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Resorts International is disappointed at the misinformation published
this morning by The Punch in an article under the headline: "PM Tells
Sandals Boss Butch He has to Hire More Bahamians" .
piece asserts that Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie and
Chairman of Sandals Resorts International Gordon "Butch" Stewart met in
Exuma earlier this month to discuss among other things, the hiring of
more Bahamians at the property, allowing Bahamians to run shops within
the confines of Sandals Emerald Bay and further changes to the resort's
The article further suggested that the Prime Minister instigated
In his first fight since going"blow for blow"with the five time heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield, Bahamian professional boxer Sherman"Tank"Williams said he is"ready to let the caged up lion out and destroy".
His return to the ring will put him up against the Lithuanian boxer Remigijus Ziausys on Friday, November 4 at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. Williams is one of three heavyweight boxers on the under card. He will go 10 rounds. The main 12-rounder will be contested by Denis Lebedev and James Toney, in the cruiserweight division. Fighting as co-main are Alexander Bakhtin and Luis Melendez. That too is scheduled for 12 rounds.
Over the past few weeks, Williams' got it on' with Lebedev, training in the cold Moscow weather. Sparring sessions were held twice a day, allowing both Williams and Lebedev to get a good workout.
Williams said: "The boxer who I was supposed to fight, the guy got a fractured hand or something so that fight will be postponed. Ziausys, he just signed on and I don't know too much about him. During that time, I still was able to train with Denis. Our styles are similar. I guess, after they reviewed the Holyfield fight they decided to invite me over and let me train with Denis to help him prepare for his fight. They then offered me a spot on the under card and I took it.
"The training is going very well. The first week I was basically adjusting to the time difference and the weather. It is extremely cold and they are eight hours ahead of the time I am use to. The Russians have a different format of training for professional fights. We've been training two sessions a day, one at 7 a.m. and next at 2 p.m. For me, it has been enjoyable. I was able to work on my usual tactics and style, which is inside fighting and using the jab, closing the distance while throwing a mirage of straight rights and left hooks to the body and head. My execution has been good. Training has been going great. Both Denis and myself have benefited greatly from the training over the last four weeks."
The four-week training session came to an end yesterday for Williams and Lebedev, who will now turn their attention to their bouts. The Freeport native, Williams, said he is comfortable and ready to take care of business. His game plan is simple. If his opponent decides to run, Williams said he will cut him off. Keeping him off the rope is another key for Williams, who said"raining blows will be an understatement."
An immediate knockout is not a part of the plan, but if the opportunity presents itself, Williams said he will definitely land the blow."I feel strong and ready to go," said Williams."If the opportunity comes, there is no reason why I should not let go with my overhand right and left hook. If I can connect with those punches, it will be the same results in my last fight with Holyfield."
Williams fought Holyfield in January of this year. The bout was set for 12 rounds but was stopped in the third and ruled a no-contest. As of now, Williams has a win/loss record of 34 wins-19 KO and 11 losses, two draws.
o On 26 February, Sir Ronald Sanders was invited to launch "In the Ring", a Commonwealth memoir written by Sir Donald McKinnon former secretary-general of the Commonwealth (2000-2008), at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. This article is adapted from Sanders' remarks.
