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It's been four long years since the reigning queen of Soca graced Bahamian shores. But the wait is over! Trinidadian Soca queen, Destra, will close the final weekend in 2011 with a bang.
Destra who is known for her hits "It's Carnival", "I Dare You", "Bacchanal" and "We own it" will bring the Soca fireworks to the stage on the Butler and Sands grounds on JFK Drive tonight at 7 p.m. Depending on how you look at it, she kicks off the final weekend in 2011, or she's getting the New Year's Eve weekend parties started right.
This will be no backyard entertainment according to Robert Nurse, Destra's manager, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian from Trinidad.
"You can expect that after four years away from Bahamian soil, the biggest female Soca star will make up for lost time and really show you what you have been missing."
Nurse said Destra loves performing in The Bahamas and despite her four year absence has been looking for opportunities to come back, but the timing and schedules always conflicted.
"Now the timing is better than ever and she is rearing to go. She will bring an energy packed performance you will not forget. She is known for her style and her presence on the stage. This will not be a sit down or sit still kind of event. You will have a good time and she will not disappoint. So you need to come out and just be ready for her fire and energy because she will own the stage," says Nurse.
He says Destra will sing a lot of her hit songs and maybe even a few new tracks that haven't yet hit the airwaves. She is expected to make this last Soca bash a great cap off to the old year.
Accompanying the Soca queen will be the hot new Soca duo JW and Blaze also from Trinidad whose song "Palance" has been dominating the airwaves.
Patch, the artist who brought you the hit "How Much Inches of Pipe", will make his debut on the Bahamian stage tonight.
The new artists are expected to bring a complimentary vibe to Destra's classic hype and are expected to be the perfect build up to the real showstopper -- Destra.
And no Soca concert could be complete without some Bahamian flavor. That is why the biggest Bahamian Soca band Visage will be sharing the stage throughout the evening as well. They will bring their unique style and flare to an already exciting concert. They will be the perfect topper to this "Soca-rific" event.
This will truly be a concert to end the year right says Brent Ferguson, Burns House group sales manager. He says it is the perfect time to have a concert like this because it brings back memories of the old days.
"Usually at this time of the year it is customary to have a Soca-fest with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, but since this has not happened for a while, we are more than excited to bring back the old days by having a great Soca event to end the year on the right foot. The older folk would remember the concert being near Junkanoo time and they would attend it, get some 'Soca-cize' and then head off to party at the annual Junkanoo parade well into the morning. So although the timing for Junkanoo is off this year, the event will still go on and be amazing. This will truly be a concert to remember. It will be exciting and you will not want to miss a second of it. Destra will be bringing her band so you won't hear anything on tracks. This will be a live performance like no other. You really have to come to experience the last big concert of the year."
Destra's manager says tonight's concert will be one not to be missed because Destra will bring the energy and fire she's known for to the stage, especially as her last performance in The Bahamas was rained on.
"A Soca concert of this magnitude has not happened for a long time and you don't want to miss it," said Nurse. "Soca is definitely something that is appealing to people of all ages so we do expect to see a wide demographic of attendees.
To up the ante, Burns House will offer drink specials throughout the evening. Prizes to be won throughout the evening include three 4G phones.
Tickets for the concert can be purchased at Butler and Sands' John F. Kennedy Drive and Harbour Bay locations as well as Burns House Saunders Beach, Mall at Marathon and Bernard Road locations.
Soca Queen in concert
When: Friday, December 30
Where: Butler & Sands grounds, JFK Drive.
Time: Gates open at 5 p.m., Showtime is at 7 p.m.
Cost: $35 general, $75 VIP in advance, $40 general, $80 VIP at the gate
In past columns, we have examined the ideal in several areas of politics, including the ideal leader, the ideal nation, the ideal electorate and the ideal media. Today we would like to Consider This...what is the ideal we should be striving for in a political campaign?
