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News Article

November 03, 2011
Bahamas Waste banks on bio-diesel

Bahamas Waste has made considerable strides in their bio-diesel department, Guardian Business can reveal, as the managing director predicts his entire fleet will be powered through this method by sometime next year.
If accomplished, the move could mean higher profits for shareholders and indeed spark a revolution for other industries depended on oil and gas.
"We're hoping that next year, every truck will be on bio-diesel and we will have balanced the economy of scale," Francisco de Cardenas told Guardian Business.
"This means higher profits for shareholders. We will know our costs and not have to buy oil and gas according to fluctuating prices worldwide."
The bio-diesel program, first conceived five years ago, has made an increasingly large impact on company operations, according to Cardenas.
With at least $1 million already invested in the project, approximately 20 Bahamas Waste trucks are currently running on varying degrees of bio-diesel. However, as the company continues to hone the production process, it has yet to make a substantial financial impact on revenue.
Frederick Donathan, a manager at the facility, agreed that the goal in the near future is to "flat-line" the company's fuel costs.
"Beyond Bahamas Waste, there are huge implications for the technology," he explained during a tour of the facility.
"For example, it could have an impact on the fishing industry and bring down the cost of food. At the moment, our problem is finding enough oil and telling companies about the importance of conservation."
The quality of the used cooking oil, which provides the basis of bio-diesel fuel, is also essential.
Research and development are progressing rapidly, the company reports, and more companies are coming on board as suppliers.
Lamar Cancino, a Bahamian chemist employed at Bahamas Waste, is one of the leading minds behind the development of effective bio-fuel.
He told Guardian Business the company has 25 major suppliers of cooking oil.
Atlantis and the Disney Cruise Line, he said, provide the most resources, along with a list of restaurants and fast-food stores. The establishments provide the cooking oil free of charge, as Bahamas Waste gets rid of the precious liquid for free.
Pointing to a delivery truck and a series of processing tanks, he explained the filtering system, purchased from a firm in the U.S., has adequate capacity -- capable of producing up to 1 million gallons every year.
The challenge is honing the process and expanding their infrastructure to include more storage facilities to house the bio-diesel.
"We tend to collect the oil on a weekly basis, sometimes [every] two weeks depending on the company's production," he said.
"The idea is we have to bring down the free fatty acids in the oil to between 0 and 2 percent. It's blended, heated and undergoes a chemical reaction."
With the technology there, Donathan felt the key was to source quality oil from as many suppliers as possible to meet the future demand. He pointed out that Bahamas Waste has some competition for the used cooking oil. Haitian ship owners, he said, are now in the habit of paying 1 cent per gallon for the oil.
"But I think a lot of companies are increasingly getting on board with what we are trying to do," he said. "They might end off being the end users of this product."
In the meantime, Cardenas said Bahamas Waste will continue pushing forward with the program with high hopes for the near future.
"We are taking a used product historically placed in the landfill," he added.
"As time goes on it will become a serious hedge to our fuel costs and the spill-off effects of that will be tremendous."

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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

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

May 06, 2013
25 million office complex for western New Providence

Construction is underway on a $25 million office complex set for western New Providence.
Ground was recently broken on the 68,000-square-foot commercial development, The Windsor Professional Centre, located on Windsor Field Road.
Sonya Alvino, the project's manager, told Guardian Business that the commercial development has been zoned for professionals like bankers, lawyers, engineers and architects.
"We have got our contractors in there right now preparing the site and putting in infrastructure and utilities. We're in the first phase of development with just three of the buildings. We are hoping to get cracking on those as site development is done," she noted.
Alvino estimates that $4 million will be injected into the project's first phase and it will take 18 months to complete.
"The first three buildings are 15,000 square feet and we are building 68,400 square feet overall. We will probably build three buildings at a time just as we are doing in this phase or as the market demands," she said.
The Windsor Professional Centre is located within five minutes of retailers, restaurants, Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport and many gated communities including Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay and Albany.
"It is located in western New Providence, which is fast becoming the hub of commercial activity in Nassau. We're hoping to attract people looking for a second office outside of the city center or trying to escape the city center. We are seeing a lot of lawyers looking for a second location down by Lyford Cay and Old Fort. They are looking to service that type of exclusive neighborhood," Alvino shared.
The site will also feature upscale warehousing space.
Stefan Russel of the architectural firm CDS designed the multimillion-dollar project, while a professional landscape planning and design firm headed by Michael Myers was engaged to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. DHP Associates will manage the bidding process and the construction contract.
The Windsor Centre will consist of seven 5,000-square-foot buildings each comprised of two 2,500-square-foot units; two 7,500-square-foot buildings comprised of four units at 1,875 square feet and two 9,200-square- foot buildings each with multiple units at various sizes.
The 2,500-square-foot units will include customized design consultation for interior fit outs, hurricane-proof windows and doors, travertine floors, superior molding and base boards, luscious landscaping and attention to every detail.
Each unit will have or have access to a beautifully landscaped courtyard. A property owners association that offers 24-hour security and manages parking, landscaping and individualized generators for every unit will maintain the overall site.
"These units offer the professional community a quality product at an affordable price and an escape from the hustle and bustle of Nassau. They are also turnkey units to minimize the impact of relocating," according to Alvino.
A group of Bahamian entrepreneurs, including experts in planning and development, are the shareholders behind the new Windsor Professional Centre office complex.

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News Article

April 06, 2010
Club owners move on 'outdoor parties'

Fort Charlotte has been closed indefinitely to parties, while the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) determines how best to move forward with using the national monument as a revenue earner, Tribune Business can reveal.

This comes on the heels of a movement coordinated by a Bahamian Club Owners Association to have "outdoor parties" operating as weekly nightclubs shut down, and restaurants that operate dances without the necessary music and dance licenses to cease and desist.

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News Article

July 20, 2014
Andros farm benefits from Melia hotel partnership

A local farm operation is getting a major boost after the Melia Nassau Beach Hotel took the decision to source Bahamian-grown produce from the company.
The link between the hotel and local farmers is getting rave reviews from foodies and those whose livelihoods are blooming. Chiccharney Farms in North Andros began working with the hotel that will be part of the Baha Mar resort more than one year ago. The company met with chefs and went through product sampling and selection.
In September, Chiccharney began providing produce in bulk for Melia, the Spanish-based chain with 350 hotels in 30 countries, a network that now includes the former Wyndham.
"We're excited," said Chavara Roker-Eneas, president of Chiccharney. "What Melia is doing empowers a whole lot of people."
Chiccharney has already re-branded and expanded, thanks to an increasing commercial appetite for locally-grown produce and its contract with Melia, providing sweet potatoes, onions, habaneros, limes, Haden mangoes, arugula, thyme, watermelon and avocados. More leafy vegetables are planned. Organic produce is also available.
"Melia orders in bulk," says Roker-Eneas, a third generation farmer. "One order can consume what it would have taken 12 weeks to grow." If Chiccharney runs out of sweet potatoes or onions, it partners with other farmers in Nassau, including Lucayan Farms, to provide produce.
For Melia, which is planning to open several new restaurants with different themes, doing business with local growers and suppliers is part of a corporate culture that not only benefits the local economy but allows hotel guests to enjoy local fare.
"Melia Nassau Beach is committed to long-term economic and environmental growth. Efforts to empower local farmers, both from Nassau and the Family Islands, are a staple in Melia's pledge to give its guests the highest quality goods while sustaining the environment," said Andrew Tilley, Melia's general manager. It's a commitment that plants all the right seeds for growth in farmers' minds.
"The partnership is great for us," said Roker-Eneas, who is willing to work as hard as she has to in order to maintain her company's reputation of quality and consistency in the fresh produce market,that's known to be demanding and finicky. "Nothing that is worth doing comes easy," she said. "We do almost everything ourselves. Throughout the entire process since we started working with Melia, I was pregnant. I was packing and lifting boxes, making deliveries, up to two weeks before delivery." Her son is now six weeks old and the new mom is already looking to the future, with plans to launch a storefront this fall.
As for Melia, identifying willing suppliers has been easier than expected in The Bahamas.
"We will soon reveal our sea-to-shore specialties that will do for the fishing industry what we hope our fresh produce purchasing commitment is doing for farming," said Tilley. "The best thing is that the guests love it, because they want to experience what the country has to offer."

