a lot of years in New York being mentored and following the boxing manoeuvrings of older brother Chris, very closely.
When Chris moved to Miami Beach in Florida prominently and became a promotional fixture as early as the 1950s, Angelo came right along. Together, they made the Fifth Street Gym on the Beach one of the more fabled boxing locations in the history of the sport.
The proximity of this country to South Florida was an easy fit for locals who became closely associated with boxing.
Gomeo Brennan, one of those superb athletes who hailed from Bimini, turned professional in 1956 and soon found himself under the guidance of Angelo. That relationship would lead to Brennan becoming one of the great fighters of the Commonwealth and a world top-rater for years in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.
The high points of that relationship of course were four championship victories on the two occasions that he held the British Commonwealth middleweight title and a world title fight near the end of Brennan's career. He fought Vicente Rondon for the World Boxing Association's light heavyweight crown and lost when the referee became concerned after the 13th round about swelling around Brennan's eyes.
I remember in particular Angelo's frustration on many occasions during the fight when Brennan just was not able to unleash his famous powerful right hand when the openings came. Our guy had lost a little of that edge overtime. That's all it takes in the ring to be unable to pull the trigger.
I recall at the end, Angelo embracing Brennan and telling him how proud he was of him to go on so valiantly with swollen eyes.
Then, there was Baby Boy Rolle. Angelo steered the Exuma native to his best ever ring appearance. It happened on the night of October 23, 1973 in a ring in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. It was Rolle's finest moment in a solid career. For 15 rounds he stood up to John Conteh and was not once in trouble. In fact in the fifth round he came very close to one of the all time great upsets.
Angelo had arranged for me to substitute for him as he was busy with two other fighters whose bouts sandwiched the Rolle/Conteh event. I asked my other boxing mentor, Charlie Major Sr., to accompany us. Charlie and I were in Rolle's corner. Rolle and Boston Blackie had mastered a punch that we called the overhand bolo. The Cuban, Kid Gavilan, had introduced the underhand bolo during a fabulous career that saw him become a welterweight champion in the 1950s.
Against Conteh, we told Rolle to hold back on the "bolo" until round five. Rolle left the corner, walked across the ring to his opponent and let go with a vicious overhand right. Conteh just barely got under the blow, receiving the full impact on his back. He stayed away from Rolle for the rest of the fight, content to utilize his better speed and win on a majority decision.
Angelo also factored significantly in the rise of Elisha Obed to world championship success.
In June of 1971 when Obed won a decision over Ray Minus Sr. to capture the Bahamas welterweight crown, he was handled then by the Steve Acunta group, of New York. Dr. Norman Gay had made that arrangement for Obed. However the cold climate and some other circumstances became uncomfortable for Obed. He knew of my close association with Chris and Angelo and asked for me to make contact.
I called Angelo and he said he would get back to me. He called later to inform that the situation with Acunta had been resolved and Chris had agreed to monitor the career of Obed. The veteran Moe Fleisher would be the trainer and Chris' son Mike would be registered as manager. (Let me emphasize here that Mike is the son of Chris Dundee, not Angelo. Even Wikipedia has it wrong).
Of course, the rest is history.
With Angelo watching from a distance and sometimes from close-up, Obed went on to defeat Miguel de Olivera on November 13, 1975 for the World Boxing Council's junior middleweight crown.
Angelo paid close attention to the Bahamian boxing scene and interacted as well over the years with Sugar Cliff, Jimmy Mackey, Ray Minus Sr. and Ray Minus Jr.
He also played an interesting and noteworthy role for amateur boxing in the country.
Multiple local heavyweight champion Bert Perry came up with the idea about an amateur boxing program in The Bahamas. He solicited the support of Charlie Major Sr., Virginius Knowles, Amos Ferguson and this journalist. They all told me that I would have to make the connection with the international body.
What did I do?
I reached out to Angelo and he pointed me in the right direction. Some 40-plus years later the amateur boxing program is going on marvelously.
His impact on Bahamian boxing has indeed been tremendous. For this the Bahamian boxing fraternity is grateful.
Sleep on and may your soul forever rest in peace.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org
You've seen him on Showtime Comedy Club, laughed with him for years on BET Comic View and now you can be front and center to see Arnez J, the hottest comedian on the circuit right now.
Known for his comedic antics, life-like portrayals of everyday situations and humorous characterizations of people he is bound to make even the most serious of people roll over in stitches this weekend.
