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News Article
Shades of Creation

By ALESHA CADET

Tribune Features Writer

Wenly and Bea Fowler have always been drawn to the artistic expressions of God, through nature, design, thought and patterns.

But it was not until recently, when they finally gave in to the demands of family and friends to share their talents, that the couple decided to hold their first art exhibition.

On Wednesday August 4- Friday August 6th, Wenly and Bea Fowler hosted an art exhibition under the theme, " Shades of Creation" at The National Centre for the Performing Arts on Shirley Street.

The creative couple had met on a college campus when they were studying education.

Since those early days, most of their artistic expressions were ...

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News Article
Letter: Removal of the Cheshire Home Deed of Trust from Registrar General's department

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Firstly, I express sincere gratitude to the family of Rotary Clubs in The Bahamas on behalf of all disable persons who resided in and otherwise benefited from the existence of Cheshire Home, for having undertaken the establishment of that very much needed, disabled-friendly residential facility on Dolphin Drive, in the 1980s. Acknowledgment and gratitude are also extended to Sir Durward Knowles for the leading roll he played in seeing the home come into existence.

Gratitude and appreciation are also extended to members of the general public for having financially supported the various fund raising efforts by the Rotary Clubs, which resulted in the eventual construction o ...

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News Article
Government in talks for judo training centre

By ERIKA RAHMING

VLAD Marinescu, personal assistant to Marius Vizer, president of the International Judo Federation (IJF), met with several high ranking Bahamian officials to discuss plans for the future of judo in the Bahamas and the Caribbean region.

Mr Marinescu was in town for the Bahamas Judo Open this past weekend.

Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF) president D'Arcy Rahming and Mr Marinescu met with Minister of Youth and Sports Charles Maynard to discuss the possibility of a regional judo training centre for the Caribbean within the sports complex currently being built here in New Providence.

The minister was enthusiastic and expressed interest in reviewing a more detailed plan.

Mr ...

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News Article
Letter: Social policies needed to deal with teenage prostitution

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Teenage prostitution published by The Tribune on July 23 is a report about underage girls exchanging sexual pleasures commercially. The well reported article features primarily Dr Sandra Dean-Patterson, director of the Bahamas Crisis Centre, discussing the matter. Dr Dean-Patterson expresses that the problem of teen prostitution doesn't exist because individuals under the age of 16 cannot give consent to sex; therefore, they are not committing prostitution. She said the girls are being exploited.

On the Tribune's website (www.tribune242.com) some people opined under the article. They aired how much they disagreed with Dr Dean-Patterson's assertion that the kid ...

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News Article
Touching many 'soles'

Everyone's familiar with the phrase "to walk a mile in somebody's shoes", but one organization has been bringing it to life - with a Bahamian-American artist contributing a pair herself.
Multidisciplinary artist Alexis Caputo created a pair of shoes telling her own story of dual identity, including lots of Bahamian flair, as part of a group of artists working with a major organization for a good cause.
This organization, Sole Plus, the brainchild of Brian Keith Miller, combines art, education and activism to help disadvantaged communities. Pairing up with Converse Shoes, Sole Plus ventures into the community and encourages people to use the shoe as a canvas for their story. Such an exercise is not only cathartic and creative, but the results, says the organization on its website, show the closeness of human interconnectivity.
To that end, the project can oftentimes be used to raise awareness and funds for social issues. A group of artists came together to create a pair of their own shoes for Sole Plus which were then auctioned off and the proceeds donated to organizations benefitting the homeless.
The project appealed to Caputo, who has done a significant amount of work with women's shelters and disadvantaged youth.
The homeless component struck a cord with me because it's a universal issue," she points out.
"I lived in New York City where you walk outside of your front door and there's a homeless man, woman or child there and it's something that was very prominent and in my face regularly," says Caputo. "When I navigated to South Florida, I don't see it as much, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist."
In a nod to her Caribbean roots, the proceeds from some of the auctions will go towards funds helping those who lost their homes and continue to live in a state of homelessness in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
"I'm always a staunch supporter of anything that relates to cross-cultural exchanges, something that's educational," says Caputo.
"Because so many people in that nation have remained displaced and homeless, we thought, Haiti is right in our backyard, so why not participate in this? Why not raise funds? Why not be able to call international attention to it? It's not something that has to stop in Florida or stop in Haiti - it's something a lot of people can relate to and identify with."
Yet Caputo took the practice further, inspired to write a poem, "Soul to Sole" that addresses this universal issue and encourages those who find themselves in such a situation to keep their head up and find release and strength in self-expression and creativity. It also encourages literacy, says Caputo.
"I think that there are many different ways to interpret something and to translate something," she says.
"I wanted to find another way I could connect to this project. It doesn't just have to be a visual component. Maybe someone will appreciate or relate to the literary version rather than the visual shoe, or vice-versa."
Indeed, the multidisciplinary artist has been finding many ways to connect disadvantaged communities with art. With a background in writing, dancing, performance and music, Caputo is also an educator and activist, working closely with disadvantaged women, youth and cross-cultural projects.
In 2009, she formed the non-profit "Project Witness" in order to expand on that artistic practice and intention to foster social unity through art, cultural exploration, education and activism.
"I decided to expand my platform rather than just contributing to solo and collective projects and speak to diverse audiences with multicultural projects, and an inter-generational audience," she explains.
"The best way I felt to do that would be to launch a project that has appeal in the arts, has appeal as it relates to cultural exploration and education using arts and education and activism."
It's the reason she responded so positively and passionately to the Sole Plus Project - though it wasn't formed out of Project Witness, Caputo points out that its goals run parallel to her organization.
"That phrase 'walk a mile in my shoes' means absolutely nothing if you can't directly relate to someone who has been in the situation," she says. "I thought this was a fantastic platform to be able to raise awareness about homelessness."
As a Bahamian-American artist living abroad, her next move would be to plan to collaborate with other Bahamian artists to raise awareness about social issues in The Bahamas - perhaps even visiting to lead such an exchange.
"For such a very long time I've had an interest and desire in having a cross-cultural exchange with other Bahamian artists to create a bridge between The Bahamas and the U.S.A to create and debate ideas," she says.
"There's so much access and resource for things that could be done in terms of projects that have international appeal. There are so many great causes and so much room; there's so much great potential there that I would welcome the opportunity to be a part of that in any way."
For more about Sole Plus, check out www.soleplus.org. For more about Project Witness, check out their page on Facebook or www.projectwitnessinternational.org or contact them at inquiries@projectwitnessinternational.org. To contact Alexis Caputo, e-mail scribe@alexiscaputo.com.