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News Article

July 27, 2014
A flower called Fowler

"A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars."
Carly Simon
Over the weekend, the community of Englerston paid its final respects to a wonderful woman, who, for most of her life, resided in the constituency that she so dearly loved. Her name was Rosmal Rosemary Smith Fowler, affectionately called either Rosemary or Fowler, but, more often than not, never by both. And yet to others like me, out of deference to the power of her spirit, she was always Mrs. Fowler. She left us on July 11, and therefore, with her passing this week, we would like to Consider this...What is the legacy of this flower called Fowler?
Her early years
Rosmal Rosemary was born on October 4, 1936 to the late Ronald and Bernice Frazier Smith of Lower Bogue, a small sleepy settlement in North Eleuthera. She spent her early years there, obtaining an education at the Lower Bogue All-Age School and in her church where she learned the principles of Christian life that remained with her throughout her 77 years.
Mrs. Fowler moved to Nassau after completing her basic education and lived with her parents on Ragged Island Street. As was customary in those days, early in life Rosemary Fowler began working at several restaurants and hotels in the capital and on Eleuthera. She married Haywood Fowler in December 1957 and had 10 children.
A deeply spiritual life
Anyone who knew Mrs. Fowler quickly came to appreciate that she was a deeply spiritual person. She loved her home church, the Grants Town Wesley Methodist Church, and was not only an active member there, but was described by its former pastor, Rev. Frederick Kelly, as someone who "could always be consulted and trusted with deeply confidential matters". It was patently clear that those who paid tribute to her during the funeral on Saturday recognized that Mrs. Fowler's value system was prioritized in the order of church, family and political party.
Her political commitment
Rosemary Fowler supported the fledgling Progressive Liberal Party in the early days of its march to freedom, including the achievement of universal suffrage as well as the often frustrating and sometimes painful journey that ultimately culminated in majority rule in 1967 and independence in 1973.
Mrs. Fowler lived all of her adult life in the Englerston constituency, primarily through Podoleo Street. She passionately and uncompromisingly supported her members of Parliament, beginning with Sir Clifford Darling and the Hon. Peter Bethel (both deceased), yours truly and, more recently, the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin. Mrs. Fowler would often boast that she "was born a PLP and will die a PLP" and that she was "more PLP than [Sir Lynden] Pindling or [Perry] Christie".
I first met Mrs. Fowler during the 1997 general elections campaign when I ran for the Englerston constituency. I engaged her as a full-time employee in the constituency campaign office, and she worked tirelessly during the campaign to ensure that the office was immaculately maintained. In those days, successful candidates were not paid an allowance to maintain a constituency office and therefore, after the general elections which the PLP lost, Mrs. Fowler was ecstatic to learn that she would remain on the full-time constituency office staff. She worked even more diligently to ensure that everything was in its proper place and that persons visiting the constituency office were welcomed and comfortable. Mrs. Fowler was often the first to greet me when I arrived at the constituency office and one of the last to leave, ensuring at all times that her MP was supported in order to assist as many constituents as possible.
Upon being succeeded in Englerston by the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin, Mrs. Fowler was again retained by her new member of Parliament, proving to be as protective and supportive then as she was to the preceding member. Mrs. Fowler's boundless energy was legendary. Mrs. Hanna Martin recalled that during the 2012 election campaign, she and several campaign workers, including Mrs. Fowler, came to a wall in the area that was being canvassed and Mrs. Fowler was admonished to return to the car because of the impediment that the wall presented. As only she could, Mrs. Fowler, then 75-years-old, jumped the wall just as the other campaign workers did. She would neither be outdone nor left behind.
Mrs. Fowler loved political rallies and party conventions and, although she did not have a car, was always present early and positioned herself up-front and center to ensure that she heard every word emanating from the speakers.
She loved her Progressive Liberal Party, never in blind faith, but with a critically maternal perspective, because she believed that it was the organ that provided the greatest opportunity to enable her children and grand-children to participate more fully in the development of her beloved Bahamas.
Mrs. Fowler never forgot the quiet village of Lower Bogue from whence she came. Neither did she ever forget that in her early days in Nassau, her community in Englerston represented a larger version of the village that she left in North Eleuthera.
A lasting legacy
Although she never owned a house or a car, Mrs. Fowler welcomed everyone into her home and could always rely on friends to catch a ride, whether she was going to church, a political meeting or to visit a family member or friend in need of companionship or counsel.
Mrs. Fowler was a rare woman who had the capacity to work tirelessly on whatever task to which she applied herself. She did what needed to be done because it was what had to be done. She demonstrated a level of commitment to her church, family and party that exceeded the expectations of those who sought her assistance. Mrs. Fowler did not have to be asked to undertake a task. It was as if she knew exactly what needed to be done and went about achieving it, and did so without complaining or without any expectation of reward. She was a dedicated and diligent soldier, fighting in her own way for a cause to which she was always devoted.
Mrs. Fowler represented all that is good about Bahamians: ever mindful of the needs of others, unselfish, altruistic and concerned about her fellow Bahamians. She was the personification of so many unsung heroes in cities and settlements strewn across the vast archipelago of The Bahamas. It is persons like Rosemary Fowler who made it possible for so many of our leaders to rise above the noise and fray and to be imbued with the confidence that persons like Mrs. Fowler always "had their backs" in the worst of times so they could forge the best of times.
Mrs. Fowler's contribution and legacy were recognized on Thursday past, when her mortal remains lay in state and she was honored at the Lynden Pindling Center, eulogized by senior party members including Mr. Errington "Minky" Isaacs, chairman emeritus, yours truly, the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin, the deputy prime minister and the prime minister. Mrs. Fowler would have been extremely pleased by the plaudits that were proffered by those who appreciated her indomitable spirit.
Conclusion
Today's body politic is sadly lacking individuals like Mrs. Fowler, selfless and committed to serving our society in a quiet but profound way. What our 21st century Bahamas needs, especially our political world, is to return to values that shaped people like her, honed her decency and dedication to her beliefs until she shone like gold amidst the brass of the crowd. Mrs. Fowler was truly a quiet hero of the quiet revolution. Simply put: we need more like her. The flower that we called Fowler will truly be missed.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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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

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

October 28, 2011
BBBC targets 30 percent of market with new beer

FREEPORT, Bahamas- Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Co Ltd. (BBBC) is about to launch "Bush Crack" in the domestic market - the first local beer to retail in a 16-ounce can.
With about 22.5-to-23 percent of the beer market in The Bahamas now in the BBBC camp, according to sales and marketing manager Lynden Johnson, the company is hoping the new 16-ounce can along with the quality of the product will make it a hit with Bahamians. It could also mean a bigger share of the domestic market for the Grand Bahama based brewers.
"With the introduction of Bush Crack, we will be able to get no less than 30 percent of the market in The Bahamas," Johnson said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.
While he did not disclose what that translated to in dollar or volume sales, Johnson did say the size of the local market was around 2.6 million cases of beer per annum.  BBBC has no problem 'co-existing' with the other local brewers, according to Johnson, but added that as the only 100 percent Bahamian-owned brewery the company is aiming to make its product-line the 'go-to' beers for Bahamians.

BBBC is targeting the segment of the local market now dominated by foreign beers retailing in16-ounce cans.   BBBC General Manager Donald Delahey said Bush Crack provides a high quality, locally brewed alternative to the popular 16-ounce Colt 45 or Busch offers.
With a price point Johnson said would be 'competitive', he anticipates 3-for-$5, or 3-for-$6 retail specials for 5.8 percent alcohol content beer should be well received by the local market.
BBBC hosted a team of 11 managers and directors associated with Atlantis' newest restaurant,Virgil's, to a brewery-tour and sampling opportunity at its Freeport, Grand Bahama plant yesterday.  Virgil's has an exclusive to serve the beer on draft.
Johnson said he's hoping the excitement that is building from the vote of confidence cast by Virgil's in choosing Bush Crack will carry over to the local market.
With it's 'Real Barbecue' theme, Virgil's customers have come to expect a broad range of quality beers, according to the Virgil's general manager Amaaris Pichardo.  They will also serve the rest of the brewery's line of beer products.  The restaurant opens on November 1.
Bush Crack is described as a gold-yellow color beer with a mild bitterness and a tangy, full-bodied taste profile, BBBC's Brew Master Dieter Stich told Guardian Business yesterday.
BBBC is busy crafting another new product as well.  The ale they are aiming for would have a darker color and fuller-body than Bush Crack.  That product may come to market as early as December, although BBBC is currently gearing up for a January release, Delahey said.
There will be an exclusivity agreement for distribution of that beer with Atlantis, Guardian Business has learned.  That beer will likely only be available at its restaurants on tap.
BBBC now has Sands, Sands Light, Strong Back and High Rock in its product line-up.  The company won Belgium's Monde Selection Grand Gold for its Strong Back beer in 2010, along with the Gold for the High Rock beer that year.
 

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News Article
Bahamian chef in Iceland
May 07, 2010
Bahamian chef in Iceland

Bahamian chef Elizabeth Grant, who is a head chef at Sabor Restaurant and Bar had

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News Article

October 03, 2011
Ingranomics Part 2

Last week we noted that although the Ingraham administration steered us through a treacherous period in world economic history it has not completely come up smelling like roses.  There have been some unpleasant consequences to the administration's choices and there were, in my view, many missed opportunities.

