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Sculling fans from near and far gathered along the shoreline at Fort Montagu beach last weekend to see if Clayton Bain would once again emerge as the sculling champion.
For the third year in a row, he proved that he is indeed the champion.
"The trash-talking started hours before the race," said Lynden Johnson, Bahamian Brewery director of sales and marketing.
"The scullers were all bragging about their ability and the spectators wondered who would be crowned the champion.
"The atmosphere at Montagu Beach was fantastic for sculling and we couldn't hope for the day to have gone any better."
The sculling weekend last Saturday with the High Rock Scramble relay race which was won by Charles Kelly, Jason Robinson and Dianne Dewitt.
After the races were done, the crowd was entertained by Willis & the Illest Band.
Sunday brought the main event, which included the E-class races and the much anticipated sculling championship.
During the Sands E-class regatta, legendary sailor Lundy Robinson won three races and was crowned the E-Class regatta winner.
Kyle Darville placed second and Steven Rolle third.
Once the sailing races finished, it was time for the main event and spectators assembled at the shoreline early, enabling the races to start on time.
Participating in the sculling championship from across The Bahamas were Dennis Fox, St. Valentine champion; Richard Ross, Nassau champion; Danny Knowles, Long Island champion; Steven Rolle, National Family Islands (Exuma) champion in the first heat; Clayton Bain, defending champion; Skeeter Rolle, Abaco champion; Reuben Knowles, Nassau champion; and Clay Moxey, Grand Bahama champion.
Richard Ross and Dennis Fox from the first heat and Clayton Bain and Clay Moxey from the second heat advanced through to the championship round.
Richard Ross was unable to compete in the championship round so the competitors agreed to include Steven Rolle in the championship race.
After a fierce sculling competition and with huge support, Clayton Bain won for a third straight year, proving that he is the sculling champion of The Bahamas.
He won both the coveted trophy and 20 cases of Sands beer.
Dennis Fox placed second and Clay Moxey placed third in the championship round, winning 15 and 12 cases of Sands beer respectively.
To end the night in grand style, the brewery held a great Bahamian concert, featuring Veronica Bishop, D Mac, Geno D and The Spank Band.
"I can honestly say that this weekend was a truly Bahamian great time, from the regatta races, to the sculling championship, to the fantastic entertainment provided by our own, truly Bahamian artists," Johnson said.
Funeral service for Clifford Moxey, 77 of Pinewood Gardens and formerly of Mangrove Cay, Andros who died on May 5th, 2011, will be held on Saturday, May 14th, 2011, at 2:00 p.m., at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, #47 Boyd Road. Officiating will be Father Martin Gomes, SS.CC. Interment follows in Tyler Street Cemetery, Tyler Street.
HERE IN LIFE AWAITING THE REUNION IS HIS WIFE: LENORA, DAUGHTERS: JANET JACKSON OF MIAMI FL, CYNTHIA MCPHEE OF FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA’, FIVE GRANDSONS: TERRENCE H GREENSLADE OF LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA, LIEUTENANT JD(USNAVY) MARK GREENSLADE OF AFGHANISTAN, MAVERICK MCPHEE OF FREEPORT GRAND BAHAMA , FRED AND MARTINA RAHAMING; EIGHT GRANDDAUGHTE ...
On November 23rd BTC staged an official celebratory opening ceremony for the Coconut Grove Local Heroes Park on Poinciana Avenue and a rededication and unveiling of the Hero’s Wall...
The sole Bahamian actuary working in The Bahamas and the youngest Bahamian Fellow of the Academy of Life Underwriting have two things in common: They both work at Colina Insurance Limited, the largest life and health insurer in the country, and they both started their higher education at The College of The Bahamas. Add to these a third mutual tie, their appearance at COB's Business Week on March 19 with three colleagues to discuss their journeys to rewarding careers at the insurance giant and what it takes to advance a career in financial services. These presentations at the college were the launch pad for Colina's on-the-road initiative "CONNECT", the company's free public education program designed to provide knowledge of insurance concepts and raise awareness about the importance of life and health insurance, financial planning and wellness.
