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News Article

June 30, 2014
'Business hotel' considered by Bay Street Marina backers

The manager of the Bay Street Marina has predicted a "bright future" for the marina and Bahamian yacht sector as a whole, while proposing a business hotel on the waterfront as part of a slate of possible further investments.
Marina Manager Peter Maury said that the marina "had a good start" and continues to perform well as the marina industry enters its busy season over the summer. In addition to the three restaurants onsite, Maury said that the marina hopes to further expand and is exploring proposals for retail stores, condos and a business hotel on the property.
"From our end, we're still putting proposals together to see what best suits the market," said Maury, adding that the addition of a business hotel would present a unique opportunity for the area.
Maury hoped that the marina could partner with a hotel chain to build a small business hotel on a portion of the marina's property, which would operate independently of the marina and would set itself apart from nearby competition by targeting businessmen and providing conference spaces.
The marina, which opened in November 2013, accommodates yachts of up to 150' and is currently at roughly 70 percent capacity. The marina is part of wider downtown revitalization efforts, and Maury projected that the area would continue to grow over the next few years through continued developments.
Turning his attention to the wider yacht industry, Maury stated that The Bahamas was currently in a unique position within the region to attract yacht tourism.
"With the increased price in fuel and modern navigation, we have a good opportunity here to raise the awareness of yacht visitors," said Maury, adding that the industry could expand by raising the frequency of super yacht visits to The Bahamas.
While Maury felt that the country needed to increase the ease of doing business in the face of mounting taxes, including value-added tax (VAT) and charter fees, he remained optimistic about the marina's future.
"I see a bright future for the marina industry if we can control the cost of yachts visiting the Bahamas...We can really increase the presence of yachts that spend more per capita in this country than any other tourism sector, but that's not going to happen if we scare everybody out of here."

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News Article

October 30, 2014
Cross Mosko assists in the sale of British Colonial Hilton hotel

The sale of the British Colonial Hilton Hotel property in Downtown Nassau was confirmed at an official signing ceremony in the hotel on October 27.
The property is being purchased by China Construction America Inc. (CCA) from its present owners based in Canada and Switzerland. CCA was represented in the transaction by Cross & Mosko Real Estate & Development Co. Ltd., the Bahamian real estate brokerage company based in Nassau.
The transaction negotiations included some complex elements and took over a year from initial discussions to signing. This included establishing a plan for development of the presently undeveloped land to the west of the hotel. The acquisition and further development of the hotel is the initial step in major plans by CCA to make vast improvements in the infrastructure of the downtown area extending eastwards as far as Potter's Cay. These will be of great benefit to local residents as well as to Bahamas tourism. The plans include a harbor front boardwalk, marinas, high end hotels, condominiums, shops, restaurants, bars and pleasant green space.
Daniel Liu, senior vice president of CCA, was the leader of this project for the purchasers. Kevin Cross, of Cross & Mosko, said, "We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Daniel Liu on this acquisition and we look forward to assisting CCA in the redevelopment project, which is much needed for some depressed locations of the downtown area.
CCA is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), which is the largest construction company in the world with 2013 sales of $116 billion. It ranks #52 of Fortune 500 Companies. However, this is the first hotel acquisition in Caribbean countries by CSCEC. It is part of CCA's long term investment strategy in the Bahamas.
Cross and Mosko Real Estate and Development Company Limited was founded in 2011 and focuses on high value real estate sales (including private islands), appraisals and development projects, with offices at Lyford Cay House.

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News Article

October 21, 2014
Paradise Plates serves up perfect evening of fun and food

Hands For Hunger's Paradise Plates 2014 lived up to its promise this year to be the biggest and best "night of culinary compassion" ever held, drawing the best food and beverage purveyors on the island, 700-plus guests and rave reviews.
Paradise Plates, now in its sixth year, was held on September 27 in the Grand Ballroom of Atlantis resort and is the signature fundraiser for the Hands For Hunger (H4H) organization. H4H is a humanitarian organization committed to the elimination of unnecessary hunger and the reduction of food waste in The Bahamas. Based on a recent report from the Department of Statistics, as many as 34,000 Bahamians face chronic hunger or food insecurity. The good news is that the problem is surmountable. Through the reduction of food waste in our community, unnecessary hunger can be eliminated.
This year, Paradise Plates guests experienced an epicurean adventure of diverse palates, bold flavors and traditional favorites from 29 food and drink stations showcasing their best fare, including sushi, tapas, pork belly, ceviche, hummus, dessert, sky juice, rum and wine, to name just a few. Guests were also entertained by live music. A Junkanoo rushout by the Marina Village Junkanoo Troupe capped off the night.
Chef Monica Hutchinson, a Food Network-affiliated chef, presented a rescued food demonstration, transforming KFC chicken and peas and rice into tasty dishes. There was also a dramatic Chinese noodle demonstration by Atlantis.
For the past two years, Paradise Plates has been used to introduce the public to Nassau's current or newly launching restaurants. In 2012, Graycliff Chocolatier launched its artisan chocolates and bon bons to the delight of guests and just last year Palm Cay's Billfish Grill was a huge hit among the curious "foodie" crowd at Paradise Plates. This year guests were introduced to Lukka Kairi, a new restaurant featuring traditional Bahamian flavors with a fresh, contemporary approach.
The live and silent auctions had guests brimming with excitement as many attempted to win at least one of more than 50 fabulous prizes, experiences and adventures. The star of the silent auction this year was an X4 BMW. Other items up for bid included local and international vacation packages to destinations such as Portland, Ore., Washington D.C. and the Family Islands, along with fine jewelry, art and sculpture, and designer items.
"Every year, in an effort to raise over $100,000 to sustain Hands For Hunger's programs and operations, we rely on our valued partners to ensure the success of this night of culinary compassion," said Anna Bancroft, Paradise Plates Committee lead and communications manager, Hands For Hunger.
The 2014 Paradise Plates event involved a number of companies collaborating to make the event a success. Atlantis, Creative Relations, Zamar, and Wildflowers Events and Occasions provided in-kind donations to transform the venue into a magnificent space. In addition to corporate partnerships, the event would not be possible without a dedicated group of volunteers working with the H4H staff. The event also allowed College of The Bahamas culinary students to practice their skills while giving back. For the last six years they have assisted executive chefs at the participant stations.
Royal Bank of Canada and SkyBahamas both served as presenting sponsors of Paradise Plates this year. BMW was a connoisseur sponsor of the event this year.

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News Article

September 11, 2013
Atlantis employees make back-to-school donations

Scores of students who call the Elizabeth Estates Children's Home their home are returning to school this fall semester equipped to take on another year of classroom learning thanks to Team Mosaic.
In an effort to give back and show their love and appreciation for the Bahamian community, team members from Mosaic Restaurant banded together and hosted a back-to-school drive in support of the youngsters at the home.
"We at Mosaic -- Front of House division -- have committed ourselves to the effort of giving back and we all agreed that the best focus we can have is on our nation's youth, the future of this great country called The Bahamas," said restaurant manager, Shawn Saunders.
"Back-to-school is an important time for so many youngsters. We all fully understand that our economy is still in the process of recovering and so we decided to put our attention to those youngsters who are less fortunate, specifically those at the Elizabeth Estates Children's Home, and help them prepare for the start of another school year," he said.
Book bags, books, pens, pencils, pens, rulers crayons and notepads were among the items donated to the thankful youngsters and staff.
"We all firmly believe that if you willingly give from the heart, the benefits are bountiful and bountiful were the smiles on the faces of those kids. Both the kids and their guardians expressed a high sense of gratitude which we truly appreciated. This is what can happen when we all come together for one goal," said Saunders.
The Pointe gives back
Although small in size, the team at The Pointe decided to lend a helping hand and give back to the community through a donation of school supplies to Great Commission Ministries located on Wulff Road.
Great Commission Ministries is an organization which assists the less fortunate on a daily basis wherever possible. The donation is the team's way of making a positive impact, albeit a small one, in the community.

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News Article

August 31, 2013
Preparing for VAT

The government has set July 1, 2014 as the date for the biggest change to the Bahamian tax system in recent memory. It plans to bring forward a value-added tax (VAT), to create a central revenue service and to cut many customs duty rates.
To inform the people of what will take place the government has published a white paper on VAT that is available for all to see on its website. The government has also pledged a significant public relations campaign to help educate the Bahamian people on the proposed new tax.
The government will have challenges with this education effort. In its white paper, it admits that VAT is one of the more complicated taxes. It involves multi level taxation up the chain of production and distribution and it also includes rebates for some.
The Bahamas has challenges with education. The public school system in New Providence has an average in the national exams somewhere not too far from an F. The technical language of the white paper is inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of our population.
Sweeping tax reform requires the understanding and consent of the people. If the people think something they don't understand is being forced on them, and it leads to a higher cost of living, the political party that did the deed will pay at the polls. The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration should know this.
While one challenge for the administration will simply be breaking VAT down for regular Bahamians to understand, there are some fundamental questions that will be asked by those who do understand. These are questions the white paper does not answer.
It remains unclear how the imposition of VAT will impact the cost of goods and services across the board.
In fact, the white paper acknowledges that the government is unable at this time to indicate comprehensively either way.
"The effect of VAT on prices will vary as between goods and services and, within the goods category, the effect will depend on the current taxation of individual goods.
The final impact on the price of goods will depend on the extent of reductions in import tariff rates flowing from accession to the WTO," according to the white paper.
The government attempts to reassure the public by saying that agricultural, food and certain other products that currently benefit from duty free status under the Tariff Act will also be exempt from VAT.
"Similarly, the services also proposed to be exempt from VAT, such as health and education services, etc., should experience no direct change in price under a VAT system," the white paper adds.
However, Bahamians will simply want to know how much more expensive items at the grocery store will be as a result of this proposed change. How much more expensive will clothing and electronics be? Is there a tax for using the already expensive services of lawyers? Will there be a 15 percent tax at restaurants on top of the 15 percent charged for gratuity?
To answer some of these questions, the government would have to announce its full range of cuts to customs duties. Other answers may be so unacceptable to the people that the government may have to alter its position.
When the official education campaign begins, business owners and professionals will have many questions for the government and its representatives, as will concerned citizens who can understand the magnitude of the change. It is necessary for the government to ensure that it works out the answers to the obvious questions Bahamians will ask before it starts the talking and education tour.
Prime Minister Perry Christie led the government's communications effort on gambling. He was not well versed on the subject. He confused the issue and said things that were contradictory. The people noticed and rejected the referendum - an initiative the governing party hoped Bahamians would support.
Government bureaucrats and the PLP should not just assume Bahamians will accept VAT because international advisory agencies said we should try it. The people have to think it is better for them and the country. They know little of the details of this move now. If this tax reform is to succeed they must know more and agree to it by the implementation date.