CULTURE AND INDUSTRY
The FNM's investments in tourism infrastructure (the harbor dredging, the port move and the new airport terminal), are largely making way for anticipated tourism growth in the medium to long-term. That's not necessarily a foolish or irresponsible choice to make.
The problem is such investments won't yield the desired results unless you seriously address some of the reasons The Bahamas is no longer a hot ticket.
We are facing ever diminishing returns in tourism.  Despite the millions who come here on cruise ships, what we really need are stopover visitors and this is where we've been dead in the water.  We have had more cruise ship visitors than stopover visitors since the mid 80s.
We are a far more expensive destination than many competitors south of us and that's not about to change.  But where we are also losing is that we are culturally far less interesting.  Not enough of an investment has been made to actually make The Bahamas a more distinct and attractive destination.  Beaches, casinos and sunshine can be found all over the globe and for a lot less than in Nassau.  Are we going to be offering "1 flies-1 flies free" deals and cruise ship tax rebates for the rest of the decade?
Many of us believe that the answer lies in the marriage of tourism and cultural and artistic expression.  Yet the government of The Bahamas refuses or is unable to act in a manner that encourages wider cultural entrepreneurship - entrepreneurship that can maximize local and tourist markets.  And to be fair, the private sector is even less interested in investing than the government.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, Junkanoo is a Christmas festival not a spring festival like Mardi Gras or Trinidad or Rio Carnival.  The western world is just not going to travel heavily to be in another country on Christmas night or New Year's Day.  So what does that leave here in the capital?
The Fry (Arawak Cay) is the best attraction in Nassau, outside of Atlantis' casino, restaurants, clubs and water attractions.  It features local food, live music and atmosphere (at affordable prices, prices which no hotel can match).
How can we expand or duplicate what's best about the Fry?  What would it cost to do so?
Let's look at the FNM's track record. They rejected Carifesta twice.  They show contempt (like the PLP before them) for the run-down shell of a National Performing Arts Centre (which could be the year round home of the National Dance Company, Children's Choir, Youth Choir, Youth Orchestra, Police and Defence Force bands and a National Theatre Company).
They have made a ghost out of the Junkanoo Museum.  They don't seem to know what to do with Shakespeare in Paradise.  And they generally refuse to facilitate cultural workers in a sustained and comprehensive way in the tourist zones.
As a result, Nassau remains a dull, run-down, expensive place to visit.  We absorb all sorts of tax breaks for resort development.
In this period why couldn't we have been bold and taken some risks in an effort to improve The Bahamas as a cultural destination?  Hotels aren't destinations.  Cities, towns and countries are, but we settle for a country where the only thing people come for is to walk around in Atlantis.  And soon Baha Mar, I suppose.
But outside of the jobs these enclaves create, aren't we losing out on opportunities to truly maximize the tourist dollars spent on the island?
NUMBERS
Ingraham also flirted with legalizing numbers and then backed off, promising a referendum if he is re-elected.  This is leading from behind, which is not his style.
The Bahamian government is broke and the numbers business is a quarter to half a billion dollar enterprise that goes untaxed and unregulated.
The government has a right and a responsibility to tax the daylights out of this business, to bring it into the light of public scrutiny and to use the money it gains to help build the country and strengthen the social fabric.
Ingraham should have used this recession to regulate numbers.
Instead, a magistrate has confiscated nearly $1 million and fined businessman Craig Flowers $10,000.
By now Ingraham could have collected as much in taxes for numbers as he got in the BTC sale.  He should also have taxed alcohol more heavily as well.
 
TAXATION
I said earlier that if you are going to risk being voted out over something unpopular, you better make sure that the change you're introducing is worth it all.
I'm sorry but Ingraham could have left the roads bumpy, focused exclusively on fixing the eastern district water problem, and tackled a real problem instead of going through all this madness with the roads all at once.
What he should have done, again under the cover of the economic crisis, is address our regressive and unethical system of taxation that burdens the poor and middle class and lets the rich and their companies get away with all their cash.
Ingraham should have been the man to introduce income tax.  It's the perfect time to do so.  The pressure from the U.S. is leading us in that direction anyway.  Would he lose this election if he did so?  He may lose it over unfinished roads.
 

What I guarantee you though, is that the PLP would not have repealed it afterward.  The government needs revenue.  We have thousands of people on pension in the civil service who have contributed nothing to it but feel entitled.
The bubble will burst eventually.  NIB is already automatically removing a percentage of my salary before it hits my bank account.
I may never make a claim at NIB but I accept that my contribution helps those who need support more than I do.  Income tax is doable.
And thereby we can reduce these ridiculous customs duties that hamper the growth of Bahamian businesses because you are being taxed before you sell anything.  I reject the argument that the government can't handle income tax.  It can and so can our people.
 
DOWNSIZING?
I could talk about the fact that after downsizing ZNS, it is still operating at the same quality level as before, or about the FNM's refusal to touch Bahamasair despite the fact there are homegrown airlines who can pick up the slack.
But instead I wish to raise the question of right sizing the civil service.  I don't think this has to mean sending hundreds of people home and creating a social and economic crisis.  I mean actually moving people from posts where they are under-performing or are really redundant and re-training them to help plug holes elsewhere in the system.  I'll give just a few examples.
I once interviewed Loretta Butler-Turner, Minister of State for Social Development, and she told me that the nation could use another 150 social workers.  As you might imagine the social worker does crucial work that is essential to public health, public safety, crime prevention and the overall wellbeing of the society.  Why not re-deploy and re-train some of your civil servants to fill this need?
Our schools are overcrowded.  Every classroom could use a teacher's aid.  And what about the problem of truancy?  Or the need for environmental health inspectors to check homes and businesses, particularly given the occurrences of dengue.
There were creative options available to the government that would allow it to shift the public service work force to meet the greatest needs.  We need park wardens and after school mentors for our teenagers; we need these in every community.
The FNM just lacked a holistic, creative social vision and they failed to see how their economic choices and challenges could actually work for them not against them in the effort to build a stronger, better country.
They took the unemployed and had them cleaning the streets.  And sure, that met a need, because New Providence is filthy.  But in the same way, there were other serious needs that could have been met, not just with new hires but by properly utilizing the people you already have employed.
So overall, I'll describe Ingranomics as an orthodox approach, lacking in innovation or experimentation.  Ingraham played it safe, which can be a comfort in these unstable times.  But sometimes you can play it so safe that you get fired by the people anyway, because the times demand more daring.  We'll see what happens.
 

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News Article

April 20, 2011
PLP pledges to reverse restaurant opening up

By ALISON LOWE

Business Reporter

alowe@tribunemedia.net

The Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has hit out at the "damaging revisions" to the National Investment Policy, and promised to reverse the changes announced by the Prime Minister that will allow more foreign competition in the restaurant and entertainment sector.

The party said it "questions the logic" of the changes to the policy as it relates to restaurants and entertainment facilities, "especially in this time when the economy has been damaged by mismanagement, and Bahamians continue to lose jobs in all areas".

It said the change, which will allow foreigners to set up restaurant and entertainmen ...

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News Article

March 14, 2011
Bamboo Shack eyes US franchise growth

By ALISON LOWE

Business Reporter

alowe@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian restaurant chain, Bamboo Shack, aims to begin franchising the business in the United States "within about another year and a half", its owner said yesterday, revealing that it is bucking trends with steadily increasing growth.

Elaine Pinder, Bamboo Shack's proprietor, spoke with Tribune Business yesterday, just over a week after the popular food vendor opened its sixth New Providence location on Prince Charles Drive. Twenty employees were taken on to man that site.

She said the company continues to look for appropriately positioned real estate on which it could build additional locations, with southern New Provi ...

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News Article

August 15, 2010
New Pirate-Themed Restaurant opens in Grand Bahama

Freeport, The
Bahamas - Returning Grand Bahamian, Brian Botham, officially opened
his dream bar and restaurant on Thursday, August 12th, in
Lucaya, Grand Bahama.  Red Beard's Pub, formerly the Britannia
Pub, offers affordable meals in a relaxing new venue for both locals
and tourists to enjoy.

"I wanted to create
a local bar for friends and visitors alike but I wanted to make it an
affordable place for them to bring their families to eat too," said
Botham.  Botham who grew up in Grand Bahama but moved away when
he was a teen, back to his parent's home in Canada, has always wanted
to return home.  "I brought my wife Debbie here and showed her
the paradise I grew up in," he tells us. "It wasn't hard for me
to convince her to make the decision to return..."