No secretary-general of the Commonwealth has an easy time. Building consensus among countries large and small, rich and poor, black and white is extremely challenging, and, in the course of it, secretaries-general are not only referees, sometimes they become the punching bag. In this context, Sir Don McKinnon's Commonwealth memoir is appropriately titled: "In the Ring".The book is remarkable for its frank account of the events that led up to Robert Mugabe's withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth in 2003. Mugabe took that action when it was evident that Commonwealth heads of government would make the decision to suspend Zimbabwe following seriously flawed elections. Inevitably, the secretary-general was made the villain of the peace.However, as Don relates in the book, his own reflection over Zimbabwe was more "in sorrow than in anger". No secretary-general relishes the suspension, expulsion or withdrawal of a member-state under his watch. And, Don bent over backwards to encourage President Mugabe to remain faithful to the Commonwealth's Harare Principles - principles that were agreed by all Commonwealth heads at a meeting chaired by Mugabe himself.No one is the more accountable custodian of the Commonwealth's collective values than the secretary-general. His primary touchstone is the values and principles to which all Commonwealth governments subscribe not only as a condition of their entry to the organization but as a sine qua non for keeping such membership. As Don rightly observes in his book, "The Commonwealth and its institutions had to be protected."Don's account of his efforts to engage Mugabe even after he had withdrawn Zimbabwe is an untold story which deserves to be known. And, Don has told it with clarity but also with a sense of disappointment and frustration. He has also not deprived his readers of an appreciation of the tensions that develop among heads of government in their decision-making on thorny issues.That tension makes the secretary-general's job a lot harder, particularly when it occurs among the Troika - the three heads of government - the past chair, the present chair and the incoming chair. The secretary-general has to look to them for guidance over how to deal with another head of government such as Mugabe who rode roughshod over Commonwealth values in pursuit of his own narrow political agenda. This memoir gives a full account of the tensions, the differences and even the vexations that occurred within the Troika. It is a frank insight into the contest between efforts to preserve the Commonwealth's shared values and the desire by a small number of heads of government to protect a fellow head of government who had thrown those values to the wind.Of particular interest is Don's account of the remarkable role played by P.J. Patterson, the prime minister of Jamaica, a small Commonwealth state, in the heads of government reaching a unanimous decision to continue the suspension of Zimbabwe. Don describes Patterson's intervention as a "tour de force". "We are dealing with two almost irreconcilable positions and we have a consensus," Don reports Patterson as saying. "Certainly not everybody is happy, but we must not now show a split." Patterson's legal and political skills impressed the room and Commonwealth agreement was preserved. So was its commitment to its declared values. If Don's candid account of the tribulations that surrounded Zimbabwe is not a sufficiently compelling story of the secretary-general's challenging role in the Commonwealth ring, then his experience over suspended Pakistan under President Musharraf completes the tale.As secretary-general he was invited by the British government to the Lord Chancellor's dinner for President Musharraf who was visiting Britain officially. This was in the wake of the 9/11 atrocities in the United States when Pakistan had overnight become the new "best friend" of the governments of Britain and the United States.But, at the time, Pakistan was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth over very doubtful democratic institutions. Don did not regard Musharraf's visit to London as a good thing. As he said in his well-known forthright manner, it would not have happened to Fiji, Nigeria or Zimbabwe while they were suspended. It was, as he said, an example of one policy for the Commonwealth and another policy for bilateral relations. He was then promptly "uninvited" from the dinner, before being "re-invited" by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but placed at a table out of sight. Quite rightly Don declined the re-invitation. He had "no intention of being a pawn in their game".This was not the only occasion when a government expected the secretary-general to act in its interest. But, as he pointed out to another government, the secretary-general "has to work for the collective Commonwealth good, not just advance the view of one country".
Indeed, every secretary-general, however deeply involved he was in the affairs of his own country and its interests in the Commonwealth and the international community, has to leave that baggage at the entrance door of Marlborough House. He must become de-nationalized, color blind, non-aligned religiously and re-constructed as a Commonwealth being - whole and entire. Don McKinnon became that body as every secretary-general has had to do.When a senior British Foreign Office official, who insisted that Britain, as the biggest contributor to the secretariat's funding, should always hold the post of deputy secretary-general, Don told him that not only was Britain not getting the post, it also would not permanently be on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.Thirty-two of the Commonwealth's 54 members are small states with problems and challenges that are peculiar to their vulnerabilities and lack of capacity to stand-up to powerful organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).When Commonwealth small states were being pummelled by the OECD over "harmful tax competition", Don in his full Commonwealth regalia - his OECD membership card as former foreign minister of New Zealand firmly put away - championed the cause of the Commonwealth's constituency of small states and curtailed bullying and an uneven playing field. As a chronicle that is as frank in its content as it is wide in its telling of the inner workings of life in the ring of the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon's memoir is compulsory reading.
Note: "In the Ring" by Don McKinnon is published by Elliott and Thompson, London.