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News Article
Concerns about APD share offering

Dear Editor,
 
Kindly allow me space in your valuable column to express my views on the recent IPO of shares on APD Limited.
I believe it is necessary to reiterate and to expand on the recent concerns and views expressed by Franklyn Wilson and the Office of the Prime Minister, and also to put some pertinent questions to the Securities Commission.  While I'm not attempting to repeat what has already been printed in the newspaper, I will say that I support Mr. Wilson's position.  And I believe we ought to be appreciative of persons like Mr. Wilson, who have the courage and intellectual ability to recognize, expose and reveal the loopholes in the IPO that the average person may not be aware of.  More importantly, Mr. Editor, where is the voice of the Securities Commission?  Aren't they supposedly looking out for the investor?  According to the press, APD is hoping to raise $10 million from investors which will represent a 20 percent minority interest.  However, presently there is no representation for minority investors on the board.
Personally, I believe there is something sinister about the manner in which the prospectus was prepared, intentionally omitting board representation for minority investors.  I believe it is incumbent upon the Securities Commission to immediately ensure that the above investors are represented.  It is not enough for a principal to remark that it will be dealt with at the first board meeting.  That can't be right.  And to add fuel to the fire, he goes on to say, 'that person should bring something to the table'.  Like Mr. Wilson said, "They are bringing $10 million."  Mr. Editor, one would have expected the Securities Commission to immediately put a halt to the IPO and insist that APD Limited correct the concern the Office of the Prime Minister has.  I can almost guarantee you that if it was a group of a darker shade, the Securities Commission would have been all over them.  Sir, you know some of our journalists, sometimes they make you wonder and question their ability to be a journalist or a reporter, while some are glorifying the IPO and talking about an upcoming whirlwind  tour as if this is the second coming.  What they ought to be doing is examining and investigating the concerns raised and putting pressure on the regulatory body to act, so that the integrity of the body will not come into question.  Mr. Editor, I've been following this scenario since its inception and I certainly would not buy into it.  And I would advise that others to follow suite until the concern is corrected.
 
- Pat Strachan

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News Article
The Haitian problem

