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GEORGE TOWN, Exuma -- One week after some 200 people celebrated the opening of BTC's new retail experience store in George Town, Exuma, the company said it had more good news for the Family Island in the central Bahamas -- the launch of 4G.
"We are proud to announce that 4G went live today in George Town, just in time for the 59th Annual National Family Island Regatta," said Marlon Johnson, Vice President, Brand & Communications. "We don't know if the A, B, or C Class boats will sail any faster than they normally do. But we do know that those on shore following the races and enjoying the festivities will be e-mailing, downloading, taking and sending video and photos, texting and connecting faster than ever with the highest possible speed for wireless communications, 4G."
BTC introduced 4G in New Providence with all 44 cell sites live in December, in parts of Grand Bahama later that month, completing work there in February, and is moving throughout the islands with the high-speed wireless service, compressing what had been intended as a 3-year project to one year. Work is finished in parts of Abaco. Bimini and the Berry Islands are on tap to go live with 4G next week. When the 4G roll-out is complete by late summer, The Bahamas will be one of only a handful of countries worldwide to be completely blanketed by 4G.
According to industry analysts, it is likely to be years before many parts of the U.S. are enabled by 4G, the platform that provides greater reliability and faster speeds on wireless devices, opening up a world of entertainment, social interaction and other benefits for those using Androids, iPhones, tablets, Samsung Galaxy models and other high speed devices.
More than $2 million has been spent on the construction of the six stores that have so far been unveiled by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
That figure represents approximately 25 percent of the funds that have been designated for the construction of 14 retail spaces.
Geoff Houston, the CEO of BTC, told Guardian Business that the budget for the stores is $8 million.
He noted that preparing these stores has been quite substantial, as millions are being invested to ensure that all retail spaces across the country are modernized.
"In total, I think we are going to get to at least 14 or 15 retail stores and then we are looking to build 30 more stores," according to Houston.
"The 30 stores will be built after the flagship locations have been completed. They will not be owned by BTC, but we would like for them all to be remodeled to the same standard and look as our flagship stores."
The opening of the Shirley Street location yesterday comes just days after another location was opened in Georgetown, Exuma.
In February, BTC invested $240,000 in the launch of two stores in Grand Bahama within three days of each other.
The stores on Pioneers Way and High Rock represent projects number two and three on a laundry list of major renovations and reopenings throughout the country for BTC.
BTC's new flagship store in the Mall at Marathon kicked off the initiative in January.
"The new concept fits the BTC vision of offering better choices for its customers," said Marlon Johnson, BTC's vice president of brand and communication, in reference to the opening at High Rock. "Now, people of East Grand Bahama can do much more than pay a bill and can access all of the latest telecommunications technology in their own community."
Johnson noted that the openings so far have been within budget and on schedule.
He revealed to Guardian Business that presently work is being done on the Governor's Harbour store in Eleuthera and the Seahorse Plaza location in Grand Bahama.
"We are still in the process of building those stores. The stores are expected to be completed within the next six to eight weeks," he noted.
The six flagship stores that have been opened in 2012 include three in New Providence, one in Exuma and two in Grand Bahama.
Six other locations are also under construction, including four in Eleuthera and two in Abaco.
Parliamentarians should not be seeking an increase in salary, nor should the government construct a new Parliament in this term, Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President John Pinder and former parliamentarian George Smith said.
"I thought they were very presumptuous to want that at this time when they are saying the country has no money, " Pinder said.
Smith said the timing for such recommendations is off.
"I believe the timing is bad to give thought to increasing politicians' salaries," Smith said.
"It should be revisited when the economy is much stronger and there is a surplus of money in the treasury."
A select committee of Parliament recommended the salaries of members of Parliament be reviewed, noting that MPs have not received an increase in 25 years.
The committee also called for the construction of a new Parliament within this term and an increase in constituency allowances and travel allowances, in addition to the introduction of grants to political parties represented in the House of Assembly.
Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage, who chaired the committee, presented its report in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
Members of Parliament are paid $28,000 yearly.
"While I sympathize with the members of Parliament that they haven't had an increase in a number of years, the timing is poor to suggest right now that government find funds to do that," Pinder said.
"We are faced with the government trying to introduce value-added tax (VAT) on Bahamians who can't afford that. The country is strapped for cash. I have a number of members who work in buildings that have been condemned for a number of years -- they work in poor environments.
"The government first of all needs to ensure that all of its employees are in proper accommodations before they even talk about building any new House of Assembly."
Smith said the notion of a salary review is wrong.
"MPs should stay away from causing the public to believe that people who enter politics do it because they expect to be financially rewarded for their time," he said.
"I see politics as a...noble vocation and politicians should always behave in a way to warrant the public believing that it is a vocation like one who enters the priesthood."
Smith said the government should focus on growing the economy and not on increasing luxuries.
"We should only do it if and when people are contented in it happening," he said.
Nottage said the report received the unanimous consent of all members of the committee, which includes Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell; Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells; South Beach MP Cleola Hamilton; Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant; St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman and North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly.
Jordan - Bahamas Film Commissioner, Craig Woods was recently in Jordan at the invitation of the film commissioner, George David who is also president of Association of Film Commissioners International, (AFCI) of which the Bahamas has been an active member for the last 15 years.
Johnny Depp Starrer “The Rum Diary” and Sports Dramedy “Breakaway” To Bookend Festival as Opening And Closing Night Films, Respectively
Nassau, Bahamas – November 17, 2011 – Festival Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool today announced the final program details for the 8th edition of the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF), which takes place December 1-4, 2011 in Nassau.
HG Christie Ltd. and CBRE Successfully Sell Bahamas’ Big Grand Cay Archipelago Estate at Auction...
