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News Article

August 11, 2014
The art of minimizing risk

The artist's blank canvas, much like the contractor's bulldozed lot, is the fresh start of a creative project. Similarly, the type of insurance both use to protect their work is exactly the same. Like many small business entrepreneurs, most artists don't think about insurance until the issue is foisted on them through a contract for a large commercial job.
In the past few years, Nassau has seen huge development projects unfold and Bahamians have been bidding for opportunities to provide everything from restaurant fit-outs to artwork. In their requests for proposal (RFPs) the project owner or the company will outline details of the project including the scope of work, fee agreements and general requirements (which are often deal-breakers). Top of the this list of general requirements is always insurance.
The RFP may simply say "You are required to have insurance" or it may go into huge details about the type of insurance and the scope of cover. Often, in these cases, too much information is just as confusing as too little.
For the commission of a large commercial art project, the insurance required is a "contractor's all risk policy" (CAR).
Typically utilized by engineers and builders, the CAR policy consists of two parts of insurance coverage:
Part one: "The works". This covers all risks of damage to the project itself during construction as well as damage to, or loss of, materials and equipment which are to be incorporated into the project. This cover not only includes loss or damage at the site, but also covers items in storage and in transit to the project site. This is perfect for artists who are working in the studio in the early stages and must deliver to the final site later in the project.
Part two: "Public liability". This is where a third party (someone other than the insured artist or contractor) suffers bodily injury or property damage which arises out of the construction operation and for which the insured is responsible.
With a contract works policy, all parties to the contract are covered, including the project owner, the artist (or general contractor) as well as subcontractors.
Note that a contractor's all risk policy scope of cover does not cover liability to employees. Therefore, if there is a crew for which the insured is responsible, a separate employer's liability policy must be effected.
So if you are an artist and you find yourself commissioned to produce a large commercial work, you can take out a separate insurance policy specific to protect your work from certain unforeseen catastrophes.
Can you imagine you are under contract to deliver, take the money, purchase the materials and work for months only to have your project destroyed by fire just before delivery? If uninsured, you would either have to the pay the money back to the project owner or start all over again out of your own pocket doing the job twice and only being paid once. Knowing insurers are there to get you back on your feet can reduce some of the anxiety in what is otherwise an exhilarating project.

o Stephanie Cleare is a fully licensed and qualified account executive at Tavares & Higgs Insurance with 12 years experience in the Bahamian insurance industry. Email her at scleare@tavareshiggs.com.

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News Article

March 08, 2012
Myers Group strengthens PI foothold

The Myers Food Group is bolstering its presence on Paradise Island with the opening of Quiznos and the imminent arrival of Dunkin' Donuts later this month.
The new Quiznos, now located in Marina Village, replaces the franchise that was formerly located in Paradise Village. Dunkin' Donuts will subsequently take up position in Paradise Village, resulting in two new fast-food restaurants in close proximity.
The two stores will employ approximately 30 Bahamians and provide an affordable dining option for thousands of tourists and workers.
The degree of investment by The Myers Group, which owns a number of Bahamian franchises such as Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Quiznos Subs, was not disclosed.
"Quiznos is a quality brand that should have an appeal to visitors at Atlantis, not to mention those that work on the island," said Ash Henderson, director of marketing at Restaurant Services Limited.
"It made sense to be in a high visible and high traffic area."
The Myers Group also owns Anthony's Grill, making the company a dominant food provider in the area.
The new Quiznos store is the second for The Bahamas, with the other located in the new U.S. Departures terminal in Lynden Pindling International Airport.
The company is in the midst of aggressive worldwide expansion and plans to establish 40 international outlets in the next two years.
Don Spina, the director of operations for Quiznos in The Bahamas, expressed confidence concerning the new location.
"We're happy to be able to bring the ease and convenience of Quiznos to visitors and residents alike," he said. "Quiznos' unique toasted subs are internationally popular, and offer a quick, healthy option to other foods."
Spina also noted how consumers are increasingly conscious of calories and nutrition "and we satisfy on both scores".
As for the Dunkin' Donuts location, the exact opening date is unknown, although executives insist it will occur before the end of this month.
This outlet will represent the sixth restaurant on New Providence. According to Henderson, The Myers Group is considering as many as nine Dunkin' Donuts in The Bahamas.
"We have tossed around the idea of eight or nine as a rough estimate of what we can ultimately do," he said.

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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

December 16, 2010
Mamadoos Restaurant offers you Lunch, Dinner and Sunday Brunch

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - In
May 2010, the proprietors of  Island Java located in Port Lucaya, began
operations of a new restaurant in the Port Lucaya Marketplace on Grand
Bahama Island. The restaurant is known as Mamadoo's Restaurant, or
simply

Mamadoo's where local cuisine meets Bahamian creativity.

The Restaurant features a signature line of innovative Bahamian
inspired seafood and barbeque dishes, with gourmet pizzas/flat
bread along with fruit infused vodka like sappa dilly, love vine, guava,
mango and tamarind...

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News Article

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

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

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News Article

October 28, 2011
Great wine, great art and great food at bnt wine and art festival

On Saturday, October 29, the Bahamas National Trust will open its gates for the  21st Annual Wine and Art Festival.  The annual festival features over 50 talented artists, a selection of over 50 wines from Bristol Wines and Spirits and a new feature this year, a wine and food pairing area sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism's Culinary Tourism Division.
BNT members will get a special preview of the art and a chance to bid on unique marine-themed silent auction items at the Wishing Fish Auction on Friday evening, October 28.  This special evening for BNT members is sponsored by Gourmet Market and Food Art By Cacique and Bristol Wines and Spirits.
"We are extremely grateful to our sponsors," says Eric Carey, BNT executive director.  "Their support allows us to show our appreciation for our members at this special evening. The Wishing Fish Auction provides artists with the opportunity to design and decorate wooden fish in their own unique style.  All proceeds from the auction will be used in support of the BNT's marine conservation initiatives."
"The Wine and Art Festival provides Bristol Wines and Spirits with a great opportunity to introduce the public to new wines that we will be offering this holiday season," comments Rusty Scates, wine manager for Bristol Wines and Spirits.
Patrons attending the festival this year will have an opportunity to taste  Asti Winery's Cellar's range of eight wines with the Chardonnay and Zinfindel being featured, Pine and Post Wines from Washington State featuring a Reisling and Merlot and Flip Flop Wines from California offering their Chardonnay and Carbernet Sauvignon.
One of the special features of the Wine and Art Festival is special guests from the participating wineries.  This year Julian Inarra from the Trivento

Winery in Argentina will be on hand to discuss the wines produced by his winery.
A new feature at this year's Wine and Art Festival will be a food and wine pairing demonstration sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's Culinary Tourism Division.  Featuring three of the finest chefs in The Bahamas who are all members of the Bahamas Culinary Association, the area will help you learn what wine should be served with what dish.
Jamal Small, Team Captain of the National Culinary Team 2011 and Private Chef in the Exuma Cays, will feature a Cassava Gnocchi with roasted root vegetables in a fennel cream sauce. Emmanuel Gibson, National Culinary Team from the One & Only Ocean Club, will demonstrate a fish dish - plantain-crusted grouper.  Alexandra Maillis Lynch of Alexandra's Catering and August Moon will guide attendees through the process of roasting a pig in plantain leaf.  Local produce will be featured in each recipe in conjunction with BAIC, and all ingredients will be locally grown, inclusive of the grouper and the pig.
A number of well-known caterers and restaurants will be providing food throughout the day, such as  Gourmet Markets and Food Art by Cacique,  August Moon Café, Konfetti  Kreations,  Glorious Foods, Citrus Catering and a special booth featuring Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream.
"We are once again thrilled to have many outstanding artists participating in the Festival," says Lynn Gape, deputy executive director of the BNT.
New artists participating this year are Judith Papillon, Tori Hermann, Kandice Eldon, Candis Marshall, Morgan McKinney, and Shelby Knowles.
We also have a large contingent from Abaco traveling to be with us this year," says Gape. "We are very happy to have Kim Rody, Jo-ann and Peter Bradley, Marjolein Scott, Jeep Beyers and Bob Zwickel joining us again this year."
Annual favorites will also be participating and patrons will have a chance to visit with Thierry Lamare,  Jonathon Bethel, Toby Lunn, John Paul, Trevor Tucker, Marco Mullings, Nicole Angelica, Malcolm Rae, Kim Smith, Tiffany Barrett, Peter Otim Angole and Imogene Walkine.
According to Lynn Gape, the festival began 21 years ago with just 20 artists and each year it has grown.  Today, the festival features over 50 artists and is a great place to see a variety of artistic styles.  Many media are represented and not surprisingly the Bahamian environment is the subject of many of the paintings.
The BNT's Wine and Art Festival is a great event to learn about wine and view wonderful art, so be sure to attend this very special event on Saturday, October 29, 12 noon to 6 p.m. at The Retreat on Village Road. BNT members pay $15 and the general public $20. All proceeds support the national park system of The Bahamas.
Contact Lynn Gape at lgape@bnt.bs or 393-1317 for more information.

