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NASSAU, Bahamas -- A May, 2013 special report in the Times of London revealed Britons' voracious appetite for a safe and secure second home abroad -- a place of their own to stay when they want to play, a retreat when they want to retire. The facts -- 430,000 Brits own homes abroad and the numbers are climbing -- were so stunning that Palm Cay, a local residential and marina development on nearly 70 acres on the southeastern tip of New Providence, pounced on the potential.
"We read, we learned and we jumped to book space for the UK Luxury Property Show October 29-30," said Zachary 'Zack' Bonczek, Palm Cay Sales & Marketing Director. "At this point, we believe we will be the only Bahamian real estate development at the London show and we're very excited about it."
While many of the show's participants will be mega-mansions with multi-million dollar price tags, Bonczek says Palm Cay offers an enticing product with "undeniable and unbeatable value."
"We may just be the most reasonably priced, practical, great location real estate offering in the entire show," he said, pointing first to location.
"The first rule in real estate is still location, location, location and the appeal of being directly on the beach in The Bahamas with year-round warmth, a politically stable 280-year-old democratic form of government and a tax-friendly environment is hard to beat," said the marketing guru.
HIGHGROVE SINGERS: A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols with The Highgrove Singers under the conduction of Adrian Archer and the Golden Gates Hand Bell Choir under the conduction of Navarro Gibson will take place on Sunday, December 22 at 6 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, George Street. Music to be played will be by Bob Chilcott, Steve Pilkington, Benjamin Britten, Sean Ivory, Jan Sandstrom, Neil Harmon, Eleanor Daley, Dan Forrest, Craig Courtney, Laura Paige, Andrew Carter, Daniel Elder, David Danner, Paul Caldwell and congregational carol singing with musical arrangements by Sir David Willcocks. Admission is free.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: The changing of the guard, a display of Bahamian music and military exercise, takes place each month on the last Thursday and Saturday at 10 a.m. at Government House. The changing of the guard has been a tradition since 1958. The ceremony features the world-renowned Royal Bahamas Police Force Marching Band and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force guards.
JAZZ AT THE HILTON: Jazz group Vice Versa, featuring vocalist Naomi Taylor, performs every Tuesday and Thursday at British Colonial Hilton at 6:30 p.m.
SPEED WEEK: Bahamas Speed Week takes place December 4-8. This event, which started in the mid-1950s and took place for 13 years, was the dream of a man named Captain Sherman 'Red' Cruise, who created a series of automobile races held in Nassau. Internationally acclaimed drivers from around the globe attended to compete and to soak in the backdrop of sun, sea and scorching hot cars.
Schedule: Saturday, December 7 (6 p.m. - 8:3- p.m.) - Hill climb at Arawak Cay, Fort Charlotte. General viewing is free; Bleachers A, B, C $25; Race car paddock $50; VIP driver's lounger $175 (located in the center of the circuit, inclusive of food and beverage by Van Breugels, Young's Champagne, Sands Beer, assorted wine and liquor and soft drinks, exclusive bleacher seating, meet the drivers, browse the race car paddock, souvenir program and VIP parking) and Paddock club piazza $75 (located in the center of the circuit, a la carte food and beverage from vendors, exclusive bleacher seating, browse the car paddock, souvenir program and VIP parking). Sunday, December 8 - Race car sprint (9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) at Arawak Cay Sprint Circuit. General viewing is free; Bleachers A, B, C $25; Race car paddock $50; VIP driver's lounge $275 and Paddock club piazza $85.
CELEBRITY TENNIS: The Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational takes place December 5-8. Established in 2001, the annual event is a fundraising event to support local charities throughout The Bahamas. For more information, telephone 357-9679.
GYMNASTICS: Teams from the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas converge on the Atlantis Crown Convention Center for the Atlantis Crown International Gymnastics Tournament, the largest competitive meet in the Caribbean, December 12-14. For more information, telephone 327-2154.
JUNKANOO: Boxing Day Junkanoo takes place Thursday, December 26. For more information, telephone 302-2000.
HAIR SHOW: Pizazz Beauty Shop presents Imagine Hair Show & Competition, dubbed The Ultimate Hair Show to be held on Sunday, December 15 at the Grand Lucayan Convention Center. Making an appearance will be Seven Adrin Washington, Karlie Redd and Derek J. Tickets are $40 general admission, $65 VIP and can be purchased at Gizmos & Gadgets.