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News Article

August 03, 2011
Sands: Baha Mar partners strengthen country's image

With an announcement on Baha Mar's casino partner soon to come, executives assert moves to make official its partnership with three respected hotel brands has already improved the country's cachet in the industry.
The $3.4 billion Cable Beach mega resort recently inked agreements with Hyatt Hotels, Morgans Hotel Group and the Rosewood Hotels management companies to operate the various hotels that will be constructed on the property.
They are deals, said vice president of administration and external affairs Robert Sands, that bode well for the country's image as a top tourism destination.
"It gives The Bahamas depth and an advantage in terms of best in class brands," he told Guardian Business yesterday.  "Also, it further exposes The Bahamas as an enviable tourism destination."
Indeed, partnering with such brands may be the kind of boost this nation needs to maintain its tourism edge in the region, where competition has increased in recent years.  As a global recession slashed disposable visitor spend, tourists have become discerning about value for their dollar, with hotel brands weighing heavily into travelers' decisions.
Having those kinds of well-known brands is especially important in a market like Nassau/Paradise Island where questions remain about market oversaturation in the mega resort category.
Various hotel executives, however, have assured that the market will be able to accommodate the addition of new rooms. Valued at $3.4 billion, Baha Mar will include almost 3,500 rooms and residences, the largest casino in the Caribbean, the largest convention center in The Bahamas, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, three spas, a 20-acre eco-water park, multiple restaurants, high-end retail and entertainment venues, and will be situated along a half-mile of uninterrupted pristine beachfront. Baha Mar represents the largest single-phase resort ever developed in the Caribbean, and is currently the largest project under development in North America.
"Our hotel partners have embraced the vision of Baha Mar, which is to capture the true spirit of the region's rich heritage of African, European and Caribbean influences while delivering the very highest levels of quality and service," Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar's chairman and CEO said recently in a press statement.  "Shifting the sands of global tourism Baha Mar represents a bold vision, the largest in the history of the Caribbean, and marks the resurgence of an area known as The Bahamian Riviera. The successful completion of our management agreements with Hyatt, Morgans and Rosewood is a significant milestone for Baha Mar as we continue to turn this  vision into a reality.
"All three of these hotel groups have been great partners with us throughout this process, and their ability to work together to bring Baha Mar's vision to reality has been amazing," said Don Robinson, president of Baha Mar. "Our strategy to work with multiple, best-in-class brands gives Baha Mar the opportunity to feature the very finest brand offerings for each of our different high-end hotel segments."
Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a global hospitality company with a portfolio of 445 properties on five continents, operating under the Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Andaz, Hyatt Place, and Hyatt Summerfield Suites brands names.
Morgans Hotel Group has a history of revolutionizing the hospitality industry with innovative lodging concepts characterized by design-centric ambiance and timeless elegance.  It is well known for its Delano and Shore Club resorts in Miami, the Mondrian in Los Angeles, Miami and New York, the St. Martin's Lane and Sanderson properties in London, and the Morgans, Hudson and Royalton hotels in New York City.
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has a long and successful history of managing exclusive, luxury properties, including three award-winning resorts in the Caribbean.  In addition, Rosewood has several of America's most exclusive city hotels, including the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, and The Carlyle, a Rosewood hotel in New York City.
 

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News Article

August 24, 2011
Money out to sea

Cruises ships rerouted from The Bahamas would have brought with them close to $2 million in total spend, Guardian Business can confirm, with tourism officials not expecting a return in that business until the weekend.
According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Tourism, the initial loss projection as a result of Hurricane Irene is around $1.84 million.
"At this time, it is definitely a loss for us," said Carla Stuart, the ministry's director of cruise development, "because the weather is aiming directly at us and it's such a short notice, but generally that's what we're seeing.  This would have been a very good week for us."
While ships like Carnival Fascination, Fantasy and Sensation, Royal Caribbean's Majesty and Monarch of the Seas and Norwegian Sky were in port yesterday, their departures last night will leave the docks empty until the hurricane has passed.
It's a similar case in Grand Bahama, where the Norwegian Sky did not call Freeport yesterday, but is expected to on Thursday.  While Carnival has cancelled regular arrivals in Freeport Thursday, Carnival Pride will make an unscheduled call into Freeport today, say officials.
The situation comes as the destructive hurricane nears The Bahamas today, with wind conditions not expected to be conducive to cruising around that time.
Cruise ships, often considered an essential artery for revenue, feed the majority of commerce for Bay Street venders. Taxi drivers, restaurants, shops and entertainment venues are all expected to feel the pinch.
Downtown businesses normally benefit from that stream of incoming tourists, specifically tour and excursion operators, which service about 36 percent of the cruise passengers on a given day.
The situation, said Stuart, is literally costing The Bahamas' tourism industry.
"The potential loss of revenue from the  ships at the Port of Nassau might be as much as $1.5 million dollars, spend and head tax," she confirmed.  "The loss of 12,827 passengers in Nassau, would have resulted in approximately $425,718 in head tax and $1.4 million in spend.
"Freeport's losses are calculated [from] 6,220 passengers, with a total of  $111,960 in head tax and  $263,354.80 in spend for a total estimated loss of  $375,314.80."
One port's misfortunate is another's gain, however, as other destinations are likely to gain from the situation.
Still, there may be a rainbow at the end of this hurricane for locals, given cruise ship passengers, on the whole, still prefer voyaging to Bahamian shores.   According to the Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) 2010 market overview of the industry, The Bahamas was recognized as a top choice for travelers this year .
In the report, the CLIA projected tha,t based on the volume of sales from last year, The Bahamas and the Caribbean are the top cruise destinations, ahead of regions such as the Mediterranean and Europe. It also mentioned that so far in 2010 the country accounts for almost half of the occupancy rate of fleets associated with CLIA.
Tourism officials earlier projected $235.5 million was pumped directly into the local economy in 2010 from cruise visitor spending.

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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

November 03, 2014
Will Christie be unbeatable

This month will mark the halfway point of the most recent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) term in office. Perry Christie, at 71, has been the PLP's leader for 17 consecutive years. He has led the party to two election wins, losing the 2007 poll in-between.
Christie has been in frontline politics for 40 years and has many critics inside and outside of his party. He has been called weak, indecisive and afraid of conflict and controversy.
These terms can be heard regularly on talk radio. They can be seen in the newspapers. But as we survey the political landscape halfway home to the next general election, another term may be better suited to describe the veteran politician: unbeatable.

How it ended in 2012
Christie's PLP took 29 seats in the May 2012 general election. The PLP gained one after the North Abaco by-election. The three-way race between the PLP, Free National Movement (FNM) and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) kept the PLP from securing a majority of the votes cast (48.6 percent), however. The FNM's haul (42.1 percent) combined with that of the DNA (8.5 percent) surpassed the PLP. In our first-past-the post system, the FNM was only able to win nine seats and the DNA none.
Hubert Ingraham, the man who led the FNM into the 2012 election, resigned shortly after his party's defeat. The FNM selected Dr. Hubert Minnis, the Killarney MP, to replace him.
Minnis is not a good communicator. He doesn't have the natural instincts of a political leader. He also looks uncertain on major matters of policy - take for example his multiple positions on gambling and the gender equality referendum. Right-thinking Bahamians would agree that the FNM has not gained ground under Minnis.
It's harder to assess the DNA's trajectory since we last voted.
The party is essentially two things: a New Providence-based protest movement against the rule of the PLP and FNM; and, a vehicle for Branville McCartney's ambition to be prime minister.
We have a crime problem; failing public schools; an illegal immigration problem; a bloated and inefficient public service. These challenges have persisted for years under both major political parties. There are many Bahamians who want a new type of leadership, with new ideas. For some of these people, the DNA is a sign of hope. It would seem reasonable to suggest that the DNA is still a factor in our politics and may be able to win somewhere between six and 15 percent of the vote.

The split opposition and the Christie path to reelection
In our parliamentary system, it does not matter what percentage of the vote parties receive. What is important is winning the majority of seats in the elected chamber and being able to form a government. With two opposition parties, Christie and the PLP can afford to fall off from where they were in 2012 and remain in power.
Let's use the Golden Isles constituency, a swing seat, as an example. Michael Halkitis won with 2,220 votes, defeating Charles Maynard (now deceased), who secured 1,813 votes. The DNA's candidate, Farrell Goff, received 581 votes. In percentage terms Halkitis received 48.1 percent, Maynard 39.3 percent, and Goff 12.6 percent of the votes cast.
An uninspired FNM led by Minnis would fall off from the 2012 total it received under Ingraham. A DNA believed to be a better option would rise. Imagine this scenario at the 2017 general election in Golden Isles. The PLP's candidate drops to 42 percent of the vote. The FNM's candidate drops to 35 percent of the vote, and the DNA's candidate rises to 23 percent. While nearly 60 percent of voters would vote against the PLP, its candidate would still win the seat.
Such scenarios could play out across the swing seats of New Providence - poor FNM leadership driving voters frustrated with the PLP to the third party. The DNA could again win no seats, but this time with a higher percentage of the vote. The large combined opposition vote in this scenario indicates that the FNM would win these types of seat if it were the only opponent to the PLP.
For Christie, his easy path to victory is a poor FNM leader combined with the presence of the DNA. It is in Christie's best interest for Minnis to defeat Loretta Butler-Turner at the FNM convention on November 21.