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News Article

December 29, 2011

FOUR Bahamian businesses - a restaurant and three luxury retailers recently came up winners in the MasterCard-Ministry of Tourism 'Find Your Way' initiative, walking away with an early Christmas present of cash from the international credit and debit card company for being number one in the increase of MasterCard sales volume for the month.

The most recent winners were the Kafe Kalik restaurant at Lynden Pindling International Airport, Carlo Milano and Effy Jewellers of Bay Street, and A la Plage, Marina Village, Paradise Island. Each received international recognition and a cheque for $1,000, rewarding them for their performance.

"The outstanding performance of our winning merchant ...

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News Article

September 09, 2014
Boutique hotel set for early 2015 opening

The Island House, a 30-room boutique hotel under construction on western New Providence, is progressing smoothly, according to Project Manager Lauren Holowesko.
With the project on track for an early 2015 opening, Holowesko said the sense of excitement is mounting as a number of its distinctive features begin to take shape.
"The project is really coming together," she said. "The majority of the rooms are in advanced or final stages, with some only awaiting fixtures and furniture. The utilities are all in place and the bathrooms are currently being outfitted.
"Best of all, we are now moving ahead with several of the elements that will make The Island House (TIH) stand out as unique - like the cinema, roof-top lounge and our collection of original local artwork."
Holowesko said TIH will stand out among Nassau resorts, having been designed with both visitors and the local community in mind, and as a symbiotic extension of the surrounding environment.
"We want to offer our guests an intimate and authentic experience they can't find at the bigger, more mainstream resorts; one that merges the height of contemporary luxury with the unaffected elegance of authentic island life.
"At the same time, we want TIH to become a cultural gathering space for locals and visitors alike. For example, our 48-seater theater will be open to the community and feature mainstream but also art house films and independent Caribbean productions. The versatile space will also play host to art exhibitions, seminars and speaking events."
Holowesko added that an ongoing call for artwork submissions aims to highlight young and emerging Bahamian talents as well as well-known local masters, the aim being to feature original work not just in the hotel's common areas, but also in every room.
"We are also employing an eco-conscious approach to hospitality. Indigenous plant life and natural elements will be featured throughout the hotel," she said.
"Our approach was born of an understanding that boutique hotels are a necessary component of the future growth and diversification our tourism product, in line with the global trend towards more intimate, eco-friendly resort options."
When completed, TIH will feature six rental apartments, two restaurants, a cafe, spa, gym, squash and paddle courts and movement studio for fitness classes.

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News Article

January 07, 2012
AML Foods Limited Partners with CKE Restaurants Inc. To Bring The Carl's Jr. Brand To The Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas -  AML
Foods Limited is proud to announce that it has entered into a definitive
development agreement with CKE Restaurants, Inc. to bring the Carl's
Jr. franchise to The Bahamas. Under the agreement the Company will
develop a number of restaurants over the next five years, the first of
which is expected to open later in 2012.

"Carl's Jr. is a well established
west coast favorite providing premium food and customer service for more
than 70 years," says Gavin Watchorn, President and CEO of AML Foods
Limited. "Carl's Jr. offers a premium positioning and best in class
products, services and facilities which were very appealing to us. We
know the brand will resonate with Bahamians,

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News Article
Kafe Kalik Opens In Florida
October 09, 2008
Kafe Kalik Opens In Florida

Hankering for a taste of home, but you just happen to be in Florida, well no worries, because Tyrone Nabbie and his partners, Chad and Bassel Maali have taken the cuisine of The Bahamas to the United States specifically Central Florida.

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News Article

July 09, 2013
Too much salt can lead to serious health problems

Salt -- it makes all foods taste really good, including a little sprinkle on slices of cantaloupe melon to bring out the sweetness -- and most people use it quite liberally. Actually most Bahamians intake more sodium [salt] than is recommended for a healthy diet, and that could lead to serious health problems, according to a family medical practitioner. Dr. Patrick Whitfield says too much sodium increases a person's risk for high blood pressure and that he said often leads to heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Whitfield, who practices out of the Oxford Medical Center, says heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and kidney failure are outcomes of high blood pressure and that collectively it has an enormous impact on premature death and disability in Bahamians.
"Most people eat on average about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day. The United States dietary guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (1 teaspoon) per day and recommends that about six in 10 adults -- people who are 51 years or older, people with high blood pressure in all age groups, people with diabetes and people with chronic kidney disease -- should further limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day [about two-thirds of a teaspoon]," said Dr. Whitfield.
According to the doctor, the amounts listed are upper limits and less is usually best, even though the body does need some sodium to help it to function properly. Sodium helps to maintain the right balance of fluids in the body, helps transmit nerve impulses and influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
He said most Bahamians can benefit from reducing their sodium intake, and they can do so by eating more fresh foods, opting for low-sodium products, removing salt from recipes whenever possible, limiting the use of sodium-laden condiments, using herbs, spices and other flavorings to season foods and using salt substitutes wisely.
According to Dr. Whitfield, most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods and foods prepared in restaurants, and that as salt is already part of the processed foods it cannot be removed.
He encourages people who want to control their sodium intake to be savvy shoppers, and know which foods to limit or avoid such as fast food cheeseburgers, barbecued ribs and chicken, dairy products such as cottage cheese, canned soups, and sauces (soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, mustard, pickles and olives which he said can add a lot of salt to food), nuts and vegetables. Snacks such as pretzels and chips he said should also be limited or avoided. Flour-based products such as bread, bagels, bakery items like pies and cookies he said should be consumed in moderation. Pizza and deli meats, frozen dinners and vegetable juices he also said should be limited.
The doctor encouraged people to enjoy more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. And he encouraged the consumption of more whole grain products like fish, poultry and nuts. An alternative to salt he said is to add spices, herbs and pepper as an alternative to perk up the flavor of foods.
"When shopping, people should look to purchase fresh, frozen or canned vegetables without added salt most often."
He also encourages people to read nutrition labels and compare the amount of sodium in the processed food like frozen dinners, packaged mixes, cereals, breads, soups, salad dressing and sauces, as the amount in different types and brands vary widely. He said people should look for labels that read low sodium or no sodium.
A rundown on common sodium claims, according to the shows that sodium-free or salt free means that each serving of a product contains less than 5 milligrams of sodium. Very low sodium means each serving contains 35 milligrams of sodium or less. Reduced or less sodium means the product contains at least 25 percent less sodium than the regular version. Lite or light in sodium means the sodium content has been reduced by at least 50 percent from the regular version, and unsalted or no salt added means that no salt is added during the processing of a food that normally contains salt.
When eating out, Dr. Whitfield encourages people to choose plain foods like grilled or roasted entrees, baked potatoes and salad with oil and vinegar. He said batter-fried foods and combination dishes like stews or pasta with sauce tend to be high in salt.
As salt is an acquired taste, the doctor said people can learn to enjoy less. And that their taste buds will adjust as they decrease their use of salt gradually. After a few weeks of cutting back on salt, he says you probably won't miss it, and some foods may even taste too salty.