"More than a year ago Colina launched CONNECT," said Wendy Butler, vice president of life operations at Colina. "Since hosting four successful public forums, we've now expanded our mandate to reach out to niche groups in order to advance a better understanding of insurance and financial planning. It was natural to select the nation's premier tertiary institution, and especially its business students, as our first stop."
During the informative session at COB's Business Week, themed "Forty Years of Excellence: Embracing University", former COB alumni shared their personal journeys from the halls of COB to the boardrooms at Colina. Alumna DeAndrea Lewis, the only Bahamian actuary working in The Bahamas, inspired students to achieve their full potential as future business leaders. Lewis, who is responsible for the management of the individual life block of business at Colina, presented "Insurance 101" discussing life, medical and mortgage insurance, the process of pricing insurance products, the risks involved in insurance and the interest rates for insurance premiums.
Kenray Marsh, an alumnus of the college and Colina's new business manager and senior underwriter, is only the second Bahamian Fellow of the Academy of Underwriting (FALU), which is the highest designation in the life insurance underwriting profession. Marsh outlined the role of an insurance underwriter, the types of underwriting in life, health and casualty insurance and the evaluation of risks and accuracies involved in onboarding new clients.
Other Colina presenters included top sales representatives and Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) qualifiers Amanda Knowles and Ian Capron who each offered a candid look into the benefits of a career in insurance sales. Both Knowles and Capron began their careers in banking and accounting but soon shifted gears and began to look to the insurance industry for greater autonomy, earning potential and career satisfaction which, they acknowledge, they have found in abundance at Colina.
Rounding off the team of presenters was Cathy Williams, vice president of finance at Colina, who educated the students on the technical aspects of financial accounting in life and health insurance, and talked about her own road to the insurance industry in The Bahamas after beginning her career as a junior auditor for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in her native Canada.
The purpose of Business Week, according to Remelda Moxey, acting dean of the Faculty of Business, is to give the School of Business an opportunity to showcase its graduates and provide students with a forum of innovative and informative discussions led by a cadre of alumni and guests with real world experiences.
Emmanuel Komolafe, chief risk and compliance officer at Colina and host for the session, told the students that "one of the objectives at Colina is to educate the public but, in addition to educating, we also want to inspire."
Throughout the conversational presentations, the message was clear, and the team inspired the students to stay the course and to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the college as they carve out their own paths toward success. Following the session, students posed questions pertaining to insurance policies and were given an opportunity to win prizes and giveaways and interact with the Colina managers at a reception held in their honor.
Nassau, Bahamas - Councilor Fred Payne of the Greenville County Council in South Carolina visited The College of The Bahamas on Wednesday, September 12th to discuss solidifying collaborations with the institution for the benefit of students and faculty.
Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, and is the second leading cause of death in the United States, according to gastroenterologist Dr. Beverton Moxey. As Colorectcal Cancer Awareness Month is observed during March, he advises people 45 years and older to speak with their physicians about screening for colorectal cancer. People who have a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of cancer or those who have symptoms -- change in bowel habits, bright red or dark blood in the stool, discomfort in the abdomen, including frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness and cramps or unexplained weight loss, constant tiredness or unexplained anemia (iron deficiency), should also speak with a medical professional.
During a recent Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series Dr. Moxey stressed that the number of patients affected by colon cancer is equal and that men aren't affected more than women, and that women aren't affected more than men.
Colorectal or large bowel cancer is the disease in which malignant cells form in the lining of the rectum or in the colon. Most colon and rectal cancers originate from benign wart-like structures or growths that occur on the inner lining of the colon or the rectum, called polyps or flat lesions. The difference between polyps and flat lesions is very simple. Polyps protrude into the lumen and flat lesions remain flat onto the lining. The polyps and flat lesions have the ability to transform into cancer. It takes more than 10 years for someone to develop cancer from a polyp or flat lesion according to the doctor.