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News Article

September 20, 2011
Hands for Hunger helping those in need

Many times people can observe problems in their society, but few can put forth the resources and time needed to resolve them.
In 2008, a group of students wanted to make a difference in their community where so many people went to bed hungry while good food was discarded.  Spearheaded by Alanna Rodgers, they formed the humanitarian organization, Hands for Hunger, and set out to resolve the problem.
"They asked: How can we bridge the gap between hunger in the community and food waste?" says Executive Director of the non-profit, Yolanda Darville.
Modeled after City Harvest out of New York City and Second Harvest out of Canada, Hands for Hunger simultaneously rescues food from local restaurants and redistributes them to centers who can reach the hungry.
Years after its inception, Hands for Hunger can measure their success in pounds--with their refrigerated trucks, they've provided 300,000 pounds of food to their community, and on average, every week they rescue and redistribute up to another 2,000--that's enough food for 2,000 people.
"We're proud to have been able to provide 300,000 meals to Bahamians," says Darville.  "It's even more amazing when you think about how that's all food that could have been thrown away."
Indeed, by partnering with hotel restaurants -- like those found in Atlantis, the Sheraton at Cable Beach and the Wyndham Nassau Resort -- and local restaurants such as Starbucks, Subway and Sbarro's, they can provide discarded food to eighteen local doner centers, including the Salvation Army, Urban Renewal Kemp Road and Great Commission Ministries International.
It's a mission that for Darville, who just began working for the organization in March, is truly inspired by.
"One of the first things I did when I came on board was ride on the trucks and see what happens every day when food is picked up and delivered," she says.  "It was so exciting to see -- I remember at Great Commission Ministries, people were actually running to the trucks and they were so excited to see us and they wanted to help us offload the food and they were saying thank you."
"It just hit home for me that even though The Bahamas is a wealthy country, there are still so many people in need and they're just so grateful someone is stepping up to help."
Though the focus for Hands for Hunger began on food rescue, they're now also turning their attention to education and research, pushing for a food security assesment in the nation.
A little research has been completed in that area, and they've been looking at a variety of factors that influence food security, including food importations and farming, so as to eradicate hunger at its root.
At the same time, they're going into schools and local communities to educate people about the realities of hunger in the community.  On October 15th, designated World Food Day, they'll partner with the Ministry of Agriculture for a day of awareness, educating the public about food insecurity.
"That's something we're really trying to educate the public about--why do we have the issue of hunger in The Bahamas in the first place and what can we do about that?" Darville says.
"There's currently no research and there's no expert you can go to, so what we're trying to do is be one of the forces pushing for change so that we do have that assessment in the country, we can see what the issues are and how we can change them."
Yet they don't plan to drop their food rescue program anytime soon--in fact, they're pushing for more corporate involvement for the community.
With their new volunteer resources and corporate partnerships coordinator joining the team, they hope to attract local businesses who want to make a difference much like Starbucks did earlier this year during their international initiative, Global Month of Volunteerism Campaign, collecting donations from patrons for a local organization.
"We were told by Starbucks that the reason they wanted to partner with us is because they know we partner with 18 recipient agencies we donate the food to--so really by partnering with us, they were able to partner with 18 organizations all at once," says Darville.
"We know that there are many companies that want to do something with their employees," she continues. "They're into corporate social responsibility but they don't have the time to coordinate things -- companies are more likely to do it if you're organized to coordinate it, so we're excited about that opportunity."
They also hold fundraisers and reach out to the community for assistance through their annual events Paradise Plates and their bread and soup booth at Jollification every year.
Yet, Darville says, no matter their expansion or direction, the organization is truly driven by their many tireless volunteers--over 400--who give their time loading trucks, taking pictures, and putting any of their skills to use for the organization that makes such a difference in the lives of many Bahamians.
"I just love seeing all sectors of the community come together," says Darville.  "One of the things I love is that we're constantly being approached by people who want to volunteer.  It's great to see -- it's so heartwarming to see people who want to make a change."
For more about Hands for Hunger, visit their website at www.handsforhunger.org.
Do you know someone who positively impacts your community? Contact us to share their story!

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News Article

February 16, 2013
LPIA revenue rises for 5th consecutive year

Despite ongoing construction on the $400 million redevelopment of Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), the airport's revenue has steadily increased for the fifth consecutive year, according to the 2012 Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) report.
During the 2012 fiscal year ended June 30, LPIA generated $55.9 million. That was $9.2 million over revenue generated in 2011.
LPIA generated $41.4 million in 2010; $37 million in 2009 and $34.5 million in 2008.
NAD Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Development Vernice Walkine said those figures are up because management has been prudent with spending and increasing revenue.
"Never forget that we are privately financed and as such we have to answer to our lenders," she said. "They look very closely at our performance in terms of how we manage our expenditure, but also how we maximize our revenue.
"Clearly, the more revenue the better able we are to pay down the debt. As we get closer and closer to [completion of] construction that becomes even more important because we need to have cash accumulated in order to begin to pay down the debt as soon as construction is over."
Last year, passenger arrivals also increased to 3.2 million people from the 3.1 million recorded in 2011.
But the report indicated there have been fewer take-offs and landings, which Walkine explained is the result of airlines upgrading their fleet to larger aircraft to service the steadily growing airport.
There were 4,600 fewer take-offs and landings over the 86,700 reported in 2011.
"A lot of the airlines that serve LPIA have actually upgraded their equipment, so because a route is proving to be successful and the airlines are recognizing that they are earning good yields off those routes they tend to upgrade," she said.
"We have had a number [of upgrades] actually, where an aircraft has gone from an E190, which is 100 seats, to a 737, which is 148 or 158 seats. That's kind of what they call realignment."
As airlines recognize increased revenue, passengers could very well benefit with more savings on airfare and associated costs, she added.
LPIA facilitates 32 airlines that service 29 international and 16 domestic destinations.

Topping off
Walkine, NAD's incoming president and CEO, was interviewed by The Nassau Guardian on the sidelines of a last beam topping-off ceremony at the airport's stage three construction site.
Work began on the new International and Domestic Arrivals Terminal in October 2012.
Walkine said the third terminal is on budget and on target for completion in November.
In the coming months, the perimeter walls and roof will be completed and the structure is expected to be fully enclosed by the end of July.
Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin said the third and final stage of the airport expansion project is significant because it signals completion of a world class facility.
"The new terminal is 112,000 square feet," Hanna-Martin said.
"It will include four restaurants, nine shops, two bars and a lounge, and when the airport is finally concluded at the end of the final stage we would have delivered a 21 percent increase in terminal size from 482,700 to 585,300 square feet.
"This is a 50 percent increase in capacity."
Since January of this year, 208 workers, including 142 Bahamians, have put in a total of 107,000 man hours on the site.