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News Article

November 12, 2013
No silver lining in the unemployment figures, pt. 1

"Lies, damned lies and statistics" is how Mark Twain popularized a refrain sometimes attributed to a variety of British pundits and politicians when forced to address opponents using statistics to bolster their position.
Just a few weeks ago, the Department of Statistics released the annual unemployment report reflecting a dramatic increase of two percent in unemployment. Immediately, government ministers became "spin doctors" issuing silver lining statements as rings around the ominous dark cloud portrayed by the latest labor force survey. The increase in unemployment should not be of concern, we are being told because it does not truly reflect a loss in jobs in the economy; rather, it is claimed, it reflects an increase in the number of previously discouraged workers who have rejoined the labor market because they are now hopeful of finding employment, and they have swelled the numbers of the unemployed.
But this is "spin". It does not reflect the facts. There has been a loss of jobs in the economy. Between May 2012 and May 2013 the number of persons employed decreased by 1,260. Furthermore, there was an increase in the rate of unemployment as 3,455 new entrants came to the job market while the number of employed persons was falling by 1260.
Trying to find a silver lining
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Michael Halkitis was first out of the gate with that fanciful story. He was soon followed by Minister for Grand Bahama Michael Darville, who advised that employment had increased at the Freeport Container Port since May of this year. And he claimed to be hopeful that the employment numbers would be up in Grand Bahama before the next survey, as a number of new small businesses had opened on that island.
Then, the prime minister joined the chorus expressing hope that by next year the "economy will begin to shift in our favor..." This was followed with the live radio coverage of the signing of a heads of agreement that would see the construction of a number of condo-hotel units in collaboration with Club Med in San Salvador.
These PLP ministers remind me of the propaganda spun by a Jamaican prime minister in the 1970s when he told his party faithful to ignore criticisms about the "devaluation" of the Jamaican dollar against the U.S. dollar. He told them what had happened was that the Jamaican dollar had not been "devalued"; it had been "revalued". And the people cheered. Just like Bahamians cheered when then Minister of Finance Carlton Francis announced at a PLP convention that following years of a balanced budget under a socially deficient UBP government, The Bahamas under the PLP would have a deficit budget for the first time. Today of course, Jamaicans no longer cheer at the thought of their severely devalued currency, and Bahamians shudder with the thought of the long-term consequences of a growing national debt.
The reality of the Bahamian economy
We have come through a terrible economic period; an economic and financial crisis which sent the entire global economy into collapse and recession, even if the PLP in opposition refused to acknowledge it. The fallout from the Great Global Recession caused the Bahamian economy to lose more than 17,000 jobs between 2008 and 2009; the number of employed persons fell from 174,920 in 2008 to 157,805 in 2009. Those 17,000-plus jobs lost in the Great Recession have not returned.
In times of international and national economic and financial crisis, it is left to the government to seek to adopt policies and programs to stimulate economic activity in the private sector so as to sustain as many jobs as possible and to maintain to the extent possible employment in the public sector.
Thousands of jobs were created in the private sector between 2009 and 2012 through infrastructural projects undertaken by the FNM government. These were supplemented by additional real jobs created through the jump start and self-starter programs and through the national jobs and skills training 52-week program, which put qualified and capable young Bahamians into positions to begin to earn honest incomes to support their families.
Such infrastructural and skills training policies are exactly the kinds of policies that the international financial organizations and the international ratings agencies recommend governments adopt during difficult economic times. One wonders whether the PLP government understands the value of the millions of dollars spent by contractors and their workers in the Bahamian economy with Bahamian construction suppliers, food stores, utility corporations, restaurants, lenders, motor vehicle dealerships, etc.
These various and legitimate programs undertaken by the last FNM government helped to sustain and create jobs in our all-important construction and services sectors during tough economic times.
The Department of Statistics reports for the years 2008-2012 indicate that the economy had begun a slow recovery by 2009. By May 2011, some 2,380 new jobs had been added to the economy. In the last year of the FNM government from May 2011 to May 2012, an additional 5,070 new jobs were created. This gradual recovery came as a direct result of government policies.
Tourism is the engine of the Bahamian economy; and tourism is in serious trouble. Small wonder then that the economy is performing poorly and the number of the unemployed is increasing.
A senior tourism executive was recently quoted in the media commenting on declining air service to The Bahamas. The official admitted to "a loss of over 50,000 seats" for 2013. We know that the loss is nearer to 70,000 seats, which is more than any other destination in our region in terms of both absolute and percentage loss of air seats. This significant loss of air seats also explains why The Bahamas is performing poorly in terms of the lucrative stopover visitor segment.
We have experienced more than a seven percent year-over-year decline in stopover visitors as compared with competing destinations in our region. Unlike The Bahamas, most countries are recovering from the effects of the Great Recession and recording positive stopover growth.
With tourism, our most important economic sector performing so abysmally, it is not surprising that we are now experiencing the highest level of unemployment in 35 years. According to the Ministry of Tourism, each air arrival represents more than $1,300 per person in expenditure in the Bahamian economy. The loss of 70,000 seats represents a loss of more than $100 million in visitor expenditure.
When the FNM administration left office in May 2012, air arrivals were growing at more than 11 percent, which was equal to the best performing start of any year for foreign air arrivals in recorded tourism history. Tourism, which accounts for more than 60 percent of our GDP, is such an important driver of our economy that a fall-off in air arrivals and stopover visitors of that magnitude easily explains the current state of our economy. The treasury of The Bahamas will lose millions of dollars in departure taxes, room taxes and import duties alone. Under these circumstances, businesses will continue to close, no businesses will hire additional staff and existing workers will suffer through prolonged periods of two- and three-day work weeks throughout the industry.
While the overall performance of The Bahamas is the worst in the region, Grand Bahama in particular has recorded a jaw dropping 17.4 percent decline in air arrivals so far this year, according to the latest information from the Ministry of Tourism. To make matters worse, even the cruise business is down in Grand Bahama.
It has been stated publicly on several occasions that we will need an additional 300,000 air seats annually in order to satisfy the needs of Baha Mar. With the loss of 70,000 air seats so far this year, that required number has now increased by 23 percent to 370,000 or an average of roughly 1,000 additional air seats needed per day.

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News Article

May 16, 2013
The Bahamian Art Culture Tour Experience hits Grand Bahama

Ken Heslop

It's Authentic! It's Bahamian Art & Culture! It's The Bahamian Art & Culture Tour!

Office Family Restaurant and Lounge in conjunction with the Grand
Bahama Artists Association will launch The Bahamian Art & Culture
Tour Experience this Sunday May 19th, 2013 at 6:00 pm in the evening at
The Office in the RND Plaza.

Locals and visitors to the shores of
Grand Bahama can explore the world of art, wine and Bahamian Foods
during the week-days and every Sunday between...

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News Article

April 21, 2011
FNM: PLP criticism of investment amendment is 'hypocritical'

THE FNM replied to opposition critcisms of recent amendments to the country’s National Investment Policy yesterday.
In a statement, the PLP had said that the “damaging revisions” have put many Bahamian entrepreneurs and countless more Bahamian jobs at risk.
The opposition party warned that policy changes on restaurants and entertainment benefitted foreign businesses at the expense of Bahamian entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
In a late night statement, the FNM termed PLP criticisms as “hypocritical and disappointing.”
The statement read: “It goes without saying that the removal of prohibition of international persons owning restaurant ...

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News Article

June 02, 2014
Bimini business plan 'like putting a Super Walmart on Mayaguana'

Dear Editor,
I don't care how much money Genting has, the odds of making Resorts World Bimini successful stand about the same chance as making a Super Walmart successful in Mayaguana. The business model just doesn't work.
The idea that because Bimini is 48 miles from South Florida it is cheap and easy to get to is obviously a misconception. Because the combined U.S. and Bahamian taxes on all tickets to The Bahamas are approximately $120 and the biggest cost of running an airline is the cost of the gate, ticketing, baggage handling and maintenance, it is not financially viable for the 48-mile short haul flights.
Currently it costs more to fly to Bimini from South Florida than it does to fly to Las Vegas.
News alert - South Florida has gambling. From the Hard Rock to the Gulfstream Casino, South Florida has nine casinos, many with hotels, shopping, top entertainment and gourmet restaurants.
If South Florida is not your thing hop on a commercial jet, and in 35 minutes you will be in Nassau with the world-class Atlantis Resort and soon to open, the multi-billion dollar resort, Baha Mar.
Now exactly why is a high roller going to spend three hours on a ferryboat or spend over $300 for a ticket on a prop plane to gamble in a casino of the size you would find on a cruise ship?
The Discovery Cruise Ship as well as the SeaEscape Cruise Ship both offered day trips to Freeport as well as gambling cruises offshore, and they both went broke, and this was before South Florida had gambling.
Now for the Resorts World resort itself, after spending over a quarter of a billion dollars on the resort, they are ranked seventh out of eight hotels in Bimini on Trip Advisor. They are listed below the Thirsty Turtle Inn, which is a 16-room hotel on a canal in South Bimini with zero amenities.
From the TripAdvisor reviews, people are very unhappy with the Resorts World experience, and it's only likely to get worse. You can build a five-star structure on Bimini, but you can't offer a five star experience.
If you take away the children, elderly and people with jobs in Bimini, you might have a potential workforce of 200 local employees to be hired by Resorts World. With the new 350-room hotel coming online, it is going to require 500 to 600 people to operate this property. Where are they coming from?
The idea that highly qualified chefs, servers, IT personnel, front desk managers, comptrollers, maintenance engineers, etc. are going to leave their good paying jobs and homes in Nassau or Freeport to come to work and live in Bimini is a joke.
Bimini will never be Nassau or South Beach. Bimini should always be what Nassau and South Beach are not - a laid-back Out Island with pristine white sand beaches, gin clear water, spectacular reefs with world class fishing and diving that has attracted affluent fishermen, boaters and divers to Bimini for generations.
- Neal Watson, Sr.

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News Article

March 13, 2013
French Leave in 'full bore' construction

A new development overlooking Governor's Harbour is "full bore" into construction and expects to open its doors around this time next year.
French Leave Resort on Eleuthera, which broke ground several months ago, is targeting 16 hotel cottages and a "commercial area" within the next 12 to 16 months. At least 30 Bahamians will find full-time employment once this first phase opens.
Eddie Lauth, partner in Governor's Harbour Resort & Marina and the CEO of Shaner Capital, said the underground utilities are "well advanced" and crews have moved on to the third hotel cottage.
"In the next 12 months we hope to have 16 of these cottages on the seafront with the commercial area completed. We are definitely on schedule," he said. "The other 23 cottages will come online over the course of another 24 months or so following that."
Shaner Bahamas, a company founded by Lance T. Shaner, entered into a partnership with Governor's Harbour Resort & Marina to build and finance the property. Shaner Bahamas is an off-shoot of the Shaner Hotel Group, a corporation with more than 24 owned or managed properties and thousands of employees.
French Leave has already created dozens of construction jobs as local crews work to complete the resort.
Lauth told Guardian Business that the commercial area includes a bar and grill, pool, events lawn, fitness center, reception, gift shop, fire pit area and wedding pavilion. Developers have a beach pub lined up as well. Between the commercial zone and the 16 cottages, he said 30 full-time jobs is likely a "conservative" number".
The cottages, he explained, are built in a traditional Bahamian style with cedar roofs and hurricane resistant glass.
"Shaner has been really committed to doing the project the right way. He is interested in finding materials that will make the test of time," according to Lauth.
The French Leave executive revealed that the business model is continuously evolving. He said that developers are interested in putting some of the cottages up sale, effectively turning the development into a hotel and second-home hybrid.
He pointed out that Shaner Bahamas has access to some 270 acres. Investors have considered French Leave as potentially just the beginning of a much larger community, not unlike Schooner Bay on Abaco.
Second-home owners at French Leave would give rise to further expansion to the commercial area.
That said, Lauth was quick to note that developers are keen to get through the first six acres before making any decisions.
Formerly the site of Club Med, the property was purchased in 2004, with further land acquired from the Frank Lloyd Trust.
With a soft opening in its sights, Lauth insisted that airlift is not a concern for the new destination. The reason Eleuthera is special, he said, is the island represents the road less travelled.
For those that want to get to French Leave, there are plenty of flights available.
"It's real not that hard to get here. You can easily fly into Nassau and there are several daily flights to Eleuthera. We are wary of the mass market," he told Guardian Business. "Be careful what you wish for."
Lauth added that the small boutique hotel concept is the clear winning concept on the Family Islands, a formula more and more developers are looking to mimic.
French Leave is the second resort on Eleuthera injecting new life into the island in recent times.
Earlier this month, the $30 million Cove Eleuthera officially opened its doors and became one of the largest employers in the Family Islands.
It opened with 60 rooms and took on a monthly payroll of $100,000. Another 60 rooms are on the way.
The Cove also includes two restaurants and an impressive list of amenities.