As the process to cancer development is a lengthy period, Dr. Moxey said colorectal cancer can be prevented through the detection of polyps at an early stage. And that a persons' survival rate is best when the disease is caught at an early stage.
Colorectal cancer is preventable
"Colorectal cancer is one of those diseases that is preventable, but it requires screening. Early diagnosis means a better chance of successful treatment. Screening should begin at age 50 in most persons, except for persons of African descent. The guidelines have changed for persons of African descent that screening should be started at an earlier age, 45, because persons have been found to have a diagnosis of colorectal cancer earlier. Additionally, if you have a family history of colorectal cancer you would start screening before the age of 50, you would start screening either at the age of 40 or at the age of 10 years younger than when the diagnosis was made. For instance, if you have a first-degree relative that was diagnosed at the age of 40, then you should begin screening at the age of 30. Additionally if you have a history of IBD, then that would put you at a higher risk category and you should start screening before the age of 50."
Colorectal cancer data collected by Dr. Moxey from the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) between 2003 and 2013 showed that 436 patients were diagnosed with colorectal cancer with 329 persons diagnosed with colon cancer exclusively. Persons that had cancer involving the rectal or the rectum sigmoid junction was at 107.
"When we look at the occurrence between male and female, it's equally affected -- 218 men and 218 female," said the gastroenterologist. Of the total, 298 people are still living, 138 had died. And he said the majority of the patients diagnosed were done at an advanced stage -- stage three as compared to stage zero or stage one.
Dr. Moxey's Doctors Hospital data from 2009 to 2013 data showed 142 persons diagnosed with colorectal cancer -- 53 males and 41 females. For cancer of the rectum, 22 males and 26 females were diagnosed.
Age group wise, he only had information from Doctors Hospital that showed a patient in the 20-25 age group bracket diagnosed.
"For the most part, the incidence increases from the age of 45, and something that was very striking as well is when you look at this age group, persons over 70, compared to looking at the others shows that there is still a high incidence in persons that are older," said Dr. Moxey. "Colorectal cancer in the United States is one of the second leading causes of death. I used the U.S. as a benchmark because that's in large part a lot of the guidelines that we use by which we diagnose and treat. Lung and prostate cancers are more common in men and lung and breast (cancers) in women when compared to colorectal cancer. However, when we look at the incidence of colon cancer in men and women it's equal in terms of the amount of patients that are affected, so men aren't affected more than women, and women aren't affected more than men."
Risk factors for colorectal cancer
Polyps, age, a history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diet high in saturated fats such as red meat, a personal or family history of cancer (colon, rectum, ovary, endometrium or breast), obese patients, smoking and genetic syndromes (Lynch syndrome, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) are risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Dr. Moxey said that the hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) sometimes called Lynch syndrome accounts for approximately five to 10 percent of all colorectal cancer cases. And that the risk of colorectal cancer in families with this particular genetic syndrome is 70 percent to 90 percent, which is several times the risk factor of the general population.
"People with HNPCC are diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an average age of 45, and genetic testing for the most part is available and can be done to prevent the development or to at least find out if you are at risk for the development of colorectal cancer," he said.
Another hereditary syndrome is Familial adenomatus polyposis (FAP) which accounts for a very small percentage of colorectal cancer -- one percent of cases. According to the doctor, people with FAP typically develop hundreds or thousands of polyps, so when medical professionals look at the colon during a colonoscopy it's literally studded with the growths. The polyps he said are initially benign (non-cancerous), but that there is nearly a 100-percent chance that the polyps will develop into cancer if left untreated.
"Colorectal cancer usually occurs by age 40 in these persons. There are mutations in this particular gene, and genetic testing is also available. It's recommended that people who are diagnosed with FAP should have yearly screening examinations via colonoscopy."
