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News Article

December 28, 2011
KFC workers receive partial bonus

Workers at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) received a much-needed boost just in time for Christmas, Guardian Business can confirm, picking up a bonus worth a full week of wages.
Although workers have been promised another bonus equivalent to half a week of pay in January, the rest of the annual payment remains a sharp bone of contention.
Darren Woods, the vice president of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union, told Guardian Business a further bonus equivalent to another week of pay is a key issue in the talks.
"They made a payment for the Christmas bonus late last week," he said. "Initially they weren't in a position to pay anything. The fact they paid something and gave a commitment to make another payment is a very good thing. But the remaining week is a problem for us."
Woods told Guardian Business that the bonus from last week depended on the seniority of the employee. For workers on the low end, he speculated it worked out to around $250, on average. On the higher end, KFC workers would   received $330.  On a typical year, KFC workers receive a bonus worth two-and-a-half weeks of wages.
"They would have preferred to have received as much as possible up front before Christmas," he added.
Negotiations between the two parties for a new deal first began on Dec 9, and after taking a break for the holidays, they are not expected to resume until the New Year. KFC has insisted that to stay competitive the fast-food chain must reduce wages and benefits, claiming the company is already paying far more than rival restaurants.
Woods said his side is willing to step up at a moment's notice to solve the remaining issues.
"Whenever and wherever, we are always committed. We are cognizant not to do it at the detriment of the business. We want to form a proper alliance and partnership so both sides are happy, if it's possible."
Payment of the remaining week of bonuses will no doubt be on the agenda when the sides meet again in January, along with a slew of other issues sure to impact a large number of Bahamian employees. On Nov 22, KFC sent a letter to the union indicating it would not be in a position to pay some benefits. Representatives of the workers felt the notice came too late.
Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labor, has been involved in the negotiations as a mediator and insisted that progress is being made. The labor agreement between the two parties expired on September 24 of this year.

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News Article

March 19, 2012
25M Heritage Village secures investor

The $25 million Heritage Village has attracted at least one key investor, Guardian Business can confirm, with more support "on the horizon" for the West Hill Street project.
Graycliff executives expect to begin construction by the end of this year.
"There are a couple of other investors thinking about it. Now that we have at least one investor on board, it is imminent," said Paolo Garzaroli, the president of Graycliff.
"It is very close on the horizon. I can see it starting before the end of this year."
Heritage Village, including a market, restaurants and attractions, is being billed as "the vision of what historic Nassau should be".
The development includes an entire stretch of West Hill Street. Whereas Heritage Village was originally divided into two phases, the decision was made by Graycliff to accelerate the plans to draw the crowds needed to give the project the right forward momentum.
Garzaroli purchased the buildings on the north side of the street four years ago in anticipation of closing down traffic in the area and creating a destination for tourists and locals.
The opening of an interactive chocolate factory, now slated for the summer, is being seen as an essential step to establishing that first attraction to get tourists excited about the area.
"Nobody is going to come here just for shopping. The chocolate factory will already start bringing people to the property. When this happens it will be a major add on. There are a lot of elements to Heritage Village that are very cultural once it is a village environment."
An events calendar will be created with at least two or three "happenings" to create structure and help drive tourism and cruise traffic.
Garzaroli told Guardian Business Heritage Village should benefit from being a "controlled environment" for families and tour groups. He said the development will "reinvigorate" the whole area, and with the recent decision by the Bacardi family to transport the Buena Vista restaurant into a rum distillery, a variety of "satellite" businesses are entirely possible.
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and a new studio opening by Antonius Roberts also lend the area a cultural and historic feel.
Heritage Village will include the chocolate factory, a coffee factory and a Bahamian marketplace.
Graycliff Hotel should remain the centerpiece of the development. An additional 50 to 75 rooms are planned once the development is up and running.

