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News Article

February 21, 2012
Rejecting the gay marriage agenda

Dear Editor,
 
Recently there has been an orchestrated effort on the part of homosexual activists like Dr. Stephen Moreton to legalize homosexuality and homosexual marriage throughout the Caribbean.  Most of these people are not from the Caribbean but are trying to impose their lifestyle on the Christian Caribbean islands.
People should be made aware of the fact that there is no 'gay gene' and no scientific proof that homosexuality is innate.  Homosexuality is, in fact, an abnormal behavior.  Ironically, the homosexual lobby often tries to project their own disorder on heterosexuals by prejudicially labeling them "homophobes".
Dr. Francis Collins, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work sequencing the human genetic code, has stated that homosexuality is not genetically "hardwired".  Homosexuality, like contraception, is contrary to natural law because it thwarts the natural generation of life.
Marriage is an institution that predates civilization, ordained by God, and exclusive to one man and one woman who are given the responsibility to procreate the human race, and to nurture, educate, and pass on shared values and mores to their offspring.  To redefine marriage to include same-sex couples is to strip marriage of an essential component, namely the ability and obligation to procreate.  This would render marriage meaningless and open it up to endless revision and redefinition.
Gay marriage is a threat to religious freedom and conscience rights.  There are already incidents in Canada and the U.S. of religious adoption and foster care agencies being pushed out of work, and small business owners being fined or sued for not accommodating same-sex couples.  Town clerks and other officials with objections to participating in same-sex union ceremonies or to the granting of same-sex marriage licenses have been told to find other jobs.
Once a state recognizes same-sex partnerships as marriages or the equivalent, then naturally the argument is made that in family life classes in schools this has to be taught to be a valid partnership. Religious parents who do not want their children to be indoctrinated with beliefs contrary to theirs will be out of luck.  They will be branded and labeled as bigots.  This is already happening in Canada.
Christians and other people from traditional faith communities are being called in a new way to have courage.  The problem today is not homophobia but theophobia - a hatred by some of God, faith, religion and the church.  The public affirmation of this prejudice is the hallmark of ideological totalitarianism.
 
- Paul Kokoski

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News Article

February 29, 2012
Italian pop singer, Sushy shoots music video in Grand Bahama

GRAND BAHAMA, The
Bahamas - Italian R & B, pop, dance, and sometimes rock singer,
Sushy is in Grand Bahama shooting her latest music video.  The island
offers an idyllic shooting venue for its diverse and lush locations on
and off the water.  Her new music video is called, "Water" and scenes were also shot in Florida.

From the tender age of 5 Susanna Galimi alias "Sushy"  started piano
lessons at the Conservatory of Music in Milan, she spent most of her
childhood travelling especially the USA with her family and thanks to
his father she's grown up listenin' to the Black Music and the Masters
of Jazz. As a child, all Sushy wanted out of life was to become a
singer, and she was driven by the music of Michae

l
Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nina Simone,  Billy Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Janis
Joplin, Lauryn Hill...and her first loves

read more »


News Article

March 05, 2014
Bahamian chosen in first class of HBCU All-Stars

Bahamian Shantel Braynen has been chosen by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) to join its first class of HBCU All-Stars, recognizing 75 undergraduate, graduate and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.
Currently enrolled at 62 HBCU's, Braynen, a senior at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Florida, and the other All-Stars were selected from 445 students who submitted applications that included a transcript, resume, essay and recommendation.
An accounting major, Braynen was shocked when she was contacted by the White House.
"I knew it was a competitive process, but I prayed that I would be chosen. I am grateful to have an opportunity to represent Bethune-Cookman and all HBCU students nationally. And I look forward to serving the community more fully," she said.
Over the course of the next year, the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the White House Initiative by providing outreach and communication to their fellow students about the value of education and the Initiative as a networking resource. Through social media and their relationships with community-based organizations, the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.
Braynen, 21, who makes up one of the 45 female strong cohort and the 30 males, will participate in regional events and web chats with Ivory Toldson, deputy director of the WHIHBCUs, other initiative staff and professionals from a wide range of disciplines. They will also have opportunities to engage with other scholars to showcase individual and collective talent across the HBCE community.
"It means a lot to me to have been chosen. I give all the glory to God for the opportunity to be chosen," she told The Nassau Guardian. "It means a lot to be chosen as an ambassador of the White House Initiative to promote education, and because I'm from The Bahamas and I'm at a small HBCU it means a lot to represent all those places and also my family."
She was recommended for the initiative by a professor at Texas A&M University who she met when she visited the school two years ago. Her academics, accomplishments and leadership ability got her accepted.
She is the daughter of Stephen and Rochelle Rolle.
Braynen, who lived in Bahama Sound, Exuma, and attended L.N. Coakley School for two years before departing for university, is a perfect 4.00 grade point average student -- an average she hopes will hold true to form through her graduation in May. She has turned in a perfect record since her freshman year.
"I really value education because I believe knowledge is power, so coming into college I had my goal to stay focused and keep the grades up," she said.
Getting to that point was a process for Braynen. She recalls being a C-average student for most of her formative years until she decided to turn things around.
"In primary school I was the student who just barely got by. In high school I was just a so-so student. The turning point for me was when I had two sisters graduate from high school and I saw how well they did -- one was even a valedictorian, so it was then I decided to take my education a little more seriously." Braynen was a 10th grade student at the time. And when she decided to make that switch, she just did it. She applied herself and saw her grade point average rise to 3.5 and above that easily.
Academically, she is a testament to all children who are struggling and who may not be applying themselves that they can struggle, but that they can make the turnaround as well.
She said it helped that when she went through those years when she did not apply herself to learning that she had parents that drilled into her and her siblings that they wanted them to do well, and that they had sacrificed so their children could receive a good education. Braynen said she knew from a child that she would attend college because her parents always pushed for it. She's just glad she made the turnaround when she did.
Braynen is also a believer in that education comes outside of the books as well. "Education is not just about book knowledge -- and this goes right back to this White House initiative -- if I hadn't gone out to Texas and met other people, then I probably wouldn't have been nominated for this Initiative, so education is much more than just studying a book," she said. "We learn from other people and through talking with others."
Her advise to high school students is to put God first in what they do. She said he would direct their path.
"I didn't see myself in primary school being here [college], but it was all in God's plan so I think first of all if they put God first he'll direct their steps in everything. They should also always have a good attitude, and by that I mean don't complain when they get a lot of work in class, but just have a good attitude, and stay focused. If they want to be a chef go out there and be the best chef they can be. If they want to be a doctor, go and be the best doctor they can be, but just stay focused and do well at what they choose to do."
With weeks to her graduation, Braynen says her immediate goals are to find a job for a few years before applying to graduate school. In 10 years she would like to have her own business and she has dream of one day starting her own mentoring initiative.
"With God all things are possible and it doesn't matter where you come from, but it matters where you end up," she says.
Nelson Mandela's quote "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb," is another favorite of hers and one that she says she hopes Bahamian students would live by as well in their approach to their academics.
"When I graduated from high school I was celebrating that I was over this big hill called high school, but I'm climbing this next hill called college and when I'm finished, there's a next hill called real life, so students should ensure that they have determination when they're climbing the hills throughout life and make sure to have God in their life and be focused to get over those hills. But while climbing the hills to also make sure to help other people up which I try to do now in college by being a role model for other students," she said.