If you notice a change in your bowel habits, Dr. Moxey said that should prompt you to have a discussion with your primary care physician about getting a colonoscopy, regardless of your age.
"If you were the type of person that went to the bathroom everyday like clockwork, and now for the last several weeks you notice you're going every four days, that represents a change in your bowel habits. If your stools were previously nice, solid chunks, and now they're coming out pencil thin, that represents a change in your bowel habits. If you were having regular bowel movements and now the stools are coming out like diarrhea that represents a change in your bowel habits -- this should be investigated, and looked at to determine if it warrants screening via colonoscopy. If you see blood in your stool, whether it's bright red or dark like tar, that may warrant screening via colonoscopy. If you complain of discomfort in your abdomen, frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, cramps ... should not be taken for granted if it's a frequent occurrence. If you have unexplained weight loss, if you're constantly tired or have unexplained anemia [iron deficiency] that should warrant you having your bowels screened via colonoscopy."
There are a number of screening methods that medical professionals use -- the standard, tried, proven old way, the Guaic testing in which patients are given cards from the doctor and asked to collect and submit three different stool samples that are checked for blood. Patients can also have a Barium enema, a virtual colonography, a sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy.
The Barium enema is an x-ray test in which a tube is inserted into the rectum through which the Barium solution flows filling up the area and allowing the medical professional to pick up any abnormal areas.
Sigmoidoscopy is a short procedure that goes right to the sigmoid colon looking for any cancers that may go to the sigmoid colon or in the rectum. This procedure misses everything else.
The virtual colonography is a computer CT-guided test that allows medical professionals to visualize the bowel. The disadvantage to this particular procedure is that it examines the entire length of the colon, but it misses smaller lesions as the sensitivity is only where it can detect things that are more than a centimeter. Also if medical professionals see a polyp at the time of the test, they cannot remove it. The patient will still have to have a colonoscopy and have to do the same prep for the colonoscopy as they would have had for the colonography.
"The colonoscopy is the superior test," said the doctor.
He also said there are other modalities that need to be taken into account when deciding on which test is best for patients.
"There are some people who may not be able to have a colonoscopy for whatever reason -- like maybe they have a lot of medical co-morbidities. They may have severe heart disease, in addition to that, severe lung disease ... anything whereby getting sedation poses an increased risk for the patient. In those patients, the CT colonography would be a good alternative, so there are places for each of these modalities, but by far in terms of the superior testing, the colonoscopy is the superior testing when you're talking about the screening for colorectal cancer.
Prior to any testing for colon cancer, Dr. Moxey said genetic counseling is always suggested for colorectal cancer patients just as it is for breast cancer patients.
"The question is does the patient really want to know? Do you really want to know if you are at risk, significantly so for developing one of these symptoms from colorectal cancer given the emotional consequences of being a carrier?"
Consequences he said include being patients labeled by insurance companies as well as by employers and affecting their ability to obtain insurance coverage. And that it needs to be taken into account whether the patient is emotionally healthy to accept a positive or negative test.
"Typically, whenever you're going to do a test like this, genetic testing for these particular diseases, even as it relates to testing a patient for HIV, you should always counsel them beforehand, and try to ascertain whether they're emotionally able to handle such a diagnosis."
After the diagnosis
Staging is the standardized way that describes the spread of cancer in relation to the layers of the wall of the colon or rectum, the nearby lymph nodes and other organs. The stage is dependent on the extent of spread through the different tissue layers that are affected. It is an important factor in determining treatment options and prognosis. It's described by the TNM system --T is for the size of the tumor; N is for whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and the M is for whether it's metastasized to organs such as the liver or lung.
At stage 0 known as "cancer in situ", the cancer is localized in the mucosa (moist tissue lining of the colon or rectum). Treatment is through the removal of the polyp in a polypectomy.