FESTIVAL NOEL: Restaurants and students from around Grand Bahama are getting ready to deck the park with delicious cuisine at the 19th Annual Festival Noel on Friday, December 6 at the Rand Nature Centre. This year's committee has resurrected the Chef Noel competition in which local restaurants, Flying Fish, Sweet Affairs, Red Beard's and Agave will compete.
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL: The Annual Abaco Christmas Festival takes place on Saturday, December 7. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the popular Christmas festival that is known to attract family and friends. The event usually kicks off the holiday season in the Abacos with general holiday activities that include early Christmas shopping in the Arts & Crafts Bazaar, a food court filled with Bahamian dishes, performances from choirs, quartets, soloists, marching and Calypso bands, a Junkanoo parade, a Christmas float parade, a dog show and other activities. For more information, telephone 367-3067,
JUNKANOO: The Annual Christmas Junkanoo Competition takes place on Saturday, December 28 at Sea Spray Resort & Marina in Elbow Cay, featuring a number of local groups who compete for top honor and bragging rights. Residents of the cay are joined by locals and visitors who travel from the mainland to enjoy the elaborate costumes, music and lively performances that are paraded during the night-time event. For more information, telephone 366-0065.
BOXING DAY JUNKANOO: Boxing Day Junkanoo celebrations, the spectacular Bahamian street festival with the sounds of goat skin drums, horns, whistles, cow bells, dancers and bright dazzling costumes, will take place in Acklins & Crooked Island on Thursday, December 26. Food will be on sale. For more information, telephone 344-3250-1.
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL: The Berry Islands' Christmas Festival, which celebrates the yuletide season and features a Christmas tree lighting, visit by Santa and caroling, music, pantomime and liturgical dance expressions in concert, local cuisine reception, arts and craft and a Junkanoo parade, will take place on Friday, December 6. It is also a celebration of achievements within the community and a homecoming for residents and visitors to the Berry Islands. For more information, telephone 367-8291.
JUNKANOO: The Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade will take place on Thursday, December 26. It is a spectacular street festival with the sounds of goatskin drums, horns, whistles, cowbells and costumes featuring the competitive beats of Bimini Tum Tums and Bimini Stompers. The venue is Alice Town in North Bimini. For more information, telephone 347-3529.
Eleuthera & Harbour Island
JUNKANOO: Eleuthera and Harbour Island will take to the streets for the Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade on Thursday, December 26. The venue is Tarpum Bay, South Eleuthera. For more information, telephone 332-2142.
TREE LIGHTING: Locals and visitors gather in Regatta Park to sing carols and see performances by local talent on Thursday, December 12. For the grand finale, Regatta Park is transformed with thousands of lights. For more information, contact Felicia Saunders at 336-2390.
JUNKANOO: The Christmas holidays culminate with a Junkanoo parade on Thursday, December 26. For more information, contact 336-2370.
BAZAAR: St. Peter's & Paul's Catholic Church's Annual Bazaar take place on Thursday, December 26. The fair raises funds to assist with the maintenance and building projects of the seven Catholic churches on the island. Native dishes, music and games will be the order of the day. The venue is The Big Yard Grounds in Clarence Town. For more information, telephone 333-8868.
FORMAL DINNER PARTY: Stella Maris Resort New Year's Eve Formal Dinner Party takes place December 31-January 1 and is the party of the year on Long Island. It is a great way to ring in the new year. Reservations are required due to limited seating. Dress is formal. For more information, telephone 338-8668.
TREE LIGHTING: The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place Sunday, December 15. For more information, telephone 428-4943 or 331-1870.
MINI-JUNKANOO: A mini-Junkanoo parade takes place on Rum Cay on Thursday, December 26. For more information, telephone 331-2816 or 331-2806.
MINI-JUNKANOO: A mini-Junkanoo parade takes place on Thursday, December 26. For more information, telephone 452-0161.
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Last week Wednesday, Leaf Cay was the first resort to receive approval in principal by the government to develop overwater bungalows. Instrumental to this approval in principle was a report - "A Review of Overwater Bungalows: Environmental Considerations Specific to The Bahamas" - by Keith Bishop of Islands By Design and Melissa Alexiou, now of Waypoint Consulting.