A comedy fest like this doesn't come around everyday so don't be the last one to join the masses in the Sheraton Nassau Resort ballroom tonight at 9:30 to see this comedy king in action.
Organizer of the event, Nelson Armaly, says having Arnez J headline the event was a no-brainer. When the comedy fest was being planned he knew that the comedy extraordinaire had to be a part of it.
Sharing the stage with the BET giant will be the renowned one and only African king of comedy, Michael Blackson, who played a side character in the 2005 film "Next Friday".
"Blackson is known as an attention stealer and he's good at what he does. We thought he would be a great complement to Arnez J's performance with his style of comedy," says Armaly.
The comedians had the opportunity to experience Bahamian culture prior to the event and incorporate it into their acts. Armaly says this event is meant to help people let off some steam and laugh at themselves and everyday situations.
"What I really hope people will like about the event is that it isn't something to worry about. It will be clean fun with little to no profanity, especially from Arnez J. He has a style where he believes telling a joke can still be funny without the curse words dotted every so often. He will make you laugh without cringing. He's the kind of comedian that can make you laugh without saying words. His performance is not one dimensional. He will make the whole stage his performance area and move around and have fun rather than hug the mike stand all night and throw out punch lines. It will really be a great event."
When: Friday, December 9
Where: Sheraton Ballroom
Time: Doors open at 8:30 p.m., Showtime at 9:30 p.m.
Cost: general - $45, VIP- $60, platinum - $85, tables for four - $500 with two complimentary bottles of wine or champagne
It seems as if the St. Augustine's College (SAC) Big Red Machine has a serious fight on their hands, in trying to win another Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) Track and Field title.
At the close of the second day of competition yesterday, SAC, which is looking to win their 23rd consecutive title, held on to a 58-point lead over the Queen's College Comets. Last year this time, SAC headed into the final day of competition ahead by 155 points - the Comets had a total of 556 points after the second day of competition in 2010, trailing the Big Red Machine by 155 points. This year, after two days of exciting track and field action down at the Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium, the Comets have 652.50 points.
The Big Red Machine is still out front but holding onto a slim lead. They have accumulated 710.50 points. The St. Anne's Blue Waves are in third with 233 points. They too have seen improvement from last year, when they had 193 points at this time. Sitting in fourth is the St. John's College Giants with 158.50 points, the St. Andrew's Hurricanes have 129.50 points and the Temple Christian Suns closed the second day of competition with 128 points.
Moving up the ladder was the Aquinas College Aces, with 99.50 points. The Nassau Christian Academy (NCA) Crusaders are in eighth with 98 points and Jordan Prince William Falcons have 84.50 points for ninth.
In 2010, the Big Red Machine had a comfortable lead in seven of the eight divisions being contested. This year, the team is in control of five, one shy of their performance on day one. The Comets came back and took control of the intermediate girls and are well ahead of the field in the bantam boys and intermediate boys. The Big Red Machine still leads the bantam, junior and senior girls divisions, as well as the junior and senior boys divisions.
A push, by the remaining schools, to end the Big Red Machine's dominance came in the finals of the 100 meters (m). SAC was only able to win two of the divisions contested. Tyler Davis and Shaunae Miller prevailed in those races for the Big Red Machine.
Miller ran a new record in the senior girls 100m, clocking 11.48 seconds to erase the old time of 11.58 seconds, set by Sheniqua Ferguson in 2007.
In the bantam girls, Davis clocked 13.26 seconds for the win over Keneisha Kelly who turned in a time of 13.87 seconds, and Amelia Peterson, in 14.01 seconds. Julian Brown, from St. Andrew's, won the 100m for the bantam boys in 13.20 seconds. Shone Davis came in second in 13.90 seconds and Shaquille Williams ran 14.06 seconds. The Comets swept the junior and the intermediate girls and boys divisions, while the giants captured the senior boys title.
Crossing the finish line in 12.75 seconds was the Comets' Andira Ferguson in the junior girls division. Taj Dorsett and Blayre Catalyn finished second and third respectively in times of 13.01 and 13.04 seconds. It was a one-two punch in the junior boys division for the Comets, thanks to Nitchev Casseus and Jyles Romer.