Stage 1 cancer is where it has spread from the mucosa of the colon wall and it has gone into the muscle layer. Treatment in this instance is surgery to remove the tumor as well as some of the surrounding lymph nodes for sampling purposes to make sure that there is no spread involvement of the lymph nodes.
Stage 2 involves spread beyond the muscle layer, but there is no involvement of lymph nodes, but it can involve spread of cancer to other nearby organs as well.
Stage 3 does not necessarily have to involve spread beyond the muscle layers, but it does involve the lymph nodes. And that's further broken down into the amount of lymph nodes that are involved whether it's one to three, four to six, seven or more, and that determines the different stags of stage three, you have A, B and C.
Stage 4 is when you have metastatic spread. The cancer involves the blood, the lymph nodes as well as other organs, so the ovary can be involved, the abdominal wall, the liver or the lung.
Treatment involves surgery. It can involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy as well as immunotherapy.
Dr. Moxey said there are several methods that are used, and every case is different, and that every individual case is taken into consideration when medical professionals determine the surgical approach.
"Essentially the goal of surgery is really to remove all of the cancer and to ensure you have clear margins. At this point the gastroenterologists role is complete and we have handed [the patient] over to a surgical oncologist, or a colorectal surgeon," said Dr. Moxey. Their goal at that point is to remove all of the cancerous tissue. That's accomplished by ensuring that you have clear goals on all sides that are free of cancer. Then the remaining sections of the colon are joined together."
With cancers of the rectum, the doctor said there are two approaches to treatment, depending on how high up the cancer is. In a low anterior approach where the upper part of the rectum is removed and the colon is reattached to the lower part, he said the patient can continue to eliminate waste as usual. Or they can have an abominoperineal resection where the cancer is located in the lower part, and in this instance the patient would need to have a bag, or a colostomy to eliminate waste. He said in most instances, it ends up being a permanent colostomy.
Other therapies include radiation therapy and chemotherapy and varies based on the patient's stage and whether they require radiation, chemotherapy or both. Radiation therapy is given with high energy x-rays to kill or shrink the cancer cells. Dr. Moxey said it could be given externally or internally. Chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs that are used to kill the cancer cells. There are different treatment protocols, and the drugs that are used are individualized. It depends on the patient, which therapy the oncologist decides.
Treatments can be done before or after surgery. Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after surgery to maximize a patient's chance for cure. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given before surgery. In unfortunate cases where the cancer has spread and cannot be removed, there's palliative chemotherapy in which medication can be given to delay or reverse some of the symptoms and provide some improvement in the patient's quality and length of life, but it's not curative.
According to Dr. Moxey, new therapies available on the market include Antiangiogenesis therapy, a treatment whereby the tumor cells are starved and done through disrupting the blood supply. He said this is usually given along with chemotherapy. He said the drug Avastin has been approved since 2004 (by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for treatment in Stage IV colorectal cancer. Additionally he said there is targeted therapy, which are treatment drugs designed to target the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells.
SEA GRAPE, Grand Bahama - Bahamians were reminded on Sunday that it only takes one person to make a difference and that each of us should desire to be that person.
That challenge came from the Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville as he participated in the commissioning of the Evangelist Lloyd Quant Outreach Community Center at St. David's Methodist Church in Sea Grape, Eight Mile Rock this past Sunday evening.
Both Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Darville took time out from their busy schedules to pay tribute to Evangelist Lloyd Quant.
At age 98, Quant is said to be the longest-serving preacher in the Methodist Church in The Bahamas and the Caribbean, having served the church and the community of West Grand Bahama, in particular, for the past 80 years.
Addressing the gathering at the commissioning ceremony, Darville pointed out that it is the government's mission to wipe every tear from every eye by providing support and assistance for the most vulnerable members of society: children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, the poor and families requiring social and financial support.
"Our vision is to see a country where all citizens are economically empowered to provide for themselves and their families and have equal opportunities to access services that will enhance the basic quality of life for all," he said.