On Friday May 20th , 2011 a group of Bahamian and Haitian-Bahamian artists, hosted an art exhibit and mini musical concert in Nassau at Jacaranda House, called "Nostrum Fabula" (Latin for "Our Story").  The event was under the patronage of the Bahamian Governor General and the Haitian Ambassador to The Bahamas; the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture also attended.  Leading broadcast journalist, Jerome Sawyer, served as the master of ceremonies.  It featured Bahamian folk musical artists like the Region Bells and the disc jockey alternated between Kompa and Goombay music.
An untitled art piece by Bernard Petit-Homme, a 26 year old Bahamian born of Haitian immigrant parents, served as the cover art for invitations and promotional material for the event.  The image features the Bahamian and Haitian flags.  The flags make up the torso of a man who is both black and white; he is silhouetted by the orange and yellow sun; his arms stretch across blue waters of the sea. In the painting Petit-Homme seeks to reconcile his Haitian and Bahamian selves and acknowledge the mixed bloodlines of many as a consequence of slavery.  He crafts a celebratory message of unity and brotherhood; a message that ran like a thread throughout the entire event, at which the Bahamian and Haitian national anthems were played.
However, the spirit of unity, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect expressed at the exhibit are not shared by everyone in The Bahamas.  Indeed, it is safe to say, that despite their proximity, their many shared cultural practices and a long history of relations between Haiti and The Bahamas, the attitudes of most Bahamians towards Haitians is one of resentment, suspicion or outright hostility.
The Haitian "problem" in The Bahamas is shaped by a number of factors.  Haitian migrants are a crucial source of cheap, reliable, motivated labor, particularly in the agricultural sector.  Increasingly, however, as the middle class shrinks and the ranks of the Bahamian working poor swell, there is growing resentment toward Haitian immigrants and their children because they are now competing for jobs deemed above their social station.  Where once a Haitain only worked as a gardener, farmer, grounds keeper or "handyman"--work young Bahamian men have looked down on for the past forty years--they are now working at gas stations, in hardware stores, and gaining employment as masons and carpenters, jobs Bahamian men have dominated.  Many a Bahamian contractor prefers Haitian immigrant labor to Bahamian, not simply because it is cheaper, but because it is better.
There is also the real and perceived strain on national services, such as education and health care, created by the immigrant influx.  And there are national security concerns, fed by the fear of Haitian immigrants "violent" people.  Added to this are Bahamians' fears of cultural erasure, and political/economic displacement due to the perception of Haitians as a lurking enemy intent on "taking over."  All of these factors make the Haitian-Bahamian encounter a vexed one; one that reveals class, color and ethnic fault lines.
The often bigoted public discourse in newspapers, on radio and television speak to the volatility of the situation.  For a time I would cut out the more virulent letters to the editor I came across in the papers.  One of the most memorable was entitled "Haitians Attract Flies."  The most recent was blaming the devastating quake in Haiti on devil worship.  I grew up with certain received notions about the Haitian people; they have been the butt of jokes my whole life.  There was no greater insult among us as children than to be called Highshun.  There is a stigma attached to Haitian origins; a social/ethnic blemish that many young people try to hide because of the stinging ridicule and contempt heaped on them through no fault of their own.  I remember a young man at COB who insisted on Anglicizing his name in my class and others who tolerated all sorts of mispronunciations because they at least didn't sound French.
In this uneasy climate, many Bahamian artists attempt to resist the stereotyping of the Haitian people.  Artists such as John Cox, John Beadle, Jackson Petit-Homme, Maxwell Taylor, and Eric Ellis, and writers such as myself, Telcine Turner-Rolle, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Keith Russell, Nicolette Bethel and others have attempted to prick the conscience of Bahamian society.  My play "Diary of Souls" was a fictional treatment of a true event; the tragic death of Haitian refugees at sea in the Exumas in 1990.  Sadly, these tragedies have been happening for a very, very long time and still happen.
At stake is the very notion of what it means to be a Bahamian.  Haitian immigration challenges the core values/ideals of the Bahamian state, putting the people and the nation on trial, and calling international attention to the question of just how committed The Bahamas is to freedom, equality and justice for all.
But we are an itsy bitsy country.  We cannot possibly be expected to have an open door policy.  We have the right to protect our borders from illegal entry.  We are not the continental United States or Canada; we are specs on the world map.  And even in a nation the size of the US, illegal immigration from Mexico and further south is the source of heated debate and conflict.
But though we may protect our borders, Haitian immigrants and those of Haitian descent are here to stay.  We may not all want them here but all need them here.  We need them, as we have always needed immigrants, to help build our country by doing the things we can't or won't do.  It makes no sense to drive a wedge between them and us, to create a hated, disenfranchised underclass.
The reality is that our citizenship laws ensure the imperilment, not the protection, of The Bahamas.  Disenfranchising a person for 18 years or more, while they await entry into the exclusive club of Bahamian citizenship, creates frustration, shame, anger, alienation and bitterness in the hearts thousands of young people who know, have, and want no other home but this one.  It's simply inhumane, short sighted and stupid.
If we cannot bring ourselves to make citizenship automatic upon one's birth for all those born here, we should at least amend the constitution to lower the eligibility date. Why not 10 years old instead of 18?  Avoid creating frustrated stateless teens that can't get scholarships, can't fully participate in national life.
Of course, there's always the other option.  While picking up my son from school, a gentleman who was also waiting for a child, told me he had the solution to the Haitian problem.  "I would blow their boats right out of the water when we find them."  And then he proceeded to carefully lovingly take a child's hand and lead her out of the school yard.
IAN STRACHAN is Associate Professor at the College of The Bahamas.

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News Article
The sacred act of baptism

