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Surrounded by the grandeur of Oxford University, seven leading Bahamians in the hospitality industry made history as the country's first graduates in the Master's of Management, Hospitality and Tourism program - the only cohort where all members achieved distinction or credit.
The ceremony, held at the prestigious UK institution on Sept 24, was also attended by graduates from many different countries, including Vanuatu, the UK, Finland, Australia and Malaysia.
The degree was offered to tourism industry professionals through Revans University/IMCA in conjunction with the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA).
In her valedictorian address, Lynne Johnson, Director of Catering and Convention Services at the Sheraton Nassau Resort, said this group of Bahamians have dubbed themselves "Bahamas Trailblazers".
"Represented here tonight are six trails for other Bahamian professionals to follow," she told the audience.
The idea, she said, is to further educate the professionals behind the country's most precious industry.
Jermaine Wright, the director of business Development at the British Colonial Hilton, who also graduated as salutatorian with distinction, said they will return home and "utilize [their] knowledge to take the Bahamian tourism sector to another plateau".
"This group of professionals will now be able to engage in consultancy as they have in-depth knowledge of various areas of research," he told Guardian Business.
During the one-year program, led by Dr J. Anthony Hall and Dr T. Jennifer Edwards, students attended classes all-day on Saturday and Sunday every six weeks.
Through the university and BHA, classes were made convenient and accessible to the working professionals.
Projects, assignments and a thesis were part of the Master's program. Topics for the thesis included food and beverage management, out-sourcing in the hospitality industry, bonefishing in The Bahamas, the mix use of condo hotels and resorts, automatic 15 percent gratuity in The Bahamas, the Americas and Globally, marine operators of The Bahamas and Cruise Conversion: capturing increased revenues from cruise ship passengers.
Wright hopes other Bahamians will blaze trails of their own.
"I would recommend this program to other senior hospitality leaders within the sector," he added.
"The flexibility of the class schedule is conducive to working professionals. The program gives one an opportunity to not only expand knowledge, but also be part of a selective fraternity of fellow industry leaders."
In fact, on the heels of this success, the next cohort has already begun, with seven new students currently studying towards their degrees.
After arriving in London with family and friends, the most recent graduates also took part in an educational workshop one day before heading to Oxford for the ceremony. Upon returning to London, the graduates also paid a courtesy call on the Bahamas High Commissioner to the United Kingdom - his Excellency Paul Farquaharson at Bahamas House.
Desire Moxey, Director of Catering and Conventional Services at Wyndham Nassau Resort, Shamine Johnson, manager at BHA, Carmel Churchill, group sales manager at Grand Lucayan Resort, Raylene Gardiner, owner services manager at Old Bahama Bay and Raymond Francis, executive director at the Out Island Tourism Board rounded out the original Bahamian cohort for this program.
The highlight of the experience was perhaps the graduation dinner and reception, when Johnson delivered her speech to a thunderous standing ovation.
She described their "Action Learning Journey" to the formation of a hurricane - growing from tropical disturbance, tropical depression, tropical storm and a hurricane - that ends with a push to "discover our abilities and achieving strengthened skills and an invaluable experience".
"Ours will show a trail of survival, leadership and growth," he said, "which we have blazed for our fellow Bahamians to follow."
THE Securities Commission is seeking to implement regulations mandating that investment advisors who provide brokerage services obtain professional indemnity insurance, ensuring there is a "consistent regulatory approach" relative all firms providing broker-dealer services.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
BANK of the Bahamas International is eyeing an initial client base of "several hundred" Bahamian merchants for the planned launch of its e-commerce platform in six months' time, telling Tribune Business yesterday that the private sector was "crying out" for such online services.
Paul McWeeney, the BISX-listed institution's managing director, said the facility - part of its expanded electronic banking platform - would enable Bahamian retailers and other companies to establish online merchant accounts and receive payment for goods sold via the Internet.
Explaining that the bank's e-commerce platform would "add value...
China Construction America's top executive in The Bahamas says "smarter airlines" would consider a direct flight from China to Nassau over the next few years. Tiger Wu, the company's Vice President - a subsidiary of the largest construction firm in China - believes the creation of the $2.6 billion Baha Mar resort will spark considerable foreign interest in the region.
By ALISON LOWE
The Bahamian maritime industry's ability to support the creation of 1,500 new jobs and an entirely new revenue stream for financial services providers was proposed yesterday by a shipping industry executive.
Chandler Sands, managing director of Campbell Shipping, called on the financial services sector to consider the opportunity that lies in offering consulting services to shipping companie, who are "struggling" to handle challenges their own industry has mastered, such as "risk assessment and reputational management".
He was addressing around 200 delegates at the Nassau Conference, at which financial services sta ...
I rise on behalf of the Ministry of Health to make my contribution to this 2010/2011 budget presentation and thank the great constituency of Killarney for the opportunity to present this, my third health budget to this honorable chamber.
I wish to congratulate the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham, for his courage in presenting a Budget that is reflective of the realities of the national economic situation and that refused to defer difficult decisions for future generation of leaders.
commend the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister and his team for their leadership and competence in finalizing the budget.
I especially single out
The Prime Minister for continuing to engage every corner of The Bahamas as he seeks solutions to the challenges before us. I have never heard of a man having so many people and being so available. Contrary to the view expressed publicly. I know that he always seeks a solution which does not divide our society.
And the Minster of State for Finance for his strong belief in Bahamian entrepreneurial talent and his continued tangible support of their cause.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour once again for me to make a presentation to this Honourable House relative to the national budget.
The book of Ecclesiastes records that "there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven".