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News Article
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
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
Family Islands receive materials for early childhood programmes

NASSAU, The Bahamas - Home based programmes are being implemented in Family Islands where children do not have access to early childhood education through the establishment of the Parent Outreach Initiative (POI) thanks to Early Childhood Education (ECE), a subcomponent of the Investing in Students for the Innovative Reform of Education (INSPIRE).
Education, Science and Technology Minister Jerome Fitzgerald presented instructional and didactic materials to Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government and MP for the MICAL constituency, for children ages 0-3 years in Mayaguna and Acklins who are enrolled in the infants and toddlers POI, during a ceremony, Oct. 4, at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
One of the goals of ECE is to provide interventions for children on the Family Islands of The Bahamas that do not have access to early childhood education. The islands of Mayaguana and Acklins met the criteria of a justifiable population of the identified age group and therefore qualified for the POI.
Minister Fitzgerald said, "Today we have started a life-long journey in investing in the earliest stage of child growth and development, and it is our intention to provide this programme to as many islands as possible.
"Minister Gray, we are pleased that you are here to represent the first recipients of such a sound, high quality programme where opportunities will be provided for interaction between parents and infants and toddlers thus providing wholesome relationships care and education for the children in the MICAL districts," he said.

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News Article
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
West End Eco-Fishing Camp readies for fun-filled 2012 season

Grand Bahama Island,
Bahamas - 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...

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News Article
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
'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
Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation Courtesy Call on Governor-General and Lady Foulkes

Nassau, Bahamas - Members of the
Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation making a courtesy call on Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes and
Lady Foulkes on Friday, February 10th, 2012 when Their Excellencies were
presented with pins in celebration of Heart Month.

The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation was established by
Lady Evelyn Sassoon as a memorial tribute to her late husband, Sir Victor
Sassoon, to assist persons in The Bahamas with the treatment of heart
disease. Today, The Foundation's main goal is to assist children with
heart care. The Foundation has...

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News Article
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
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

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Event
Christ Community Church's Ministry Fair
Christ Community Church's Ministry Fair

Sunday 18th November 2012  12:00 PM

November 18th, 2012 business & economics administration Family Care Discipleship worship Children & Youth Outreach Education Prayer & Seniors Connect. grow. belong. Christ Community Church's Ministry Fair For more information contact the church at: 242-361-8782 or 242-361-4828


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.


News Article
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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Event
In The Spirit Exhibition – New Work by Chantal Bethel