The seven sacraments -- baptism, confirmation, Holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders and matrimony are considered to be the most sacred rites conducted in the Christian church, and are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. Although all religious denominations do not practice all of the sacraments they are still founding elements in some faiths like the Catholic and Anglican churches.
Even though the sacraments are ancient practices in the history of the Christian church there are still many believers who are not familiar with them. According to some ministers of the word the sacraments are the very foundation of the church and they play a major role in the Christian understanding their true spirituality.
Of all the other rituals, the first sacrament of baptism is one most people are aware of as most churches, no matter the denomination, tend to practice this rite to some extent. It is commonplace to see people become excited about "christenings" and go through the motions of celebrating the glorious occasion without knowing the first thing about the sacred ritual.
This sacred rite is one to be taken seriously says Father David Cooper, rector at St. Michael's Catholic Church in West End, Grand Bahama. Before believers bring a person to be baptized he says they should be fully aware of what it means for the person and the responsibility they are taking on as well.
"In the Catholic church the sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. When it comes to baptism there is a long history of this practice. If you go back to the biblical days there was always some kind of ritual among the Jewish people, called the presentation of child where the infant child was prayed over eight days after his birth. Fast forward to John the Baptist and you will find that he was baptizing people in Jordan. Even so, he knew that someone greater would come who would baptize in a more powerful way. He told the people that their true baptism would come in fire by he that is greater than I."
Unlike in some faiths, baptism in the Catholic church is seen as something done once in a lifetime -- preferably when a believer is still an infant. It is the foundational sacrament and is one of the three sacraments of initiation which also include the Holy Eucharist and confirmation. Undergoing baptism means a child is on his way to becoming a full member of the church.
"In our faith the purpose of baptism is not just something you do because you have a baby. It cleanses us of our original sin or the sinful nature we are born with. It also makes you a child of God and a member of the faith community. Although we are called individually, God also calls us to be a part of a family of faith," says Fr. Cooper.
In the ritual of baptism, four important things take place. The parents and godparents of the child are questioned on their faith and what they believe and want for the child. This should not just be recited but people bringing a child to be baptized need to really ponder on what they say and what they are promising. The child is then anointed with the oil of catechumen which is used on new members to the faith and is applied to the chest. Water is then poured on the child and the oil of chrism applied on the forehead after the baptism. Then there is a handing over of a new light to the parents who are challenged to keep the light of Christ burning in the lives of their children.
Baptism should be seen as a very sacred act and not just taken at face value says Father Hugh Bartlett, priest-in-charge of St. Anne's Anglican Church. It is not just a sprinkling of water on a person. It is a symbolic ritual that points to a very spiritual occurrence in the life of the baptized.
"A sacrament is something physical that points us to something spiritual. In the Anglican church, it is defined as an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Being the first sacrament, baptism is seen as the doorway to your faith. It is the first one you will encounter when you enter the Christian community. And it is much more than pouring water over a person and praying for them. It is symbolic in nature and there is much more going on behind the actions made."
The outward and visible side of baptism is the pouring of water and the symbolic side is that the believer dies with Christ when he is submerged in the water and rises to a new life in Christianity when he emerges. It is for this reason that baptism is a sacrament of cleansing not only physically but also spiritually.
"Baptism is important because it serves to incorporate us in the body of Christ and past teaching is to be forgiven in the original sin. Our beliefs are based on scriptures out of Romans 6:5, which says 'For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like his.' This is the basis of [the Anglican church's] thinking when it comes to baptism. We see it as an inclusion in the body of Christ and based on this we see that it speaks universally to all," said Fr. Bartlett.
Although baptism is an accepted and essential sacrament, there is much controversy among the denominations when it comes to whether or not children should be baptized. In response to this, the priest says that it is essential to include all persons - especially children in this rite.
"Baptizing them into the faith is good because they will be raised in the Anglican community and have the experience of Christianity as part of their upbringing. Later in life they will have an opportunity to express this faith for themselves at confirmation when they are older and can understand. Baptism is a way to make parents accountable before God and introduce the child formally to the church," says Father Bartlett.
He also said that it is important that all people are in a right relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from as early as possible. When baptized the sinner becomes a part of Him, their sins are taken on and are forgiven.
The Anglican priest says although a baptism is held it does not mean that it is the end of the family or church's responsibility for a child. And that baptism is only the beginning which is why it is essential for families to continue to bring their children to church even as infants. Even if the child makes noise or doesn't understand why they should be in church at a young age, he says it is still important to keep them in a spiritual environment so the positivity will be in his subconscious and help him to grow in the right ways.
In other denominations, like the Baptist church, the concept of baptism is approached in a way that the baptized can fully comprehend says Rev. E. John Newton, senior pastor at New Mount Freedom Fellowship Baptist Church in Lowe Sound, North Andros.
"We don't believe in baptizing babies. The appropriate age to do this for us is at the age of 12. We believe in fully immersing the person in the water so they get a full effect of being reborn. It is symbolic of someone being dead and buried much like Jesus was. So when they raise up again out of the water they do so in newness of life. Their slate is clean and it allows them to start again. It is up to them to do what is right and live a good or bad life from that point on," he says.
Being baptized is important because Christ is the example that all Christians must follow. Even he was baptized by John the Baptist and this is the perfect example for His believers to follow.
"When a child is the right age they will know what is right from wrong so they can be baptized knowing full well what is happening and what they are committing to. On the other hand, although we do not believe that babies should be baptized we do have something called a christening for them. This is where parents can bring in their children to be prayed for and introduced to the church officially."
This practice is something that occurred in the Bible for children including Jesus who was christened by Simeon in the temple in Jerusalem.
Even if the different denominations have their differences in how or when sacraments should be done, the Baptist minister says they should not lose sight of what is important and should always keep up with the traditions. No matter when the time comes, it is important to be fully embraced in the body of Christ and be a part of His fold through baptism. And after this sacred ritual it is even more important for the believer - no matter their denomination to live a life pleasing to God because that is the point of everything.
Over the next six weeks, The Nassau Guardian will engage a number of ministers of religion on the topic of the Seven Sacraments. They will dissect each one and talk about the relevance of the sacraments to twenty-first century societies.

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News Article
Bahamian Idol contestant eliminated - 'This is just the beginning of my journey'

By LESH

AFTER successfully making it through to the Las Vegas rounds last Thursday, Bahamian contestant Mathenee Treco's road to becoming the next American Idol came to an end.

Following his journey from the day he was given a golden ticket to Hollywood, Bahamian fans rejoiced and expressed their love for Mathenee after he was the only contestant in his group, the "Make You Believers", to advance to the next round of the competition.