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News Article

November 26, 2014
Ensuring Bahamian investors downtown are treated just as well as the Chinese

Last year 6.15 million visitors came to The Bahamas. The majority of these people - 4.8 million - came via cruise ships. The cruise ship business is doing well in our country, and more and more visitors are coming to the Port of Nassau. In 2012, 2.2 million people came on ships to our capital. Last year, that number grew to 2.5 million.
The problem with downtown is it is not a vibrant city center. It has lots of jewelry shops and a straw market, and that's about it. There has been a public-private partnership for years to revive Bay Street. The revival, however, has been slow.
With the removal of the container port from downtown during the last Free National Movement (FNM) term, hope again sprung for widespread residential construction on the part of Bay Street east of East Street; the thought being that if more people lived downtown, the necessary businesses to serve these people would emerge, adding life to our city center. Thus far, though, nothing has happened.
On October 24, there was a game changer. China Construction America (CCA) announced it had purchased the British Colonial Hilton property and land to its west in the heart of Downtown Nassau. CCA is a subsidiary of the largest construction company in the world, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).
CCA will develop the vacant property to create a luxury hotel and condominium unit. The hotel will also include a multi-story garage with rooftop garden and banquet rooms, a high-end retail shopping center, restaurants, gym, marina, movie theater and boardwalk.
The investment is expected to create 250 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs for Bahamians. An additional 500 jobs in the amenities and commercial components will be created, according to the prime minister. This project is expected to start next year and should run through 2016.
The government is giddy over this Chinese investment. Prime Minister Perry Christie and members of his Cabinet attended the announcement event at the Hilton. Christie also spoke. He said the Chinese agreed to join in a partnership with the government and other stakeholders along Bay Street to implement a plan for its redevelopment, extending from Arawak Cay to Potter's Cay.
"Some of these stakeholders with whom I will meet in the next fortnight are ready to move ahead with their redevelopment plans," Christie said.
We hope Christie and his government give the Bahamian landowners the reasonable permissions and arrangements they need to invest downtown, just as the Chinese received the answers they needed to proceed.
Last month, Larry Roberts, a veteran realtor, and Brent Symonette, the former deputy prime minister and a downtown landowner, expressed their frustrations in The Tribune about the government's treatment of local investors downtown. Roberts was upset with the 10-month wait over whether or not the height restrictions will be lifted from four stories to allow medium-rise buildings.
"I've heard unofficially that they're (the government) likely to approve six to eight stories, but our proposal put in for 13 stories on one of the towers. You can't put a condo or hotel development in there without going up," he said.
Symonette said he was still waiting for answers to issues that he first sought "sitting before Sir Lynden 30 years ago". These related to the redevelopment of Nassau's harbor waterfront and who would own reclaimed land, according to the interview in that newspaper.
For local investment to pour into the downtown redevelopment, Christie should seek to clear the table of issues between the government and the Bahamian landowners who are sitting on their money for a variety of reasons. As a country, we do not capitalize on getting those millions upon millions of people who come to Nassau via ship each year to spend their money with us because our downtown is not that appealing.
If these wealthy individuals and families can get satisfactory answers from the government in a timely manner, Christie may be surprised by how much money is invested downtown by Bahamians, complementing what was announced by the Chinese.
Downtown seems close to the redevelopment successive administrations have worked toward. Let's not forget the Bahamian investors in this process. They should not have to complain in the newspaper in order to get answers from the government.

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News Article

November 21, 2014
Grand Bahamian bands, restaurants to provide holiday enchantment

