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"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tomorrow, His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes will demit office as the ninth governor general of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, a position that he has held since April 14, 2010. By any measure, Bahamians from all walks of life and from both sides of the political divide will attest that he is unquestionably the very best son of the soil to hold the highest office in the land since the founding of our nation in 1973. Therefore this week, we would like to Consider This... What will be Sir Arthur's legacy?
The youthful years
Arthur Alexander Foulkes was born in Matthew Town, Inagua, May 11, 1928, son of the late Dr. William A. Foulkes and Julie Foulkes, nee Maisonneuve.
He was educated at public schools in Matthew Town and in Nassau and first worked at The Nassau Guardian as a linotype operator and proof-reader. He then joined The Tribune as a linotype operator in 1948 and took up journalism under the tutelage of editor and publisher Sir Etienne Dupuch, who made him a reporter and later appointed him news editor of The Tribune.
Sir Arthur was one of the founders of the National Committee for Positive Action, a think-tank and activist group within the PLP which supported the leadership of Sir Lynden Pindling and contributed significantly to the achievement of majority rule.
He drafted the PLP's petition to the United Nations Committee of 24 (on decolonization) and was a member of the Delegation of Eight that presented the petition in 1965. Sir Arthur wrote many political documents over the years, contributed to the manifestos of both major political parties and drafted the first platform of the Free National Movement in 1971.
Sir Arthur was founding editor of Bahamian Times, the official organ of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) from 1962 to 1967. He selected as its motto a quote from American emancipation crusader Frederick Douglass: "Without struggle there is no progress". That newspaper played a pivotal role in the campaign for majority rule which was achieved in the general elections of January 10, 1967.
Noted for his stirring oratory in the 60s, Sir Arthur was elected to Parliament in 1967 and served in various political offices over the years, including minister of communications and minister of tourism in the PLP government.
Under his leadership, the Ministry of Tourism recorded impressive gains in 1969. It was also on his ministerial watch in 1968 that a Bahamas-based airline, International Air Bahama, flew to Europe for the first time and he was instrumental in enabling black Bahamian stewardesses to work on international flights not only to America but to Europe as well. As minister of communications, he presided over the complete Bahamianization of the management of BaTelCo, the national public telephone corporation.
Sir Arthur was one of the Dissident Eight who rejected the leadership of Sir Lynden in 1970 and broke away from the PLP, forming the Free PLP. In 1971, he was a founder of the Free National Movement. He was appointed to the Senate in 1972 and 1977 and reelected to the House of Assembly in 1982.
During his public career, Sir Arthur attended many international conferences and, in 1972, was one of four opposition delegates to The Bahamas Independence Constitution Conference in London. He drafted the opposition memorandum for the conference and was primarily responsible for the drafting of the preamble to the Bahamian Constitution.
In the 1970s, when opposition forces in the country seemed hopelessly splintered, Sir Arthur, together with others, initiated arduous negotiations which finally resulted in a united opposition under the leadership of Sir Kendal Isaacs in time for the 1982 elections.
Later, he was a columnist for The Guardian and The Tribune and, from 2002 to 2007, resumed his popular column, "To The Point", in The Tribune.
Sir Arthur, the diplomat
In 1992 Sir Arthur entered the diplomatic service of The Bahamas as high commissioner to the United Kingdom and ambassador to France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the European Union (resident in London).
He represented The Bahamas to the African Caribbean Pacific Group in Brussels, was permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization and also Doyen of the Caribbean diplomatic corps in the United Kingdom. He also founded Friends of The Bahamas, a London-based association.
In 1999 he was appointed the first Bahamas ambassador to the People's Republic of China and ambassador to the Republic of Cuba, both nonresident posts.
In 2001 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) by Queen Elizabeth II and on April 14, 2010 he became the nation's ninth governor general.
A profound and perpetual legacy
Sir Arthur served as an exemplary head of state. He is first and foremost a nationalist, whose credentials as such were unquestionable and unassailable. He is one of those individuals who can unquestionably be described as one of the "fathers of the nation" or "heroes of the revolution". He is a nationally unifying force and his short tenure as governor general was devoid of any hint of the profound partisan divisions that are present in so many facets of Bahamian life.
Notwithstanding his reservations regarding the timing for independence for The Bahamas, he is without question a powerful proponent for national freedom and strong supporter of state sovereignty.