Perfectly timed jobs
The $3.5 billion Baha Mar Project is expected to open in 2015 in stages. The resort will employ thousands. This version of Baha Mar was negotiated by the FNM, but the PLP will be in power when it opens, reaping the better economic times it is expected to bring.
The other recently announced good news for the PLP comes from downtown. China Construction America (CCA) purchased the British Colonial Hilton property and land to its west in heart of the Downtown Nassau. CCA is a subsidiary of the largest construction company in the world, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).
CCA will develop the vacant property to create a luxury hotel and condominium unit. The hotel will also include a multi-storied garage with rooftop garden and banquet rooms, a high-end retail shopping center, restaurants, gym, marina, movie theater and boardwalk.
The investment is expected to create 250 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs for Bahamians. An additional 500 jobs in the amenities and commercial components will be created, according to the prime minister.
This project is expected to start next year and should run through 2016.
Further major construction could occur downtown if the government satisfies the demands of the Bahamian owners of the old shipping properties, leading to the erection of medium-rise condos where these shippers formerly were.

Another win?
Come the next general election Christie could be at the center of a perfect reelection storm. A weak and divided opposition and falling unemployment would make it easier for the prime minister to win again. Let's also not forget that the PLP legalized web shops. The numbers men should donate generously to the party's reelection effort.
There are barriers, though, that can stand in Christie's way. There is no guarantee that Minnis will defeat Butler-Turner. She is a more marketable candidate for the FNM than the good doctor. A win by her could reenergize the slumping official opposition.
The other major roadblock is value-added tax (VAT). The new tax is scheduled to come into effect on January 1 at 7.5 percent. The cost of living for Bahamians will go up. Will consumer spending significantly fall off? Will there be job losses? We won't know until early next year.
Then there are the party's missteps in governance.
Christie and the PLP stumbled through the gambling referendum and the legalization of web shops. They are stumbling through the gender equality referendum process. The prime minister has had to fire three of his new generation MPs (Renward Wells, Dr. Andre Rollins and Greg Moss). We had the worst summer in recent memory with blackouts thanks to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). Crime is still a problem.
But despite all this, all in all, things are lining up for the PLP leader. Ingraham and Sir Lynden Pindling were able to win back-to-back terms in their political careers. Christie thus far has not. In winning the next general election he would join his mentor and friend in this regard. Christie would also tie Ingraham in having won three general elections.
As mixed-up as Christie may appear at times, I wouldn't count him out. The conditions are ripe for the boy from Centreville to win one more before heading off into his political sunset.

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News Article

September 30, 2011
Roberts: Taxpayers losing out with new straw market

Bahamians will have a new Bay Street straw market that is 20 percent the size of what makes sense for current and future usage, but costs $5 million more than what was budgeted for by the Christie administration, former Minister of Works and current Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) chairman Bradley Roberts has claimed.
Roberts said this will include $16 million in construction costs and $11.2 million in "stop, review and cancel compensation fees".
He made the remarks during the opening of the PLP's Job Creation and Empowerment Summit at Workers House on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway on Wednesday night.
Within weeks of coming to office in 2007, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly that his administration was canceling the straw market contract the Christie administration entered into earlier that year with Woslee Construction Company.
This meant that all the professionals involved in the contract had the rug pulled from under them.
The government has never detailed the financial loss to the public as a result.
But Roberts said the cancellation resulted in a loss of the $2.3 million construction deposit; loss of fees due to the termination and hiring of new architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and a general contractor; and additional legal costs for attorneys or arbitrators in respect of a recent judgment against the government.
The Nassau Guardian recently reported that an arbitrator has determined that the Ingraham administration was in breach when it canceled the contract.
As a result, retired Supreme Court Justice Jeanne Thompson determined that the government must pay damages to Arconcepts Ltd., the architect and lead consultant for the contract.
The government must also pay damages to the sub-consultants -- George Cox and Associates, the project's structural engineers and Pyramid Industries, the mechanical contractor.
"Who here thinks that Bahamians just have money to throw out like that?  Who here believes that Bahamians deserve better, deserve a government ready to invest in them instead of throwing money out for political reasons?  They didn't do right by the straw vendors.  They didn't do right by the Bahamian people.  They just looked after themselves."
Roberts said the government "which has presided over massive job losses has to tell 190 vendors that they cannot be accommodated in the new market".
As minister of works, Roberts was intimately involved in negotiations for the contract signed under the Christie-led government.
He noted that the PLP administration executed a contract to build a 165,000 square foot market for $22 million, including a Bahamas Electricity Corporation electrical infrastructure upgrade, accommodating 630 vendors in stalls no less than 48 square feet in size.
The cost of the construction was then estimated at $133 per square foot, Roberts said.
"It was a good design at a good price," he said.
"The FNM's response?  They cancelled it.  They couldn't let the PLP take credit, after all.  Remember, they always put politics first, they never put Bahamians first."
He said the Free National Movement government executed a new contract to construct a 37,000 square foot market tendered at a cost of $11.2 million, excluding BEC electrical infrastructure upgrades.
"The cost of this project, now in the final stages of completion, has been revised upward to $16 million," Roberts said.
"Instead of accommodating 630 craft vendors it can only accommodate 440 vendors.  Instead of stall sizes of 48 square feet, the stalls are only 12 square feet.
"The adjusted cost of construction for this mini-facility, which makes no allowances for growth or variety, has been estimated at $432 per square foot -- $301 more per square foot than that contractually agreed under the PLP government."
He said the PLP's proposed straw market was a four-story structure with the rooftop fourth level dedicated to other income generating amenities, such as restaurants, entertainment facilities and a 100-foot tall panoramic observation tower.  It had scope for expansion and further variety and would have cost taxpayers $133 per square feet, Roberts repeated.
In contrast, the newly constructed market is approximately 2.5 stories, with one floor designated to accommodate vendors and no room for growth or expansion, according to Roberts.
All things factored in, the estimated overall development cost for this market is $27 million or $730 per square feet, he said.
"You don't need me to do the math - you're paying a lot more for a lot less," Roberts said.
After canceling the straw market contract, the Ingraham government signed a contract with Cavalier Construction for a new market, which replaces the market destroyed by fire in September 2001.

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News Article

November 21, 2013
Thanksgiving is not Bahamian

As the Thanksgiving holiday looms, a local religious leader has urged Bahamians not to get carried away with the spirit of the North American holiday but to use the time to celebrate Bahamian traditions and history.
In a statement released this week, Reverend Canon Sebastian Campbell, rector of St. Gregory's Anglican Church, took issue with the fact that many Bahamians celebrate Thanksgiving, teach its history in public schools and take part in related feasts. He urged Bahamians to ignore the North American "cultural invasion" and focus on local customs and history during this time.
"Let us cut to the chase," Campbell said. "The average Bahamian is brainwashed and, or, mis-educated when referring to this time of the year simply as Thanksgiving.
"This is not America; we've had a cultural invasion and are ignorant to it. Our [public] schools do a whole lot of mental damage this time of the year that, if not checked, will be a lever in the continued transplanting of our Bahamian cultural heritage.
"I have sat through many a school assembly and endured teachers pontificating on the pilgrim fathers, and then to reinforce this with our impressionable children doing skits and songs on the first Thanksgiving and it's ongoing development and influence on life, as though all this is a part of our Bahamian history which they assert we should justifiably celebrate. We have a case here of the blind leading the blind."
Campbell also said more focus should be placed on local cuisine during celebrations and lamented the fact that American fast food has permeated Bahamian culture, sometimes pushing local restaurants out of the market.
"The cultural onslaught invades further at the level of our stomach," he said.
"It is in our schools; after these thanksgiving assemblies teachers barricade themselves to gobble down the American dishes of ham, turkey, pumpkin pie, etc. This behavior is an insult to our cultural heritage, and to our good and gracious God who has made us uniquely Bahamian.
"We are a peculiar people with peculiar blessings, a peculiar heritage and thus a peculiar history. Next to no leadership comes from anywhere in this cultural onslaught."
The end of November is traditionally a time to celebrate the harvest, Campbell said, as he urged Bahamians to use the time to give thanks for the blessings God has bestowed on the country.
"We Bahamians must show our thankfulness to God for his blessings on us as Bahamians. We must count our blessings. We are no celebrants of ham and turkey. This is American. Stop trying to be that which we are not.
"God has blessed us with Long Island mutton, wild boar from Inagua, Andros crab, grouper and conch from our water. Can we show appreciation for Cat Island flour cake and Eleuthera pineapple, even when turned upside down? Yes, and good old peas soup n' dough seasoned with dry conch and salt beef. Oh yes, by now we have the message. We wash all that down with good old switcher or sky juice. Depending on our religious background, we can spice up these drinks even further."

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News Article

January 20, 2012
Sheraton unveils rebranding campaign

With a new name under its belt and diversified areas of focus including spa services and gaming, the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino is heading into 2012 with one simple objective, to take its reputation as one of the Caribbean's most family-friendly beach resorts to the next level, emerging as a multi-faceted destination geared to a diverse audience of world travelers and locals.
"As part of Baha Mar - one of the world's most exciting new tourism developments - the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino's mission is to elevate our reputation as a leading family-friendly property, but also to diversify our approach and concentrate on promoting all that we have to offer," said Manny Corral, the resort's director of sales and marketing.  "We believe our resort is poised for success in 2012 and beyond."
 