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News Article

September 20, 2011
Track may kick tourism into top gear

With preparations for this year's Bahamas Speed Week revving up, tentative plans are being made to kick future events into top gear.
Jimmie Lowe, the event's president, said organizers will soon begin talks with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism to mull over the possibility of building a race track for drivers arriving from all over the world - a venture that could mean a boom for the economy.
"The intent is to create tourism," he told Guardian Business.  "This is what we envision going forward, but nothing is set in stone. If it did happen, it would facilitate a larger clientele coming, more room nights for Bahamian hotels and the economic impact could be far reaching."
Lowe and his team are currently drafting a proposal to present to the government.
Details such as funding, location and the scope of the project are still in the development phase.
"This is part of our wish list," he added. "It is something we are hoping to have, and it all depends on approvals."
Meanwhile, Bahamas Speed Week, which will run from November 30 until December 4, has recently signed Pictet Bank as an official sponsor of the gala banquet and Auction of Promises to benefit four Bahamian charities.
With a presence in 19 countries, Pictet Bank is one of the world's leading international private financial institutions, and according to Lowe, it elevates Bahamas Speed Week into a new echelon of prestige and opens the door to an elite mix of guests.
"Obviously with having them involved and stepping up to the plate, it creates an opportunity that's huge for everyone," Lowe added.
"It's huge for the event, it's huge for the charities, - by them stepping up, it takes a lot of burden off the organizers."
Pictet Bank joins an impressive list of sponsors, such as Carlo Milano, Graycliff and Bahamas Ferries.
The event is already expected to attract $100 million in classic race cars and should provide a significant tourism boom for Nassau. The goal, Lowe said, is to fill between 4,000 and 5,000 hotel rooms as a direct result of Bahamas Speed Week, not to mention the economic spill off for retailers and restaurants.
Sir Stirling Moss, the British racecar driver who competed from 1948 to 1962 and won 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grand Prixs, will serve as the patron fo the event. He attended the original Bahamas Speed Week more than 50 years ago.
Running from 1954 to 1966, the original, historic event in Nassau featured many of the great racing drivers and best automobiles of the period.
In this year's revival, a series of events are expected to take place throughout Bahamas Speed Week - including a sprint at Arawak Cay, a hill climb at Fort Charlotte and a star-studded exhibition for the vintage vehicles.
But for Earle Bethell, the President of the Cancer Society, the gala banquet and Auction of Promises will be the marquee event.
"Because of the prevalence of cancer in this country, we are most thankful for these sponsors to come forward," he said.
"We [The Cancer Society] just added another six branches through the Family Islands and we're putting in education offices, trying to reach out to the Family Islands. In Nassau, the Cancer Center is full and we have a waiting list.
"We need every penny we can get - these are very trying times."
Ranfurly Home for Children, Teen Challenge and the AIDS Foundation are the other charities that will benefit from the Auction of Promises.
In a teaser to Guardian Business, Lowe hinted that some of the big-ticket prizes are already on the books, such as a four-day, three-night stay in Exuma valued at $30,000 and a private charter on a high-end fishing boat.
In addition to the money raised for charity, Bethell, who is also the Director of Marketing for Baha Mar, said Bahamas Speed Week, and the possible expansion to include a racetrack, will be incredibly important for all Bahamians.
"With the amount of persons coming in, of course it will have an impact," he said.
"They are resurrecting it for the first time, in a long time. That means a lot more heads for hotel rooms."

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News Article

October 06, 2011
Copa revels in 40 'honeymoon' hike

PANAMA CITY, Panama -- The Bahamas saw a 40 percent hike in visitor arrivals from Latin America for June and July, with Copa Airlines' four-weekly flights behind 98 percent of the increase, according to statistics out of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT).

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News Article

April 11, 2014
Miss Teen Bahamas International offers top model title

It's pageant season and the Contestant Debut & All-White Party fundraiser of Miss Teen Bahamas International (MTBI) is just one of many events lined up on the extensive calendar for the twelve incredible young ladies in this year's pageant. Scheduled for April 11, the contestants will take to the stage in their first and official presentation to the Bahamian public at The Courtyard at J-line Fitness, Shirley Street.
Miss Teen Bahamas International organization has partnered with one of the largest and most reputable modeling agencies in the world, Major Model Management. Anthony Smith, the national director of MTBI, closed the deal a week ago with great optimism and excitement.
"It was one of the most difficult tasks in terms of negotiation we have had to do in years, simply because this is not something that is orthodox in the modeling and pageant world. Model agencies are not fond of pageant ladies and beauty queens and although the pageant community has been more welcoming with young ladies who are of the model type becoming beauty queens, it is rare that the two roads meet."
Considering there are so many teen pageants now coming up, what does Miss Teen Bahamas International offer that attracts young ladies to your pageant?
We have a comprehensive "Enrichment Program" that includes modeling classes, make-up application, self-defense, film production, communication and public speaking, health and nutrition and so much more in between. We want each lady to leave feeling empowered and self-sufficient. Our program offers training that will be useful to the young ladies long term.
Why did you include a modeling competition segment in your beauty pageant? And what are the requirements?
The same as the pageant requirement. Young ladies must be between 15 and 19 years. No children and free from criminal charges. There's not a height requirement. MTBI included the supermodel competition because I've seen lots of girls who have successfully made the transition from beauty queen to cover girl, spokesperson or runway model. It seems to me to be a matter of teaching them the right way to do it. Some of them find out later that the pageant world is sometimes a light step towards introducing them to the world of endless excitement that comprises modeling. After their introductions, many of them care very little about the answering of questions, judges interviews, etc and would much prefer to walk the runway, showcasing fine designer pieces.
What are the prizes for the winner for the Teen Super Model?
A one year contract with Major Model Management agency with locations in New York, Miami, Milan and Paris, and $10,000 in prizes including round trip travel to New York for a model portfolio shoot, cosmetic products, wardrobes and cash. There is also an opportunity of a lifetime for the winner to model on the international stage for some of the major designers. The opportunities and possibilities that come with all of this are endless. This is major for any young lady who is wishing to get a jump start in the modeling industry. She does not have to compete at another competition after ours for the Super Model spot. If she wins, she is automatically contracted.

Do you feel that there is a big enough market for models in The Bahamas to find work?
Certainly not, but that doesn't mean it does not exist and the push towards developing and acquiring work for local talents is not unattainable. I see many local talents modeling for local beverage companies, clothing stores, restaurants and jewelry shops. We have to simply be able to show merchants, designers and brands that we are serious about what we are and how we do it! With our training and guidance the vast array of local talent can receive the same value, if not more, with the beautiful resources we have here.
What is the next step for Miss Teen Bahamas International?
Along with our relentless and foremost pursuit to finalizing a four-year scholarship for our queens, we are always in pursuit of putting The Bahamas on the map by winning an international title, even if it does not come in the form of the young lady winning. It might happen by virtue of one of our former delegates winning Miss Bahamas and then winning the Miss Universe. But either way, pushing for our country to take pride in enlightening our young ladies and getting the best of what we have to offer here getting only the most excellent out of them in the pageant and modeling community.
What makes MTBI different or unique from other local teen pageants?
We are risk takers. There is nothing in the form of personal development, community service and pageant program building that I will not consider as long as it stays within the context of a teen and a wholesome lifestyle. There are not sufficient programs out there that are offering modeling, make-up, self-defense, film production, life coaching, social etiquette, personal communication and public speaking. We seem to have lost it. So, there's a challenge among young good men to find great wives because some times they might be smart, career oriented but not refined. No grooming or poor grooming can determine a young ladies' fate in the world, much like the story of Queen Esther in the Old Testament.
What advice would you give to young ladies who are shy and really don't like people staring at them?
Welcome to the real world! They will regardless. So make sure when they do the staring and the talking, make it worth it. Remember, you are a child of the universe and have a right to be here, and it is up to you to ensure that your value is not diminished by other people's opinion or perception of you, or actions against you. It has been my personal experience that the things that intimidated me most, or that I feared, were the ones that were leading me to my calling and my opportunities.
How would you rate your reigning queen?
Angel is a 10 all the way. We love her! What can I say, she's a teen and a growing young lady with lots of ambition and drive, and desires to know, learn and become. She has come a long way since the evening of her crowning, and she has her own philosophy and her own way of how to make things work. It's exciting to see that. MTBI encourages that. She is a true leader, highly and strongly opinionated, so we are proud of her accomplishments and her as a representative for our MTBI title."
When is the date of your pageant?
June 1, at the Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace.
oFor more information contact Miss Teen Bahamas International at 676-5156 or Check us out on Facebook at missteenbahamasinternational

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News Article

August 08, 2010
Bahamian Breakfast Favorites available at Le Med Restaurant daily

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Truly Bahamian breakfast awaits you daily at  Led Med,  Mediterranean Restaurant located on the marina at Port Lucaya.