Big Grand Cay Archipelago being Auctioned by CBRE in Cooperation with HG Christie Ltd...
With a squad led by a crop of outstanding college players, the Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) is hoping that its representatives for the 2011 World Baseball Challenge (WBC) make an immediate impression, particularly to professional scouts.
Coming on the heels of what was another successful Andre Rodgers Championships, the prestigious World Baseball Challenge will be held July 8-19, in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. The 24-member squad will be led by collegians Desmond Russell, Richard Bain and Ali Knowles, along with recent college graduate Ramon Grant, and local slugger Sherman Ferguson.
The team, which held its last full practice session yesterday evening at the Junior Baseball League of Nassau's (JBLN) Field of Dreams Complex, will stage a 'Media Day' this evening, and a light workout tomorrow evening, before leaving for Prince George, Canada, on Thursday afternoon. The team will play its first game on Saturday afternoon against Chinese Taipei.
"I think we'll definitely go over there and be competitive," said BBF Secretary General Teddy Sweeting yesterday. "We think that the guys are going to play respectable baseball and give a good show. We feel confident that they will perform well. There's no doubt that this is the best possible team that we could put together at this particular time. This team is made up of the best Bahamian baseball players in college, and without a doubt, I think they will perform well," he added.
A total of six teams are set to compete in the tournament - the Bahamian team and Cuba from this region, host country Canada from North America, and the Beijing Tigers, Chinese Taipei and Japan from Asia.
The BBF sent a squad to the first Prince George tournament two years ago, putting up its best showing in a game against a powerful American squad. Team Bahamas lost that game, 8-1, but right-handed pitcher Russell gave up just four hits and had his team within one run, 2-1, in the seventh inning. He finished the game, yielding just two earned runs.
Team Bahamas finished winless in that inaugural tournament two years ago, but the young squad turned a number of heads with their tremendous talent and knowledge of the game. This year's World Baseball Challenge has improved, in terms of quality of teams, with the additions of Cuba, Chinese Taipei, Japan and the Beijing Tigers. They will join Team Bahamas and host country Canada in a round-robin plus playoffs format.
Five years ago, a senior men's squad from The Bahamas recorded a historic 2-1 victory over a squad from Cuba at the World University Games in Havana, Cuba. It was the first time that a senior national team from The Bahamas defeated a senior Cuban squad.
Lynden Pindling III
Theodore 'Trae' Sweeting
Bertram Murray Jr.
Jamaica, our sister Caribbean island, is poised to defend its sprinting title at the London Olympics. Four years ago in Beijing, led by the awesomely swift legs of Usain Bolt, Jamaica established beyond any doubt that it had produced the most excellent sprinters, male and female, the world ever saw.
Yes, it is the view here that the 2008 Jamaican Olympic sprinters, collectively, were the best ever accumulated at one time.
Bolt exceeded the expectations many had of him since he was a junior world record holder in the 200 meters.
His 9.58 and 19.19 recordings in the short sprints respectively might very well last for decades to come.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was not known very much worldwide when she demonstrated shocking speed to win the 100 meters in Beijing with a time of 10.78. She has since lowered her personal best to 10.70. While that clocking, superb as it is, doesn't come close to the ridiculously low 10.49 achieved by he late Florence Griffith-Joyner, Fraser-Pryce has proven that she was much more than a flash in the pan.
At the Jamaican Nationals just recently, she easily defeated Veronica Campbell-Brown in both the 100 and 200 meters. She goes to London as a strong double possibility.
Bolt and the man who conquered him twice at the Jamaican Nationals, Yohan Blake, are the sprint favorites for London.
What is so amazing about Jamaica is how the relatively small nation (compared to the United States, Russia, Germany and the like) has been so consistent for almost 70 years in producing the best in the world of sprinters.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, the trend began with Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, George Rhoden and Les Laing. In the 1950s, Keith Gardiner came on stream, followed by George Kerr, Dennis Johnson and Lennox Miller in the 1960s. Miller bridged the gap to Don Quarrie in the 1970 and Bert Cameron subsequently had some superb years during the 1980s. McKenley, Rhoden, Wint, Laing, Kerr and Cameron were successful in the longer sprint of 100 meters. Kerr was also terrific over two laps.
The Jamaican short sprinters of the present era are the greatest group yet. Bolt, Blake, Asafa Powell, Nester Carter and Michael Frater are a fantastic collection. Only the USA can boast of having such a five, close to Jamaica at any one time.
On the female side, Grace Jackson, Merlene Ottey and Julieth Cuthbert passed the baton on to Campbell-Brown, Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.
It's a wonderful history of sprinting that can be favorably spoken about with passion and conviction, equally, as that of the USA.
We in The Bahamas can emulate Jamaica.
We would do well to seek to be as Jamaica is and has been for many years. For The Bahamas, only the Golden Girls have had the great consistency at the top of the world.
In The Bahamas, there has always been the potential to be better in athletic and other sports disciplines.
Do we strive for excellence as Jamaica does?
Have we been rather elated to produce semi-finalists while Jamaica's sight has been set on the top prize?
What is it?
The recipe for Jamaica is the combination of hard work and the one agenda of going for the gold. Yes, there are "attitudes" and "personality conflicts" in Jamaica for sure. What they have been great at though is in putting aside individual views in favor of a total focus on the gold.
Intrinsically, The Bahamas is not there yet. We do have what it takes to emulate Jamaica in world sprinting.
Presently, however, Jamaica is leagues ahead of us in that department. Jamaica will once again be the Caribbean sprint leader at the Olympics.
We must grab the formula that can place us alongside or close to Jamaica.
That's the future.
For now, yes, it's go Bahamas!
Also, go Jamaica!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.