"Despite the efforts of the hard-working employees in the Department of Social Services and Urban Renewal 2.0, we realize that the government cannot do it alone. As a team, together, everyone achieves more and through the collaborative and synergistic efforts of public/private partnerships, we know that we can and will accomplish our goals," Dr. Darville stated.
He added that it is his belief that those who take part in philanthropic activities must have a strong desire to see poverty, and the crime and general social decay that accompanies it, eradicated.
"Therefore, I applaud the supporters and contributors of this outreach center, who have invested their time, finances and other resources, to bring this project to fruition," Dr. Darville said.
He went on to acknowledge 700 Partners, a non-profit organization headed by Ginger Moxey, president and CEO of Immerse Bahamas, for listing the Evangelist Lloyd Quant Community Outreach Center as one of the worthy projects that require community support.
"This organization, which fuses the efforts of the government of The Bahamas, global and civic organizations, corporate Bahamas, religious groups and people from all walks of life, in the spirit of culture immersion, philanthropy and social responsibility, is dedicated to reaching those that are in need and restoring the infrastructure that creates the environment for better communities, hence their partnership with this community outreach center," Dr. Darville informed.
Continuing, he noted that it was his understanding that the center housed a feeding facility, which served breakfast twice weekly to more than 100 children.
"While this is a step in the right direction, they have so much more they would like to accomplish by expanding their facility to include a wellness center, an afterschool program and offer special classes in areas such as adult literacy, karate and sewing programs, just to name a few.
"I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the businesses and residents of West Grand Bahama, in particular, to render assistance to this center as it seeks to expand its operation.
"I would also like to encourage Pastor Kenneth Lewis, the parishioners of St. David's Methodist Church and the outreach center managers to continue to partner with the Department of Social Services and Urban Renewal 2.0 in the execution of your daily responsibilities and to remember that we are only as strong as the weakest among us," the minister for Grand Bahama stressed.
He added that the greatest gift of any leader is his or her ability to connect with, inspire and create opportunities for the youth, the poor and the disenfranchised.
"It is my sincere hope, therefore, that each of you will leave this service empowered with the belief that it only takes one person to make a difference, and a desire to be that person," he said.
Works and Transport Minister Neko Grant and President of the Mailboat Owners and Operators Association Rafael Moxey offered conflicting reports yesterday on whether operators have agreed to end the suspension of Family Island services.
According to Moxey, despite a meeting with Grant yesterday, mailboat operators engaged in the suspension are not backing down from their position.
Moxey said 12 of the 15 boats in the association have stopped service to the Family Islands and will continue to do so until they reach an agreement with the government.
But Grant said there was some resolution to the matter yesterday.
Just minutes before The Guardian spoke to Moxey, Grant said while the government remained a ...
The preamble of a constitution is supposed to state the most basic principles and aspirations of a nation state. It provides those guiding principles after which a people in a democratic state will strive to realize through their collective endeavors. The purpose of the preamble is to underscore a sense of national identity and to express the core values and principles of the state and the people. It must therefore be refreshed from time to time to reflect the evolving expectations and aspirations of the state and people.
The Bahamas Constitution is introduced by a preamble, which asserts that the rediscovery of the Bahamian islands, rocks and cays heralded the rebirth of the new world. It continues that the people of The Bahamas recognize that the preservation of their freedom will be guaranteed by a commitment to self-discipline, industry, loyalty, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law.
The preamble then declares that the people of The Bahamas are a sovereign nation founded on principles, which recognize the sovereignty of God and faith in the fundamental human rights, and freedoms, based on moral and spiritual values, in the following words: "We the inheritors of and successors to this family of islands, recognizing the supremacy of God and believing in the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, do hereby proclaim in solemn praise the establishment of a free and democratic sovereign nation founded on spiritual values and in which no man, woman or child shall ever be slave or bondsman to anyone or their labor exploited or their lives frustrated by deprivation, and do hereby provide by these articles for the indivisible unity and creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
The preamble of the Bahamian constitution, I submit, has a number of weaknesses. First, there is no reference to the historical fact of 300 years of slavery of African people in The Bahamas, or the genocide of the Lucayan/Arawak people by the European presence, two critical aspects of the historical evolution of the Bahamian polity and society. Second, the preamble mischaracterizes the incorporation and colonization of The Bahamas into the triangular slave trade, initiated by and for the benefit of Europe, as "...rediscovery of this family of islands, rocks and cays heralded the rebirth of the New World."