Firstly, we want to look at what a campaign should not be. It should not simply be an excuse for a concert, although concerts have their place and are integral to our campaigns, figuring prominently into our political culture. However, the ideal campaign is not only about concerts, nor are they occasions for public drunkenness or other rowdy, anti-social and uncouth behavior. Campaigns should not be looked upon, as we have heard several candidates from different parties suggest to their followers, as a time to enrich ourselves financially while still voting our consciences, or in Bahamian nomenclature, "take the money but vote for the party of your choice." In other words, the ideal political campaign should not be about bribery. An ideal campaign is not all about how many flags we can fly on our vehicles, pins we can display, stickers we can affix to our car bumpers and T-shirts we can wear.
The ideal campaign is neither noisy nor unruly. It is not about shaking the hands of those who come to you for your vote without delving deeply into their minds, motives, morals and messages.
No, the ideal campaign should be a time when you, the voter, earnestly and deliberately decide what it is you want to see your government accomplish for you, as a Bahamian, for your community in particular and for the nation as a whole. The ideal campaign is an occasion when you set the priorities of what you want to hear from the candidates who are all competing to be the stewards of your future for five uninterrupted years.
When we talk about setting priorities, we don't mean just being satisfied with hearing, for example, that candidates will "deal with crime". In an ideal campaign, candidates must come with the specifics of their plans for dealing with what it is that you feel is important for your well-being and that of your family and the country.
In an ideal campaign, the voters' time would not be wasted hearing a list of the candidate's old successes or the old failures of their opponents. In an ideal campaign, the discussion would be focused on what successes the candidate is planning for the voters' future.
In the ideal campaign, candidates will be clear about establishing milestones and yardsticks for their performance if they are successful. Candidates who are serious about serving the people whom they seek to represent would not be reluctant to set criteria by which they can be judged as to whether they are successful during their term in office. Candidates who are sincere about representing people would have no fear whatsoever about being judged and critiqued on their performances, knowing that constructive criticism can only make them better as they go about their job, which is, first and foremost, building a secure and successful Bahamas.
Campaigning with ideas
It is not difficult to determine whether candidates are serious about discussing the issues that are important to voters. There is a positive correlation between the quantity of mud-slinging in which candidates engage and the level of frustration and desperation that they experience on the stump. If a candidate is confident that his message is resonating with the electorate, then the focus would be placed on a discussion of that message and the issues it addresses, as well as the candidate's vision for the future. If, on the other hand, the candidate is desperate, the amount of mud that is slung and the depths to which a candidate sinks to make his point will dominate his campaign, clearly demonstrating his lack of understanding of the issues that we all regard as important. Accordingly, voters should take note of which candidates take the high road on the campaign trail, addressing the issues substantively, and those who sink to the depths of vitriolic invectives, or mud-slinging, in order to make their points to seek your support.
Political campaigns in The Bahamas present many opportunities for gossip and innuendo to abound. The rumor mill is rampant during the silly season. And often the more salacious the scandal, the more some people seem to revel in unfounded or unsubstantiated twaddle. In an ideal campaign, candidates would spend far too much time talking about what matters that they would simply have no time left to indulge in rumor-mongering. In campaigns, as in life, the idle hands, or, in this case, the idle candidates' tongues, are truly playgrounds for the devil.
Increasingly, in the ideal campaign, political debates should figure more prominently. This not only includes debates by the parties' leaders but also by constituency candidates. True, party leaders must be prepared to debate each other on the issues that will affect us all, and if they are not prepared to debate the issues they do not deserve to be seriously considered by the electorate.
Additionally, voters must be able to evaluate individual candidates in their own right because it should be a team of leaders who will govern us, not just the party leader. In future elections, the cult of personality which has punctuated previous polls and the prodigious primacy of the party leader must diminish and the importance of the team will increase. What better method is there to evaluate the team than to be able to assess them on the issues that they will be able to address in public debates?
In the ideal campaign, the candidates will no longer be selected because of connections, lineage and past precedent. In the ideal political campaign, candidates will be selected by the political parties because they possess strength of character and commitment to service. These attributes will be the primary considerations in their selection as standard-bearers. These qualities will be a welcome departure from many of the past and some of the current candidates, and should greatly improve the quality of representation, ridding us of the despicable behavior all too often observed in Parliament.