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News Article

March 06, 2014
Dr. Myles Munroe's uncharitable arrogance and bigotry

In response to comments made by Pope Francis last August concerning judgmentalism towards gays and lesbians, and recent remarks by Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell in Trinidad and Tobago on LGBT rights, Bahamas Faith Ministries (BFM) Pastor Dr. Myles Munroe has appeared bigoted, ignorant and prejudiced. And, arrogant.
In contrast to Pope Francis, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd and other Christian leaders, Munroe appears uncharitable, not disposed to mercy, unwilling to support efforts to stem discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians.
While many church leaders do not support state-recognized same-sex marriages, they are challenging the dehumanization and demonization of gays and lesbians. Munroe's remarks may give comfort to the demonizers.
For the sake of Christian love and charity Munroe must state whether he sides with those who would do violence towards his gay brothers and sisters in the name of God or whether he stands with the likes of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, U.S. President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Mitchell and countless others who are seeking to confront violence against those of God's children who happen to be gay.
In his various remarks, Munroe has also displayed a curious ignorance, in two senses: He seems uninformed of certain facts and information, and lacking in a basic understanding of whatever information he may have reviewed.
Either he is intellectually unable to grasp certain matters or he is being purposefully misleading, or some combination of these, none of which suggests acuity and credibility on these issues.
In criticizing Pope Francis, Munroe demonstrated stunning ignorance of and a poor ability to grasp basic elements of theology and ecclesiology in the Roman Catholic tradition.
He was factually wrong in the assertion that the pope was expressing his own opinion. He was also factually wrong in his assertion that the pope was contradicting his predecessor and the position of the Catholic Church.
Doctorate
Roman Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder, who has an earned doctorate in theology from the prestigious Catholic University of America, but who chooses not to be referred to as Dr. Pinder, noted in a Guardian story that those who asserted that Pope Francis was breaking with Roman Catholic teachings in his remarks about gays and lesbians were incorrect in their assertion.
Munroe's criticism of Mitchell's Trinidad and Tobago remarks was curious and baffling, as the minister's remarks in question were limited and generally measured. Mitchell broke no new substantive ground in terms of the policies of successive Bahamian governments.
Essentially, the foreign minister was calling for protection of gays and lesbians from discrimination. Sadly, in the minds of some, efforts to stem discrimination and violence against gays and lesbians, providing them with the security of basic human rights, are unacceptable and egregious. The name for this is bigotry.
Munroe stands in a succession of religious leaders who, over the millennia, seem more seized by the strictures of the Hebrew Scriptures than they are by the example, ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ as exemplified in the Gospels.
There are no warrants for racism, sexism or homophobia in the New Testament. But bigots have for centuries engaged in all manner of proof-texting of the Hebrew Scriptures to bolster and promote their ancient prejudices and hatreds.
White racist pastors used the Hebrew texts for centuries as a basis for slavery, colonialism and the degradation of black people. Gracefully, abolitionists religious leaders found in the ministry of Jesus the moral power to confront slavery and the slave trade.
For millennia and still, many found in the Hebrew Scriptures a warrant for their misogyny and bigotry towards women. The respect for the dignity of women by Jesus in the Gospels was in various ways a radical break from the culture into which he was born. His was a liberating message of equality.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus speaks of mercy, of not judging others, of eschewing revenge, of giving to the needy. He also speaks of adultery. Sadly, for contemporary bigots, there is no mention of homosexuality.
According to a recent Nassau Guardian story Munroe noted: "'He [Mitchell] seems to have an agenda that may disqualify him from serving in the position as minister of foreign affairs, because there is a great possibility that he may be more inclined to present his own views than those of the people of The Bahamas.
"'Therefore, I am recommending that the prime minister reconsider him from being minister of foreign affairs because his personal opinions may interfere with his objectivity in the carrying out of his duties.'"
There is an agenda and a lack of objectivity. But it is by Munroe.
Resolution
Mitchell's remarks on non-discrimination against gays and lesbians were in keeping with the views of successive governments, including the Ingraham administration which supported "a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution promoting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation".
Is Munroe wilfully ignorant or being purposefully misleading? Prejudice and bigotry tend to induce jaundiced thinking.
The Guardian story quoted Munroe as saying: "'I have nothing personal against Minister Mitchell.
"'I think he is an excellent politician and man, like I am. It is nothing personal. It is more of a deep concern of his representation of our country in his position as minister...'"
The story continued: "Let me state for the record publically, [sic] Mr. Foreign Minister, I have no interest in your private life," said Munroe in the sermon.
"Personally, I really don't care about your private life. But when you step in our house that we are paying you to represent us in, you keep your private life in your closet and you deal with our public business in our interest."
There is a well-known rhetorical device and political trick of suggesting no interest in a certain matter. But by raising the matter whether obliquely or not one is clearly seeking to make a point.
By employing the language he did, Munroe used his position to hurl an innuendo against another. It was unbecoming of him as a Christian and as a fellow-citizen. It was mean-spirited and uncharitable. It is a low moment in his ministry. If he has policy disagreements with the minister, fine. But to reference another's personal life is contemptuous.
Munroe's views on gambling are well-known. Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe has spoken at home and abroad of making The Bahamas a gambling mecca. Wilchcombe continues to press the idea of regulating the numbers houses, something Munroe opposes.
Unacceptable
But in opposing Wilchcombe's policy views Munroe would not stoop so low as to raise his private life. Indeed, he would not likely to do so of any minister. What Munroe said in reference to Mitchell is unacceptable and unworthy of anyone who purports to have moral authority.
Recall that Munroe labelled Pope Francis as "reckless" pertaining to his comments on being judgmental toward gays and lesbians. Francis was reckless with love. Munroe was reckless in the manner in which he contemptuously referenced Mitchell, while feigning respect.
Munroe also impugned Pope Francis' motives as a bid to revive Roman Catholicism. The suggestion was that the pope was engaging in marketing and public relations, rather than motivated by love. One imagines that Munroe knows quite a bit about marketing and public relations.
The Guardian story noted Munroe as stating that, "He [Fred Mitchell] began to intellectually try to [discombobulate us]' ..." As suggested previously, Munroe seems easily intellectually discombobulated, as Mitchell's comments were clear and easily understandable.
The story further noted that, "Munroe said he has travelled to 138 countries, something he said Mitchell has not done.
"'So I've been to more countries representing this country than anyone else in this government,' he said."
What was his point in making such as statement, which came across to many as arrogant and self-aggrandizing?
No matter how many countries Munroe has travelled to he is not the moral ambassador of The Bahamas. Indeed in his bigotry toward gays and lesbians he does not represent many Bahamians or the future, nor does he seem to be able to represent clearly our laws regarding non-discrimination.
We have a foreign minister. Though he will rightly be criticized for various policies, he has represented clearly, articulately and intelligently, the policies of successive administrations in terms of non-discrimination toward gays and lesbians. It is more than can be said for Munroe.
o frontporchguardian@gmail.com, www.bahamapundit.com.

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News Article

February 29, 2012
A teaching moment about 'our' sports

I just don't get it. Our political leaders (all of them) continue to miss the boat when it comes to recognizing the true importance of sports to this country and act accordingly.
It is so obvious that the only way the criminal element in this country will be pushed back is if the national sports program is expanded to gobble up the vast majority of the young boys and girls who go astray because of having no positive sense of direction. The national sports program is a great option for our little boys and girls and the older ones as well.
The Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium was bursting at the seams with people on Saturday past. There was the big question bandied around about whether the stadium would ever be seated to capacity. Well, we got our answer.
Let's be clear about the situation. On Saturday, the overwhelming support was not about politics. The politicians were neutralized on Saturday even though they came out in big numbers. The response from the crowd to the names of Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie was subdued and similar. No, it was not about them.
Yet, the ongoing comments from that arena prove that the politicizing never stops. The real teaching moment from the event was about sports. Only sports can get all Bahamians, from every persuasion together. Hypocrisy appears to be a constant among our politicians when dealing with sports in particular.
They soak up the opportunities to grandstand on forums created by the awesome collective ability within the Bahamian sports fraternity. They boast and praise the athletes, administrators, coaches and trainers to the highest. Still, against that backdrop, just the financial crumbs from the National Budget table fall off to the national sports program. I invite readers to compare the allocations for health, education and tourism to that of sports. By no means do I wish to dilute the significance and importance of prime health care, high-level educational opportunities and tourism vibrancy to the stable existence of our people. It's been proven over and over again though that the national sports program deserves to be right up there in that top category of budget allocations.
Young boys and girls are dying by way of crime. The lives of others are been snuffed out almost daily, by the young among us. The role models of more and more of our young are not Tommy Robinson, Andre Rodgers, Sir Durward Knowles, Cynthia Moxey-Pratt, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Chris Brown, Mark Knowles, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Devard Darling, Mychal Thompson, Gomeo Brennan, Glen Griffin, Carl Minns or the many others of that ilk.
Today, the role models who too many of our young seek to emulate, are the crime merchants. It is because the system has changed to enable those who promote crime to be in closer contact with our young. The burden on the sporting administrators, coaches, trainers and other mentors is too great because of the numbers that need attention and the meager funds to go around. Many sports mentors spend personal funds, just to provide meaningful opportunities for sporting growth.
I have personal knowledge of this. The biggest reason for my resignation as president of the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) way back in 1976 was because my children were getting bigger and more expensive. I no longer was able to afford helping to pay some of the costs for those monthly trips to the Florida Golden Gloves, and other friendly competitions against Bermuda and Canada.
Grants for federations and the National Subvention Program were decades beyond the horizon then. Now, thanks to the central administration, grants and subventions are commonplace. The funding for the subvention program is fine. The grants must be adjusted greatly. The core sports group needs $300,000 at least per year and the smaller sports programs around $200,000.
An essential body like the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission (BADC) should be given $500,000 yearly, because of the huge area mandated by the law. If this happens, crime would not be eliminated but there will be a huge dent in the activities of the criminally inclined. The sporting programs would then be in position to inculcate our wayward youth and those who are apt to be directed to the wrong paths in life.
It was indeed a teaching moment about sports on Saturday, February 25 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. I wonder just how many learned the lesson taught. I'm sure the man whose name the national stadium bears, got the message. He's been a part of the message for many years. Maybe in his own way now, he will be able, somehow, to educate the politicians about the true value of sports.
Thomas Augustus Robinson no doubt was aware of the teaching moment. Congratulations Tommy for the honor bestowed upon you.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at fredericksturrup@gmail.com)

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News Article

February 24, 2012
2012 West End Eco-Fishing Camp set to begin a fun-filled season

WEST END, Grand Bahama -- The West End Eco-Fishing Camp is pleased to announce the fourth year of their program designed for local kids who are immersed into a number of activities to get them thinking about their role as "caretakers of the earth and living seas." The camp is held in partnership with the Royal Bahamas Police Force who saw the need to initiate signature community programs to encourage the children to learn about basic first aid, water safety, and swimming, introduction to boating, ecology, kayaking, hand line fishing, and fly fishing. Led by a group of adult volunteers from the local community and officers from the West End police station the kids are kept busy learning about "Esprit de Corps" or group spirit that encourages a team effort in each of the planned activities.
The first camp program began in the spring of 2009 with a goal to ensure that the children from West End would learn about entrepreneur and career opportunities as marine biologists, scientists, ecology tour guides, environmentalists, small boat engine mechanics, oceanographers, agriculture, and aqua-culture farmers. Kids are also included from throughout West Grand Bahama and Pineridge who join together to accept their role as "future environmentalists and ecologists" The eco-fishing camp is slated to open March 10 through May 26, 2012. The sessions are held on Saturday mornings from 9AM to 2PM.