Sir Arthur is the kind of unique Bahamian who has managed to stay the course and rise above the fray, keeping his ideals and beliefs constant and unwavering in spite of the storms that sometimes seethed around him. In short, he has become an example of how an active and politically passionate person can also be a force for harmony and common sense across the great political divide.
There is no doubt that he will demit office far too soon, only four short years after assuming the highest position in the land. There is also no doubt that, unlike so many others in public life, he has chosen to depart on his terms and his timetable, at the pinnacle of his public profession.
Sir Arthur's humility, his deep love of and for The Bahamas and Bahamians, his enormous depth of knowledge about the land and people of his birth, his eloquent and elegant employment of the English language and his globally-informed world view are but a few of the elements that have crafted the person whom we have come to know as our ninth governor general.
As he travels through the gates of Government House and descends Mount Fitzwilliam on Tuesday, July 8 one last time as our governor general, and is driven through the streets of New Providence on his way to a place of placid retirement from active public life, the smile that will likely grace Sir Arthur's face will be one of contentment and great satisfaction.
He will be pleased that, as he demits office, his legacy is fully and eternally ensconced and embedded in the annals of Bahamian history - a legacy that symbolizes all that is good about The Bahamas: our courage in adversity, our capability to withstand and overcome hardship, our dignity in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges and our innate kindness and graciousness toward our fellow human beings, no matter their race, religion, economic status or political persuasion. History will recognize Sir Arthur Foulkes as a governor general for the ages.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in parliament. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
On a recent morning radio show on the new Guardian Radio station, a host chastised politicians for lacking the will to address various issues concerning young men. The fact that in that morning's Nassau Guardian was a story on the government giving $1 million in grants for urban outreach programs targeted mostly to young people, young men in particular, seems to have eluded the host.
Perhaps it was too much to ask that the host read even the newspaper owned by the company operating the station on which the host blabbered the vapid commentary.
Here again we were treated to a shop-worn cliché about politicians. It is one in a collection of clichés and lazy thinking. Others include, "the country (it could be any country) is going to hell", which has been a refrain since the Treaty of Westphalia codified the nation-state in 1648.
Alas, with notable exceptions, this is typical fare on talk radio where fact-checking has also become a dying art. This medium of mass communication is littered with channels of mass misinformation and downright disinformation by some.
More distressing is the uninformed commentary by those one assumes should know better. Recently, there was an unexpectedly disappointing letter to the editor on the state of political affairs in the country including the 2012 election cycle.
As society holds academics to a high standard of intellectual rigor, one expects more balanced and substantive analysis from someone in academia. One also expects analysis that is fact-driven and properly researched.
The letter was not a well-crafted intellectual argument. It was disingenuous. Not because the individual is ill-willed. Indeed, the writer appears well-meaning in terms of concern for the country. It was disingenuous because it indulged in a series of gross overstatements and cavalier disregard of readily available facts.
The letter was lacking in historical and global perspective, yet another example of navel-gazing with little contextualizing of domestic affairs within the broader scope of global current affairs.
The letter writer posited: "One could argue (and I certainly would) that for four of the past five years, there was no governance at all, but just more of this sparring in the House of Assembly, just more trading of insults back and forth across the floor, while the world got on with changing its foundations all around us and the ground on which our society and economy rest crumbles away."
Such commentary is neither convincing nor dispositive. Any casual observer of the fierce parliamentary debates in a host of parliamentary democracies including the UK would view our political back-and-forth as tame.
The often vituperative nature of Australian politics would make the heads of many Bahamians spin. This is not new for Australia. It has a history of rough-and-tumble politics. Yet, Australia is often viewed as one of the better run countries.
To provide as evidence for our supposed lack of governance, the fierce nature of political debate would mean that Great Britain has not been governed for centuries. In democracies like South Korea and Japan, parliamentary sessions have degenerated into fist-fights. Are these countries also without governance?
But the claim of "no governance" belies other realities. That not a single civil servant was laid off during the Great Recession was not an easy feat. If more academics and civil servants were laid off in The Bahamas over the past five years, as has been the case in other countries, perhaps more of them would have a deeper appreciation of how tough it was to hold the country together.
Not only were no civil servants laid off. There were also no cuts in salaries and benefits, and increments are on the horizon. It is shocking how cavalier is the analysis of some when they are not daily confronted with the enormous challenges of governing including prioritizing the apportionment of limited resources.
