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This upcoming year should be a big one for the Bahamas Remote Control Power Boat Sport Federation (BRCPBSF) as plans are being made to officially start the season in March or April of 2011.
President Avery Tulloch said the executive committee is working feverishly to ensure that everything is place for the launch. The official start will be based on how long the winter season lasts, as Tulloch confirmed that not too many are eager to put the boats in the water when it’s cold. Tulloch’s team also wanted to make sure that the federation was fully operational before hitting the water.
“What we have been doing is getting ourselves more organized,”?said Tulloch. ...
Obtaining qualifying marks, which will help to secure spots on the various national squads will be the 'driving force' for many of the local swimmers taking part in the Swift/Gunite Pools Swim Meet this weekend.
The annual swim meet is sanctioned by the governing body of the sport, the Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF). Since it is a qualifying meet, times achieved on Saturday will be considered by the federation's executive members when ratifying national teams. Swimmers will dive into the pool at 9:00 a.m.
Unlike in the past, this year's meet will be held on Saturday only. Meet organizer Andy Knowles explains: "We were going to have the meet on Friday and Saturday, like we used to in the past but we decided not to because the heaters (in the pool) are not working. We didn't want to start in the evening. It is just too late. It is pretty cool during that time and we will not want the swimmers to compete in the cold pool, so we are having the event all day Saturday when there will be a lot more sunshine and it is a bit warmer."
Since it is a one-day meet, a time trial format will be used over the two sessions. In some races there will be heats, and semis if necessary. Those races will be held in the morning session and the finals in session two.
Registration is ongoing but will close today. So far, more than 150 swimmers have confirmed their participation, surpassing last year's count.
"We were just looking at the numbers," said Knowles. "I think last year we had about 130 swimmers between all of the clubs. Right now we are up to about 150 or 160 swimmers. The meet has grown over the years and now we have all the clubs taking part. There is a club coming from Abaco, [from] Freeport and the five local clubs in Nassau. Since this meet is used as a qualifier now, the number of clubs participating has increased. One of the main things that we will be looking at, as coaches, is the times posted by the swimmers. We know that this meet will help them qualify for Nationals in June and the older kids, from 11 years and up, will be looking to qualify for CARIFTA, which will be hosted here the weekend after Easter. That will be the focus for this meet and other meets to come."
The Swift Swimming Club is celebrating 21 years. Knowles thanked their sponsors Gunite Pools for their continued support.
He said: "They have been there from the very beginning and every year they step up and assist us. We appreciate their support."
A new sports development unfolded in the auditorium of Xavier's Lower School this past Saturday.
Coordinated by the Bahamas Judo Federation, President D'Arcy Rahming and his colleagues presented a sporting mix that could well become the trend locally. Judo, wrestling and fencing combined to provide excitement for the onlookers.
"We're really happy to be able to this. I think this is the first time in the modern era that wrestling has been displayed like this. Well, the first time in recent years, I'm sure," said Rahming as he explained the idea.
"It's about being able to showcase two or several other sports at one show. I believe it will be accepted that we got off to a good start."
That was the case indeed. The crowd was not a large one, but it was enthusiastic and seemed knowledgeable as well. Judo is more of a finesse sport, with more of a concentration on grip, throw and pin, whereas with wrestling the contact could be more physically intensive. Fencing is skill-based and not a well-known entity on the Bahamian sports scene.
Without a doubt though, the male and female participants, in judo, fencing and wrestling, all gave a good account of themselves. Rahming and his associates are on to a good thing. The combination of mat sports could take off in a big way. In the future, tae kwon do and boxing are definite disciplines that will be included.
"We are headed to a point whereby all the organizations can come together in tournaments to give exposure to multiple sports. The tournament's objective was to create a multi-sport event that highlights the combat sports found in the Olympics. I hope to expand to all Olympic combat sports and then use this event as a basis for growing the sports locally and then internationally," said Rahming.
"Seventy-three athletes participated from four to 25 in ages. Wrestling, fencing and judo were involved and the hope is for the expansion to include tae kwon do, boxing and archery."
Excitement is in the air for a combined mat sports competition. Several expressed a profound interest.
"The last novice fencing event to my memory was in 1978 in Freeport. I just returned from a fencing congress in Paris. There is hope to expand and improve to the Olympic level with the help of the International Fencing Federation. This was a good start, although there is much more work to be done particularly on defense," said Maestro Anthony Lewis.
"Fencing is my favorite because it is not as aggressive. I felt strong and empowered without the contact," said Genaye Sherman of The College of The Bahamas Club.
COB's Bria Brown said: "I prefer physical sports without all of the running. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I would want to continue in wrestling."
Alana Cleare of COB said she "really enjoyed fencing because of its precision".
Robert Walkine of the All Star Family Centre Club said of fencing that "it was a challenge seeing through the helmet".
Taimak Saunders, a fencing instructor from the COB Club, said: "I always enjoyed the sword culture. Each combat sport offers something different."
Sherman and Brown participated in judo, wrestling and fencing.
Rahming said another such event is just around the corner.
o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
There is a lot about the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) to be respected. Indeed, around the Confederation of Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) region, and the wider world, the administration of the BFA is highly regarded. Competitively, there is a different perspective attached to The Bahamas.
Administratively, the BFA is the envy of the region. In the year 2009, the BFA made history by being the first parent sports body in the country to host an international congress. Indeed, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) held its big parley right here in The Bahamas. The viability of the administration of the BFA, headed by president Anton Sealey, made that all possible.
The BFA negotiated for the prime piece of property just to the west of the Sidney Poitier Bridge on East Bay Street, and on it is presently the best beach soccer facility in the entire Caribbean and most of the Americas. Last May, the BFA hosted a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifier. BFA administrators are respected for their credibility and drew the attention of the sports world when they refused to accept money offered, reportedly, for the support of a particular FIFA presidential campaign.
Undoubtedly, the BFA is thought of as one of the most important soccer administrations in the world. Competitively however, that really big step still needs to be taken. The Bahamas is not considered to be one of the power nations in the Caribbean or the wider Americas. In fact, in none of the categories, men, women, junior male and junior female, is the country sitting with a favorable rating.
A couple years ago the Under-17 National Team historically made it to the top eight in CONCACAF. That achievement has been the zenith of Bahamian soccer competition, all genders included. At the World Beach Qualifier in May, The Bahamas played gallantly but ended up outside of the top four. The United States won, with El Salvador as the runner-up. Mexico was third and Costa Rica finished fourth.
In the CONCACAF men's national rankings, as of July 2013, The Bahamas was way down in the pack at 30th with just 53 points. To present a bigger picture of the rankings, the United States sat on top with 880 points. Mexico was second with 865 points. Costa Rica was third with the accumulation of 688 points, Panama (601) and Honduras (582) made up the top five nations.
Haiti (in seventh place) with 552 points, headed the Caribbean nations. Jamaica was right behind with 484, followed Cuba with 457 and Trinidad & Tobago with 419. The reality of the situation is that The Bahamas pales in comparison, competitively, to the Caribbean powers of soccer.
Even less populated Caribbean nations such as Antigua & Barbuda (265); Grenada (264); Belize (242); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (238); Saint Kitts and Nevis (218); Aruba (163); and Barbados (139) are far on top of The Bahamas on the points table. We are ahead of just the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
In the CONCACAF national women's rakings, The Bahamas is not listed among the top 16. The list include in order: The United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Guatemala, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador, Suriname, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bermuda, Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda.
Without a doubt, the BFA is a well-known entity in world soccer circles, but not at all for competitive achievements. That development looms clear and large as the one big challenge for the BFA as the year 2013 quickly winds to a close. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in 2014.
o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, in an ironic twist, executives of the league decided to add softball for girls after the interest level in baseball grew by many of the young female players who joined the program from the T-ball age. It was noted, during the opening ceremony for the 2012 season on Saturday, that these same female players were left out in the cold and with no place to play, when they got to the minor division (11-12).
Unified! Together as one! All for one, and one for all!
All three terms were used to describe the new relationship of the BAAA executives yesterday, as they move toward the development of athletes and of the sport of track and field here in The Bahamas, in solidarity.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) was mired in a 13-month dispute, since its elections of last November, which threatened to cripple the functioning of one of the most prestigious sporting bodies in the country. Initially, there were votes of no confidence cast in three executives - First Vice President Iram Lewis, Secretary General Carl Oliver and Harrison Petty, a sitting member of the executive body by means of his presidency over the Bahamas Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes.
A court injunction ensued, votes of no confidence were cast in the entire executive body, the president was suspended, and further court action was threatened.