Sadly, he was eliminated right after, having failed to make the top 42.

Keeping up to date with his followers, Mathenee took to his Facebook page to share the news of his progress on the hit singing show.

After securing his spot in the Las Vegas ...

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News Article
American Eagle clips wings in Miami

American Eagle is terminating the lease of nine ATR turboprops flying out of Miami, Guardian Business has learned.
The move, part of the airline's restructuring process, impacts all of the planes that normally service The Bahamas.
While the American Airlines affiliate said destinations should be backfilled with regional jets, "the schedule is still being finalized".
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the minister of tourism and aviation, said a meeting is scheduled for next week with the troubled airline to discuss "a whole series of matters".
He expressed confidence that airlift into the country can be negotiated and should be unaffected by the restructuring.
"We think The Bahamas will always be an important destination for American, be it Eagle or the parent company," he added. "We have already had long conversations about expanding our relationship, rather than reducing it, so we are not concerned we'll find ourselves at a disadvantage here."
The nine ATRs will begin to be phased out in May of this year.
In a statement from the company, American Eagle acknowledged that "this will again impact employees".
A displacement bid is expected to be released in the coming weeks for employees.  The statement went on to mention that restructuring brings about "difficult changes for all of us".
Vanderpool-Wallace felt the current restructuring could end up being an advantage for The Bahamas, as the carrier moves from smaller propeller planes to larger jets for regional travel.
These planes hold more passengers, and when the process is complete, hopefully the country will come out on top.
"In terms of perception of airlift, it might be an unintended positive consequence. I know they are having conversations to increase the size of regional jets," the minister told Guardian Business.
Also being discussed with the airline is "Bahamianizing" the D-60 terminal in Florida.  The Ministry of Tourism hopes to partner with officials there to help generate a strong local feel before visitors even get on the plane.
This initiative would involve more Bahamian flavor in the terminal, providing videos, reading material, entertainment and other attractions to get tourists thinking about activities before they arrive.
The minster said that according to research at the Ministry of Tourism, visitors are less likely to spend more than what they planned to once they arrive at hotels.
Planting the tourism seeds early should generate more spending for the country, he explained.
Darrell Richardson, the CEO of Silver Airways, told Guardian Business that the loss of ATRs out of Miami is indeed a blow for American Eagle.
He felt that, depending on what happens in the coming months, it could "open the door" for Silver Airways to do more airlift from Florida to The Bahamas.
"We're talking a lot to the Miami market and to Nassau these days," he said.  "If we added airlift, it would be later this year and it's on the table.  If they are pulling down it will speed us up."
Silver Airways is currently in the middle of an expansion as its new Saab 340 aircraft arrive in the U.S.  The third of six 34-seater planes touched down last week.
The Saab 340s are in the registration and training process.  Service to The Bahamas should begin by the middle of March.
The airline recently named one of these new planes "The Spirit of The Bahamas".
"We're sitting here with a new fleet of airplanes," Richardson said, "so if American Eagle scales down, we'll take advantage of it."

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News Article
Taylor signs letter of intent with John Brown University

A month and a half ago, D'Shon Taylor started his journey, in search of netting a four-year scholarship to attend college abroad. The 6'6" forward was hoping he could impress coaches with his ball handling, shooting and rebounding skills.
After visiting three institutions and playing in jam packed gymnasiums, where college scouts could see him, Taylor 'banked in' that game-winning shot. On Wednesday evening, he signed a national letter of intent with the John Brown University (JBU) Golden Eagles in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He will join the men's basketball team this fall.
"I came on this tour hoping to improve and secure a scholarship," said Taylor. "We played a few games, visited some schools just to get a feel of what college life is all about. It just so happened that John Brown heard of me after one game. They asked me to come in for a workout. They had expressed interest but really based their decision on my performance. When we were done, they pointed out a few things, so that was the start of our relationship.
"I am really excited but was more nervous about making the decision. I did my research and based my decision on the school's records and the workout we had that day. I think that the new relationship will assist with my game. I am looking forward to starting, and growing with the team. It is going to be an exciting journey and I am ready for it."
Taylor is a recent graduate of R.M. Bailey Senior High School. He led the R.M. Bailey Pacers to a Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) title and a Hugh Campbell title in 2011. It is reported that Taylor averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists during his senior year in Pacers country.
"We are so excited to add D'Shon to our program," said men's basketball Head Coach at John Brown University Clark Sheehy. "We feel like he has the academic background as well as the athletic ability to be a real asset to our program. We are looking forward to getting him here next fall."
The Golden Eagles play in the National Association of
Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC). Their season is in full swing. The team has an overall win/loss record of 21-5.
Taylor said: "I think I can bring a lot of athleticism to the team. I can handle the ball and shoot pretty good, as well as play defense. I am very humble so I know that I can bring a positive winning attitude to the team. I want to be able to help the team out in any way possible. I look forward to working and playing with them. I want to grow with their program. I appreciate them for taking the time out and making this investment in me. I know through the help and grace of God, family and friends I will succeed. I owe it to my family to work hard. None of this could be possible without their help. I would like to thank my mom, Olga, and all those who gave me advice. The journey for me has just started and I know the future is bright."
Taylor is expected to major in electrical engineering. He will return home in a few days. Training will continue for him during the break. The 19 year-old is the nephew of former national volleyball team standout Cora Hepburn and brother of current national team member Davia Moss.