This supposed period of "no governance" achieved: $25 million more in scholarships for students attending The College of The Bahamas, the retraining of nearly 4,000 moderate income Bahamians, the introduction of a prescription drug benefit, the introduction of a landmark unemployment benefit, millions invested in new health facilities, new entrepreneurial programs for young people, and the most comprehensive upgrade of critical infrastructure in the nation's history inclusive of potable water and infrastructure urgently needed by Family Islanders.
None of these accomplishments magically appeared. They required leadership and governance. That the writer mentioned not one of these is more than being uninformed. Intellectual honesty requires an acknowledgment of facts.
The writer declared: "I have heard absolutely nothing from any party about what the future holds... The FNM has focussed very much on vague generalities like proven leadership and deliverance, and what has been done, largely in material, infrastructural terms, in the very recent past (one or two years at most)."
"Absolutely nothing"? This is intellectually disingenuous. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's over two dozen rally addresses since the beginning of the year contain considerably more than the usual political boilerplate. They are dense with policy and programmatic proposals.
Of note is a discussion of his vision for The Bahamas including his party's philosophy of development and ideas for urban redevelopment. His remarks in North Eleuthera addressed the balancing of domestic and foreign direct investment.
Either the letter writer has not bothered to research these or is being purposely misleading. If one has a view of the prime minister's proposals that would be fair commentary. But to claim that his speeches are mostly about sloganeering and infrastructure is exceedingly unfair and disingenuous.
The prime minister has proposed the development of Jubilee Bahamas (a 10-year National Plan), the Public Arts Project, a Parks and Recreation Authority, the Summer Institute for Boys, the Youth Development Centre, a Heritage Tourism Initiative, a Native Food Market for Over-the-Hill, an Economic and Development Council of Bahamians Overseas, an expanded mission for BTVI, and a further upgrade of post offices to government service centers.
The FNM's manifesto details proposals ranging from increasing the minimum wage, introducing National Catastrophic Health Insurance, the promotion of aquaculture and mariculture, the development of head start programs to improve literacy, numeracy and fundamental computer skills for all children by age five, the provision of "a school place or a stipend of up to $1,500 for all five-year-olds in approved educational institutions", a large-scale program of return migration to the Family Islands, a Bahamas Youth Development Corps, and others.
Again, not a single one of these was mentioned by the letter writer. What conclusion might one reach about the utter and wholesale exclusion of these facts?
Leaving aside the letter writer, it seems the self-imposed burden of some of the supposed cognoscenti and literati in developing countries is to decry the backwardness of our governance.
There is the regular excoriation of our politicians, our political process, our elections and our governance. There is the "dismay" and "outrage" at the way opposing political partisans tear the other side down.
How different this must be from more civilized countries supposedly so much better governed than The Bahamas? Perhaps these countries include a hyper-partisan United States or European Community states in the midst of a dire economic and political crisis related to their supposedly superior governance even as they slash their budgets and look to the International Monetary Fund for help.
In the frenzy of the enlightened denunciation by some of our supposed backwardness, perhaps they can offer more credible and cost-accounted policy prescriptions. Some of them might even enter frontline politics and discover the demands of governance.
There should be an immersion program called "Prime Minister for a Day". One imagines that just a day in the prime minister's chair would give rise to more insightful and convincing commentary than we are daily treated to in various media.
Politicians deserve neither pity nor unfettered adulation. But neither should they take seriously the simplistic assaults on their service in office, and the lack of acknowledgement of their accomplishments by those who do not accord them such common courtesy and basic fairness.
It is an intellectual conceit and a conceit of ignorance to fail to acknowledge such contributions by those politicians who love The Bahamas no less than those who breezily opine on affairs of state in pursuit of a hypothesis unconcerned with facts.
Six chainmen who were supposed to be transferred from the Department of Lands and Surveys to the Ministries of Works and Housing this week will remain in their positions for now, according to Bahamas Public Services Union Vice President Stephen Douglas.
The chainmen — who assist surveyors — protested outside the department’s East Bay Street offices on Tuesday, the day before they were supposed to report to their new posts.
They said they had only been given a letter a week prior indicating where they should report on May 18.
Department of Lands and Surveys Director Alexander Flowers said on Tuesday that the men were being transferred because they were not being fully util ...
A softer side to construction is emerging thanks to a two-woman company that is transforming newly-built condos and townhomes into inviting, move-in-ready homes.
It's the post-construction final touch, the luxurious-looking, highly affordable fully-furnished option that is easing buyer stress and boosting developer sales.