The ideal campaign will feature a majority of enlightened, intelligent, knowledgeable, and ethical political candidates who will inspire the Bahamian people toward greater dedication, helping to mold the society in more fulfilling and positive directions.
In the ideal campaign, if we take democracy seriously, without the die-hard allegiance to partisanship that perpetuates a polarized polity, we will come to fully appreciate that the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of our society does not rest entirely with the candidates who offer for office. Ultimately the ideal campaign will truly confirm that our future really rests with us.
oPhilip 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.
By LARRY SMITH
THE phrase "third rail" is an American political metaphor for an idea so controversial that any politician who dares touch it will inevitably suffer the consequences.
Stepping on the third rail of an electric railway usually results in electrocution. Many consider the third rail in Bahamian politics to be a commitment to a new political party, and some feel that Bamboo Town MP Branville McCartney has just touched that deadly conduit.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First we have to consider why political parties exist at all.
They are, of course, linked to the extension of democracy. In The Bahamas, political parties evolved as voting restrictions based o ...
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said he was "cautiously optimistic" after meeting separately yesterday with management of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Nassau and the hotel union in an effort to resolve a days-long dispute that has kept KFC stores closed.
Foulkes said he expected both sides to exchange proposals for a new industrial agreement last night.
He told The Nassau Guardian a meeting was planned for this morning between representatives of KFC and the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU).
Foulkes indicated that he had reviewed a proposal from KFC, but had not seen the union's response although he had a "fairly good idea of what the response would be".
"I am hopeful that by [Friday] we can have a face to face meeting with both sides with the view of concluding a contract and that the stores will open, and the workers will go back to work," Foulkes told The Nassau Guardian.
"I think today we made some progress, but I await the face to face meeting between the two sides," the minister said late yesterday.
KFC Nassau closed its nine outlets on Monday "until further notice" as a result of a "labor disruption", according to the company.
The union's Secretary General Darren Woods said yesterday the union intends to resume discussions with Foulkes and KFC management this morning and was also hopeful the stores would reopen sometime today so that workers can return to work.
He reiterated that workers have turned up for work each day since the stores closed and were eager to work.
"We have committed to the minister and the principal [of KFC] as we have done before that we are prepared to get in there - all in one room- and have an industrial agreement that's beneficial and suitable for all parties," Woods said.
"There are some things that we have already agreed to based on what our membership would have advised us on and there are some areas that we can still talk about, but the point is you have to be able to talk."
He said prior to yesterday the only new communication the union got from KFC was that it had canceled its voluntary recognition of the union.
KFC Nassau has said the workers were engaged in an illegal strike, but the union has denied this.
The political parties are in full campaign mode as we near the general election. The television channels are filled with ads, there are multiple constituency office openings per week and people across the country are talking about politics.
The messages of the Free National Movement (FNM), the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) are quite distinct at this stage of the campaign.
The FNM says it is the party that delivers. The PLP is pushing the message that it believes in Bahamians and the DNA says it is change.
Each message is profound. We want leaders who deliver; we want leaders who believe in Bahamians; and we want change away from some of the dysfunction of the modern Bahamas.
The tests for the parties will be how the voters match up their records with the messages they (the parties) are pushing.
The key for the FNM - and it has been doing this - is to prove that it has delivered good things for The Bahamas over the past five years. It will also need to convince the electorate that what it has delivered was needed, that it will improve the lives of Bahamians and that it is worth the cost.
For the PLP, it will need to further explain what it means by believing in Bahamians. The statement truly is comparative. What the party is attempting to do is to argue that it believes in Bahamians more than its primary rival the FNM. However, the PLP and FNM have similar policies when it comes to foreign direct investment and budgetary allocations to invest in The Bahamas.