Now, it appears that all of the infighting has ceased. Sparked by a charge from Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, BAAA President Mike Sands said yesterday that the embattled executives decided to come together in the best interest of the sport, and continue their mandate which was entrusted in them at last November's elections.
"In every family, there is going to be some level of dispute, and how you choose to resolve that dispute is very important," said Sands yesterday. "Since the BAAA elections of 2012, unfortunately there has been some level of dispute in the BAAA family. However, there is no need to rehash as to how we got to that situation as compared to where we are today and where we are going.
"Based on the dispute, there was a meeting with the minister a few weeks ago, and at that meeting, there were frank and open discussions, with no prejudice. At the conclusion of that meeting, there was a decision that we would work together in the best interest of the sport and indeed the athletes who we are elected to serve. Subsequent to that, the executives also had a special call meeting to discuss the way forward, and I will dare say that was the turning point. You see, while we came to a resolve to work together, we have to be reminded that the motion on the floor was a motion by the membership, and therefore it could not be totally ignored. We advised the minister that we would have to take it back to the membership for further discussion."
The motion that Sands is referring to is the votes of no confidence that were cast in the entire executive body, inclusive of himself. According to him, that motion was dropped, and the body which came to office last November, remains intact.
"The membership made the determination to drop the motion," said Sands. "A resolution was amended to work with this executive body provided that the constitution be re-visited, which is highly recommended by the IAAF. There are a number of discrepancies. We have to show the membership that we are serious about working together because they will be observing us very carefully, even watching us month by month. We have to show them better than we could tell them. At the end of the day, the BAAA must maintain its status as the most preeminent organization in The Bahamas, and arguably in the region. We just hope that our stakeholders could restore faith in the organization, and support us, financially and otherwise."
Lewis and Oliver sat with Sands yesterday as he announced the truce, but they opted against commenting, only stating that a decision was made to have just one voice at the press conference in a show of solidarity. Noticeably absent from the press conference was Petty, but Sands said that he supports the move and remains an executive member of the body. He said that they could never correct all of the wrongs and heal all of the wounds that were incurred in the past 13 months, but they could move forward on one accord and get the organization moving in a progressive manner.
"Through it all, we are here to announce to the public and indeed our stakeholders that we are recognizing that there has been some damage done to our sport here in The Bahamas, but we have resolved to work together as an executive body and we will do everything in our power to move the organization forward. We have put aside our differences and will work together," he reiterated. "Included in the spirit of cooperation is the agreement that all sides will drop all court actions. The call meeting that was held afterwards was the most open, honest and fair meeting (that we had), where persons spoke their minds. Members gave forgiveness for any wrongs that were done to others; there were e-mails, and for the first time in a long time they were all positive, and apologies were offered. What we discovered is that we were discussing everything except track and field. A lot of us did deep soul-searching. We are still not perfect, but through the spirit of cooperation, we will make things happen."
At the general assembly meeting which followed the meeting with the minister, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) representative Jee Isran, who manages the services of all 212 member federations of the IAAF, offered his thoughts and left feeling optimistic that the two sides would come together and work toward a common goal.
"He admonished us to do what we can in the best interest of the sport," said Sands. "At the general assembly meeting, every member voiced their concerns about what they felt was wrong with the executive body, and whether or not they thought we were serious about working with each other. At the end of the day, we have to re-group and identify specific roles that members can play. There is a lot of work to be done. The difficult part is always going to be finances, but we have to work on a finance committee to go out there and find the dollars because every dollar counts. We just have to sit down and look at where we are headed."
Isran, who is also in charge of protocol for the IAAF, was in town to view and examine some of the services that will be provided to IAAF delegates for next year's World Relay Championships at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Sands said that he left feeling very satisfied. Up next on the BAAA's calendar is the end-of-year awards luncheon, which is set for December 29, and that will be followed by the National Cross Country Championships set for January of 2014.
"Work was slowed because of the dispute, but it was never at a standstill," said Sands. "National teams traveled, and there were performances at the highest level. What is happening with the local organizing committee for the World Relays is separate and apart from the BAAA. It was mandated that way from the IAAF. The Government of The Bahamas is a stakeholder in the event as well, so there are representatives from the government on the board. The IAAF saw the wisdom in setting it up like that, so that is why it is mandated that way. They provided a template of what the structure should be. All hands will be needed on deck for this one," added Sands.
The inaugural World Relay Championships, the primary item on the BAAA's agenda for 2014, is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium here in The Bahamas.
The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), as has been warned, has gotten into the nasty fight that is going on between two factions of executives in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
This is happening finally and for a good reason. The BAAA executive battle has now reached into track and field communities and media organizations all over the world. Particularly as it pertains to our region, there is great concern. This was never more evident than on Monday past when Sports Max Zone contacted me to be interviewed by lead host Simon Crosskill.
Sports Max Zone is the most important and influential television sports program in the Caribbean region and comparable to the best throughout the world. Crosskill expressed deep interest in the row and our interview went out to millions.
The IAAF is headed by Lamine Diack. President Diack, a native of Senegal, is a good friend of The Bahamas. He is a man of order.
So indeed, the time is definitely right for an intervention by the IAAF. At a Monday meeting reportedly called the by minister of youth, sports and culture, those attending were advised to urgently make a decision to reach a compromise so that the business of the BAAA could go on unimpeded. Reportedly coming out of the meeting was information that the IAAF deemed it necessary to send in a draft constitution it wishes for all member federations to subscribe to.
The BAAA is right in the middle of the planning of the IAAF Inaugural World Relays of 2014. The infighting threatens to stigmatize the signature sports event and understandably there is concern within the IAAF and of course, the Government of The Bahamas.
Johnson made his call for peace and as to how long this truce will be adhered too is anybody's guess. My understanding is that there were those, who, when Johnson put out the question, did not feel the two sides could work together. A preference for a vote of no confidence and new elections was expressed and supported by a few, I was told.
However, the truce proposal view carried the day.
Once the sides have thoroughly examined the IAAF draft constitution, the idea is for them to come together again and hopefully make a joint decision on the next step. A big question going forward is whether there are those who are bent on operating outside of the truce arrangements.
If this is the case, the impasse between the executive factions will persist. Accordingly, the IAAF and the Government of The Bahamas will be prompted to take stronger roles.
An ideal conclusion by both sides would be for the elected officials to operate strictly according to the elections results at the general assembly of November 2012. Such a decision would undoubtedly bring about an uneasy peace at best.
Nevertheless, it is a scenario would be the sensible route, in my view. I believe Diack and his IAAF executive colleagues would want that to be the case. So, would the Government of The Bahamas, I think.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
The JBLN officially opened its 23rd season this past weekend. After the march pass of all 32 baseball teams and five girls softball teams on Saturday, the opening ceremony was held. Present for the festivities were former Major League Baseball (MLB) player Edison Armbrister and current professional players Antoan Richardson, Sean Albury and Albert Cartwright. The Member of Parliament for Yamacraw, Melanie Griffin, along with Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) President Craig Kemp, Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) President Burkett Dorsett and Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Secretary General Romell 'Fish' Knowles were also in attendance. They were joined by Dr. Keith Wisdom of Cable Bahamas and the principal of St. Andrew's School. The family of the late Philip Kemp Sr. was also in attendance as "Kempie" was recognized for his contribution as an umpire in the JBLN for many years and his efforts in Youth Baseball, with a special plaque in his memory. The highlight of the team presentations was the introduction of five girls softball teams which will compete for the first time in organized girls softball as a part of the JBLN in 2012.
A new track will be installed for a brand new event - that's the approach the Bahamian government is taking leading up to the inaugural World Relays to be held here in The Bahamas in 2014.
The world relays are set for May 24-25, 2014 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, but the problem is, the track inside the complex is not Class I certified, which is required to host such a global event. There are over 200 member federations in the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), and quite a number of them will be represented at the world relays. A total of eight world championship spots in the sprint and mile relays, in each gender, will be up for grabs as it was recently confirmed that the top eight will qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Before all of that can happen, the track itself must be brought up to standard. General Manager of the National Sports Authority (NSA) Jeffrey Beckles said that Italian company Mondo has already begun the process of refurbishing the track.
"Mondo and its team began the process, and we're very pleased that the work has started," he said. "Our new objective is to be able to deliver the track on time, so that we can have it finished in time for a test event in April, and then of course the big relays will be here in May."
That test event in April might just turn out to be the 2nd Annual Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational (CBBI), which is set for April 12 at the stadium. Whether work on the new track will be completed in time remains to be seen though. Bahamian national record holder in the men's 400 meters (m) and the 800m, Chris Brown, has already vowed to bring top talent here to these shores for the second year in a row. This year, a number of former World and Olympic champions graced these shores for the one-day meet, and it is promised to be even more prestigious in year two.
