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Nassau, Bahamas - AML
Foods Limited is proud to announce that it has entered into a definitive
development agreement with CKE Restaurants, Inc. to bring the Carl's
Jr. franchise to The Bahamas. Under the agreement the Company will
develop a number of restaurants over the next five years, the first of
which is expected to open later in 2012.
"Carl's Jr. is a well established
west coast favorite providing premium food and customer service for more
than 70 years," says Gavin Watchorn, President and CEO of AML Foods
Limited. "Carl's Jr. offers a premium positioning and best in class
products, services and facilities which were very appealing to us. We
know the brand will resonate with Bahamians,
The Baha Mar resort is 85 percent complete, with major work picking up pace, Baha Mar Senior Vice President of Administration and External Affairs Robert "Sandy" Sands said yesterday.
"We are going to be working towards previews for December," said Sands at Hole 16 of the resort's Royal Blue Golf Course.
"That in itself should tell you how far advanced we are. We are making significant progress on a daily basis."
Resort officials announced in August that the hotel's opening will be delayed from December 2014 to Spring 2015.
"Our booking engine went live on September 15, so we are now actually taking reservations as of June 1," he said.
"That date can change and be advanced at any time.
"So we are taking real bookings for paid guests at this point in time."
During the tour, Sands pointed to a significant increase in the number of Bahamians who work at the resort.
He said nearly 1,500 Bahamians work at the site in various posts, including construction, the highest number
since work began on the $3.5 billion resort.
"You wouldn't want to see this place in a few months," Sands added.
Speaking of the 18-hole, par-72 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
"It's breathtaking and what it also does is it captures the beauty of The Bahamas," he said.
"It also captures the natural environment. It shows the elevation of the golf course and it adds that intensity and challenge to the players once they get to this location.
"This is indeed an iconic location for Baha Mar and we are extremely proud of it."
Sands said there has been significant interest from professional golfing organizations in the course, which will open simultaneously with the resort.
The course is expected to be an attraction in and of itself, he pointed out.
But Sands said Baha Mar is more focused on coexisting with Atlantis.
"We will work to complement each other," he said.
"Together we will continue to raise the profile of The Bahamas.
"Our combined marketing dollars in the market place will also give exposure and equity to The Bahamas brand as well as our individual brand.
"So we have to stop thinking about competition and start thinking about complementarity and the development, holistically, of The Bahamas."
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, the 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.
Tourism continues to increase on a monthly basis at the John Watling's Distillery (JWD) as the company gradually expands.
General Manager Pepin Argamasilla of JWD praised the distillery's progress, stating, "Tourism at the estate is increasing month to month. We're seeing 250-300 visitors per day."
While the figures fall slightly short of JWD's target, Argamasilla remained optimistic, pointing to steady growth and an increase in the amount spent per visitor at the distillery.
The rum distillery, located at the renovated Buena Vista Estate, opened for public tours in April 2013.
Plans to open an authentic Bahamian restaurant at the distillery are still in the works, as the second floor of the estate and several cottages surrounding it remain undeveloped. According to Argamasilla, the distillery is still waiting for the right partner to "take Bahamian cuisine to the next level".
Although JWD's rum continues to perform well throughout The Bahamas, the company is not yet ready to export its product.
"Our message is 'The spirit of The Bahamas'. We don't want to export until we've developed in the country," said Argamasilla, listing Abaco and Eleuthera as the distillery's next areas of focus.
On the subject of value-added tax (VAT), Argamasilla commented, "It is what it is. At the end of the day, the country needs to pay its bills".
Argamasilla added that JWD, "needed to wait and see what the government does", regarding proposed excise stamps on alcohol products mentioned during Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis' recent budget contributions.
When asked what hurdles still faced JWD, Argamasilla claimed that crime remained a serious problem not only for the distillery, but also for the surrounding area. However, Argamasilla noted that the situation had improved considerably since highly publicized crimes against U.S. officials last year.
"The Royal Bahamas Police Force has done nothing but an outstanding job clearing up crime in the area," stated Argamasilla.
Argamasilla applauded the group efforts of the Historic Charles Town Association (HCTA) and the police force in promoting and protecting the area. The HCTA, which, "aims to promote the authentic and historic heart of Nassau", includes representatives from JWD, Graycliff, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and other businesses and cultural centers in the area.
"We're working closely with police," said Argamasilla. "Everybody's banding together to get rid of the crime in our area."
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."
New Providence welcomes a new fast food eatery to the Bahamian market on Saturday, February 26. About ten jobs will be created.
The name - "Muddoes, Wings 'N' Tings" is a play on a popular Bahamian expression of surprise and amazement.
The restaurant is on the corner of Jerome and Edward Avenues, just north of Scotiabank. The location is planned as the first of several for the island.
"We plan to make "Muddoes" a household name, known for our commitment to a consistently delicious product with quality service at reasonable prices." says one of the company's executives.
Muddoes' signature dishes include cooked-to-order chicken wings with specialty sauc ...
