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Senior Sports Reporter
NEW DELHI, India -- Calling it his time to shine, Carl Hield posted his quickest victory in an international tournament yesterday, setting the pace for what the boxing team anticipates will be a great showing at the XIX Commonwealth Games.
In the fourth bout of the evening session, Hield hardly worked up a sweat as he connected on a barrage of punches that forced referee Ross Stublay to stop his welterweight bout against Hubert Lucien of Dominica one minute and 36 seconds into the first round. It was just short of the 20-second victory that he posted during a tournament in Cuba.
In fact, the bout was over from the first 30 seco ...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Joe Calzaghe overcame a first-round knockdown to beat Roy Jones Jr. in a unanimous decision Saturday night. The Welshman said this would be his final bout
Fuming and trying hard not to cuss, I dialed Guardian Radio hoping that, at six minutes to 9 a.m. when the show was about to end and I should have really been walking out my door to get somewhere for the same time, I could still get through to say my piece on the topic. After seven busy signals, I finally broke into the conversation and the producer sent me straight to air. I was so incensed, I only greeted the host and forgot to bid a good morning to the co-host and guests in-studio.
You see, when I am really angry or extremely impassioned, all my words fight for simultaneous, rapid expulsion. When this happens, I can only do one of two things: whisper or holler. There's no middle ground for my volume, once I am infuriated. Yet, on that morning, I managed to maintain my composure just long enough to whisper the necessary words in the few minutes of talk time remaining on my favorite talk show, before the whisper became a roar.
I was so excited that this particular radio station, heavily laden with male presenters, was bringing a program that was women-focused to the air waves. And, I was told that the new host they were interviewing on the morning show was experienced and 'no-nonsense', so I was looking forward to the possibility of honest and sufficiently uncensored conversations about women's issues. I could even become a 'chronic caller', because I have so much to say already.
But, that morning, I was stumped and stunned at the fact that the women representing in the studio had already submitted to the negativity and ignorance of one ridiculous caller who was clearly anti-woman and didn't think the new show should even exist. Why he takes the time to call Guardian Radio on a regular basis when he's so displeased with the station's shows must be something logical only to a certain Bahamian mindset.
In spite of his inane accusations, the women, in the moment, had allowed this man to bulldoze them, in an attempt to be politically correct, when they should have instead stood their ground and taken him to school on this issue.
He accused the new show and host of being feminist, but it was clear he does not know the definition of the word, and/or is himself not a feminist. What should have been clarified for him immediately following his remark, and with great pride, is that the show was entirely feminist and intended to be, as its tag line suggests: 'From a woman's perspective'.
Who are the feminists?
What Inane Caller and many others do not understand is that feminism is not an undesirable thing. A feminist is not a bad type of person to be, and, for the sake of the mass improvement of our world, everyone should be a feminist. A feminist also does not equate to a lesbian, though I'm sure some lesbians are feminists, as they should be by their own definition. And feminists are not inherently male-bashers.
Feminists are female, but they are male, too. Many triumphs have been won for women because of the commitments of men to women's causes. In actuality, there are many men, sadly, who are more feminist than some women, and who will fight on behalf of all women when women themselves will lie down and be trampled on instead of standing up for their own rights and equality.
A feminist is any person who supports the full equality of females and males anywhere in the world.
So, I'm thinking, if this rascal caller wanted to use the word 'feminist', he really ought to have learned the definition of it first. And I'm disappointed that my fellow women and men in the studio did not preconceive this challenge before the show opened and developed their game plan on how to rebut it.
I'm further disappointed that all in studio did not own up (sooner) to the title of feminist while simultaneously educating the uninformed caller on a matter about which he was distinctly misguided. They fell into his trap within a matter of seconds, and it is a setback which requires an immediate and convincing comeback.