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News Article

February 27, 2012
Profile: Craig Pinder

In his latest role, Bahamian performer Craig Pinder takes on Shakespeare's tragic character of Othello, a cultural outsider in his community whose actions challenge society's rigid expectations of his character.
Though Pinder's story is one of triumph rather than tragedy, his international career in theater has kept him at a distance from his Bahamian home. Recently however, with a string of Bahamian parts played out both on the stage and on screen, Pinder looks to The Bahamas as a promising place of growth in performing arts with the right encouragement he's seen instituted in the places he's lived abroad.
"Every time I come back to The Bahamas, I'm always astounded at how much natural talent and ability Bahamians have," he said. "All I see is opportunities that are needed for kids and adults to help them develop that creativity, like a National Youth Theatre Program and workshops besides a thriving scene of theatrical productions."
"I think The Bahamas can be a center for theater - the talent and desire is here. The response to Othello is fantastic, people are keen and longing for it," he continued. "Theater needs funding. It hardly makes any money, especially good theater. But just because it doesn't make any money doesn't make it less valid. That needs to be respected - it's not a waste of money to invest in these projects."
Though he lives and works in the UK to pursue a fulfilling stage acting career, Craig Pinder's Bahamian roots run as deep as his love for performance. Inspired by his father Bill Pinder, who he performed alongside as a young boy of eight years old in productions in The Bahamas, he was bitten by the bug.
It wasn't until high school at Queen's College, however, that his English teacher, Rodger Kelty, pointed out that his love for performance matched his inherent talent when, at his teacher's urging, Pinder recited passages from Henry V in the fashion of Lawrence Olivier.
"Afterwards, he came up to me and said I should go into acting, but I didn't think it was possible," remembered Pinder. "The people I knew who did acting were TV stars and it seemed so far away, so inaccessible. How could a Bahamian do it? It seemed to be an impossible dream."
Yet while studying Chemistry at Reading University in England in the 1970s, Pinder still couldn't avoid his true calling. He joined the Drama Society on campus and immediately landed his first major lead role as Romeo in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet".
"I was there studying chemistry, but my heart was in drama," he laughed.
So after graduating and while working and living at home in The Bahamas and with the urging of his mentor Audry Grindrod, he worked towards earning his London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) gold medal. When the opportunity presented itself to try out for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) while he completed his LAMDA, he took it and earned one of the only two spots available for his division. Pinder eluded such talent as a dedicated performer during his time at RADA from 1979-1981 that he left with the Ronson Prize for the most Promising Actor Award.
With that under his belt, Pinder went on to lead the actor's life first in New York City with off-Broadway stage acting stints and small TV roles interspersed with odd jobs, and then finally to London, where he set his sights on a major stage career.
"I think I'm more of a theater person - some people, the camera loves them, but theater is me," he said. "London was and still is a theater place with a lot of big name actors. They have a tradition of it."
Since then, Pinder has become a stage sensation in the UK acting world, breaking out with his first major lead role, Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables", and then, upon joining the Royal Shakespeare Company, many notable roles in Shakesperean productions. He's also had notable roles in "Mamma Mia!", "Sweeney Todd", "Footloose" and "Death of a Salesman", among other diverse roles in emerging plays.
Yet Pinder experienced great fulfillment when he was finally able to make a big impact in the Bahamian performing scene, playing a part in Kareem Mortimer's groundbreaking film, "Children of God".
"It was a fantastic experience and it was the first time I think I've ever played a Bahamian and it felt very strange and very wonderful - I could actually 'act' being Bahamian instead of putting on an American or British accent," he remembered. "It just meant so much to me to do that."
He then also took part in the film "Wind Jammers" and in "The Tempest", which he also co-directed as part of the Bahamian theater festival, Shakespeare in Paradise. Such opportunities were invaluable to the actor who finds theater and film developing at an exciting pace in his homeland.
"At the back of my mind, I always wanted to come back and do something in the creative environment here because it's a part of me. It's a part of my cultural background and as an actor, you're really acting parts of yourself," he said. "If you spend your entire career not referring to your own culture, you're missing a huge part of your creative spectrum."
Likewise, he also pointed out that if a society misses out on its cultural aspects like theater - indeed, all arts - it suffers a lack of benefits the arts can bring not only as an enjoyable and thought-provoking pastime to its patrons, but as a fulfilling activity for its artists and amateurs.
Rising crime rates certainly have a multitude of contributors, but with a lack of an infrastructure not only to encourage arts developments with funding at the professional level, but also at the amateur level with students, the youth will continue to misdirect their energy into dangerous and unfulfilling pastimes when the alternative could easily be presented to them.
"People seem to think the arts aren't important. Generally politicians cut arts funding because it's seen as a luxury, but I say you think that at your peril," said Pinder. "If you're going through tough times, how can a society heal its suffering without addressing it?"
"Art is important because it tells us about ourselves, our experiences, about what we all have in common, all these feelings we can't explain or control that are irrational," he continued. "But if you see something that touches on those experiences, it often helps you to deal with them. It's a mirror to nature, as Shakespeare said, it's a way of finding out what we're about and a way to help ourselves to be better, happier, more in control and more fulfilled, more whole."

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News Article

February 27, 2012
'Great need' for autism awareness in The Bahamas

By ALESHA CADET

Tribune Features Reporter

A LOCAL doctor is encouraging people to unite and work together in an effort to raise awareness about autism in The Bahamas.

Dr Michelle Major, who began her career in the field of autism as an inclusion teacher and a verbal behaviour therapist for children with autism, said awareness of the neurological disorder in The Bahamas, and indeed the Caribbean, is limited.

The Bahamas, she said, is in need of early intervention, early identification and adult training programmes, just to name a few initiatives.

With her experience of speaking on autism at international forums, Dr Major said in her view government support is essential in helping children ...

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News Article

March 01, 2012
Italian pop singer, Sushy shoots music video in Grand Bahama

GRAND BAHAMA, The
Bahamas - Italian R & B, pop, dance, and sometimes rock singer,
Sushy is in Grand Bahama shooting her latest music video.  The island
offers an idyllic shooting venue for its diverse and lush locations on
and off the water.  Her new music video is called, "Water" and scenes were also shot in Florida.

From the tender age of 5 Susanna Galimi alias "Sushy"  started piano
lessons at the Conservatory of Music in Milan, she spent most of her
childhood travelling especially the USA with her family and thanks to
his father she's grown up listenin' to the Black Music and the Masters
of Jazz. As a child, all Sushy wanted out of life was to become a
singer, and she was driven by the music of Michae

l
Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nina Simone,  Billy Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Janis
Joplin, Lauryn Hill...and her first loves

read more »


News Article

March 01, 2012
Leroy Stanley Johnson, 69

Memorial service for Leroy Stanley Johnson, 69, of Flint and Taylor Streets will be held on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 at Amazing Grace Missionary Baptist Church, Wilson Tract Officiating will be Sr. Pastor, Rev. Elva Johnson J.P., assisted by Rev. Merion. E. Roberts J.P., Rev. Dr. George Barry and other Ministers of the Gospel.
Left to cherish his precious memories are: his three(3): daughters Naurae and Michelle Johnson and Natasha Ferguson six(6) sisters: Naomi Carey, Rosemary Lowe, Sherry Lowe, Donnamae Lowe, Garnelle Lowe-Holmes and Sharon Lowe - Byrd; two (2) brothers: Anthony and Bradley Lowe; twelve (12) grand-children: Nerissa Johnson, George Willie, Delya Ferguson, Natricia Wainwright, Berget ...

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News Article

March 03, 2012
Illegitimacy in The Bahamas

The Department of Statistics has released its Births Report for the period 1970 to 2010.  An interesting section of the report relates to illegitimacy - that is, children born to unmarried mothers.
According to the report, births to unwed mothers in The Bahamas escalated during the past 40 years from 29 percent in 1970, to a high of 62 percent in 2009.  Births to unwed mothers dropped slightly in 2010 to 59 percent.
"Births to unwed mothers remained the largest annual natural increase to the Bahamian population," said the Department of Statistics in the report.
The traditional home in which married parents shared the responsibility of child rearing has been eclipsed by a new Bahamas in which mothers primarily carry the burden of bringing up children.  Some men who father children to women they are not married to make an effort.  Many do not, however.
There are several disadvantages to a society growing via this model.  The combined income and attention of two well-intentioned parents in a home far surpass what a well-intentioned mother, burdened by being both a father and mother, can provide to a child.
Beyond resources, children need examples to use to model behavior.  When no father is present in the home, a boy is robbed of an example of how to be, or not to be, a man.  Similarly, girls are denied the example of observing masculinity up close when their fathers are missing.
One of the few measures the state can take to influence the reproductive patterns of its citizens is to ensure aggressively that child maintenance laws are tough and enforced.  When men refuse to financially help take care of their children, they can be taken to court by mothers and made to pay.  And they should be made to pay.  People are the most important natural resource of any society.  Every investment must be made in the next generation to ensure it is as capable as possible to meet the challenges of the times.
The church has a role to play in this issue too.  The message must again be aggressively and consistently sent to Bahamians that two-parent homes with focused and dedicated parents are more ideal than homes in which mothers struggle to do it all alone.  And when children are born to unwed mothers it must be emphasized from our pulpits that it is morally reprehensible for a man not to take care of his children.
A positive trend in the report is that the number of teenage pregnancy remains significantly under the highs of a few decades ago.  According to the report, in 1980 there were 1,107 births recorded to teenage mothers; 763 in 1990; 580 in 2000; and 533 in 2010.
Girls who have not even finished their secondary education are not well-equipped to be mothers.  The public education initiatives in place in schools and via the media seem to have had some positive effect on this problem.
Additionally, the state must continue to ensure that men who commit statutory rape and impregnate girls are prosecuted.  The aggressive prosecution of these men should help deter others from engaging in this destructive behavior.
 
 