As for the track at the stadium, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson admitted that some errors were made in the initial installation. He is hopeful that the work that is already underway will be completed in a timely manner and up to IAAF Class I standard.
"You should have the inspectors, the IAAF and the engineers on site, on each occasion, during the process of installation so that it can be done properly with international guidelines," said the minister. "We will have those three parties working together with our team, so you will have personnel from the Ministry of Works, the NSA, international inspectors, the IAAF and Mondo on the scene all the time. This marks our initial move on the world stage in terms of hosting world-class track and field events. This will be an IAAF Class I certification track that can host any kind of world event."
Athletes will compete in the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m relay events, in both genders, over two days of competition at the inaugural world relays. With no Bahamian meeting either the 'A' or 'B' qualifying standard for any of the longer individual races, it's safe to say that The Bahamas won't have representation in those relay events, and if there is representation it certainly wouldn't be competitive against the world's best.
According to Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) President Mike Sands, the IAAF should release entry standards for the relay events in short order.
Currently, it is rumored that the entire event would run at a cost of about $5 million to the Bahamian government, but that was before it was revealed that the track itself would be uprooted. At this point, the total cost is unknown, but it will undoubtedly be in the millions. Sands said that he doesn't see the total cost being a hindrance, because it has already garnered the approval and support of the Bahamian government, which is a major stakeholder in the event. In addition, the IAAF World Relays are scheduled to be held here in The Bahamas in 2015 as well.
As far as participation is concerned, a number of top Bahamian athletes are expected to be home to compete. With the event being held in late May, there is a cloud of suspicion surrounding the collegiate athletes though. For instance, sprinter Shavez Hart might have school commitments, and even though she is a professional athlete now, Shaunae Miller is still taking classes at the University of Georgia which might interfere with their availability for the event.
Former World and Olympic Champion Jeremy Wariner, who was here in The Bahamas for a couple of days before leaving town yesterday morning, said that it is up to USA Track & Field to decide whether or not he will be a part of the U.S. team for the inaugural world relays.
"If I'm chosen, I'll be here and I'll give it all that I have," he said. "The Bahamian people have always been respectful, and they love the sport of track and field. I'm looking forward to being a part of it and getting a run in the new stadium."
Wariner said that he ran here in The Bahamas in 2002 as a junior athlete, and would love to get a run in the new stadium as a senior. As for the run by The Bahamas' Golden Knights at last year's Olympic Games in London, England, he said that he was impressed with what he saw and it was good for the sport for another country to step up to the challenge that was presented by he and his American teammates.
"They ran smart. They knew who they would match up well with on each leg. They just went out there and ran the same race that they ran in the prelims," he said. "They fought hard, and we haven't see that out of a lot of teams lately. For them to go out there and compete the way they did, it was great to see."
Wariner is still one of the top quarter-milers in the world, and he could very well be a part of the American team for the world relay championships. The 2014 IAAF World Relays will be just the second summer global athletics event to be held in the Caribbean, following the 9th IAAF World Junior Championships which were held in Jamaica in 2002.
One of the biggest athletes in all of sports is rumored to be coming to these shores next year.
American Toney ‘The X Man’ Freeman, who currently resides in England, is scheduled to be the headliner at a professional bodybuilding show here in The Bahamas next year. Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF)?President Danny Sumner said that the show is definitely in the works and they just need to finalize a few details before it could be confirmed.
“I have already given my approval as the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation President, and I’m in the process of seeking support from the CAC (Central American and Caribbean) and the IFBB (Internation ...
As an institute, we are committed to ensuring that we provide the focused, relevant educational opportunities, as well as guidance and thoughtful leadership to government, industry stakeholders and affiliates in this time of change.
- BICA President Jasmine Y. Davis
In November of each year, the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) observes "Accountants' Week", during which members of the accounting profession convene to focus on accounting education and topics of interest to members of that profession. The week begins with prayerful thanksgiving at a local church service, followed by four days of educational seminars, workshops and presentations for its members and other interested financial services stakeholders, and culminates with a Saturday morning fun/run/walk/push for accountants and others whose energy levels enable them to rise at 5 a.m. to participate in that early morning sojourn.
Therefore, this week, we would like to Consider This... has BICA achieved this year's thematic objective of "Broadening Our Expertise to Support the Changing Economic Environment"? A synoptic review of the week-long activities will assist us in answering that question.
Day 1: Preparing for VAT implementation: Presenting all the factors
Given the tremendous interest in and public discourse on the national issue of value-added tax (VAT), it is not surprising that the entire first day was devoted to this topic. The session commenced with an address on the subject by Michael Halkitis, minister of state in the Ministry of Finance, who outlined the rationale for the government's plans to implement VAT by July next year. The minister's succinct but comprehensive presentation addressed the urgent need for tax reform and shed light on the government's decision to introduce this new form of taxation.
In a second address on this subject, John Rolle, the financial secretary, explained that VAT represents the centerpiece of the government's tax reform. Numerous professionals from the Ministry of Finance delivered presentations at concurrent break-out sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from "the VAT Registration and De-Registration Process", "Accounting for VAT and VAT Accounting Systems", "VAT Compliance, the Legal Framework for VAT Legislation, Regulations and Penalties", "VAT Customs Transitional Arrangements for the Implementation Date" to "Legal and Compliance Issues".
Undoubtedly, the informative sessions on VAT highlighted the enormous resources that have been expended in developing this centerpiece of government's tax reform endeavors and the policy considerations that have been factored into the development of this subject. In the final analysis, the participants recognized and appreciated that many questions need to be answered relative to this transformative shift in the country's taxation system.
Day 2: Building on our foundations in accounting and
On Tuesday, conference participants were apprised of "The Expected Impacts of New Tax Legislation on the Financial Services Industry"; a presentation that was delivered by Cassandra Nottage, a stand-in for Ryan Pinder, minister of financial services.
An address entitled "Statements of Membership Obligations" was delivered by a representative of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the international accountancy body that promulgates the accounting and auditing standards for the profession. BICA has been a member of IFAC since 1978. In addition, a representative of the World Bank delivered an address on "Institute Capacity Building". This was a historic moment for BICA because it was the first time that representatives of those two prominent international institutions, IFAC and the World Bank, addressed BICA members.
An extremely lively VAT panel discussion, comprised of members of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employees' Confederation (BCCEC), raised grave concerns about the impending introduction of VAT next year. In essence, the panelists asserted that there were many unanswered questions as we approach this imminent launch date of July 1, 2014.
The afternoon session featured a presentation by the Bahamas Trade Commission and senior trade professionals of the Ministry of Financial Services on the topic "Regional Comparisons & Initiatives, Reciprocity Agreements specifically with respect to the World Trade Organization, Economic Partnership Agreements and CARICOM Perspectives".
The second day ended with an "Update on Pending Legislative Changes (to the Public Accountants Act) and Expected Impacts". Participants were apprised of important changes that are being considered to the legislation that regulates the accounting profession, most notably the legislative framework for practice monitoring and peer review of accountants who are engaged in public practice, as well as disciplinary matters for persons who breach the rules of professional conduct that govern the profession.
Day 3: Technical update
Historically, the technical update is the most popular session during Accountants' Week because it affords accountants the opportunity to be informed about the most recent accounting and auditing developments, pronouncements and practices. The theme for this year was "Maintaining Our Technical Competency". This session has normally been led by foreign employees of the larger, international accounting firms. This year, however, witnessed a departure from that tradition. For the first time, the technical update was presented by a Bahamian accountant, Gowon Bowe, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and, by the reaction of many participants, attendees were treated to an exceptionally outstanding update of accounting, auditing and reporting standards.
Day 4: Cutting edge
tools, energy reform, ethics and certification fundamentals
The final day of educational sessions featured a potpourri of topics that were both timely and informative. The sessions included presentations on: "Making Information Technology Effective", "MS Office 2013 Highlights - Tools to Keep Your Business on the Cutting Edge", "Energy Reform for The Bahamas: A Step Change for Social Change & Economic Development", "Upholding Ethics in the Profession & Avoiding Scandals and Broadening Our Expertise Through Professional Training & Certifications".
Each of those sessions provided invaluable information, which when applied, will enhance professional efficiency and effectiveness and also provided registrants the opportunity to network with colleagues and presenters.
The week's highlight
Unquestionably, the highlight of the week of activities was the impact that VAT will have on the economy, the financial services sector, the society and the profession. Accountants by their education, experience and discipline are uniquely qualified to speak to and advise on the issues associated with taxation in general and VAT in particular.