An attorney for the Bimini Blue Coalition (BBC) said Friday that Resorts World Bimini (RWB) should struggle to persuade the Bahamian courts that it should be allowed to "rely" on the new permit which it provided to the Privy Council as the correct and appropriately obtained evidence of its ability to dredge.
In the wake of a decision by the Privy Council in London to grant an injunction halting the dredging off Bimini, Fred Smith, Queen's Counsel (Q.C.), said that the developers will now be in the position of trying to persuade a Bahamian court that the permit they showed in court for the first time on Friday morning, before the Privy Council in London, was issued properly and provides the legal basis for them to move ahead.
RWB had previously argued in a lower court that the permit, which was granted a week after the dredging started, was unnecessary, as the process is governed by another law.
In an interview with Guardian Business on Friday, following the Privy Council's decision to grant the injunction until such time as RWB and the government can prove that their approvals were properly obtained, Smith said: "Now it is going to be very difficult for either of them to go back to the Court of Appeal with a straight face and say that they did not mislead the Court of Appeal when they said they didn't need a permit under the Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscape of The Bahamas Act (CPPLB Act), when as counsel for the Bimini Blue Coalition I was on my feet arguing at the Privy Council they sought to get around such a challenge by producing such (a permit obtained under the CPPLB act).
"They convinced the Court of Appeal 2-1 that the (CPPLB) act had no application to marine variance, and yet in the Privy Council they completely reversed their position and sought to avoid the injunction by producing the permit.
He added: "They cannot be allowed to say one thing to one court and another thing to another court. It is completely unprincipled on their part, and quite frankly I am shocked that they would pull such a ruse at the hearing."
After two short hearings on Thursday and Friday last week, three days after the Court of Appeal in Nassau rejected the BBC's application for an injunction of the Bimini dredging, judges at the Privy Council approved the injunction.
In a statement, Resorts World Bimini said it would "temporarily" halt the dredging activity, which is part of its North Bimini Ferry Terminal project, set to make way for the docking of the company's cruise ship bringing passengers from Miami to Bimini for the day.
However, a spokesperson, Heather Krasnow, said the company is of the view that it has all that is necessary to be able to lift the injunction "expeditiously". A hearing on lifting the injunction is anticipated to take place in court today.
In an interview on Friday, Larry Glinton, President of the Bahamas National Trust, welcomed the injunction ruling.
"What it does is it provides a pause to the madness that's been going on this week, and it really is madness. It causes everybody to stop and assess the situation properly and thoroughly," said Glinton.
Eric Carey, Executive Director of the BNT, said that it appeared that Resorts World Bimini's "rush" to complete the project had seen environmental management efforts suffer.
"They're so rushed to go ahead that obviously they didn't put in place proper environmental protocols, and so in their rush to get things started, siltation started pouring out," he said.
Neal Watson, president of the Bahamas Diving Association and operator of the Bimini Scuba Center at the Bimini Sands Resort on the island, said he was "over-the-moon thrilled" by the decision.
"When I heard the news, I just absolutely couldn't believe it. It's just wonderful, wonderful news for Bimini and for the environment."
Watson said that it appears that with the ferry project and its potential to damage the world famous reefs for which Bimini is known, the island may trade high-value diving visitors, who spend "anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500 a week" to dive in Bimini, spread among a variety of businesses - hotels, dive centers, restaurants and more - for "$69 day trippers, who will come and buy a couple of beers and a conch salad."
The dive expert said he has already seen the downside of the dredging on the marine environment since it began a week and a half ago.
"I'm not a marine engineer. I'm not a marine biologist. I'm a diver that's been diving in Bimini for 40 years, and I know when I take a group of 15 or 20 to dive in these spectacular pristine waters that Bimini is known for and I take them to one of my favorite spots and I can't see the bottom there is a problem. This is already what is happening."
Smith called the injunction decision a "watershed moment for The Bahamas. It is a signal to the government that you must respect the local people."
"The Bimini Blue Coalition is ecstatic that the rule of law has prevailed."
Smith reiterated that the Bimini Blue Coalition is not against development.
"It is simply about demanding a place at the table to discuss development and the future of Bimini's community."
Last week, amidst heightened concern over plumes of siltation spreading from the dredging site toward Bimini's reefs, it was confirmed that Earl Deveaux is the environmental compliance manager for Resorts World Bimini and the ferry terminal project.
Contacted on Friday for a response to concerns raised about possible "breaches" of environmental best practices at the site by the Bahamas National Trust and the Bimini Blue Coalition, among others, Deveaux said "no comment."
Attorney for Resorts World Bimini in The Bahamas, John Wilson of McKinney Bancroft and Hughes, also declined to comment at this time when contacted by Guardian Business about the injunction decision on Friday.
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.
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.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Producing higher quality dishes infused with a Bahamian flavour will enable this nation's hotel and restaurant industry to offset the impact of rising global food prices, organisers of a major food and beverage seminar said yesterday, enabling chefs to maintain their margins.