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News Article

February 28, 2012
Jordan gets his miracle

Jordan Carey's parents often joke that their son must have a battery in him because he's constantly on the go, walking and running around. The rare times the toddler sits still for any length of time are to watch his favorite pal, Elmo. But it was just a few months ago when he started creeping that they noticed he would get tired quickly and would have to stop and rest a lot. They believe that tiredness deterred him from pursuing walking with much zeal.
For most parents during pregnancy, thoughts are of giving birth to a healthy child - they don't much care what the sex may be. Joretta Roberts and D'Angelo Carey felt the same way, but when they learned their newborn son, Jordan, needed surgery to repair a number of defects, it not only caused the first time parents' hearts to "skip a beat", but was the start of a long road of hurdles their son would have to overcome.
Just hours after Jordan's birth, it was discovered that he had a gastrointestinal tract issue that needed to be addressed, specifically a diagnosis for imperforate anus. As he was being airlifted from Grand Bahama to New Providence the doctor on the air ambulance detected the infant also had a heart murmur. He was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart defect, by pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jerome Lightbourne.
Early on in his young life, the infant had to undergo two surgeries related to bowel repair during which time medical professionals monitored his heart condition for which the surgery would cost the family into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The family did not have health insurance.
"Jordan needed a corrective surgery to fix his heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot - basically different things being wrong with his heart that needed to be fixed if he would live normally," said his father. "The surgery would've cost my fiancee and I about $270,000. At that point neither of us were employed. Joretta was in medical school, completing her studies and at that time I was unemployed. Joretta had some medical coverage, but our son was not covered on it as yet and at that point, he was uninsurable. Knowing that we needed to come up with that money, we knew we needed help. We needed a miracle," said the father.
Three months ago at age 14 months, Roberts and Carey got their "miracle" as their son's much-needed surgery was paid for by the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, a nonprofit organization that specializes in assisting children with heart problems.
Now at 17 months, Joretta and D'Angelo are wondering whether doctors left a battery in their son after his surgery because he has so much energy and is doing well.
Roberts was enrolled in medical school when she learned she was pregnant. She said it was an uneventful pregnancy, and they didn't think anything would be amiss. She planned to take six months leave to breastfeed before returning to school to do her final examinations and residency.
"There was no indication that there was anything wrong. I went through regular checkups and had two ultrasounds done. Organ development and everything else seemed fine. If there was a heart murmur in utero it is generally considered normal unless there is a family history which there was none in our case. So really there was nothing that made us feel our baby would be anything but healthy," she said. Jordan was born on August 20, 2010.
Everything changed within moments of his birth.
Jordan's heart surgery was performed at the Joe DiMaggio Hospital in Florida.
"I don't know what his chances at life were without the surgery, but from what I saw in research he wouldn't have lived a quality life if it wasn't done," said his father.
His mother, a member of the medical field,knew all of the possible outcomes of surgery and was concerned - not so much about the surgery itself, but how long it would take her son to fully recover. Jordan was discharged from hospital a little over a week after his surgery. Since then she said he has been nothing but a "ball of energy".
"Jordan is now 18 months old and he's doing well. He's so remarkable to watch. He's running around, likes to play ball and feed himself. He copies everything you do, loves Elmo and is just a typical child - full of energy and wanting his own way. It's so remarkable to see all of this especially knowing where he came from," said Roberts. "The only concerns he has right now is that the other surgeries he underwent not long after he was born to fix his gastrointestinal tract has resulted in him having to use a colostomy bag. But he is scheduled for this third and final surgery concerning that in the near future. He is fine and he is happy nonetheless. A typical child," she said.
The parents give back by assisting the Sir Victor Sasson (Bahamas) Heart Foundation with fundraising efforts. They are also active in the Grand Bahama Heart Association.
The parents said the heart foundation is truly God's hand extended. And that the people that are supporters, friends and laborers in the organization have the opportunity to assist God in performing miracles. They encourage people to support the foundation's fundraisers like the annual heart ball and become members of the association. They also encourage people to simply give because they say every dollar adds up.
Prior to their son's surgery, neither Roberts nor Carey knew much about the foundation and like most people, didn't realize what extent the foundation goes to in order to save lives. As such they said they are both dedicated to bringing a greater awareness of the organizations to people.
"Everyone sees programs like 'Feed the Children' or 'Make a Wish' and many people are hard and fast on sending donations across the sea to help people they don't even know or probably will never see. There is nothing wrong with this, but I think that supporting local nonprofit organizations like the heart foundation is so important," said Roberts.
"There are 11 kids on the list awaiting heart surgeries and we need to help. You can watch a miracle happen before your very eyes right here in our country when you give to support the children that need these surgeries. You help to give life and save lives with the small donations you give. It's inspirational to see these kids grow up and now in their 20s still doing well. The foundation has done this for over 4,000 kids in The Bahamas in the 50 years it has been around. Charity begins at home and ends abroad. So doing whatever you can is an awesome way to support your own fellow Bahamian," she said.
Besides the heart foundation's assistance, Roberts said supportive family and friends got them through their ordeal. She also advises people to always try to find a support group during tough times because besides financial woes, she said a person's emotional state can be greatly impacted and having others around who care and understand, helps.
With her son's improving health, Roberts has returned to completing her medical studies because she does not have to worry extensively about what is happening at home.

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Event
Christmas Capers
Christmas Capers

Thursday 20th December 2012  9:00 AM

Christmas Capers Mini Day Camps 2012 December, 20th and 21st Ages 5-12 9.00am – 12.00pm Children learn the basics of animal care and humane treatment. Through educational books & DVD’s, Kitty Cuddles, Puppy Baths, Dog Walks, Pony Grooming and interaction with the Bahamas Humane Society Adoption Animals and Staff Limited space so register early! Fees are payable in advance. Daily $30 2 Day Mini Camp $55 *Children should bring a snack and drink* A dog leash and old towel would be helpful. The dogs appreciate the kids bringing them dog bones, and the donkey,ponies, goats and rabbits love treats of vegetables, fruits and bread.


Event
Christmas Capers
Christmas Capers

Friday 21st December 2012  9:00 AM

Christmas Capers Mini Day Camps 2012 December, 20th and 21st Ages 5-12 9.00am – 12.00pm Children learn the basics of animal care and humane treatment. Through educational books & DVD’s, Kitty Cuddles, Puppy Baths, Dog Walks, Pony Grooming and interaction with the Bahamas Humane Society Adoption Animals and Staff Limited space so register early! Fees are payable in advance. Daily $30 2 Day Mini Camp $55 *Children should bring a snack and drink* A dog leash and old towel would be helpful. The dogs appreciate the kids bringing them dog bones, and the donkey,ponies, goats and rabbits love treats of vegetables, fruits and bread.


Event
BHS Animal Fun Day
BHS Animal Fun Day

Sunday 24th February 2013  6:00 PM

Event Has Been postponed to Sunday April 21st Sunday, February 24th is the BHS Animal Fun Day, to be held once again at the Botanical Gardens. This enjoyable day out is perfect for both children and animals and great for the entire family. Bring your dog, bring your loved ones and join us for an afternoon of family fun. Gates open at noon and the festivities continue till 6 p.m. Enter your dog in the dog/owner lookalike contest, find out who has the waggiest tail, and have your photo taken at the Kissing Booth. There will be food, booths, and games. If you're able to volunteer for the day, please contact Laura Kimble @ (kimblelaura@gmail.com). Founded in 1924, the Bahamas Humane Society is the oldest charity in the Bahamas and was originally called the Dumb Friends League. It is affiliated to numerous international organisations, including the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). It is the only humane organisation in the Caribbean to hold membership of the Standards of Excellence Program sponsored by the American Humane Association of which it has been a member since 1989. The BHS employs two full time veterinarians. It offers a 24 hour emergency ambulance service and provides care for sick, injured and abandoned animals.


News Article

February 28, 2012
Ganglion cysts can be painful and affect proper functioning of the foot

Ganglion cysts are also known as "Bible cysts" because they were treated with "Bible therapy" which entailed the use of a heavy book to smash and burst the cyst. Thankfully, this form of treatment is no longer recommended because they do not prevent ganglion cysts from returning and could cause further injury.
A ganglion cyst is the most common benign tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (connects muscle to bone). The word "ganglion" means "knot" and is used to describe the knot-like mass or lump that forms below the surface of the skin. It looks like a sac of liquid (cyst). Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jelly-like material. Depending on the size, the cyst may feel firm or spongy. Although they most often occur on the wrist, they frequently develop on the foot, usually on the top of the foot.

Ganglion cysts can vary in size, may get smaller and larger, and may even disappear for a time and then return later.
Ganglion cysts are more common in women, and 70 percent occur in people between 20 and 40 years of age. Ganglion cysts rarely occur in children younger than 10 years of age. They are not serious or an emergency situation, but can be painful and affect proper functioning of the foot. In fact, many ganglion cysts (38 percent to 58 percent) can disappear on their own without treatment.

Causes
The exact cause of ganglion cysts is not known. One theory suggests that trauma causes the tissues of the joint to break down forming small cysts, which then join into a larger, more obvious mass. Another theory suggests that damage in the joint capsule or tendon covering (sheath) allows the joint tissue to collect fluid and bulge out.

Symptoms
A ganglion cyst most often appears as a soft lump on top of the foot. It moves easily under the skin when you touch it and may feel like a small smooth stone. Most ganglion cysts tend to cause some degree of pain, usually following acute or repetitive trauma. If the cyst is touching a nerve, people may complain of tingling or burning to the foot or toes beyond the cyst. If the cyst is pressing against a tendon or joint they may experience a dull pain or ache as the cyst takes up space in the foot. There may be difficulty wearing shoes over the cyst which may lead to pain and swelling. The ganglion cyst usually appears as a bump (mass) that changes size. It is usually soft, and about half to 1.2 inches in size. Up to 35 percent of people only have the cyst and no other symptoms like pain or swelling.

Diagnosis
Visit your podiatrist to make sure that you have a ganglion cyst, keep you from worrying and help you to decide on the best treatment for you. To diagnose a ganglion cyst, the podiatrist will perform a physical exam of the foot. The lump will be visible on the foot and when pressed it will move freely underneath the skin. The podiatrist may try to shine a light through the cyst or use a syringe to draw out some of the fluid in the cyst (needle aspiration) for evaluation. Your podiatrist may take an x-ray to evaluate the joint under the cyst, but often times it does not show anything wrong. An ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered if further confirmation is needed
Non-surgical treatment
There are various options for treating a ganglion cyst on the foot.
Monitoring, but no treatment: If the cyst does not cause pain and does not interfere with walking or wearing shoes, it may be decided it is best to carefully watch the cyst over a period of time.
Shoe modifications: You may be advised to wear shoes that do not rub on the cyst or cause irritation. In addition, placing a pad inside the shoe may help reduce pressure against the cyst.
Aspiration and injection: The podiatrist may drain the fluid from the cyst and then inject some medication into the cyst to prevent it from coming back. Studies have shown that up to 74 percent of people are cured after having the fluid drawn out of the cyst with a needle. This may need to be repeated. In some cases, the cyst may return.
When is surgery needed?
Surgical removal of the cyst is needed when the mass is painful, interferes with function and wearing shoes, or causes numbness or tingling. Surgery can involve simple removal of the cysts through a small incision. The recovery after surgery is fairly quickly, about one to two weeks. The recurrence rate after surgery is much lower than after aspiration and injection, however there is still a chance that the Ganglion cyst can return.

oFor more information visit www.foothealth.com or www.emedicinehealth.com or email foothealth242@gmail.com. To see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820 for an appointment.

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Event
BHS Animal Fun Day
BHS Animal Fun Day

Sunday 21st April 2013  6:00 PM

Sunday, February 21st is the BHS Animal Fun Day, to be held once again at the Botanical Gardens. This enjoyable day out is perfect for both children and animals and great for the entire family. Bring your dog, bring your loved ones and join us for an afternoon of family fun. Gates open at noon and the festivities continue till 6 p.m. Enter your dog in the dog/owner lookalike contest, find out who has the waggiest tail, and have your photo taken at the Kissing Booth. There will be food, booths, and games. If you're able to volunteer for the day, please contact Laura Kimble @ (kimblelaura@gmail.com). Founded in 1924, the Bahamas Humane Society is the oldest charity in the Bahamas and was originally called the Dumb Friends League. It is affiliated to numerous international organisations, including the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). It is the only humane organisation in the Caribbean to hold membership of the Standards of Excellence Program sponsored by the American Humane Association of which it has been a member since 1989. The BHS employs two full time veterinarians. It offers a 24 hour emergency ambulance service and provides care for sick, injured and abandoned animals.