The PLP was the 'independence party' of the country and many of our institutions of state were created under its 25 years in power from majority rule. Some older Bahamians still focus on those days and achievements, but many younger voters do not. They know Perry Christie's PLP, which in its five-year term from 2002 to 2007 was more defined by its enemies through its gaffes and scandals than through nation building. Hence, the nationalist theme of believing in Bahamians being advanced by the official opposition may not evoke the reaction the party thinks it will.
The DNA has to convince people that it can deliver on the change it promises. More specifically, it needs to convince enough people that it has a real chance of having an impact on the election. Bahamians do not like to think that they are throwing away their votes. The party has done a good job using broadcast advertising to evoke emotion, but the question in the minds of many is still, "Are they for real?"
For each of the parties, as they continue to refine their messages it is critical that they ensure that what they say is true. Voters are not stupid, and a party cannot force its impression of its record on people who know this impression to be untrue.
The party that conveys a message most accurate to its record and capacity will have an advantage. And every advantage is crucial in what will likely be a close election.
It was on that fateful day, August 2, 2003, when the motor vessels United Star and Sea Hauler collided at sea. It was an August Monday holiday weekend and the Sea Hauler was full of passengers traveling to Cat Island. That day has been described as the worst in the maritime history of The Bahamas. Due to the collision, four persons lost their lives and 25 were injured - some seriously, losing limbs.
What did the Christie-led Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government do at the time to help the many victims and their families? Absolutely nothing.
In fact, more than three years later, the then Ministry of Transport and Aviation released a statement on December 22, 2006, days before Christmas and another new year following the tragedy, stating among other things that, "the government will continue to take all legal avenues to resolve this matter. All parties are encouraged to join with the government in seeking a resolution to this matter in a manner consistent with the law of the land."
In plain language the PLP did nothing, and worse, intended to do nothing to, as they say, "wipe the tear from every eye" of the victims and their families. The PLP had an opportunity to give real meaning to those words and demonstrate care and compassion. Instead, they did nothing. The above statement by the then PLP government was in response, at the time, to demands for compensation by the families and the injured persons.
It was the FNM government, led by Hubert A. Ingraham, just a year after being elected on May 2, 2007, that set up a fund of $1 million to truly relieve some of the suffering of the victims of the tragic Sea Hauler incident and their families.
Not only did the compassionate and progressive FNM government make the $1 million available to the victims and their families, it also agreed to have the past and future medical expenses incurred at any governmental health facility be paid by the government.
We are reminded of the straw market fire on September 4, 2001, a mere eight months before the May 2002 general election. While the FNM was in government, in the months leading up to the general election, the Christie-led PLP strongly criticized it for not rebuilding the market.
Ironically though, the Christie-led PLP won the May 2002 election and for five years to the day, May 2007, they failed to rebuild the market. Incredibly, they did not even commence its reconstruction. And they had the brass to make an issue of eight months. Worse, the same make shift and intended temporary arrangements the FNM government put in place for the straw vendors during the eight-month period, remained their workplace for the duration of the PLP's term from 2002-2007.
We all know that it was this compassionate and progressive FNM government, in this term, during the worst economic conditions the world has faced since the Great Depression of 1929, rebuilt the market for the straw vendors who had to endure the elements in the same intended temporary arrangement over five years under the PLP government.
It is an irony, because in the main, the straw vendors (not all of them) are thought to be supporters of the PLP. But the PLP did nothing for them. It took a FNM government to wipe away the tears of every straw vendor and to bring true relief to all of them.
The opportunity for tertiary education has been a thorny issue in this country because the prevailing view under the 25-year governance of the Pindling-led PLP was that unless you were connected to the PLP in some way, "you needed not apply". Famous words of the PLP today.
Today many qualified Bahamians, regardless of party affiliation, receive scholarships, funds that are not repaid. If you meet the academic criteria, you can receive at least $7,500 and up to $40,000 per year to study abroad for a four-year degree. No questions asked about who your family might be or who you may know in the governing party. Due to the FNM government those days are gone, and thankfully so.
The Christie-led PLP government awarded a grand total of $1.7 million in scholarship funds from 2002-2007. The current FNM government awarded, inclusive of the current school year, $28 million in scholarships. In fact, this school year alone more than $8 million has been awarded. That is almost five times the entire term of the Christie government and 20 times that of their last year.