Unlike in 1973 when the constitution was founded, The Bahamas today is more of a multi-religious society with, inter alia, Muslims, Baha?is, Buddhists, Rastafarians, etc. Therefore, the preamble of our constitution, as a historical and aspirational statement, should elaborate upon the inclusive term of "spiritual values" to better reflect the spirit and thinking of all of our people and the common identity and values of all Bahamians. Therefore, historical accuracy and the norm of non-discrimination and inclusiveness should be the guiding principles of a revised preamble of the Bahamian constitution.
Since 1973, The Bahamas has rapidly evolved into a full-service economy, with a highly urbanized population. The population is cosmopolitan, multi-racial and multi-ethnic. The contemporary African-Bahamian population comprises those who are descendants of the slaves who came with or were purchased by the loyalists and settlers, freed Africans, more recent West Indian immigrants and Haitian immigrants. All of these groups have blended to create the contemporary African-Bahamian population. The Bahamian population also comprises other ethnic groups such as the descendants of the loyalists, colonial administrators and settlers, and more recent immigrant groups such as the Greeks, Syrians, Chinese, Jews and Lebanese. All of these groups have made a significant contribution to the development of the modern Bahamas mosaic. Their descendants have been assimilated into the Bahamian society and reflect the multi-ethnic character of the contemporary Bahamas. Therefore, the preamble of our constitution should recognize the contributions of all the significant ethnic groups who have shaped our reality.
In order to better reflect the ideals and aspirations of our multi-ethnic Bahamian society, I propose that the preamble of the constitution be amended to include the following elements:
a) Affirm our commitment to the continuing observance of the principles of individual freedom and democratic government as our inalienable heritage.
b) Acknowledge that we have been blessed with leaders of vision, with artists, writers, musicians and athletes who have carried the name of our country with honor and glory throughout the world.
c) Salute the founders of the independent state of The Bahamas.
d) Acknowledge the progress which has been made in the post independent Bahamas.
e) Honor the contributions of the Lucayan/Arawaks, settlers, loyalists, Africans in slavery and freed Africans and more recent migrants to the development of The Bahamas and celebrate the survival of the African people in The Bahamas, as part of the African Diaspora, and affirm our relationship to the African continent.
f) Pay special tribute to our national heroes such as Pompey, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Lynden Pindling, Dame Doris Johnson, Sir Stafford Sands, etc.
g) Pay special tribute to the Suffrage Movement of The Bahamas, namely Mary Ingraham, Mable Walker, Georgianna Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart, Albertha Isaacs, Grace Wilson, Mildred Moxey, Ethel Kemp, Gladys Bailey, Madge Brown and Dr. Doris Johnson.
h) Reaffirm that the sovereignty of the Bahamian people and nation is founded upon principles of the dignity and worth of the human person, fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, social justice, the fundamental role of the family in a free society based on spiritual values.
i) Rededicate ourselves to the building of a democratic society founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law, in which the power of the government springs from the will of the people, legitimated by periodic free, fair and publicly financed elections based on universal adult suffrage.
j) Resolve that the national assets of the nation shall be preserved and used to promote the general welfare by fair access, with a proper regard for ability, integrity and merit.
k) Resolve to provide maximum opportunities for the development of the creative imagination and intellect of all Bahamians, based on entrepreneurship, innovation and employment opportunities under humane and just conditions.
l) Affirm that our Bahamian nationhood is nourished by our roots in the wider spiritual and cultural reality of the Caribbean region, and undertake to seek the closest forms of community with our sisters and brothers in the Caribbean.
m) Commit to cooperate with other nations in the quest for international peace and security and the promotion of universal respect for human rights and freedom.