When you're fighting this battle for womankind, in Bahamian culture or anywhere else, you have to come out swinging - not viciously, but boldly, and you have to be ready to punch back against the onslaught, because you are already identified as a biased troublemaker and negative people will begin this conversation by throwing blows at you.
It's no secret to anyone, male or female, that women, by virtue of their gender, are marginalized in every society of the world, obviously some far worse than others. The ways in which this injustice happens in India, for example, may be very different from its manifestations in Iceland. And the treatment of women in New Zealand may be quite unlike the treatment of women in The Bahamas. But just because a woman isn't being sexually or physically assaulted, getting raped or beaten, it doesn't mean she's not being discriminated against, or that her needs, hopes, ambitions, desires and opportunities are not being smothered or reduced to second class importance.
Cultural deficiencies, low expectations
The very manner in which our Bahamian/Caribbean/Western society is structured creates the distinctions between men and women, which, for decades and centuries, we have observed and continue to observe as norms and which in turn create root biases and the reduction of the status of women, particularly in contrast to men.
(Bahamian) men are taught that marriage to a woman gives them ownership of that woman. They are conditioned to believe that men are meant to possess a wife, a family and a household, and be in charge of them all, such that the man is the apex of the home, and his meals must be prepared, and he must be waited on, and his clothes and his house must be cleaned by the wife (or the daughters or the maid, also female). And all of this is because it is the way it was 'intended to be'. As long as you have a religion that is based in Christianity, as the majority of Bahamians, Afro-Caribbeans and Westerners do, a man is always first, or at the top, and the woman is relegated to second position, from where she should support the man no matter what.
Why do we think, then, that women are continually regarded as the lesser gender of humankind? In spite of the work they do in their families, communities and countries, their leadership and contributions to progress are not as respected as the leadership of men. And it is such an established norm that women themselves propagate it.
For what other reason could a Bahamian man feel so correct in saying "How much more rights do Bahamian women want or need?"
Well, sir, if you're not a (Bahamian) woman, chances are you ain't gonna understand this here hustle.
The way a man perceives a woman's life is based on his perception of his own life and what society tells him is the woman's role in it. And if everything remains in place just as society has taught him (and women) it should, in the way that brings him the most comfort, pleasure, opportunity and success, then what else do you think he's going to say about his dominion?
To inform and to educate
I'm looking forward to the success of the new women-driven radio show, because I desperately want women in The Bahamas to have a more united and resilient voice in their own country on the issues that impact upon them most and to have a stronger hand in turning their own lives around for the best, not the better.
But it has to begin with each individual woman having a rehabilitated mentality about her purpose in life.
If you understand it, then let no one else misunderstand it: every person who is in support of women's equality, empowerment, protection and success is a feminist. Let's discontinue the misrepresentation of the English language that suggests the word 'feminist' is a dirty one, particularly when we don't know the definition of the word or can't respect its connotative value. And, when we do know the correct definition and the supreme value in the word 'feminist', let's make sure that we all embrace it and own it fully, especially when challenged, because if we're ever going to get anywhere with our efforts to improve the individual (mental, emotional and physical) conditions of all women in The Bahamas, we have to first own our individual feminist identities.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- As the 14th annual Junior Junkanoo parade prepares to hit the streets of downtown Freeport on February 2nd, we take a look at the life of a Junkanoo icon - Charles Michael Wright.
Mr. Charles Michael Wright a.k.a "Mickey "was born on September 27th, 1952 in the capital city of Nassau, New Providence - Bahamas. He is married to his beloved wife Parell J. Wright Nee Clarke in 1978, and they are bless with one daughter, Vantona K. Townes Nee Wright, Five sons, Yeovil, Tavarz, Keron, Malik and Michael Wright.
Junkanoo Affiliation and Involvement
In his words:
From early childhood time was spent in and around the two Junkanoo Shacks of "Punch Bowl Junkanoo Group" (Forerunner of the Famous and Innovative VIKINGS Junkanoo Group); one on South Street directly opposite my grandmother's house and the other on West Street in Sax Taylors yard.