According to the report, "An overwater bungalow mimics in most respects a standard dock structure with known environmental considerations that can be managed under the guidelines of an environmental management plan."
Such environmental considerations were noted as habitat degradation due to alteration of light conditions from shading, and turbidity generated from suspended sediment during construction.
By highlighting similarities with docks and marina structures, the report identifies issues presently known to marina operators and coastal resource managers.
The report added: "Thus, the impacts to vegetation, the physical environment, and management of utilities, with the exception of sewerage are familiar to Bahamian coastal resource managers. Though even here marina operators must contend with direct pump out of waste from individual vessels, a problem identified in Elizabeth Harbour, Great Exuma where a direct discharge of sewerage is now prohibited."
In terms of waste management, most notably sewerage, the innovative use of shipboard technology to contain and handle the generated waste is recommended.
Aware of the pristine environment that these units will occupy, all waste water will be collected and handled through a macerator and evacuated either by gravity or by low pressure and discharge into a land-based Bio Digester treating waste water anaerobically, thus ensuring no raw water release to the environment.
Moreover, the document notes that overwater bungalows are not always appropriate given the location.
"At the very least, the Bahamian government must recognize that the proposed location for any overwater structure, dock or bungalow on any given island of The Bahamas depends on the local physical and environmental parameters," according to the report.
Recent comments from Eric Carey, executive director of the Bahamas National Trust, urging the government to develop an overwater bungalow policy align with the recommendation for National Overwater Bungalow Guidelines that would "proactively deter development proposals that would result in environmental degradation".
According to Alexiou, the document represents an alternative approach to assessing new tourism products or innovative development proposals not yet available in The Bahamas.
"The report underlines the need for more applied science in the decision-making process," she said.
"The Bahamas has incredible natural resources, but it has to be amenable to innovative products. This report served to facilitate understanding of the environmental considerations specific to overwater bungalows."
The attorney for an Abaco couple who saw the development they were involved with subject to a takeover by a team led by Grant Thornton Bahamas, confirmed yesterday that the couple plans to seek to have this takeover overturned in the courts, with applications to be made to this effect in short order.
Roy Sweeting, partner with law firm Glinton Sweeting and O'Brien, and representative for James and Melonie Albury, told Guardian Business that "a lot of incorrect statements" have been made in relation to his clients.
In particular, he said that Melonie Albury's company, Albury's Property Management, "has nothing at all to do with" the overall management of the 203-acre Orchid Bay property, but simply "does some maintenance on private homes and rents golf carts" within the development.
Sweeting stated that Melonie Albury's husband, James 'Jimmy' Albury, is the receiver for the Guana Cay Abaco Development Company.
On December 12, Grant Thornton Managing Partner Paul Gomez took control of the Orchid Bay Resort and Marina.
Court documents obtained by this newspaper show the Supreme Court has appointed Gomez the receiver for the William B. Johnson Investment Company and William B. Johnson entities, which own the outstanding and issued shares in Guana Cay Abaco Development Company.
Gomez is now attempting to account for all of the assets in the company with a view to sell them to raise funds necessary to pay off a debt owed to his client, Synovus.
US bank, Synovus, is the primary creditor of the companies for which Gomez has now been appointed receiver, whose principal is American businessman William B. Johnson.
The property contains a number of houses which are offered as rental properties, and residents have expressed concern that the takeover will interfere with their ability to rent out their properties over Christmas.
A secondary legal action is also underway which alleges that James Albury, acting as property manager for Orchid Bay, caused some of its assets to be sold at significantly below their true market value.
Funeral Service for the Late Dorene Ester-Mae Rolle, 51 years of Claridge Dale Gardens, will be held on Saturday May 26th, 1:30 p.m. at New Bethlehem Baptist Church, Independence Drive. Rev'd. Dr. Everett Brown, Rev'd. Helen McPhee and Rev'd. Dr. Marina P. Sands will officiate. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, Soldier Road.
