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"A New Direction: Mother & Child III", new work by Jessica and Erin Colebrook, opens today at 10 a.m. at Hillside House. This exhibition ends Friday, May 31. For more information, visithttp://www.antoniusroberts.com.
"Interkosmos", new work by British artists Rory and Ella McCartney, opened Thursday, May 2 at Liquid Courage Galley in Palmdale. The exhibition closes on Thursday, May 30. For more information, visithttps://www.facebook.com/LiquidCourageGallery.
"JAB: A look at Trinidad's Traditional Carnival", paintings by Maria Govan and photos and video installation by Maria Govan and Abigail Hadeed, opened Tuesday, April 30 at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts. This project and exhibition is supported by The D'Aguilar Foundation. For more information, call 322-7834 or visit www.popopstudios.com.
"The John Beadle Project", new work by John Beadle, continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email email@example.com or call 328-5800/1.
"Master Artists of The Bahamas" opened Thursday, April 25 at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Featured Artists are John Beadle, Jackson Burnside, Stan Burnside, John Cox, Amos Ferguson, Kendal Hanna, Brent Malone, Eddie Minnis, Antonius Roberts, Dave Smith and Max Taylor. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 328-5800/1.
"life on my island", original patterns and paintings by Fash|Art 2012 Jackson Burnside III Visual Artist Competition Winner Attila Feszt, opens Thursday, June 13 at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery. For more information, visit http://www.doongalik.com/.
"Responsible Faith" continues at The Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road. Artists will paint on 55-gallon metal drums, which will be exhibited and then donated to community parks. The drum covers will be used to create wall art for a permanent collection at The Ladder Gallery. Some will also be sold to benefit ACE Diabetes.
All-star Amateur Artist (AAA) Artwork: "NE6: Kingdom Come" Edition continues at the The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Amateur artists were asked to create works that relate to the distinct sections, Identity, Spirituality & Balance, Justice, Transformation and Survival.
"SINGLESEX", an all-female portrait show depicting only female subjects, continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. NAGB Curator John Cox says it is meant to stand in dialogue with the "Master Artists of The Bahamas" exhibition (later this year), which has no female representation. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email email@example.com or call 328-5800/1.
The Permanent Exhibition of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, displaying pieces under the theme "The Bahamian Landscape", continues this week at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Gallery hours: Tue. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. noon - 4 p.m. Admission $5 adults; $3 students/seniors; children under 12 are free. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 328-5800/1.
New online workshops from the Gaulin Project will begin in May. "A Light Through My Window: Writing the Spiritual Memoir" and "When My Body Speaks" will run from May 6 to June 30. Registration for each workshop is $450. For more information, visit http://helenklonaris.com/the-gaulin-project-upcoming-workshops/ or email Helen Klonaris at email@example.com.
Bahamas Music Conservatory will hold its Summer Music Camp from July 1 to July 26 at the Duke Errol Strachan Music Centre on Village Road. The camp is geared toward young musicians ages eight to 18 and offered instruments are piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, tuba, viola, cello and double bass. The cost of the workshop is $600. For more information, visitwww.bahamasmusicconservatory.com.
Bahamas FilmInvest International will host the 5th Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase in June at Galleria Cinemas. This year's showcase will feature 29 feature films, documentaries, animations and children's films, with a special tribute being paid to the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence.
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour. For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.
Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the foods and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information, visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.
Call for works
Family Guardian's annual Calendar Photo Contest is open to all Bahamian photographers, under the theme "A Celebration of Bahamian Pastimes". The deadline for entries is July 12. For more information, visithttp://www.familyguardian.com.
The 10th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival invites filmmakers from around the worls to submit their narratives, documentaries, worls cinema, short films, animation and family films. This year's festival takes place December 5-13 on New Providence and Eleuthera. The deadline is July 17. For more information, visit http://bintlfilmfest.com.
The 30th Annual Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Competition and Exhibition invites entries for its Open Category under the theme "The Independents", in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence, which is being celebrated this year. The objectives of the competition are to identify, recognize and encourage Bahamian visual artists. To qualify, participants must be citizens of The Bahamas, aged 18 or older (as of October 1, 2013) and not registered in secondary school. The Open/Senior Category Competition and Exhibition component will be held from Tuesday, October 1 to Friday, November 1. Artists under 30 years are especially encouraged to embrace this opportunity of the theme of "The Independents" as a challenge in terms of material and/or the role and responsibilities of independent thinking in art in The Bahamas, as well as, thinking of the larger political symbolism of independence of the country.