Frank Comito, executive vice-president of the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA), one of the organisations sponsoring next month's 2011 Food, Flavour and Beverage Trends: Growing revenue and increasing customer traffic seminar, described as "very critical" the need to offset rising food prices by staying in touch with global consumer trends.
Speaking on behalf of BHA pre ...
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."
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.
The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has described 2013 as a "stagnant and transitional" year with "mixed financial results" and has pointed to the need for new approaches to marketing The Bahamas in 2014.
On the bright side, the BHTA President Stuart Bowe said 2013 saw many new investments in hotel properties continue, get underway, or be announced, and has argued The Bahamas is well poised to take advantage of "unprecedented opportunity" as it enters the new year.
He was addressing the annual general meeting of the BHTA on Friday.
His comments come as the most recently released official data shows that hotel properties experienced an eight percent decline in revenue in the nine months up to October of this year, mostly due to a fall in overall occupancy levels, with growth in arrivals to The Bahamas as a whole just 2.3 percent for the period as opposed to 8.3 percent in 2012.
The "high value-added" air arrivals component fell by 6.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, in comparison to 2012's 9.4 percent gain, while expansion in sea passengers stood at 5.1 percent as opposed to eight percent in 2012.
The Central Bank's Monthly Economic and Financial Development Report indicates that up to October, The Bahamas had received 4.5 million in visitors. It described tourism performance as "lackluster", primarily due to "sustained weakness in key source markets", and contributing to "subdued" domestic economic conditions overall.
Addressing the meeting, Bowe pointed to numerous challenges that need to be tackled if Bahamian tourism is to achieve its potential, while adding that the "transition" of The Bahamas as a destination is underway.
Ongoing construction or refurbishment can be seen at properties such as Baha Mar, the Blue Diamond resort on Grand Bahama, and Resorts World Bimini, noted Bowe, introducing thousands of new or restored hotel rooms to the market.
On Eleuthera, The Cove completed a major upgrade and expanded to 70 rooms. Grand Lucaya on Grand Bahama completed major refurbishments as did Sandals, Atlantis and Comfort Suites in Nassau.
Meanwhile, San Salvador will benefit from the construction of 360 new luxury condo-hotel units to be operated by Club Med and an additional 125-room boutique hotel next to that property.
However, 2013's visitor numbers left much to be desired.
Looking back at the year to date, Bowe said: "Destination-wide, hotel room occupancies and visitor arrivals will be down, average daily room rates will show a slight increase or be flat. Visitor spending, which dropped dramatically over the recession years, is slowly improving in most tourism sectors. The destination's hotel room inventory continues to improve, with major refurbishments and developments in a number of hotels and restaurants. The improvements suggest that there will be growth in the near future."
Bowe said that affordable and sufficient airlift will be critical to the ability for The Bahamas to attract the visitors who will ensure the success of many new projects underway or on stream, and added that the BHTA, the Ministry of Tourism and the Nassau Airport Development company are all working "aggressively" on this front.
"The Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board has created a detailed strategy to attract over 1,200 additional daily seats by the end of 2014 and with the ministry and NAD is actively working with major airlines to generate the new lift. New approaches to marketing the destination will be a top priority early in 2014."
Meanwhile, he noted other threats to competitiveness and new oncoming challenges.
"In the midst of tremendous promise, there are the realities of our time. Government needs to address growing public debt. Higher taxes are a reality. High utility costs must be lowered. Productivity and service levels need to reach the highest global standards. Economic policies must support the growth of airlift, visitor spending and small business development."
Bowe said the BHTA is committed to addressing many of these challenges, working on various fronts to do so.
"We continue to be vigilant on workforce development at all levels. While more efforts must be undertaken to attract business and address our industry's cost challenges, we must do all that we can to manage customer service expectations."
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."
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...
For the investors in John Watling's Distillery, this week's opening is quite literately five years in the making.
Armed with only an idea, Pepin Argamasilla and Jose Portuondo started aging their premier Buena Vista Rum while laying the foundation for a new attraction in historic Nassau. Those wooden barrels will soon be cracked open and ready for the market as investors finally lift the curtain on the multimillion-dollar distillery.
"I think Bahamians and tourists have been waiting for a product and experience like this," Argamasilla said. "This process began five years ago and we have come full circle. We'll be open this week to tourist and locals, although we're still in the process of working out the kinks."
John Watling's Distillery appears well on its way to becoming a well-oiled machine.
A tour with Guardian Business revealed that signs of construction are melting away at the historic estate. Construction crews are placing the final touches on what has been described as a "living museum".
Argamasilla told Guardian Business that the estate boasts a number of antiques and portraits. While some of the memorabilia was already on site, several pieces of art have been donated by the property's past owners or by prominent Bahamians.
Tourists and locals are invited to take an interactive tour free of charge, whereby they can learn the history of the estate and watch the actual rum-making process. The crowds eventually spill out into an extensive gift shop and finally a full bar where guests can order several varieties of homegrown rum. Vodka and gin are also expected to come on stream in the coming months.