The company is UpStage Bahamas Ltd. Launched just over a year ago, UpStage has created and provided furniture packages for more than two dozen properties. It has furnished sophisticated offices in Nassau, five high-end condominiums, including one at Ocean Club Estates, 19 mid-prized and starter home condos and a large private residence at The Balmoral.
This week, UpStage revealed its latest work - two show homes at Venetian West, a 211-unit gated community complete with pool, tennis court, clubhouse and other amenities just south of the Old Fort Bay Town Centre on Windsor Field Road.
Company co-directors Ashley Brown and Brooke Phillips, both licensed BREA real estate agents, founded Upstage to fill a gap in the residential sales market. They realized that in new construction and in sales of older homes, sellers often fail to dress the property properly.
"Ashley and I would go into a house that had just been listed and there were family photos, trophies, all sorts of personal effects. We'd look at each other and think, 'imagine if we could just get in here, move all this clutter, paint it neutral colors and show off the bones of this great place, its high ceilings or natural light or an interesting angle," said Phillips.
Brown and Phillips tossed around the idea of forming a company that would focus on the temporary interior display, the job known as staging. They both took courses and earned certification.
"Staging a property to show it off to its best advantage was in its early stages in The Bahamas and largely reserved for the well-to-do," said Phillips. "What we wanted to create was affordable staging. People get so used to living with what they have around them they don't see the potential. Our fresh eyes, I think, helped give us a new perspective in preparing a property for viewing. You wouldn't go to a party without dressing up, so wouldn't you want your home to be dressed up for company, especially when that company was a potential buyer?"
As they staged a few older homes, UpStage Bahamas founders Brown and Phillips realized there was an even greater need in an emerging market - the dozens, if not hundreds, of new condos and townhomes coming on stream. A deal to furnish a model unit at one of those, a development called Venito, led to success for both developer and staging company.
Buyers could see themselves living with the furniture exactly as they saw it, said Brown. That translated into sales for the developer and propelled UpStage to focus on a new direction, creating furniture packages that looked like luxury but were affordable and enabled buyers to move in with little more than a toothbrush and clothing.
"Buyers love that we are offering furniture packages because it alleviates the stress and hassle of the move-in process," said Brown, who holds a bachelors' degree in architecture, while her partner is an honors business graduate. "The service we provide paired with the option to finance the furniture is attractive. Buyers do not need to come up with extra cash to buy brand new furniture."
While freedom from furniture stress and the availability of financing are attractive incentives for buyers, the benefits for the developer may be even greater.
Brown continued: "It is important that developers understand the value in show homes and how a well-designed space is directly related to sales. It is difficult for buyers to envision themselves living in a home when they walk into an empty space. We really tried to compliment the developer's overall lifestyle vision by putting together two show homes that, although different in style, still encompass a contemporary way of living."
Prepping the space is not easy. With massive excel sheets in front of them to stick to budget, Brown and Phillips juggle everything from linens to mattress prices. They wrestle furniture, iron and hang curtains, design lighting, work with electricians, provide custom artwork of their own creation and it all becomes part of a financed package.
Hundreds saw the result of UpStage's work when they toured the two- and three-bedroom homes at Venetian West during a well-publicized open house last weekend.
"Condominium and multi-family developments are still relatively new in the grand scope of things to the Bahamian real estate market and a lot of buyers are latching on to this new trend," explained Brown. "What we are helping the buyer see and the developer sell is not just a furnished condo but a lifestyle people can see and feel," said the pair.
The government is again preparing to relocate staff in the General Post Office building which will be closed today due to structural problems, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday.
Postal services will also been suspended today. It is unclear when those services will resume.
In a statement, Hanna-Martin said postal services are "subject to further notification".
However, counter services will be available at each sub-post office location, including Shirley Street, Elizabeth Estates, Cable Beach, South Beach, Fox Hill and Grants Town.
Hanna-Martin said employees found debris in one of the offices in the building on East Hill Street when they arrived at work yesterday morning.
"As a result of this latest incident the ministry has determined to immediately put in place interim measures for the relocation of postal staff and protocols for the collection and distribution of mails while arrangements for finalizing a permanent location is completed," read the statement.
"That process of relocation to permanent premises is in train and premises have been identified with the collaboration of the Ministry of Public Service, which has responsibility for accommodations.
"...The terms of the acquisition of the new location are now being settled."
Hanna-Martin added, "The ministry wishes to give assurance of its fullest concern for the safety of the staff at the post office."
The building has had several challenges over the years.
In August 2013, the government said it was preparing to relocate staff after air condition challenges led to severe flooding in the building.
