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News Article

October 26, 2010
Rotary Clubs of Grand Bahama present Guy Fawkes on the Beach, November 7th

Grand Bahama Island -  Rotary Clubs of Grand Bahama will join together to host yet another favourite family event,

Guy Fawkes Night on the Beach on November 7th beginning at 4pm at  Margaritaville Sand Bar in Mathers Town.

Tickets are
only $10 for adults and $5 for children and provides a choice of BBQ
Ribs, Hamburgers, or Hotdogs with side orders and desserts.

Show off your best 'Guy' and then toss them onto the bonfire on the beach.Win Prizes!

"Guy Fawkes Night

(also known as

Bonfire Night,

Cracker Night,

Fireworks Night) is an annual celebration on the evening of the

5th of November..."

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News Article

July 30, 2014
The costs of freedom

After emancipation, our enslavement mutated from a 100 percent physically bound condition to a 100 percent mentally bound condition and, like a legitimate mental illness, this psychological deficiency displays itself as hereditary.
We have it and we don't know we have it. We just pass it on from one person, family, and generation to the next, never acknowledging it as it really is. If it manifests itself, we don't get treatment, because we can't or won't identify it for what it is. When it can be identified, we are embarrassed by it or ignore it and call it something else. But, in truth, it is sustained mental bondage.
It is the reason why we can gain freedom from shackles and independence from the European motherland, be left in charge of our own destiny, take control politically, socially, and economically, yet never be in control of ourselves.
We cannot shake this affliction that is the identical norm for countries of like people who have travelled paths the same as or similar to ours. We share such comparable pasts which today exhibit an equivalence of psychosomatic development disorders. And it's not only because of economic inequity.
Certainly, if someone steals your material wealth, it leaves you economically deprived, but the lack doesn't end there.
It seems, as an inheritor of oppression, historic and external or modern and internal, that no matter what you do or have done to begin anew, you still are unable to rise higher than the limitations of your restrained past, because you fail to recognize that you've lost something to that time more important than your material possessions.
You've been dispossessed of your mental and emotional wealth, whether they were stolen by others or squandered by yourself, and those resources take a much longer time to be restored, if in fact they ever can be.
Even after adopting an entire system of government and religious, academic, and social constructs, you cannot enjoy your separation from the world to which you were bound.
You cannot enjoy your separation, because it is illusory. You've never separated yourself from the stronghold of a bound mentality, and transplanting religion, policy, education, and social norms could never remove the remnants of enslaved conditions.
You began a country that didn't really know what it wanted to be so it adapted a template of the only thing you knew: a model from your owner-master that would serve only to perpetuate the experiences of slavery even amongst the freed, a model bound to fail without the prerequisite mental restoration of your people.
You could not and cannot restore your mental wealth and well-being without reconditioning your thought patterns. Otherwise, you have created and will continue to create a system of institutions and formalities which have no real purpose or soon become symbolic of only themselves.
A light show to the sky every year to convince yourself and the world that you are free is but a ritual. If you have never wholly accepted the primary tenet of freedom - complete individual responsibility - as the foundation for all of your development, for yourself, your world, your future, how can you honestly be free?
Freedom, real freedom, is tremendously expensive. You forego many things, many emotional, material, and monetary things, to have it and to keep it. Until you accept these costs of freedom, the burden of true and free living, the challenge of completely invalidating what anyone thinks of you, what anyone thinks you should have, or thinks you should be, you will never understand or appreciate real freedom.
You cannot be free without being responsible, chiefly to yourself, for your actions and for your words.
You cannot be free by a ceremony of fireworks, flag-waving, singing, or reciting.
You can celebrate a political divorce from a mother country, but that split does not automatically equate to freedom.
Freedom is a condition of the mind and of being which requires an acceptance of personal responsibility. Being in control, being in charge of oneself, is accepting and embracing the fullness of responsibility that comes with self-governance.
When you accept that freedom is your own and greatest internal responsibility for the rest of your human existence, then you can begin to be free. And you cannot be independent without being free.
When you relieve yourself and your mind of the limitations placed upon you by others and by yourself, then you take control of your internal freedom. When you take control of your personal freedom, then you can be an independent part of a whole and free country.
When you are a free country, as represented by the strength and durability of your national mentality, then you are free from your dependence on the thinking and persuasions of others. And when you are free of such externally-imposed mental controls, then you can finally be a liberated nation.
July 10, 1973 did not make us free, it gave us political independence from Britain. Being truly free is a personal responsibility and it originates solely within each individual. It is a permanent state of mind as well as body.
o Nicole Burrows is an academically-trained economist. She can be contacted via Facebook at Facebook.com/NicoleBurrows.