The Bahamian accounting profession, which began in the 1960s, and culminated in the establishment of the institute with 13 original qualified accountant subscribers to the articles of incorporation in 1971, can now boast of more than 500 members. Approximately 250 accountants are licensed to engage in public practice by BICA. Twenty years after BICA's incorporation by guarantee, Parliament enacted The Public Accountants Act, 1991, which established a regulatory, legislative framework for the profession and that act has served the profession very well for the past 22 years. The profession is once again at the junction of legislative reform in order to assimilate the rapidly accelerating realities and nuances of the profession and the external demands of the world of business and finance.
Jasmine Davis, president of the BICA, her council and the continuing professional education committee should be heartily congratulated for a superlatively outstanding week of activities, which truly enabled the institute's members and participants to realize their objective of "Broadening Our Expertise to Support the Changing Economic Environment".
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The two top volleyball teams from four high school sporting associations in the country will take to the court, hoping to spike their way to a national title.
The inaugural National High Schools Volleyball Tournament of Champions is set for November 29-30 at the C.I. Gibson Gymnasium. The tournament has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and will be hosted by the New Providence Volleyball Association (NPVA), which falls under the umbrella of the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF). The two-day event is being sponsored by J.S. Johnson & Company Ltd.
The four high school sporting associations that will take part in the tournament are the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS); Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA), Grand Bahama School Association (GBSA) and Bahamas Scholastic and Athletic Association (BSAA). The teams are C.V. Bethel, C.R. Walker, Government High School, St. Andrew's College, Bahamas Academy, St. Augustine's College, Nassau Christian Academy, Mount Carmel, Teleos, Bishop Michael Eldon and St. George's High.
"On behalf of the Bahamas Volleyball Federation and the New Providence Volleyball Association, we would really like to thank the Ministry of Education for seeing it fit to invite us to come on board for such a prestigious event," said DeVince Smith, president of the NPVA. "With volleyball
being one of the core sports in The Bahamas, we would like to really thank you because we believe in creating a student-athlete and we realize the importance of sports and education. We see this tournament as a great start for volleyball for our youth in The Bahamas.
"Not only does it create a positive outline, but it gives our students an opportunity to develop their skills where they can become collegiate or professional players. We are grateful to have this opportunity to step in and do our part to ensure that this tournament is a success. We cannot thank you enough. We hope that one day this tournament can become as big, or create as much fans as the Hugh Campbell tournament."
The tournament will have a round robin format with each team playing at least two or three games before advancing to the play-offs. According to tournament director, Kirkwood Greene, the set-up is designed to provide more play opportunities for the teams. If the top two schools from any of the sporting associations are unable to attend, invitations will be extended to third and fourth place squads. Greene, along with the Director of Sports in the ministry, Evon Wisdom, are hoping to receive final confirmation by the end of the week, or no later than Monday.
With this being a national championship, Wisdom apologized for not having representation from all the schools in the country. He revealed that the ministry is in discussions with the other school sporting associations, hoping to have all the sports played around the same time. This, according to Wisdom, will make it easier when wanting to host national events.
"This tournament will grow from strength to strength and as the tournament grows, we will be able to get more of the different organizations and leagues within the islands to participate in the tournament," Wisdom said. "Discussions are now happening, as we try to get all of the schools playing the same sport around the same time. The only sport I know all of the associations come together is track and field. We are trying to do the same thing in the other sports."
The volleyball season in the GSSSA recently concluded and the BAISS season will start in 2014.
Long Island sports and education leaders will get a good idea of the role the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC) intends to play in fostering the growth of the sport throughout the archipelago.
The islands have produced some of the iconic boxers of our history. Of course, Bimini has led the way through Yama Bahama, Gomeo Brennan and Gary Davis. Sherman 'Tank' Williams has been the great sports ambassador for Grand Bahama. Then there is Andros, the land of Ernie, Sammy and Freeman Barr. The commissioners, in examining the state of affairs in the country as it relates to boxing development, have determined that the time has come to place much more emphasis, than was previously the case, on the Family Islands.
Yama Bahama and Brennan were bright lights of boxing for this country. They began their individual campaigns in the 1950s and crafted legendary careers. Presently, under the sponsorship of the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO), a club was established in memory of Yama Bahama and is being kept vibrant by Jeff Davis.
Programs are also going on in Inagua and Grand Bahama. The commission wants to carry out an initiative that will see the sport take root in quite a few more island areas. It is in this vein that the team will be venturing, November 28-30, into Long Island.
"The time has come for us to reach out more in the Family Islands. We want to go into these areas and introduce the sport of boxing, speak about the wholesome value of training for competition and also the need to just to stay in condition and healthy. We look forward to traveling to Long Island. Our colleague down there, Commissioner Dr. Munir Rashad, who is also on our Medical Committee, has been paving the way for the visit by the rest of the team," said Chairman Alvin Sargent.
The focus on the islands ought to indeed take place in a much more comprehensive manner. Although the proposed National Sports Academy speaks to overall development in the country, it would be good for organizations to initiate individual programs geared to include the islands.
The commission, along with PACBO, is seeking to work also with the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) in spreading boxing around the nation. A key collective goal of the boxing fraternity is to have representatives at all of the regional and international events coming up, leading to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
While visiting Long Island, commissioners will hold sessions with sports and education leaders. Also, the Medical Committee will conduct free examinations of interested young students. The visit by the commission is in keeping with an expanded approach being taken by sports federations and quasi-government entities toward national development.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace continues to solidify her place as one of the world's best short sprinters in this era of swimming. She broke into the top echelon of world performers last year with a bronze medal at the Federation Internationale de Natation (French for International Swimming Federation or simply FINA) Short Course Championships. She followed that by establishing herself as the best in the United States in doubling up at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships while representing Auburn University earlier this year.
A group of obviously concerned and jittery Bahamian business leaders got a sobering message recently from Financial Secretary John Rolle: The country would suffer a "bloodier and more painful" experience in a few years than it currently faces with unsustainable debt levels if it does not move quickly to reform its tax system.
The government has announced that Value Added Tax (VAT) will be introduced on July 1, 2014.
Rolle said the cost of inaction would result in an unchecked rise in debt, less capacity to borrow for emergencies, which increases our vulnerability to shocks like hurricanes and sudden contractions in foreign economies on which we depend for tourists.
"There will also be a credit downgrade and eventual loss of access to credit markets. This will result in one outcome: Much higher tax increases, larger reductions in spending, possible reduction in public sector employment [and] scrutiny of the exchange rate parity," he warned.
The nightmare scenario presented by Rolle should be enough to wake every Bahamian up.
The Bahamas' financial future faces a crisis.
On our current path, it is no understatement that we are doomed without action.
Government debt as at June 30, 2014 is projected to be $4.9 billion, compared to $2.4 billion as at July 2007.
The Bahamas has a legacy of high budget deficits.
Over the last two fiscal years, the government has seen a total deficit in excess of $500 million. The projected deficit at the end of 2013/2014 is $529 million.
The government intends to borrow $465 million to finance the projected revenue shortfall in the 2013/2014 fiscal year. This would add to the $650 million the current administration already borrowed.
Almost one out of every four dollars in revenue collected by the government must be allocated to pay the interest charges on the public debt and cover the debt repayment.
This current state of fiscal affairs is worrying on many levels, and it is unsustainable.
At a recent gathering of business leaders hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, Marla Dukharan, senior economist with RBC Caribbean, revealed a startling reality.
The Bahamas' financial capacity to cover its import needs is the lowest in the region -- at just seven weeks worth of import cover, or around half of the regional average, and significantly below international "prudential" benchmarks for external reserves.
Dukharan views taxation reform for The Bahamas as "quite critical" at this stage in the evolution of the Bahamian economy and suggested the alternative could be a "spiraling" debt situation.
For the government, continuing to do things as it has been doing is not an option.
"You'd be surprised of where you could end up if things don't work out," Rolle told business leaders.
"I know there is the thinking that [we should] leave the revenue side alone. But are you prepared to have a bankrupt government? Are you prepared to change the value of your currency?
"Are you prepared for the social consequences of what happens when a government runs out of resources and can't even find the money to provide support for the poor and those who may get angry when they run into tough times?"
The government is not prepared for any of these consequences, and it is unlikely that the citizenry is either.
No reasonable Bahamian armed with the facts of the current situation would deny there is a need for reform.
What many do not agree on is what reform option the government should pursue and the timeframe for implementation.
In the government's white paper on tax reform, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie notes that the government's revenue base is extremely narrow and ill-suited to the expanding needs and demands of modern Bahamian society.
The country's tax system is out of balance as it predominantly focuses on goods, he pointed out.
It does not share the tax burden with those who are providing services in a way that is either fair or adequate.