She is survived by her Mother: Minister Irene King; Tw0 Daughters: Shantell Steed, Benkisha Rolle; Two Sons: Emmanuel Rolle, Edward Braithwaite; One Brother: Dr. Rudolph King; Two Aunts: Gracie King, Gwendolyn King; Cousins: Naomi Roberts, Granville, Perry, Terry And Rochelle King, Whitney, Terrance, Orson, And Brian Mortimer, Min. Dorian Cox, Dr. Lina Mortimer-Rayes; Kenneth King ,Apell King, Adrian King, Keysha King-Doziere Of Miami Florida, Otive Brice-King, Shervin King, James And Hiram Dawkins, Deloris Fernander, Hartman Dawkins, Rev'd. Christopher King, Joseph King, Harry King, Ezra King, Huey King, Samuel Hunter, Cordell King-Hunter, Redell King-Hubbard, Idel King- Burrows, Christine King- Seymour, Elouise King, Maxine King, Minister Charlotte Brown, Michelle Sands, Sheila Sands , Rev'd. Michael, Charles and Sidney Sands, Derek Mackey, Jestina Rolle, David Rolle, Rev'd. Helen McPhee, Kim Hanna, Jackie Smith-McPhee, Shannon McPhee, Shantice McPhee, Ronnie Pratt, Sherry Pratt, Deidre Pratt, Rev'd. Garnet King, Ruth King-Outten, Dora King-Bethel, Paul King, Firstina King-Hepburn, Thelma Rolle, Derek Bowleg, Coral Bonamy, Leslie Bowleg, and Rev'd. Etienne Bowleg, Stephanie Bowleg-McKenzie, Vanria King-Davis, Paulette King-Nairn, Dorothy King-Miller, Ernestine King, Sandra King-Storr, Arthur King Jr. Bradley King , Nora King-Newbold, Etherly King-Gibson, Pearl King-Adderley, Alberta King- Hall, Cynthia King-Stubbs, John King, Rose King, Alverne King, Carol King- Ingraham, Celeste King, Rev'd Percy King, Alton McKenzie, Stephan McKenzie, Emily King-Osadebay , Jackie King-Micklewhite, Delores King-Saunders, Ingrid King, Eleanor King- Conliffe, Clement King, Lowell King, Kerlin King, Octavia King-Johnson, Gladys King-Sands, David Seymour, Hartman Moncur And Family, Alice, Moncur; And a Host Of Other Relatives & Friends Including: Charles Braithwaite Jr., Charles Braithwaite Jr., Laniccina Adderley, Christopher Adderley, Edwin Rolle, Percina Rolle, Beverley Rolle, Sharon Rolle, Esthermae Rolle, Princess Smith, And Vandmae Rolle-Albury, The King Foundation Family, Salute To Greatness Awards Family, The King, Seymour Moncur Family, Bahamas Inflight Catering Staff, Ministry Of Education Faculty, Ministry Of Sports Faculty, Staff, Deep Creek Bar & Lounge (Fish Fry), Tims Air- Conditioning Staff, Yellow Strawberry Beauty Salon & Spa Staff, Ferg's Beauty Parlor (Bettyanne); and Many More Family And Friend's Too Numerous To Me Mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 12:00 noon until service time.
Funeral Service for the Late Mervyn Mansfield Hepburn, 90 years of Sear's Road, Chippingham and Formerly of Rum Cay, will be held on Saturday March 31st, 10:00 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, West Hill Street. Fr. Glen Nixon will officiate. Interment will follow in the Catholic Cemetery, Infant View Road.