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News Article

March 06, 2014
Baha Mar 80 percent complete

Just nine months away from its planned December 8 opening, the Baha Mar resort is on target with "75 percent to 80 percent" of the construction work complete and a ramp up of marketing planned for the third quarter of this year.
The government has hinged part of its hopes for an economic recovery, and a dip in unemployment, on the resort's opening.
Robert Sands, the resort's senior vice president of administration and external affairs, said while Baha Mar is not the only economic driver in town, he is sure the property will be able to live up to these expectations by pulling in arrivals and putting thousands of Bahamians to work.
"There is an expectation for Baha Mar in this particular area," he told Guardian Business. "We are satisfied that we are going to do our part.
"We're not the only economic driver in the country, but we are satisfied that the jobs that we are going to create will make a significant dent in the unemployment in this country, and we will also be a major stimulus to economic growth in the country going forward."
Sands said the property has more than 10,000 applications for operational jobs. Baha Mar's recruitment team has started reviewing these applications to forward to the property's brands for consideration.
To date, the property has created more than 2,800 job opportunities for Bahamians and put out more than $615 million worth of contracts out to bid for Bahamian contractors.
There are more than 350 Bahamians currently working on the construction site, including construction workers. The resort's core team consists of 150 Bahamians.
There are nearly 3,000 foreign workers on the site and the bulk of this figure is made up of Chinese laborers.
"We have more than lived up to our commitment outlined in our heads of agreement with the government of The Bahamas," Sands said.
The Leadership Development Institute, one of the resort's recruitment programs, has had more than 3,500 participants and received more than 2,900 applications to date.
The resort plans to hire 4,000 hotel workers this year. Sands said he is confident that the property will be able to fill this void with Bahamian talent.
"The challenge will always remain in the middle to upper management categories, but we are satisfied that we will have the training in place that will be able to match the skill sets of the individuals we retain to the goals, the policies and also to the expectations that we have in the jobs that we will be matching them with."
Once open, Baha Mar will have to contend with competition from the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. Principals from the Albany development last month signed an amended heads of agreement with the government for a $140 million expansion, which is expected to transform the property into the Monaco of the Caribbean.
Sands said Baha Mar will be able to coexist with these properties and will offer something unique to visitors, particularly its casino.
He added that the resort's gaming partner, Global Gaming Access Management, is "world class" and responsible for some of the world's most successful casinos.
"We are satisfied that we are an adult destination and that we are in fact a gaming resort," Sands said, when asked about fears of competition. "Our niche is pretty much focused, we welcome Albany in their effort to help to raise the profile of tourism in The Bahamas, but we are very satisfied that the direction that we are going [in], we will be very successful in those market niches.
"In addition to gaming, we are going to have some emphasis on meetings and conventions and our luxury market as well. So we are very satisfied that Baha Mar will be able to generate the numbers of business, bodies that will be required to make us a very successful gaming resort on day one."
A key focus of the property is incorporating Bahamian culture and art into its concept.
"The whole ethos about Baha Mar is about things Bahamian," said Sands. "Our visionary leader says it all the time, we're not called the golden horse rising from the sea. We're called Baha Mar, which means beautiful blue waters. So even from our name, everything that we do characterizes authenticity and things Bahamian."
The resort has hired Bahamian artist John Cox as its creative arts director and aims to put local art at the forefront of its design. Baha Mar's local art alliances include The D'Aguilar Art Foundation, The Dawn Davies Collection and the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.
The resort's amenities will include a 100,000-square-foot casino, an 18-hole, 72-par Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the ESPA at Baha Mar spa and more than a dozen pools.
Other attractions will include 50,000 square feet of high-end retail and shopping, and over 30 restaurants, bars and lounges.
The resort will also include 200,000 square feet of combined state-of-the-art convention facilities, including a 2,000-seat performing arts center and an art gallery with the largest curated collection of Bahamian art; a beachfront sanctuary with native Bahamian flora and fauna, and a private island.
Baha Mar officials are expected to take the media on a tour of its golf course today, which is set for completion by the second quarter of this year.

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News Article

August 31, 2011
E-Bahamas: A Bahamas Tomorrow

When you look around New Providence today, what do you see?† When you think of our institutions, what do they offer?† What does The Bahamas look like now?† Are we only sun, sand and sea or are we promise, potential, and possibilities?† I think the latter.

Some Bahamians look around in New Providence through impatient eyes and see mounds and mounds of dirt, debris and open trenches.† They see workmen and equipment digging, placing pipes and paving the roads on many of our major thoroughfares.† I, however, look not at the present state but the future.† I see the infrastructural improvements in fiber optic cabling, underground utilities for water and power.† I see what the roadwork will offer, what it will change and what it will impact.

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News Article

January 29, 2013
Bastian blames loss on 'flawed process'

Island Luck CEO Sebas Bastian last night blamed a "flawed process" and the politicization of the referendum for the crushing defeat of the Vote Yes campaign in yesterday's historic poll, adding that thousands of jobs are now in limbo.
"If you factor in what we have seen so far, low voter turnout and the support of the no vote, it clearly shows that... Bahamians are probably disgusted with the process," Bastian said to The Nassau Guardian last night at Foxies Restaurant and Bar after it became clear that Bahamians overwhelmingly voted against the regularization of web shops and a national lottery.
"We were not happy with the process for obvious reasons but we couldn't come out and say because we can't bash our own campaign. We were always at a disadvantage because if you notice we ran a clean campaign. We never spoke out and bashed anyone. The church was our biggest opponent and I would never say anything about a man of God regardless of how I may feel internally."
Supporters of the Vote Yes campaign hosted a viewing party last night at Foxies. Supporters shut down the party shortly before 8 p.m. when it became clear that they lost the race.
Bastian said he's not sure what will happen today.
"We have not made a decision on that," he said when asked if web shops will open.
"We will respect the decision of the Government of The Bahamas. At the end of the day, I'm worried about the jobs. The staff do not know what to expect [in the coming days]. They may work [today] but they don't know if they are going to be employed Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. So they don't know how they are going to meet their financial obligations."
Prime Minister Perry Christie said previously that if there is a no vote, police will shut down web shops.
Island Luck employs just under 500 people. But it has been reported that more than 3,000 people are employed directly and indirectly through web shops.
Bastian said politics also played a part in the outcome.
"It's unfortunate when politicians play politics for political gain and use that influence to interfere with the minds of Bahamians," he said when asked about former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's endorsement of the no vote.
"And at the end of the day, only Bahamians lose. I'm hoping one day Bahamians can get out of the political fantasy and start making decisions for themselves."
As for his future, Bastian said he will survive even if he is called on to shut down his web shops.
"My business is diverse. There are two sides. There's the physical web shop side and the Internet side. So how it affects it, it all depends on whatever the government says. But I'm not just in the numbers business."
The Island Luck CEO added that he is about to venture into the construction industry. He expects to employ nearly 180 people in March. However, Bastian said many of his current employees will not qualify for those types of jobs.
Some Vote Yes supporters cried in the streets last night while others begged the web shop owner to find a way to keep his doors open.
Arlington Rolle, a Vote Yes supporter, said it seems as if the Bahamian people don't want to move forward.
"I hope that we will have another chance to vote and I hope that they vote yes the next go around," he said.
"I want the Bahamian people to move forward. I don't gamble. I wanted them to win because I saw the benefits. I saw where Bahamian people could achieve something. The web shops help the country. So it upsets me to know that the Bahamian people did not stick to their word."
Another Vote Yes supporter, who identified herself only as Marge, said the results left her depressed.
"I am hurt that it's a no vote," she said. "I'm hurt for the girls who will lose their jobs."
She hoped the web shops would find a way to remain.
"I hope they go underground and open up," she said.
"That helps me to pay my bills. If I win, I give the landlord something. I give Freeport Power something. The clothes store gets something and the hair dresser gets something. But if I can't play in The Bahamas, I'll go to the United States. I take my money in the United States and I spend it there. But if I could gamble home I could spend my money and it will spread around."