The government has decided to go the way of Value Added Tax to secure an adequate revenue base in support of modern governance.
According to the white paper, the government intends to effect the eventual reductions in import duty rates that will accompany The Bahamas' accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and reduce excise tax rates to compensate for VAT.
As a consumption tax, VAT provides a broader base for government revenue; imposes taxes on goods and services equally and imposes greater discipline on businesses, the white paper says.
It also says it encourages investments by providing incentives to business on capital expenditure, and the audit trail that would be required promotes greater efficiency in the collection of taxes.
According to the white paper, the primary distinctive feature of a VAT as compared to a traditional sales tax is its unique method of collection, which also represents its main attraction relative to a sales tax.
VAT is collected and remitted at each stage of the production and distribution chain. VAT paid at each stage is credited against VAT owing at the next stage, and only the difference is remitted.
As such, a VAT system has a built-in mechanism to encourage compliance, the white paper notes.
A VAT registrant expects the buyers of his product to claim credits for VAT paid to him, thereby discouraging him from attempting to hide VAT receipts.
In its look at various options for tax reform, the white paper highlights VAT as a more favorable option than a sales tax, which is a tax imposed at the final point of sale.
It says that while relatively simple to administer, a sales tax suffers from important drawbacks. As a single stage tax, it is susceptible to evasion if it is imposed at a rate in excess of 10 percent, the document notes.
Professor Gilbert Morris, who chairs the Turks and Caicos Resort Owners Economic Council, said what the Bahamas government is effectively introducing amounts to a sales tax "with all the complications and inefficiencies of a VAT".
"You bring in something, you sell that to a wholesaler, or you bring in something if you're Solomon's and you sell and you are going to charge VAT on that. Where is the value added? There is no value added. We didn't do anything to the product," said Morris, who served as an observer during the implementation of VAT in several African nations, and now sits on the Turks and Caicos Islands' commission on future tax needs.
"If you look at the government's white paper, it actually describes a manufacturing process using a farmer, something that's not particularly relevant to The Bahamas."
In that example, a farmer cuts down trees and sells them to a lumber mill, charging 15 percent VAT, which he remits to the government; the lumber mill transforms the trees into wood and sells to a furniture manufacturer, charging 15 percent VAT.
The lumber mill deducts the amount of VAT it paid to the farmer and remits the difference to the government.
The manufacturer transforms the wood purchased from the lumber mill into a chair and sells the chair to a retailer, charging 15 percent VAT.
The manufacturer deducts what he paid the lumber mill in VAT and remits the difference to the government.
The retailer then sells the chair to a client and charges 15 percent VAT. He deducts what he paid in VAT to the manufacturer and remits the difference to the government.
Rolle shared with The Nassau Guardian what is perhaps a more practical example in the Bahamian context.
A retailer imports a refrigerator. He pays a now reduced customs duty and 15 percent VAT on that product.
When he sells this refrigerator to the consumer at a higher price, he charges 15 percent VAT and remits to the government the amount of VAT he paid at the time of import.
VAT, properly structured, is a tax on consumption (both good and services), not a tax on business.
Agriculture and fisheries; social and community services; health and education services are among the areas that will be exempted.
But exemptions will be kept "to a bare minimum", the government has advised.
The effectiveness of the tax is tied to many factors, including how it is implemented, tax experts and others with experience in effecting tax reform have said.
In a 2010 interview with Erasmus Williams, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts-Nevis, former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur warned that VAT could result in "very serious defects" if its implementation is not properly managed.
Arthur said that once properly managed, VAT could be of tremendous benefit.
He noted that ahead of the implementation of the tax system in Barbados in 1997, there had been fears and concerns among some.
One leading businessman, for instance, put out an ad warning consumers that Hurricane VAT was coming.
"Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die," the former prime minister said.
"I think it's a minor miracle for a country to believe that you can have a well developed set of social services but you have no tax on income, and no tax on consumption.
"I wouldn't know how to run a country in that way and people have to understand that if you want to have social benefits they have to be paid for."
The Bahamas is roughly eight months off from implementing VAT. With each passing week, fears over the pending tax seem to be rising.
No legislation or regulations have been released as yet, and there is a lack of specifics and answers to key questions from everyday consumers and the business community, which will be responsible for collecting the tax and remitting it to the government.
Kevin Burrows, senior vice president at CFAL, suggested that as a tax, VAT is a good option.
"Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with a VAT if the economy has enough time and leeway to be able to know what's coming," Burrows said.
"VAT is only a problem if we have such a tight timeframe like we do now. I think that's more of a problem than the VAT itself."
Many business people fear the complex auditing that will accompany VAT will be onerous, and they want enough time to understand the new system.
Worries over VAT's likely inflationary impact are also apparent.
Morris pointed out that when the new system is implemented, the cost of living will "absolutely" rise.
"It's basic first year economics," he said.
Rolle admitted that, "On the cost of living there will be some initial impact from the VAT but that initial impact will disappear in a very short timeframe, over six, eight years. That is not long.
"...You can look at other international experiences. A country typically has a single response in the price the year after.
"Their inflation goes back down to the normal level and in some cases it goes lower. The fact that your inflation is lower in subsequent years means that on a compounding basis, eventually the prices under the VAT system fall behind the prices that were being paid without VAT."
He made the comment at the recent Chamber event, but it did not appear to provide comfort to the many members of the business community who were gathered.
Pressed on the cost of living issue, Rolle said while some estimates had been prepared, the government was not yet prepared to release them as they were being looked over.
Also pressed on a timeline for the availability of legislation, he gave "two weeks" as an answer. If that is true, it would mean legislation would be ready this week.
In a letter to Prime Minister Christie on October 16, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's Coalition for Responsible Taxation requested the release of "critical information": the proposed VAT Act; VAT regulations; the revised Customs Tariff Schedule and the financial modeling that justifies the financial claims being made by the introduction of VAT.
Given the "seismic change" in the country's taxation system and the delays in the release of critical information, the Coalition strongly recommended that the government postpone the intended date of implementation of VAT "to a date that is not less than 12 months" from the release of that information.
On its current track, VAT appears doomed to be a difficult birth.
While Rolle has been making the rounds and has started the discussion with the business community and other groups, the desperately needed public education campaign has yet to start in earnest.
Toward the end of the year, the government will likely lose the attention of the business community and the public generally as the holiday season tends to create distractions.
With so much unknown about how VAT is intended to work in The Bahamas, the so-called education process is hobbling along with a couple of broken limbs.
While more information is likely to be out by the new year, this might raise more questions that need to be addressed.
The government will have to have two messages: One for the business community and one for the consumer. VAT is a complex issue. The challenge is to simplify it and provide assurance that it is being handled properly.
With all the matters that now concern the government, perhaps no one in government thought of the fact that the VAT public education campaign will take place simultaneously with a promised constitutional referendum education campaign.
That referendum has already been postponed twice and is now scheduled to take place by June. This is a lot to put on the public. It is a lot to digest.
Taxpayers will be worried about their wallets. Businesses will be worried about their profit margins. In some instances, projects will be placed on hold and it is likely too that some businesses will place a hold on hiring, if not shave their staff count.
With such a short window before July 1, the government has a lot to consider.
It is asking the Bahamian people to make an investment in the country's longer term economic health.
Such an investment is vital, of course. It is in nobody's interest for VAT to fail.
As the financial secretary opined, "If it doesn't work, we're all going down with it."
With a team just returning from one of the highest ranking youth tournaments in the region, and the FOCOL tennis tournament taking place in Freeport, Grand Bahama, it's no wonder why Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) President Derron Donaldson is smiling from ear-to-ear.
According to the league's president, the more tournaments available for Bahamians youth and junior players to compete in, betters their chances of playing in the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Even though the four-member team of Elana Mackey, Sydney Clarke, Kofi Bowe and Donte Armbrister weren't able to win any matches at the ITF/GSDF 12 and Under Wilson COTECC Team Masters, in Centro Teneistico, Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Donaldson said they picked up a lot of experience and gained exposure.
For the more than 50 junior tennis players competing at the FOCOL tournament, Donaldson said they are all working towards earning local points, which will assist in their bid to compete on the regional and international levels.
"They did their best considering the competition that they were up against," said Donaldson. "We realize our downfalls or shortcomings and are working hard to fixing them, as we want to give all of our players an opportunity to compete at a higher level. A structured training program is needed, along with more cohesiveness. I think that that particular team should be commended for their efforts. This is the first time the ITF is having this event and small federations like ours thank them for creating a tournament for younger players.