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News Article
Rejection of moves by Israeli parliament

Dear Editor,
 
Regarding the Reuters article "Israel moves to outlaw use of Nazi symbols", January 11, 2012: The Israeli parliamentary initiative to eliminate all signs and symbols of the Holocaust from man's consciousness via criminal law, seems to contradict the Jewish slogan "we shall never forget".  To fight authoritarian rule with authoritarian measures also seems hypocritical.
Speaking on freedom of expression, U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., recently stated: "Speech is powerful and can inflict great pain.  However, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.  As a nation, we have chosen a different course - to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."
 
- Paul Kokoski

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News Article
Wilson: Marathon Bahamas generated over 3,000 hotel room nights

The Marathon Bahamas race weekend generated more than 3,000 hotel room nights during a traditionally weak tourism period, said event organizer and founder Franklyn Wilson.
Wilson, chairman of Arawak Homes Ltd., said participants from over 20 countries came to New Providence to take part in Marathon Bahamas and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
He said the races, while raising money and awareness for cancer research, also served to bolster the tourism sector during the January lull.
"What started as Marathon Bahamas is now an event, which is targeted at encouraging people to come and spend four nights (in The Bahamas)," Wilson said on the sidelines of the marathon's finish line at Arawak Cay yesterday.
"We are pretty certain this year we would have generated over 3,000 room nights in tourism, we're pretty confident about that.  The Ministry of Tourism encouraged us to move this event to the middle of January, specifically to try and provide an anchor to try and turn around what is historically been a slow period for The Bahamas in tourism.  Mid-January is not a busy period for hotels generally.
"So the idea is to use an event like Marathon Bahamas to become the catalyst to hopefully change that whole pattern and the potential is there.  We work on this thing hard enough, long enough and we can do that.  Mid-January can go from being a slow period to a very busy period."
While he could not give specific numbers on turnout for Marathon Bahamas and Saturday's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Wilson said the registration numbers for both events surpassed last year's figures.
As the event, now in its third year, continues to grow Wilson is focused on attracting more international corporate sponsors and partners.
Representatives from Bank of Nova Scotia and UPS have already expressed interest in expanding their involvement in the race, he said.
"This year more and more businesses thought of the idea of not just sponsoring this event from their local budget, but going to their international affiliates or distributors and saying 'listen here's an opportunity for you to build your brand, not just in The Bahamas but through The Bahamas," said Wilson.
In addition to raising money and awareness, Wilson said organizers plan to use the funds raised to purchase a state-of-the-art mammogram machine for the Princess Margaret Hospital.
"It's more than just cancer research.  It's useful for the public to understand it's very difficult to build a word-class hospital only with government support.  The private sector has to help make a good hospital a great hospital.  It has been brought to our attention that the mammogram machine at Princess Margaret Hospital, it works, (but) is it state-of-the-art?  No. There's an opportunity to do something there, we are focused on seeing to what extent this whole thing can cause that to change."
The race weekend began with a roundtable discussion at the Cancer Society of the Bahamas headquarters on Friday, the Susan G. Komen race on Saturday and culminated with yesterday's marathon.
During the roundtable discussion, it was revealed that the researchers who are part of an ongoing study into breast cancer prevalence in The Bahamas found three additional gene mutations.
As a result of their study, researchers have found nine gene mutations in the women they have screened.
The Bahamas has a high incidence of breast cancer.

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News Article
Smith: Govt strayed from the table

Former state minister of finance James Smith is joining a chorus of discontent over the legal battle for Atlantis contending the government has "strayed from the table" on an issue that's crucial to the long-term stability of the country.
Smith told Guardian Business the government owed it to all Bahamians, and in particular the thousands of employees on Paradise Island, to be clear on where the matter stood.
"You're the government. There are a lot of jobs at stake here," he said. "They ought to be at the table. Atlantis is a central feature of our entire economy. The government ought to be totally engaged and ensure the country's interests are met."
On Friday, The Nassau Guardian revealed a legal battle being waged in the U.S. between Brookfield Asset Management and senior lenders in Kerzner International's $2.5 billion mortgage debt.
A court document detailing the particulars of the case has been a matter of public record since January 4.
Four senior lenders from the U.S. are suing Brookfield, the Canadian conglomerate, to stop what they call "brazen self-dealing" that resulted in its apparent acquisition of Kerzner International's assets in The Bahamas and Mexico back on November 30.
The plaintiffs allege that Brookfield colluded with junior lender PCCP and special servicer Wells Fargo, exploiting certain administrative powers to carry out the transfer of assets without approval and in violation of the loan agreement.
Guardian Business first reported earlier this month that the January 1 deadline for final approvals from the government had come and gone.
Zhivargo Laing, the current state minister of finance, told Guardian Business on January 4 he was unsure of where the matter stood, but expressed confidence that the deal was well in hand.
Laing and other members of the government have not formally commented on the matter ever since.
"The point is these things are going on, but nobody seems to be checking," Smith said. "I think this is where the government needs to come in and take a shot across the bow. For anybody who is interested in taking over and moving forward with the property... these are the guidelines."
Franklyn Wilson, the chairman of Sunshine Insurance and Arawak Homes Ltd., agreed that the public has the right to know if a deal of this magnitude is in jeopardy.
"For this country to develop, I don't care who the government is. There are certain cultural things that need to happen. There has to be transparency and people have to be accountable," he said.
Wilson said there are a number of "immense implications" to the current legal battle for Atlantis, with court involvement being "just the tip of the iceberg".
He told Guardian Business the situation creates a profound uncertainty for all Bahamians, in terms of the longevity of the tourism product on Paradise Island and overall health and confidence in the marketplace.
Smith also felt the legal action taken against Brookfield places a "damper" on the industry in general.
"From the way I look at it, Atlantis was one man's dream - Sol Kerzner. It was supposed to be carried on by Butch, his son. To the extent that Kerzner was on board with his hands on the wheel, we could feel safe that he was driving a first-class tourism destination," he explained. "Now it's a big unknown. We don't know where we're headed."
On November 30, Brookfield, a multinational with $160 billion in assets, agreed to a debt-for-equity swap with Kerzner International.
Brookfield exchanged $175 million of debt for Kerzner's holdings in both The Bahamas and Mexico, including Atlantis, The One&Only Ocean Club and The One&Only Palmilla in Mexico.