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News Article

November 09, 2013
Conch and Kalik prove to be a winning combination

Conch and Kalik have come together and are proving to be a winning combination at one of the island's newest restaurants -- Conch N' Kalik Bar and Grill. It's the place where the mollusk and native beer can be found in almost every offering from the appetizer portion of the menu through to the soups and salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, and their specialties. But the chefs hold off on pushing the envelope and adding it into any of their dessert items.
At Conch N' Kalik Bar and Grill located in Pompey Square, downtown, the menu features items that are twists on regular appetizers -- think conch chili fries (ground conch chili, sharp cheddar on seasoned fries), nachos (tri-colored nachos topped with homemade aged cheddar and Kalik beer cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, guacamole and sour cream), firecracker conch spring roll (an oversized handcrafted crispy roll with blackened conch, vegetables, rice noodles and sweet tamarind dipping sauce), conch scampi, conch fettuccinie with garlic bread, conch parmesan with fettucini pasta and garlic bread, island-style coconut curry conch and conch and crab cake.
There are other unique offerings featuring the two ingredients after which the restaurant is named, like the Black Angus Beef Burger (with aged cheddar and Kalik beer cheese sauce, Kalik's double crunch onion ring, pecan smoked bacon, shredded lettuce, heirloom tomatoes on a Brioche bun) and deep water conch salad sandwich (fried conch on whole grain ciabbata bread with sour-orange mayo, shredded lettuce and vegetable salsa).
The menu items were all dreamed up in the mind of Chef Devin Johnson who opened the restaurant, but has now moved on and left it in the capable hands of Chef Eunesha Solomon who now wears the executive sous chef hat. It's a task she's up to. When Chef Devin came on board to open the restaurant, he headhunted Chef Eunesha from their previous place of employment to take over after he moved on.
Before he left, Chef Devin said the 50-item menu took him six weeks to come up with and master. A chef who is big on playing up local ingredients who has served as the national team manager for many years, he said it was a delight to come up with the menu that showcases Bahamian ingredients.
And the portion sizes are huge. He said they had to do it that way to give people their money's worth.
"People eat with their eyes, and people love it," said Chef Devin of the oversized, tasty portions that they have become known for.
They also offer a signature creamy conch and roast corn chowder (chunks of conch meat with fresh roasted corn, root vegetables and a hint of goat pepper), mango barbeque ranch chicken salad (mango, avocado, grape tomatoes, grilled corn, pigeon peas, cucumbers and romaine lettuce tossed with a mango infused barbeque ranch dressing, topped with crispy fried onions that are surprising people that are so good).
And there are also specialty offerings -- the tamarind glazed flat iron steak, mango rum basted pork baby back ribs, lobster fettucine (only served during the season), and Kalik Gold beer battered fish and chips.
And you can't have a restaurant that serves conch without offering Bahamian favorites like like cracked conch and Bahamian style steam conch. There's also a Bahamian style grilled conch, conch salad and the conch salad of the day that is upstaging the traditional salad - the tropical. Conch N' Kalik serves theirs with pineapple, mango and green apple.
According to Chef Solomon, the profile at Conch N' Kalik is all about flavor.
While they're proud of their food, the libations menu at the restaurant isn't to be sneezed at, and they say you have to have their signature drink called a Kalik-arita, where the Kalik of your choice meets a margarita base.
And while they just didn't take a chance on incorporating conch or Kalik into any of their desserts, they do offer tasty endings to satisfy the sweet tooth - guava duff, passion fruit and white chocolate cheesecake, carrot-pineapple cake and a dark rich chocolate cake with a Caribbean twist which means it has a banana-coconut mousse and finished with almonds.
With its first location open, the proprietors of Conch N' Kalik are planning to open another four locations -- one in Abaco, Grand Bahama, Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida.
Conch and Kalik is open daily. They start their beverage service at 10 a.m. Their food service starts at 11 a.m. They close at midnight.

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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
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

July 22, 2011
Cruise Passenger Spend up

A projected $235.5 million was pumped directly into the local economy in 2010 from cruise visitor spending, according to a senior tourism official. Though stopover spending is a much more larger number, the Ministry of Tourism's Director of Cruise Development Carla Stuart told Guardian Business yesterday that Bahamians tend to benefit directly from every dollar cruise passengers spend.

"With cruise passengers, that money goes directly into the local economy, be it through restaurants, tours, merchants, braiders, taxis, or in the straw market."

Stuart's estimate shows a 17.9 percent increase over 2009's spend of $199.67 million, when cruise passengers spent an average of $63.30 each throughout The Bahamas. Comparatively, stopover passengers spent $1,230 on average that year, not including gambling. In 2009, Nassau/Paradise Island saw total cruise passenger spend of $160.73 million, and Stuart estimated the number climbed to $185.4 million in 2010.

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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

June 18, 2011
It's all about the bread

Forget the meat, forget the fillings, forget the condiments -- and always remember, it's all about the bread. That is the premise

on which the owners of Island Subs -n- Soups founded one of the island's newest eateries on.
Brothers, Chef Martin Elliott and Bruce Elliott realized that their idea of a subs and soup shop wasn't entirely original,

so to make their restaurant different from their competitors, the brothers decided that they would offer up their sandwiches

on homemade raisin, coconut, wheat and white breads the way gramma used to make them
Chef Elliott himself trained his staff in his own dough recipes. At 9 a.m when his staff enters the Trinity Plaza, West Bay

Street location, the first thing to be done is dough is mixed and kneaded and placed into the proofer. By 11 a.m. when the

door is opened to the first customer, they're getting fresh bread, hot out of the oven.
"The concept of Island Subs -n- Soups is very familiar to Bahamians, but what sets us apart from our competitors is our bread,

which is homemade Bahamian bread. We have real coconut bread that Bahamians would know, raisin bread, whole wheat and white,

but our breads are a little sweeter the way Bahamians like it -- like gramma used to make it ... you know when it comes out of

the oven and you can spread a little butter on it and go to town.

That's what separates us from them."
"I've trained the employees in how to make the dough. They know how I want it. Recipes are straightforward, so they measure

and do exactly what a recipe says, and it's consistent each time.

We grate coconut for the coconut bread, soak the coconut

to make coconut milk and the water is then used in the dough, and the grated fruit is put into the dough. For the whole wheat

bread we use 100 percent whole wheat grain flour and you're getting what we say we're giving you. For the raisin bread, we

use fresh raisins, cinnamon and put it together. At 9 a.m. when the door to the store is cracked open, the dough person starts

on the dough, when you come in at 11 a.m., you're getting the freshest baked Bahamian bread ever."
Chef Elliott says it takes 15 minutes to make the dough, half-hour to proof the dough, and 10 minutes in the oven for the

oblong-shaped sub rolls to be ready for consumption, that is after a cooling process of course.
"When we start serving at 11 a.m., you're getting fresh bread. Our dough is not frozen, it's made fresh every day, and I'm

proud of to say I consider our breads to be our signature item. They also offer wraps -- plain white and wheat, which they

do not make.
Chef Martin Elliott, formerly of the BBQ King fame, says the subs and soups eatery was something he conceived in his mind

about 10 years ago, but as the years went by, things began to change, the idea went on to the backburner and of course he

got sidetracked by his BBQ King store. Last year he pulled the subs and soups idea off that backburner and decided to do

it. It took him
about six months to renovate his space and get it up to standard. Three weeks ago he opened his doors to his first customers.
Coming up with his menu was easy, but to ratchet up his uniqueness, he took his subs idea a step further than just homemade

bread, by adding a few unique filling ideas to tempt the Bahamian palate. Customers can order a grilled grouper sub, lobster

salad sub, shrimp salad sub, and a grilled conch sub is in the makings, along with the standard fixings like roast beef, ham,

salami, turkey and tuna.
"You look at what your competitors are doing, but then you tweak it, and that's why we decided to carry shrimp salad, lobster

salad, grilled grouper and smoked salmon, because most Bahamians like seafood. But the bread is the secret, because none

of us -- neither my competitor nor myself make the turkey, none of us make the roast beef, none of us make the tuna, but what

will differentiate our sandwich from their sandwich is the bread. The bread determines how good the sandwich is, and we're

not using frozen dough, and you ain't gone tell me you ain't gone give a Bahamian a sandwich on homemade bread and they ain't

gonna lick their lips and come back for more." And anything you can get on a sub, you can have made into a salad.
While Chef Elliott stands by his bread, he says the soups are definitely a must have when you visit. Four soups are available

on a daily basis -- Bahamian classics like peas soup and dumplings, okra soup and split peas, and a grouper chowder the chef

says is another signature item that is a must have item.
He also paid special attention to his dessert offerings with three flavors of duffs -- guava, coconut and pineapple -- simply

because he wanted to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth, have more variety and be different from his competitors who just serve

the guava version of this Bahamian treat. Chef Elliott himself makes the duffs.