"Our team was really young. Kofe Bowe who replaced Jacobi Bain is only 10-years old. He played 12-year olds and held his own. That was good. He, along with the other players got the exposure and experience needed. This tournament will motivate them to train harder."
The FOCOL tennis tournament, which concluded late yesterday, is just one of many scheduled for this month. Due to several delays, a number of the finals were pushed back, said tournament director Bradley Bain. Only two results were available up to press time, the under 8 boys' championship, which was won by Michael Major 10-6 and 11-9 over Anthony Burrows Jr. and the girls' 16 final. In that match, Iesha Shepard defeated Gabriel Donaldson 6-2 and 6-1. Both Shepard and Donaldson are into the final of the under 18 division. Playing for the 18 final title in boys were Freeport native Julio Valdes and Joshua Turnquest, a native of Eleuthera. Playing in the girls under 12 final were Emma Weech and Abigail Simms.
Weech is the number one seed and Simms played her way through the draw, despite getting a top ranking. Number one seed in the girls 14 Laurn Daxon played Hanna-Joy Simmons and Sydney Kerr teamed up with Weech to take on Doneisha Gibson and Dontae Turnquest in doubles action. Junior tennis players competed over three days in four divisions, for both boys and girls at the tournament.
Forming an alliance with Grand Bahama Urban Renewal will allow the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) to officially offer scholarships to residents on that island.
Under the theme "Changing Lives", the executives in the BOC will be working closely with Michelle Reckley, director of Grand Bahama Urban Renewal. A partnership with Harrison Petty was also forged, this according to BOC General Secretary Romel 'Fish' Knowles.
"Not only are we in the BOC thinking strategically, but we are aware that our role requires that we lead and support our member federations and stakeholders in Olympic sports," Knowles said. "In our leading and supporting roles we understood that change is required in the culture of our organization. Therefore, over the coming weeks and months, not only will we be living in accordance with our strategic plan but we will in addition, form strategic alliances.
"We are aware that sports is big business, and The Bahamas is not only the home of sun, sand and sea, but we are also the home of sports... we will endeavor with our stakeholders to brand The Bahamas as the home of sports, sun, sand and sea. One of the first of many strategic alliances we wish to announce is the alliance with the Grand Bahama Urban Renewal and the able Director Michelle Reckley under the theme 'Changing Lives.' The Bahamas Olympic Committee will cause to bear on the island of Grand Bahama the following activities. Through our partnership with Harrison Petty, we will seek to provide scholarships to deserving athletes in Grand Bahama in athletics and will seek to add other sporting disciplines in the shortest possible time."
The BOC has also partnered with The College of The Bahamas to host a number of combos in various sporting disciplines. During that time, potential student-athletes will have an opportunity to view the campus.
"In essence, under our vice president, Iram Lewis, the Bahamas Olympic Committee will lead and support a talent ID program immediately to identify athletes to compete in next year's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. You would have heard from our women in sports chairwoman, who has graciously agreed to host a leadership and training seminar for women. As we all know Grand Bahama has a host of great women who contributed to the development of sports in the country.
"The Bahamas Olympic Committee in collaboration with the Department of Youth and its director will host a youth seminar in Grand Bahama under the supervision of Vice President Derron Donaldson. The youth seminar will focus on college preparation, dispute resolution, preparation for competition, the importance of competing clean, just to name a few."
A seminar in "Corporate Governance and Leadership in Sports" will be held for federation and association members, athletes and the public. The Bahamas Olympic Committee along with Urban Renewal is about changing lives. We look forward to partnering with the private and public sector in Grand Bahama with a view of turning young dreams into reality."
By KELSIE JOHNSON
NG Sports Reporter
The Bahamas Volleyball Federation(BVF)â will host a two-week seminar and coaching course, featuring the technical and tactical principles for the setters and middle players.
The seminar will be hosted by a certified coach in the world governing body for volleyball, the International Volleyball Federation(FIVB). At the end of the course, which will get underway on Tuesday, in the conference room of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, coaches and players will have the basic understanding for both positions.
Joe Smith, 1st Vice President in the BVF, said the coach will host 50 persons at$30.00 for each course. So far, revealed Smi ...
Even though they weren't able to bring back the hardware this time around, members of the senior men's national volleyball team returned to the country on Sunday with a new regional and international ranking.
For the first time in the history of the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF), a national team had qualified to play at the NORCECA's Men's Continental Championships. This year's edition was played in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Team Bahamas finished seventh overall in the competition which was won by the United States.
Finishing two spots above their Caribbean counterparts, St. Lucia and Guatemala, gave Team Bahamas a new ranking. Before heading to Canada, the new "Kings of the Caribbean", The Bahamas, was in a six-way tie for the number 53 spot on the international listing, this according to the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). English-speaking Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia and Barbados were all a part of the tie. Now that The Bahamas defeated St. Lucia on Friday night, 25-17, 25-20 and 25-20, and with Barbados not competing, Team Bahamas has surged ahead.
Captain Prince Wilson and middle blocker Byron Wilson both have left their marks at the tournament. Wilson finished as the fourth best scorer and Ferguson as the tournament's second best blocker. Ferguson was also named to the tournament's all-star team.
Wilson, who scored 15 points in Friday's game, had 45 spikes, two blocks and two aces for a total of 49 points. The best scorer award went to Cuba's Abreu Rolando Cepede who had 65 spikes, seven blocks and nine aces. Other Bahamians in the best scorers category were Ferguson,
coming in at number 19, and Forbes at number 40.
In the blockers division, Ferguson had 16 kill blocks, 18 faults and 10 rebounds. Canada's Rudy Verhoeff attempted 47 blocks, had 18 kill blocks, nine faults and 10 rebounds. Jamal Ferguson finished as the third best libero and seventh best receiver, while setter Tony Simon was ranked sixth overall.
The Bahamas is expected to compete in the inaugural Caribbean Games, set to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in October.
It has been said that the Father of Labour Sir Randol F. Fawkes was a man who had changed the course of Bahamian history, by his selfless decision to back the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in the historic 1967 general elections. To be sure, Sir Randol was not affiliated with the PLP during the run-up to the general election in 1967. He was the leader of his own political party, the Labour Party. Sir Randol had joined the PLP in 1955, or thereabouts at the request of the secretary-general of the party, Cyril Stevenson. Stevenson asked him to contest a seat in the southern district of New Providence, according to Sir Randol in his memoir, 'The Faith That Moved the Mountain'. Sir Randol, along with Cyril Stevenson, Sir Milo Butler, Clarence Bain, Samuel Isaacs and Sir Lynden O. Pindling, were the first members of the PLP to be elected to Parliament. However, the popular Labour Leader eventually left the party a few years later. Sir Randol wanted to change the name of the opposition to the Progressive Labour Party. He also wanted to become the party's leader. None of his ambitions for the PLP were realized, however.
Sir Randol was the founder of the Bahamas Federation of Labour. According to Sir Randol, all the little craft unions merged for greater solidarity into one big industrial union, the Bahamas Federation of Labour. Sir Randol's union along with the PLP and the Taxi-Cab Union all played a pivotal role in the January 1958 General Strike. The general strike was to last for 16 days. Bay Street-owned tour companies were given the exclusive right to transport tourists to and from the hotels. Obviously, this move, if allowed to go unchallenged, would have destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of black Bahamian independent taxi drivers. The strike had its intended outcome. The white minority government passed the Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act in July of 1958, almost five months after the strike. The Department of Labour was also established. Sir Randol obviously desired to improve the economic and social conditions of Bahamians. It has been said that Labour Day was established as a national holiday in order to commemorate the 1942 Burma Road Riot. Whereas the riots of 1942 were marked by violence, the 1958 General Strike was a peaceful, non-violent revolution of the labor laws of this country.
During the 60s leading up to January 1967, the standard of living throughout the colony of The Bahamas was atrocious. In fact, poverty in the Out Islands was more acute than in New Providence. The plight of poor black Bahamians was not the main concern of the white oligarchy, however. In December of 1966, a sudden unofficial strike erupted in New Providence, according to Sir Randol. Bahamian workers demanded more money. Hundreds of workers joined in the strike. It is obvious to all objective historians that most Bahamian workers were being paid chicken feed wages. The United Bahamian Party (UBP) was clearly a tarnished regime. This was the hue and cry of Sir Randol Fawkes and the Official Opposition, the PLP. The then Governor of The Bahamas Sir Ralph Grey was summoned to England to give an account of his stewardship and to report firsthand on charges of corruption, according to 'The Faith That Moved the Mountain'. This was in December 1966.