Delicious Stew Fish, Boiled Fish, Chicken Souse, Stew Conch, Corned Beef and Grits are all available every morning at Le Med.

So when you're craving a tasty Bahamian breakfast made homemade style, head to Le Med.

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News Article

October 19, 2011
Muscroft, Cowper take top prize at BHA tourney

It turned out that 13 was a lucky number for 25 seasoned and budding golfers, as they walked away with awards at last Sunday's Bahamas Hotel Association's (BHA) 13th Annual Golf Tournament at the Ocean Club Course on Paradise Island.
Despite the threat of inclement weather, a record number of 104 golfers registered to claim bragging rights while helping to raise over $20,000 for student scholarships and a range of programs which BHA is doing in the nation's schools.
"We are most appreciative of the tremendous support from our members, friends of BHA, and of course the golfers for supporting this year's tournament," stated BHA President Stuart Bowe. "The turnout was fantastic. It will go a long way next year toward matching and we hope exceeding the record 12 students who were awarded scholarships this year as a result of previous efforts. The tournament and our auctions have helped to put 81 young Bahamians through college during the past year with scholarships valued at $287,000, "added Bowe.
Tournament organizers Fred Lunn, John Spinks, Ted Adderley, Nelson O'Kelley and Billy Lee commended the golfers for their support, in announcing the winners of this year's tournament at an awards ceremony following the tournament. The tournament was sanctioned by the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF).
Capturing first place was the team of Peter Muscroft and Doug Cowper which was sponsored by Royal Star Assurance. They were followed by Cliff Petford and Jake Neudorf. Third place honors went to the Royal Bank of Canada team of Phil Andrews and G. Hill. Fred Lunn and Errol Brown took fourth place and were sponsored by the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.
Rounding out the top 10 teams, in fifth place was Roger Chow-How and Eddie Carter. Sixth place went to Andrew Burrows and John Kinger. Taking seventh was Jeffrey Walcott and Tyrone Cunningham representing BTC. Nicholas Knowles and Harrison Collins took eighth. Ninth place went to Jim Wilson and Patrick Knowles representing Scotiabank, and capturing 10th was the team of Nelson O'Kelly and Paul Burke from Kerzner International.
This year's sponsors included: Fidelity Bank, Kerzner International, Royal Bank of Canada, the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Bahamas Food Services, The d'Albenas Agency Ltd., Scotiabank, Bank of The Bahamas, the Bahamas Telecommunications Company, RoyalStar Assurance, KPMG, Graham Thompson & Co., Restaurants Bahamas (KFC), J.S. Johnson, the Lyford Cay Club, Banca del Sempione, Bahamas Wholesale Agency Ltd., Commonwealth Bank, Caribbean Bottling Company, Bahamas Hot Mix, N.U.A Insurance & Brokers, Deloitte & Touche, Nassau Motor Company, Pigeon Cay Beach Club, Providence Advisors, Wong's Rubber Stamp & Printing, American Hotel Register, Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach, Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, Pelican Bay at Lucaya, American Airlines, Bahamasair, Comfort Suites Paradise Island, Treasure Cay Resort, Green Turtle Cay Club, Sandals Royal Bahamian, Ocean Club Golf Course, Nassau Airport Development Company, Island Merchants, Ridge Farms, Pineville Motel, Sunrise Resort & Marina, Blue Lagoon and Dolphin Encounters, Senor Frogs, Diamond's International, Via Caffe, Toads Hall Square Hill Estates, Sands Beer, Jewels by the Sea, Security & General Insurance, Luciano's of Chicago and Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Club.*Look for article images in our Online Gallery section.

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News Article

March 07, 2012
Sticking with Neko Grant

Dear Editor,

I write you in response to a letter to the editor that appeared in your daily on Monday, March 5, 2012. I consider myself to be an independent thinker, and when it comes to my vote I take due care as to who gets my vote.
I am not certain as to how many persons have had the opportunity to speak with all the candidates running in their constituencies, but I am fortunate to have done so already. From the first time I met Neko Grant I was impressed with his list of accomplishments for the people he represented.
After my discussions with Grant I discovered that while working with the constituents of Lucaya, and the wider Grand Bahama community, he has helped Grand Bahamians to realize street lights and parks in many neighborhoods.
Grant has assisted with the implementation of processes that now enable Grand Bahamians to renew car and driver's licenses, restaurant and bar licenses, and also to obtain passports with greater ease. Voters should remember that there was a time when we had to fly to Nassau to collect our passports. He has also provided many schools and churches with instruments to start marching bands in an effort to positively engage young people.
It was also evident that via Grant's leadership, the residence of Royal Bahamian Estates realized city water, and the further development of the Williams Town/Russell Town foreshore. Grant's contributions has also been very vital in the construction of public restrooms throughout the island, including the 40-year-old post office building, the construction of five new schools, a justice center, a government administration complex and a public ramp, just to name a few.
I am sure Grant could name many more projects and programs of which he was instrumental in securing for his constituents. In a stark contrast, when I spoke to the candidates of the other parties not only were they dumbfounded as to what they had done for their communities over the years, but they found it difficult to articulate how they would effect change or growth in my community.
I'm staying with Neko in Central Grand Bahama because he showed me what he has done with his time. In my opinion, the other guys simply do not have a clue.

- Alecia

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News Article

September 27, 2011
Talking cars, talking busines

During Formula One, whether it be Shanghai, Montreal or Abu Dhabi, the Paddock Club is synonymous with more than a great view of the race.  It's also a place for high-flyers in the business and racing scene to meet, talk cars and perhaps do a little business.
David McLaughlin, the UK Event Director for Bahamas Speed Week, doesn't expect to duplicate the Formula One experience.
But he intends on coming pretty close.
"It's a model that works for Formula One," he said.  "It's business to business, and we've had some tremendous interest so far."
As part of Bahamas Speed Week, running from November 30 until December 4, event organizers have begun to sell booths in the Paddock Club to stimulate sponsorship and business - starting at $10,000 a pop.
While the driving force behind the event is tourism, McLaughlin said the Paddock Club, located in the center of a 1.1 mile temporary racetrack at Arawak Cay, will be a buzzing hive of corporate activity, giving participants a chance to forge contacts among elite players in the business world.
When it was an annual event in The Bahamas from 1954 to 1966, Bahamas Speed Week attracted some
of the whos-who in the racecar and celebrity scene.
It's revival promises to be a return to this former glory.
Organizers expect around $100 million worth of racecars to arrive on Nassau's shores in what should be a massive boom for the tourism industry.
Sir Stirling Moss, the legendary Formula One driver, will serve as patron to the event's much-anticipated revival, and dozens of high-end businessmen and racecar enthusiasts will be joining him in the pits.
The goal, according to Jimmie Lowe, the event's president, is to fill between 4,000 and 5,000 hotel rooms as a direct result of Bahamas Speed Week.  Restaurants and retail centers throughout the island are also expected to benefit.
McLaughlin said the focus of Bahamas Week Speed is on tourism, and of course, the fine pieces of machinery.  But as in any high-level racing event, business is business, and the Paddock Club will serve as the social - and corporate - nerve center.
"They'll have a captive audience," McLaughlin pointed out.  "There is a huge arena to talk cars and talk business."
So far, the response has been impressive.
Carlo Milano, Graycliff and the Grand Bahama Port Authority are just a few of the major players that have stepped up to the sponsorship plate.
For $10,000, businesses can snap up a 20-by-20 foot booth, he said.
There are a number of additional updates and options available, including bronze, silver, gold and platinum packages.  At a varying scale of price, these classifications give participants access to different perks and services, such as invitations to the gala, VIP treatment and advertising space in the event program.
EFG International has also purchased a booth in the Paddock Club, and Shell Oil, McLaughlin added, has stepped up as the event's official oil and gas supplier.
Lowe said the Grand Bahama Port Authority's decision to purchase a bronze package is a testament to their push for greater visibility to the visiting crowd.
"They want to promote themselves, perhaps throw in a few free tips and attract people to visit afterwards," he explained.
These business and corporations join a growing list of sponsors for a weekend starting to pick up some momentum.
Last week, Guardian Business reported that Bahamas Speed Week is currently mulling over the possibility of building an official racetrack for subsequent events. Talks are expected to begin soon between the  Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism.
"This is what we envision going forward," Lowe said earlier.
"But nothing is set in stone, If it did happen, it would facilitate a larger clientele coming, more room nights for Bahamian hotels and the economic impact could be far reaching."
Pictet Bank - the official sponsor of the gala banquet and Auction of Promises - is one of the world's leasing international private financial institutions with a presence in 19 countries.
Tickets for Bahamas Speed Week will go on sale at the end of this week.

