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News Article

April 30, 2014
Organizers ready for IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014

Two years after receiving the rights to host the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships, The Bahamas is in the final stage of a long and often bumpy process to stage the biggest sporting event in the country's history.
With less than a month to go before the opening ceremony, venue repairs are on schedule to be completed on time, tickets are selling out quickly, and volunteer recruitment went well.
"It's a big day for us," IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Managing Director Lionel Haven said. "This is the moment when we really do start getting ready for celebrating and welcoming the world."
On May 24 and 25, over 800 of the world's best athletes are expected to contest the 10 relay events which will be staged in the 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, with both men and women competing in the 4x100 meters (m), 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m.
Last year in December, the National Sports Authority (NSA) engaged the services of Mondo out of Italy to reconstruct the track at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The original track was a Class 2 track and to host the world relays, the track had to meet a Class 1 level.
NSA General Manager and LOC Senior Director of Venues Jeffery Beckles said: "We anticipate all repairs being completed in time for the Bahamas High School Relays 2014, which will be a test event for the world relays. The Bahamas High School Relays is also expected to act as a qualifier for a junior event happening on both days of the IAAF World Relays."
The Bahamas High School Relays is set for May 9 and 10 at the stadium, and will start an hour before the actual IAAF World Relays. In addition to the preparation of the track, Beckles said workers are also ensuring that all of the other amenities and auxiliary facilities being refurbished are completed and ready as well.
"We want to advise the general public that we will be closing several of our venues, so that contractors can complete their work on time and so that the facilities can be at the level that we promise for this event," said Beckles. "We want the people of The Bahamas to know that we are making every effort to ensure we have the best possible look and feel when the world comes here."
The primary venues that will be closed in the coming weeks for finishing touches are the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, the old Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium and the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex. Since the launch of ticket sales, Haven said patrons have been taking full advantage of the online and box office purchases.
"Up to today, we are at about 8,812 tickets that have been sold so far," he said. "General admission tickets, which are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and bronze tickets, which are $20, are the only two options left for those wishing to attend."
Tickets for both days are available for purchase online at bahamasworldrelays.org and also the box office at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Haven said that the window for applications to be a volunteer at the event has closed, with a huge number of persons putting themselves forward for the opportunity.
A total of 1,200 applied, with the vast majority of applicants being Bahamian.
"The community's pride that the IAAF World Relays is being held in Nassau is profound, and there has been a great willingness to get involved to ensure the success of the event. There's no doubt, The Bahamas will be ready to welcome the many participants and visitors in the next 30 days," Haven said.
The event will have extensive television coverage and will be seen by millions of viewers around the world in more than 100 countries. Over 100 journalists and up to 30,000 spectators are anticipated to attend the event.

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News Article

June 04, 2014
Outstanding leadership and academic achievement celebrated at COB

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The prospect of receiving an award for being academically exceptional was never at the forefront of Ricara Skippings' mind as she matriculated through her Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting) programme at The College of The Bahamas. She says she was simply following the sage advice of her mother.
On Wednesday, May 28th, when scores of high achievers of The College's 2014 Commencement Class were honoured during a special awards ceremony, Ricara was leading the pack. She completed her programme with distinction, earning the School of Business' top awards as well as The College's two primary honours.
"I really did not expect this because I actually was working to make my term grades and get a sense of self accomplishment and do my best in every course. I never thought about awards. That was never at the forefront of my mind," she said.
"My mum would always say, you are not competing with the person sitting next to you in the classroom, you are competing against the person sitting in China, Germany, Africa, New Zealand. This is a global environment and if all you think you have to focus on is the person sitting in front of you, then you have big problems."
Ricara humbly accepted the School of Business Award, donated by Fidelity Bank and Trust, and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Award for Academic Excellence. Many other graduands were honoured in various schools - from Mathematics, Physics and Technology to English, Education and Communication and Creative Arts - for being high achievers.

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News Article

December 01, 2013
Honesty is the best policy for young brothers

THE Water and Sewerage Corporation lost a valuable GPS unit, but it was returned to the corporation by two brothers, both students of Oaksfield Primary School.