News Article

January 31, 2012
In the fight of her life

To look at her, you couldn't tell that Tamika Pratt, 36, is battling a disease that can cause life-threatening bleeding. A disease that is rare in people under age 40, and which generally occurs around age 60 and is a disease that is more common in men than women.
The mother of two is fighting for her life as she battles acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. It's a cancer that grows from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells. The bone marrow, which helps the body fight infections, eventually stops working correctly. People with AML become more prone to infections and have an increased risk for bleeding as the numbers of healthy blood cells decrease. And it develops quickly, replacing healthy blood cells.
Pratt, a mother of two, Davonte, 17 and Jermika, 11 was diagnosed with the disease in September 2010. Since then her life has been a revolving door of hospital stays for chemotherapy treatment and blood transfusions. (She's had so many transfusions that she's stopped counting). And she's been in and out of remission. What she really needs to turn the tide of this disease is a bone marrow transplant. And she and her family have tried a few inventive ways to get her plight before the public, including offering cell phone cards in $5 and $10 denominations to the public in an effort to get them to donate blood to her cause. Most recently, Pratt took to the Internet to explain her plight in hopes of identifying a bone marrow transplant donor to hopefully provide her with a cure for the aggressive cancer that she has.
She is registered with bone marrow donor programs, but a compatible donor has not been found. And doctors in the United States have told her that the percentage for black Americans in the registry is very low.
"For me, time is running out. This is why I have decided to reach out to my Bahamian people for bone marrow. You could save my life," she said in her Internet appeal.
People between the ages of 18 and 60, in good general health who aren't greatly overweight or have or at a high risk for contracting HIV can be a potential donor. Even people with elevated blood pressure (hypertension) can still be a donor, once their hypertension is well controlled by medication. But they need to get tested to see if their bone marrow matches with Pratt's, through a simple swab of their cheek. The test costs approximate $200, but if you don't want to get tested in her e-mail, Pratt asks people to help someone with funding who would like to be tested to cover the cost of the test.
Symptoms of AML include bleeding from the nose, bleeding gums, bruising, bone pain or tenderness, fatigue, fever, heavy menstrual periods, pallor, shortness of breath (gets worse with exercise), skin rash or lesion, swollen gums (which is very rare) and weight loss.
At the time of Pratt's diagnosis she said she was just feeling extremely tired all the time. During her regular physical, her results showed that her counts were not normal. She was referred to a hematologist who did a bone marrow biopsy. It was determined she had myelodysplastic syndrome [MDS], or what is known as pre-leukemia. She was not worried at that point because she was told it was treatable, but that she had to seek treatment abroad. Less than a month later she had traveled to the United States to seek medical care. It was there that she was given a second bone marrow biopsy. The result this time was that the aggressive cancer had moved beyond MDS and she had leukemia.
The mother of two spent five weeks in hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments. From then to now, hospitals at home and in the United States have been a "revolving door" for her.
"I knew from the beginning that I would have to have a bone marrow transplant, but I was hoping the chemotherapy treatments would work and it wouldn't get to that," said Pratt. "But since this is my third relapse, I said I'd better try see what I could do for myself, so this is something I'm doing on my own trying to find people. I don't know where I'm going to get the money from, but somehow it's going to happen," said Pratt. People wishing to be tested have to pay out of their own pocket, or Pratt will have to "pony up" the cash and pay for them.
Sadly, she does not have any full siblings that can be tested to donate marrow. She has two half-siblings born to her mother, and another 10 half-siblings from her father who have not been tested, because there is only a one-percent chance they would be a match for her. Her mother and one sister have both been tested, but they are still waiting on the results. Her father is deceased.
Most of the time, a doctor cannot tell what caused AML, but there are things that they believe lead to some types of leukemia, including AML, like certain chemicals, certain chemotherapy drugs or radiation. It is also believed that problems with genes may also play a role in the development of AML and that the risk increases if a person has a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, or certain blood disorders.
Since her diagnosis, Pratt said she has not cried once or adopted a woe is me attitude. She says she has accepted what has happened and is taking one day at a time. She says while she tries to maintain a smile on her face and be upbeat, she admits to having her moments.
"Sometimes the devil comes in my mind," she said. "Christmas gone I went and picked up little things, and the devil came in my mind and said, 'Girl, what you picking up these things for? You ain't going to live to see Christmas,' but I simply said, 'Devil, you're a liar.' My son is graduating high school in June and sometimes I wonder if I will be there, but I'm going to be there," she said confidently.
As she searches for a bone marrow donor, she is appealing to Bahamians to donate blood to the hospitals because getting transfusions which has been getting her by, has also been a problem for her.
"I'm just pleading to the public to come forward ... and I wouldn't even go as far as the bone marrow transplant. If they could just put themselves in somebody else's shoe and commit to once a month donating a pint of blood, they could save somebody's life," she said. "If it don't hit them home, they don't feel like they need to do it. And I didn't realize how bad it was until it happened to me."
She admits to not knowing how important it is to be a blood donor until she found herself in the situation she is now in needing to have blood transfusions performed almost every other week.
Pratt's battle has also been expensive and she is thankful for her husband's insurance coverage. But exactly how much she has left of that gives her cause for concern.
"I'm scared to even try to add up the amount I've spent. I'm even scared to call the insurance company to find out how much coverage I have left. My first bill from [the U.S.-based facility] was almost $200,000 for the five weeks I spent there. I have my hospital bill there, my hospital bill here, and I have my doctor bill here. I have stopped asking. I'm afraid to ask," she says.
As she looks forward to her future she says she has no reason not to smile and be depressed because God has been good to her. And her husband, Jermaine Pratt stands by her. Plus she does everything she can to keep up a happy front for her children which she said was challenging initially because she tried to keep her illness from them.
"I didn't want to burden them down, so that was a challenge for me. Even when I went away the first time I told them I went away to do testing, but not what was going on with me. And that really had me stressed. After a while I told them separately and explained it to them differently, taking into account their ages. My daughter was pretty good, and the only thing my son wanted to know was whether it would happen to him too. But I told him no that he would be fine. They handled it so well. I didn't give them enough credit. Sometimes my son comes to me with questions, and once I answer him, he's fine.
As she searches for a bone marrow donor, in her fight to live, Pratt has been thrown a number of curve balls, including losing her job in the middle of 2011, which she says she's understanding of because she realizes her employer's office had to continue to run and her home was burgled. Thieves made off with money she had in a drawer to pay for an airline ticket to receive treatment. That was followed by her husband's car being broken into.

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Event
Bahamas Circus-The Best Show in The Bahamas
Bahamas Circus-The Best Show in The Bahamas

Friday 15th March 2013  8:00 PM

SOFT TOUCH PRODUCTIONS Presents Bahamas Circus-The Best Show in The Bahamas Dates- March 15th Day showing-10am Evening showing-8pm March 16th Evening showing-8pm Tickets depots: Seventeen shop, Collins avenue Original Swiss shop, Cable beach Carey's Deparment store, Mackey st Conliffe Bakery, Carmichael Rd Ticket Prices 5 and over-$15 2- 4years- $10 Free Under 2 years School Information School Matinees in Nassau will be held Monday – Thursday, 4th-8th, March, 2013 at 9:30am & 1:00pm. School Matinees in Grand Bahama will be held Monday – Thursday,11th-15th, March, 2013 at 9:30am & 1:00pm. Tickets are $10 for Pre-School $12 for Primary $15 for High School Students. We would like to confirm our offer to you of retaining for a school project, the following on each child who attends Pre-Schoolers $2, and Primary & High School students $3. Any participating school will retain 50% of all their ticket sales. Raffle Tickets are available now for distribution. The raffle will be drawn on Saturday, 27th April, 2013 and prizes are as follows:- Samsung Galaxy S2 4G Cell Phone 42” Flat Screen Television Blackberry Playbook Apple iPad II iPod Touch Xbox 360 Kinect Round-trip ticket for 2 on “Bahamas Celebrations” from Freeport Round-trip ticket for 2 on “The Bohengy” from Nassau Kindly advise at your earliest a day, date and time we can address your school’s as BahamasCircus.com


Event
Bahamas Circus-The Best Show in The Bahamas

Saturday 16th February 2013  8:00 PM

SOFT TOUCH PRODUCTIONS Presents Bahamas Circus-The Best Show in The Bahamas March 16th Evening showing-8pm Tickets depots: Seventeen shop, Collins avenue Original Swiss shop, Cable beach Carey's Deparment store, Mackey st Conliffe Bakery, Carmichael Rd Ticket Prices 5 and over-$15 2- 4years- $10 Free Under 2 years School Information School Matinees in Nassau will be held Monday – Thursday, 4th-8th, March, 2013 at 9:30am & 1:00pm. School Matinees in Grand Bahama will be held Monday – Thursday,11th-15th, March, 2013 at 9:30am & 1:00pm. Tickets are $10 for Pre-School $12 for Primary $15 for High School Students. We would like to confirm our offer to you of retaining for a school project, the following on each child who attends Pre-Schoolers $2, and Primary & High School students $3. Any participating school will retain 50% of all their ticket sales. Raffle Tickets are available now for distribution. The raffle will be drawn on Saturday, 27th April, 2013 and prizes are as follows:- Samsung Galaxy S2 4G Cell Phone 42” Flat Screen Television Blackberry Playbook Apple iPad II iPod Touch Xbox 360 Kinect Round-trip ticket for 2 on “Bahamas Celebrations” from Freeport Round-trip ticket for 2 on “The Bohengy” from Nassau Kindly advise at your earliest a day, date and time we can address your school’s as BahamasCircus.com


Event
Medical Association of The Bahamas 41st Annual Scientific Conference
Medical Association of The Bahamas 41st Annual Scientific Conference