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News Article

October 15, 2013
Baha Mar 'wows' in NYC with simulated visit to resort

Baha Mar "wowed" New York's top corporate, media and travel industry executives, rolling out the "blue carpet" at an innovative series of interactive "reverse upfront" events that provided an insider's preview of what executives have promised will be one of the most compelling and exciting destinations in North America.
Attendees comprised an A-list of top executives from travel consortia, major networks and publishing companies such as Viacom, Facebook, CNN, Microsoft and Universal, according to a release issued by Baha Mar yesterday.
"Baha Mar is connecting The Bahamas to the world with all the glamor and style of a bygone era. They are doing something that will change our hospitality industry and The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is proud to be an ally of Baha Mar," said Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who was also a guest at the event.
"We immersed potential New York sponsors, advertisers, editors and meeting and travel planners in vivid demonstrations of just how Baha Mar will revolutionize leisure and group travel opportunities. They were awed by our entire three million-square-foot campus on 1,000 acres featuring 2,200 hotel rooms and suites, 100,000 square feet of gaming, 200,000 square feet of combined, flexible, state-of-the-art convention and meeting space, more than 50,000 square feet of high-end retail and shopping, 18 holes of championship golf, over 30 restaurants, bars and lounges, and 20 acres of beach, pool and lakeside experiences including a 3,000-foot beachfront. The result? Baha Mar will dominate major business, promotional and editorial channels, supporting thousands of new jobs and a thriving economy," said Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar chairman and chief executive officer.
"The inspiration was to take a page out of what the networks and cable companies do when they preview their next season's lineup for advertisers at their annual 'upfronts.' Here, we gathered together an impressive collection of potential partners to show them what we will offer and invite them to come back to us with surprising and creative opportunities for the future," said Denise Godreau, Baha Mar chief marketing officer.
Invited guests arrived at the events in Chelsea, entering a simulated airplane boarding gate. They traveled through a jet fuselage-styled passageway overlooking beautiful Bahamian waters and arrived a glamorous "terminal", where a 52-inch flat screen displayed stunning video imagery of Baha Mar, The Bahamian Riviera. Images of the four hotels, Mondrian, Rosewood, Grand Hyatt and The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, as well as the Jack Nicklaus golf course, spa and pools told the story of what would await the guests at this new resort destination.
After this imaginative welcome, guests emerged into a contemporary salon gleaming in signature Baha Mar blue and white. Near the softly illuminated architectural model of the resort campus, the Baha Mar logo etched in white marble and highlighted with gold leaf was a striking beacon adjacent to distinctive food and drink with the flavor of The Bahamas, such as Rum Dums by visiting Bahamian mixologist Wilfred Sands.
Baha Mar presenters were the visionary Sarkis Izmirlian; President Tom Dunlap, responsible for making this $3.5 billion vision a reality, and Chief Marketing Officer Denise Godreau, who orchestrated the New York reverse upfront events with Las Vegas-based advertising firm SK+G and New York-based WCMG Events.
In addition, guests met Paul Pusateri, newly appointed chief operating officer and general manager of Baha Mar Casino & Hotel; Robert 'Sandy' Sands, Baha Mar senior vice president, administration and external affairs; Greg Saunders, general manager, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar; Cate Farmer, general manager, Mondrian at Baha Mar; Luis Fernandes, managing director, Rosewood at Baha Mar; and Dianna Wong, Dianna Wong Architecture & Interior Design.
Serving as master of ceremonies for the morning editorial breakfast was Peter Greenberg, travel editor for CBS-TV and host of The Travel Detective, the new series airing on PBS.
The luncheon for 100 top travel and industry meeting planners showcased all of the resort's new amenities, but especially the state of-the-art convention facilities including an art gallery with the largest collection of Bahamian art in the country.
The glittering grand finale was the evening "reverse upfront" for sponsors and advertisers featuring David Verklin, the charismatic operating partner of Calera Capital, known for always being on the leading edge of media innovation, as the master of ceremonies.
"CMO Denise Godreau challenged partners to think outside the box, to innovate, to be bold, to be daring. It was a great challenge to lay out and one we at Viacom are very excited to take on," remarked Neils Shuurmans, chief marketing officer at the global mass media company.

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News Article

May 16, 2013
Distillery to buy Buena Vista from NIB

John Watling's Distillery is set to purchase the multimillion-dollar Buena Vista manor from the National Insurance Board (NIB) to "control its destiny".
The historic site, more than 200 years old, has traded hands many times over the centuries and remains one of the capital's most iconic buildings. Investors in the new John Watling's Distillery confirmed yesterday that they are in the process of buying the property.
"We had a lease on the building with the option to buy. We are exercising that right now," said Pepin Argamasila, one of the principles of the distillery. "We don't want to talk about money, but the buy makes sense given our investment in the property. This is our brand and we want to control its destiny."
Although the distillery is buying Buena Vista, investors say "it really belongs to The Bahamas", as they see themselves more as caretakers than owners.
After more than a month in business, Nassau's newest attraction is reporting steady visits from tourists and Bahamians alike. The distillery is preparing to roll out a new advertising campaign for downtown Nassau in the coming weeks to coax cruise ship arrivals "up the hill".
"We want them to get off the beach and explore the rest of Nassau," Argamasila said.
The attraction should get some help soon from some big tourism players.
According to the distillery, Majestic Tours is planning a tour that includes Graycliff Chocolate Factory, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Junkanoo Museum and John Watling's Distillery. Islandz Tours is already funneling tourists through these attractions. The next step is tour operators pitching these attractions to cruise ship companies. If successful, this area of the capital could become a major contender to Bay Street.
"You really see it coalescing. It is trying to create a destination. It is not just us, but taking the rest of the neighborhood into consideration," Argamasila explained.
The owners are waiting patiently for the right restaurant partner, seeking to offer Bahamian fine cuisine with an international flare.
Argamasila said that the business is also seeking outdoor food providers to set up on the front lawn serving lunch to visitors. The goal is to keep the opportunities Bahamian and support the community, ideally sourcing native ingredients.
The philosophy fits in with the overall old-fashioned experience at John Watling's Distillery. The site is now brewing a number of liquors, all of which are finding themselves on local shelves. Investors are planning to begin exporting the product in the near future.