Families
The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino's Love Your Family Program provides families the opportunity to connect while on vacation.  The resort's family activities include drive-in movies throughout the week, as well as fireside storytelling and Bahamian Idol, a talent competition that brings the whole family together to cheer each other on.  In 2012, the resort will continue evolving its offerings for families, including the addition of new activities for children of all ages, and themed holiday family programs.
 
Food and wine
The resort houses six restaurants and lounges, serving a variety of island specialties and international cuisine.  The resort's award-winning food and beverage team creates an exceptional culinary experience, from casual dining at the Dolphin Grill to authentic Italian delicacies at Amici, A Trattoria, perfect for any occasion.  In 2012, the resort will roll out a redesigned, interactive cooking program for guests, along with other new food and wine-focused activities.
 
Casino
The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino has recently changed its name to recognize the world-class Crystal Palace Casino, easily accessible to guests of the resort.  The casino houses over 400 slot machines and 25 table games including Blackjack, Craps, Poker and more.
Easily accessible to travelers throughout the United States and Canada, the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort & Casino is located 15 minutes from Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport, which is serviced by a number of domestic and international carriers.  The resort is set on a 1,000-foot stretch of Nassau's spectacular white-sand beaches, with 694 oceanview guest rooms and suites.  The property boasts an incredible waterscape, including three freshwater pools, flowing waterfalls, a swim-up bar, and oversized whirlpools nestled among tropical landscaping.

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News Article

July 02, 2011
Simmer down and stirring it up

Chef Devan McPhee remembers vividly the day he went to church and was asked by his pastor what he wanted to be in life. The youngster, seven or eight at the time, thought back to the fact that he had been watching the Food Network before he left out of the house that Sunday morning, having just gotten cable installed, and said he wanted to be a chef because he'd just seen them on television.  His pastor prophesied that young McPhee would be one of the best chefs The Bahamas would see and at a very young age at that.
That pastor's prophecy seems to be coming true as Chef McPhee, now 25, owns his own restaurant and bar.  It was just in May that he signed on the dotted line to lease the Simmer Down Restaurant and Stir It Up Bar at the Marley Resort on Cable Beach where he's certainly simmering some amazing pots and stirring up delicious libations.
Simmer Down Restaurant showcases a fusion of Bahamian and Jamaican food with an international flair as he complements the cuisine with French and European touches and relies on lots of spices and herbs to his foods making him one of the hottest young chefs in the country.
"Our theme in the kitchen is we always cook with love and we serve food prepared with love, and translating that over to the bar, we provide drinks to complement the food," he says.
Even though he's new to the restaurant ownership business, Chef McPhee is not new to the kitchen and definitely not new to the Simmer Down Restaurant kitchen as he was the executive chef prior to the resort closing for 10 months. Upon its reopening, he gladly took charge of his own fate, switching up the menu to reflect his cooking style and his Bahamian heritage, and he's kept some of the old favorites that were hits.
While the menu is exciting all around and offers something for everyone -- including vegetarians, the chef says there are a few menu items that are chef's choice and a must try -- items he considers his signature items.
From the soups, the Lobster and Pumpkin Bisque (infused with ginger and curry, topped with a cinnamon cream dollop) he gives two thumbs up.

"It's a burst of flavors and not what you expect with the fresh ginger, curry and cinnamon cream dollop.  Lobster bisque is standard on restaurant menus, but when you taste the pumpkin in there with the ginger ... the pimentos, the fresh thyme, it's a burst of flavor and then the cinnamon cream dollop mellows it out."
While he says all salads are good, he's most pleased with his Caribbean lobster and mango salad that he says he came up with off the fly.  "I was poaching some lobster for the lobster bisque one day and there was some mango on the table, and I saw the yellow and the white and some cherry tomatoes and I said let's try something.  I marinated it in a passion fruit dressing with fresh basil, ginger ...  I played around with it and I tried it as a chef's special that night with a blueberry balsamic drizzle to go with it to bring out the color, topped it off with fresh greens and toasted coconut and it was a hit."  From that night it made the menu.
If he's sitting down to dine, he opts for a callaloo and spinach vegetable empanada, just to add a different touch to the courses if you're having a three-course meal.  It's also a dish he says vegetarians would appreciate as well as it's healthy.  The baked empanada is a puff pastry stuffed with Jamaican cheddar cheese which he says balances out the flavors of the callaloo and bitterness of the spinach.
The Down Home Roasted Organic Duck (marinated in pineapple and Bacardi rum with island gratin potatoes, broccoli rabe and cinnamon glazed carrots) makes this restaurant owner proud.  It's presented with a sweet potato gratin, garnished with fried plantain and they make a pineapple and coconut rum sauce to go with it.
The Bahamian lobster duo (coconut cracked conch and broiled with a Jamaican vegetable run down, homemade mango chutney and drizzled with a lobster essence) is another menu favorite.  
And you should not leave the Simmer Down Restaurant without trying dessert.  The must have item is the Mama Lur's apples 'n cream (a warm crumble with fresh apples, and fresh guavas with ginger vanilla ice cream and apple cider reduction).
Chef McPhee says he gets his guavas from the islands and freezes them for this dessert, because he says there's nothing like the taste of real guava.  They also make their own ice cream and the dish is topped off with caramelized pecans, crème caramel and finished with toasted coconut.
With a number of other options on the menu, Chef McPhee prefers to keep his menu small and personalized.  But he intends to change the menu with the seasons.  As we are in the summer months, the menu reflects a lot of fruits, colorful sauces and dressings.  In the fall and winter he intends to pull out ingredients like star anise and cinnamon to warm things up, and offer heartier options like rib eye and tenderloin and a lot more soups to go with the cooler temperatures.
With a kitchen staff he handpicked because they had the same vision that he had for the restaurant and bar that he now owns.  "I picked them because I wanted to share my knowledge with tem and I didn't want anyone who would be complacent because they'd been working here prior to the resort closing," said Chef McPhee.  "I wanted to start fresh.  I wanted it to be like night and day and the first thing I did was to reduced menu prices drastically, because people loved the place, but they talked about the prices, and I try to work with the locals pocket," he says.  The chef even offers a daily three-course prix fixe meal special that changes weekly.  For $55 you get a soup or salad and usually it's the lobster bisque or shrimp appetizer; you get a choice of the jerk chicken medallion or the chef's special which is the fish of the day, and a dessert -- either the Mama Lur's Apples and Cream or the Caribbean Chocolate Vibes.
"Going into this I knew I had to do something different, because the place had already existed and try to get that same market, but make it my market," says Chef McPhee.

To make your Simmer Down Restaurant experience unique, he offers a different experience nightly.   He came up with "Taxi Nights" on Monday and Tuesdays to catch the tourist market; Wine Down Wednesdays for people who like wine and free tapas; and Thursday and Fridays are corporate happy hour when he does exotic martinis and specials and Saturdays are known as stirred up and sizzlin'.   A five member jazz band On Cue performs from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays as well.
At 25, Chef McPhee's future is in his own hands as a restaurant owner, but he says as an apprentice chef while he trained under many great chefs in the hotels, he realized he didn't want that to be him -- working in the same kitchen year after year, becoming programmed.  He wanted to make a name for himself

"Even though it's a risk, the good thing about it is that I took this venture because it's a smaller operation where I could start out small and gradually grow to the level that I want to be at ... and I was already familiar with the place [Simmer Down Restaurant] and it was just a matter of polishing up some stuff, getting the menu together and choosing the right staff."
Chef McPhee credits Chef Addiemae Farrington of the Culinary Hospitality Management Institute, the late Chef Jasmine Clarke-Young, Chef Paul Haywood of Altantis, Chef Wayne Moncur of the Ocean Club and Chef Tracey Sweeting (his former executive chef at the Marley Resort) with giving him the training that has given him so much confidence to do what he's now doing.
"They trained me so well in all areas that I'm able to be creative and do what I'm doing, with hot food because I'm a trained pastry chef," said Chef McPhee.  "They really gave me a good school bag to carry.  I can pull out things and be versatile.  Plus, it's in my heart, and you have to cook with love.  You can have the fancy name, and your food can look pretty, but that passion and soul has to be in it."
Chef McPhee even keeps his kitchen open a little longer than most restaurants, taking his last order at 10:30 p.m. after opening at 6 p.m.
For the chef, the new venture is fun, but scary as he knows he has the livelihood of his staff in his hands.
At Stir It Up Bar he says you have to have the Blue Razzberry Martini and the Jamaica Me Crazy. It just sounds crazy and it's fun and people enjoy them.  I wanted to add my flair to the menu and these are my signature ones.  They're new to the menu, because coming into the restaurant and bar business, I had to bring something new to the table.  I reduced the drink prices too and kept it straight across the board.
It's new, it's scary but fun, because you have the livelihood of staff in your hands and they have to be paid.  "I realize what it is to be an employee and now an employer, even though I'm at a young age.  It's like you have an additional pair of eyes -- you watch everything, things you didn't care about before you now care about -- even on the service aspect. "

CARIBBEAN SPICY SHRIMP APPETIZER WITH POTATO AND SWEET CORN PUREE

6 - 16/20 shrimp
½ oz Jerk seasoning
2 oz homemade ginger and garlic chili sauce
½ oz herb marinade
For the potato and sweet corn puree
½ lb Yukon potato, cooked
4 oz sweet corn puree
3 oz heavy cream
1 oz butter
Sugar, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the tropical fruit salsa:
4 oz fresh mango diced
4 oz fresh ripe pineapple diced
1 oz bell pepper fine diced
1 oz  red onion diced
1 oz distilled white vinegar
1 tsp fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 orange
2 oz fresh banana mashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Honey as needed

Method:
Combine ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and mix together, season to taste with alt and pepper and let stand 30 minutes before serving.