I suggest that the foregoing statements may better express the current expectations and aspiration of the Bahamian people. The preamble should be inclusive and affirming of the racial, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and pluralism, which now make up the Bahamian civil society, and declare aspirations to guide us into the future.
o Alfred Sears is an attorney, a former member of Parliament and a former attorney general of The Bahamas.
Fifty years ago, a series of strategic and compelling events culminated in one of the most significant achievements in Bahamian history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Women's Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas and in commemoration of this significant milestone The College of The Bahamas and the Bureau of Women's Affairs are collaborating to host the Women's Suffrage Movement Symposium, March 6th - 9th at the college's Performing Arts Centre.
The symposium's theme is "Commemorating the Past, Reflecting on the Present, Envisioning the Future: 1962 and Beyond". It will provide the platform for informed discussion, debate and analysis of the events that gave birth to the empowerment and enfranchisement of Bahamian women.
Chair of the Symposium Planning Committee and head of the history, religion and philosophy department at The College of The Bahamas Assistant Professor Dr. Christopher Curry said these kinds of anniversaries provide an opportunity to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the nation building process in The Bahamas.
"The Suffrage Movement, though an integral part of the Quiet Revolution, has often been overlooked or overshadowed by other events such as Black Tuesday, The General Strike or Majority Rule. This symposium will raise the awareness of the significance of the movement, while also critically engaging some of its shortcomings," he said. "As the symposium has three foci -- the past, present and future -- we intend to provide a broad analysis of the struggle for equal rights and full citizenship for women in The Bahamas. This is not about one event, but a long process that is still being fought today. Thus, the symposium will serve to raise awareness of the past struggles even as it engages critical issues that remain unresolved in The Bahamas today."
On February 23rd, 1961, the bill to enable women to have and exercise rights of registration as voters and of voting similar to those accorded to men under the provisions of the General Assembly Elections Act 1959 was passed. It came into effect on June 30th, 1962. The following month, on July 12th, Ruby Ann Cooper was the first woman to register to vote and on November 26th, 1962, women 21 years and over voted for the first time in The Bahamas.
Half a century ago, women like Mary Ingraham, Mabel Walker, Georgiana Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart, Althea Mortimer, Albertha M. Isaacs, Doris Johnson, Grace Wilson, Mildred Moxey, Ethel Kemp, Gladys Bailey and Madge Brown defied social convention. They became trailblazers who challenged inequalities and helped to advance the status of women in The Bahamas.
Christine Campbell, first assistant secretary, Bureau of Women's Affairs said the persistence of the suffragettes and other advocates provide an important national lesson.
"It is so important because so many Bahamians don't know our history and don't understand the significance of what happened. I think it is wonderful that COB is in partnership with the Bureau on this," she said. "I would like persons to talk about what those ladies did to give them their just due. My personal view is that they have exhibited what we want to see in our students and other persons that when you believe in a cause, and one on a national level that is going to advance your country and your people you do not give up."
During the symposium, attendees including junior and senior high school students will have the opportunity to gain special insight into this period of history as expressed by some of the children and siblings of the suffragettes: Juliette Barnwell, Andrew Maynard, Alice Musgrove-Rolle, Wallice Carey and Shirley Cooper. Nationally recognized writers and researchers as well as international scholars will also present varied perspectives.
"The more we expose our young people, the better they will be and they will be able to build on it. They are the tradition bearers and long after we are gone they will be able to tell their children about aspects of our history," Ms. Campbell added.
The opening ceremony of the symposium will be held on Tuesday evening at 6:30p.m. and will be immediately followed by a panel discussion. The first session, specially structured for students, was held this past Tuesday.