The UBP government then called for a snap general election to be held on January 10, 1967. The UBP did this in order to prove to England that the charges of corruption were baseless. Members of the UBP also feared standing before a commission of inquiry. The UBP, according to historians Michael Craton and Dr. Gail Saunders, clearly hoped that by calling the election so suddenly it would catch the opposition unprepared. The UBP obviously had a slight edge heading into the 1967 electoral contest. They had the financial power and most importantly the experience of running a government. At that time no black Bahamian had ever led The Bahamas. This undoubtedly caused many to feel apprehensive about the PLP gaining political power, especially white Bahamians. For over 200 years white Europeans were at the helm. Now all of a sudden it appeared as if a black political party was on the verge of wresting political power away from the white minority who had ruled this country for centuries.
Sir Randol wrote in his memoir that 94 candidates ran for the 38 seats in Parliament. The UBP fielded 36 candidates; the PLP, 29; Paul L. Adderly's National Democratic Party (NDP), 13; and the Labour Party ran four candidates. There were 12 independent candidates. Both the PLP and the UBP each won 18 seats. Of the 17 seats in New Providence, the PLP took 12. Fawkes defeated his black UBP opponent by a huge margin in St. Barnabas. Former UBP member Alvin R. Braynen won Harbour Island as an independent candidate. Braynen would go on to become Speaker of the House. It is interesting to note that of the 36 candidates nominated by the UBP, 14 were black, according to Sir Etienne Dupuch. On the other hand, none of the candidates for the PLP were white. The outcome of the election created a deadlock. Both major political parties courted Sir Randol for his support.
In fact, according to Sir Randol, Premier Sir Roland Symonette propositioned him by offering him whatever he wanted if he would join the UBP. He was even offered a ministerial post within a UBP administration. Had Sir Randol joined the UBP, he would have been rewarded handsomely by the wealthy Bay Street clique. But the labor leader decided to throw his support behind the PLP. This move by Sir Randol gave the PLP a one-seat majority in the House of Assembly, 19 seats to 18. For the first time in its modern history, The Bahamas would be ruled by the black majority, thanks to Sir Randol Fawkes. Had Sir Randol joined the UBP, Bahamian history would have been radically different. Majority Rule Day laid down the foundation for independence in 1973. Majority rule was the catalyst of social and economic transformation for not only black Bahamians, but white Bahamians also. In an interview with The Nassau Guardian that was held on January 11,1967, Sir Lynden stressed that the ''Progressive Liberal Party is for everyone. I hope the white population has realized this and have no fears'' (The Vision of Sir Lynden Pindling, page 23). Yet despite this reassurance from the newly-minted premier, two former cabinet ministers of the UBP government left the country after the devastating loss to the PLP: Sir Stafford Sands and Donald E. d'Albenas. Both couldn't bear the thought of living in a country that was governed by negroes.
That historic day (Majority Rule Day) brought to an end the reign of the Bay Street Boys. Majority rule made it possible for all Bahamians to have a share in the economic pie of the country, instead of just the Bay Street Boys and their special interest groups. Perhaps it can be argued that January 10,1967 was the most important day in the history of the modern Bahamas. Majority rule was a quiet, bloodless revolution. It was a civil rights victory for all Bahamians, including white Bahamians. January 10 should be celebrated by all Bahamians, not just the PLP. The name Sir Randol Fawkes will forever be etched in the annals of Bahamian history as one of the great national heroes of this country. Because of his important political move in 1967, history has been forever changed.
- Kevin Evans
MOSCOW, Russia - These 14th International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Championships in Moscow, Russia, have hit the Caribbean region hard, in terms of top athletes being caught cheating and disgracing the sport.
The championships, which wrapped up yesterday, featured the world's best track and field athletes. However, before the event got started on August 10, a number of Caribbean athletes failed doping tests.
One of the most revered athletes in Caribbean history, Veronica Campbell-Brown, tested positive for a banned diuretic, fellow Jamaicans Sherone Simpson and former world record holder Asafa Powell received positive doping tests from their nationals, and Trinidadians Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Aaron Armstrong were sent home from these world championships after tests from their national championships revealed illegal substances in their systems. Even Bahamian Trevorvano Mackey is rumored to have failed a drug test.
IAAF Council Member, Bahamian Pauline Davis-Thompson said that it is unfortunate, and they have to clean up the sport.
"First of all, it was very shocking to me. The Caribbean on the whole is known for having the cleanest, more talented and fastest athletes, and what we have seen over the past six months is that this region has been hit hard. That has now put a black eye on our region," she said.
"I just want to tell the young athletes out there that it doesn't pay to cheat. You are going to be caught, and you are going to humiliate your country, yourself and your family. That is a stigma that is going to be with you for the rest of your life.
"People will always be suspicious. Your best bet is just to stay away. Really and truly, it's not worth it. Later on in life you would develop all kinds of sicknesses and diseases, and you won't have enough money to take care of yourselves."
Davis-Thompson herself has never failed a drug test. As a matter of fact, she was a beneficiary of doping as she was upgraded to the gold medalist in the women's 200m from the Sydney Olympic Games when Marion Jones admitted to taking banned substances.
"These athletes know what they are putting in their systems, and if they don't, it doesn't hurt to ask questions. They could go on the internet if they are not sure. The IAAF has a list of prohibited substances, and if there are any questions, just pick up the telephone and ask someone," said Davis-Thompson.
"I don't even keep drugs in my house for headaches or anything like that. Our athletes, we have to make sure that they are surrounded by the right people. The young ones like Shaunae, Anthonique and Ryan can bring a lot of thrills to The Bahamas, but they have to be careful because there are some coaches out there, and some managers out there who will convince the athletes that they cannot make it to the top without taking these pills or injections. As an athlete, you have to be strong willed."
Davis-Thompson said that the sport of athletics on the whole is held to a higher standard because of the "pure sports" motto, and it is vital that they maintain a clean image.
"People tend to spank us, and they spank us hard. They consider athletics to be a universal sport - the mother of all sports, running, jumping and throwing. It's very natural," she said. "Even though we are the federation that tests our athletes on a continuous basis, when one of our athletes test positive, the world gets upset. It's like track and field is supposed to be 'pure sports', universal. We really take a lot of abuse from the general public. It hurts the sport to the point where people get disgusted and they walk away. That can hurt the sport because we end up losing sponsors, and the sport becomes damaged."
Davis-Thompson said that the recent revelations are crippling the sport, and she hopes that it stops before some serious damage is done. The 15th IAAF World Championships is two years from now, August 22-30, 2015, in Beijing, China.
"We are trying everything in our power to stamp out this drug culture," she said. "A lot of our young athletes seem to want success, and they want it now. The sport requires a lot of hard work. Everything comes in due time and with hard work."
Despite the many recent positive tests, Davis-Thompson said that about 98 percent of track and field athletes worldwide are clean. She said that it is the remaining two percent that is gradually killing the sport, and they in the IAAF must find a way to alleviate that, whether it be through stiffer penalties or by simply putting more stringent testing procedures in place.
Nassau, Bahamas - The Bahamas Judo Federation will be hosting the
Bahamas Judo Open this coming weekend.
Come out and watch the competition on
Saturday, August 7th from 1pm to 4pm at the Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road.
Watch a video about the Bahamas Judo Federation and its development and progress...
I have been informed that track star Shaunae Miller will only be available for the 200 meters (m) at the 14th International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Russia, August 10-18. The availability issue over the years has been a problem for the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) and sports federations in the country...
There are a few new faces, plays and calls but the team has the same winning attitude, according to the head coach of the senior men's national volleyball squad, Raymond Wilson.
Hours after the team wrapped up its final practice session, Wilson officially announced the players who will be representing the country at the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) 2nd Round Qualifiers for the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) Men's World Championships....
The infield at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium has been groomed, finally. The National Sports Authority (NSA) , under the leadership of Leroy Archer Jr., got to the task and now the infield is not the eyesore it had become and remained thus, for a rather lengthy period...
BASKETBALL 21ST CARIBBEAN BASKETBALL CONFEDERATION CHAMPIONSHIPS
* The XXI (21st) Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships are scheduled to start today at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Competition begins at 1pm today with a Group B matchup featuring Bermuda against St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Virgin Islanders will face Turks and Caicos at 3pm followed by Jamaica against Antigua and Barbuda at 5pm.
The opening ceremony is scheduled for 8pm, followed by the Bahamas taking the court against the Cayman Islands at 9pm.
In the preliminary round, the Bahamas will play in the feature game at 9pm each night.
SOCCER BETHEL TO HOST WEEK LONG SOCCER CAMP
* Head coach of COB & ...
Acceptance into the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) will give The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) access to some of the world's most influential organizations, and help to advance this country's arbitration ambitions, the BCCEC said yesterday.