Left to forever cherish his memories are: 4 Daughters: Remilda Sweeting, Andrea
Fountain, Theresa Bastian and Patrice Hepburn; 5 Sons: Sir Garet Finlayson,
Michael, Albert, Leo and Paul Hepburn; 4 Daughters-in-Law: Rowena Finlayson, Barbara Y., Ainsa and Barbara G. Hepburn; 2 Sons-in-Law: LeRoy Fountain and Terrance Bastian; 26 Grandchildren: Heida, Aisha, Shameka Visna, Nikki, Tanya, Leah, Ainsa, Royanne, Michelle, Theodosia, Tiffany and LeTrice, Mark, Rae, Alexander, Jelani, Justin, Mitchell, Gerard, Gerald, Adrian, Brendan, Dominick, Mikael and Jaime; 2 Grandsons-in-law: Allen Rigby and Ray Bain; 3 Granddaughters-in-Law: Najah and Michelle Finlayson, Shavonya Fountain; 17 Great-grandchildren: Alana and Ashley Rigby, Ravi and Marion Bain, Marjahn, Jhanee, Deriree, Radia, Rahim, Garet and O'chea Finlayson, Mattieu and Eric Beouf, Malia and Gernelle Hepburn, Shania and Brenae Fountain; sister, Dacel Williams; 1 Brother-in-law, Wellington Richards Sr.; Nieces: Constance Adderley, Francis Simmons, Willamae, Delores and Ruth Hepburn; Connie Daniels, Sandra Gordon, Dorothy, Cynthia, Leona and Elizabeth Braynen; nephews: Henry, David, Philip and Isaac Hepburn, Rodney, Richard and Clinton Saunders, Richard, Charles, David and Timothy Braynen and Wellington Richards Jr.; Other relatives and friends: LaGloria Demeritte and Family, Viola Rahming and Family, Zelda Pearson and Family, Joyce Morris and Family, Joseph Hepburn and Family, Marina Hepburn and Family, Leticia and Donald Curry, Dr. Nicole Adderley, Olga Richards, Sir Arlington and Lady Sheila Butler, Freddie and Beverley Russell and Family, Dr. Marcus Bethel and Family, Henry and Shirley Saunders and Family, Maxwell and Melverne Demeritte and Family, Edward and Theresa Minnis and Family, Valderine Adderley and Family, Richard and Janet Lightbourne and Family, Patrick and Lorna Lightbourne and Family, Barbara Bastian and Family, Florence Greenslade and Family, Juanita, Fenrick and Therez Tynes, Dunstan Babbs and Family, Drs. John Carter and Christina Thompson, Caretakers: Sharon Scott and Jackie Beckford; Conrad Sweeting, Vaughn Albury, The Women's Auxillary of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, The Men's Group of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, The Parish Family of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Sunshine Pilot Club of Nassau, Rotary Clubs of West and South Nassau, Bahamas Taxi Cab Union Association, SAC Class of 1974, Staff of C.W. Sawyer Primary School, Staff of S. C. McPherson Junior High School, Staff of Michael Hepburn and Co., Staff of Esso Baillou Hill Tiger Mart, Mr. Alfred Sears and Family, Staff of Lafayette Gardens and members of the Diocesan Chorale.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #34 Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until service time.
More hotels failed to turn a profit in 2013 than were able to do so, with slipping profitability last year reversing a four-year trend of improving income in the Bahamian tourism industry, according to the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, whose president yesterday expressed "great concern" about the decline in hotel performance.On the brightside, the industry is more positive than it's been since 2007 about its outlook, with 97 percent of hotels reporting that they expect better performance in the coming year. In 2010, 74 percent of hoteliers had a negative outlook for the year ahead.This optimism is also translating into an expectation among the majority that they will either maintain or pick up their hiring in the coming year, with 34 percent expecting to increase employment in 2014. 19 percent said they would likely decrease employment levels.With a survey of 31 hotels of all size levels taken in January showing that 47 percent of all properties recorded a net loss last year, up from 33 percent in 2012, and 41 percent in 2011, high utility costs, constraints on price increases and investments in capital projects were named as major contributing factors. 47 percent of hotels turned a profit, while six percent broke even.Constraints on pricing also hamstrung efforts to realize greater profitability, with the majority - 59 percent in 2013 kept prices and rates the same or lower than in 2012. In 2014, 59 percent expect to increase prices.In a memo to members, Stuart Bowe, President of the BHTA, also highlighted challenges relating to the composition of visitor arrivals, noting that "more needs to be done to increase visitor stopover numbers" given that their expenditure is 20 times more than that of cruise guests, on average."The multiplier effect of stopover visitor expenditure is crucial to all stakeholders in our economy," he said in the report to members.His statements and the survey's findings echo those of the 2014 State of the Industry report issued by the Caribbean Tourism Organization this month, in which the Bahamas was one of eight nations in this region to suffer a year-over-year decline in stopover arrivals in 2013.For the 10 months to end-October, stopover arrivals were off 5.3 percent year-over-year. Only Barbados, with a 5.5 percent drop, suffered a greater decline than the Bahamas.In an interview after the release of the BHTA's findings, Bowe told Guardian Business the BHTA expects to see some increase in the level of stopover visitors to The Bahamas this year, driven in the short term by "more aggressive marketing, additional airlift, and more groups and special events business", adding that the industry is "working on all of these fronts."He said that there are "many positive indicators" which underscore the industry's increased optimism going into 2014, but "how VAT has been