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News Article

February 24, 2014
Exuma could host qualifying meets in the future

MOSS TOWN, Exuma -- Exuma could be the gateway for athletes in the Central Bahamas to qualify for regional and international competitive sports. This was echoed by sporting officials, including Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson at the recently held Sandals L.N. Coakley Track and Field Invitational Classic.
"I think Exuma can host the central regional sports championship of The Bahamas and we look forward to it soon," Minister Johnson said.
The high hopes to revitalize the stagnant sports programs in Exuma is coupled with the ministry's Family Island Sports Complex Project initiative that Johnson promised would come to fruition in 2014.
"You are going to get a proper facility, you are going to see a sailing academy and proper sports management," he said.
Dr. Johnson emphasized the importance of such improvements in Exuma, saying sports opens doors for students to have opportunities of exposure and advancement.
Similarly, administrator within the sports unit at the Ministry of Education in charge of after school programs, Evon Wisdom, told athletes that they can pre-qualify for the CARITA Games and other junior regional and international meets, in Exuma. He said that Exuma has great potential to host international competitive sports meets.
"The importance is the central location, in terms of the island itself. The Onion Bowl, even though only an asphalt surface, is so picturesque and we find this centralized location ideal for all schools within The Bahamas to come to, and we only see growth in this area for the island of Exuma.
"We can get a fairly large inter scholastic golf championship, a sailing championship for all athletes in the world."
Wisdom also stressed that the success of such events would rely heavily on the collaboration of Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort.
The meet featured athletes from L.N. Coakley High, St Andrew's School, Forecast Academy International of Exuma, C.V. Bethel High School and several local primary school teams.
Coaches Ednol Rolle and Ann Bullard were the organizers of the event. Rolle said: "Next year, the plan is to invite more schools; my dream is to continue the trend every year to give students of Exuma the opportunity to get exposure and to compete."
According to Rolle, athletes in New Providence have a greater advantage because they compete more often than those in the Family Islands.
The invitational, which once hosted hundreds of athletes from across the length and breadth of The Bahamas, was resuscitated after a decade long hiatus, with Sandals Emerald Bay as its main sponsor. General Manager of Sandals Emerald Bay, Jeremy Mutton, expressed that the sponsorship is a continuation of the partnership between the resort and the island's lone government high school.