The attraction currently employs more than 20 Bahamians, with up to 30 positions expected by the time it starts operating at full steam.
Investors have been adamant in restoring the site so it reflects 18th century living. The product itself is produced entirely by hand without the use of machinery. Meanwhile, the estate is a "cold spot", in the sense that no wireless Internet signals or technological elements are on site. Even wires and cash registers have been hidden from view.
"Everything is by hand. You don't just push a button here. It is by Bahamian hands," Argamasilla said.
So far, local businesses have responded to the authentic approach.
According to management, John Watling's has already established 50 accounts or point of distribution, including restaurants, hotels and liquor stores.
The attraction is now producing around 50 cases per day, each containing six bottles. The goal is to get that production up to at least 52 cases per day, according to Mario Portuondo, managing partner and director of sales and marketing.
Investors hope John Watling's will be a hit by filing a void of activities and tours that celebrate the nation's rich heritage. The attraction's opening comes months after Graycliff opened its interactive chocolate factory just down the street. These two destinations combined are attempting to offer a new alternative to Bay Street and the straw market experience.
Argamasilla said John Watling's is working with a number of tour operators to funnel tourists to the estate. Marketing campaigns are planned for Festival Place where tourists disembark from cruise ships.
Interest has already been peeked from companies overseas.
"We will start with the U.S. The first step is to get the production going, which we have done. Now we are getting the site ready for tourism and it should take three months or so to iron out any kinks," he told Guardian Business. "I can tell you we already have interest though from Europe, Scandinavia and other places."
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The construction of Mahogany Hill, a high-end boutique hotel set for western New Providence, is nearly 25 percent complete and is "on schedule", with around 100 people expected to be employed at the site by early 2014.
Since breaking ground on the $30 million development in August, its Project Manager Lauren Holowesko said work on Mahogany Hill is "progressing quite well".
"We have all of the plumbing in. So at the beginning of the year, we will probably be capping off the second floor of the guest room buildings and will be progressing quite nicely with the main hotel structure. We have the lower ground floor foundations and walls completed and we're looking to start on the lobby level probably in February of next year," Holowesko said.
"We're still looking at a final handover from the construction company at the beginning of December. So at the moment, we're on the second floor of the east and west guest rooms. And those are progressing quite well.
"We have between 80-100 people on-site at the moment and that will progress into the new year and the coming months as we need more craftsman and plumbers.
"We're at about 78 now and that will increase to about 100 in early 2014 as we begin to do more finish work."
To date, approximately $6 million has been poured into the project.
Holowesko said most of the site will be finalized by August 2014 and the interior finishes should "hopefully" be completed by December.
"We're ordering all of the plumbing fixtures and floor finishes," she said to Guardian Business.
The 33-room boutique hotel will include a spa, pool, a small theater and a restaurant, and is an expansion of the popular Mahogany House restaurant, located in Lyford Cay.
Once the hotel is open, a 40-plus staff complement will be hired.
Holowesko sees Mahogany Hill as a great investment, bringing a great sense of community for all of the nearby developments.
"I think it's going to be a great platform. We see the surrounding communities having access to this place, whether it's going out to buy a movie ticket or coming to the Movement Studio, which will have classes that you can sign up for online. We see it as a great local center where if you wanted to have a quick coffee and a meeting, it's the perfect place to go," she said.
"We're really excited for the ambiance that it will create for this area because it's growing so quickly and generating a buzz. I think it will create a great sense of community for all of the developments in the area."
Both Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who were on hand for the brief groundbreaking ceremony, applauded Holowesko's efforts not only for being one of few Bahamians that have invested heavily in the country's hotel industry in recent years, but the fact that it has provided new tourism offering for guests visiting Bahamian shores.
"Much like his restaurant, the hotel will be a fine example to other Bahamians of what can happen when you invest in your country. You can provide much-needed jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for fellow Bahamians," Christie said.
"It adds to the diversity of the tourism product. The truth is, this is going to be very significant not only because of its size but where it is located and the fact that it is a part of the environment," Wilchcombe echoed.
"It's a unique concept that I believe will catch on. I think the property is going to be significant to the growth and development of the tourism industry. Plus, it adds rooms because we do have a problem with inventory. To be able to offer this inventory, a high-end boutique hotel, is very significant."
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
By ALISON LOWE
Bahamian restaurant, bar and hospitality stakeholders should capitalise on global trends in food and beverages to increase visitor and local customer traffic/revenue, an international gastronomy and beverage consultant said yesterday.
Josué Merced-Reyes, president of InterEmarketing, a food, wine and beverage consulting firm, specialising in the Caribbean and Latin American hospitality industry, provided this advice as he gave insights into the current biggest "driving forces" behind consumers' choice of dinners, desserts and cocktails.
He urged Bahamian stakeholders - including chefs, restauranteurs, hotel food ...
"Lies, damned lies and statistics" is how Mark Twain popularized a refrain sometimes attributed to a variety of British pundits and politicians when forced to address opponents using statistics to bolster their position.