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - With everyone beginning to cement their holiday plans, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is hoping that Festival Noel is on the holiday calendar of everyone that will be in Grand Bahama this festive season.
The planning of this year's festival, which celebrates 20 years of success, is underway with the highlights of the festival - the food and the music - confirmed for December 5.
"After last year's exciting event, we are thrilled to see most of our restaurants returning," said Sarah Kirkby, Festival Noel Committee member. "Agave and Red Beard's both secured their spots for this year and we are delighted that 'Dive-In Restaurant and Bar' will join us for the first time."
Thanks to Bahamas
Wholesale Agency, each restaurant is given product to help to assist them with feeding the large numbers of guests that pour into the Rand Nature Centre for the BNT's only annual fundraiser in Freeport. "We are also confirming one last restaurant and it will be their debut with us as well," said Kirkby. "These restaurants will compete for the coveted Chef Noel 2014 title - voted on by our guests."
Rounding out the food on offer will be the Grand Bahama Shipyard apprentices and bosses, roasting the annual pig during the usually chilly evening. According to organizers, the shipyard has been a great supporter of the trust in Grand Bahama and this will be its second year cooking, but its third year giving financial support to the event.
In addition to great food, Festival Noel always treats guests to great music. Joining the event this year will be "The First Taste Band" led by Nat Cambridge. This innovative band combines the most talented young singers from Grand Bahama and both new and veteran musicians.
Back again to kick off the holiday season is the band "Two Left Feet", which thrilled the attendees last year and had guests dancing in the stage area. "Two Left Feet" is a five-person band comprised of Holiday Soul, Drew Moree, Ramon Webb, Rolland Webb and Shawn Swain. The band was formed in 2011 and has played at many charity events throughout Grand Bahama.
"Last year's bands brought the house down," said Karin Sanchez, BNT council member and Festival Noel committee member. "We loved the feedback about the night and knew that the live entertainment really made the evening magical. We hope to evoke the same fun this year and sell out on our 20th year of Festival Noel."
Tickets go on sale this week at Bristol Wines and Spirits, the Rand Nature Centre, Art of Giving and Barefoot Marketing. BNT members will need to purchase tickets at the Rand Nature Centre to receive their early purchase discount. For more information, interested persons can visit the BNT's Facebook page, the Festival Noel 2014 event page or call 242-352-5438.

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News Article

January 18, 2011
Mamadoos Restaurant offers you Lunch, Dinner and Sunday Brunch

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

Mamadoo's where local cuisine meets Bahamian creativity.

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

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News Article

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

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

Mamadoo's where local cuisine meets Bahamian creativity.

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

read more »


News Article

October 21, 2014
CIBC FirstCaribbean hosts fun walk to raise funds for cancer treatment and prevention

The most moving part of CIBC FirstCaribbean's third annual Walk for the Cure support initiative was the release of balloons that brought participants to their feet in a moment of silence and contemplation at the Goodman's Bay Corporate Centre. They also heard from Jason Knowles who spoke to walkers about his daughter, Zion's, fight with cancer.
CIBC Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen said she was proud to support the initiatives of local charities.
"For us raising funds is not just a community initiative; it is an imperative representing a fierce commitment that spans across our entire business," said Allen. "This is the third year for the hosting of this event and we are pleased to have more than quadrupled our fundraising numbers in 2014 to over $170,000 across the region," she said.
Allen said the Bahamian bank had collectively raised $31,454 in both funds and corporate sponsorship.
"To our corporate sponsors, we express sincere thanks for joining us in our efforts to build awareness of cancer which ultimately affects all of us," said Allen. "We are therefore humbled to have played our part in ensuring that persons battling this disease receive the necessary support to help them in their valiant fight."
Platinum sponsor, Sandals Bahamas Resort, was an early responder to CIBC FirstCaribbean's call for corporate sponsors; Sandals participated with 56 staff. General Manager Patrick Drake said partnering with Walk for the Cure was an easy decision and was in line with the resort's own cancer awareness month activities.
"Sandals, through our foundation, has always been looking to make a difference," said Drake. "We've worked with the St. Jude Foundation in the past and we currently have the staff in pink every Friday to promote awareness. If each one can help one that is what it is all about."
Walk for the Cure is a regional event with local iterations in each of CIBC FirstCaribbean's 17 locations throughout the Caribbean. The funds raised from the New Providence walk that had 348 participants will be presented to Sister to Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, The Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation and cancer societies in Abaco, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
Other event sponsors included Restaurants Bahamas Ltd. (KFC), Baha Mar, Atlantis, Colina, MPLaw Chambers, John Bull. Elite Security Agency, Family Medicine Center, Valentine's Residences Resort and Marina, Gippy's Printing and TriPoint Communications.

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News Article

May 03, 2013
The private world of gastronomy

Name: Ron Johnson
Position: Culinary artist, Savory Art Culinary & Consultation Service
Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?