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News Article

November 20, 2013
Haiti and the concept of chaos

I took recently the red-eye flight from New York's Kennedy Airport, not to Los Angeles but the other way around to Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, en route to Haiti. The flight was uneventful. There were few passengers on the plane; as such I could take a whole row of seats to make a comfortable bed for myself to sleep over the entire journey until we landed in sleeping Santiago at the dawn of the day.
The time to make friends with a travelling companion on arrival at the gate who was also making a detour to get into Haiti, it was almost five in the morning. This companion, a former American marine, will prove very useful later against the strangely corrupt Dominican custom agents. We hopped into a cab to the bus station towards Dajabond, the frontier town linking Haiti with the Dominican Republic via the sister city of Ouanaminthe.
A pleasant journey, the six o'clock bus picks up the earlier workers; it seems they know each other by engaging into the same routine every day. It is a two-hour drive; the kids in their blue shirts and khaki pants uniform all along the road depict a confident Dominican Republic facing the future in spite of the international commotion against the racist ruling depriving the Haitian Dominicans of their national identity.
At the border, in spite of paying the $20 exit fee in addition to the $10 tourist visa entrance (albeit I was only in transit in the DR), some enterprising Dominican custom agents were trying to shake us down for some more pesos as we were entering into Haiti. My new friend, like a true marine, refused the corruption whip and threatened to denounce and vituperate. The officials bowed down, surprised there are still gallant and valiant Haitian people that do not back down when facing bandits in uniform.
In spite of the corruption index against Haiti, the Haitian border agents were nice and correct. There was neither demand for, nor exchange of money for the privilege of entering into or exiting from Haiti. The only harassment was the many young Haitian workers bargaining to help us with our bags to our waiting car.
From Ouanaminthe to Cape Haitian it was another ride, pleasant and soothing, dreaming of a Haiti that could transform all this waste land of vast plain of fields into organic products for the consumption of its national citizens and also for its Diaspora, as well as all the aficionados of excellent and healthy food.
The shock and the surprise were upon entering the city of Cape Haitian, when the concept of chaos takes all its proportion. The bus station serving the different towns of the north of Haiti is a complete mess. Centered on a gas station, where the security guard keeps chasing the trucks that stay too long on its perimeter, you find a tail wagging the dog, producing chaos without end.
Crossing the small bridge that leads to the town center, Cape Haitian, a jewel of real estate properties that belong to a museum, is chaotic, like a nest of ants. Yet amidst the chaos there is an elegant dance of fair play, where everyone is busy about his own business not contravening his fellow citizen.
It was as such until an ill intentioned leader took upon himself the task of haranguing the mass to take up arms and uproot the social order for an alleged better order. Haiti has been sinking into the abyss of chaos for the past fifty six years (1957-2013) under the doctrine of my agenda is better than your agenda. The legitimacy of the present government is being challenged by an opposition that wants nothing but to control the spoils of the last frontier of the Western Hemisphere.
One week before my passing through Cape Haitian, the venerable Lyceum of the city was the scene of a violent uprising, pitting different leaders who want control of the student voice and the student vote. Several students were hurt by either tear gas by the police or violence by one of the group factions.
My final destination was the capital city of Port au Prince, on a journey that took me a full week to complete. The stop over included the privilege of attending the ritual of the Day of the Dead on November 1 in my hometown of Grand River. I was amused to watch public officials with cigars well lighted in their mouth giving into the voodoo ceremony of praying to the Baron Samedi (the Master) of the cemetery to maintain their official positions.
I was not so amused when the traditional November 1 Day of the Dead Ball in plain air with Tropicana was punctuated by constant gunshots into the air to express the virile station of men in search of ejaculation or surrounded by strong emotion. I have learned later that Baron Samedi worship includes lewd and lascivious practice that explains the debauchery of gunshots similar to fireworks celebration.
My trip to Port-au-Prince early in the morning saved me from the chaos of demonstration in City Soleil, one of the famous slums of the city where again competing political forces are fighting to take control of the meager benefit of overseeing a mass in complete misery but still living in resilience and in dignity.
I failed to take a peek of the myriad demonstrations by the barristers for alleged rights violations of one of their own by the district attorney. A militant attorney caught in a police roadblock refused to have his car inspected, he was arrested and all hell broke loose by the politicians to condemn the misdeeds of a government that by all account is the best one that Haiti has known for the past 56 years.
The slow fire is ignited by a political group whose agenda is to ignite the explosive germ of social dissension between blacks and mulattoes of the same nation, creating a chaos that almost exploded the country a decade ago.
I was present, though, at the annual meeting of the Haitian Studies Association, a group from the Diaspora with a mission to promote the value and the knowledge of Haitian history, culture and patrimony. It awarded its prize to Frank Etienne, the notable Haitian screenwriter.
I was surprised to find out that Frank Etienne created some 20 years ago the concept of Haiti as a chaos. In his speech to accept the honor, he related the futurist notion that Haiti will be the venue for all those in the world who are escaping a world in chaos. According to Frank Etienne, the rest of the world is experiencing a chaotic situation where Haiti will play a leading role in stewarding escape and solace with its resilience in and from chaos.
I beg to demur, Frank Etienne, Haiti should instead escape from its chaotic situation and teach the world order, justice, stability, harmony and prosperity. Its aborted illuminating revolution 200 years ago that failed to create a better world not only for Haiti but also for the rest of the world is not completely buried and incinerated.
With its natural beauty and its resilience through chaos, Haiti could possibly become the venue where order and radiance could emerge for this world where the concept of chaos is the preferred solution for the control of the market forces in the production and the sale of goods and ideas.
Already, Bill Clinton, Sean Penn and Donna Karan are regular refugees from the chaotic world to immerse into the esoteric Haiti as described by Frank Etienne. Yet, I am still longing for a Haiti that should become hospitable to all; as such, chaos and Haiti will cease to be Siamese twins.
o Jean H. Charles LLB, MSW, JD is a syndicated columnist with Caribbean News Now. He can be reached at jeanhcharles@aol.com and followed for past essays atCaribbeannewsnow/Haiti.

