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News Article

December 19, 2012
Enjoy New Year's Eve at Pelican Bay's Canal House with After Party at Sabor!

Freeport, Bahamas - Join us for New Year's Eve at the Canal House at Pelican Bay Hotel, and then dance the night away at our After Party at Sabor starting at 10pm and going until 1am. Sabor is situated marina-side and is one of the best locations in Grand Bahama to view the fireworks at midnight!

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News Article

December 30, 2011
Entertainment announced for New Year's Eve at Port Lucaya Marketplace

Freeport, Bahamas - Aside from the traditional fireworks at midnight,

"The Owners
and Directors of Bourbon Street Limited are pleased to feature the
Panache Band who will take the audience on a musical journey," reveals
Karen Bain, Entertainment Coordinator for Port
Lucaya Marketplace. "Hits from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and all chart toppers of today, will all be played to stimulate the audience to
'dance, dance, dance' the night away!"

The highlight of the evening will
be a special guest appearance by T's Dancing Diva's,
who gave their promise to perform a must see show...

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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

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
All Board For The Festival Of Lights
December 11, 2012
All Board For The Festival Of Lights

Plans for the third annual Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade, scheduled for Saturday, December 15, are well under way.

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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

January 09, 2014
Perry Christie's disastrous leadership on crime

Firepower battled with fireworks to ring in New Year's with a combustible combination of bloodletting and retaliation premixed last year erupting with undiminished frenzy in the new year.
January is considered "the door to the year" taking its name from Janus, in Roman mythology, "the god of the doorway".

What then Opposition Leader Perry Christie described in 2011 as "the tsunami of violence" surged through the doorway of the new year threatening another bloody 12 months.
This is not only in New Providence, 2014. It was also in the city of Chicago, January 2013 as reported by the Associated Press (AP).
"The year did not start promisingly, with more than 40 homicides recorded in January, including that of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton, who was gunned down a mile from President Barack Obama's South Side home," the report stated.
"...The city, which ended the year with a 16 percent drop in crime, saw the numbers of violent crimes, including robbery, aggravated battery and criminal sexual assault drop significantly -- some by double digits-- as well as drops in burglary and motor vehicle theft."
AP also reported: "Chicago's Police Department said Wednesday that after leading the nation in homicides in 2012, recording more than 500, the city last year listed the lowest number of killings since 1965, and saw its overall crime rate fall to a level not seen since 1972.
"By the end of 2013, the city had recorded 415 homicides, 88 fewer than in 2012 and 20 fewer than in 2011."
AP further reported: "In Chicago, the police also said the number of shootings fell 24 percent from 2,448 to 1,864 between 2012 and 2013, and the number of shooting victims dropped from 3,066 to 2,328 for the same period.
"Further, the department said every police district in the city saw a reduction in crime and all but four of the city's 22 police districts saw the number of homicides either fall or remain the same as the year before."

What a difference a year can make. Still, in battling crime, one must be careful in extrapolating from one jurisdiction to the next given the variables and differences between various contexts.
Yet there are comparisons and analogies between what may be needed in The Bahamas and what appears to be working to reduce criminal violence and murder in Chicago, other locales in the U.S. and in some Caribbean states.
Christie alluded to this in a 2011 national crime address he made as leader of the opposition.
He queried: "Did you know that in Jamaica murders are down 40 percent -- ours are up 58 percent nationwide and 69 percent for New Providence.
"What does that tell you?
"It tells you that the tsunami of violence sweeping our nation was never inevitable.
"It tells you an important reason for the escalation of crime in The Bahamas is poor governance.
"This government has been paralyzed, unable to lead on this crucial issue."
Essentially, Christie stressed that effective and competent leadership is critical in fighting crime.
AP reported what Chicago officials believe contributed to the significant double-digit decline in various violent crimes.
"'We are making significant progress by putting additional officers in high-crime areas, using intelligence to prevent retaliatory shootings, moving officers from administrative positions back to the streets,' Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a statement.
"The department and other city officials have pointed out that the drop in homicides, shootings and other violent crimes coincides with changes in police strategies, including tactics targeting violent street gangs that are responsible for the vast majority of the city's gun crimes and, significantly, about $100 million in overtime pay for hundreds of officers deployed nightly to high crime areas.
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said that besides putting more officers on the street, various programs for young people have played a role in bringing the numbers of violent crime down.
"At a recent news conference, for example, the mayor said that a record 20,000 young people were involved in the city's summer jobs program.
"'Not one of those kids was affected by gun violence this summer, and I don't believe for a minute that if they didn't have jobs they would be safe,' he said."
While there are many components to addressing the causes and the responses to crime, the state has a central role.

The government has failed on several fronts, with much of the failure that of the prime minister, who continues to pass the buck, throwing words and rhetoric at the cycle of violence, instead of mustering common sense and workable responses.
Last weekend Christie made this offensive statement, offensive to Bahamians in general and dismissive of the commissioner of police and his senior officers: "I said to the minister of national security, I'm not prepared to have my own legacy, my own reputation, be tied to a total reliance on the Royal Bahamas Police Force and to the leadership of that force."
"My own legacy, my own reputation"? Innocent people are being killed, the criminals seem large-and-in-charge, people are terrified and distraught, and Christie is worrying about his legacy? What a stunningly self-absorbed, imperious and arrogant statement.
Having failed to adhere to benchmarks and promises made in his 2011 crime address, Christie again demonstrated that he is a pass-the-buck leader. Recall those Bahamians still waiting for mortgage relief and Christie blaming others for his failure to act.
Notice that Christie did not generally criticize Police Commissioner Greenslade or his senior command when he was in opposition. Back then it was all or mostly the fault of then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and his National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest.
Now, "as prime minister", nearly two years in office, it is the police who are seemingly mostly at fault. Is this prime minister prepared to be held responsible for anything, ever, including a wasteland of promises he has never fulfilled?
The same bluster, over-promising, incompetence, poor leadership and blah, blah, blah nonsense that characterizes Christie's leadership in other areas is now adversely affecting the crime fight.