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News Article

June 05, 2014
Outstanding leadership and academic achievement celebrated

The prospect of receiving an award for being academically exceptional was never at the forefront of Ricara Skippings' mind as she matriculated through her bachelor of business administration (accounting) program at The College of The Bahamas (COB). She said she was simply following the sage advice of her mother.
On Wednesday, May 28, when scores of high achievers of the college's 2014 commencement class were honored during a special awards ceremony, Ricara was leading the pack. She completed her program with distinction, earning the School of Business' top awards as well as the college's two primary honors.
"I really did not expect this because I actually was working to make my term grades and get a sense of self accomplishment and do my best in every course. I never thought about awards. That was never at the forefront of my mind," she said.
"My mum would always say, you are not competing with the person sitting next to you in the classroom, you are competing against the person sitting in China, Germany, Africa, New Zealand. This is a global environment and if all you think you have to focus on is the person sitting in front of you, then you have big problems."
Ricara humbly accepted the School of Business award, donated by Fidelity Bank and Trust, and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Award for Academic Excellence. Many other graduands were honored in various schools - from mathematics, physics and technology to English, education and communication and creative arts - for being high achievers.
Acting President of COB Dr. Earla Carey-Baines commended them for their perseverance.
"In the academic arena, they had set themselves apart as scholars and leaders worthy of accolades and emulation. We salute all of our award recipients, as these past years have not been easy ones. The achievement of a college degree is fraught with many tests and challenges. To succeed in college requires commitment, perseverance and sacrifice. You sit before us, not only because you have succeeded, but because you have excelled."
Randol Dorsett is a partner at law firm Graham Thompson and chairman of the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority. In 2001 when he graduated from COB he was recognized for his scholastic aptitude. He returned to his alma mater to deliver the keynote address to the honorees, urging the males among them to be leaders in every facet of society.
"We need more men of excellence now more than ever. We need role models for our sons. Our young Bahamian sons must look up to you for guidance. They must emulate your quest for excellence and model themselves accordingly," he said. "When they are faced with the decision to follow the man who leads the gang on the corner and the student who attends COB, they must come to the realization that to be a man is to know responsibility, to take care of one's self and to take care of one's home. To be a man is to be faithful to one's family, to be a man is to be a leader with a burning desire always to better one's self."
He also challenged the college to be the leading voice in The Bahamas and to help solve the issues this country faces.
"The college and its academics must be the voice of reason in the midst of all the idle talk. When we consider national development plans, issues of taxation, the rights of citizens, issues relating to the environment, these are all issues [in which] the college must have a leading voice. The college must undertake and produce the research which must underpin the public debate," he added.
In all, almost 70 graduating students were honored for their academic excellence and leadership. Among them was Ashley Knowles, who earned an associate of arts degree in music and is a member of The College of The Bahamas Concert Choir. He has travelled the world performing under the leadership of his mentor and choir director Audrey Dean-Wright. Most recently, the college's choir performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. He enthusiastically expressed his appreciation for her musical guidance.
"I have been prepared so well, it is like you are almost indebted because you cannot repay [Mrs. Dean-Wright], or the music department, or the college for all I have learned in such a short time. When I travel internationally, people are surprised that I am only a second-year student completing an associate degree. They are so pleased to see that this type of training is happening here in The Bahamas," he said.
At the awards ceremony, Dr. Eslyn Jones, vice -president of student affairs, presented a special award to Dean-Wright, an associate professor at the college, for her longstanding commitment to music and education at the institution.
"For over 18 years, this young lady has been training our students and giving us beautiful music at all our ceremonies and services. We thought it fitting to honor her today. This plaque is a small token of our appreciation for the hard work that she has done over the years," she said.
The college's 2014 commencement activities happened under the theme: "A legacy of leadership: Forty years of educating the nation".

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News Article

May 14, 2013
Bigamist sentenced to five months in prison

A man who married his mistress without getting a divorce from his wife was yesterday sentenced to five months in prison for bigamy.
Ruddy Charlton, 57, of Yamacraw Beach, admitted the bigamy charge when he made his initial appearance before Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis on March 12.
While Charlton was unfaithful to his wife, Brenda, during much of their 36-year-long union, the court heard that the couple would usually "reconcile and begin their relationship anew."
However, Charlton reportedly told his wife that he planned to wed his Jamaican lover Mitchell Thompson.
Despite his active involvement in his church, on August 22, 2012, Charlton married Thompson, whom he met at a phone card stand in April 2010.
Just months after his marriage, Charlton walked off his job as a music teacher at the Carlton Francis Primary School and went to Jamaica for three months.
Charlton's brother, Grandville, told a probation officer that his brother's facial appearance was changed when he returned from this trip and this led him to conclude his brother was "under the influence of obeah".
Probation officer Janice McKenzie recommended that the court not impose the maximum sentence of seven years.
His lawyer, Michael Kemp, agreed, saying, "This is the type of case where justice should be tempered with mercy."
He said that Charlton had been on remand since March and "nothing would be served by him staying in prison longer."
Rolle-Davis said Charlton's actions could not be characterized as a mistake since he knew his first marriage was still valid.
Rolle-Davis said, "He knew the process was illegal, but he did not think the consequences of his actions would be severe."
The sentence takes effect from March 12.

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News Article

March 02, 2014
Bahamas National Pride launches Orchard Project - preserving indigenous fruit trees

NASSAU, The Bahamas - The Bahamas National Pride Association planted SourSop and Sugar Apple trees on the campus of R. M. Bailey Senior High School, Robinson Road, Friday, February 28 demonstrating the importance of preserving indigenous fruit trees.
The planting ceremony launched the organisation's Orchard Project which will be conducted in primary, junior and senior high schools throughout New Providence.
Joanne Johnson, director, said the Project is an initiative to educate students about native fruits. She highlighted a negative reply by students when asked during the tree planting exercise if they had every tasted a Sour Sop or Gooseberry and emphasised the need for them to learn more about indigenous fruits.
Olvin Rees, chairman, said the event was "significant".
"A lot of us don't know much about the plants around us. They are very vital and important to us," said Mr. Rees.
"Every plant that God has put here on earth was put here for a reason. Each seed produces a different kind of tree and a different kind of fruit. Each tree has a medicinal or physiological value to your body. The solutions to a lot of our diseases and ailments are right in these plants.