With slices of chocolate cake, cheesecake

and carrot cake visible, along with macadamia nut cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies, and a fresh fruit salad, and eight flavors

of ice cream, he says you're bound to find the sweet you want to end your meal.
With one store opened, Chef Elliott says he and his brother have long-term visions of a number of Island Subs and Soups restaurants

around New Providence and the Family Islands and maybe even in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Islands Subs and Soups are open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and Sundays 2 p.m to 7 p.m.

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News Article

December 04, 2013
Tourism stakeholder predicts 'diabolical' VAT impact

As other Caribbean countries continue to grapple with how to treat tourism-related goods and services under their value-added tax (VAT) regimes, one major local tourism operator has indicated that he believes VAT will "destroy tourism" in The Bahamas.
The businessman, who declined to speak on the record out of fear of victimization, called on the government to consider applying a tax that does not increase costs in the tourism sector given its importance to economic activity.
"I don't think it should go on tourism. Look at the bigger picture and let's tax Bahamians. Don't make tourists pay for it because it will kill us. It will have a diabolical effect on tourism," he said.
The government has indicated that it will charge VAT at 10 percent on hotel accommodations and food and beverages purchases within hotels, while a 15 percent rate will apply to tourism-related products and services sold outside of the hotel boundaries.
VAT would be charged on the total value of the supply, which the recently publicly released VAT regulations indicate includes any gratuities.
This means that in the case of a meal purchased from a non-hotel restaurant, a $50 bill for a meal outside of a hotel would cost $66.12 once gratuities and VAT are included, while within the hotel, where the 10 percent rate would apply, it would cost $60.50.
In an earlier interview with Guardian Business, Atlantis President and Managing Director George Markantonis said that Atlantis was seeking clarification on whether the 10 percent rate would also apply to products sold at its Marina Village restaurants, suggesting that it would be simply too complicated for Atlantis to charge visitors different rates of VAT throughout its campus.
The recently publicly released VAT legislation and regulations revealed another nuance in the treatment of the tourism sector under VAT, as it suggested that the full 15 percent rate would apply to any accommodations purchased for "commercial" purposes at hotels, including accommodations provided predominantly for commercial use including for "business meetings, merchandise displays or trade exhibitions, banquets or similar events".
This suggests that conference bookings, a key driver of occupancy for major hotels, could be subject to a higher rate of VAT.
With respect to tours, the tourism stakeholder, who spoke with this newspaper on condition of anonymity, suggested that a particular competitive disadvantage may arise for local operators in comparison to the tours sold to tourists via cruise ships, as the cruise lines would not be required to charge VAT to their customers when selling Bahamas tour packages.
"The government hasn't taken all of this into consideration. Why would they buy any tours locally if they can get it from the cruise ship without the tax added?"
Indicating that he expects the cost of tourism services provided to consumers to increase not just by the 15 percent VAT, but also in light of additional costs to tourism providers of accounting for VAT and paying VAT on inputs, his fear is that VAT will make an already expensive tourism product uncompetitive in comparison to similar but cheaper destinations.
"It will push the costs into the sky. Why would they come here when they can go to Jamaica, which is cheaper, or anywhere else and have a good time?" asked the tourism stakeholder.
Hotel executives and the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association declined to comment on the newly released legislation and regulations despite its public release last Friday, telling Guardian Business that the tax's implications for the sector were still being considered by the Tourism Tax Reform Task Force and a statement would be forthcoming.
Elsewhere in the Caribbean, some governments have indicated that they have seen an impact on the sector's competitiveness and offered rate reductions on VAT charged on tourism products and services.
In the 2013 budget for Barbados, announced in August, the government determined it would reduce VAT on hotels and direct tourism services to 7.5 per cent from 17.5 per cent in order to address competitiveness concerns raised by the sector, a concession that the government indicated would cost it around $9 million (US$4.5 million) in revenue annually.
Barbados implemented VAT in 1997.
The rate reduction was scheduled to come into effect in early October 1, however, days before that date the Barbadian government determined the rate reduction would apply to hotels and not to direct tourism services, such as car rental businesses, restaurants and other services.
Elsewhere in the world, such as the UK and Thailand, governments have elected to permit tourists to claim VAT refunds on purchases valued at over a certain amount made in their vacation destination. In the UK this applies to purchases made in "tax free" retail outlets.
Like many sector representatives, Darren Woods, vice president of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, which represents line staff in hotels throughout The Bahamas, said that the union has requested a meeting with Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis to discuss VAT and its implications for the tourism sector.
"We understand our sector would be taxed and that is a concern for us, so we want to see how that would effect employees and to what degree.
"He (Halkitis) committed to having a meeting with us this week. We can't really speak to it (VAT) intelligently until we know all the parameters in which it may or may not affect our people."

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News Article
EU says Bahamasí must very crawfish sources
July 04, 2010

The Bahamas has been shut out from exporting its multi-million dollar Lobster Tail trade to the European Union (EU) for six months now, with the Government and fisheries sector working feverishly to put a new catch certificate requirement in place before the season opens again in just under one month.

Representatives of the fisheries sector told Tribune Business yesterday this was key to restarting trade, while adhering to the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) - the world's leading

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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

April 06, 2013
20 QUESTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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News Article

May 11, 2011
Jerome Gomez on foreign investment in restaurant, entertainment sector

Fund Administrator for the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund Jerome Gomez expressed his thoughts on the elimination of restrictions on foreign investment in the Bahamian restaurant and entertainment industry during a luncheon held yesterday.
“I am personally calling for the immediate reversal of this new policy because it wil impact the little or small man negatively in the long run, and represents giving away a key sector of the Bahamian economy previously reserved for Bahamians to foreigners in an industry that does not require special, scarce or unique skills and resources.
“I see no good coming out of this policy change.
“From this enunciation to now, I, as have m ...

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News Article

June 02, 2011
A Paradise of Plates indeed!

 



Nassau, Bahamas - May21st was the annual Hands for Hunger event, Paradise Plates on
Paradise Island. Various restaurants, caterers and vendors all came out
in support donating their time, resources and creative efforts to the
annual charity event. While I was officially there in a work capacity,
I was also there as an avid Culinarian. The event was any food lover's
dream. You get to walk around a room all night full of delicious and
creative bites, sample wines and beer, be entertained by amazing bands,
schmooze with friends and all for a good cause. It was a who's who of
the culinary elite.

Aqua and Mesa were both represented for the Atlantis and One and Only
hotel chain. Mesa offered the bold flavors of a Bahamian jerk chicken
skewer, while Aqua offered up a delicious and fresh grouper plate.
Aqua's presentation was bright and beautiful with a stunningly
nonchalant grouper as their table centerpiece...