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News Article
The WikiLeaks cables

Dear Editor,

In the estimation of thoughtful Bahamians, both Hubert Ingraham and Fred Mitchell will have benefited from the U.S. cables' assessment of their stance toward our nearest neighbor.
Although from different political sides, both seem to have been courteous and respectful but independent and not remotely blinded by the more outlandish aspects of U.S. propaganda.
The authors of the Cables themselves do not come off well.
We learn of almost comical scheming between U.S. and Israeli diplomatic staff over an utterly harmless local mosque.  Let's hope that neither country expended too much of their taxpayers' money following international terrorist leads along Carmichael Road.
Instead of commenting on the breath-taking arrogance of an Israeli Ambassador who would have liked to thwart a group of Bahamians from following a religion of their choosing, the U.S. cablers seemed to rue the inability of local politicians to deny a right to Bahamians cherished in their own constitution.
The final disappointment of the cables is the casual, chillingly callous hope expressed therein that thousands of Bahamians would soon be denied cheap eye treatment in Cuba in furtherance of a vindictive cold war policy that serves nobody in the US, the Bahamas or Cuba.
On leaving office in 1961, Dwight Eisenhower (no pinko, incidentally) warned of the growth of a 'Military Industrial Complex', answerable to no one and with a life of its own. He could have applied his warning to any entity, organisation or group that becomes accustomed to the pools of unaccountable power that inevitably form below blind spots of public transparency.
As Bahamians we have a right to know how our politicians manage our most important bilateral relationship.
No less important to us (and everyone else on earth for that matter) is that the American public be kept informed of all the things (from the great to the downright miserable) that are done in their name -- and with their money.
Well done, Guardian.

Yours, etc.,
ANDREW ALLEN

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News Article
PACBO looks to expand Cuba training for locals

The working relationship between the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization and the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas could result in the very near future, in an expanded 'project' of Bahamian boxers training in Cuba.
As president of PACBO, I have had recent dialogue and official communication towards that end during a trip to Cuba. The idea is for the project to be directed from the Northern Bahamas base in Freeport through Terry Goldsmith.
The president of the Grand Bahama Amateur Boxing Association and who also heads the YMCA Club, Goldsmith works very closely with PACBO. Together a successful Easter Saturday event was staged. Wellington Miller, the Bahamas Olympic Committee President and the long-standing chief of the amateur boxing expressed his "delight over the "encouraging prospect."
"This is great. We are very happy and we thank the Cuban Boxing Institution for the success of Taureano (Johnson) and now, Valentino (Knowles) and Carl (Heild). It's a rugged job trying always to find money to give our boxers the best opportunities to develop.
"For that reason it is such a pleasure to have the assistance of a regional body like PACBO. We have already gotten a lot of assistance from PACBO in the way of equipment and tournaments. This is another way PACBO is seeking to help and we are grateful," Miller said.
Throughout the modern history of the Caribbean, Cuba has had the finest sports structure, particularly in boxing. For a number of reasons, sports leaders in the Caribbean nations have not taken full advantage of such an excellent opportunity to help drive their respective national sports development programs.
Amazingly while the rest of the world long ago recognized the benefits of the Cuban sports expertise and utilized the same, among Cuba's Caribbean sisters, this has not been the case.
The boxing family in The Bahamas made a determination during the early part of the last decade that Cuba would be the base for advanced training of the local amateurs. Accordingly, Johnson became pound-for-pound, the best boxer in the English-Speaking Caribbean. His high point before turning professional came in 2008 when he won two matches at the Beijing Olympics and finished the year as the No. 4 welterweight in the world.
Presently, light welterweight Knowles and Heild have taken the mantle and the Cuban boxing background has done wonders for them. Knowles is the only Bahamian to have won a bout at the World Championships. He captured a Central American and Caribbean Games gold medal and a Commonwealth Games bronze medal.
Welterweight Heild won a silver medal at the prestigious Dominican Republic Independencia Tournament and also a Commonwealth Games bronze medal. The PACBO project would hopefully help to create more little Bahamian boxers to emulate Johnson Knowles and Heild.
It is proposed that small groups through the Freeport base would travel into Havana to understudy the Cuban program. Hopefully the project will begin later this year.
 