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News Article

March 12, 2014
P.A. Gibson Primary School students make history

Students from Eleuthera's P.A. Gibson Primary School recently received a treat as they were read to by Bahamian media personality and publicist Arthia Nixon from her children's book "The Magic Grouper and Other Tales."
Although under a winter storm watch in Atlanta, Georgia, thanks to technology, the first through sixth grade students were able to view Nixon, an Eleuthera native on a large screen television. They were able to chat and live video stream before Nixon screen-shared her book so they could all read together.
The live read took place during the school's literacy month which was held under the theme "Reading Accelerates Success" which was actually historic for the school. The live read was the school's first live online session.
"My daughter had a snow day so she was able to join in and witness the way Bahamian students say things in unison, observe their manners and it made quite an impression," said Nixon. "I am incredibly humbled and shed a few tears when the school bell rang for lunch and the children didn't want to move."
Nixon said the experience has inspired her to get back into writing for the children of The Bahamas and that she would be dedicating her next children's book to them as well as sending them copies for the school's library.
"I wanted the students to see a Bahamian writer and as luck would have it, Arthia is a Bahamian writer from Eleuthera who meets many demographics," said the school's literacy coordinator and teacher, Gabrielle Goodman. "Arthia's father was at the school the morning of the reading, her little sister is a student here, plus some of the children have parents who attended school with her and because of that, this is someone we can proudly say is one of our own. It was a great reunion for all of us and at the same time, they were inspired to see someone who started off just like them from such a small place end up overcoming obstacles to be successful. She showed them photos from her magazine with people like Kenedi Treasure, Jacob Latimore, Mindless Behavior, Rupee and other celebrities and diplomats to show them how far her writing has taken her."
The school's principal, Levada Ingraham told Nixon that she had given the students a wonderful example of how far reading can take them.
"We at P.A. Gibson pride ourselves as a school of excellence and by using technology to take this tremendous step, we are showing that we are first class in connecting our students to new and exciting opportunities," said Ingraham.
Nixon resides in Atlanta where she is a consultant, publicist, Caribbean media correspondent, publisher of Rise magazine and the youngest editorial member of The Florida Star and Georgia Star African-American newspapers. Her mentor, the owner of the newspapers, Clara McLaughlin, was the first Black woman to own a television station, at a time when Oprah Winfrey was being nationally syndicated.

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News Article

March 27, 2014
Carmichael Primary wins NPPPSSA championship

The New Providence Public Primary Schools Sports Association (NPPPSSA) brought its annual track and field championships to a close yesterday. Carmichael Primary School dethroned last year's winner, Cleveland Eneas Primary.
Carmichael Primary finished with 223.50 points, Cleveland Eneas ended the day with 203 points. Albury Sayles Primary came in third with 203, while Thelma Gibson finished fourth 179. Sadie Curtis came in fifth with 152, and Yellow Elder Primary finished sixth with 151. Carlton Francis finished in seventh with 127. Claridge Primary came in eighth with 107 points and Stephen Dillet came ninth with 72. T.G. Glover Primary finished 10th with 64 and Oakes Field Primary 11th with 58. Gerald Cash Primary came in 12th with 57 points and E.P. Roberts and C.W. Sawyer finished tied in 13th with 56. Columbus Primary came in 14th with 448 points while Palmdale Primary finished 15th with 41. Ridgeland Primary came in 16th with 38 and Garvin Tynes 17th with 36. Centerville Primary finished 18th with 34.50 and Sandilands Primary 19th with 31 points. Woodcock Primary finished 20th with 31 points and Adelaide Primary rounded out the bunch with 24 points.
Bernard Kemp and Kayiana Downer won the top male and female awards.
Kemp finished with 21 points and downer finished with 24. Both students are from Albury Sayles Primary.
The only field event on Wednesday was the A-division boy's triple jump. Jordan Gibson from Ridgeland Primary won the event with a leap of 9.41 meters (m) (30' 10").
Over on the track Ambernique Coakley from Carmichael Primary won the B-division girls 400m race in a time of 1:10.03 seconds. Jonathan Duvalier from Carmichael Primary won the A-division boys 100m in a time of 12.85 seconds.
Paige Stuart won the B-division girls 100m dash in a time of 13.60 seconds and Abigail Saunders from Sadie Curtis won the A-division girls 100m dash in a time of 13.12 seconds.
Kimanie Downer won both the B-division boys 100m and 200m dashes in times of 13.12 seconds and 27.94 seconds.