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.
The 16th Pan American Games going on in Guadalajara, Mexico, will forever be the competition that truly defined the amateur career of Valentino Knowles and to a large extent, the legacy of the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB).
For the first time in the history of Bahamian sports, the boxing team has been able to upstage the other disciplines. His bronze medal clinching victory on Sunday against Argentina's Fabian Maidana put The Bahamas on the medal table for the first time. Then, on Tuesday, when he clearly was the better boxer against Yoelvis Hernandez of Venezuela, the performance meant at least a silver medal for his country.
He is capable of beating Cuban Roniel Iglesias tomorrow night, but whether he gets the majority of points or not, Knowles has fully established himself as one of the nation's "prime" elite athletes.
Also, he has made an emphatic case for the ABFB. It is ridiculous, when one considers that the national boxing program has had to settle often for no more than one-third of the funding given to other federations called "core sports" programs. When Taureano Johnson won a silver medal in the light welterweight division at the 2003 Commonwealth Boxing Championships, the federation was promised an elevation into the "core sports" category.
That never came to pass. During the ensuing eight years, Johnson grew into a full welterweight and went on to become the finest boxer in the entire Caribbean. Knowles and welterweight Carl Hield developed into prominent world performers. Knowles became a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games gold medalist. He and Heild emerged as quality competitors on the rough Cuban boxing circuit. Hield got further into the middle of the regional success circle with a silver medal at the prestigious Dominican Republic Independencia Tournament.
Knowles made history by becoming the first Bahamian to win a bout at the World Boxing Championships (back in 2009). They both won bronze medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Knowles has followed directly in the footsteps of Johnson. He is now the best amateur boxer in all of the Caribbean and as of this moment, one of the two best light welterweights in the entire Pan American region.
Yet, the ABFB still has not been given official status by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Hopefully now, this travesty will cease. Knowles deserves to be at least in the $26,000 subvention category, and the federation earned "core sports" status in 2003. It is noteworthy indeed that the federation has been able to remain progressive despite being on the very low end of government sports grants.
On Friday, Knowles will be in the spotlight at the Pan American Games one more time. He definitely has what it takes to beat the Cuban. Iglesias has a strong left hand. Knowles is the better boxer and punches well with both hands. If I worked his corner I would simply tell him to make sure to circle away from Iglesias' left hand and just let his instincts take over.
Knowles is naturally gifted. He has all of the tools. He is superb defensively as well. He should win on Friday. Whatever the case though, he has finally demonstrated the ability to maximize his potential. Best wishes on Friday Valentino!
Congratulations also to the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
A motorist fled the scene after knocking down and killing a man with his car, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.
Prosecutors have accused Tyrone Francis of the murder of Jonathan Linden on October 10, 2009. In his opening statement, prosecutor Eucal Bonaby promised to produce evidence that showed Francis and the deceased had an argument at a Royal Castle restaurant shortly before the incident.
Jerome Charlton, who witnessed the incident, testified that a car that approached from behind dragged Linden more than 100 feet as he walked south along Baillou Hill Road.
Charlton said he, Linden, and another man, Elvardo Johnson, were walking single file along Baillou Hill Road when the incident occurred around 3 a.m.
According to Charlton, he saw when the driver escaped from the car through the passenger's side window following the incident and ran towards King Street.
Charlton said another man remained in the car. According to him this man also tried to get away, but he told him, "You're not going anywhere."
Charlton said he restrained the man, who punched him in the eye in an attempt to escape. Charlton said he, in turn, punched the man in the stomach.
During cross-examination by defense lawyer Murrio Ducille, Charlton denied that anyone threw objects at the car, which caused the vehicle to swerve and crash. Charlton strenuously denied this suggestion and he pointed out that the car approached him from behind.
The trial continues before Supreme Court Justice Vera Watkins today.
Bahamian Dewitt "D.C." Pratt remained undefeated in Thailand last week, winning by knockout in his second pro fight.
The 23-year-old martial artist used a left-right striking combination to take out his opponent, Yodmongkol Singmanasak, in the second round of their scheduled Muay Thai fight last Friday. He improved to 7-1-1 overall, in his brief two-year professional career.