A U.S. Embassy official claimed in a cable penned in 2003 that Bishop Neil C. Ellis -- who is repeatedly described in diplomatic documents as Perry Christie's spiritual adviser -- remarked that the then prime minister was not a "true man of God" although he was trying to be religious.
The American also wrote that at a meeting with Ellis at his Mount Tabor Baptist Church, he also remarked that Hubert Ingraham, at the time former prime minister, was definitely "not a man of God" even if he does attend church.
When we sat down with Ellis a few days ago at Mount Tabor to discuss the cables that mentioned his name, Ellis denied most of the claims documented by U.S. diplomats.
But it is the claim regarding his purported comment on Christie and Ingraham's spirituality that he seemed most taken aback by.
"I don't qualify to determine who is a man of God and who is not a man of God," he told The Nassau Guardian.
"...For me to say I think Christie is a pretender would be very hypocritical of me because I've always said publicly and I would say again, I believe Perry Christie is one of the greatest humanitarians I've ever met."
A read of at least two cables shows that while Ellis was growing his church, American diplomats were placing the spotlight on him and his relationship with Christie in a major way.
"Quite a bit of it surprises me," said Ellis, when asked about what his general impression was of what the Americans attributed to him.
According to the cables, obtained by The Nassau Guardian through WikiLeaks, despite not being a member of the government, Ellis wielded considerable influence in the Christie administration, as did businessman Franklyn Wilson.
One of the cables, which was classified by then Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Witajewksi, said, "Ellis openly uses his pulpit in one of Nassau's largest and fastest growing churches to advance the PLP's political agenda, and by allying himself so closely with Christie, has surpassed many of his more established (and perhaps more respectable) religious brethren in influence."
The name at the end of that particular cable is Richard Blankenship, who at the time was United States ambassador to The Bahamas.
Ellis told The Guardian he was not well liked by Blankenship because he had made a statement about the involvement of diplomats in the local affairs of a country.
He said it arouses curiosity that the Americans want to know everything that is happening on every level in the Bahamas.
'A CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE'
The Americans documented two meetings they say they had with Ellis at his church in Pinewood Gardens.
Ellis told The Nassau Guardian he recalled at least one of those meetings, but he remembered it being very informal with no detailed discussion about Christie or Ingraham.
According to one of the cables, on December 2, 2003, a U.S. diplomat paid a courtesy call on Ellis, described as "hard to pin down" and "charismatic".
"During the nearly two-hour meeting, Ellis described the enterprise his parish has become," the cable said.
"He also outlined his role as the local Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, of Bahamian politics -- the one visit that all aspiring politicians must make in order to confirm their legitimacy."
Ellis totally dismissed this claim when he spoke with The Nassau Guardian.
"Why would any sensible, logically thinking person make a statement like that?" he asked
The cable added: "Ellis has come far, from a humble background, mentored and supported by prominent businessman Frankie Wilson, with whom he maintains a close personal and business relationship."
The American diplomat wrote in 2003 that conventional wisdom holds that Ingraham had sealed his fate by displaying arrogance toward the religious leadership while he was prime minister.
"The electorate of the Bahamas is devout, and the church leaders refused to remain silent after the former PM had expressed views antithetical to religious conservatives, such as welcoming to port a cruise liner catering to gay clientele and advocating for constitutional reform targeted toward improving women's rights," the diplomat also wrote.
According to the diplomat who wrote the cable on the heels of the December 2, 2002 meeting, Ellis described "a strange ritual" whereby Christie had sought a meeting with him over a several week period as he was gearing up for the 2002 election campaign.
The cable said: "Ellis kept rebuffing [Christie's] request, offering him only a 10 minute slot.
"Finally, however, Ellis offered [Christie] the opportunity to travel with him on a religious speaking tour in the U.S., promising that if [Christie] attended three of his sermons, he would be available to counsel [Christie] throughout the tour.