So who's for the 'small man'? The facts speak ever more loudly than all the PLP talk: Hubert Ingraham and the Free National Movement.
- Michael A. Foulkes,
secretary general, FNM
The recent visit by the president of Haiti, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, to The Bahamas has created the perfect non-issue for political parties that are grasping at straws. The Haitian president advised Bahamian voters of Haitian descent to simply vote for the party and candidates that best suit their interests in the upcoming general election. It's something that we all should do; it's the essence of politics and elections in a democracy, in my view.
So what's the uproar all about? Well, they are looking for votes by hook or crook. So, one easy way to do it is to stir up the emotion of the Bahamian electorate on the illegal immigration issue; where unregulated Haitians are at the heart. Offering substantive suggestions on how we could deal effectively with our illegal immigration challenges are lacking on the part of political parties in The Bahamas; especially the opposition lot. Their prime perspective is to send all illegals home forthwith -- nothing more, nothing less. It's an impractical and unworkable solution laced with man's inhumanity to man, in my opinion.
The fringe political party, Democratic National Alliance (DNA), and its leader Branville McCartney went to town with all kinds of nonsense regarding the Haitian president's words to his people and Haitian-Bahamian voters. He said that the president's remarks were a direct attack on Bahamian democracy and all Bahamians. McCartney further stated that "Sweet Micky" should respect the sovereignty of our democracy. What did Martelly do or say that we missed which instigated such empty sentiments by the leader of the DNA?
Bradley Roberts, chairman of the official opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), said that he thought that it was an insult to the Bahamian people that a foreigner would come to The Bahamas to instruct Bahamian citizens to vote one way or the other. When did Martelly do this Roberts?
Others have said that the president of Haiti's visit was ill-timed because of a general election being around the corner in The Bahamas.
The bottom-line is this: opposition parties in The Bahamas feel and know deep inside their hearts that Bahamian voters of Haitian descent will support the governing Free National Movement (FNM) in the greatest numbers in the approaching general election because Haitian-Bahamians believe that the FNM is the political vehicle in The Bahamas that has their best interest at heart.
The other parties are strong on their anti-foreign and immigrant messages. Everyone with eyes to see, and ears to hear knows this. Do not blame Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly for the hate and divisions within the Bahamian society caused by Bahamian politicians who simply do not like outsiders.
The time has come for the Bahamian people to realize the enormous benefits of trade and cooperation with our neighbor to the south -- Haiti. Martelly spoke about creating jobs for his people so that they do not have to leave Haiti looking for the same; and he encouraged his compatriots in The Bahamas to return home to help build their poor nation.
The main purpose of the Haitian president's visit to The Bahamas, according to news reports, was to promote Haiti as a nation ripe for investments and full of opportunities. He encouraged his people to unite with him to turn things around in Haiti for the better.
Martelly brought hope to his people in The Bahamas, and Bahamians should see the wisdom and benefits of a Haiti on the move with increasing economic benefits to The Bahamas and its people.
This is something to rejoice about, and Bahamians should welcome a new era of success and prosperity with Haiti and its people.
- Dennis Dames
I am grateful for the opportunity to add my opinion to the political confusion this country seems to be engulfed in, brought on in large part by the radio talk show hosts.
These talk show hosts for the most part (not all of them) and for their own political bias use their shows to belittle and misrepresent the present Free National Movement (FNM) government in spite of the many accomplishments that this government has achieved even in the face of these very hard economic times that has the entire world in a tailspin.
We must conclude that every project that has come about from this government is designed to make life better for the Bahamian people. Yes, some of the projects have caused some inconvenience, but we all know that in order to make certain strides in life there must be some sacrifices and some inconvenience along the way.
The talk show hosts, along with the opposition forces, are promoting the lie and myth that the present FNM government cares nothing about people and that they have done nothing to advance the country in the past 4.5 years. Where are these people living? Do they believe Bahamians are not aware of what is happening in the country?