Casseus ran 11.65 seconds and Romer ran 12.45 seconds. Finishing third was Michael Troups as he crossed the finish line in 12.51 seconds. Jenae Ambrose got the best of Makeya White and Shazell Rolle in the Intermediate Girls. The winning time was 12.12 seconds. Splitting the Comets in the intermediate boys was Lorman Johnson, who stopped the clock in 11.20 seconds. Cliff Reasis got the win in 11.09 seconds and Ian Kerr was third in 11.25 seconds. Anthony Adderley is the senior boys winner. His time was 11.24 seconds. Kristian Williams followed in 11.25 seconds and Andrae Stubbs finished in 11.56 seconds.
You never know who you're going to meet just hanging out in The Bahamas... Now let me be absolutely clear here, I did not actually meet Bob Katz, the president of My Grandma's Coffee Cakes of New England, but I did speak with him over the telephone, after a conversation he had with my husband. That conversation led to me speaking with Mr. Katz, and him promising to FedEx me some of his products. Not knowing what to expect imagine my shock and surprise when two huge boxes were delivered to my office, shipped from Boston, Massachusetts, packed with a variety of My Grandma's of New England Coffee Cakes for me to try -- Granny Smith Apple Coffee Cake, Patriot Coffee Cake, Cinnamon Walnut Coffee Cake, Cinnamon Coffee Cake without nuts, Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake and Ted Williams Chocolate Cake. There were so many varieties (and I realized that it was just a sampling of their products) that I closed that box right back up, shoved it to the side and did my best to forget about them. After all, the last time I had touched a coffee cake was probably back in the 1980s when they were quite popular.To be honest, I let those cakes sit for a few days, because it was just a bit overwhelming to open that box to see the amount of cake that Mr. Katz had shipped -- five large (one 10-inch, 3.1 pound cake serves 20-26 people), four small (one eight-inch 1.75 pound cake serves 10-14 people) and three boxes of individually wrapped mini cakes (each box had nine mini cakes). So imagine how overwhelming that was to see that many cakes (and my head spun when I thought about the calories). But Mr. Katz had spoken so highly of his product that started a sensation in 1990 with Grandma Esther Cluck's authentic old world family recipe, that started in a 250-square foot bakery, to a company that today bakes many varieties by hand six days a week. They also offer Banana Walnut Cake, Golden Raspberry, Cappucino, Lemon Poppy, Cape Cod Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Walnut coffee cake flavors, for a total of 12 flavors to suit every taste bud.It's a cake that Mr. Katz is proud to boast has been served at the Plaza Hotel in New York City's Tea Room, The Vatican, Major League All-Star Game, The Ryder Cup and the U.S. Tennis Open. His cake has also been featured on Oprah's O List, Food Network's "Roker on the Road", NBC's "The TODAY Show" and was an addition to the 2011 News and Documentary Emmy Gift Bags. So of course I had to give them a try.As Cinnamon Walnut Coffee Cake is a classic flavor, that was the first one that I opted to dig into. It was moist and delicious and not overly flavored with cinnamon. Even my husband who is a take it or leave it kind of sweets guy gave it a thumbs up.Perusing the flavors we both decided that the Granny Smith Apple Cake had to be taste-tested next. It was like an epiphany, with a layer of apples in the middle and on top of the cake... I can say it was absolutely divine. It was rich, buttery and the perfect accompaniment to a soothing latte. It was swoon-worthy and had me going back for seconds and thirds. I even heated up the Granny Smith Apple Cake up with a scoop of our respective favorite ice cream flavors on the side and it was like I had died and gone to heaven. After three slices of the apple cake, I realized that I had to share the goodness around (or suffer the fate of looking like the Goodyear Blimp times two), so share I did. A few days later I asked some of the people to share their thoughts with me to share with you.
"The Cinnamon Coffee Cake was in one word 'yum', it was great. I could eat a whole cake with a few glasses of milk."
-- Trevor Adderley Jr., 15
The Cinnamon Walnut Mini Coffee Cake was delightful and the taste of the toasted nuts really did it for me. The cake was filled with flavor. I also had the Granny Smith Apple Coffee Cake -- now this cake was the cake of cakes. It was everything you would look for in a cake. It was sweet, but not too sweet, moist, with an awesome flavor. The best part was the thin sliced apples on the top that were soft, yet still had a little crunch to them. Overall, it was a taste of nostalgia. It took me to a dream of sitting on the porch of a cottage sipping tea at brunch and reminiscing with a view of only fields of grass ahead.