"Thus, the two men spent many intense hours together, during which time Ellis looked into [Christie's] soul and concluded that [Christie] has religious inclinations, but is 'not yet there'."
But Ellis said this could not be further from the truth.
"I can't look into a person's soul," he told The Nassau Guardian. "I'm not the savior of the world. Jesus is."
The cable said though Christie was not one of Ellis' regular parishioners, since the 2002 election, he had attended from time to time, as did all but three cabinet ministers.
An embassy official said in another cable after reportedly meeting with Ellis in late May 2002 that the bishop had expressed his desire for closer relations with the embassy, bemoaned his treatment in the press and offered a fascinating, intimate account of how he came to publicly endorse Christie in the last election.
The official said that as Wilson did in a separate meeting, Ellis unconvincingly denied having or wanting any real influence. Both men were described as "powerbrokers" as it regards the PLP -- a claim Ellis laughed at as he denied it to the Guardian.
The embassy official described Ellis as one of the Bahamas' most controversial figures.
The cable said: "He publicly endorsed Perry Christie during the 2002 campaign and reportedly told his congregation from the pulpit during a religious service that they must support Christie if they wished to remain members of his church."
The diplomat also wrote that Ellis also held a huge religious revival featuring a renowned U.S. evangelist that was a magnet for criticism about the reported "greediness" of its fundraising appeal.
"Establishment religious figures now sometimes preface fund-raising remarks by noting that the funds 'will not be used to build a vacation house in Bimini' to distinguish themselves from the self-proclaimed bishop," the cable said.
"The press hounds him constantly about his flamboyant personal lifestyle and open political preferences.
"Ellis was another protégé of (the late former prime minister) Sir Lynden Pindling, who identified him as a promising young man growing up on the small island of Bimini and brought him to Nassau to complete his education."
The diplomat wrote that Ellis is affiliated with the Full Gospel Baptist Church headquartered in New Orleans, and is its "bishop" for international churches, theoretically having all Full Gospel Baptist churches in The Bahamas under his leadership.
"Prime Minister Christie has openly referred to Ellis as his spiritual adviser, and many Bahamians assume that his influence runs deep within the administration," the cable said.
In the cable that came out of the May 2002 meeting with Bishop Ellis, the diplomat goes into amazing details about what was allegedly observed.
For instance, the cable said the embassy official was met by the first of Ellis' personal assistants upon arrival, and was passed on to the second, who entertained him while Ellis finished a meeting with his seven associate pastors.
According to the cable, Ellis then received the official in his "nicely appointed, bordering on lavish, but not quite passing over into poor taste, office."
"He was dressed in a loud magenta clerical shirt with gold and diamond cufflinks, a thick gold chain, several large gold rings and a gold Rolex watch," the embassy official wrote.
"Ellis is a thin, energetic man of middling height, in his early 40s. He is married and has three adopted daughters." (Ellis said he does not have three adopted daughters).
Ellis also strongly denied the American diplomat's characterization of him.
In fact, he said he never owned a Rolex watch or diamond cufflinks in his life.
"Anybody who knows me knows that I am not given to much jewelry," added Ellis, now 50.
When The Guardian visited him, he was wearing his gold bishop's cross around his neck, his wedding band and a wristwatch (definitely not a Rolex).
In fact, Ellis said he shops for $10 watches at Bijoux Terner in the Atlanta airport and has one watch that is a little more expensive that was a gift from someone in the ministry.
Ellis said he wears his bishop's ring only at special services -- a fact later confirmed separately by his associate pastors and assistant who had not been privy to his earlier discussion with The Guardian.
They all said they have never seen the bishop with any Rolex watches and that he barely wears jewelry.
The cable alleges that Ellis described "the remarkable story about how he came to endorse Perry Christie in the 2002 elections."
The diplomat wrote: "According to Ellis, he barely knew Christie before the run up to the 2002 election.