Just a few weeks ago, the Department of Statistics released the annual unemployment report reflecting a dramatic increase of two percent in unemployment. Immediately, government ministers became "spin doctors" issuing silver lining statements as rings around the ominous dark cloud portrayed by the latest labor force survey. The increase in unemployment should not be of concern, we are being told because it does not truly reflect a loss in jobs in the economy; rather, it is claimed, it reflects an increase in the number of previously discouraged workers who have rejoined the labor market because they are now hopeful of finding employment, and they have swelled the numbers of the unemployed.
But this is "spin". It does not reflect the facts. There has been a loss of jobs in the economy. Between May 2012 and May 2013 the number of persons employed decreased by 1,260. Furthermore, there was an increase in the rate of unemployment as 3,455 new entrants came to the job market while the number of employed persons was falling by 1260.
Trying to find a silver lining
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Michael Halkitis was first out of the gate with that fanciful story. He was soon followed by Minister for Grand Bahama Michael Darville, who advised that employment had increased at the Freeport Container Port since May of this year. And he claimed to be hopeful that the employment numbers would be up in Grand Bahama before the next survey, as a number of new small businesses had opened on that island.
Then, the prime minister joined the chorus expressing hope that by next year the "economy will begin to shift in our favor..." This was followed with the live radio coverage of the signing of a heads of agreement that would see the construction of a number of condo-hotel units in collaboration with Club Med in San Salvador.
These PLP ministers remind me of the propaganda spun by a Jamaican prime minister in the 1970s when he told his party faithful to ignore criticisms about the "devaluation" of the Jamaican dollar against the U.S. dollar. He told them what had happened was that the Jamaican dollar had not been "devalued"; it had been "revalued". And the people cheered. Just like Bahamians cheered when then Minister of Finance Carlton Francis announced at a PLP convention that following years of a balanced budget under a socially deficient UBP government, The Bahamas under the PLP would have a deficit budget for the first time. Today of course, Jamaicans no longer cheer at the thought of their severely devalued currency, and Bahamians shudder with the thought of the long-term consequences of a growing national debt.
The reality of the Bahamian economy
We have come through a terrible economic period; an economic and financial crisis which sent the entire global economy into collapse and recession, even if the PLP in opposition refused to acknowledge it. The fallout from the Great Global Recession caused the Bahamian economy to lose more than 17,000 jobs between 2008 and 2009; the number of employed persons fell from 174,920 in 2008 to 157,805 in 2009. Those 17,000-plus jobs lost in the Great Recession have not returned.
In times of international and national economic and financial crisis, it is left to the government to seek to adopt policies and programs to stimulate economic activity in the private sector so as to sustain as many jobs as possible and to maintain to the extent possible employment in the public sector.
Thousands of jobs were created in the private sector between 2009 and 2012 through infrastructural projects undertaken by the FNM government. These were supplemented by additional real jobs created through the jump start and self-starter programs and through the national jobs and skills training 52-week program, which put qualified and capable young Bahamians into positions to begin to earn honest incomes to support their families.
Such infrastructural and skills training policies are exactly the kinds of policies that the international financial organizations and the international ratings agencies recommend governments adopt during difficult economic times. One wonders whether the PLP government understands the value of the millions of dollars spent by contractors and their workers in the Bahamian economy with Bahamian construction suppliers, food stores, utility corporations, restaurants, lenders, motor vehicle dealerships, etc.
These various and legitimate programs undertaken by the last FNM government helped to sustain and create jobs in our all-important construction and services sectors during tough economic times.
The Department of Statistics reports for the years 2008-2012 indicate that the economy had begun a slow recovery by 2009. By May 2011, some 2,380 new jobs had been added to the economy. In the last year of the FNM government from May 2011 to May 2012, an additional 5,070 new jobs were created. This gradual recovery came as a direct result of government policies.
Tourism is the engine of the Bahamian economy; and tourism is in serious trouble. Small wonder then that the economy is performing poorly and the number of the unemployed is increasing.
A senior tourism executive was recently quoted in the media commenting on declining air service to The Bahamas. The official admitted to "a loss of over 50,000 seats" for 2013. We know that the loss is nearer to 70,000 seats, which is more than any other destination in our region in terms of both absolute and percentage loss of air seats. This significant loss of air seats also explains why The Bahamas is performing poorly in terms of the lucrative stopover visitor segment.
We have experienced more than a seven percent year-over-year decline in stopover visitors as compared with competing destinations in our region. Unlike The Bahamas, most countries are recovering from the effects of the Great Recession and recording positive stopover growth.
With tourism, our most important economic sector performing so abysmally, it is not surprising that we are now experiencing the highest level of unemployment in 35 years. According to the Ministry of Tourism, each air arrival represents more than $1,300 per person in expenditure in the Bahamian economy. The loss of 70,000 seats represents a loss of more than $100 million in visitor expenditure.