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News Article

April 12, 2014
7th annual Pattie Johnson Basketball Tournament set for April 14

Coach Pattie Johnson has been an advocate of the promotion and development of women's basketball for the past several years.
Responsible for so many of today's basketball careers, her work with countless young girls has paid off, and her name will be honored during the seventh annual Pattie Johnson High School Basketball Tournament which runs April 14-18.
Anastasia Moultrie, the junior girls coach at St. Augustine's College, will direct and host the tournament designed to honor the longtime coach of the H.O. Nash Lions junior girls team. Johnson is Moultrie's former coach.
With Johnson's team being, arguably, one of the country's best junior girls basketball teams for the past two decades, Moultrie feels the need to enlighten people on the work of her former mentor.
"I want people to know more about what she's been doing, because, even if you look at the male coaches, as well, I think she has the best winning history. She has been winning internationally in her time coaching the national team," said Moultrie.
This year's event will feature primary, junior and senior divisions. The tournament will be held at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium, and the games will begin at 4 p.m. each day.
"This year I am expecting more competition, especially in the senior girls division. There are always a lot of junior and primary players but the senior girls is where we fall short," said Moultrie.
"There are always three or four teams in the senior division, but this year we have a lot more teams that have committed to coming, so hopefully they show up."
The Temple Christian Suns are the defending champions in the primary school division, the Lions are the defending champions in the junior girls division and the C.R. Walker Knights hold the senior girls title.
The idea of holding more games throughout the year has been a common theme among Bahamian coaches lately. They have realized that athletes develop more when they play more, something that basketball powerhouses from the United States and Canada have been practicing for some time.
Although the number of tournaments is increasing, the number of those open to female players is relatively small.
Women's basketball has always been relevant in the country, but has never been pushed to the forefront the way men's basketball has, until recently.
The improvement in the skills of female athletes was evident during the New Providence Women's Association, Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) and Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) games, this year.
They are performing and training at higher levels than ever before.

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News Article

May 05, 2014
Dr. Winston Campbell makes history

Dr. Winston Campbell, has become the University of the West Indies' (UWI) first board-certified specialist in the field of sleep medicine, not only in The Bahamas, but in the Caribbean.
Sleep disorders are known to comprise the hub of high-risk factors in The Bahamas, particularly as it involves the prevailing epidemic of chronic non-communicable disorders such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus type II, obesity, and cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and neuropsychiatric disorders.
According to Dr. Robin Roberts, director of UWI's School of Clinical Medicine, this vast net of risk factors extends to embrace breast cancer and enhances the frequency of life-threatening road traffic accidents.
"Sleep disorders are implicated in spawning and worsening the effects of many medical conditions, namely refractory hypertension, congestive heart failure, strokes, heart attacks, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, chronic renal failure, as well as mental depression and various fractured, societal relationships," he said.
"This amalgam of maladies poses a high, hidden economic burden and with significant numbers of persons yet unrecognized and undiagnosed -- estimated at more than 80 percent in our community -- the impact of the overall blend of the public health and economic burden is indeed staggering. There is a great need for this relatively new dimension of medicine to be incorporated in all aspects of the delivery of care in our primary, secondary and tertiary health services."
Dr. Campbell is also the first board-certified ear, nose and throat/head and neck surgeon in The Bahamas. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He currently practices out of St. Luke's Medical Centre, Collins Avenue.