Thursday 7th March 2013  2:00 PM

Medical Association of The Bahamas 41st Annual Scientific Conference March 6 – 8, 2013 British Colonial Hilton Hotel Thursday March 7, 2013 2:00pm – 2:30pm The C.R. Walker Memorial Lecture “A JOURNEY THROUGH CHILDHOOD” Dr. Percival McNeil Paediatrician Nassau, Bahamas Session IV 2:30pm - 5:20pm TOPIC: THE COST OF MEDICAL CARE IN THE BAHAMAS IS TOO HIGH AND PHYSICIANS ARE THE CAUSE Moderator - Dr. Sheena Antonio-Collie Panel debate: 2 teams (4 speakers) PRO: Dr. Robin Roberts Director UWI.SCMR (Presenter- 10 min) Dr. Glen Beneby Medical Advisor PHA (Rebutter- 5 min) CON: Dr. Paul Ward Chief of Staff, Rand Hospital (Presenter- 10 min) Dr. Duane Sands Cardiothoracic Surgeon (Rebutter- 5 min) 3:00pm Questions for debate panel 3:10pm BREAK/ VIEW EXHIBITS TOPIC: CHRONIC NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: STEMMING THE UPSURGE IN OUR SOCIETY 3:20pm Updates In Stroke Management in The Bahamas Dr. Charles Rahming MBBS, Neurologist and internist PMH Nassau, Bahamas 3:40pm Treating To Targets Dr. Winston Forbes MD, Cardiologist, The Rand Memorial Hospital, Freeport, Bahamas 4:00pm The Medical Management of Obesity and It’s Effectiveness in Our Society Dr. Nikkiah Forbes MBBS, DM Internal Medicine, Nassau, Bahamas 4:20pm Questions to the above panel of speakers 4:30pm Keynote Speaker: Local Experience With Weight Loss Surgery; Effect of Weight Reduction and Control of Co-morbid Conditions Dr. Charles Diggis, MBBS, FRCS(GLAG),Med Net 5:00pm Questions for keynote speaker 5:10PM ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - MAB 5:00pm-7:00pm LIGHT COCKTAILS 7:00pm-9:00pm SATELLITE DINNER SYMPOSIUM - By invitation


News Article

January 10, 2012
Carpal tunnel of pain

It's a syndrome characterized by pain, tingling and weakness in the wrist and fingers, usually due to repetitive hand movements. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition often associated with secretaries or older people. But in the age of technology, with desktops, laptops and handheld games, it is a syndrome that is now commonplace in society. To many people it may not seem like a serious problem, but without proper care and precaution it can become a debilitating condition that could require corrective surgery.
Computer programmer Denard Giles, 45, was a long-time sufferer of pain in his wrists and fingers which he attributed to getting older, until he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.
"I was one of the many people who thought that carpal tunnel only happened to women. So it was natural that I never imagined for a moment the daily pain I got in my hands was from carpal tunnel. I thought maybe it was due to arthritis or gout since that runs in my family. It was only when I was kept up at night for almost a week due to the pain that I went to see a doctor. I was told it was definitely carpal tunnel." Giles was given a shot to ease the pain. But it took him having surgery for him to take the syndrome seriously.
Two years after the fact, he is now a strong advocate for people adopting the proper posture for typing - whether they are using a typewriter or computer - to lessen their chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Proper posture for keyboard techniques means that your ears should be lined up with the tops of shoulders, and shoulders in line with your hips. For the shoulders, the upper arms should hang relaxed and close to the body. And for the wrists, the hands should be in straight lines with lower arms.
When using your keyboard, your fingers should be relaxed while typing and using a mouse. You should use a soft touch on the keyboard instead of pounding keys with unnecessary force. The mouse should be grasped gently. Your fingers and hands should be relaxed between bursts of typing or using a flat, straight wrist posture. You should also not rest your elbows on hard surfaces.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a lot more common due to the availability and everyday use of the computers and handheld electronic devices, which encourage the repetitive movement of your hands for hours on end, according to Dr. Patrick Whitfield, a family medicine practitioner operating out of the Oxford Medical Center.
"Contrary to belief, carpal tunnel syndrome is no longer confined to clerical workers or older women," said Dr. Whitfield. "It is essentially a pinching of the median nerve which runs up the forearm and enters a small space near the surface of the wrist that it passes through to connect to the first three fingers of your hand. It controls the movement or sensations in your index, middle and ring fingers and if for any reason the tendons found here or the median nerve gets compressed then you get the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Common symptoms include a pain in the wrists, pinching in the centers of the hands, tingling and pain in the fingers and even loss of grip and strength in the hands. These indicators may manifest together or build up over time depending on the severity of the condition."
As with most illnesses there are levels of severity to carpal tunnel syndrome. This is usually gauged by the level of discomfort or mobility of the affected hand according to the doctor. He says some people may be able to still function with their condition and rest when it starts to affect them. For others he said it can be more debilitating and a splint or wrist support may be needed to keep the hand in a neutral position so the tunnel doesn't pinch. For patients he says the pain can be even more intense which means they may not be able to function at all because the pain disturbs sleep at night and flexing for any length of time may hurt continuously.
The doctor says carpal tunnel syndrome is now affecting younger people as well, and is no longer just an older person's disease.
"I am seeing more cases where it is occurring in the younger generation as well," says the family physician. "A number of years ago it was common to see people in their 40s and 50s with this condition but now there has been a shift where people in their 30s and 20s are being diagnosed with it as well. It still occurs more commonly in women due to their bodies' tendency to retain water whether in pregnancy, menopause, a certain point in their menstrual cycle or obesity, which also affects this syndrome. But this does not mean that men are exempt because they can get it too."
While many children are also joining the masses of people using computers for hours on end, the doctor is not as concerned about them due to their resilience at a young age, but he does advise parents to make it a point to teach their youngsters the right posture to use when using one of these devices for long periods of time.
Overall, while Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often not life-threatening, Dr. Whitfield says it is common enough that many people can get symptoms from time-to-time. They can try to ease the discomfort at home before seeking medical assistance. If you have tingling in your fingers or feel a pinching he advises that you stop what you are doing and give the hand a rest. Using an ice pack for an hour can also prove to be a good remedy to ease the pain, he says. Dr. Whitfield says whenever the pain occurs, it is also important to make a note of what motion or action is causing the discomfort and aim not to do it, or lessen the amount of time spent doing it so that the pain does not persist.
"You can lessen minor discomfort you have if you give your hands a rest for 10 to 15 minutes every hour," says the doctor. "But the problem is that the condition is likely to still develop due to continuing these repetitive practices for years or even mere months. If you know your job requires you to use a computer all day or some other repetitive movement it is not advised to go home and spend another four to five hours doing something similar."
When home remedies don't work, or have to be used too frequently then he says medical treatment should be sought.

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Event
BHS Summer Camp
BHS Summer Camp

Tuesday 25th June 2013  9:00 AM

BHS Summer Camp The Bahamas Humane Society, Chippingham The BHS Summer Camp dates have been set! Camp runs weekly from June 24th to July 12th and then July 22nd to July 26th. The cost is $125.00 per week. It's open for children ages 6 to 13 and runs from 9 a.m. to noon each day. Children will learn about caring for animals and have the opportunity to interact with the BHS adoption animals. Bring a snack and drink, an old leash, an old towel, and some goodies for the animals. See also the attached information page. Register at the Shelter. Children learn the basics of animal care and humane treatment. They read educational books and watch educational DVD’s and do some fun worksheets. They interact with the Bahamas Humane Society adoption animals and have question and answer sessions with the Humane Society staff. Limited space so register early! Fees are payable in advance. Weekly $125 (Includes a t-shirt) *Children should bring a snack and drink* A dog leash and old towel would be helpful. The dogs appreciate the kids bringing them dog bones, and the donkeys, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and horses love treats of vegetables, fruits and bread. Register early as space is limited and fills up quickly! Founded in 1924, the Bahamas Humane Society is the oldest charity in the Bahamas and was originally called the Dumb Friends League. It is affiliated to numerous international organisations, including the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). It is the only humane organisation in the Caribbean to hold membership of the Standards of Excellence Program sponsored by the American Humane Association of which it has been a member since 1989. The BHS employs two full time veterinarians. It offers a 24 hour emergency ambulance service and provides care for sick, injured and abandoned animals.


News Article

January 03, 2012
New Year's resolutions successes and failures

Whether it's aiming to stop drinking and cursing or it's to save more in order to get that dream house, the new year always puts people in the frame of mind to think about major life changes. While some people take these things seriously, many just do it for the fun of the occasion. The Nassau Guardian took to the streets to find out how successful people have been in sticking to their resolutions from the past year and what their new goals are for 2012.

Nicollette Watkins, 22
Sales assistant
"Yes, I did make a resolution for 2011. It was to go back to school and get my B.G.C.S.E.s in English, Math and History. I did follow through, but I haven't gotten them all as yet. I will continue to work at it this coming year. My resolution for 2012 is to join the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. I'm working towards that and I will complete that this year."

Shenique Lightbourne, 29
Sales
"My resolution for 2011 was to get closer to God so that I would be able to be who I need to be spiritually and I think I accomplished that. My resolution for this year is to continue to be closer in my walk with God and just work on being a better person."

Patrico Griffin, 20
Sales representative
"I am aiming to become the next big artist in the music industry so the goal I set for myself last year was to get myself out there and known to the public. I did that by showcasing a lot of my work on YouTube, Myspace and Facebook. I think I got a good response from those who saw me and I think I'm off to a good start. My goal for 2012 is to do more local shows and competitions like Bahamian Idol or whatever else is out there. Getting a record deal would also be a good thing too for this new year."

Lillith Mackey, 32
Attorney
"I did make a resolution [last year] and it was to lose weight. I definitely accomplished that. I lost 30 pounds. I won't say how much I started off or finished at but I think I did well. This year I am resolving to find time to give back to the community and be more charitable. I want to take on a charitable organization and really get involved. I want to go to the Ranfurly Home for Children and perhaps take a little girl or boy as a little brother or sister. I'd want to help them out in whichever way I can - be it homework, taking them out, talking to them or just being there for them."