"After that time, he says Christie began seeking an appointment with him, saying he needed to speak with him for several hours.
"Ellis says that he kept putting Christie off, both because he didn't have that time to spare and because he had a bad initial impression of him."
According to the cable, Ellis said this bad opinion dated from the PLP leadership battle between Christie and Dr. Bernard Nottage.
"Nottage was a friend and former congregation member of Ellis and harbored a lot of ill will toward Christie because of his loss," the diplomat wrote.
"Christie was persistent in his pursuit of Ellis, whose church membership has definite PLP leanings."
The cable added: "Finally, according to Ellis, he agreed to take Christie along with him on an evangelical trip to the U.S., promising that if Christie attended all the services he preached at, Ellis would give him the time in between to listen to his appeal.
"Ellis said that when given the opportunity, Christie and Ellis spoke for 13 hours straight, about both secular and spiritual matters and that Ellis progressively became more convinced that Christie had been 'sent by God' to lead the Bahamas.
"The meeting ended, according to Ellis, in a scene reminiscent of the Biblical story of Samuel's anointing of Saul, with Christie coming around the table they were seated at, going to his knees and requesting a blessing from Bishop Ellis.
"At the time, Ellis reported, the spirit came upon him and told him that he had to endorse Christie."
The cable also said: "Ellis, on the one hand, denied having or wanting any political influence with Christie, but on the other hand went to great lengths to explain how close their relationship is and how often Christie calls on him for spiritual guidance.
"For example, Ellis recounted that Christie had presented him with the names of his Cabinet nominees before they were announced and asked him to pray over them and give his opinion."
But Ellis told The Guardian that the official's characterization of these events is "totally false".
"First of all, I can't say I had a bad impression of Mr. Christie before I met him," Ellis said.
"But it is true I didn't know him that well (prior to 2002). All I knew of him was his public life.
"As it relates to Mr. Christie seeking my anointing, that is totally false. I don't remember him ever saying that to me and I don't remember saying that to anybody."
Ellis said it is true that Christie traveled with him more than once.
"The first trip he attended with me, he said he just wanted to talk with me and spend a little time with me," the bishop said.
"My office let him know what my schedule was and when they told him of a particular trip that was going on he asked if he could go and I had no objections because people go on trips with me from time to time.
"I did say to him since he was a politician that I would prefer him not to travel alone with me, so he brought two of his other colleagues with him."
Ellis said the trip was to Atlanta. He also recalled another occasion where Christie traveled with him to Baltimore, Maryland.
"I don't see that as an unusual situation," he said of the trips.
Ellis also suggested it was laughable to write that he spoke to Christie for 13 hours straight.
"Just think about that," he said.
"I do know that in the 2002 election, I was very up front with my support for Mr. Christie. I don't believe that if you have a conviction you have to be secretive about it.
"...I felt at that time this was the man to lead our country and I was proven to be right at the time.
"To say he was sent by God to lead the country, I don't know if any of us could be that bold."
Ellis also said he had no recollection of Christie ever getting on his knees to be anointed by him.
"If the person (the embassy official) wasn't even clear about what I was wearing, they were putting things on me that were not on my person, then I don't how much more attention to pay to anything that was said," he said.
According to the May 2002 cable, Ellis claimed that ever since Mount Tabor started to grow and he began to be seen as a successful pastor, he has come under attack by some people, including other pastors, who are jealous of his success.
As a result, Ellis claims he has been unfairly vilified in the press, particularly the scandal-mongering tabloid The Punch, the diplomat wrote.
"Ellis says that during one stretch The Punch printed negative articles about him in 95 consecutive editions.
"...In addition, Ellis has received heavy criticism for the large salary he draws (reportedly a tax-free $180,000 a year), and his penchant for luxurious living.
"Recently, attention has focused on the impressive house he is building for himself in one of Nassau's more exclusive neighborhoods, reportedly costing $1 million.