For the shrimp: Season the shrimp with salt and jerk seasoning and herb marinade, let stand 30 minutes. Grill to desired doneness and top with chili sauce, Finish shrimp in the oven and serve.
For the potato and sweet corn puree: Puree ingredient together to desired taste and consistency, season and serve. Garnish with herb oil and chips. Combine all ingredients together and blend thoroughly.
For the tropical fruit salsa: Combine ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and mix together, season to taste with alt and pepper and let stand 30 minutes before serving.

CARIBBEAN MANGO AND LOBSTER SALAD

1 lb spiny lobster meat cooked and sliced
1 oz Spanish onion fine diced
2 oz fresh cherry tomatoes chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
2 large mangoes
1 oz ginger chopped
1 tsp salt
Salt and fresh goat pepper

1 oz chopped cilantro
1 tsp sugar
4 oz passion fruit dressing

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl; add enough dressing to bind ingredients. Be sure to season with salt and pepper. Mix, chill and serve. Garnish with micro greens chilled asparagus and a lemon vinaigrette.

MAMA LURR'S APPLES 'N CREAM

4 Granny smith apples
1 can uava shells
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 star anise
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tbs butter
½ oz flour
3 oz home made vanilla ice cream
Toasted coconut
Crumble:
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cup flour
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs raisins
2 tbs crushed almonds/ walnuts

Peel and slice apples. In sauce pan melt butter, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and star anise. Add guavas and sliced apples. Let simmer for about two minutes. Thicken slightly with flour.  Place in bowl and allow to set.

For crumble: Fold in at room temperature butter with the flour into small pieces. Add sugar, raisins, and almonds.  Place on top of apple and guava mixture and bake for 4-8 minutes. Serve with ice cream and add toasted coconut.

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News Article

February 21, 2014
Value added-tax 'anti-tourism'

BARBADOS - Claiming he has seen "declining enthusiasm" for the tax over the years in his own country, the governor of the Central Bank of Barbados has called value-added tax (VAT) an "anti-tourism" tax which has hurt its local industry and which he is lobbying to see removed there.
In an exclusive interview with Guardian Business on VAT and its effects, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr. Delisle Worrell, who has held the post since 2009, said that VAT is "horribly complicated" to administer and called Barbados's own VAT system "a mess". Worrell said that in his view a "simple sales tax" would be a far preferable means of revenue generation for the Barbadian government.
Admitting that his position on the tax is considered "very radical" among his colleagues and does not necessarily represent that of the bank as an institution, Worrell said that he has been opposed to the tax in Barbados since its inception.
The government of Barbados introduced VAT at a rate of 15 percent in 2010; it was later increased to 17.5 percent in 2010 for what the government at the time said would be a period of 18 months and has remained at that level since.
The economist, who has recently concluded a study on VAT for the Central Bank, said: "I take a very radical stance on VAT. I think VAT is an inappropriate tax for a tourism-based economy. The rationale for VAT is that it is an export promoting tax, because if you are exporting physical goods (VAT is not charged on) those goods, but the producers are able to claim refunds/rebates on their inputs.
"They are 'vattable' goods but because their sales are external you're not going to charge VAT on the exports, only on the domestic sales. So if they are a sugar producer they will pay VAT on local sales but anything they export they won't pay any vat on, but they will claim a rebate on all of their inputs. So there's a bias in the VAT in favor of export industries; that is if you are exporting physical things that are consumed outside, but not if you are exporting tourism, because the tourists come to you to consume.
"So VAT is an anti-tourism tax if you are a tourism producer because it makes your tourism more expensive than the people who don't charge VAT, and that's why all tourism countries who apply VAT have to apply it at a lower rate. A simple sales tax would be much better."
Barbados applied a 7.5 percent rate of VAT to its tourism sector when it implemented VAT in 1997. This was later increased to 8.75 percent when the general rate rose to 17.5 percent, but as is proposed in The Bahamas, the lower rate was only applied to room-related transactions, and other tourism services such as restaurants on the hotel property, tours, activities, car and boat rentals, for example, remained subject to the full rate of VAT.
Worrell suggested that a sales tax, something a number of Bahamian business owners and operators, most prominently Rupert Roberts, President of Super Value, have proposed, "a more efficient way to raise the same level of revenue" for the government of Barbados, or The Bahamas.
Confirming the fears expressed by a number of Bahamians regarding the administration of VAT, Worrell said it "puts a tremendous burden on government administrations" and businesses.
"It's a very complicated tax, especially if you are selling services - what are your inputs? If I am making a cell phone I know I need silicon, I know I need different materials and so on so I can inventory the materials I've brought in and say for each cell phone I need X amount of these materials, it's clear. But if I am an engineer and I am supplying engineering services, what are my inputs? And so it becomes horribly complicated," he told Guardian Business.
With reference to the refunding of excess VAT paid to the government, the Governor confirmed that the government has not managed to pay these sums back to businesses in a timely fashion, despite interest being owed by the government to the business if it takes more than six months to pay the refund after it is owed.
"They are in arrears on refunds and they are also a known quantity of refund claims that are outstanding, and there are cases where the companies have claimed the refund and the VAT office has not necessarily accepted those," he added.
On the plus side, Worrell said that VAT has been successful at raising revenue for the government. In a recent study, titled "A Review of the VAT system in Barbados" Worrell and his three co-authors at the Central Bank said there was "some gain" in revenue yield relative to the tax rate with the establishment of VAT in Barbados, but the administrative costs of collecting the VAT were higher relative to the revenue received than for the taxes they replaced.
Finding that VAT has been "less elastic and less buoyant" in response to changes in income than its predecessor taxes, the authors said that this indicated the need for "greater compliance" with the tax in Barbados, noting that the VAT division of the government could benefit from employing additional staff.
Asked yesterday if the Central Bank of Barbados is therefore recommending that the government of Barbados do away with VAT as a source of revenue, Worrell said: "Not the Central Bank - me." He added that the government is not officially considering removing VAT.

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News Article

January 17, 2014
Outpouring of support for KFC Nassau's World Hunger Relief campaign

KFC consumers demonstrated an outpouring of support and generosity as they took part in KFC Nassau's fifth annual World Hunger Relief campaign, in an effort to help alleviate one of our planet's greatest epidemics - world hunger. The response to the six-week philanthropic endeavor was phenomenal, as those who joined the brand's fight against hunger through generous in-store donations assisted in raising over $20,000. More than $10,000 was allocated to local hunger relief and food rescue agency Hands for Hunger. The remaining half will go directly to Yum! Brand's World Hunger Relief campaign, which benefits the United Nations World Food Programme.
"The overwhelming success of the World Hunger Relief campaign is a direct response from our consumers and the Bahamian community, and we can't thank them enough for their generous support which has allowed us to make an even greater impact this year in helping Hands for Hunger provide over 10,000 meals to Bahamians affected by hunger," said Eldira Backford, ambassador for KFC Nassau's World Hunger Relief campaign."
The effort to combat hunger started through the KFC parent company Yum! Brands' annual World Hunger Relief (WHR) Campaign, which raises awareness of the epidemic and provides funding and much-needed food resources to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger. Half of the funds raised through the campaign support local hunger relief initiatives. KFC Nassau chose to support local hunger relief agency Hands for Hunger, which assists over 14 social service recipient agencies fighting hunger.
"The cause is so compelling, and we are honored to have partnered with Hands for Hunger to assist with their tremendous impact on so many lives in the community. We look forward to supporting their continued efforts to alleviate hunger in the Bahamas," Backford concluded.
KFC Nassau is part of the Yum! global group of brands and is operated by Restaurants (Bahamas) Limited throughout New Providence. More information on KFC Nassau can be found on its website, www.kfcnassau.com, or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kfcnassau. Information on Hands for Hunger can be found at www.handsforhunger.org.