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News Article
BREA chief to seek Stamp Duty clarity

By ALISON LOWE

Business Reporter

alowe@tribunemedia.net

The Bahamas Real Estate Association's (BREA) president plans to write to the Government formally expressing industry concerns over changes in how Stamp Duty levied on property transactions is being assessed - a change she claims has the capacity to "kill sales" and "cause trouble in a market that already has trouble".

Patty Birch, who is presently out of the country, said she hopes to make the approach upon her return after June 27, having received "many calls" from concerned realtors over the "past two to three months".

They, along with their buyers and sellers, have been surprised to find the T ...

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News Article
PLP supports gay rights

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has added its support to a recent United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that

affirmed the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to choose their own sexual identity.
PLP leader Perry Christie indicated at a press conference this week that the opposition supports such "progressive policies."
"I think from our point of view we understand the sensitivity of this matter," said Christie, adding that the PLP has "always

been committed to progressive policies -- policies that emphasize our commitment to human rights."
Christie said the resolution, which calls for an end to discrimination against gays worldwide, is humane and therefore the

party is in favor of it.
Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette last week said that The Bahamas also supports the resolution "in principle."
The resolution, which narrowly passed in the council in Geneva, Switzerland, expressed "grave concern" about discrimination against gays throughout the world and affirmed that freedom to choose sexuality is a human right.
The Bahamas does not have a seat on the council.
The PLP has no difficulty agreeing with the government on the issue, Christie stated.
"The (PLP) is always committed to ensuring that our policies and our commitments are consistent with the obligations of international

agencies and most certainly respecting the rule of law," he said.
The resolution passed in the Human Rights Council also asked the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct

a study by the end of the year that would point out "discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals

based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in all regions of the world."
Twenty-three countries on the Human Rights Council supported the resolution, 19 voted against it and three countries abstained.
The resolution was the first of its kind passed by the council. It was fiercely opposed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and

Nigeria, among other countries.
The United States supported the resolution, which also asked that the study be conducted before the end of the year to look

at how international laws can "be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and

gender identity."
The resolution also said that the council will form a panel once the study is completed to discuss "constructive, informed and transparent dialogue

on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation

and gender identity."

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News Article
Bar Council chief says Privy Council still needed

President of the Bahamas Bar Association Ruth Bowe-Darville has expressed concern over recent calls for the country to move

away from the Privy Council as a final court of appeal in the wake of a controversial ruling on how the death penalty should

be applied.
Bowe-Darville said Bahamians who suggest abandoning the Privy Council are "treading in very dangerous water."
"Criminally, it's one thing. Civilly, when you're dealing with financial matters and the economic impact of it, litigants

who come before our court, they need that assurance that there is some place of last resort that is independent and seen to

be independent," said Bowe-Darville while appearing as a guest on the Star 106.5 FM program "Jeffrey" on Thursday .
"Litigants who come before us with multi-million-dollar cases and they see us as a great financial center, they need the assurance

that the Privy Council is there," she said.
Last week, the Privy Council quashed the death sentence of murder convict Maxo Tido and ruled that the gruesome murder of

16-year-old Donnell Conover in 2002 did not warrant a death sentence.
When police discovered Conover's body, her skull was crushed and she was badly burned.
But the Privy Council, while recognizing that it was a dreadful and appalling murder, said it did not fall into the category

of worst of the worst.
Tido was sentenced more than five years ago.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly on Monday that the government intends to bring a bill to

Parliament before the summer recess to deal with "the question of the imposition of the death penalty in The Bahamas".
The legislation would outline specific categories of murder.
Bowe-Darville said the government has to address the question of the death penalty through legislation, but has to be careful

not to offend members of the international community.
"I think the question of the death penalty needs to be addressed. I think the country is torn by it because we're in the throes

of this crime epidemic as people have labeled it," she said.
"People believe that the sentence of death and the implementing of the sentence is going to solve the problem -- rightly or

wrongly.
"The debate is wide open. Whether the passage of legislation will resolve the problem is yet to be seen, but we need to address

it, not only for our own national or domestic needs, but the addressing of the death penalty issue also has international

implications for us. It also has economic implications for us."
Bowe-Darville said Bahamians must remember that the country is "a small fish in a very big pond."
"The wider community out there with whom we interact internationally, they're not for the death penalty and have long not

been," she said.
"We interact with them for trade; we look to them for funding. And so we have to consider those implications as well. [Certainly

the prime minister] would have considered our greater good and he would consider our interaction with the wider world as well

when the legislation comes forward."

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News Article
BTC pledges interconnect with Cable 'as fast as we can'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company's (BTC) chief executive yesterday pledged to complete an interconnection agreement with Systems Resource Group/Cable Bahamas "as fast as we can", with the newly-privatised operator hoping to make an "aggressive" transition to its Next Generation Network (NGN) later in its parent's financial year.

Expressing hope that regulatory approval of BTC's Reference Access and Interconnection Offer (RAIO) would encourage all parties "to fast track" interconnection talks, Mr Houston said: "We have committed to progress those discussions and negotiations in good faith, and are being ver ...

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