"Ellis claimed that the stories were exaggerated, but made no excuses for his lifestyle, implying it was only fitting for the pastor of such a large and thriving church."
Again rejecting how he was characterized by the diplomat, Ellis told The Nassau Guardian, "I understand the role I am in...I'm always up for public scrutiny.
"I try to take it gracefully. I've never responded to any attacks in the media...When you're in the public's eye and when you're in public life you have to be open to public scrutiny."
The diplomat wrote in 2002, "As a consequence of his ongoing bad press, Ellis has vowed not to respond to any of the allegations against him.
"Doing so, he said, just legitimizes those allegations and gives them more life. Many in his congregation, he says, have disagreed with this policy and urge him to publicly lash out at his critics, which he admits is tempting, but he continues to maintain his silence, preferring to let the criticism pass."
Ellis told the Guardian he has not collected a salary from Mount Tabor in 17 years.
"I give my services to Mount Tabor free of charge," he said.
He said he earns money from speaking engagements, books and other products he offers.
"If Mount Tabor was paying me $180,000 I wouldn't be going home," he said with a laugh.
He stressed also that he never told his congregation to vote PLP or leave the church.
Ellis insists that the recording to this effect is a compilation of several sermons he delivered that were doctored by critics and sent to the media.
He said Christie never asked him to be his spiritual adviser and he never regarded himself as such.
Asked by The Nassau Guardian if he would be prepared to endorse Christie in the next general election, Ellis said it was not something he wished to discuss publicly as yet.
"Mr. Christie and I shared a wonderful relationship leading up to the (2002) election and thereafter," he added.
"I don't claim to have been any closer to him than any others."
Ellis stressed that he has respect for all of the country's leaders and noted that he was a part of a group of pastors who met with Ingraham last year to discuss important matters.
A leap of 6.88 meters (m) is the winning mark in this year's Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships long jump event for the intermediate boys.
Laquan Nairn, of the C.R. Walker Knights track and field team, is the national champion. He popped the 6.88m on his last run down the long jump strip. Of the six attempts, Nairn scratched three and landed three. He opened the event with 6.28m, his second was also up in the 6.00m range. His last marker pushed him ahead of Asteria Coakley, who was leading the event with 6.74m. Coakley is a member of the Government High School Magic track and field squad. The third place spot went to Xavier Coakley who landed 6.44m.
It was all about the twins in the triple jump event for senior boys. Lathario and Lathone Collie-Minns dominanted the event and finished with a one-two punch. Lathario soared 16.34m and Lathone hopped, skipped and jumped to 15.71m. Finishing third was Darien Duncombe with 13.69m. Showing her strength in the shot put for senior girls was sprinter Shaunae Miller, who was the favorite heading into the finals of the 400m race. Miller's best was 11.84m. Ashley Lewis won the intermediate girls triple jump with 11.37m and Brashae Wood won the intermediate girls shot put.
The St. Augustine's College Big Red Machine got first, third and fourth in the senior girls' high jump, thanks to Andriel Strachan, Khadajah Ferguson and Brienesha Foulkes. Carlinrinique Bastian, of the Queen's College Comets, split the trio and finished second with a clearance of 1.55m. The winning jump was 1.60m by Strachan. Ferguson and Foulkes bowed out at 1.45m for third. The discus title in the junior girls' division was won by Tiffany Hanna, from the Big Red Machine, who threw 24.79m for the win over Laquell Harris, who represented the Comets with a best of 20.20m. Rishara Ferguson was third with a throw 19.57m. Danielle Gibson was the winner in the intermediate girls' high jump with a clearance of 1.59m. Bowing out of the competition at 1.57m was Talia Thompson and Miquel Roach dropped the bar at 1.52m.
Two weeks after he scored a unanimous victory, Bahamian middleweight fighter Taureano Johnson stepped back into the ring, putting together a series of punches that will keep his winning streak on the professional level going.