-- Latoya Petti, 30
"Love the flavor of the Cinnamon Walnut. It's not too sweet, just enough punch."
-- Cassie Benoit, 29
"I tasted the pumpkin and cinnamon coffee cakes from My Grandma's of New England and thought they were very tasty. What I liked most was the moist texture of the cake coupled with the burst of flavor from the swirl of the cinnamon that was surprisingly not too sweet. The pumpkin was moist as well, but I think could have had a stronger spice flavor... maybe more cinnamon and pumpkin spice in the swirl would have added to it."
-- Tonya Adderley, 41
"The Cinnamon Walnut Cake Without Nuts was very moist with a nice flavor, but I thought there was too much sugar on top though."
-- Fellesia Davis, 19
"I had the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake and that was delightful. It was really good."
-- Chelsea Tynes, 13
"Had the Cinnamon Walnut ... ooh that's good."
-- Ed Berg, 28
By the way, Mr. Katz informed me that My Grandma's Coffee Cakes of New England will FedEx their delicious kosher offerings right to your doorstep. You can visit their site or email him at email@example.com or call at 617-365-9902. Actually I was explaining all of this to my mother as we shopped at Super Value on Cable Beach, I looked to my left, and surprise, surprise, right there in the frozen food case (where they stock specialty frozen items and the like) were a couple of flavors from My Grandma's Coffee Cakes of New England (and I hadn't even noticed them before then). The store had about five of the 12 flavors, and they were all small cakes as opposed to the large, so just in case you're in for a delicious treat you do have options -- you can order directly from Mr. Katz. They will bake a cake fresh for you for the next day and send it out comfortably dressed for the journey. Or you can trot down to Super Value and purchase one out of the frozen food case, thaw and enjoy. The cake slices best with a sharp knife when it's been chilled. The shelf life for My Grandma's Coffee Cakes of New England is 12 months in the freezer or 12 days un-refrigerated. All cakes come in a reusable freezer bag. They also offer lower fat versions and all their cakes can be made in lower fat version, except for the Ted Williams All-Star Chocolate. All cakes can also be baked without walnuts.
This column was first published on July 20, 2010
At a recent service marking his demission from office, the head of a prominent denomination offered the heated view that the Bahamian economy desperately needs to be diversified.
He proclaimed that he had advised successive governments of this need, but that his advice went unheeded. Unfortunately, the religious head seems as expert in economics as Donald Trump may be in theology.
His is the latest example of a public figure who should know better than repeating the wearying and inaccurate conventional wisdom regarding the actual nature and level of diversification of the Bahamian economy.
This same ignorance continues to bubble to the surface by those running around panicking like the fabled Henny Penny that the sky is falling in terms of the supposed dire threat of Cuba to the Bahamian tourism industry.
One of the accompanying arguments is that because of the apparent normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States that The Bahamas had best quickly pivot from tourism and diversify into other industries.
This view reflects a failure to grasp economics, including the economics of tourism. It is also stunningly ignorant of Bahamian history. Whether or not you believe Sir Stafford Sands should be on the $10 bill, he's there for a reason.
Sir Stafford understood the cycle of boom and bust that haunted The Bahamas for centuries with the rise and fall of industries - including wrecking. Then in the 1930s the Bahamian economy collapsed with the end of Prohibition in 1933 and the devastation of the sponging industry by a marine disease in 1938.
To diversify the economy, Sir Stafford and others concluded that a year-round tourism industry would stabilize the Bahamian economy, assigning the cycle of boom and bust to the history books. This historic achievement was also made possible by taking advantage of technologies from the jetliner to air conditioning. Way before all of the 21st century talk of globalization and service-based economies, the Bahamas was on the cutting-edge in the mid-20th century.
Despite many downturns, including the Great Depression of the last century and the current severe global economic crisis, the Bahamian economy is generally healthy. Tourism has made our economy quite resilient, the envy of many countries, including our Caribbean neighbors. This resilience has been boosted by the country's diversification into financial services and other industries.
The success rate of commodity production and export in The Bahamas is mixed. Sponging collapsed, as did peanut farming in Andros, sugar in Abaco, pineapples in Eleuthera, onions in Exuma and sisal in various islands. Had these survived, they collectively would not have generated the level of economic activity and employment of tourism. Incidentally, after many years, Bacardi ended rum production in The Bahamas.