The very public and stinging criticism of the police by the head of government is a serious affair in terms of governance and public confidence.
National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage also publicly slapped down the commissioner, who criticized the civilian leadership after the robbery of Acting Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis. Nottage recently cooed the commissioner's praises in contrast to Christie's rebuke.
Differences and disagreements between the civilian and police leadership should be settled privately. The public feud between these leaderships has escalated, with the prime minster openly undermining the commissioner.
With these criticisms the course of action is clear. Either the commissioner should voluntarily resign or he should be dismissed if the prime minister no longer maintains confidence in him, which is a clear conclusion of Christie's remarks.
As an aside, the poor state of leadership on crime was dramatized in the robbery of the acting prime minister. Imagine had there been an urgent matter or a national emergency as Davis was being robbed?
Neither the commissioner of police, the commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force nor cabinet ministers, the Cabinet Secretary or our ambassadors overseas would have been able to reach the acting prime minister.
Oddly, Christie also noted last weekend: "To the extent that I am leader of the country, I am going to be intrusive in ensuring that the system that we are operating under is accountable to the people of this country. "
What the devil does he mean, "to the extent that I am leader"?
Every chance he gets he reminds the country that he's prime minister. And, what does he mean that he will be "intrusive".

The term for all of this is called doing your job!
But he has been so lackluster, ineffective and unconvincing on the crime front that he is now ducking responsibility and telling us that he will now do his job, which, given past performance, is highly unlikely.
So there was Christie again last week with the same overwrought, barely intelligible and hyperbolic bluster that few take seriously: "If I have to put a policeman and a police car on every corner, as they do in some countries, we are going to communicate to the criminals in this country that we are going to rout them out wherever they are."
Never mind that it may only be North Korea that has police on every corner, there is action the prime minister can take.
Instead of a self-serving photo-op to visit Pope Francis, Christie might have traveled to Chicago to consult with Mayor Emanuel to see firsthand what is working in terms of effective policing; intelligence gathering, especially before retaliatory killings; more effective action against gangs and immediate and longer-term social intervention strategies.
Christie's blame game on crime has been shattered, most especially by the carnage in Fox Hill. He can no longer blame Ingraham, Turnquest or Greenslade.


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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

June 30, 2011
Family of Faith Ministries International celebrates 10 years

Family of Faith Ministries International gears up to celebrate 10 years as a church body, July 1-3.
On Friday, July 1, they will jump-start the celebrations with a "Family and Friend Night" at 7:30 p.m. at the church grounds Monastery Heights Subdivision, off Bernard Road, with singspiration, testimonies, a rush-out and fireworks. The celebrations will climax on Sunday, July 3 with a banquet at 2 p.m. at the Wyndham Crystal Palace Casino on Cable Beach, during which long-serving faithful members will be honored.

Family of Faith was initiated in January 2001 when Apostle Rick Dean was called into full-time pastoral ministry.  Having shared Dean's vision, several faith-filled believers stepped out in expectation with Apostle Dean and his wife Gay to start Family of Faith Ministries International.  Its first board of directors consisted of Apostle Dean, Joseph Sweeting, Andrew Wong, Annette Bethel, Brenda Pratt, Geno Maycock and Jefferson Turner.

Their first service was held in the Kingsway Auditorium on Sunday, July 1, 2001.  Family of Faith became affiliated with the International Third World Leaders Association (ITWLA), a global network of Christian leaders and organizations from more than 50 nations on August 16, 2001.

Five months after starting at Kingsway, they relocated to a new home of worship on Jerome Avenue. The first service was held on December 9, 2001. The dedication service was led by Pastor Myles Munroe on January 20, 2002.

The body of believers immediately began searching for property to call their own, and on May 29, 2002 made a deposit on 3.9 acres in Monastery Heights Subdivision. The ground-breaking ceremony was held on January 23, 2005.

On July 17, 2006 contracts were signed for the commencement of construction of the Family of Faith Worship and Community Centre.  Once partial construction of the edifice was completed, they moved to the new site, and began worship in their new home on January 20, 2008.

In the past 10 years, they have witnessed members come to know the Lord. God also caused the development of spiritual growth to effect change in their homes, community and several of the Family Islands, especially Long Island where there is a continuing presence.

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News Article

December 08, 2010
Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade

Nassau, Bahamas - Remember a time, not so long ago when Mom and Dad would pack you and
your siblings into the family car and off you would go to see the
illuminations on the Eastern Road.  Well this pastime is a rarity now
as fewer houses decorate for Christmas like this anymore... so how about
a parade of lights?

The Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade is schedule to depart the
Montague Foreshore amid a blaze of fireworks at 7pm on Saturday,

December, 2010.  Boats, decorated with Christmas lights will begin
lining up at 5.30pm...

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