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News Article

January 20, 2014
The march to Majority Rule, Part III

History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future. - Robert Penn Warren
As we noted in parts I and II of this series, the march to Majority Rule in The Bahamas can be characterized by two words: sustained struggle.
On January 10, we quietly celebrated the first public holiday to commemorate the day that Majority Rule came to The Bahamas in 1967. It was a life-changing event that catapulted the lives of many thousands to unimaginable heights. Last week we reviewed three important milestones in the march to Majority Rule that helped to create the framework for the attainment of that achievement: the by-election of 1938, the Burma Road Riot of 1942, and the Contract beginning in 1943. This week and in the final week in January, we will continue to Consider This...what were some of the major milestones that contributed to the centuries-long march to Majority Rule?
The 1950s were decisively transformative on the march to Majority Rule. It was a decade that witnessed the formation of the PLP in 1953, the 1956 Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the House of Assembly and the 1958 General Strike.
The formation of the PLP
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was established in 1953, following an attempt by the Citizens' Committee to actively address some of the rampant discriminatory practices by the white Nassau elite. The Citizens' Committee, formed in December 1950 initially protested the government's refusal to let Bahamians view three films: "No Way Out" (starring Bahamian actor Sidney Poitier), "Lost Boundaries" and "Pinky" all of which addressed societal injustices. Many of the members of the Citizens' Committee, which was led by Maxwell Thompson, Cleveland Eneas, and A. E. Hutchinson and whose members included Jackson Burnside, Randol Fawkes, Gerald Cash, Kendal Isaacs, Marcus Bethel and other prominent personalities, suffered brutal discrimination and many of its members were deprived of the ability to earn a living by the Bay Street oligarchy as a result of their social activism.
In October, 1953 the PLP was formed by Henry Taylor (who would become the third Bahamian governor general in an Independent Bahamas from June 26, 1988 to January 1, 1992), William Cartwright and Cyril Stevenson with a platform that responded to the challenge by Rev. H. H. Brown that: "The Progressive Liberal Party hopes to show that your big man and your little man, your black, brown and white man of all classes, creed and religions in this country can combine and work together in supplying sound and successful political leadership which has been lacking in The Bahamas."
The PLP made bold progressive promises for a more equitable social structure including equal opportunities for all Bahamians, better education, universal suffrage, stronger immigration policies, lower-cost housing and the development of agriculture and the Out Islands.
In the early days of the PLP, its members were subjected to abject ostracism and victimization by the white elite, including the loss of jobs and bank credit, as well as canceled contracts. In 1955, Lynden Pindling and Milo Butler emerged as the leaders of the party, appealing to the black masses to mobilize in advance of the general elections of 1956. The party also attracted Randol Fawkes, the founder of the Bahamas Federation of Labour in May 1955.
The general election of May 1956 was the first to be fought by an organized political party. The PLP won six seats in the House of Assembly, four in Nassau and two in Andros. That election significantly accelerated the march to Majority Rule. In March 1958 the white oligarchy formed themselves into the second organized political unit, the United Bahamian Party (UBP). The UBP would later disband and its members would join forces with the Free National Movement (FNM) in 1972.
The 1956 Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the House of Assembly
In the wake of rampant racial discrimination that prevented access for black people to hotels, movie theatres, restaurants, and other public places, H. M. Taylor, the chairman of the PLP, whose platform vowed to eliminate racial discrimination in the colony, tabled a number of questions to the leader of the government.
Moved by this and in light of his own disgust with racially motivated practices, in January 1956, Etienne Dupuch, the editor of the Nassau Tribune and a member of the House of Assembly for the eastern district, tabled an Anti-Discrimination Resolution in the House of Assembly. During his passionately eloquent speech on the resolution, the speaker of the House of Assembly ordered Dupuch to take his seat, threatening, if he refused to do so, that he would be removed from the chamber by the police. Dupuch responded: "You may call the whole Police Force, you may call the whole British Army...I will go to [jail] tonight, but I refuse to sit down, and I am ready to resign and go back to the people." The speaker abruptly suspended the House proceedings.
Although the resolution was supported by H. M. Taylor, Bert Cambridge, Eugene Dupuch, C.R. Walker, Marcus Bethel, and Gerald Cash, it was referred to a select committee, effectively killing it. However, the following day, most of the Nassau hotels informed the public that they would open their doors to all, regardless of their race.
The 1958 General Strike
The General Strike began in January 1958 after several months of tension that arose because of the government's plans to allow hotels and tour buses that were owned by the established white tour operators to provide transport for visitors to and from the airport, at the expense of predominantly black taxi drivers who made a large portion of their living transporting tourists between the new Windsor Field (Nassau International) Airport and downtown hotels. To allow the hotels and tour companies to supplant the taxi drivers would severely curtail the ability of black taxi drivers to earn a decent living.
The government learned that the taxi drivers would vehemently protest this arrangement when they blockaded the new airport on the day it opened. On that day, nearly 200 union taxi drivers stopped all business at the airport for 36 hours, showing their determination to protest the government's plans. Negotiations on 20 points ensued between the union, represented by Lynden Pindling and Clifford Darling, the union's president, and the government for the following eight weeks, but broke off after they could not agree on one final point.
On January 11, 1958 the taxi union voted for a general strike and the next day the General Strike commenced with the cessation of work at hotels, which was supported by hotel and construction workers, garbage collectors, bakers, airport porters and employees of the electricity corporation. The strike lasted until January 31 and prompted a visit to the colony by the secretary of state for the colonies who recommended constitutional and political and electoral reforms which were incorporated into the General Election Act of 1959. Following the General Strike, male suffrage was introduced for all males over 21 years of age and the company vote was abolished.
Undoubtedly, the General Strike accentuated the ability of effective reform that could be achieved by the peaceful mobilization of the black majority.
Conclusion
Next week, we will review the decade of the 1960s and discuss how the Women's Suffrage Movement, the 1962 general elections and Black Tuesday culminated in the eventual attainment of Majority Rule with the general elections of 1967.

o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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November 05, 2013
Bahamas 'dropped the ball' on cultural tourism

With plans underway to construct a Lucayan Village replica in San Salvador, the government is now placing a renewed focus on promoting cultural tourism, an area The Bahamas has "dropped the ball on".
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe told Guardian Business he believes the project will go a long way in diversifying the country's tourism product, while bringing dozens of jobs to the island.
"I see this sector as being very profitable because people want that experience. It's true that we have dropped the ball in the area of cultural tourism, and that's something that we are trying to correct now. It's important that we ensure the world understands that we're a nation with many experiences," according to Wilchcombe.
He called the missed opportunity a shame, as more tourists are in search of history, culture and understanding the destination and its people while on vacation.
"It is significantly important because of what San Salvador means to world history. If you look at the country's constitution, you would see that the rebirth of the new world was pointed out in the first paragraph, the rocks, cays and the islands," he said.
"We have to utilize that reality and attract people from the world to visit an island like San Salvador and The Bahamas."
In San Salvador to sign a heads of agreement for the $90 million expansion of the Club Med resort on that island last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie said the tourism project will seek to recreate something that existed prior to Christopher Columbus' landfall on San Salvador, and he is confident that it will bring "great" economic value to the island and its residents.
"It will provide opportunities for architects, builders and construction workers. Entrepreneurs, artists and artisans will also be able to provide their services as there will be stores and restaurants located just outside of the village," he said.
"It will also create new jobs such as trained tour guides, hospitality hosts and support staff. That's going to happen with this project."
He said historical authenticity would be "stretched" in the village's design, making it more appealing for tourists, locals and students.
"I am sure it will become a uniquely enriching experience for Bahamians and visitors alike. There will be three main elements to this project," the prime minister revealed.
"The project will seek to recreate in a very tangible and visual form a historically faithful microcosm of the Lucayan civilization as it would have existed in San Salvador in the pre-Columbian period."

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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.

Our
chic

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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News Article

April 10, 2011
(VIDEO) Welcome to Nassau / Paradise Island

Nassau and Paradise Island, The Bahamas -

Prepare to be awed by Nassau Paradise Island. One of the most popular
ports of call for cruise ships and home to the #1 family resort in the
Caribbean region, Nassau Paradise Island is the island with something
for everyone. You will find the perfect mix of water sports, historical
tours, shopping, golf, casino gaming, restaurants and nightlife.

In
this video you will hear from Brooks & Ryan Russell of High Seas
Excursion; Clee J Vigal of Stuart's Cove; Eldina Miller of Exclusive
Bahamian Crafts; Donovan Ingraham...

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News Article

May 24, 2011
(VIDEO) Welcome to Nassau / Paradise Island

Nassau and Paradise Island, The Bahamas - Prepare to be awed by Nassau Paradise Island. One of the most popular ports of call for cruise ships and home to the #1 family resort in the Caribbean region, Nassau Paradise Island is the island with something for everyone. You will find the perfect mix of water sports, historical tours, shopping, golf, casino gaming, restaurants and nightlife.

In this video you will hear from Brooks & Ryan Russell of High Seas Excursion; Clee J Vigal of Stuart's Cove; Eldina Miller of Exclusive Bahamian Crafts; Donovan Ingraham...

read more »