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News Article

May 02, 2014
Fitzgerald: Special needs school complete by end of May

The special needs school at the former Our Lady's Catholic Primary School will be completed by the end of this month and opened in September, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.
Last April, Fitzgerald announced the government will spend more than $1 million to renovate the former school into an institution for special needs students.
The school was expected to be completed earlier this year.
Fitzgerald said there were some challenges with the floor of the building and a decision was made to reinforce it in January.
He said while he has not been advised that the project is over budget, he expects there will be some cost overruns.
"To what extent that is I cannot say at this point, but I do not suspect that it will be that much," he told The Nassau Guardian during a tour of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The government recently completed the proposed draft legislation on the Persons with the Disabilities Equal Opportunities Act, 2013.
Fitzgerald added that the renovation of St. Bede's Catholic Primary School, which the government became responsible for last year, is complete and the media will soon be invited to tour the school.
"The school is a beautiful facility, and probably has the most modern and beautiful preschool we have in the country," he said.
"It will also house all the administrators for the preschool department."
The minister said the new schools are expected to have a major impact on the academic performance of students with special needs who attend.

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News Article

March 20, 2014
Healthy food advice for primary school

STAFF at the Albury Sayle Primary School were encouraged to improve their quality of life by paying attention to their food choices, reading labels, and watching their sugar intake.

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News Article

December 03, 2013
Teachers agree to hold strike vote, Wilson claims

Hundreds of teachers yesterday agreed to hold a strike vote, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson claimed yesterday, although no evidence was provided to confirm the numbers.
"We're trying our best not for it to go this far, but sometimes like my parents say, when you can't hear, you'll feel," she told reporters at BUT headquarters on Bethel Avenue.
"If the majority of the members say strike, then we're going to hit the streets."
Wilson said a date for the strike vote will be determined by next week.
In the meantime, she said she will write to the director of labor requesting that the Department of Labour oversee the vote.
Wilson noted that if the strike vote passes, a 16-day cooling off period is required.
"The 16-day cooling off period is an opportunity for the government to right the wrongs," she said.
"We hope that cooler heads will prevail... We hope that the government will use wisdom.
"We hope that the prime minister would intervene and give instructions to his subordinate ministers so that we could avoid all of these problems.
"We are going to send the additional information to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, and we're asking for the ILO to send a group down to do conciliation and to intervene."
The BUT has already communicated to the ILO on denial of access to school campuses for the union and health and safety concerns at Stephen Dillet and Uriah McPhee primary schools, according to Wilson.
Those are just some of the concerns the BUT says it has with the Ministry of Education.
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald has previously said the BUT will only be allowed on campuses during after-school hours, or in the case of an emergency.
But Wilson insists the Ministry of Education cannot deny the union access during school hours. She said that is a "basic and fundamental" concern.
She likened the barring of executives to security officers barring a doctor from entering the Accident and Emergency section of a hospital.
"The school is an extension of our workplace because our members are there...It's union busting," she said.
As it relates to the health and safety concerns, Fitzgerald said the ministry has spent over $700,000 on repairs to both schools.
But Wilson said the union remains concerned. She said the union met with various education and government officials in the last two months, including the prime minister.
However, she said meetings have been fruitless.
Fitzgerald told The Nassau Guardian on Sunday that the union wants to threaten and bully the government to get its own way instead of resolving disputes through the right process.
"I think it's unfortunate, and I think it's unnecessary," he said. "In many cases, it's illogical as well because it really has nothing to do with pay or benefits or rights of teachers.
"The issues which they are raising really don't impact [the] members. Issues which did involve the teachers, I think we have addressed to a great extent."
On November 6, the BUT asked all teachers who normally participate in after-school activities to end their participation in those activities.