When the FNM administration left office in May 2012, air arrivals were growing at more than 11 percent, which was equal to the best performing start of any year for foreign air arrivals in recorded tourism history. Tourism, which accounts for more than 60 percent of our GDP, is such an important driver of our economy that a fall-off in air arrivals and stopover visitors of that magnitude easily explains the current state of our economy. The treasury of The Bahamas will lose millions of dollars in departure taxes, room taxes and import duties alone. Under these circumstances, businesses will continue to close, no businesses will hire additional staff and existing workers will suffer through prolonged periods of two- and three-day work weeks throughout the industry.
While the overall performance of The Bahamas is the worst in the region, Grand Bahama in particular has recorded a jaw dropping 17.4 percent decline in air arrivals so far this year, according to the latest information from the Ministry of Tourism. To make matters worse, even the cruise business is down in Grand Bahama.
It has been stated publicly on several occasions that we will need an additional 300,000 air seats annually in order to satisfy the needs of Baha Mar. With the loss of 70,000 air seats so far this year, that required number has now increased by 23 percent to 370,000 or an average of roughly 1,000 additional air seats needed per day.
The Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company opened a new Jimmy's Wines and Spirits store in Marsh Harbour, Abaco this weekend.
The new addition brings the total number of Jimmy's Wines and Spirits to eight and adds another island to the list of locations for the Bahamian Brewery's chain of liquor stores. The other seven are scattered throughout Grand Bahama, New Providence and Eleuthera.
Last weekend, the five-year-old brewery company, which is headquartered in Grand Bahama, organized a grand opening of the new location with live entertainment, and specials on wines and spirits.
Lynden Johnson, sales and marketing manager for Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, said: "The store opening was tremendously successful. The general public received both the store and the sale extremely well; we are very excited to have a store in this growing market."
Jimmy's Wines and Spirits stores sell the full line of Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company products, along with wines, spirits, sodas and cigarettes.
"We are thrilled to be opening in Abaco," said James 'Jimmy' Sands, CEO of the Bahamian Brewery. "Since our inception, our brand has done very well here, and I am very pleased with the support we receive at local bars and restaurants. Our goal is to always provide better service for our clients and for them to have quicker resources to more products."
John Watling's Distillery is set to purchase the multimillion-dollar Buena Vista manor from the National Insurance Board (NIB) to "control its destiny".
The historic site, more than 200 years old, has traded hands many times over the centuries and remains one of the capital's most iconic buildings. Investors in the new John Watling's Distillery confirmed yesterday that they are in the process of buying the property.
"We had a lease on the building with the option to buy. We are exercising that right now," said Pepin Argamasila, one of the principles of the distillery. "We don't want to talk about money, but the buy makes sense given our investment in the property. This is our brand and we want to control its destiny."
Although the distillery is buying Buena Vista, investors say "it really belongs to The Bahamas", as they see themselves more as caretakers than owners.
After more than a month in business, Nassau's newest attraction is reporting steady visits from tourists and Bahamians alike. The distillery is preparing to roll out a new advertising campaign for downtown Nassau in the coming weeks to coax cruise ship arrivals "up the hill".
"We want them to get off the beach and explore the rest of Nassau," Argamasila said.
The attraction should get some help soon from some big tourism players.
According to the distillery, Majestic Tours is planning a tour that includes Graycliff Chocolate Factory, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Junkanoo Museum and John Watling's Distillery. Islandz Tours is already funneling tourists through these attractions. The next step is tour operators pitching these attractions to cruise ship companies. If successful, this area of the capital could become a major contender to Bay Street.
"You really see it coalescing. It is trying to create a destination. It is not just us, but taking the rest of the neighborhood into consideration," Argamasila explained.
The owners are waiting patiently for the right restaurant partner, seeking to offer Bahamian fine cuisine with an international flare.
Argamasila said that the business is also seeking outdoor food providers to set up on the front lawn serving lunch to visitors. The goal is to keep the opportunities Bahamian and support the community, ideally sourcing native ingredients.
The philosophy fits in with the overall old-fashioned experience at John Watling's Distillery. The site is now brewing a number of liquors, all of which are finding themselves on local shelves. Investors are planning to begin exporting the product in the near future.
This week, artist Margot Bethel answers 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.
1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
Working with a diverse group of local and foreign artists and supporters, ecologists, educators, thespians, musicians and kids while running The Hub. At the time, the space embodied a powerful surge of energy and excitement, joy and camaraderie. I don't remember ever feeling so alive.
2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
I don't have one.
3. What's your favorite period of art history?
As a young student interested in painting, I was most exposed to the Impressionist and Expressionist periods. Later as I learned more about design I became attracted to mid-century modernism.
4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
I can't pick five out of them all, it's impossible. So are here five of my favorite comedies: The Life of Brian, Murial's Wedding, Moonstruck, Career Girls and Tootsie.
5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. I'm bi-continental like that.
6. What book are you reading now?
I am dipping in and out of "The Art of Travel" and "The Power of Now".