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News Article

May 22, 2013
Ministry of Tourism heightens lionfish awareness

SEYMOUR'S, Long Island - The Ministry of Tourism and its partners have come together to further heighten awareness of the invasive and venomous lionfish in Bahamian waters.
One such avenue was the Lionfish Hunt II, a competition and cook-off between local fishermen and chefs, that was held on May 17 to 18 at Seymour's Dock.
The lionfish was sighted in Bahamian waters following the passage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The Department of Marine Resources has classified the lionfish as an invasive alien species preying on commercially and ecologically important marine species.
And, the best way to manage the species is to eat it. Hence the two-day hunt and cook-off explored the hunting, handling, cleaning and eating of lionfish, which is proving to be quite the delicacy.
Approximately 270 fish were caught, the largest up to 16 inches. Organizer and fisherman Charles Knowles and Frederick Arnett, assistant fisheries officer at the Department of Marine Resources, donned impenetrable gloves and spearheaded the handling and cleaning of the catch, which was shared among the restaurants involved in the cook-off.
Chefs from Cape Santa Maria and Stella Maris Resort prepared the fish in a variety of dishes such as fish cakes garnished with local pineapples, and stir-fried lionfish in a tropical Thai curry sauce, also with fresh pineapples.
Samantha Fox of the Ministry of Tourism office on the island underscored the importance of educating residents and tourists about lionfish.
"The Ministry of Tourism has partnered with individuals in the community in their efforts to bring further awareness about the species," she said.
"It (hunting) has also become a tourist attraction. When visitors come into Long Island divers take them out snorkeling and educate them about the species."
Fox added that because of the abundance of the species, restaurant owners are being encouraged to add it to their menus. Entrepreneurs are also being urged to use parts of the fish for jewellery and other craft items once the venom is cured through cooking.
Another organizer of the lionfish hunt, Theresa Knowles of Bahamas Discovery Quest, said based on snorkeling expeditions there was noticeable growth in lionfish numbers.
For the first Lionfish hunt, Knowles said the committee worked hard for three months and was quite shocked at the response that people enjoyed lionfish meat. Subsequently, individuals were approached and handed information about lionfish and what it could do to local marine resources. The ultimate goal is to work with the Bahamas Marine Exporters Association in putting lionfish on the market, she said.
Arnett said the department has played a significant role in lionfish awareness and education since 2009 when it developed the National Lionfish Response Plan with The College of The Bahamas. Since then the department has signed on to a regional project, Mitigating the Threats of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean (MTIASIC).
The Department of Marine Resources is the national executing agency for that project - a four-year program aimed at addressing the invasive species issue within the region.

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News Article

August 31, 2014
The Islands of The Bahamas - Exuma

As we observed in this column earlier this month, summer marks the travel period, with many Bahamians visiting near and far-flung venues, although recently more Bahamians are traveling to the Family Islands. In the first two installments of this series on the islands of The Bahamas, we featured the islands of Andros and Abaco. This week, we would like to continue to Consider This... what is the lure for Bahamians to explore our Family Islands?
Geography and demographics
The Exuma islands are a 150-mile-long chain with over 365 islands and cays scattered in a long line extending north toward New Providence from Great Exuma. The Exuma Cays, with approximately 100 square miles of land and, according to the 2010 census, a population of 7,314, are some of the most exotic of the Bahamian Family Islands, a collection of tiny jewels set in the aquamarine and sapphire of the most beautiful water imaginable.
The capital and largest town, George Town, located on Great Exuma, was founded in 1793. Great Exuma, which is 37 miles in length, is joined to Little Exuma by a small bridge, and has an area of 61 square miles while Little Exuma has an area of 11 square miles.
The area is so unique and its reefs and island environments so pristine that The Bahamas government set aside a 176-square-mile section as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the world's first and most successfully preserved marine park.
History
Exuma was settled around 1783 by American Loyalists following the Revolutionary War. They brought a cotton plantation economy to the islands and named George Town in honor of King George III, to whom they remained loyal.
Lucayan natives made Great and Little Exuma their historic home until they were taken away as slaves in the 16th century, leaving the islands uninhabited until the 18th century. In the intervening period, Exuma provided many hideouts for pirates. Elizabeth Harbour was a favorite lair of Captain Kidd and the Exuma Cays were a favorite hangout for Captain Norman, hence Norman's Cay.
John Rolle, the first Baron Rolle, a major figure in the islands' history, was an absentee land-owner. At his death in 1842, he left his significant Exuma land-holdings for the exclusive use of his slaves. As a result, two settlements on Great Exuma were named after him, Rolleville and Rolle Town.
Exuma is also well-known for the slave revolt led by Pompey which started in early 1830 when, with only three days' notice, a group of 77 of Lord Rolle's slaves were told that they would be sent to Cat Island. With Pompey leading them, many of the slaves involved hid in the bush for five weeks until exhausting their provisions. At that point, 44 of them, representing nine families and three single slaves, stole Lord Rolle's salt boat and sailed to Nassau in an effort to personally put their case to the Governor, Sir James Carmichael Smyth.
Sadly, the slaves were taken into custody and thrown into the workhouse before seeing the governor. The adult slaves were tried immediately as runaways and most of them, including five women - two of whom were nursing babies - were sentenced to be flogged.
When the governor, known for his sympathy towards slaves, found out, he was furious, immediately firing the police magistrate and the two justices of the peace involved in the case. He also ordered Pompey and his group of rebels to be returned to Exuma.
Pompey's rebellion created the precedent that Bahamian slaves could not be moved without their consent, a major achievement in beginning to establish that slaves should be regarded as people who had some civil rights.
The economy
Exuma, with a wide variety of resorts and hotels that range from five-star resorts such as the Grand Isle Resort & Spa and the luxuriously elegant all-inclusive Sandals Resort, to condo-resorts and locally-owned fishing lodges, offers an amazing assortment of vacation possibilities. Tourism is important to the Exuma chain which is full of dream destinations for boaters, fishermen (flats, reef and offshore), divers, snorkelers and kayakers. The private islands and cays are custom-designed for those seeking the ultimate escape, and the new levels of luxury available offer perfect spots for an island wedding or honeymoon.
The islands are a popular spot for yachting, sailing, diving, and coral reef and cave exploring. Some of the islands on which there are permanent residents and resorts include Norman's Cay, Wax Cay, Fowl Cay, Staniel Cay, Black Point, Farmer's Cay, Musha Cay and Barraterre. Thunderball Grotto, located just a few hundred yards from Staniel Cay, is where the James Bond movie "Thunderball" was filmed. Sandy Cay, just a short boat ride from Little Exuma, was the location used for "The Pirates of the Caribbean". The novel Wind from the Carolinas was set in Great Exuma, and featured the ancestors of today's prominent Exumians.
The anchor of the Exuma archipelago is Great Exuma, where one can enjoy a great selection of casual Bahamian restaurants and iconic resorts such as the Peace & Plenty Hotel, which was named after a ship bringing Loyalists and slaves to Exuma that was shipwrecked in George Town in 1818. Today it is a meeting place for friends of old, especially at the annual Exuma Regatta, where they cheer on the keen competition between sloops in Elizabeth Harbour.
Stocking Island features spectacular views from atop its high bluff and a series of idyllic beaches separated by limestone promontories. On the leeward side, the Chat & Chill is a classic beach bar which attracts boaters from near and far.
Transportation
Exuma International Airport serves George Town directly from Nassau, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Toronto. Norman's Cay, Staniel Cay, Black Point and Farmer's Cay have government approved and operated airstrips.
Sandals at Emerald Bay
We recently stayed at Sandals at Emerald Bay in Exuma and were immensely impressed by the tremendous contribution that this resort makes to the Exuma economy. Its 250 ocean-view and ocean-front suites, some with exclusive butler service, its championship 18-hole golf course and a 150-slip deep-water marina have propelled Sandals to become the superlative resort on Great Exuma. The full-time employment of 600 persons has enormously and positively impacted Exuma's economy, as has the greatly enhanced and revitalized airlift resulting from direct jet service from Canada, a project initiated by Sandals' owner and chairman, Gordon "Butch" Stewart.
Sandals also has a substantial community outreach program, having established five computer centers on the island and is working on its sixth. In addition, there are many community activities to which Sandals contributes, like the Exuma Regatta, which exemplifies its robust commitment and astounding corporate citizenship to the island's community and future development.
Notable residents
The main island has been a haven for celebrities for years. Until recently, the tourist population on the island was minimal, allowing anonymity for anyone wanting to escape the spotlight. Frequent visitors included Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, who has stayed at Goat Cay, the late Jackie Onassis, and Jessica Tandy.
In light of the relatively reasonable cost and the relatively attractive Bahamian tax regime for non-Bahamians, a number of celebrities own luxuriously exclusive private islands and cays and palatial homes or resorts in the Exuma chain. These celebrities include the Aga Khan, Nicolas Cage, David Copperfield, Johnny Depp, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Ali Karimi, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Irvine, Butch Stewart and Tyler Perry.
The hub of the Exuma Cays is Staniel Cay, where boaters congregate at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club's bar and restaurant, and where a landing strip serves as the gateway to many of the other cays.