In February of that year, post office employees claimed that a large concrete slab fell from the ceiling and nearly hit a worker.
At the time, Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) Secretary General S. J. Miller said the building posed "serious health and safety problems" for employees.
Hanna-Martin has acknowledged that the building has fallen into a state of disrepair over the years.
There have also been air conditioning issues at the Elizabeth Estates, South Beach and Grants Town post offices.
The government is preparing to relocate staff in the General Post Office building, which has had structural problems over the last several years, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said.
The decision was made after air condition challenges led to severe flooding in the building on East Hill Street.
"We have made a determination as a matter of policy that we are moving people out of that post office," Hanna-Martin said.
She said officials from the Ministry of Works assessed the building this week and identified challenges.
"We have been looking at alternate locations for the short to medium term establishment of general post office services which include the entire spectrum of service, including the savings bank, parcel post and also the mail sorting aspect of it," she said.
"We are hopeful that over the next few days a building will be identified and people will be redeployed from the General Post Office to new accommodations."
In meantime, employees are working fewer hours, Hanna-Martin said.
"We want to limit the time they are in that building until we find alternate accommodations," she said.
In February, post office employees claimed that a large concrete slab fell from the ceiling and nearly hit a worker.
At the time, Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) Secretary General S. J. Miller said the building posed "serious health and safety problems" for employees.
Hanna-Martin acknowledged that the building has fallen into a state of disrepair over the years.
"The post office was built in the 1970s and it has gone through a process of deterioration and this is where we are now," she said. "It has become necessary to move the post office from that building to a new location."
Hanna-Martin said there are also air conditioning issues at the Elizabeth Estates, South Beach and Grants Town post offices.
As Ministry of Works officials work to address those issues, Hanna-Martin said the people employed at those offices are also working fewer hours.
"We can not require people to stay in conditions of that nature," she said.
The General Post Office also houses the Office of the Attorney General.
Minister of Labour Shane Gibson told reporters in February that the AG's office will be relocated to a government building on John F. Kennedy Drive once renovations are completed.
Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) President John Pinder expressed concern yesterday that employees at the General Post Office on East Hill Street are increasingly at risk at work despite the government's pledge to relocate them.
Pinder was contacted for comment after employees were sent back to work on Wednesday following a closure due to structural problems the day before.
He said he is pushing for the employees to be relocated as soon as possible.
"When the rain settles on that roof sometimes parts of that concrete ceiling can break away from the steel due to deterioration," he said.
"We do have that concern, and I wish they could get out of there immediately."
Pinder said the government has indicated to him that the employees will be permanently relocated, within three weeks, to the Independence Shopping Centre on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
On Monday, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation announced that employees had found debris in one of the offices in the building on East Hill Street when they arrived at work.
"As a result of this latest incident the Ministry has determined to immediately put in place interim measures for the relocation of postal staff and protocols for the collection and distribution of mails while arrangements for finalizing a permanent location are completed," read the statement.
Postal services resumed on Wednesday.
Pinder said employees have been placed on half-day shifts to limit their time in the building.
He said while the union understands a discontinuation of those crucial services would be a "major inconvenience" to the public, it is a concerning matter.
"It is unfortunate that the job they do caters to the general public in terms of putting those mails in the mail boxes," Pinder said.
"And, so, for them to shut down services would really be a major inconvenience to the general public, and we are trying to ensure the general public is not inconvenienced."
Pinder said he has also recommended to the Ministry that employees be given hard hats.
"The Ministry has removed all the tiles to make it more visible for them to see the cracks so that employees can be more vigilant to ensure that they don't go in any area where there is a possibility that the ceiling can drop down again," he said.
"The Ministry has indicated that they will do regular checks."
The building has had several challenges over the years.
In an effort to "facilitate the timely and orderly development" of Bimini, the government will establish an Office of the Prime Minister on the island.
A senior official will be posted to the office, which Prime Minister Perry Christie said would "strengthen the government administration" there.
He made the announcement during his speech at Monday's Bahamas Business Outlook, where he spoke at length about new developments expected to impact the economy in 2014.
Nine square miles in size, Bimini is currently undergoing major development at the direction of Resorts World Bimini, owned by the Malaysian Genting Group, which is expanding the already existing former Bimini Bay Resort to include an additional boutique hotel, a ferry terminal and other amenities projected to provide a significant boost to the local economy.