Friday 8th February 2013  6:00 PM

“In The Spirit” Exhibition – New Work by Chantal Bethel Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6pm Hillside House Gallery, Cumberland Street, North of Govt House The Bahamas has a reputation that seems indisputable: endless blue sky, bright sun, hot balmy days, turquoise crystal ocean, soft pale sand, palm trees and flamingos—as an artist to address any of these ubiquitous stereotypes demands a vision beyond typical. Chantal Bethel has developed a reputation for painting and creating from her soul. She is impassioned to express whatever moves her. Thus her art works carry a certain ineffable emotion. Whether she is addressing the subject of woman, mother and child, or in more recent works, an installation—Poto Mitan: Hopes & Prayers for Haiti—a response to the earthquake tragedy of her birthland, she brings a silent, indomitable emotional intelligence to her works. There is a swinging shift between themes in Bethel’s work: At one moment she is dealing with love, a sultry breeze across the canvas, other times she deals in horror and death. In a recent conversation with the artist in her studio, she explains that after working in the dark subject matter of the Haitian tragedy for a couple of years, she is ready to embrace beauty again—to “exhale from the soul”. This collection, In the Spirit, which will be exhibited at Hillside House Gallery on Friday, February 8, 2013, addresses the surprising and very Bahamian theme of flamingos. After Poto Mitan, this is her movement back into light; the works are bright and airy. Soft colour palettes sing. Pieces are diverse, ranging from paintings on canvas to paintings on wood, and amusing, or tense, sculptures. But don’t be too beguiled by these entrancing colours and familiar theme of The Caribbean. At first, the light colours, simple composition, and the well-known form of the flamingo, makes the work seem to be familiar Bahamian paintings, but something about the intriguing textures and almost obsessive use of crackle paint, hints at more. A second clue is her use of quotes from Rumi, (a Sufi mystic who, through poetry, offers insights into a spiritual life beyond this mundane reality). The quotes are not titles per se, but suggest at a relationship between his writings and Bethels paintings; a hint of something beyond the surface. The work is incredibly charming and it is easy to be distracted by their aesthetic appeal. The surfaces seem to crack open to light and they successfully convey the essence of The Bahamas in their shimmering colour range. Rich textured surfaces defy gravity and become about light. Coupled with the images of flamingos are flamingo eggs; whole egg forms covered thickly in gesso; large carefully cracked open ‘eggs’ with inner Mandalas or sun designs; eggs neatly opened to expose personal myths. I am intrigued by the sturdy nature of the eggs. “Eggs are fragile and yet represent hope”, says Bethel. However her eggs are unyielding. This produces an interesting tension between the highly crackled paintings that look incredibly similar to broken eggshells created into a collage. As if recognizing the fragile nature of the egg, Bethel inadvertently wants to protect it, and hold it. Yet in intensified contrast, here are the flamingos: beautiful and insidiously broken. We talk about life and the symbolism of eggs as part of the life cycle; I sense that Bethel is using her art to process her deeper fears and thoughts about existence. In recognizing the metaphor of the flamingo and egg, I have a suspicion that the new depth of layers in Bethel’s work is more than merely technical. It is a compelling balance. The beautiful fluid images of flamingos which are corrupted by a coruscated shattering and their eggs which are toughened to protect, gives the viewer a glimpse at hidden layers of life, as complicated, paradoxical, and profound as it can get. Image 2 seems to hold the balance of the conflicting surfaces. The body and feathers of the flamingos eyeing each other are created by the crackle effect paint, contrasting with a lightness and sensitive handling of paint to express the flamingos’ neck and head, all this is held in a background of deeper paint textures: resulting in a mesmerizing piece. The viewer is captured by a silent complexity, a tenderness and brokenness delicately held in a kind embrace. One of the final pieces created for this show are real broken eggs, and following an inner compulsion by Bethel “...then I cracked one and the thought of light came to me, they needed light”, she brings a completion to the works by allowing the true nature of the eggs to reveal a deeper metaphorical purpose by allowing the cracking, or as Bethel concurs “…like your children, you always want to protect them but if you give them wings, they should be ok on their own”. The circle of broken eggs then becomes a necessary movement in the cycle of life. Fledglings leave the nest and things have to be broken in order for life to break free. And a complex story of being human with many paradoxical truths; brokenness and beauty; fragility and strength; profound and shallow, seem to be expressed in the hidden narrative of Bethel’s art. Beyond surfaces, beyond superficiality, is a world as multifarious and singular as Rumi’s, if you are willing to look into the depths beyond the charismatic images, you will find the divine multiplicity of human soul in Bethel’s new works. Alternatively, just enjoy the sublime and captivating beauty of Chantal Bethel’s art, “In the Spirit”. Written by Susan Moir Mackay