Calling admission into the ICC "a milestone" for the organization, BCCEC Chairman Chester Cooper said that as a member of this powerful organization, BCCEC members will gain access to officials at the heart of influential intergovernmental bodies such as the G20 and the United Nations...
About 6,000 sports technicians from Cuba have been positioned throughout 50 countries, and are assisting with the sports development programs in those respective locations. In The Bahamas, two Cubans are working with the Bahamas Swim Federation (BSF). In a short period of time, the likelihood is that Cuban sports experts might be in this country in double figures.
In fact, as of the official signing of the Agreement for Sports Cooperation with The Bahamas on Tuesday, September 24 in Cuba, the gate was opened for the process of Cuban technical assistance into this country. Cuban Ambassador Ernesto Soberon Guzman who led the negotiations between his country and the Bahamian Government during the steps toward the venture, said congratulations were in order for Cuba and The Bahamas. He expressed his sentiments during a press conference held at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture on Monday, October 7. The signing of the cooperation arrangement was announced at the conference.
Dr. Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, who signed on behalf of The Bahamas Government, called the occasion "extremely historic."
"For many decades we in The Bahamas have wanted to establish (this sort) of relationship with Cuba. The time has come. Fidel Castro with his vision has built a society of people, many who are champions in their very own rights. We have received an opportunity to utilize (this relationship) as a tool to develop in sports medicine, in the field of competition and in humanity. We (in The Bahamas) must cooperate to maximize this relationship. God gave us a sign. It is time," emphasized Minister Johnson while on tour in Cuba September 22-25.
The minister was accompanied by Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Calvin Balfour, National Director of Sports Tim Munnings, Director of Sports in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Evon Wisdom, and National Sports Academy committee members D'Arcy Rahming and Fred Sturrup.
The portfolio of the technicians made available by the Cuban Government is extensive. Cubadeportes, the organization that is responsible for monitoring the technical assistance program, calls it the "Experience of Champions" with good reasons. The work of the Cubans in other countries has resulted in many champions. As for The Bahamas, Cuban coaches and trainers have been largely responsible for the success of amateur boxers Taureano Johnson, Valentino Knowles and Carl Heild.
Cubadeportes touts the program heavily:
"The Technical Assistance consists of sending professionals to offer their knowledge related to sport to any country where it is wanted. More than 6,000 sport technicians, in more than 50 countries, offer their services in different disciplines such as chess, track and field, basketball, handball, baseball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, soccer, artistic gymnastics, musical aerobics, general gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, hockey, roller derby, judo, karate do, weightlifting, wrestling, swimming, synchronized swimming, skating, water polo, rowing, sculling, softball, taekwondo, court tennis, table tennis, archery, shooting, sailing and volleyball.
"All these sport technicians are trainers, methodology workers, specialists in sport medicine, computer experts, people graduated at the Superior Institute of Physical Culture, masters and doctors, professors of the same institute, general advisers, specialists in integral organization of multidisciplinary events and in diagnostic studies for sport development, professors of physical education, specialists in rules and refereeing, psychologists, nutritionists and physiotherapists."
Such will be provided through the agreement between Cuba and The Bahamas. The Cuban Government, through Ambassador Guzman, made a large group of program directors and department heads, steeped in knowledge of the Cuban Sports System, available to the Bahamian delegation.
They included First Vice President of the Institute of Sports and Recreation (INDER) Roberto Leon Richards Aguiar, Vice President of INDER Jorge A. Polo Vazquez, National Health Promotion and Physical Education Director Gladys Becquer Diaz, Director Nilde Molina Secada from the National Gymnastic School, Director Jorge Pavel Pino of the Sports Medicine Institute, Ariel Sainz, president of the Cuban Volleyball Federation, Rector Barbara Tandron Negrin of the International School of Physical Education, Director Julio Falcon Ruffin from the Higher School of High Performance Athletes, Cubadeportes General Manager Carlos Rodriguez Acosta, Director of Events and Travel Agency Pedro Urquia Montano, Director of Technical Assistance Tania Olaniel Gonzales, Rector Antonio Becali Garrido of the University of Physical Culture and Sports Sciences, Fernando Rojas of the Ministry of Culture, and INDER Senior International Relations Specialist Ileana Alfonso Valdes.
(To respond to this sports feature, please contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) wrapped up its 40th National Championships this past weekend by crowning its overall champions in fitness, and male and female bodybuilding.
In the latter, there were just two competitors, and once again it was a showdown between defending champion Tammy Stubbs and the winner from the Northern Bahamas Championships Lorraine Lefleur. At the end of the night, it would be Lefleur who would come out on top and dubbed 'Miss Independence Bahamas'...
Before he died last Monday, Oscar Francis told his family to thank several persons who he felt recognized his contributions to sports in The Bahamas.
Many people involved in sports, just as people involved in numerous other areas of society, have missed recognition either by their peers or the national or international community. Few people reach the level of Apple's Steve Jobs or Penn State's Joe Paterno. Francis would have achieved additional recognition in death. He did appreciate the recognition given to him while he was alive, though.
Most of the top athletes in international sports receive acclaim in their prime. Just take a look at golf's Tiger Woods or boxing's Muhammad Ali. Once the competition is finished, only the very best athletes, coaches or officials are remembered.
As the time goes by it is difficult to remember what they did. Most people remember what Jessie Owens did at the 1936 Olympic Games before Adolf Hitler, but who remembers who won the men's 400 meters (m) or triple jump?
Regional and local sports
In 2003, the Central American and Caribbean Athletic Confederation decided to launch a Hall of Fame program for extraordinary regional athletes and other contributors to the sport of athletics. The athletes had to have participated in either the CAC Games or the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Senior Track and Field Championships, and won a medal in either the Olympic Games or the IAAF World Championships. The contributor would have made a significant contribution to regional athletics.
Most of the giants in the region have been recognized like Jamaica's Herb McKenley, Trinidad and Tobago's Haseley Crawford, who had a BWIA jet named after him, and The Bahamas' Frank Rutherford, Troy Kemp, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Dr. Bernard Nottage, Livingstone Bostwick and Keith Parker.
In March, Bahamians 'Golden Girl' Eldece Clarke and Doyle Burrows will be inducted into the CAC Hall of Fame in Nassau. In the USA every year, former track and field athletes are recognized by induction to the track and field body's Hall of Fame.
For current athletes most are given the type of recognition they deserve when they perform. Still many Bahamians do not understand or appreciate the achievements while they happen.
Last year, a phenomenal thing happened for Bahamian track and field. In the city of Lille, France, The Bahamas placed fourth in the IAAF World Youth Championships behind the USA, Kenya, and Jamaica, all powerhouses in world athletics.
Stephen Newbold won the gold in the 200m, Shaunae Miller the gold in the 400m, Latario Collie-Minns won the gold in the triple jump, and his twin Lathone, won the bronze in the triple jump. It was just four years ago when Grand Bahama's Nivea Smith won The Bahamas's first medal at the World Youth Championships, a bronze.
Ministry of Sports Hall of Fame
The Government of The Bahamas started its Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 in the administration of former Minister of Sports Peter Bethel.
BAAA Bahamian Track and Field Hall of Fame
The BAAA had three induction ceremonies to its Bahamian Track and Field Hall of Fame. That was in 1993, 1995, and 1997.
In the first class, high jumper Charlie Major, sprinter Thomas Augustus Robinson, hurdler Danny Smith, long jumper Shonel Ferguson and coaches Charley Wright and Henry Crawford were inducted. Numerous athletes and contributors have passed since then.
Many Bahamian track and field athletes of the past feel they have not been recognized for their contributions. The BAAA has named the top athlete of the year award in honor of Charley Major, the 1920s high jumper who ruled the roost in the United States. The 'Coach of the Year' award has been named after legendary coach Henry Crawford. The 'Official of the Year' award is named after Roderick Simms.
At the annual awards luncheon ceremony, numerous awards have been named after current and former contributors, expanding from the Charley Major, Henry Crawford, and Roderick Simms awards. Every now and then an athlete is selected to be honored at the year end awards ceremony, or at some other occasion, like the All Bahamian Scholar Athlete Awards.
This Hall of Fame will be re-introduced this year. It will be difficult to catch up however. Every now and then federations decide to honor their contributors but this is also not on a regular basis.
We realize though, that opportunities need to be created to spotlight those persons who have made significant contributions to Bahamian track and field. In this 60th year of the BAAA, every effort will be made to do just that.
An opportunity was created by 'The Friends of Thomas Augustus Robinson' in 2009 to honor sprint great Thomas Augustus Robinson. The numbers attending were from every section of Bahamian society. It was there that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham confirmed that the new national stadium would be named after Robinson.