Future prospects
There are several urgent infrastructural enhancements required, principally on Great Exuma if the island is to continue on its successful trajectory. The Exuma International Airport is in urgent need of modernization and there is an equally urgent necessity to construct a new shipping port, which some have suggested should be erected at Barraterre, as much for revitalizing that and other surrounding communities as for being the most appropriate location because of its deep-water and sheltered harbour.
Conclusion
Exuma remains one of the best kept secrets of The Bahamas and will continue to emerge as one of the more sustained successes of the nation, as its prospects for continued growth and development are extremely bright. In the words of George A. Smith, who represented Exuma for 29 years in Parliament: "Over these islands and cays, the winds whisper endlessly; and the seas and beaches are of almost unbelievable colours of aquamarine and whiteness and of beauty."
We will continue our tour of other Islands of The Bahamas later in the year.
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

November 11, 2013
VAT: A regional perspective

A 15-minute video on the impact Value Added Tax (VAT) has had on the twin-island state of St. Kitts & Nevis has been making the social media rounds in recent weeks, posted and re-posted by many Bahamians linked in the online community.
The video, moderated by Rev. Conrad Howell of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), was created ahead of what had been the planned April 1, 2013 implementation of VAT in TCI.
The video features a number of prominent citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis, including business leaders, former Minister of Finance Richard Caines, and also everyday citizens outlining the "negative" impacts VAT has had on their economy since its implementation three years ago.
Business leaders speak of having to close their businesses, of the sharp and sudden rise in the cost of living. Other citizens speak of the stunning decline in their quality of life.
Such reports have increased fears among an already worried Bahamian population preparing for the introduction of VAT at a rate of 15 percent on July 1, 2014.
In the absence of information on the likely impact of VAT on their way of life, and on their economy, many Bahamians view this video as a model of things to come, notwithstanding recent reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that St. Kitts & Nevis is seeing signs of an economic recovery.
Calvin Cable, executive director of the St. Kitts & Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, told National Review that VAT had a "multiplier effect in terms of hardships on the populace".
Cable said a consumption tax was removed and the VAT of 17 percent was introduced.
Two other taxes, the customs duty and the customs service charge, were retained in addition to the 17 percent VAT, he explained.
"It was tremendous on the cost of living," Cable said. "You could have felt it in the number of packages being taken out by householders out of the supermarkets because the prices of goods went up pretty high, maybe about 25 percent overnight."
As a result of VAT, many people in St. Kitts & Nevis cut back significantly, he said; many of them eliminated all luxuries.
"People stopped going out to restaurants to eat and that sort of thing because it was proving to be too much to carry," he said.
VAT is viewed by governments as an attractive option as it taxes both goods and services.
The current narrow based tax system in The Bahamas has long been in need of an overhaul, according to government officials and various international agencies examining The Bahamas' tax structure.
Cable also noted that prior to the implementation of VAT, there were very few charges or taxes on services in St. Kitts & Nevis.
"And so, what the population had to deal with now was that services were being charged VAT, which was not the custom before," he said.
"For instance, doctors fees, lawyers fees, services in the tourism sector -- and I know The Bahamas is big on tourism. For instance, rented cars had to pay the 17 percent."
Cable said VAT provided a "windfall" for the government in taking from the services sector, "but most of that was coming out of the local population".
"So the amount of disposable income that they had on their side was drastically reduced and the buying power was drastically diminished," he said.
In St. Kitts & Nevis, VAT is credited with bolstering the government's fiscal position, but Cable said it happened "on the backs of the local people".
Prior to the implementation of VAT, the country experienced debt levels above 200 percent, which made it one of the world's most indebted countries.
The debt to GDP ratio is now inching closer to the 100 percent mark.
St. Kitts and Nevis' Minister of Information Nigel Carty previously pointed to the "herculean effort that has been exerted to bring great relief to the country's fiscal position at such an economically challenging time".
IMPACT
While The Bahamas' debt situation has not been as dire as that of St. Kitts & Nevis, it has reached a position where it is now unsustainable.
The Bahamas government has outlined its own efforts to bring relief to this country's fiscal position.
As we noted in this space last week, government debt as at June 30, 2014 is projected to be $4.9 billion, compared to $2.4 billion as at July 2007.
Over the last two fiscal years, the government has seen a total deficit in excess of $500 million.
Almost one out of every four dollars in revenue collected by the government must be allocated to pay the interest charges on the public debt and cover the debt repayment.
With a significant change in the country's tax system on the horizon, The Bahamas government has not yet produced any studies to show the likely impact VAT will have on the cost of living.
In every sector, there are understandably questions about how this new regime will affect business.
The man and woman on the street are equally concerned, as they already exist in a climate of high unemployment, where many are finding it hard to meet their obligations and disposable spending has been stretched to the limit.
The government is now asking citizens to shoulder the burden of reversing a burdensome debt situation.
Again, there is no doubting that it is time for action. The chosen route is of course value added tax, which the government says is a central element of its tax reform strategy.
A new IMF report "Tax Reforms for Increased Buoyancy", which was prepared for the government, notes that The Bahamas has low taxes compared to the rest of the world, excluding Central American countries.
It points out that many countries in the region have already introduced VAT, thus providing "a stable source of tax revenues".
The report notes further that almost all the countries in the region have taxes on income and profits. Furthermore, they have high excises on petroleum products.
While The Bahamas is only now moving in the direction of VAT, several of its Caribbean neighbors -- among them, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago -- implemented VAT more than a decade ago.
Speaking of the Barbados experience, Lalu Vaswani, president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described VAT as a "very efficient means of collecting tax as it increases the base on which the taxes can be collected".
"I think it has been a positive impact, although it was not without its challenges," Vaswani said in an interview with National Review.
Vaswani said that prior to the implementation of VAT in Barbados in 1997, the country had as many as 11 different types of duties or imposts that could be charged on imports.
"The increased effectiveness of collecting revenue gave the government more scope to do their development projects," Vaswani said.
"From a business perspective, there are always anxieties associated with changes, and it is always desirable that there is a maximum amount of consultations even when the final positions are not known.
"So there is an understanding from ground level what are the goals, specific objectives and how you propose to do it because very often what you theoretically are trying to do may have a unique challenge, which may be identified before it is implemented and resolved and prevented."
Former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur noted in a 2010 interview with Erasmus Williams, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, that high debt levels are inevitable in the absence of a tax base to generate the revenue needed to run a country.
"I supported the VAT when I was in opposition in Barbados because I thought it stood the test of reasonableness, but it was absolutely necessary," said Arthur, whose administration introduced VAT.
"You're living in a set of countries where year by year, period by period, governments will have to remove import duties. What are you going to replace them with? And that is the basic question."
Arthur said VAT created the basis for sustained growth "without fiscal difficulties".
"It allowed us to be able to introduce programs to aggressively mount and sustain policies to eradicate poverty and we did that by creating the base for sustainable growth in the country," he said.
NECESSARY EVIL
The most recent Caribbean country to implement VAT was St. Lucia, which did so just over a year ago at a rate of 15 percent.
Gerard Bergasse, president of the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, noted that VAT pulls more people into the tax net.
"When you are relying on other forms of taxation, they are not as broad based, so you have a much narrower tax base, which means that the tax on those people has to be higher to achieve your revenue targets," Bergasse told National Review.
"But when you have a broad based tax like VAT, it means that everybody is contributing, so it makes it fairer. And it does not take the fiscal tool out of government's hands because they can still zero rate items, or zero rate a basket of goods that they feel would help less advantaged people."
The Bahamas government's White Paper on Tax Reform notes that zero-rating a supply implies applying a zero VAT rate and allowing credits for VAT paid on inputs.
It says that zero-rating should definitely be applied to exports as a VAT is designed to tax only domestic consumption. Other than that, zero-rating should be strictly limited, if utilized at all, the document says.
Bergasse said that based on anecdotal evidence, many people would say that VAT was a necessary evil in St. Lucia.
"I still believe that VAT was the right thing for the government to have done and it's moving in the right direction," Bergasse said.
He said while the government is not now experiencing a huge windfall, as far as he is aware its revenue targets have been met.
Bergasse said the Chamber of Commerce supported the implementation of VAT from the beginning and was a part of the government's pre-implementation VAT team.
Bergasse pointed to the need for proper consultations ahead of the implementation of VAT.
But he recognized that making VAT understandable to a cross-section of people is "very difficult".
"I will warrant that there are still business people in St. Lucia who still do not understand VAT," Bergasse said.
"...It is a bit of a complicated tax, so it does take people a while to wrap their heads around it and it does make a difference the way your legislation is structured. We didn't get the legislation until very late in the day and even after we got the legislation there are the regulations that go along with it that are very important, because the legislation is the 'what'; the regulations are the 'how'."
He noted that the fundamental change created by VAT is that the business community is changed from being solely taxpayers to being tax collectors.
When properly structured, VAT is a tax on consumption, not business.
In The Bahamas, the proposed VAT legislation and regulations have not yet been released to the public, so the specifics are still unknown.
The government, meanwhile, is planning on increasing public education and awareness in a series of meetings set to begin this week.
Prime Minister Perry Christie has said the July 1 implementation date is not set in stone and he, as minister of finance, needs to be satisfied that businesses and the country at large are ready for the implementation of VAT.
As the government prepares to intensify public education on VAT, it is hoping to quiet what appears to be growing public sentiment against VAT.