News Article
Special at home delivery

Lamarque Drew gave his wife, Lynieka, an extra special and completely unexpected Valentine's Day gift this year - he delivered their baby girl.
Not due until March 6, baby Lamiea had plans of her own and surprised the couple by arriving early and fast in their bathroom at home.
Lynieka woke up around 3 a.m. on February 14 in pain. The couple immediately went into Lamaze class training mode and started timing the contractions.
"We weren't nervous or panicking yet because with her first pregnancy, it took about seven hours before the baby came," said Lamarque.
Thirty minutes into the pains, Lynieka decided to take a shower to prepare herself to go to the hospital. Her husband called his mother to get their eldest son, 11-year-old Lamarque Jr. Ready to go, Lynieka decided she had to use the bathroom before they left the house. As she walked towards the bathroom, her water broke. Lamarque remembers making a joke telling her that at least they knew what it looked like now. With the couple's first child, the sac that held the amniotic fluid was broken by doctors.
It was at that point that Lamarque decided to call the ambulance to ask whether it was best if they came to their house to pick up his wife, or if he could still transport her to the hospital. He was advised that it was best if the ambulance came to pick her up, and that they would be at their house in 10 minutes. He then telephoned Doctors Hospital to let them know they'd be coming in a few weeks early.
As fate would have it, the person who answered the phone was the midwife they'd taken Lamaze classes with during the pregnancy.
"She told us to remain calm and to keep her breathing," said Lamarque. At that point, he wasn't panicked. He was used to labor taking seven to eight hours as it had with their first child.
The Doctors Hospital midwife decided to stay on the phone with the Drews until the ambulance arrived, to keep him calm. She had no idea she would end up playing a much bigger role in the baby's birth.
While her husband spoke to the nurse, Lynieka told him she felt the baby's head. Lamarque bent over to check things out.
"I was like 'whoa, I see her head'. Something told me to stick my hand out, and she shot right out into my hand. I was like 'my baby [is] in my hand'. And the nurse was like 'what!'"
It was at that point that Lamarque panicked, when he realized the baby wasn't breathing.
"When you watch TV, you hear the baby crying; so the nurse was like 'get towels and wipe off her mouth'." He used the towels to wipe the mucus out of the newborn's mouth and nose. It was then he said that she took a deep breath and started screaming." It's a moment he can recall and laugh at, but in the moment, he said he didn't find it at all funny.
The nurse encouraged him to get his wife who had been standing up the entire time to lie down and lay the baby on top of her, with its head tilted to the side so she would be able to breathe. She then instructed Lamarque to clean off the baby with a clean towel and swaddle her in another clean towel to keep her warm. The ambulance staff arrived at the couple's home shortly afterwards.
It was at the hospital that the baby's umbilical cord was cut.
As the drama unfolded, Lynieka said the only thing going through her mind was that she wanted the baby to be okay. She said things happened so fast she didn't have time to be scared about what was happening.
"I wasn't doing anything really. He did all the work," she said of her husband whose friends, upon learning of his role in his daughter's birth, started calling him 'Dr. Drew'.
Looking back, he said it had to be God, or at least God's angels that told him to stick out his hand.
"I don't want to sound corny or anything, but my wife was standing up, and at that moment, if I hadn't stuck out my hand, she would have just slid out of my wife and hit her head. So I thank God for the opportunity to catch my baby."
He described it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"A lot of guys get to watch their baby being born - I got to deliver my baby. At the time when the head was coming out, I was scared because I wasn't ready to deliver a baby and I'm not a doctor, but at that moment, instinct took over. And I had someone on the phone who helped me and who knew what she was doing because I'd done Lamaze classes with her. It was scary at first, but amazing as well."
His advice to guys who may find themselves in the same situation and having to deliver their baby is to just let their instincts take over.
"There's no need to panic even though I did panic when I saw the head, but the nurse on the phone kept me calm and talked me through what I needed to do. They told me to cut the navel string, but I said that's out of my profession. I let the professionals take over," said Lamarque, a relationship officer at a bank.
"It was so important to have someone on the phone at Doctors Hospital keep me calm and talk me through everything," said Lamarque. "They don't teach you how to deliver a baby in Lamaze class. When you think about all that could have happened or gone wrong, it really seems surreal. If she had come out a split second earlier, before I put my hands there, she could have fallen on the floor or if I hadn't gotten someone on the phone at Doctors to walk me through it, I just wonder," he added.
Lamarque does not want to have to deliver another baby, but said if he had to, he'd do it again. Actually, he would like to have at least another two children - it's a discussion he has yet to have with Lynieka.
Knowing that his wife and new baby are fine, he can now joke that Lamiea was born early and in a hurry because she heard his voice and couldn't wait to meet him.
There is another theory at play, though. Lynieka believes baby Lamiea just wanted to add to a family tradition. She was born on Valentine's Day at 4:45 a.m. at seven pounds, four ounces. Her older brother's birthday is Christmas Day.
"The next two would maybe be born on New Year's Day and Easter," Lamarque joked.
Doctors Hospital's Vice President of Patient Care Services Dorcena Nixon was proud of her team's ability to provide top quality healthcare regardless of the circumstances.
"At Doctors Hospital, we pride ourselves on being a leader in healthcare, but it's extremely rewarding to see how our associates are able to step up to the plate and help patients and their families even when they find themselves in such unusual circumstances," she said.

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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  10:00 AM

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
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


News Article
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
BHS Summer Camp
BHS Summer Camp

Monday 24th 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
Predatory behavior in dogs and cats