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News Article

March 21, 2014
GB preschool parents sing praises for national arts festival

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas - As the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival begins its first of two weeks in Grand Bahama, parents of participating preschoolers sang praises for the cultural institution that has been in existence for more than 50 years.
Lisa Turnquest, mother of Sunland Baptist Academy pre-schooler Lia Turnquest, said her daughter worked very hard on her performance and applauded the festival for giving her the opportunity to show what she is capable of doing.
"She has been practicing for a number of weeks and just to see her perform on stage with no nervousness - and so calm and poised - I am so very proud of her," she said. Her husband, Lionel, agreed and said that it was a "bit overwhelming". "Seeing our daughter perform for her very first time on the stage, I feel very proud to see her grow to this stage already at a very early part of her life," Mr. Turnquest said. "There is nothing more I can say about that," he added while looking down lovingly at his smiling daughter.
Lawanda Turner, mother of Sunland Baptist Academy pre-schooler Antwanique Turner, said that her daughter performed her two recitations "very well" and she was proud of the way she spoke so clearly and confidently on stage.
"This is my first time being to the festival," she said. "I have never been to one before. I feel that all the children did well, being that they are youngsters and remembered such a large part like they did."
"It was a good experience," Cordelia Armbrister said about her son and Bahamas Total Education Centre pre-schooler Kayden Ferguson's performance. "I felt proud because it was the first time. I helped him with his practice and he did so well. He enjoyed himself."
Kindercare Learning Centre pre-schooler Madison Davis also had both of her parents watched her recitations. They voiced their pride in her performances on the stage that day. Shanese Davis said Madison has this opportunity and even if she does not win nationally she is so creative and expressive that it is wonderful just to see her.
"We are very excited," her husband, Keno, added. "This is a good way to express themselves and we should never stunt their creativity."
Mrs. Turner commended the festival for having adjudicators like Val Maura judging the participants' performances.
"It's good that they know so much about their work," she said. "It's better that the children learn from someone who has the experience and know how to perform."
Mrs. Turnquest added that she feels "fabulous" about the National Arts Festival making it possible for her daughter the showcase her talent because she remembers being in the festival when she was a girl.
"To see that it is still going on, I am really, really excited," she said. "It is a wonderful thing for the children. It teaches them confidence and poise and, outside of the academics, the arts is a good instrument in the development of children."
"It is actually an exciting event," Mr. Turnquest added. "My nieces have been going for years and they have all been performing and to see my daughter now coming through makes my heart swell. I am glad to see that she has taken interest in it and she has done very well."
"Actually, I was a part of the Festival, too, in the dramatized reading portion when I was at school (C. W. Sawyer Primary)," Mrs. Davis noted. "I am just happy that it is still around. Kids need stuff like this to showcase their creative talents."
Mrs. Turner added a sentiment that was a "given" for most of the parents that day. "I want her to know that I am so proud of her and she will get the treat that I promised her," she said with a smile.

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News Article

September 21, 2013
School AC 'sabotaged'

The air conditioning unit at Uriah McPhee Primary School was "sabotaged" multiple times, forcing education officials to spend thousands of dollars on repairs, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.
The sabotage also forced officials to close the school for yet another day, Fitzgerald said.
"We reported the matter to the police today (Friday) and it appears that every day this week, we have had an experience of damage to our units, which has caused us now to put the units at both schools under 24-hour security watch," said Fitzgerald at a press conference at the Ministry of Education.
"It's unfortunate that it has come to this, but this appears the sort of action that we have to take with what is going on."
Fitzgerald said the AC unit will be repaired over the weekend and school will resume on Monday.
He said the act of sabotage is of "extreme concern" to him.
Over the past few days, officials found puncture holes and other damage to the air conditioning ducts, which have resulted in problems with the ventilation system, Fitzgerald said.
"We obviously have to now spend scarce resources protecting our units," he said.
The Ministry of Education closed Uriah McPhee and Stephen Dillet schools last Friday because of several health issues and malfunctioning air conditioning units.
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson claimed the schools also have mold, rodent and termite infestation.
The schools opened earlier this week after Fitzgerald said the Ministry of Environment gave the all-clear.
However, the union continued to express concerns about conditions at both schools.
The union had its own assessment conducted by Enviro-Clean Company on September 14.
In its report, the company said the air conditioning units and vents on each floor of Stephen Dillet are "extremely dirty, pushing out dust and contaminated".
The company noted that in an opening connecting the second and third floors, exposed fiberglass has been used to fix the ceiling.
"Overall Stephen Dillet Primary School is not fit or worthy to open for public use," the report said.
However, Fitzgerald dismissed that report yesterday.
He said he was informed that the report was prepared by a teacher who is presently facing disciplinary action for an exorbitant number of absent days.
"I believe that my ministry has engaged some of the most intelligent teachers anywhere in the world and they are capable of reading between the lines," he said.
Fitzgerald said he is satisfied that all of the issues that could potentially pose a health risk have been addressed.
He said officials from the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) also drew the same conclusion.
However, he added that the DEHS advised the ministry to carry out the remainder of work over the next 10 days, including fogging inside the building and cleaning the AC ducts.
"This is a procedure that is carried out routinely in houses, business, hospitals and schools in this country and around the world every day," Fitzgerald said.
"It does not require one to move out of their home, close their business or shut down a hospital to clean ducts and vents."
Fitzgerald invited parents to tour the affected schools on Monday so that they can see for themselves that the issues have been rectified.