proposed" means it is set to impact the industry's "value proposition and competitiveness."Touching on issues of profitability, pricing, occupancy, employment, capital spending and outlook, the survey showed that profitability declined despite revenues being up - with 51 percent reporting 2013 revenues that were higher than the previous year.Profitability was also down despite the fact that only 26 percent saw a decrease in occupancy in 2013 while 35 percent saw occupancies rise.Besides challenges in the industry overall relating to costs and a reduction in stopover arrivals, capital spending in expansion and rehabilitation projects was one more discretionary factor contributing to the dampened profits, the BHTA report showed, and one which should help to provide returns to the resorts going forward.After holding off during the worst part of the downturn on capital investments, many resorts engaged in upgrades to freshen up their offerings to guests in 2013. 38 percent of those surveyed told the BHTA they had increased their capital spending, while 25 percent spent less, and the rest maintained earlier levels.Looking ahead to 2014, 34 percent said they anticipate spending more on capital projects than last year.Molly McIntosh, Sales Manager for the Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina, said the resort experienced significant cost increases in 2013, but felt it had to hold off on price rises due to the weak demand."All of our expenses went up, and then there's the prices of airline tickets which for the Out Islands are so prohibitive."We were able to package it together and use the $250 instant rebate (promotion through the Ministry of Tourism for visitors staying at certain resorts for a minimum number of nights). That saved us, but as far as the profitability the problem was that everything went up; the electricity went up, the cost of employment, all these different fees like NIB - and then the staff needs to be paid a fair wage - but we can't raise prices because we don't want to discourage people who are just starting to come."McIntosh said she is among those who expects better things for 2014."Most all of our customers from the States, so when they're feeling good and wanting to spend money then we do well. I think people in the States are tired, they've had enough, and they're saying 'To heck with it, we're going on vacation,' that helps us, as long as we're in the right price range."Like tourism officials such as Director General of Tourism, David Johnson, McIntosh said that affordable airlift is the single most important factor determining how resorts such as hers in the family islands fare going forward.In the report, Bowe said that there is a "high level of confidence" about the future being expressed by hoteliers, but the BHTA is hearing repeated concerns about the need for additional and more affordable airlift, recent and impending tax programs, high utility costs, and competition from lower cost destinations.He noted that small hotels and family island properties are particularly vulnerable."That is why we've advocated for special consideration for them on matters related to Hotels Encouragement Act incentives, taxation policies, and small business development support," he added.
Looking to build on a successful 2011 campaign, the Marina Operators of The Bahamas (MOB) is particularly optimistic that the organization is poised for more steady growth and exposure in the new year.
The only marina organization of its kind in The Bahamas, the MOB is confident that its upward momentum will carry through into 2012, with growth already seen in membership and activity over 2011, according to a group executive.
"Our membership has already jumped from 9 to 52 members since we were formed two years ago, and the growth that we are having is pretty remarkable," said MOB manager Shamine Johnson. "We're very optimistic going forward."
One of the highlights for the organization was a $40,000 grant it received from the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), aimed at developing the marina and enhancing its marketing and strategic vision. The MOB also became a part of the Caribbean Marine Association (CMA) in June, creating more exposure throughout the region.
A detailed map was also launched by the group, which outlined all of the marinas in The Bahamas for visitors to use as a reference. An advertising campaign is also in the works for the map, which marinas can use to market their businesses to prospective customers.
The growth in the country's marina sector was not without its challenges, with one of the major ones being high diesel prices throughout the year. The rising diesel costs made it more difficult for marinas to maintain current profit margins and a high customer base. The MOB was also active in trying to improve the current boat theft laws, lobbying for an amendment.
The optimism of the group can be seen in the actions of its members, with a Family Island marina operator looking to bounce back after a year filled with challenges, seeking a 10 percent rise in business in 2012.
Owner of Flying Fish Marina on Long Island, Mario Cartwright, told Guardian Business recently that 2011 had its fair share of ups and downs, but despite the challenges he is very optimistic about 2012.
"It has been reasonably steady for 2011, yacht sales have been a little depressed globally but as far as yachting in general we had a solid year," Cartwright said. "It's the way the business works, it's been up and down all year but for the most part we are looking to improve in 2012."
While Cartwright deemed 2011 a decent year, he admitted that the season had its fair amount of rough stretches.