Ron: I've been a part of the hospitality industry since the age of 16. I was an apprentice chef at the Atlantis Resort & Casino and eventually left my post for educational pursuits. However, during my tenure at the property, I've always felt a strong sense of pride and responsibility ensuring guest satisfaction, simultaneously pleasing my superiors. Whether local or international cuisine was requested, working independently or with a team, contentment was the primary goal. It should be noted that in most areas of people activity, food is involved either in overt or subtle ways.
After attaining my formal educational goals, I've currently been active as a personal/private chef for celebrities, affluent individuals and occasionally working aboard yachts (seven in total thus far), cruising to the Exuma Cays and sometimes Harbour Island, showcasing elements of island flare and other cuisines to the best of my ability. At 31, I would see myself as a culinary ambassador of sorts, particularly to those unfamiliar with tropical cuisine.

GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?

Ron: At first, the career chose me, along with my mother's stern guidance and foresight. After graduation from high school, I had no idea of what path I would take. I felt idle, without purpose and eager to make a quick buck. I enrolled at The Bahamas Hotel Training College (now called School of Hospitality Training Studies) and found myself performing fairly well, particularly out of fear and love. The fears of letting anybody think I was inadequate were intertwined with my affinity for the profession.
I eventually simmered down and found it was something that I could handle fairly well. It allowed me to be creative with my hands, only limited to what my mind could conceive. A friend told me that certain African tribes believed that your spirit/vibe was transferred into your food creations. I would hope people get an overwhelming sense of love and commitment when they taste what I create.

GB: What has been your most memorable moment?

Ron: Most experiences I've had thus far have their own merit in my life. One in particular, as Montell Williams personal chef aboard a three-week yacht trip throughout the Exuma Cays, still permeates in my memory. Although I've had the pleasure of cooking for him a few times prior to the most recent trip, we had a chance to really have in depth discussions about my future in general and I got to interact on a higher level with his family and staff; they were truly appreciative of what I fed them and the level of professionalism I maintained. Beware of getting too 'familiar' with a guest or client by the way.
Notwithstanding, they were appreciative to the point that they questioned and hesitated dining out on other yachts they got invited on or local restaurants because the precedent I set made them compare my performance; they said it was better than others. The reassuring moment came when he complimented my mother about my professionalism and gave me a hefty 'thank you' gift that made me smile from ear to ear; he personally gave me his contact information as well.

GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?

Ron: Where to begin? I'm a bit at a disadvantage properly responding to this, as my personalized service isolates me to a degree. However, I converse with colleagues and make observations as well. On a side note, the common misperception is that when one sees a chef jacket of sorts, they automatically assume you are employed at a hotel. There are other atypical, unconventional places chefs work at such as stand-alone restaurants and chocolate factories, as well as in positions as personal chefs, food and beverage directors and managers of franchises and supermarkets. The industry has changed in other ways as well to my knowledge. As we are in the Information Age, access to revered techniques, recipes and ideas are easily accessible at the speed of touch and type. I'm also noticing a stronger push for utilizing native grown produce.

GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?

Ron: This is a hard question to answer in that a definite response does not justly address a myriad of issues one may perceive. However, I can speak to factors such as nutrition, redefining and elevating our cuisine and adapting more European culinary disciplines in our forte. Generally speaking, our food is truly tasty and satiating. Tourists from across the globe make an effort to try chowders, stews and souses, fritters, peas n' rice, Bahama Mamas and other local gastronomy. Adversely, our diet impairs our health. Finding creative ways to preserve or create new flavors with an emphasis on wellbeing for the health conscious or apprehensive tourist (or native) is barely exploited.
Lastly, for those with a high appreciation of fine dining, we can improve on presentation and modern techniques; the taste is already there.. I'd like to see a Bahamian restaurant achieve a Michelin Star or three, fully exploiting local produce. That would definitely garner attention to our country and perhaps promote more food-based tourism to a different audience.