A six-rounder with Edvan dos Santos Barros was held at the Westin Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida on Friday night. Not even a cut, underneath the right eyebrow, suffered in the opening minutes of the first round, could slow down Johnson. He landed a number of punches throughout the fight to win every round.
"It was a difficult fight. I went up against a very tough fighter," said Johnson, who improved to 7-0, 5KOs with the win. "He is an experienced fighter, an ESPN and HBO favorite. He has a good record, more than 28 fights, but that didn't stop me from going in there and giving it my all. I landed a lot of vicious punches, power punches and combinations. My technique, speed and condition, everything was perfect, but he is tough and I know that the knockout would have been hard. I didn't get to pull it off like I wanted to.
"A victory is all good for me. I consider myself to be the number one fighter in the world, not just in the Caribbean or in The Bahamas. I consider myself to be a world champion so in that case, in order to compete with the guys on that level, I should be able to take out my opponents with ease. I took the fight every round, won on a unanimous decision but I am not too pleased with the results. Not getting the knockout was tough."
Johnson moved up from the amateur ranks, turning professional in 2010. His debut was against Cleoney Fuqua, March 5 in Atlanta, Georgia. He knocked out Fuqua in the first round. Ever since, Johnson has been landing the knockout blows. His bout against Ryan Bianchini was stopped in the first round as well. That fight was held in Memphis, Tennessee on April 16, 2010. Several days later Johnson went up against Anthony Bowman and knocked him out in the fourth round. His last fight in 2010 was against Roy Ashworth. That bout took place in Tunica, Mississippi in July. He won in the first round.
Johnson said he used last year to "clean up" his boxing affairs, and as a result he did not fight. He is now under new management and has a loaded schedule.
Johnson said: "It is kind of complex when it comes to the professional ranks. I went to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and thank God I was able to make it through that and qualify, but right now, as it stands, I was off for 14 months after being under a very difficult contract. Right now I only have seven fights so I am way behind. I am with new management now. My management has gotten me three fights in less than eight weeks. I think that deserves an applause. Eight weeks and I have already gotten three fights - this is a boxer's dream."
The middleweight fighter has already stepped into the ring twice for the year and will return to the ring again at the end of the month. Johnson's opponent for the March 31 fight is still unknown. The fight will take place in New York.
It has been one of the most anticipated events on the calendar for 69 years, and in year 70, it's still going strong, as the annual Red Cross Fair offers something for everyone. The fair which is held on the Lower Gardens of the Government House Grounds on Saturday, March 3, is considered the hallmark of true family fun.
At the fair, you can get your fill of the tastiest delicacies like conch salad, conch fritters, crab and rice and fried fish to treats like cotton candy, hotdogs, hamburgers and ice cream. This year, Domino's Pizza and Bamboo Shack will also hawk their wares from stalls at this iconic fair. The Chinese, Filipinos and Jamaicans will also sell food from their countries for people that just want something a little different. Of course, tarts, cakes, cookies and duffs of all sorts are always the order of the day when it's a Bahamian affair.
Eating is only half of the fun. With activities like hoopla, dominoes for those people that just love to slap the ivories, punch board and grab bags holding hidden prizes and the chance to shoot hoops, there is an activity for everyone.
To keep the little ones happy, an elaborate kiddie's corner will be set up. There they can engage in arts and crafts, a treasure hunt, blow up balloons, karaoke, get their faces painted and enjoy the puppet shows. A haunted house and rides like Dixie Twister, Rock Wall and Super Slide will make the older kids happier.
For the fickle teens and the young-at-heart, a "young people's disco" with DJ Fines will also be another big highlight of the evening as it has been in years past.
With displays of crafts, books, plants and other things, the Red Cross Fair will have it all. Even the chance to check up on your health, with nurses doing free blood pressure and glucose level checks throughout the day.