"I was elated of course. It's my first knockout. He almost had me down in the first round, so it was good to respond the way I did," said Pratt from Thailand. "It was good to finish the fight early. I was in better shape so I wanted to eventually wear him down, but I got a solid combination in the second round, and he couldn't recover. It came just in time."
Pratt fights out of the Sumalee Boxing Gym in Thalang, Phuket, Thailand. He is coached by former Muay Thai fighter Lamnamoon Sor Sumalee. Pratt said he's hoping to step back into the ring sometime in July.
"Even though I got the knockout, I'm not really satisfied. I see where I need a lot of improvement, especially on defense. He almost had me down, and I don't want to experience that again."
Pratt won quite a few gold medals in international competition as an amateur before venturing into the professional ranks. As an amateur, he fought out of Atlanta, Georgia before returning home to The Bahamas. Travelling with the Beast Mode Fight Team, Pratt won gold medals on the International Chinese Martial Arts circuit and in International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) matches.
He specializes in Muay Thai, a combat sport which uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.
This past Friday, he fought on Thai national television. The style of boxing that Pratt and his Thai opponent engaged in was Kard Cheuk, a form of fighting which requires the use of wraps and not gloves. The only way to win a Kard Cheuk fight is by knockout.
"That's really traditional Muay Thai right there, before they started using boxing gloves," said Pratt. "I'm a striker, so I'm used to punches and kicks. After that near knockdown, I was able to maintain my composure and stick to what I do best which is striking."
Pratt usually fights out of the 155-pound division. However, he said that there wasn't any weigh-ins for this particular fight.
"In Thailand they only have weigh-ins for championship fights, so there wasn't any weigh-in, but I'm like 160 and I'm sure that guy had to be at least 180," said Pratt.
Currently, there is an International Wushu Sanda Federation's proposal for the sport's entry into the Olympic Games on the table. It is being reviewed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the 2020 Olympics. Pratt said that acceptance of the sport into the Olympic calendar would be great for the practitioners back here in The Bahamas, but he added that he probably won't be eligible due to decision to turn professional.
"To see the sport grow to that extent where it is in the Olympics, that would be great, just to put The Bahamas on the map," he said.
The physical and mental sporting discipline of Muay Thai is known as "the art of eight limbs" in Thailand because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet. Pratt fights in a professional league in Thailand that is governed by the World Muay Thai Council.
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash said yesterday he had "no concerns" after police seized two laptop computers and a smartphone from his Cable Beach home, reportedly in relation to a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from Bank of The Bahamas (BOB).
Cash made the "no concerns" comment after The Guardian told him the newspaper understood the seizure was related to the BOB matter.
The Guardian spoke briefly to Cash outside his home minutes after three police officers left after 10 a.m.
A statement later released by his attorney, Carl Bethel, said a police inspector and two sergeants from the Central Detective Unit (CDU) entered Cash's home "pursuant to a purported ex-parte search warrant issued by a magistrate" and made the seizure
"purportedly in pursuance of an investigation into matters related to Bank of The Bahamas".
A few weeks ago, he was outspoken over allegations the bank was used as a political tool. Cash previously called for a select committee of Parliament to investigate the affairs at the bank.
The statement released by Bethel yesterday said the items were "physically grabbed from [Cash's] hands and taken by the police, who refused to deliver or to leave a copy of the 'search warrant' with Mr. Cash".
It added, "This action by the police is asserted by Mr. Cash to have been an unreasonable, unconstitutional and unlawful seizure and search of his personal property, which contains personal, business and general political information, e-mails and communications which relate to his profession as an accountant and generally to his political activities and responsibilities as the national chairman of the Official Opposition, as well as containing personal family communications and information."
Bethel advised that "immediate steps have been taken upon the instructions of Mr. Darron Cash to seek redress for the violation of his constitutional right to privacy by a constitutional motion in the Supreme Court".
The matter involving Bank of The Bahamas grabbed national attention several months ago after The Punch reported a series of allegations regarding loans from the bank.