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News Article

October 29, 2014
Baha Mar resort announces its first four restaurants

Baha Mar, the $3.5 billion integrated gaming resort opening in the spring of 2015, is introducing the first four signature restaurants of its highly-anticipated culinary experiences. The resort's food and beverage selections complement an elite collection of hotel brands - The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Grand Hyatt and SLS LUX - as well as a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and ESPA spa, among other remarkable experiences.
Deuce, Katsuya, Brasserie des Arts and Shuang Ba are part of the best in global cuisine curated through the 40 restaurants, bars and clubs at Baha Mar. They are the signature, bespoke experiences located at the heart of the resort, in and around the 100,000-square-foot Las Vegas-style Baha Mar Casino. Featuring 30-foot floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the clearest waters in the world, The Baha Mar Casino revolutionizes traditional casino design, and provides guests of these signature restaurants the choice of being steps away from the fast-paced energy of the casino floor or retreating to quiet tables overlooking the breathtaking turquoise waters of The Bahamas.
"The selection of these restaurants as our signature offerings is very simple; they are my favorite from around the world. Baha Mar is about an authentic experience, and our restaurants are no exception. Our guests can select from several options for dining from high-end to more casual fare," said Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar's chairman and CEO. "Deuce, Katsuya, Brasserie des Arts and Shuang Ba will be centered around the most discerning guests' needs. Whether delivering to players right at the casino high limit rooms, or offering private dining rooms within the restaurants themselves, our mission is to ensure superior dining, world-class service and authentic Bahamian charm."
Deuce takes its name for being only the second location of Bone's, the award-winning Atlanta steakhouse that has been providing the finest steaks and seafood since 1979. Long recognized as the best steakhouse in Atlanta, Bone's is also ranked by Zagat Survey as highest in food and service of any steakhouse in America. In keeping with Baha Mar's commitment to an elevated level of dining, as well as attentive, intuitive, world-class service, Deuce is a perfect choice.
Deuce consists of more than 350 seats and will be the largest restaurant at Baha Mar. In addition to private dining rooms, Deuce offers a superb dining experience in its beautifully-crafted interior dining area, mezzanine and patio. The restaurant will feature interior designs by the celebrated Johnson Studio, an Atlanta-based architecture and design firm noted for creating extraordinary spaces that connect food to one-of-a-kind experiences.
Katsuya is an internationally renowned contemporary Asian restaurant that has been hailed for its innovative interpretations of classic Japanese cuisine and inventive cocktails. Katsuya has garnered a loyal following for its culinary offerings as well as its distinct, sleek architectural designs by French design icon Philippe Stark. Widely known as a favorite of locals and celebrities alike in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Beach and Dubai, the 250-seat restaurant at Baha Mar will be home to Katsuya's eighth location. This exciting restaurant, a signature dining experience at SLS hotels, is expected to attract celebrities and critics alike in search of the culinary artistry of Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi.
Baha Mar will be home to the fourth location of Brasserie des Arts, the chic restaurant and lounge which is also found in Sa?o Paulo, Brazil and two locations in France - Megeve and Saint Tropez, where it was voted one of the best places to eat by Elle magazine. The 200-seat establishment will offer an authentic taste of fine French cuisine created by classically trained French chefs. Brasserie Des Arts will include indoor and outdoor seating extending to an elegant terrace overlooking the white-sand beach and a DJ for late night entertainment.
Shuang Ba takes guests on a journey of classic and modern Chinese cuisine in an elegant setting. Representing the figure 88, which signifies "double fortune" in Chinese culture, Shuang Ba is designed to ensure good luck extends from this 88-seat restaurant to the casino floor. With sophisticated private dining salons draped in shades of rich woods, gold and jade, guests will be provided with exclusive experiences that will cater to every need prepared by our culinary team directly from China. The central dining salon features a grand liquor case in the shape of a moon gate, surrounded by warm wood elements and pops of red. Large circular dining tables give diners the view of a marvelous 30,000-pound hand-carved Chinese stone column, and traditional screens and artifacts sourced directly from China complete the exquisite setting.

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News Article

May 03, 2013
Conch and Bahamian Youth

Dear Editor,
The recent Bahamas National Trust first National Natural History Conference held at COB was notable for a number of reasons. The conference chronicled a number of scientific papers on a wide range...

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