7. What project are you working on now?
I am continuing to develop two ideas: one I began last year called "Who The Hell Do I Think I Am?". Recently we produced some notebooks with Sonia Farmer of Poinciana Paper Press under this theme. I am also working on my "Sonorotic" carvings - a project that is associated with sound-based work.
8. What's the last show that surprised you?
Since I've been hibernating I haven't seen much work lately, but I am blown away by the recent developments in the art scene in Nassau. The heightened activity is not so much surprising as inspiring.
9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Eleuthera. Over the past 30 years I've spent a considerable amount of time stranded there so I know of what I speak. Silos, caves, hills, stunning harbors and beaches - long meandering drives, starry skies and good restaurants. A well-balanced respite from the city.
11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
Sonambient sound sculptures made and designed by Harry Bertoia and his son Val Bertoia. They look like unfettered harps or tall patches of tarnished brass-colored grass. Some of these gorgeously resonant art forms are over six feet tall - so elegant and majestic and made with exacting precision.
12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
It's a secret.
13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My parents. I have a lot of unanswered questions.
14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
For me, that remains to be seen. I have great admiration for the people who fight for the rights of minorities; the health of the ecosystem and to save wild or domesticated animals. I think these are among the most important people in any nation.
15. Who is your favorite living artist?
Gosh these are such severe questions, how do you pick just one? But I do think that Peter Minshall is pure genius.
16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunset. Unless I stay up all 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.
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.
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.
Investment in restaurants and other tourist-related businesses that are not in hotels — long reserved for Bahamians — has been opened for foreign investment under the National Investment Policy.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham detailed amendments to the policy in the House of Assembly on Monday. Previous Hotel Encouragement Act amendments have allowed for restaurants and other tourist-related businesses in areas heavily frequented by tourists but not in hotels to be open to foreign investment, Ingraham said. However, an amendment to the National Investment Policy removes the restrictions against international investments in restaurants and entertainment facilities altogether.
"The social object of skilled investment should be to defeat the dark forces of time and ignorance, which envelop our future."- John Maynard Keynes
In part one of the "Nation for Sale" series, we questioned whether The Bahamas has become a nation for sale to the highest or best positioned foreign bidders. In part two, we considered the legacies of our prime ministers, past and present, to determine whether by their policies regarding foreign investors, we have been and continue to be a nation for sale. This week, we would like to Consider This... do we need to urgently adopt a modern, progressive investment policy for the 21st century if we are going to finally realize the dream of empowering Bahamians in a more meaningful way?
The anchor project template
In his first term as prime minister, Perry Christie accentuated the benefits of his government's anchor project policy. The plan was to have a substantial investment, anchored on each major island of The Bahamas with the tripartite objective of (1) expanding the economic activity on that island, (2) encouraging residents to stay there instead of migrating to islands where greater employment opportunities existed and (3) encouraging persons who had left their island to return because of the jobs and other economic prospects that would be created by such anchor projects.
The government felt that anchor projects could be achieved by offering foreign investors large tracts of Crown land for which, in some cases, the government would receive an equity position in the project. The thinking was that the government would provide the land for the investment, and the foreign investor would offer shares to the government. The application of this policy would conceptually present a mutually beneficial result, and, in the fullness of time, there would be cumulative benefits to our citizens. Few would challenge the rationale of such a policy, but there were some unanswered questions.
A more progressive variant of this approach would entail a government policy that ensures that the residents of the island on which the anchor project is situated receive concessions for the ancillary Bahamian-owned enterprises that will inevitably flow from such anchor projects. Hence, local entrepreneurs would know that the government policy would ensure that the businesses related to the primary investment, including transportation, watersports, artists and artisans, restaurants, night clubs, laundry facilities and other related services that would spin off from the primary investment, would be available only to them. It is not enough for a government to focus only on the primary anchor investor; it is equally important to engage urban planners, architects, environmentalists and others to ensure that a holistic approach to development is undertaken from start to finish.
Another enticement to foreign investors is the granting of concessions by the government, usually in the form of financial benefits, including, for example, a tax holiday for a certain period of time. Perhaps the "mother of all concessions" was that granted to the Grand Bahama Port Authority, which to this day is the beneficiary of enormous tax and other advantages. Similarly, the hundreds of millions of dollars granted to Kerzner International were as breathtaking as they were mind-boggling for a company that landed on our shores only with the promise of raising the sunken city of Atlantis from the ashes of a dated, lackluster and tired property that had changed ownership several times in a single decade.
The granting of concessions is a practical tool used by governments the world over as an inducement to foreign investment. However, the larger consideration is whether the country is really getting value for the concessions that it bestows on foreign investors and, if so, to what extent? The answer to the question is that we really don't know.
The reality of this approach is that the foreign investor wins coming and going. They benefit by having considerable taxes waived, often for lengthy periods of time, with the justification that they create jobs, which is a noble objective. But they also win by not being required to pay any taxes when they repatriate the profits that they earn in The Bahamas.