Yannishka Brooks, 19
Hairstylist and nail technician
"My New Year's resolution last year was to get closer to God but I didn't keep it. I didn't do it as well as I should have because I wasn't into going to church and I was just into partying and stuff. So my resolution this year is the same thing and I hope to work harder to keep it this time. I am also looking forward to readying myself so a good man can find me."

Alexander Bullard, 28
Civil servant
"I did make a resolution for last year. I wanted to open a business and I did it. Now for 2012 I am aiming to keep it going, expand it and get more recognition."

Miriam Dean, 43
Entrepreneur and hairstylist
"My goal for 2011 was to take my hair salon to another level. I wanted to turn it into a family salon where women, their husbands, little boys and girls can come together to get their hair done together. Although it took almost all year, I finally accomplished my dream two weeks ago. My new goal for 2012 is to become closer with God and be a positive example to each person I come in contact with."

Darvin Minus, 19
Salesperson
"Last year my goal was to focus on getting a head start on my career plans and to try to have a better relationship with my father. I didn't accomplish any of that but in this new year I do plan to go to college so I can study auto collision repair. I hope to work harder in other areas of my life as well."

Shownn Minns, 20s
Hairstylist
"My resolution last year was to change careers from working with food to my real goal of being a stylist. This year my aim is to continue to strive and move forward in all that I want to."

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News Article

February 10, 2012
Celebrate life and love

It's hot!
It's chic!
It's elegant!
It's sophistication at its best, but it's still an evening filled with love, laughter, dancing and in general a good time. The 48th annual Heart Ball allows patrons to celebrate life and love while helping to preserve a heart and give a gift of life, in a fun, party atmosphere affair.
This year, patrons will get dressed in their "Sunday go to meeting best" and get down to the sounds of the Ed Brice Orchestra, the Soulful Groovers Band, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Dance Band and to selections from Gary Johnson at the deejay booth. The ball will be held in the Independence Ballroom at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort on Saturday, February 18, under the theme "Repairing a broken heart: What a gift".
Tickets are $250 per person, and each person's attendance will help to repair the heart of a child and give a gift of life. Cocktails are served at 7:15 p.m., dinner is at 8:30 p.m.
"The Heart Ball Committee is working arduously to ensure that this ball is better than any before," said public relations officer Ingrid Sears. "Last year the Heart Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary. At the start of the year 2012, we move forward with greater financial need and thus greater challenges, as we seek to help the Heart Foundation repair hearts. The Heart Ball Committee is working with a renewed determination to ensure that we maintain the legacy of the founder and also the foundation. Additionally, we wish to ensure that patrons are encouraged to attend future Heart Balls and continue to help to repair broken hearts".
The Heart Ball is one of two major fundraisers for the Heart Foundation. It is always held on the Saturday closest to Valentine's Day. Funds raised go towards assisting children to receive heart surgeries which aren't cheap, and which many parents cannot afford. One child's heart surgery can cost over $50,000.
Even though patrons attend the annual ball to have fun, they do so knowing that the cost of their ticket is helping to reduce the financial burden to parents who cannot afford the cost of the life-saving surgery for their children.
"At present there are 11 patients in need of heart surgeries," said Sears. "It is anticipated that more children will need heart care during the year, and many of their parents will not be able to afford it. The funds raised from this event, will help the Heart Foundation to repair the hearts of children."
One of the highlights of the ball is always the naming of the person that will be given The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart award, who will be selected from of pool of people nominated for their humanitarian and heart touching acts to improve the lives of others.
Additionally, fabulous prizes will be up for grabs on the evening via raffles, and auctioned items. Roundtrip tickets for on British Airways to London; roundtrip tickets for two on Air Canada; hotel accommodations in Canada; an emerald and diamond ring; spa treatments and dinners are among the most coveted prizes that will be given away on the night. There will also be paintings and prints from the likes of the late Chan Pratt, Clifford Fernander, Nettica Symonette, and many more artists.
But in the midst of all the glitz, glamour and fun, Sears says she wants patrons to remember and recognize the cause for the annual Heart Ball, which is to raise funds for the Heart Ball Committee, the fundraising arm of The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation. The foundation's main goal is to assist primarily children, with heart care. Additionally, the foundation in conjunction with the Bahamas Heart Association aims to proactively educate and inform people residing in The Bahamas about heart care and how to lead heart healthy lifestyles.
The Heart Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1961 by Lady Evelyn Sassoon to assist people in need of heart care. The foundation runs primarily on a volunteer basis and relies heavily upon the generosity of others. Over 97 percent of the funds received go directly to heart care. The remaining three percent or less goes to unavoidable administrative costs.
The Heart Foundation gives support and understanding to parents and families for heart care, whether in hospitals in The Bahamas or in Florida. Since its inception, the Heart Foundation has helped over 4,000 patients to obtain heart care. Despite the Heart Foundation's best efforts and the increase in number of local cardiologist, technology and equipment, there is still a need to raise funds to assist children of The Bahamas receive heart care locally and at hospitals abroad.
For information on ticket purchases or donations please contact The Heart Foundation at telephone number 327-0806.

REPAIR A BROKEN HEART
What: 48th Annual Heart Ball
When: Saturday, February 18
Where: Independence Ballroom at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort
Time: Cocktails 7:15 p.m., dinner 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $250 per person

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News Article

March 06, 2012
Help to save a life

Cardiovascular disease, commonly referred to as heart disease, is the number one killer of people in The Bahamas and around the world. As heart month came to a close, the fight against it still continued because more people die from heart disease than from any other cause. Heart disease does not discriminate. It affects people who are rich and poor, young and old. It does not prejudice based on race, religion, educational attainment or ethnicity. It affects everyone. Oftentimes, people are not sensitized to illnesses unless the illness affects them or their immediate family.
While there are many preventative measures to be taken by adults, such as exercise, eating right, not smoking, lowering cholesterol and taking medications correctly, in the case of babies and children, they rely on others for care and treatment against heart disease. And heart care is not cheap in cases where heart disease is discovered, regardless of age. Heart care can cost up to $1 million. What is even more unfortunate, is that many children when born, may not be privileged to have medical insurance or parents who can afford heart care. As such, when their parents discover that their new born babies have congenital heart disease, they are in a state of emotional and financial frustration, and fear. One such family currently facing such a challenge is that of Rah'nae De'ajah Burrows.
In October 2011, Antoine and Jessica Burrows welcomed their daughter into their family. Tests were carried out to ensure that she was healthy. It was discovered that Rah'nae had characteristics of Down syndrome - news that is not often readily accepted by many new parents - but the couple loved their baby nonetheless and saw her as a special gift from God.
Because of the existence of those characteristics, concerns arose to the possibility that Rah'nae may also have heart disease. After a week in the hospital it was discovered by an echocardiogram that she had a large atrial septal defect (ASD), which was a hole in her heart. The parents were referred to Dr. Jerome Lightbourne at the Pediatric Heart Clinic, at Princess Margaret Hospital. Additionally, genetic testing was done and the tests confirmed that she had Down syndrome.
Consequently, the parents were told to take Rah'nae to the Neurodevelopment Center for therapy, the Neurology clinic, and the Neonatology clinic. The entire process was emotionally and mentally taxing and challenging for the new parents.
With therapy over the past year, Rah'nae's health has been great and the family has seen progress, but Rah'nae is having problems with weight gain because of the heart condition and needs heart surgery desperately.
The Burrows' cannot afford the cost of heart surgery for their baby girl which could run them around $55,000 - and their daughter does not have insurance. Jessica is a school teacher and her husband, a transport operator.
Sadly, this family, like many, is only trying to survive in tough economic times and ensure that there is food, clothing and shelter for the family. As such, they need help to save their baby.
Dr. Lightbourne referred the Burrows' to The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation for possible assistance with Rah'nae's surgery. The heart foundation seeks to provide heart care assistance to people, particularly children, who can not ordinarily afford heart care. The nonprofit entity relies heavily upon the generosity of others to help repair the hearts of children. Today, Rah'nae is on a wait list among 11 patients awaiting heart surgery.These patients and their families are prayerful and hopeful that the public will heed the appeals made and make a donation to the heart foundation to help save their lives. Sadly, without such surgeries, patients like Rah'nae, may not live full productive lives and can possibly die.
"The cost of heart surgery is very costly and it does not come with color, face or creed. We don't know when it will affect our loved ones; so I am asking that you please make a donation to the heart foundation to help those who are in need at this time," said Rah'nae's mother. "The heart foundation has been so generous over the years by helping to assist parents with the funds for surgery, and at this time there are 11 children waiting for assistance to have surgery. We need everyone's help at this time, even if it's only one dollar. It counts and can go a long way. By doing this you are donating to a worthy cause - you are saving lives and mending broken hearts," she said.
Burrows thanked the people that have supported her to date in raising funds so that her daughter could receive heart surgery.
To join the fight against heart disease and help children like Rah'nae, the public is encouraged to make a donation to The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation. No amount is ever too small. Donations are encouraged year round. General donations, tributes, memorial donations and trusts are encouraged. Additionally, Americans can make tax deductible donations to aid the fight against heart disease. Sponsorship and hosting of fundraising events are also encouraged. The public is encouraged to support the two major fundraisers of The Heart Ball Committee - the Annual Heart Ball and The Annual Tea Party and Fashion Show. The public can also join the Bahamas Heart Association. The proceeds from the membership dues are used in the fight against heart disease.
While you may have missed the Heart Ball for 2012, you can still make a difference in a child's life today, said ball committee public relations officer, Ingrid Sears.
"It's more about the cause of helping to repair a heart than anything else. At present there are 11 plus children awaiting surgery. As the year progresses it is expected that more children will join this list, so the public's assistance is needed and encouraged in this fight against heart disease in children," she said.
To join the fight against heart disease in children and to help save a life, telephone 327-0806/10. You can also send a check to The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, P.O. Box N-8189, Nassau, The Bahamas, or telephone 327-0806 for deposit instructions.
You can learn more about the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation by visiting www.sassoonheartfoundation.org.

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News Article

March 07, 2012
Cultural Violence and the Rights of Women and Children

Back in 1996 I came
across a Reader's Digest magazine article on the Taliban and their
drastic and tragic dominance over the women of Afghanistan. As a woman
and new young mother, it was heart-wrenching to read how the sudden
oppressive actions of this group were dominating and changing the lives
of women in that country, women who previously had 'normal' lives. They
were forced to cover themselves completely with burqas and were stripped
of their freedoms, careers, but mostly their dignity.  I was so
horror-struck by this article, that I tore out the pages, photocopied it
50 times and snail mailed it to most of my family and friends. I simply
wanted people to know what was going on.