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News Article

July 20, 2011
Quote of the Week - Staying Afloat

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News Article

January 02, 2014
Optimism and uncertainty: The outlook for 2014

A mixture of optimism and an expectation of challenging and uncertain circumstances to come characterize the views of a number of leading figures in Guardian Business' round up of opinions on what 2014 has to hold for The Bahamas in terms of growth, unemployment levels, government policy initiatives and the outlook for a variety of key sectors.
Here James Smith, former central bank governor and chairman of Colina Financial Advisors Limited (CFAL); George Markantonis, president and managing director of Atlantis Resort; Anthony Ferguson, president of CFAL; Aliya Allen, chief executive officer and executive director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board; Franon Wilson, president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association; and a top banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, offer their views on what The Bahamas can expect in 2014.
James Smith said he expects The Bahamas to experience "some modest economic growth in 2014, but at an insufficiently high level to produce any dramatic change in the unemployment rate".
"The Bahamas is still emerging slowly from the deep recession which began in 2008 and was marked by negative GDP growth rates for most of the period, accompanied by high unemployment rates; more than doubling from 7.5 percent at the end of 2007 to a little over 16 percent currently," he said.
"Given the unflattering macroeconomic statistics of 2013, any positive trends for 2014 are likely to be at best 'modest' since we would be projecting from an already low base."
On tourism
"Our major economic sector, tourism, is likely to continue to face headwinds in 2014 because our major market, the USA, projected GDP growth and lower unemployment levels are unlikely to be sufficient to dramatically alter the fall-off in tourist expenditure, total room revenue and average occupancy rates experienced in The Bahamas over the last three quarters of 2013," Smith said. "There is likely to be an improvement in employment levels in the tourist sector as a result of accelerated job additions to meet the December 2014 deadline of the Baha Mar project."
On the financial sector
"The second largest economic sector, financial services, continues to operate under the stressful conditions induced by international regulators' demands for increased capitalization, which in turn has led to some downsizing in the local market in order to preserve profit levels or to avoid stringent regulatory oversight," he said.
"The continued losses of high-end jobs in the financial services sector would compress overall demand for goods and services locally and present a challenge to economic growth throughout 2014."
On construction
"Our third largest sector, construction, which accounts for about 10 percent of GDP but also has the highest proportion of value-added contribution to GDP, is expected to continue to perform poorly as a result of the fall-off in demand for new construction and the restraint on new mortgage loans in the banking sector, which continues to be plagued with abnormally high loan arrears portfolios of over $1.2 billion at the end of the third quarter in 2013," he said.
"The moderation in consumer prices as a result of declining oil prices is likely to be tempered somewhat with the planned introduction of a new consumer-based tax during the second quarter of 2014.
On foreign direct investment
"Plans in the pipeline for some major and minor FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) projects in the tourism sector could have a positive impact on economic growth and employment levels if they materialize over the next several months," Smith said.
"However, there is likely to be a continued drag on the economy; one that cannot be adequately addressed by increased government spending at a time when a growing public sector debt issue is being closely monitored by both local and international lenders."
George Markantonis, president and managing director of the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, the country's largest private sector employer, said he is very optimistic about 2014 based on the pace of bookings the resort is seeing for the new year.
"Only February seems somewhat weak in the first four months and we are taking steps to try and correct that," he said. "We believe that the improving American economy, the stable U.S. housing market and the climbing Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) are all creating more consumer confidence in the U.S. which realistically provides us with 85 percent of our annual business.
"A bright spot on the horizon is our group booking pace continuing to grow, while a dark spot is the declining airlift coming into the country. December numbers released (last week) show year-on-year decline in seats of eight percent, mostly due to reduced December service of American from Dallas and Jet blue from Ft. Lauderdale."
New trends in tourism that The Bahamian tourism sector will need to consider in 2014:
"New gaming licenses are being approved across the United States which will continue to add competition for our casinos," he said. "In addition cruise lines are continuing to add non-traditional attractions to their new mega-ships thereby directly competing with land-based mega-resorts, that is water slides, celebrity chef restaurants etc, etc."
Major policy steps the government could take to impact the tourism sector in 2014:
"We are very pleased that government is reviewing the gaming regulations of course but hope that there will be some significant steps taken to reduce utility costs across the sector, and to minimize the addition of more fees to business which will have to be passed on to the consumer and may impact the value perception of the destination," he said.
Anthony Ferguson said he expects a "challenging" 2014.
"I think 2014 will be a challenging one for The Bahamas as the U.S. slows in the first half coupled with the implementation of value-added tax (VAT) which would cause businesses to delay any hiring and expansion decisions," he said. "This will be countered by Baha Mar as they look to hire and train for the December opening. However 5,000 kids graduating from school in 2014 will negate Baha Mar hiring."
On unemployment levels
"I don't think we can really reduce unemployment in 2014 as the Baha Mar hiring will be offset by the 5,000 school graduates," Ferguson said. "To rescue employment the government needs to balance new taxes against incentives for businesses to consider expanding their business."
On policy initiatives which could stimulate the private sector:
"The government should reduce the red tape, allow economic passports, revisit immigration policy," he said.
"It's mind blowing that the Department of Labour are directing businesses who to interview and hire. It's also socialist. And if they sent qualified people you be grateful!
"The government needs to reshuffle the Cabinet and implement an economic planning ministry to develop a 20 year strategy for Bahamas Inc. Unless we do this we are headed in the direction of the rest of the Caribbean."
Aliya Allen, CEO and executive director of the BFSB, said she is upbeat about the potential for 2014 to generate more opportunity and greater returns for the financial services sector.
"Generally, we see a number of bright spots for financial services, as a result of the initiatives we have undertaken in recent and past years," she said.
"These include ongoing developments in the captive insurance and funds sectors, as well as continuing to solidify our position as a leader in wealth management."
Major trends or changes that The Bahamas will have to adapt to in 2014:
"The cost of compliance will continue to be a challenge, with initiatives like FATCA, for example. Indeed, I would add to that the cost of compliance with VAT, even for firms that benefit from zero rating but wish to reclaim inputs," she said.
Significant policy steps the government could take to positively impact the financial sector:
"The government has demonstrated a historic commitment to the financial community," Allen said.
"If this commitment could be expanded to include additional resources we could truly be first in class in business, both local and international. That extends to setting and monitoring turn around times in all effective business processes and departments such as the Department of Immigration, the Registrar Generals Department, and the Bahamas Investment Authority."
Franon Wilson, president of Arawak Homes and the Bahamas Real Estate Association, said he too is optimistic about what the new year holds for the economy.
"I am optimistic in large part because of Baha Mar, and in that regard even though the hotel will not open during the course of this year they'll probably be hiring a lot of people and that will be a big jolt in our economy," he said.
On unemployment:
"I do think the levels will come down. I don't think it's going to happen overnight and go back to 2005 or 2006 levels, but I do think now it is moving slowly in that direction and that will give a boost. We won't be in the clear but we'll be moving in the right direction."
On policy initiatives that could stimulate the private sector:
"At the end of the day certainty is key and I accept the country's financial position is in a state where we need some type of reform to help the government to move forward and maintain the standard we have right now, whether it's VAT or a blend of VAT and something else; whatever it is, I'm looking forward to getting that process done so we can move forward. We need to deal with it and move forward."
A leading banker, who offered his views on condition of anonymity, told Guardian Business he fears The Bahamas will "let a good crisis go to waste" in 2014.
"Rahm Emanuel, the former Chief of Staff for [U.S. President Barack] Obama said something along the lines of 'You never let a serious crisis go to waste,'" he said.
"I find that quote a very appropriate place to start as I reflect on where The Bahamas finds itself financially today.
"The Bahamas economy has suffered a body blow since the financial crisis erupted in the developed world in 2007. While the U.S. seems to be emerging from this crisis, albeit painfully slowly, we have yet to see the Bahamian economy back to pre-crisis levels. Unemployment in The Bahamas remains stubbornly high and loan delinquencies have soared. With the economy in the doldrums, government revenue has plummeted but the expense base has not changed materially. The net effect of this development has been that the budget deficit has widened and the debt to GDP ratio is in the danger zone. The government is taking steps to address the problem of the lack of revenue, through the proposed introduction of VAT. Based on public pronouncements of the business community, the government's proposal has gone down like a lead balloon with loud voices suggesting dire events if VAT is introduced."
The economic outlook in the short and medium term:
"The short-term (one to two years) does not look particularly good," he said.
"The introduction of VAT in 2014 will likely tip the struggling Bahamian consumer over the edge and exacerbate their already difficult existence. Delinquencies are likely to worsen as living standards erode. Discretionary spending funds will reduce and related consumption will decline hurting the already struggling Bahamian private sector. The Bahamian consumer accounts for a considerable percentage of the Bahamian GDP and lower consumption will hurt Bahamian economic recovery and tax revenues. The devil is in the details and the public cannot see the execution of VAT meeting the GOB revenue expectations simply because Bahamians do not have a culture for paying taxes as is evident with the $500MM in delinquent property taxes. The informal sector and cash basis society will blossom and leach the tax revenue GOB is relying on.
"The medium term (three to five years) perspective is more positive as global economies in general, and the U.S. in particular, are showing greater robustness in their economic recovery, which should hopefully translate to more tourism traffic for The Bahamas. The U.S. is particularly important to The Bahamas as more than 90 percent of our tourist traffic and related revenues come from there and signs that U.S. consumers are more willing to spend and charge up their credit cards auger well for the Bahamian economy. Coupled with the opening of Baha Mar in late 2014, I see a resurgence in the domestic economy and employment levels in 2016."
Fiscal reform in 2014 - stuck between 'a rock and a hard place'
"It appears that the government knows all the VAT related pitfalls but it finds itself between a rock and a hard place," he said.
"It needs to plug the fiscal deficit and control the growing debt to GDP ratio. The introduction of measures to reduce the deficit cannot fail as the alternatives are much worse. Barbados has already announced a reduction in civil servant levels by 3,000 to avoid going to the IMF for a bail out and Jamaica has defaulted twice. Both face many years of painful adjustments that cannot be good for their people.
"The mandarins from the IMF have persuaded it that the same medicine of VAT that has been applied with modest success elsewhere would work here, notwithstanding the tax avoidance and downright tax evasion culture that is pervasive in The Bahamas. VAT is simply a revenue generating tool that government is presently promoting - there may be other options that may be more targeted and have a greater chance of success with lower leakages and collection costs. The government is hopefully exploring all options including a phased introduction of VAT with lower starting rates. But any form of taxation will have the same impact on lowering consumer spending.
"But reducing the deficit requires not only an increase in revenue but also a reduction in expenses - from the bloated civil service to the inefficient government corporations. No administration historically has wanted to touch these sacred cows and regrettably, the time has now come where the country cannot simply ignore the vast government bureaucracy and the amounts that are used to subsidize the corporations.
"Instead of taking the opportunity to reset the public's expectations, the government is maintaining that everything will be fine soon and unemployment is dropping and economic recovery is in sight. No serious effort is being made to sit costs or wastage. We are, yet again, letting a serious crisis go to waste."

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News Article

April 06, 2013

This week, artist Margot Bethel answers 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
Working with a diverse group of local and foreign artists and supporters, ecologists, educators, thespians, musicians and kids while running The Hub. At the time, the space embodied a powerful surge of energy and excitement, joy and camaraderie. I don't remember ever feeling so alive.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
I don't have one.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
As a young student interested in painting, I was most exposed to the Impressionist and Expressionist periods. Later as I learned more about design I became attracted to mid-century modernism.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?

I can't pick five out of them all, it's impossible. So are here five of my favorite comedies: The Life of Brian, Murial's Wedding, Moonstruck, Career Girls and Tootsie.

5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. I'm bi-continental like that.

6. What book are you reading now?
I am dipping in and out of "The Art of Travel" and "The Power of Now".

7. What project are you working on now?
I am continuing to develop two ideas: one I began last year called "Who The Hell Do I Think I Am?". Recently we produced some notebooks with Sonia Farmer of Poinciana Paper Press under this theme. I am also working on my "Sonorotic" carvings - a project that is associated with sound-based work.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
Since I've been hibernating I haven't seen much work lately, but I am blown away by the recent developments in the art scene in Nassau. The heightened activity is not so much surprising as inspiring.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Eleuthera. Over the past 30 years I've spent a considerable amount of time stranded there so I know of what I speak. Silos, caves, hills, stunning harbors and beaches - long meandering drives, starry skies and good restaurants. A well-balanced respite from the city.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
Sonambient sound sculptures made and designed by Harry Bertoia and his son Val Bertoia. They look like unfettered harps or tall patches of tarnished brass-colored grass. Some of these gorgeously resonant art forms are over six feet tall - so elegant and majestic and made with exacting precision.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
It's a secret.

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My parents. I have a lot of unanswered questions.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
For me, that remains to be seen. I have great admiration for the people who fight for the rights of minorities; the health of the ecosystem and to save wild or domesticated animals. I think these are among the most important people in any nation.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
Gosh these are such severe questions, how do you pick just one? But I do think that Peter Minshall is pure genius.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunset. Unless I stay up all which case it's a tie.

17. What role does the artist have in society?
To be brave and honest.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
These days, it's every time I put on a bikini.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
A sense of humor.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
A cloud? A rock. Something simultaneously fleeting and eternal that captures my attention.