AML Foods expects to sign a contract for a second Carl's Jr. restaurant within a "couple of weeks", after "locking in" plans for a total of five locations with the international fast-food chain.
After around two-and-a-half years of planning and a $1.25 million investment, AML Foods opened its first Carl's Jr. to customers on Saturday, located in the parking lot area of Solomon's Super Center, off Robinson Road. The company hired an additional 65 people to staff the restaurant.
AML Foods Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President Gavin Watchorn said that the company, which owns Solomon's Super Center, Solomon's Fresh Markets and Dominos, is "very confident" the U.S. burger brand will do well for them and their shareholders. The Bahamas operation is Carl's Jr.'s third in the Caribbean and 31st worldwide.
The franchise investment comes as the company is seeking to reduce the proportion of its sales made up by price-controlled grocery items, on which it loses $20,000 a week, noted Watchorn.
It also allows AML Foods to spread fixed costs.
"We have a lot of synergies in our franchise, so we're able to open this without a lot of costs. We have the commissary, so we didn't have to build that. We have a team there, so we didn't have to add to our accounting or HR, so we're now able to take fixed costs and spread them further around the group. This alone contributes to Dominos profitability, because we're now able to take costs from the Dominos system and charge them against Carl's."
While there is obviously major demand in The Bahamas for fast food, some have pointed to the difficulty of opening and sustaining new franchises outside of the traditional favorites: Wendy's, KFC, McDonald's and, to a lesser extent, Burger King.
Given the challenges traditionally seen in making new brands in this sector work in The Bahamas, some local observers have questioned AML Foods' decision to move further into the franchise business, rather than focusing on solidifying its grocery retailing operations, considering the company's greater expertise in the latter area.
Asked about AML Foods' strategy to mitigate this challenge and why Carl's Jr. would be a good brand, Watchorn said: "I think Carl's is the right brand because it's a brand that appeals to young people. It's an exciting brand - a young brand - and we have a very young population who enjoy fun and like to eat out and eat good food. So when we were looking for another franchise business, we came across Carl's, and pretty quickly we thought it would be a good fit with us.
"In terms of businesses coming and going, it's about how you run it. Opening it is the easy part. Actually running it and focusing on the detail is key. We've got a good team and it's managing the numbers and keeping track of what you need to keep track of and acting when you need to. Anyone can open up; it's maintenance, and that's what we have to do."
Watchorn said that increasingly the company's investment will move toward opportunities to reduce its reliance on price-controlled item sales.
"As a business, you have an obligation to provide those goods for your customers, but our investment dollars are going to go towards items that will generate higher returns for us, and this is part of that strategy.
"Therefore, over the medium term, our investments will be focused on projects that will improve our energy efficiencies, improve our store efficiencies and increase our sales, both in food and franchise, in areas that produce higher gross margins."
Ron Coolbaugh, vice president of International Franchise Operations for Carl's Jr., said the company is confident about its decision to enter the Bahamian market.
"The fantastic thing about The Bahamas is that there is a clear demand for quick service burgers. That is very evident. It's very encouraging when you come here and see how much demand there is for such products. It makes The Bahamas an attractive market because there's clearly a demand for the product, and then we're very fortunate to have partners like AML Foods, who are here. They know the food service industry - who are here with Dominos, who are here with markets, who know how to do business here - and they know the retail thing, and they know how to do business in The Bahamas and have that entrepreneurial spirit. So when you combine the strength of The Bahamas as a market and the strength of a great partner, it makes The Bahamas an attractive decision to make."
Colour Red, thanks for Red Splash!
I hear others complaining about all those posters of me being put up around this island. They must have had a change of heart since 2002 and since 2007 when they plastered our town with life size posters of Perry Christie declaring him to be “the Right Man for the Job”. Now that he and the Bahamian people know that he is NOT the Right Man for the Job, he wants to protest who’s putting up posters of whom.
Lucayan Tropical, a top food producer, is rising to the government's pledge to ban certain imports if the same products can be produced locally.
Tim Hauber, the general manager, said there is "no doubt" his operation could supply the entire country with cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. And to prove it, the leading agriculturalist will be leading V. Alfred Gray, the minister of agriculture, on a tour of his farm in the next two weeks.
Last month, Gray told Guardian Business that the government will ban or impose high tariffs on any food item that can be produced locally in sufficient quantity, and at the right price.
Hauber believes there is now a renewal of interest and confidence in the industry since those comments.