Dogs were originally domesticated to take advantage of their hunting abilities. Our ancestors redirected the natural instinct of the dog's ability to hunt in packs benefiting from the dog's tracking skill and speed in pursuit of common prey. Thousands of years of selected breeding have produced a lot of different breeds.
The Bloodhound was developed for its sense of smell, and the Saluki and Borzoi for their keen eyesight. Labradors for hunting birds, Coonhounds for hunting raccoons and Rodesian Ridgebacks for hunting lions.
Dog breeds were developed to hunt certain animals, like the Irish wolfhound and the foxhound which were developed to hunt wolves and foxes. Some breeds were developed to protect other animals. The Border collie and Elkhound were developed to protect small ruminants. Daschunds and Terrier breeds were bred to pursue ground prey. The English bulldog and American Pitbull Terrier were originally bred for uninhibited predatory and dominant social aggression for their owner's entertainment such as dogfights. The Saint Bernard and the German shepherd were both developed for more humanitarian applications, such as the search and rescue talents that we see today.
Undesirable predatory behavior is relatively common in dogs. Most pets are genetically predisposed towards some form of predatory behavior. This type of behavior is a problem because the dog can cause injury, be self-injured, or be exposed to contagious diseases.
The most obvious disadvantage of predatory behavior by dogs is the unnecessary injury or death of other animals, including wildlife and other pets that appear to be offensive and unnecessary. It can also take a more sinister form when directed against family members, particularly if they are children and infants. Predatory instincts are most likely to be redirected towards children when infants begin to crawl and walk. The dog may not display any interest in an immobile newborn, but may show some interest in the same newborn when it begins crawling around your home. So never leave a child (toddler) unattended around even the most trusted pet.
With the exception of lions, most cats hunt alone and primarily at night. Predatory behavior in cats is both instinctual and learned. Kittens in the form of play, practice hunting techniques. Some house cats without prior experience instinctively react to prey animals that cross their path.
Owners may be horrified when their cat presents them with a half-eaten mouse or bird. This is not a gift to the owner for its gratitude for the owner's care and hospitality, but a maternal instinct when the cat brings back prey to its home for their young ones. The mother will normally bring dead prey - even regurgitating half-digested food for her newborn litter. As the kittens grow, she will return with live prey to teach the kittens how to prey. A cat's instinct may be to carry its prey to a sheltered area, but not to consume it. Some cat owners proclaim that it's cruel to restrict a cat's natural instinct to hunt.
Prevent predatory behavior in dogs and cats.
In dogs, deny your dog the opportunity to hunt. Prevent opportunities for them to roam unsupervised outdoors. Insure that your home is fenced or walled in if hunting occurs beyond your property.
Minimize your dog's desire to roam and hunt by providing other activities. Discourage wild and undisciplined behavior. Walk your dog on a leash and practice obedience skills daily.
In cats, the only practical way to resolve undesirable predatory behavior is to prevent it. The instinct to hunt can be so strong that it lasts a lifetime. The clinic cat, Sneaky, hunts everyday and will bring a dead mouse to us most times. Of course, we like this because it is a means of rodent control. Hunting is a part of a cat's outdoor activities, regardless of how he is fed. It may help to attach bells to a collar to warn unsuspecting targets. Remember that your pet can be injured in its attempt to capture prey and is susceptible to the health risks associated with roaming outdoors.

o Dr. Basil Sands can be contacted at the Central Animal Hospital at 325-1288.

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News Article
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital Trike-A-Thon returns to The Bahama

The 2nd Annual St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital Trike-A-Thon in The Bahamas is all set to return to Sandyport on Friday, January 27 to raise money for St. Jude's Hospital -- the world's premier center for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases.
Organizers hope to repeat last year's tremendous success where preschoolers from Tambearly and The Meridian Schools raised over $13,000.
At St. Jude's, no child from anywhere in the world is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. As a result, St. Jude's relies heavily on community-based fundraising programs around the world like the Trike-A-Thon.
There are currently two active St. Jude patients from The Bahamas.
Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, has returned as the main sponsor, and the line-up of participating schools has expanded with the coming on board of the Lyford Cay International School.
A St. Jude's Hospital tradition for more than 25 years, Trike-A-Thon is a fun, week-long curriculum for daycare centers and pre-schools, designed to raise funds, get the public involved and raise awareness through interactive activities. Children learn riding, toy safety lessons through a series of interactive stories from special characters, Bikewell Bear and Pedals the Bunny.
On the last day of Trike-A-Thon week (Friday, January 27) participating children will bring their trikes or riding-toys to the specially marked and supervised course at Sandyport to practice the safety lessons they have learned and raise funds for the hospital. The community can sponsor children in Trike-A-Thon by pledging an amount-per-lap or making a one-time donation. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. under the theme "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not".
The event is open to children ages two to six years old. Residents of Sandyport are invited to participate by reporting to the designated area with riding gear and helmet. There will be a small registration fee of $5 per child to cover food and drink -- proceeds from which will be donated to the Princess Margaret Crisis Centre.
Sandals Foundation director of programs, Heidi Clarke, commended the charity and commented on the Sandals Foundation's involvement.
"St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital plays a major role in treating and developing cures for children across the world. The Sandals Foundation is proud to be affiliated with a charity dedicated to making a difference in people's lives."
The Sandals Foundation plays an active role across the Caribbean with a focus on community, education and the environment. The Foundation believes that while working with communities to tackle a myriad of issues, strategic programs directed sustainable and positive impact, can be developed to better the lives of the Caribbean people.
In 2010, St. Jude's was ranked the most trusted charity in the United States and was named the top children's cancer hospital in the 2010-2011 Best Children's Hospitals rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit www.stjude.org.