The distributive and sustainable power of tourism is more enduring than many other industries. The Caribbean has learned this lesson - painfully so - from the instability of bauxite in Jamaica to sugar and bananas throughout the region.
An alphabet soup of self-interests masquerading as free traders have dealt serious blows to the economies of the Caribbean: From the EU and the USA on bananas, NAFTA in terms of textiles, and the OECD on financial services. Yet, tourism has generally survived hurricanes manufactured by humans and nature.
Meanwhile, the former religious head, who clearly does not understand economics, should pause and recall that most of the money offered up for collection - comes from tourism. Those who preach of justice should consider: Many of the demands for social and distributive justice they seek, may be been best achieved by tourism.
Undoubtedly, there is still much to be done to better spread the economic and related benefits of tourism. Yet, on balance, tourism makes good economic and ethical sense. And the country continues to make progress in terms of greater Bahamian ownership of the industry. One area of great promise is the multimillion dollar heritage tourism sector.
Still, many are blind to the facts staring them in the face, with the fact of diversification seemingly of little consequence. This includes, among other examples, The Bahamas serving as a major financial services centre and hosting a major transshipment center as well as the world's largest cruise ship repair facility.
The Bahamas boasts one of the largest ship registration centers in the world, and continues to boost its maritime services industry. The country now hosts the annual Bahamas International Maritime Conference and Trade Show to promote the ongoing development of and diversification within this industry.
Lest we forget, Grand Bahama was also home to an oil refinery, BORCO, and Syntex, a pharmaceutical company. The near full employment of Inagua powered by salt, and Spanish Wells by fisheries, also seems to elude the notice of those who have conveniently forgotten that aragonite was mined in Bimini and that The Bahamas has had boat-building and straw-work industries.
Still, tourism will remain our main industry for the foreseeable future, for many good reasons. With less than 400,000 people our best bet is as a service-based economy.
We will never be a power in agriculture, fisheries or manufacturing, though we can successfully enter into niche markets in these and other areas. Moreover, these industries can only employ so many Bahamians.
But we can leverage our small population, stability and strategic location to punch way above our weight in tourism, financial and maritime services, international arbitration, offshore educational services and other industries.
Despite tourism's exposure to external threats, we have more control over protecting tourism than any other industry. Our challenge is ongoing diversification within tourism, while promoting linkages between other industries and our main industry.
Asked his thoughts on a world energy crisis, the American architect and futurist, Buckminster Fuller pressed: "There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance." In many ways, the so-called long-term economic crisis some see in The Bahamas related to tourism is a crisis of ignorance and imagination.
The task for the 21st century Bahamas is to eschew an ignorance of our economic history while replacing ignorance over what is possible for the economy. That ignorance can be overcome with the sort of imagination which prompted Sir Stafford Sands and others to recognize that in many ways tourism and The Bahamas were made for each another.
The current Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, understands our current historic challenge. He has the imagination and experience to extend Sir Stafford's vision even further than the man who has been dubbed as the "Father of Tourism".
While Sir Stafford knew that tourism would create mass employment, he did not envision ownership of various elements of this industry by black Bahamians. Mr. Vanderpool Wallace understands the power of tourism to create employment, wealth and considerable opportunities for all Bahamians.
But to leverage these opportunities the Minister understands that the country has to invest in critical infrastructure. This infrastructure is needed for innovation within and the ongoing diversification of our main industry.
He knows that there are at least three 'Ts' that the country needs to improve: transportation networks, technology and training inclusive of our schools and retraining programs for adults.
From better utilization of the internet, to making travel through the country more seamless for tourists from booking to actual journey, to better educating ourselves, our challenges are clear, urgent and possible.
Moreover, the question today is not the sustainability and possibilities within the tourism industry. The question is whether we have the imagination and will to transform the industry to take greater advantage of these possibilities in a sustainable manner.
New York, NEW YORK - The following is a message from Bahamian American Association president, William Dames.
Dear Bahamians and Friends of The Bahamas:
invite you to celebrate the 99th Anniversary of the BAAI , come out to
the Bahamas House for a Bahamian - American Celebration on Saturday,
September 17th, 2011. Kalik, Goombay Punch, Vita Malt and Conch Fritters
will be available and many more native dishes. Dominos, cards, bingo,
and dancing too! Come join us from 4pm until...