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News Article

November 13, 2013
Former Fox Hill MP dies

Frank Edgecombe, a former member of Parliament for the Fox Hill constituency, died last night at his home. He was 85.
Edgecombe represented Fox Hill for the Progressive Liberal Party in the House of Assembly from 1977 to 1987. He then served as vice president of the Senate from 1987 to 1992.
Edgecombe was among the first group of 30 teachers who were pioneers of The Bahamas Teachers' College. He taught for 26 years, was a founding member of the Primary Principals' Association and served as principal of Sandilands Primary School and Nicholls Town All Age School.
Edgecombe, who was also a builder, was recently honored by the government. On August 8, Springfield Road, the road he lived on, was renamed Frank Edgecombe Street.
Edgecombe and his wife Clementina were married for 64 years. They had nine children. He was predeceased by his sons Anthony and Roscoe.

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News Article

March 24, 2014
Web shop bosses 'won't make decisions on regulations'

The 17th Annual Bahamas National Spelling Bee produced fierce competition among the 20 participants, but it was Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools student Prachi Kondapuram who took first place.
The event was held at the Crown Ballroom in Atlantis yesterday.
Prachi, 11, of Queen's College, said she did her best to remain calm and focused, chalking up her victory to fastidious preparation.
Prachi, who was still processing her win last night, said, "I can't feel anything right now".
"I am very excited to be going to Washington. I hope I get at least past the written rounds and go into the speaking rounds that will be televised. The Bahamas will place this year."
Asked about her work ethic up to last night, Prachi said, "It has been tons of work, especially for Ms. [Joyelle] McIntosh (coach) who had to tackle tutoring and made us stay two hours every day after school."
Prachi went 23 rounds, winning with the word 'photographer'.
She went one round with sixth grade student Donovan Butler, 11, of Xavier's Lower School, but in the end it was the word 'impertinent' that defeated him.
Prachi will represent The Bahamas at the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, D.C.
She will be accompanied by second place contestant, Donovan, and third place contestant Franqel Hagan, 10, of Hugh Campbell Primary School in Grand Bahama.
Prachi was showered with prizes, including a laptop computer, and a $750 cash prize, among many other gifts.
Donovan, who placed second in the previous 16th Annual Bahamas National Spelling Bee, said he was disappointed to be a runner up two years in a row, but he is already focusing on next year's competition.
"I still have next year and hopefully I will do better," he said.
"I have been studying long hours and I have put in a lot of work, and I will continue that."
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald wished the winner and participants great success.
"To the winner, our high praise and immeasurable support as you become a spelling ambassador for our country," he said in his message.
Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Prime Minister Perry Christie shared similar sentiments in their messages.
The Bahamas National Spelling Bee held an additional three rounds as part of the preliminary competition on Friday, in which Donovan placed first; Adon Beckford, 11, of St. John's College placed second and Prachi placed third.

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