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News Article
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
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
Making an impression in ten minutes or less

Grand Bahama-born Alexiou Gibson got less than 10 minutes to chat with MSNBC contributor and White House correspondent for TheGrio.com, Jeff Johnson, but those precious minutes of conversation were all he needed to impress Johnson who gave up the award he was presented at Palm Beach State College's 13th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast.
The college presents its annual awards to individuals who have made innovative contributions toward improving the lives of others in Palm Beach County, Florida. Honored this year were D'atra Franklin, a Palm Beach State student who has been advocating for legislation to help children aging out of the foster care system; Mark Hansen (alumnus), a former Palm Beach County School Board member who through his books and service is committed to helping and empowering youth; Carlton Wade (individual), a McDonald's franchisee of 11 restaurants in Palm Beach Country whose business presence and personal involvement has enriched youth in the community. El Sol, Jupiter's neighborhood resource center provides services for immigrants and low-income individuals in the community. Johnson was honored for his grassroots work to inspire a new generation of leaders.
In giving up the award to Gibson who graduates from the college in May, Johnson said that every young person has potential and that it's all about how the young people reach their potential and how much that potential has been tailored.
"I get awards like this all the time and I appreciate the spirit from where they come, but I always believe these awards can be inspiration and motivation more to someone else, so brother I want to give you this," he said to Gibson during the ceremony. Telling the audience that Gibson was in the process of preparing a speech to deliver to the school's board of trustees, on how he had been blessed and grown from an experience, Johnson said the brief conversation told him that Gibson was going to do amazing things - and not just in science and technology.
"He has an amazing spirit and it doesn't take longer than 10 minutes to see it. And as far as I'm concerned, it's my responsibility to feed back into you," he told Gibson. "And so as talented as I know you are and as many opportunities that you're going to have, I hope that on the darkest of days, when it's difficult to see who is a hater and who is a friend, that you would at least look at this [award] and hope that it brings some inspiration to know that there's a brother who believes that you are going to do amazing and wonderful things."
Gibson was shocked to hear Johnson give up his award to him. As he walked to the stage to receive it from him he said he was shaking.
"The morning before his speech in the stadium, I was selected to have breakfast with him on a one-on-one level with five other students. Just having idle chit-chat, I asked him about giving speeches because the following week I had to give a speech to my college's board of trustees, which is a huge honor, but nerve-wrecking and I asked advice on staying calm. He asked me why I was chosen to give the speech and I told him about my NASA experience and speaking at elementary schools." Gibson, a biomedical engineering student was one of 48 community college students from 25 states, chosen to participate in a three-day NASA program to design and build a prototype vehicle to roam Mars.
Even though it was a shock to hear Johnson give up his award to him, Gibson said it also made him feel really good. It was an award he could have applied to be considered for, but he missed the application deadline by a day. As he sat through the ceremony happy for awardees, he said he was silently kicking himself, wishing he had applied.
"I wanted to apply for the award because I felt I had applied good leadership - I'm always trying to encourage others and bring them up, so missing that deadline and still getting the award meant a lot."
Since Johnson handed over his award, Gibson said he's been invited to speak to minority students at a lot of schools at the fourth and fifth grades and some high schools in Palm Beach. Gibson who lived in Grand Bahamas until age 10 has also been invited to speak at Freeport High School in March during his Easter break.
When he speaks, Gibson said he tries to uplift students and let them know that the sky is the limit. He tries to influence them in a positive way.
"When I was growing up, I wasn't the best student, and didn't have opportunities, but I've been blessed to have many people in my life that showed me the ropes. So I tell the students about my struggles, to let them know that it's possible to be active and to be responsible."
Gibson, 25, will graduate the community college in May. He currently has a 3.4 grade point average. He's in the process of applying to schools to further his studies. He eventually wants to do research and return to The Bahamas to bridge the gap between research and technology and doctors.
He has also received a letter of recommendation from NASA to return for their three-month internship during the summer.

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News Article
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
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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Grenada MP invites all to celebrate 300th anniversary of St George
Grenada MP invites all to celebrate 300th anniversary of St George

MP Peter David has said that he is “eagerly’’ looking forward to an exciting weekend with back-to-back days of activities in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Town of St George.

Local volunteers, with the support of the Tri-Centennial Committee headed by the nation’s Heritage Conservation Officer, Michael Jessamy, are putting the finishing touches to plans for events on the Carenage, in River Road and in the Four Roads/Grenville Street Community.

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News Article
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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