In a press statement in January, Cash said, "Based on what numerous persons have reported to me and other party officers, I can assure you that members of the general and investing public are very concerned about the state of affairs of that publicly-traded financial institution."
Cash called for the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly to "scrutinize the extent to which public funds, including those of the National Insurance Board, are at risk with BOB".
But Prime Minister Perry Christie, who is also minister of finance, assured the public at the time that "there need be no fear or concern" relating to the bank.
"The bank's capital position and other fundamentals remain strong," Christie said in a statement.
"Moreover, the government is satisfied that all necessary steps have already been taken, and will continue to be taken, to ensure the bank remains in full compliance with all regulatory requirements and prudential banking standards."
Amid the controversy, BOB also shot back.
In January, it said, "Successive governments, to their credit, have systematically avoided any involvement in credit policies or the granting of credit.
"Further, virtually all of the loans involving so-called political persons that have been the subject of recent stories in the media were made in the period 2008-2010 when these persons were not even in government."
The bank later said it was suing The Punch for "a combination of outright lies and numerous falsehoods and inaccuracies".
It also pledged to investigate the source of the "leak" of confidential information from the bank.
There was widespread reaction to the seizure of Cash's property yesterday, including on social media sites.
On his Facebook page, FNM Deputy Chairman Dr. Duane Sands said, "This is an example of gestapo like tactics being applied to intimidate."
He added, "All Bahamians should be concerned that he has been singled out. We must now loudly demand a full and thorough public investigation. What applies to the goose applies to the gander.
"Why have none of the other politicians or 'business men' been subjected to such harassment?
"If we do not respond loudly life in The Bahamas will become more repressive and the heavy-handedness will increase."
Sands said it is time for the Progressive Liberal Party to seek another mandate.
"The commissioner of police should act without fear or favor and deal with all infractions of the law," he added.
"This is for us a pivotal time, a defining moment. We must respond loudly with a united rejection of this arbitrary and capricious action."
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash said yesterday that Prime Minister Perry Christie should be held responsible for the Bank of The Bahamas' (BOB) financial loss in 2013.
Cash accused Christie of taking a lackadaisical approach to handling the bank.
On Monday, The Nassau Guardian reported that BOB recorded a loss of $5.97 million for the six months leading up to December 2013.
This represents a deterioration from the $2.84 million in profits earned during the same period in 2012.
In a letter to shareholders, Paul McWeeney, BOB's managing director, attributed the results to the prolonged impact of the global financial crisis and resulting recession.
He told The Guardian that he did not have any further comments to make, except to reiterate that the bank is still anticipating a turnaround in the next three to six months.
In a statement released yesterday, Cash said, "As the person with ministerial accountability for the Bank, Mr. Christie has once again chosen to take a hands-off approach after he has made the initial round of bad appointments."
Cash added: "It is deeply troubling because BOB's financial failure, to any substantial degree, can have far-reaching negative implications for the entire financial system."
Cash welcomed news that the government is contemplating making changes to BOB's board of directors.
"The FNM will also watch closely to see if the prime minister fires the independent and outspoken directors who have been pushing for greater accountability on the part of the executive management team," Cash said.
The government has released several statements affirming the bank's stable financial position over the past few months in the wake of claims by The Punch that the bank granted loans based on political favoritism.
The bank has said these claims are "simply untrue", and has said it will take legal action against The Punch.
In February, the government assured that money held in BOB is "safe and secure".
"Indeed, there is no greater support that any bank can have than the backing of the sovereign government of the country," the statement said.
The government said it does not "control or interfere" in the bank's management.
"The government is aware, however, that the bank has already made a number of positive changes to its policies, practices and management structure which will prove beneficial to the bank as it moves forward," the statement said.
"Moreover, additional improvements to the governance of the bank will be made in due course."
But East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest has said he will call for a House select committee to probe "significant concerns" over BOB's management and lending practices.
Turnquest is the shadow minister of finance.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts has said the media reports are part of a "systematic and insidious campaign of... deceit against PLP members of Parliament, others and the Bank of The Bahamas."
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.