If we are going to be more discerning in our approach to foreign direct investment, we need to be able to better quantify the benefits that accrue to the country before we offer and grant concessions to such investors. The simplistic and politically expedient approach to obtaining jobs in return for concessions is no longer enough. While this template might have worked in the past, this model fosters a country of servile workers who own little or nothing, who are not empowered through ownership and whose only benefit is a salary at the end of the week or month. In addition, it is long overdue to seriously consider imposing a withholding tax on repatriated profits that are earned here. Otherwise, the investor benefits both ways, at our expense.
Just as we openly welcome foreign investors here, we should consider what kind of concessions would enhance our own citizens' chances for success, and we should grant them to those Bahamian enterprises that satisfy certain threshold parameters.
The long-term development needs of our country
It becomes increasingly obvious and immediately important that we need to have a long-term plan for our country. It is imprudent for successive governments to approach governance of a small country such as ours without more clearly defined and generally agreed upon approaches to national goals and objectives, such as what we want The Bahamas to be and a time frame for achieving those objectives. It is virtually impossible to grow our country in the short term without a clearly defined long-term horizon as to the nature of investments that will benefit our country.
Every Bahamian is an investor
We often hear about the plethora of consultants who are constantly hired by the government, often where there are qualified Bahamians to perform contracted assignments. We need a renewed commitment to Bahamianization regarding consultants engaged by the government. Bahamians are alienated and disconnected from their government for several legitimate reasons, one of which is the absence of a deliberate determination to ensure that, wherever possible, Bahamians are provided the first opportunity to participate in the engagements that successive governments hasten to distribute to foreign consultants - another symptom of a nation for sale.
Furthermore, if the government is thinking about privatizing our national assets, Bahamians should be afforded the first opportunity to invest in such privatization exercises, and be seriously considered for the opportunities that we love to bestow on foreigners - yet another clear example of selling our patrimony.
Therefore, when foreign investors come knocking at our doors, an enlightened and progressive government would advise that such investors are expected to either (1) find Bahamian business partners with whom to invest or (2) offer shares in their enterprises to the Bahamian public, or even better, both of the above. Other countries do it. Why shouldn't we?
The time has come for our political leaders to understand that they will be judged not only by the jobs that they create, but now also by the Bahamian owners in our economy who they facilitate. Bahamians are tired of successive governments giving away our land and economic opportunities to foreigners, at our expense. If we do not radically alter our thinking about ownership and greater participation in our economy, we will be thrown back into a new form of slavery, once again being nothing more than servile workers whose patrimony has been pillaged and whose bodies and minds have been enslaved.
Properly formulated and adeptly executed, Christie's legacy could entail an administration whose primary objective is one of Bahamian economic empowerment. It is now time for a reversal of a policy, which for too long has had at its core a subliminal message that we are a nation for sale. It is now time for the establishment of an economic culture that is inclusive and beneficial to all who call The Bahamas home and who wish to build our nation for generations yet unborn.
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 email@example.com
Nearly $1 million has been injected in to the Bahamian economy as a result of the activities surrounding Bahamas Speed Week Revival, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis revealed yesterday.
In October, organizers predicted $400,000 to $500,000 would be pumped into the economy as a result of Speed Week. Jimmie Lowe, president of Bahamas Speed Week Revival, previously confirmed that more than $800,000 was pumped into the economy last year.
"During the six months of activity preceding the event itself, a great benefit to our community is the boost provided to our economic life represented by the expenditure by Speed Week organizers with business and contract services totaling almost $1 million and rising," Davis said during the opening ceremony at Arawak Cay.
"Also, based on the growing popularity of the event and recognizing that last year the event produced some 800 room nights during the ten days of the event, it is expected that this year's Speed Week will attract an increase in room nights by some 20 percent, with the attendant increase in the income to hotels, restaurants, bars and shops represented by spending by these many extra visitors."
Davis said due to the growing benefits from the sporting event, work is ongoing to build a new race track to facilitate the 60th anniversary of Speed Week in 2014.
"Yes, Speed Week will return to a racing circuit which the government plans to build at Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre," he said.
This year's Speed Week features almost 50 cars and 40 go-karts. Twelve Bahamians are participating.
To facilitate the event, the Ministry of Works and Urban Development constructed temporary pedestrian footbridges over West Bay Street and Fort Charlotte, and the Cricket Club and Arawak Cay.
Davis said the temporary foot bridges will be dismantled after the event but will be retained for future use.
Bahamas Speed Week Revival will end on December 8.
Grand Lucayan invites you to enjoy the wide variety of cuisine options available at their fabulous restaurants.
Willy Broadleaf theme Nights!
Churchill's Early Bird Menu- $29.99 per person o
Chef Specialty Menu - $45.00 per person Thursday - Monday from 6 - 7pm.
Step out for Ladies Night. Enjoy special prices on Martini's and Tapas! Every Friday Night at the Grand Bar.
China Beach restaurant offers a culinary tour of the Pacific Rim,
with an appetizing menu inspired by the exotic flavors of Vietnam,
Thailand, Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia...
Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday 6 -10:00pm...