"There are a handful of products that we could without a doubt supply to the entire country," he told Guardian Business. "At least while they are in season. I can supply all of the country's needs of cucumbers and sweet peppers. Hands down."
The chief at Lucayan Tropical, one of the new food producers in the country, stands as a strong example to others in the sector. The Bahamian food bill has remained persistently high over the years, hovering in the $500 million range, with the vast majority imported from the U.S. or Mexico.
Hauber pointed out that it will take a time to realistically bring the local industry up to a standard that places a noticeable dent in that bill. He encouraged other producers, however, to step up and focus on specific foods.
"The Bahamas is not going to produce its own food. But we need to take key products and get that going well, achieve some profitability, and then you'll see the momentum going," he said. "We don't need to get super theoretical about it. We just need to get that ball rolling."
Calling the minister's latest remarks on the industry "balanced", the top farmer speculated his current weekly production to be 400 cases of cucumbers, 800 cases of colored peppers and 500 cases of tomatoes.
Lucayan Tropical now sells to various supermarkets in the country, as well as hotels, but he said it is still a common sight to see a cucumber from the U.S. or Canada.
Much of the country's produce ends up going unused and wasted, he noted, which is a common source of frustration among farmers.
And that's where Amanda Wells comes in, the agricultural officer at the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation. Her role in the "Buy Fresh. Buy Bahamian" campaign includes collecting data from farmers on what they are producing.
That role will become increasingly important as local food producers attempt to meet the government's expectations, and ultimately, curb the influx of foreign products.
"I am on board with that. If the numbers are good, I would endeavor to do something about it, and submit it to government," she said.
The BAIC now offers free consultation services for would-be and current farmers. Wells encouraged those interested in the industry to stop by, as the organization offers complimentary business plans for those looking to get off the ground.
Gray, the minister of agriculture, has acknowledged that "it's not an easy situation out there".
"So I am certainly willing to do what I can to assist the industry. We have to consider the consumer. If we can't get enough of the product, that's a problem. But I am prepared to consider banning certain things from imports."
Bahamas National Trust (BNT) park wardens joined an international research team recently to learn more about the rare and endangered Bahamian rock iguana. BNT park wardens Shenica Campbell, the new park warden in Nassau and Ellsworth Weir, Grand Bahama deputy park warden, participated in the research expedition organized by the Shedd Aquarium for a week-long research expedition in the Exuma Cays.
The purpose of the trip was to assess the health of the iguana populations on the cays, to record information and to insert pit tags into the skin of the iguanas that weren't already being studied. The research project took body measurements and blood samples from the iguanas, identified and recorded the sex of the iguanas, removed ticks and recorded injuries, and if the iguana had been captured before, compared the current health of the iguana to the information previously recorded.
"I learned about the importance of conservation as it relates to the endangered Bahamian rock iguana," said Ellsworth Weir, Grand Bahama deputy park Warden. "Feeding them takes them away from their natural food cycle and also causes problems for the iguana, especially when that food is thrown into the sand. It is also dangerous to allow people to hand feed them since a red fingernail can be mistaken for food."
Rock iguanas in The Bahamas are protected by the Wild Animals Protection Act, as they are currently listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list as "rare". Additionally, the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists the rock iguana as near extinction or very endangered. As a result, the trade of iguanas across nations is prohibited. Subspecies of the Bahamian rock iguana are found on Andros, San Salvador, Acklins, Mayaguana and in the Exuma Cays.
"Once again we had a very successful expedition because of everyone's efforts. We captured and processed a total of 205 iguanas. Moreover, thanks to the hard work of the team, we observed and processed the most iguanas on Pasture Cay since 2006," said Chuck Knapp, facilitator of the research trip.
The trip started in Georgetown, Exuma aboard the research vessel R/V Coral Reef II and sailed to numerous cays until it returned to Nassau. In addition to the iguana study, the BNT team also assisted the Island Conservation Organization with the eradication of the invasive rats on some of the cays.
This research trip has taken place every year since the late 1970s, rotating between the Exumas and Andros. This year's research team included members of Shedd's staff, interested scientists and BNT staff members.
"The intent of the park wardens attending the research trip was for us to participate and learn about the research through hands on training," said Weir. "By participating in the research, we were able to play a greater part in learning about the iguanas and we are now able to educate others about the great importance of this work."
Next year's trip will visit Andros and both the BNT and the Shedd Aquarium hope the success of this year will be matched on next year's research trip. Weir concluded, "We need to educate more people about this, as a tagged iguana can be monitored throughout its life and population growth can be gauged through new captures."