And of course, a Bahamian affair would not be complete with musical entertainment. The Police Pop Band and Prison Pop Band, Dillion McKenzie and Terez Hepburn will light up the fair as only Bahamian musicians can. And a rushout by the Shell Saxon Superstars will simply seal the deal.
"No one will be left out. This is truly the perfect family occasion," said Pauline Allen-Dean, the fair's chairperson who said there will be no end to the amount of fun and entertainment that will be available this weekend.
In an effort to make the Red Cross Fair a truly Bahamian affair, it is being held this year under the theme "Celebrating Our Family of Islands Together for Humanity", which will not just serve as the theme for the event, but also act as a source of creativity for the annual booth decoration competition. All booths are encouraged to choose a Family Island and design their booth to complement the things that island is famous for.
"We want this year's fair to be a true representation of The Bahamas," said Allen-Dean. "We wanted to pay homage to the Red Cross posts throughout the islands, as well as show thankfulness for those who send us supplies to keep this fair going annually. They may not be coming, but the stations and concerned individuals send things for us because they know it will be a big help to make this event a success."
Shannise Nairn, 34, is excited to attend the event which has been her family's tradition to attend since she was a toddler. She couldn't imagine not attending the fair.
"The Red Cross Fair is the 'it' thing for me and my family. It is so much fun and I have been attending it since I was a child. This is something my grandmother remembers attending and taking my mom and uncles to. She tells me stories about it and every year she still goes out to it even though she's in a wheelchair now. This is a true Bahamian tradition and people need to come out. It's not only fun, but it's the great way to give back to the community at large since the funds from the fair go to the Red Cross at the end of the day."
Red Cross Fair
When: Saturday, March 3
Where: Lower Gardens, Government House Grounds
Time: 12 noon - until
Admission: $2 adults, $1 children
Klay Thompson, the Bahamian-rooted Golden State shooting guard, is rapidly solidifying his status as a star player in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Into his third season, Klay, one of the sons of Bahamian sports icon Mychal Thompson, appears to have a larger role this season. It seems, early in this season, that Coach Mark Jackson has decided to emphasize more Klay's role as the shooting guard for the team.
In my view, the Warriors can go further with Klay as the No. 1 shooter. Stephen Curry, the excellent point guard, excelled in scoring last season. However, the Warriors are a better team with the 1-2 scoring punch being Thompson/Curry, rather than the other way around.
The Warriors are playing like they can win the Pacific Division of the Western Conference despite the fact that a key rival team is the Los Angeles Clippers. Jackson goes with a line-up of David Lee and the new team member Andre Iguadala as the forwards with Andrew Bogut in center. The splash brothers Thompson and Curry round out the starting five.
This is a fine unit, comparable to the best of the rest. Following a key 116-115 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder last Thursday night, the Warriors stood at 6-3, tied with the Clippers in the Pacific Division. To me that game put a stamp on the kind of team the rest of the NBA will have to face this year.
The Warriors are likely to win more of those close games against the elite teams as they grow in confidence. Thompson had 27 points in that game to lead the Warriors and rounded out his top performer outing with five rebounds, two assists and three blocks.
All Jackson has to continue to do is allow Klay to remain that first option shooter and let Curry focus more on being the court general, distributing the ball rather that taking the shot so often. I take nothing away from Dell Curry's boy. Stephen can shoot. Nevertheless, he can make the Warriors a much better team if his focus is on getting the other players on the floor more involved in the offense.
Once he does that, the extra energy can be utilized on defense. Stephen is quick and I think could be an all-defensive team member if he adjusts his game a bit. Coach Jackson should see to it.
The warriors are relatively a young team. The two stars Thompson and Curry are just 23 and 25. Golden State shapes up as the team of the future in the NBA. If Jackson keeps Klay with the largest scoring load, the Warriors could indeed become the team of now.
Klay should have been a coaches' pick for all-star weekend last year. Barring injury, he should achieve that milestone this season.
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