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News Article
William and Kate want to visit The Bahamas
July 06, 2011
William and Kate want to visit The Bahamas

His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, while visiting Canada told The Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada His Excellency Michael Smith and his wife Suzanne, that he and his wife would like to visit The Bahamas.

They spoke while watching the fireworks launched to celebrate Canada Day. His Excellency, who is Dean of CARICOM High in Canada and his wife Suzanne were among a group of about 50 diplomats, government ministers and officials invited to the observation deck of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a dinner reception before observing the festivities.

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News Article

November 02, 2011
A Haitian tourism minister to match its potential

I wrote a column two years ago where I stated that I have found in Haiti three women who deserved the gold standard of summum bonum: Martine Deverson, who created Artisanal en fete, by bringing together once a year all the Haitian artists under one roof; Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin, who almost individually gave life to the ATA, the association of hotel owners; and Danielle St. Lot, who put the Haitian artists, the culinary specialists and the organic plant growers together.
President Joseph Michel Martelly and his Prime Minister Garry Conille were smart enough to select one of them, Stephanie Balmir Villadroin, as their minister of tourism.  Haiti will have at last a minister of tourism to match its potential.
Indeed, Haiti's potential to become a tourist destination is immense.  I was at the Club Med in the Dominican Republic at the Romana, when I met a group of tourists from Brittany in France, who share our common culture; we have been educated by the priests and the religious brothers and sisters from Brittany, as such creating a natural bond.  One of them told me upon knowing that I was from Haiti, he wished he was in a Club Med in Haiti, because the culture is stronger, the hospitality is larger and the view is better.
It has been a common opinion of the travel connoisseurs that Haiti, in spite of its pitfalls, is a destination that can rival Bali in Indonesia or Valencia in Spain.  Haiti's governance has been so delinquent in its performance that it could not achieve, nay, come close to its potential in tourism.  The last minister of tourism, as well as his general director, was bartering for the last eight years a master plan that never reached the stage of application even at the elementary level.
Yet the calendar of cultural activities that the Haitians themselves have developed is rich in ritual, in meaning and in significance for the diaspora as well as for the foreigners.
Take a peek.
 