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News Article

January 25, 2011
Mamadoos Restaurant offers you Lunch, Dinner and Sunday Brunch

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - In
May 2010, the proprietors of  Island Java located in Port Lucaya, began
operations of a new restaurant in the Port Lucaya Marketplace on Grand
Bahama Island. The restaurant is known as Mamadoo's Restaurant, or
simply

Mamadoo's where local cuisine meets Bahamian creativity.

The Restaurant features a signature line of innovative Bahamian
inspired seafood and barbeque dishes, with gourmet pizzas/flat
bread along with fruit infused vodka like sappa dilly, love vine, guava,
mango and tamarind...

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News Article

April 12, 2013
Grand Lucayan 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! 

Sundays: Italian 

Mondays: Asian 

Tuesdays: Tex-Mex 

Wednesdays: Fish 

Fridays: Bahamian.

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

Chef Specialty Menu - $45.00 per person Thursday - Monday from 6 - 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 -10:00pm...

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News Article

January 05, 2011
Get the Irie feelin'

He’s an Exuma native who has done good, and he heads up one of the top restaurants in the country that you want to dine at for great food with “true-true” Bahamian flavor and flair from the appetizers through to the desserts, including signature martini items from the bar.
Chef Norris “Boxer” McPhee comes out of his corner fighting with the cuisine his staff serves up at Iries Island Seafood Restaurant at the Our Lucaya Beach &?Golf Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama, offering menu items like Creamy Grouper Chowder, Pigeon and Root Vegetable Broth, Sweet Corn and Plantain Fritter, Thyme and Coconut Breaded Queen Conch on Skewers, Grilled Wild Mutton ...

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News Article

August 24, 2013
Fired up

Texas BBQ and smoke house meets Latin and Caribbean Flavor at Bucks Fire Grill where a varied menu is offered to excite every palate from down home flavors of homestyle BBQ to exciting salsas and seasonings from the Caribbean
At Bucks Fire and Grill, signature beef is prepared in the Latin American tradition with chimichurri sauce and their rib eye is prepared in the American way -- seared and cooked over charcoal. Their signature pork shoulders are marinated and smoked for 10 hours with hickory chips. All meats are thrown on a grill made by Argentines to produce a flavor the restaurant's owner says you won't believe.
The brainchild behind bringing Bucks Fire Grill, which is located at Village Road and Shirley Street is Brent Fox. He opened it because he simply had a hankering to bring good BBQ to the Bahamian public -- and he had some extra time on his hands.
But he's no novice when it comes to the restaurant scene. In the 1980s, Fox owned a rotisserie chicken franchise which closed its doors after a brief three-year run. He believes that restaurant was a little ahead of its time in the country as Bahamians gravitated toward their fried chicken and weren't really after the healthy alternative of rotisserie then.
Fox who confesses to always having had a passion for cooking said he learned from that experience -- the mistakes made and the positives involved with that franchise -- to come up with the concept for Bucks Fire Grill with input from family and friends.
"I've always had a passion for cooking. When I had [the franchise restaurant], I guess I wasn't quite ready for it either, but now that I have a little more time on my hands, I decided let me get back into the restaurant business again with something that did not have restraints on me," he said.
The open air Bucks Fire Grill is simply decorated with wooden tables and benches and fans slowly spinning in the ceiling. He wanted patrons to feel like they are dining in a barnyard or a country atmosphere, with a tropical atmosphere mixed in. You almost forget that a major road is just on the other side of the fence.
"I was trying to draw on that basic BBQ experience that you get in the States," he said of his restaurant that his been open to the public for a few months.
When he opened, Fox did so with a tight menu.
"We wanted to focus on producing our core meats, smoking them and making them come out just right."
Now that they've got their core items down pat, the menu was recently expanded to offer more variety. Patrons who may not have visited in the last four weeks may be surprised to find a more varied menu with offerings like chicken fajitas and more salads, including a chicken fiesta salad, a steak salad and a signature chicken Caesar salad. Fox has also debuted a bunch of new sandwiches -- grilled fish sandwich, seafood (shrimp and crab) salad sandwich, pulled pork or smoked pork sandwich.
The Latin influences on the menu include offerings like the black bean soup and a red bean soup that have also been popular since the restaurant opened. The sides also take on a Latin flair with their yucca with mojo (boiled cassava with citrus and garlic sauce) and black bean bowl. And dessert isn't left out as dessert is represented in the form of a flan.
In his mission to ensure that Bucks Fire Grill is a restaurant that patrons are comfortable dining at, Fox recently introduced a misting machine system to ensure that diners remain cool when visiting the establishment.
"We've had some complaints since we've come into the summer months that it's been hot, so we did some research with restaurants in the States that had a similar problem, and we went ahead and purchased a misting machine, a system that pumps out a very fine spray of water around the perimeter of the restaurant and when it does that, the interaction between the mist and the air creates a temperature drop between 10 to 15 degrees, so we are able to reduce the ambient temperature in the restaurant by a little more than 10 degrees. We've made it possible for it to feel somewhat like air-conditioning, but you're able to dine outside," said Fox.
From franchise owner to developing his own concept, Fox says his long-term vision for Bucks Fire Grill is to expand into the evenings with more entertainment. They currently offer salsa evenings on Wednesday nights and karaoke on Thursday nights.

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