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Pageant announces its first fan based competition. Nassau, Bahamas [TEMTBO]
-- Theodore Elyett's Miss. Teen Bahamas Organization® launches its first fan based competition, and you may have what it takes to be the winner! "
LET ME HOST!," is the name of the organization's first public campaign geared specifically towards their growing number
of Facebook Fans.
The competition, "LET ME HOST!," is a very simple Facebook based contest that provides interested Miss Teen Bahamas Organization® Facebook Fans the awesome opportunity to be a part of the pageant's grand production.
Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest said yesterday that the implementation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras throughout The Bahamas will not, in isolation, reduce the crime rate, adding that other factors will play critical roles in the project's success.
Turnquest was on hand at a contract signing event for the national closed circuit television project at police headquarters.
The project, with a contract valued at $4.6 million, was one Turnquest said all Bahamians should be proud of.
The contract for the first phase of the CCTV project was signed by a group of firms headed by Bahamian company Lowe's Security Limited and its U.S.-based partner Avrio RMS Group, as well as Security Centers International Limited, which is based in the Cayman Islands.
"Research has shown that the mere placement of CCTV cameras does not automatically guarantee a reduction in crime, as many factors have to be considered," said Turnquest. "For example, we are ensuring that the cameras are effectively monitored and that the police have the capacity to respond rapidly and appropriately to incidents reported by the cameras.
"Hence the government has ensured that the police have the appropriate radio dispatch, available manpower and required mobility."
According to the minister, 243 cameras will be strategically deployed throughout New Providence, with hopes of bring the project to Grand Bahama and the other Family Islands.
Turnquest said the cameras will "span firstly from St. Alban's Drive in the west to Mackey Street in the east, and covering areas at least one mile south of Bay Street".
"Additional cameras will be strategically located in other areas of the island and will focus on high crime areas and hot spots, giving police officers additional eyes to monitor, prevent and detect crimes," he said.
"This project will have as its primary focus those areas where the police force faces some of its major crime challenges."
The national security minister said signs will be erected to identify the location of all cameras. Protocols and procedures will be in place to preserve the privacy and rights of residents.
The system will also have license plate recognition software, Turnquest noted.
The government will also work with the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to provide the Wi-Fi network for the cameras, at a cost of $600,000.
An agreement will also be signed with the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) and will cover the use of its infrastructure for the mounting of the cameras and ancillary equipment, and for the provision of power.
The installation of the cameras will begin on May 1, with a target completion date before the end of September.
As the government considers which company will install CCTV cameras throughout New Providence, two young Bahamians in the U.S. are urging officials to drop what they are doing, and think again.
Shawn Barker, 35, and Depree Smith, 30, the CEOs of Virclom Technologies, have recently partnered with a major U.S. company to sell, install and distribute a cutting-edge gun shot and explosive detection system that could complement the CCTV cameras, or even make them obsolete.
The system, first used by the U.S. military, is already being used in downtown Los Angeles and New Orleans, and involves state-of-the-art cameras capable of picking up specific sound-waves.
When a gun is fired, the system zeroes in on the source, records it and sends the exact GPS location to a command center.
"This technology is superior to what they are implementing," Barker said, who holds a Master's degree in physics.
"We [The Bahamas] have a big problem with crime and we need this technology to capture these actions. We need to do something for The Bahamas."
Safety Dynamics, the U.S. company that has partnered with Virclom, has also sold the technology to the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.
Barker is keen on the widespread "commercialization" of these systems to improve public safety.
One of the benefits of the system, Barker added, is the cameras are portable, and can be moved around during special events.
Last month, Guardian Business reported that the Bahamas Hotel Association and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) are ramping up security in tourist areas by investing $7 million in a CCTV network.
Quinn McCartney, the Deputy Commissioner of the RBPF, passed on his department's recommendations to the government regarding who should be awarded the contract.
The matter still rests with the government for final approval, he said.
McCartney told Guardian Business that he is aware of this other form of technology, and believes it could be very effective in The Bahamas as a law enforcement tool.
His only concern is the price tag.
"We looked at that technology, and it appears to be something we could make use of," he said. "I think the cost is an issue, and at the time, it was not deemed to be a priority, so we went with the CCTV cameras."
The RBPF would consider using the technology in the future, he said.
Speaking from California, Barker pointed out that the gun shot and explosive detection system does not necessarily have to replace the CCTV cameras.
Instead, it can supplement and be added on to the system for more safety and support.
Meanwhile, the price of the new technology may not be as expensive as some might think.
"There are a variety of different packages, but this unit, including a command center, computers, servers, a camera and all the technology you need, would cost in the neighborhood of $35,000," Barker told Guardian Business.
"Each additional camera would cost about $5,000 to $10,000."
Considering the current initiative for CCTV cameras is in the range of $7 million, his Bahamian firm can likely deliver at a reasonable price, he said.
Smith, Barker's partner at Virclom Technologies, said they first met at Oklahoma University, and with a Master's in marketing, he tries to promote the system throughout North America on behalf of Safety Dynamics.
In addition to working with Los Angeles and New Orleans, he is currently in talks, along with Safety Dynamics, to introduce this technology to the National Football League and Major League Baseball, as stadium and franchise owners have struggled with crime in recent years and seek a way of keeping the fans safe during and after games.
But while these projects are exciting, he is far more passionate about educating officials about its uses back home.
"The Bahamas is the pinnacle of where we want this technology to be implemented," he explained.
"It is our first and primary focus. We need the government and tourism sector to realize this technology can be great for the country. It can stop the trend we're seeing with crime. In the tourism sector, it'll show that The Bahamas is being proactive in seeking new crime-fighting technology."
The government is expected to announce the successor to Her Majesty's Prisons Superintendent Dr. Elliston Rahming within a month, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said.
Nottage said he is combing through applications for the prison post but declined to say how many people are being considered for the job.
"A lot of people are interested in the position, both inside and out [of the prison]," he told The Nassau Guardian last week. "I've received quite a few letters from people who are current officers in the prison at many levels and I've received calls from former police officers, defence force officers and other persons who have an interest.
"The decision wouldn't be my personal decision. It would be a decision of the government and it will be made before Mr. Rahming's time is complete. I don't know when he's supposed to leave but I do know that once someone is nominated, it takes a while, maybe two or three months for the matter to be cleared with the country to which they are going.
"But I'm not suggesting that it will be that long because someone who is going away as a diplomat has to spend some time with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs being prepared for their posting."
Rahming has been chosen as the country's new ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
"I am gratified yet humbled by my appointment," Rahming said last week at a ceremony announcing his new post.
"Indeed, the thought that a former shoe shine boy, a former peanut boy who came by way of Black Point, South Andros... could stand here today in this capacity, represents the truism that with God's grace, hard work and a little bit of luck, the sky is not the limit in our Bahamas."
Nottage also gave an update on the status of the country's closed circuit television system. He said he expected CCTV cameras to be mounted in areas troubled by crime by June.
"We committed ourselves to CCTV, we haven't been able to get it installed before December as I had hoped but we did have some testing last week of the first camera that was put up on Bay Street, and we hope to be able to have the full installation of the CCTV project within the first six months of this year.
"Those cameras will be mainly located in what we call the hot spots and I think that will give us some additional tools to use in reducing crime."