We rally for the rights of animals, we rally for the rights of those of
different colours of skin or race, but do we rally for the basic rights
of human beings? How long do women and children have to be treated like
dogs, or worse, 'rabid dogs'...

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News Article

March 07, 2012
The National Health Insurance debate

We read recently in a local daily that Dr. Perry Gomez, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate for North Andros and the Berry Islands said that under a PLP government National Health Insurance (NHI) would be implemented within the first year of coming to office. While we are in the so-called 'silly season' and everyone and their brother are making promises, we would hope that some of the promises would be well reasoned outlining the attended cost and consequences for the wider community; the usual rhetoric is just not acceptable this time around. We believe that members of the Bahamian electorate are a bit more discerning than most politicians give them credit for.

What is NHI?
The issue of a National Health Insurance was first raised back in August 2002, when then Prime Minister Perry Christie appointed a 15-member Blue Ribbon Commission to review the feasibility of a National Health Insurance Plan. The committee was also mandated to determine the best way to make affordable healthcare available to all residents. The appointment of the committee was a step towards the fulfillment of the then government's promise to ensure that all patients receive the same access to healthcare regardless of their personal wealth or circumstances as outlined in the PLP's manifesto, 'Our Plan'. In 2004, the final report was released. It was the view of the committee that The Bahamas cannot afford to not have a National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. The committee also stated that NHI had to be mandatory and would only work if the government had adequate funding.

We have no difficulty agreeing with those observations but would urge the authorities and the public to take a closer and more objective look at the proposal.
What is National Health Insurance? National Health Insurance is a form of social health insurance, which uses the principles of fund pooling and risk sharing to provide equity in access to care. Individuals pay an 'affordable' amount on a consistent basis and in return are able to have their healthcare needs provided for, regardless of cost.
It is envisioned that this 'cradle to the grave' national healthcare coverage will cover persons who are currently excluded from private insurance plans such as individuals with pre-existing illnesses, newborn babies and those over 65.
The 125-page NHI report outlined the following eight specific recommendations for the Cabinet's consideration:
1. National Health Insurance should be universal.
2. Legislation should stipulate the health insurance is compulsory for all residents.
3. National Health Insurance should be administered by the National Insurance Board.
4. A comprehensive benefits package should be offered.
5. Contributions should be set at a rate which is affordable for the majority.
6. Public and private providers should be offered the opportunity to join the National Health Insurance system.
7. All provider payment mechanisms should be considered for use with capitation being the preferred option. (Capitation is a provider payment mechanism in which providers are regularly paid a stipulated amount per person for whom they agree to provide services during a defined period of time.)
8. A percentage of revenues should be set aside for purposes that ensure the stability of National Health Insurance.
The present system in The Bahamas, which employed persons contribute to, is a form of social security. Our health system includes tax-funded care through government hospitals and clinics, and private care funded by direct user fees or private insurers. The incentives that exist include pension, invalidity assistance, medical incentives, maternity benefits, some income replacement, temporary and permanent disability benefits, and health coverage for occupational injuries. Basically, social health insurance currently exists only through the industrial injury component of NIB.
Recently, the present government implemented the National Prescription Drug Plan to assist some Bahamian residents, particularly the elderly and children under the age of 18 years. It is estimated that the cost of this program is currently running around $5 million; a figure which we expect to only increase in the future.
Healthcare costs are one of the more vexing and challenging issues facing countries today and according to the latest information on the subject, average cost in the last five years increased annually by more than 10 percent. With rapidly aging populations and the rising costs of modern medical technology, governments everywhere are finding it increasingly difficult to provide the funds required to meet healthcare needs of their respective populations. Given that position, we would hope that before any decision is made to move forward with universal health coverage, the authorities would prepare a detailed cost analysis to use as a guide. To do otherwise, we run the risk of committing to something which could surely place The Bahamas on an irreversible path to economic poverty.
Prior to 2008, it was estimated that only 51 percent of Bahamians had private health insurance. Today, given the challenging global economic environment, the impact on the local economy and increasing levels of unemployment, we estimate that number at around 40 percent based on the increasing payouts by insurance companies. For some, private insurance has become too expensive; persons in the lower income bracket and those living on the Family Islands are now less likely to have insurance coverage.
There are a number of questions that need answers. How much will this plan cost? (Back in 2004 estimates were pegged around $200 million-plus, which we felt were too low at that time). Who will pay for those who cannot afford to pay? What will be the impact on the private insurance industry? What impact will it have on the fiscal deficit? (This should be of particular relevance to future generations).

Concerns remain
Historically, the Bahamian government has been a principal source of financing environmental and healthcare expenses for citizens of The Bahamas with an annual expenditure of over $267 million in the 2011/2012 budget or nearly 16 percent of total recurrent expenses which computes to almost four percent of the country revised GDP (another story for another day).
It is estimated that the private insurance companies spent nearly $230 million in 2011, which gives us a total healthcare expenditure bill of nearly $435 million or 5.4 percent of the revised GDP. In the 2004/2005 fiscal budget, the government allocated approximately $187 million for health expenditure. In 2004/2005 it was estimated that healthcare expenditure stood at approximately $340 million or 7.10 percent of GDP, of which $70 million was spent by the people, $102 million spent through private health insurance, and the rest by the government. In comparison, in 1985, total public expenditure amounted to approximately $56 million or only 2.70 percent of GDP.
It is our view, based on historical cost data and future projections, that the cost of a national healthcare plan going forward would be in the region of $500 million to $750 million; equivalent to nearly half of our recurrent expenditure and as such, would not leave much room for other important infrastructure projects.
We generally agree with the conclusion of the commission's report that a social health insurance system for The Bahamas would provide more equity in access to healthcare, more stable funding of public health costs, and fewer 'free riders', or people who benefit without contributing. Setting up such a national healthcare system involves more than just taxing the people but will require legislation and the creation of responsible bodies.
Two critical issues are ensuring compliance and public accountability. We are also mindful, however, that there are those who have little faith in governments operating such healthcare initiatives due to a propensity for such operations to become instruments of political patronage and the widely shared view that government institutions are relatively poorly managed. In the last analysis, we believe that the scheme would only work efficiently if, and only if, there are proper checks and balances in place especially to ensure that the pool of money goes in to a segregated fund for health and health alone.
oCFAL is a sister company of The Nassau Guardian under the AF Holdings Ltd. umbrella. CFAL provides investment management, research, brokerage and pension services. For comments, please contact CFAL at: column@cfal.com.

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News Article

March 08, 2012
Kendal Nottage's role in sports ministry era

Back in 1977, the late 'Father of the Nation', Sir Lynden Pindling put in place the Ministry of Sports. He combined sports with youth and community affairs, and anointed Kendal Nottage as the minister.
It was a historic appointment and he chose the right individual. Nottage was not a popular politician at the time, largely due to the backlash he created for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) because of the disenchantment with him of the Grand Bahamian voters.
Nottage lost the High Rock seat to Maurice Moore during the 1977 general election and in a sense, his political career was salvaged by his good friend Sir Lynden, with a senate appointment and the high profiling of sports into a "ministry" category for the very first time. His stint as the first sports minister would ultimately serve to bring a good balance to the political negatives that have plagued him.
Nottage was colorful and eager to make the new sports-flavored ministry a meaningful one. He emphasized the sports power image by often proclaiming the national program "Numero Uno". In the big world picture, the proclamation was a stretch but it excited the sporting family in the country like never before. Immediately, instead of the Bahamian sports picture being marginalized as per usual, the Nottage influence enabled sports to take its rightful place in the social standing of the country.
He had a lot to do with the Bahamian people embracing the CARIFTA Games. Nottage provided high-level platforms for school sports, collegiate sports, regional sports and international sports. This was a time when the civil servants operated by convention. Although, it was always understood that permanent
secretaries were the top individuals of authority in government ministries, the era was such that they worked closely with ministers and found a way to be always on the same page with them.
So it was that Charles "Cap" Smith as the permanent secretary and James Moultrie as the undersecretary worked diligently with Nottage. They helped to form the nucleus that cemented the status of the sports ministry, never to be dropped as community affairs has been from time to time. Nottage was perfect for the role. His natural proactive attitude was good for sports and youth development. His contribution to bringing sports to the forefront of society on a regular basis was immense.
There is still much that needs to be done for sports in this country. I have often lamented in this space the unreasonable approach of politicians. They refuse to elevate sports to the top group of budget allocations. Yet, if not for the quality role played by Nottage as that first minister, the view here is that the national sports program would be much further behind.
Nottage, although, he quickly built up a respectable reputation as sports minister, was at the same time making inroads for the national youth program. I believe that it was the "Youth In Business" month he orchestrated in the early 1980s that evolved into the "October Youth Month" annually.
From a community affairs perspective, Nottage ushered in the care services to senior citizens and young boys and girls at the Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged, the Princess Margaret Hospital, Sandilands Rehabilitation Center and the Ranfurly Home for Children. Without a doubt, Nottage played a vital role in the development process of this nation.
His work as the first sports minister legitimized that ministry. Indeed, the national sports program today is much better off because of one Kendal W. Nottage.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at fredericksturrup@gmail.com.

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News Article

March 08, 2012
Frances Vernitta Wilson, 89

Funeral service for Evangelist Mother Frances Vernitta Wilson, 89, a resident of Hutchinson Street, & formerly of Forbes Hill, Exuma, who died on 2nd March, 2012, will be held at Mission Through Faith Church of God, Soldier Road, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Bishop Benjamin Gibson & Bishop Rupert Johnson. Interment follows in Old Trail Cemetery, Old Trail Road.

Left to cherish her memories are her daughter WRC 842 Mary Wilson; son: Stanley and Jacklyn Barr; grandchildren: Lagenia Gibson, Sargent Desmond (H.M.P.) & Charlisa Miller, Cicylea & Terrell Dorsette, Annisha, Jessica,Cyntish, Natasha, Ingrid & Narissa; caretaker: Faye Nelson; great grandchildren: Schyonne, ...

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