Haiti's cultural richness
From May 1 to November 1, the day of All Saints as well as the following day, the Day of the Dead, Haiti is alive with a vibrant succession of religious festivals for the patron saint of the cities, the towns and the rural villages.  This phenomenon is reminiscent of the medieval era where the pilgrims in penitent clothing travelled from St. Jacques of Compostello, Spain, to the Saint Sepulcher in the Holy Land, Israel.  The pilgrims would keep the Christian face intact except that voodoo syncretism has crept into the celebration, giving color, sometimes squalor to the fiesta, repulsive for some and amusing for others.
Haiti did not leave the medieval era, the clock has stopped there.
From November 2 to Christmas Day we enter into the season of Noel that could be as splendid and as festive as our neighbor next door in the Dominican Republic.  The Dominicans, those from home as well as those from the diaspora, started their weekend on Wednesday during that season with all the party and the fireworks that go along with it.
From December 26 to January 12, the country should institute an International Solidarity period with Haiti.  It was only two years ago that a strong earthquake destroyed the capital and the surrounding areas.  To commemorate that event, when more than 300,000 persons perished, the rest of the world can demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Haiti by visiting and performing some charity works in the country, with specific projects worked out in advance by the ministries of tourism, culture and social affairs.
From the second Sunday of January to Ash Wednesday, Haiti enters into the Carnival season that was cancelled only twice during in its lifetime.  One of them was during the year of the earthquake in 2010.
Trinidad and Tobago, eat your heart out.  Haiti is coming after you to rival the throne that you occupied for so long during carnival time.  Young and old, rich and poor give themselves up to enjoy, party and make merry all weekend.  Haiti has a president that used to be the king of the band leader during carnival time; will he lead the parade of the revelers?  Come to Haiti during Carnival to find out.
 
A dynamic tourism product
From Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, the Rara season, or the carnival of the peasants, takes place.  It is an underground movement that is frowned upon by the good people of God.  Indeed the Rara revelers in their songs and their dance blame God and their government for keeping them in such a destitute state.  No one pays attention to their supplication.  Maybe this government will; it has already taken the necessary measures to institute free education for all children, rural and urban.  It has also promised to the farmers low-cost fertilizer for their produce.
It is already Easter and May 1 is around the corner to mark the cultural calendar which, as the sun, will rise to shine for all those who cherish life and happiness.
Villedrouin, am I certain, will be as the minister of tourism of St. Lucia, Allan Chastanet, or the minister of tourism of Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett, amongst the best in the field.  She has the stamina, the creativity, the simplicity and the humility to start with what can be done now, and achieve later the potential of where Haiti can reach.
Up to the sky - no limit in sight!

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News Article

July 04, 2011
US Ambassador Avant marks the United States' 235th anniversary of independence with 'A Salute to California'

NASSAU, Bahamas -- U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas Her Excellency Nicole A. Avant and her husband, Mr. Theodore Sarandos, hosted the official U.S. Independence Day celebration at the U.S. Ambassador's Liberty Overlook home on Saturday,
July 2.  
The event was held under the theme, "A Salute to California", and it brought together guests from throughout The Bahamas and the United States and to enjoy and sample an array of California's culture and cuisine.  Musical entertainment for the occasion was provided by Jazz Etc. who performed a repertoire of California songs with the evening culminating in a spectacular fireworks display set to Tchaikovsky's Overture of 1812.
Ambassador Avant, speaking on behalf of U.S. President Barack Obama, thanked her guests for their continued support and friendship to the people of America and referenced a remark made by President Obama.
"This is the day when we celebrate the very essence of America and the spirit that has defined us as a people and as a nation for more than two centuries."
The evening was set aside to pay tribute to the Ambassador's home state of California and she highlighted what makes the State so unique.

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News Article

July 03, 2011
U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant Marks the United States' 235th Anniversary of Independence with A Salute To California

Nassau, Bahamas - U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas Her Excellency Nicole A. Avant and her husband Mr. Theodore Sarandos hosted the official U.S. Independence Day celebration at the U.S. Ambassador's Liberty Overlook home on Saturday, July 2.  The event was held under the theme, "A Salute to California", and it brought together guests from throughout The Bahamas and the United States and to enjoy and sample an array of California's
culture and cuisine.  Musical entertainment for the occasion was provided by Jazz Etc. who performed a repertoire of California songs with the evening culminating in a spectacular fireworks display set to Tchaikovsky's Overture of 1812. 

Ambassador Avant, speaking on behalf of U.S. President Barack Obama...

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News Article

February 27, 2012
(Photos) National Stadium officially opens in The Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas - More than 15
thousand Bahamians turn out February 25th, 2012 to be a part of the official
opening of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, a gift to The
Bahamas from the Government of the People's Republic of China.

In an open to the public free event, the huge
audience was feted with an exciting cultural show put on by a cast of
more than 1,200 artists and performers. At the end it was capped with a
grand display of fireworks.

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News Article

December 23, 2010
Sheraton Nassau Beach New Year's Dining Options

Nassau, Bahamas -

Enjoy fine dining at Amici!  Experience the bountiful New Year's Eve buffet at

Bimini Market at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.