Let us examine this lie and myth and one will conclude what a disservice these talk show hosts are. One would expect the opposition forces (parties) to be biased and misleading on these matters, but not talk show hosts! They are expected to be impartial and neutral. When supporters of the various parties call in to their shows and say things that are blatantly untrue, they the (hosts) should correct them. But not so. As long as the caller's nonsense is anti-FNM, it goes unchallenged. These hosts, however, are only interested in correcting and lecturing callers who appear to be in support of the FNM. If or when the caller(s) would say something that is in the opinion of the host not quite correct, only then would they chide, lecture and correct the caller.
This government has shown its care and concern for the Bahamian people in so many ways. This term in office is no exception. The ordinary/small man can now own a piece of the pie in a number of Bahamian companies. This did not happen, or was not possible, for the ordinary/small man prior to 1992.
In the height of this recession, the government employed thousands of Bahamians temporarily to help them feed their families and to pay their bills. They increased the allocations to social services for the thousands who depend on that agency for assistance. They ordered the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) to restore electricity to numerous consumers and make reasonable payment arrangements with a view to return to normalcy and to keep their electricity on.
They made arrangements to settle with the victims of the Sea Hauler disaster that occurred under the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration. But the so-called caring PLP government did absolutely nothing to assist these people. Some folks went and chained themselves to Perry Christie's gate. Additionally they (FNM) embarked on a major road and massive infrastructure program putting thousands of people to work, while at the same time bringing about improvements. They have introduced a job training and placement program and increased the budget for persons to start their own business. They have introduced an unemployment assistance program. There is the new port where people (the small man included) are able to purchase shares to own a piece of that pie. I can go on and on, but time would not permit. The fact is that all of these projects are put in place with people in mind.
They (FNM) has accomplished much in these tough economic times when compared to the former PLP administration in good economic times. The PLP has nothing to offer this country other than what they are known for -- scandals and corruption, and so they want this final time to achieve this.
Clearly this FNM government produces, which is a far cry from the PLP who held power for five years from 2002-2007 and has little to show for it.
This brings me to my advice to us as a people who will, in the not too distance future, choose a new government to govern our country; I suggest that we think carefully about this and choose wisely.
You have the scandalous, inept, corrupt, incompetent and do-nothing PLP party on one hand whose reputation is well documented and known, on the other hand you have the present sitting FNM government with its many accomplishments and record of production. There is the choice that is set before us. From where I sit the choice could not be more clear. Choose wisely Bahamians.
The DNA, let's throw them in the mix if you will. Do you really want to consider that group with an inexperienced and ambitious leader who after 18 months in politics felt that he and his cadre of inexperience candidates could lead this country? Please do not let us play around with the future of this country with a person like that. It's a matter for you.
- Alfred T. Brown
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
BAHAMIAN insurance brokers have "lost tonnes of business" to Scotiabank (Bahamas) group homeowners insurance programme, a former Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) president yesterday saying both parties needed to "get on the same page" and stick to their original agreement.
Vaughn Culmer, head of Vaughn Culmer & Associates, told Tribune Business that clients placed by Scotiabank (Bahamas) into its group homeowners policy were potentially being placed "at a disadvantage", especially if their previous policies included home contents coverage, as the bank was only insuring the physical property.
Expressing concern ...
By SPORTS WRITER
For The Guardian
ABACO, The Bahamas--Treasure Cay Hotel Resort&Marina invites anglers to compete for trophies and cash prizes at the 28th Annual Treasure Cay Billfish Tournament, set for June 12-17, 2011, in Abaco, The Bahamas. This tournament follows the 2010 victory by Team Kilowett, from Lighthouse Point, Florida, when lady angler Lisa Flack won Top Angler, Top Lady Angler and other awards.
The modified release tournament offers four days of fishing, social parties, dinners and fun competitions. The guaranteed cash payout ranges from$10,000 for a minimum of 10 boats and up to$50,000 for participation of 50 boats.
Open to the public, the tournament format consists of mul ...