The project has stirred controversy, in part inciting claims that it has moved ahead without necessary permits, or due regard for the environment - claims Resorts World Bimini have denied.
Yesterday, MP for East Grand Bahama and shadow minister of finance, Peter Turnquest, questioned the need for an Office of the Prime Minister on the island, particularly during difficult economic times.
"The obvious question is 'to what end'? What exactly is this office going to do there? We've seen the Office of the Prime Minister in Abaco, we've seen the Office of the Prime Minister, which is now the Ministry of Grand Bahama... one would have to question what is the net benefit of all of these offices.
"Bimini like all out islands would have an administrator, and presumably he'd be the chief liaison with any government agency and the Office of the Prime Minister, and when you consider that the whole intent of local government is to devolve some of the powers of central government, how does that work in concert with establishing another central government agency on the island? It seems kind of counter productive in my mind," said Turnquest.
The executive council of the National Republican Alliance (ARENA) held its monthly meeting last evening (April 3, 2014) at our central offices located at East Street and Andros Avenue.
There were several items on the agenda, inclusive of: web shop regulation and taxation; crime and punishment; the performance of the PLP and, of course, our political support for generational leadership changes in the PLP at the appropriate juncture.
ARENA fully supports the regulation and taxation of web shops. We agreed to urge the government and parliamentarians to impose a minimum annual taxation rate of 30 percent on the gross revenues. An annual license should be issued to the five major operators for $5 million each. If they wish, they can open or franchise as many outlets as the market will sustain at $250,000 each per annum.
Strict vetting must be done along with criminal background checks for all proposed operators. No one should be allowed to hide behind 'the corporate veil'. An insurance bond, to ensure performance, should also be required in the amount of $10 million minimum per operator.
ARENA also demands transparency and strict adherence to ethical standards by parliamentarians and the government on this issue. There should be no allegations of 'payola' or pay to play.
The police are doing an excellent job crime-wise. The problem, if there is one, would appear to be the revolving door system created by the granting of bail. Crime, contrary to what the 'lost in space' leader of the FNM is postulating, is not 'smothering' the nation. Yes, there are issues of concern here in New Providence but, overall, the Family Islands retain their innocent status.
The FNM and the out of touch DNA are merely posturing for brownie points and talking out of their co-jointed heads. Minnis has pretensions of becoming PM one day. McCartney, apparently, is delusional from a political point. Will he still be 'leader' of the DNA come 2017? When are they going to hold a national conclave or convention?
ARENA stands fully behind the eventual ascendency of the Hon. Philip 'Brave' Davis (PLP-Cat Island), the DPM and minister of works, to the leadership of the PLP. Either the Hon. Shane Gibson (PLP-Golden Gates), minister of labor, or the Hon. Michael Halkitis (PLP-Golden Isles), minister of state for finance, would make an ideal deputy leader of the PLP.
ARENA will canvas assiduously for the election of Brave as leader of the PLP when it is time for the current leader to step down or aside. We will take 'no prisoners' and we shall not be distracted. All who come up against us, so long as they are of flesh and blood, will be defeated in the political arena.
- Godfrey Collie
ARENA Secretary General
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Mention construction and instant images of concrete blocks, cement and hard-scrapple men in hard hats come to mind.
But in The Bahamas, a softer side of construction is emerging, thanks to a two-woman company that is transforming newly-built condos and townhomes into inviting, move-in-ready homes. It's the post-construction final touch, the luxurious-looking, highly affordable fully-furnished option that is easing buyer stress and boosting developer sales.
The company is UpStage Bahamas Ltd. Launched just over a year ago, UpStage has created and provided furniture packages for more than two dozen properties. They've furnished sophisticated offices in Nassau, five high-end condominiums, including one at Ocean Club Estates, 19 mid-prized and starter home condos and a large private residence at Balmoral. This week, UpStage revealed its latest work -- two show homes at Venetian West, a 211-unit gated community complete with pool, tennis court, clubhouse and other amenities just south of the Old Fort Bay Town Centre on Windsor Field Road.
Company co-directors Ashley Brown and Brooke Phillips founded Upstage to fill a gap in the residential sales market. Both licensed BREA real estate agents, they realized that in new construction and in sales of older homes, sellers often failed to dress the property properly.
"Ashley and I would go into a house that had just been listed and there were family photos, trophies, all sorts of personal effects. We'd look at each other and think, 'Imagine if we could just get in here, move all this clutter, paint it neutral colours and show off the bones of this great place, its high ceilings or natural light or an interesting angle."