$60 NEW YEAR'S ACTIVITIES. Watch the Time Square Ball Drop. Live band entertainment and Fireworks.  On Saturday, January 1st take in our

New Year's Day Buffet at Bimini Market. $28.75 for Lunch and $32.20 for Dinner...

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News Article

February 27, 2012
New national stadium officially opened!

Tears of joy streamed down the faces of many Bahamians on Saturday evening as they watched the spectacular show staged, for the opening of the country's first state-of-the-art sports facility, in amazement. Thousands poured into the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Saturday, wanting to be a part of the historic event.
For many years now, athletes past and present were lobbying for an arena which would set them apart from their regional counterparts, like their performances in various sporting disciplines, and the construction of the stadium is said to be the edge that will be needed to further propel the country forward.
While the fireworks lit up the sky, and Bahamians stood proud, the country's best athletes including the trail blazers and those still carrying the torch, shouted out with glee, "finally". Olympic icon Pauline Davis-Thompson viewed it as "a vindication for all of the sporting persons", who came before her and those standing and still competing now. She said: "The Bahamas should stand proud and tall, as we understand that there were people who came before us and sacrificed many things to make this dream come true. The Bahamas is now recognized as one of the sporting powers in the world, but more importantly, the people of The Bahamas recognized us for what we have been doing. The Government of The Bahamas has recognized what we have been doing by rewarding us with such a beautiful arena."
The four-hour ceremony featured Bahamian athletes, musicians, dancers and icons. The event, broadcasted live, gave Bahamians from around the country an opportunity to share in the moment. International leaders, including representatives from the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), regional sporting heads and giants, were on hand to watch the ceremony, which was done at an approximate cost of $600,000 to the government.
The national facility, named after Thomas Augustus Robinson, is a gift to The Bahamas from the People's Republic of China. It seats 15,000 and will be the home of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) and the Bahamas Football Association (BFA). Robinson was the sole competitor for The Bahamas on the world stage for many years. He competed in four Olympic Games, starting in 1956. Two years later, he won gold at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, in Cardiff, Wales. The gold medal performance was accomplished in the 220 yards. Robinson also won a silver in the 100 yard dash.
When the British Empire and Commonwealth Games were hosted in 1962 and 1964, he claimed a silver in the 100 yard dash. At the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, held in 1962, Robinson won a gold medal in the 100 yard dash.
It was these achievements among others, in which, the grand celebration was held. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said: "Tonight, we celebrate. We celebrate the embodiment of our Bahamian spirit and our Bahamian pride in Thomas Augustus Robinson in whose name and honor we dedicate this new national stadium. Tommy, you make us all proud to be a Bahamian. You are a sprinter by training. Yet you are also a marathon man as demonstrated by your considerable contributions to national development, and in helping to bring to fruition, the dream of this day. Tommy, you have fought the good fight. You are finishing the race with the very style and grace you exhibited in representing your country in four Olympiads. You have kept the faith.
"Tonight, we also celebrate Bahamian athletes, past and present. Tonight we celebrate a new day for athletics in fields of endeavor and competition such as baseball, basketball, soccer, American football, swimming, diving, tennis, cycling and other sports. We are delighted that this new athletic and cultural center will host major regional and international events like jazz and reggae festivals as well as other musical and special events. Fellow Bahamians at home and those joining in this celebration from overseas, tonight we celebrate the very essence of who we are as a people. We celebrate our Bahamian identity and nationhood."
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard said the construction of the national stadium "creates real opportunities for The Bahamas to extend an invitation to the world to practice, compete and enjoy the best of the islands of The Bahamas." He believes that key to sustaining growth, is the state-of-the-art facility.
The preparation process for the official opening did not go without hiccups which resulted in many becoming critics of the current government. Many believed that the price tag for the opening was too high, especially since millions will be spent on the overall re-development of the Queen Elizabeth Sports Complex.
"The government is spending over $50 million in and around this site starting with the commissioning of a comprehensive master plan of the 400-plus acres around this stadium," revealed Maynard. "The IBS group, a Bahamian Civil Engineering group, whose principals are Nick Dean and Kevin Sweeting, completed the design of a multiuse sports and recreation compound in record time. We are now well into the execution of phase one of this master plan which has created a lot of what you would have seen on your way here, and a lot of what you cannot see that makes this stadium functional."
Maynard is promising that work will begin on the new state-of-the-art internationally certified Hot Rod complex by the end of next month.

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