An unexpected problem came in the form of Hurricane Irene, which caused some damage and thousands of dollars in repairs. However, Cartwright added that he caught a break when the hurricane arrived during the slower part of the marina season. However, he realizes that such incidents come with the territory and he is optimistic he will have a strong 2012.
"I feel that 2012 will be a great year for marinas in The Bahamas, and the amount of work the MOB has done to increase the global exposure of marinas is very commendable," Cartwright said.
"I have been here from the start and I believe that the improvement in the global economy will create a domino effect that will translate into growth for the organization and the marina sector in The Bahamas."
Friday 1st June 2012 6:00 PM
June 1 & 2 Harbourside Marine Rotary Tuna Classic This fishing tournament is sponsored by Harbourside Marine. Lines must be in at 6am, lines out 7pm. This year weigh stations include Schooner Bay in Abaco, Cape Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Green Parrot in Nassau. Entry fee is $1,000 per boat. Registration & Captain/Anglers' meetings held at both Green Parrot (PI) and Boat Harbour Marina. Prizes include Yamaha scooters, generator, Shimano and Kristal rods and reels. Proceeds go to Rotary Club of East Nassau's charitable programs. Awards ceremony & raffle held June 9 at Green Parrot East Bay.. T: 376-9858 or 457-2282 Schedule of Events Thursday May 31st, 2012 - Registration & Captain/Anglers’ meeting Held at both Green Parrot (PI) and Boat Harbour Marina-Anglers Bar (MHH-AB) Friday June 1st, Saturday June 2nd, 2012 - Fishing Lines in at 6am. Lines out at 7pm. All caught fish eligible for Bahamas Rotary Tuna Classic awards must be brought to an official weigh station and weighed on the same day as caught. Any fish hooked before “lines out” with fight exceeding “lines out” must communicate with tournament committee or judge. Weighmaster at each weigh station keeps official time. Weigh stations are Schooner Bay, Abaco Spanish Wells, N Eleuthera Nassau, NP Cape Eleuthera, S Eleuthera Hours For Weigh-In: Friday 1st 6pm-8pm Saturday 2nd 6pm-8pm Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo categories only. No billfish Saturday June 9th, 2012 - Awards Ceremony & Raffle Held at Green Parrot, Harbourside. Live band, food, raffle, awards, fun for the whole family. Any winners in top categories who live in Abaco or Eleuthera will be flown to Nassau and overnight at Sheraton hotel. Compliments of Sky Bahamas and Sheraton Nassau Beach. Covers only the actual angler. ClickHERE to fill Entry Form. ClickHERE to view Rules & Regulations.
NASSAU, Bahamas -- For years, thousands of residents of New Providence's eastern district piled into cars and trucks to trek west as more and more restaurants opened miles away from the oldest established residential district in New Providence, That's about to change. During the first quarter of this year, two experienced restaurateurs are opening Billfish Grill at Palm Cay, bringing a convenient feast in the east to the area's close-to-home, dine out-deprived populations.
For chef Lise Watson-Russell (think Chives) and Peter Rounce, of Graycliff Bahamas, Billfish Grill is an opportunity to do what they both label as novel - create a casual dining experience with exceptional food inside a residential community known for its active social calendar, lifestyle and marina.
"We are creating a restaurant inside a residential enclave with a large (194-slip) marina. It's a far cry from designing a restaurant that caters to corporate clients, business lunches or dinner meetings," says Rounce. "This has to be family-oriented, light-hearted and casual, a place with a lot of familiar faces, but the food has to stand out. Overall, our vision is to deliver a high-end out island experience for guests without their ever leaving the island."
Russell and Rounce agree all the elements are in place. Taking a break to talk about their vision, menu and plans this week as construction crews behind them worked to complete the makeover of Palm Cay's three-story clubhouse into a full-fledged restaurant, they started with location. Both are excited about being the creators of the first new high-end restaurant east of the Paradise Island Bridge in recent history and what they believe to be the first ever on the southeast coast. They are not worried about going where gourmet never dared to go before. They have a vision inspired by the near-perfect setting - endless waterfront views.
With a degree in Hospitality, Rounce's specialties are finance and marketing. He points to the 280 degree view --- 1,200 feet of white, soft sandy beach on one side, the swimming pool and kiddy pool straight ahead, the long pier and Atlantic Ocean beyond. Off to the other side, the marina, harbourmaster's office and eventually cottages and more.