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News Article

February 22, 2014
A meeting of the minds and knives

New Providence is set to become a culinary mecca when the inaugural Minority Chef Summit rolls into town.
The four-day event, May 1-4 will showcase the talents and creativity of some of the leading minority professionals in the food and beverage industry worldwide.
Taking place at The College of The Bahamas, the summit will include an array of seminars, hands-on classes and competitions, as well as a culinary market. The conference will allow culinarians to come together to network, educate and to support the minority culinary community.
The Minority Chef Summit was founded by chef and chocolatier, Erika Davis, who formerly served as creative director for Graycliff Chocolatier in Nassau, and who is a highly-celebrated chef within the culinary field. Chef Erika has been in the chocolate-making industry for over 22 years, and recognized as one of the United States' top chefs. She has received many note-worthy commendations, among which include: Competing Chef 'Top Chef Just Desserts' inaugural show by Bravo; First Black female chef to receive Detroit's Chef of the Month; Showcased in several culinary magazines and invitational culinary events; Featured chef of 'Sunday Dinner' promotion with Publix Grocery Stores and Chocolatier Ambassador of Cocoa Barry Chocolates.
Chef Erika's time spent in New Providence working with and teaching aspiring Bahamian chefs lies at the heart of her inspiration for creating the Minority Chef Summit.
"This is a unique opportunity to come together, recognizing not only our individual craft, but the true excellence of our culinary community," she said.
The 2014 Minority Chef Summit keynote speaker will be Chef Jeff Henderson, an award-winning chef, public speaker and author of the New York Times best seller 'Cooked'.
Additional featured culinary artists include:
Chef Asha Gomez, owner/chef of Cardamom Hill Restaurant and Third Space in Atlanta, GA. Cardamom Hill was a 2013 James Beard nominee for Best New Restaurant.
Chef Jerome Brown, a celebrity private chef whose clientele include Shaquille O'Neal, Colin Powell and Priscilla Presley, to name a few. Chef Brown also has his own TV show, 'Cooking with Rome'.
Chef Guy Wong, owner/chef of Miso Izakaya, who was recently named one of Atlanta's 2012 Rising Stars.
Chef Ron Duprat, a fierce competitor on season six of Bravo's 'Top Chef.' Chef Duprat is author of "My Journey of Cooking" and is affiliated with organizations that contribute and give back to the community and people around the world, including United States First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative.
Chef Keith Rhodes, voted Wilmington, NC's Best Chef for three consecutive years.
Chef Hugh Sinclair, executive chef and owner of Irie Spice personal catering in South Florida.
Chef Bryant Terry, eco-chef, food justice activist, and author. Terry was a 2008-2010 Food and Society Policy Fellow, a national Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Chef Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana and winner of TLC's 'Cake Boss Next Great Baker'.
Chef Kenny Gilbert, executive chef of Plainfield Country Club and contestant on season seven of Bravo's 'Top Chef'.
Chef Nedal Mardini, chef de cuisine of Matthews Restaurant in Jacksonville.
Chef Thierry Delourneaux, executive pastry chef at Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore.
Chef farmer, Matthew Raiford, a sixth generation farmer behind Gilliard Farms and executive chef of Little St. Simons Island a private resort located off the coast of Georgia.
Chef Dwight Evans, who was recently awarded Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation.
Chef Duane Nutter, chef at One Flew South, voted one of the best airport restaurants; as well as mixologists, Tiffanie Barriere and Tokiwa Sears, from One Flew South.

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News Article

June 15, 2011
Bahamian high school team places seventh in international tourism competition

Four Bahamian students are making waves -- but it's not in academics or sports.  The four students of Anatol Rodgers High School are instead making waves in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Brandon Brooks, Delnika Stuart, Christoff Hall and Lakeyia Adderley, four persons that took tourism and hospitality studies at Anatol Rodgers High School, traveled to Orlando, Florida for the eighth annual American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) National Lodging Management Program (LMP) Competition at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort where they were challenged to the real-life work experience in a hotel. The teams of students displayed their proficiency in three contests:
Hotel operations: Students applied their knowledge in a three-part challenge -- room inspections in which students has 10 minutes to find housekeeping cleaning errors in a typical guest room using an executive housekeeping checklist; night audit, in which teams performed financial calculations and manually posted front desk accounting information and case studies in food and beverage and sales and marketing in which students had 15 minutes to prepare solutions to case study scenarios.
The hospitality project: Teams demonstrated their knowledge, skills and abilities in event planning.  They were given a scenario that included budget parameters, invitation design, banquet event order, menu and floor plan.
The knowledge bowl: Teams demonstrated their knowledge through a multi-round, question and answer Jeopardy-style quiz.
In all, 12 teams representing schools in Arkansas, The Bahamas, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, DC. and Wyoming participated in the LMP national educational program for high school juniors and seniors.  When the final guest room had been checked for housekeeping errors, The Bahamian foursome placed seventh out of the 12 schools that participated.  High school hospitality students from Okkodo High School in Guam took home the national title. Second place went to Lakeland High School (Idaho) with students from Mountain View Academy (New Hampshire) taking third spot.
The Bahamian team may not have won, but 17-year-old Lakeyia Adderley says what she liked most about the competition was the creative activities like the knowledge bowl, hospitality project, Jeopardy-style question and answer session and the room inspection.
"We may not have won, but it was great for us as a learning experience," said the tourism and hospitality studies student.  "It was also a great chance to promote The Bahamas because there were kids at the competition that didn't even know about our country.  I think it is great that we went and represented and saw just what is out there that can make us better in this field in the long run."
The twelfth grade student said,  "I am really determined to be a part of this industry now, and I think I am more ready than ever."
Christoff Hall, 17, says prior to the competition he thought he had learnt a lot from the hospitality program, but realizes after the international competition that he's learnt even more.
"It felt good going to the competition especially since you had to be chosen out a lot of students who were really good in the program. We did a lot of fun things and it was amazing," said Hall, who is headboy at Anatol Rodgers school.  "What I learnt the most from the new program itself is something I probably would've taken longer to learn had I done it any other way.  For instance, although we are a nation dependent on tourism I didn't know much about it.  I figured if I did the program I would learn more and see if this is a field I would like to enter and I did. I am now interested in being an executive manager in the tourism field."
Brandon Brooks has no regrets about joining the hospitality and management program, and participating in the international competition. The 17-year-old says the competition was one of the best things he has experienced.
"The program is about the world of tourism and what we can realistically expect should we enter the field.  We learned so much in terms of etiquette, professionalism, customer care and management that really prepared us for the field.  We went to different hotels and got first-hand experience and saw just how all the levels of the hotel staff operate.  My eyes were really opened to the fact that the industry isn't confined to just hotels and restaurants. It is in almost every aspect of our society in which a service and personal interaction is involved.  I learnt more than just theory.  I got to go out there, meet people and do the work. It was great," said Brooks.
For graduating senior Delnika Stuart, 17, the competition "put the icing on the cake" for her as the program ended. Her biggest regret is that she did not take the program as seriously as she should have when she started out.
She says she now realizes that had she applied herself more and taken full advantage of the opportunities given to her from the start, she wouldn't have been challenged for the top student in the program.  But what she has realized now that the program has ended for her as she leaves high school behind is that she is passionate about being a pastry chef and an entrepreneur.  She hopes to use the  techniques she learnt throughout the course and in the competition to build her own business in the future.
Anatol Rodgers' tourism studies teacher Janelle Cambridge, who traveled with the team to the competition, was proud of the students' accomplishments and hopes to see an increase in the number of Bahamian schools participating in the NLMP competition.
"I think the students did very well as this was their first time in the competition. I hope we go back and place in the top three next time."
She said for her it's not only about being able to go to the competition, but to see how much the students learn and experience. She realizes this will put them ahead of so many others because of the hospitality and management program that's the Ministry of Education initiative.  In 2009, the Ministry of Education partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLE) to certify Bahamian hospitality teachers as instructors to teach the three curriculum.  Since the certification, Anatol Rodgers High School is the only school to offer the hospitality and tourism studies as a full program.
"I believe that this program is better than the traditional tourism education or culinary arts programs in high schools now, because it allows students to do more programs than just BahamaHost which is essential in helping students learn interpersonal and problem solving skills and how to deal with customers," says Cambridge. "Students learn so much it is amazing. I do not know if the students would've done so well in the competition had they not been participants in this program and the depth it goes into."
She also said it is important to expose the students to competitions like the AHLEI competition to remind them that there are other countries out there with a tourism product, and as the future of the industry they need to keep on top of everything that is out there.
Cambridge says many people say tourism today is nothing like it was in the days of yesteryear when programs like BahamaHost were successful and entering the industry was an honorable profession and not just another job.
She says most people have had an experience where they didn't get the kind of service they thought they should have at a tourism-based establishment and often wonder just what went wrong in the training of the staff they met. Cambridge says implementing programs like tourism and hospitality studies (for) students while they are young and more pliable to set the right foundation is the best way to improve the quality of this vital industry.
She hopes more schools establish the whole program as a normal curriculum in the future because she has found great success and sees the potential it will have for the other students who may be interested in the field. In the first year, students interested in the program can expect to participate in the Junior Hotelier Program, a 10-week curriculum that allows students to explore the possibilities in careers in hospitality and meet industry professionals to learn firsthand about the industry.
Cambridge says this method is better than just reading about what is out there and having a guest speaker come in for one or two classes because it ends up being more engaging and important questions can be answered on the spot.
Students also participate in CaribCert, a regional certification program from the Caribbean Hotel Association that gets students to fully understand the core essentials of tourism industry including sustainable tourism, professionalism, health and safety, customer service and other things.
Senior students in the program will have completed the 320 hours in the full program inclusive of the 120-hour internship necessary to be certified in different tourism disciplines of their choosing such as rooms division specialists, food and beverage server, sales and marketing, maintenance employee and front desk employee.

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News Article

April 12, 2013
Grand Lucyan restaurant specials and theme nights

Grand Lucayan invites you to enjoy the wide variety of cuisine options available at their fabulous restaurants. 

Willy Broadleaf theme Nights!

oSundays: Italian 

oMondays: Asian 

oTuesdays: Tex-Mex 

oWednesdays: Fish 

oFridays: Bahamian.

Churchill's Early Bird Menu- $29.99 per person o

Chef Specialty Menu - $45.00 per person Thursday - Monday from 6pm - 7pm.
Ladies Night:
Step out for Ladies Night. Enjoy special prices on Martini's and Tapas! Every Friday Night at the Grand Bar.


China Beach restaurant offers a culinary tour of the Pacific Rim,
with an appetizing menu inspired by the exotic flavors of Vietnam,
Thailand, Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia...

Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday 6:00pm-10:00pm

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