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News Article

August 10, 2010
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

August 10, 2010
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

August 10, 2010
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

August 13, 2010
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

May 27, 2011
US diplomats feared Islamic radicals in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- U.S. diplomats have expressed concern that an Islamic cleric convicted of whipping up racial hatred among Muslim converts in Britain might do the same thing in his homeland of Jamaica, according to a leaked cable from the island's U.S. Embassy.

The dispatch, dated February 2010, warns that Jamaica could be fertile ground for jihadists because of its underground drug economy, marginalized youth, insufficient security and gang networks in U.S. and British prisons, along with thousands of American tourists.

It says Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, who was deported back to Jamaica in January 2010, could be a potential catalyst, and it noted that several Jamaican-born men have be ...

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News Article

January 10, 2012
Tragic deaths of two dance icons shock arts community

The Bahamian dance community is in mourning with the news of the loss of two dance icons.
Alexander and Violette Zybine died tragically from carbon monoxide poisoning in their home in Mexico early this week.
Though only spending a decade in The Bahamas, the pair managed to make a major impact on the cultural development of dance in the country.
In the late 1960s, Hubert Farrington met fellow performer Alexander Zybine at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Having established the Nassau Civic Ballet in Nassau, Farrington enlisted Zybine and his wife to travel to The Bahamas and look after the newly-formed company.
In 1970, the Ministry of Education offered him a teaching position at C.C. Sweeting Senior High School, where he worked for two years. When the abandoned Villa Doyle on West Hill Street (now the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas) was declared to be a center of cultural activity, Alexander and Violette began dance classes on the property while Kayla Lockhart-Edwards and Cederick Scott offered instruction in music and drama.
Out of this, Alexander formed a non-profit dedicated to dance. The New Breed Dancers accepted and taught any Bahamian student free of charge to promote the art of dance in the community.
This group made a huge impact locally and internationally, taking part in the annual Goombay Summer Folkloric Show in Nassau in the 1970s, dancing as part of the Inaugural Independence Celebration in 1973, and performing successful shows regionally, in major U.S. cities, in Mexico, and even in Europe.
Part of Alexander's brilliance as a dancer is that he used classical ballet techniques in an innovative way to expresss folk traditions. He was known for using local music for his choreography. In fact, when his dance group traveled to the Cultural Olympics as part of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico to perform as a representative for The Bahamas, they performed "Sammie Swain", originally choreographed by Alexander as a ballet.
Through the pair's efforts, they managed to form many successful classical dancers, including Lawrence Carroll, Christina Johnson, Paula Knowles, Ednol Wright and Victoria McIntosh.
As teachers, the pair's opposite personalities meshed well to form dancers both serious and joyful about their craft. Violette's no-nonsense approach, pushing her students' boundaries to get their very best, was offset by Alexander's kind encouragement, giving their fledgling Bahamian dancers a sense of empowerment in their talents that few teachers had ever encouraged before.
"Who I am now has so much to do with what Mr. Zybine did for me," says his ex-student and an extraordinary dance teacher, Christina Johnson.
"I felt like I wasn't always the brightest, but he made you feel like the best. When I look at my life and my achievements, it's all thanks to him. He always told us, 'Never stop moving.'"
"We were all like family," she continues, remembering their many hours of practice together as the New Breed Dancers every evening after school. "We were his family; we were his life."
Indeed, the Zybines kept in touch with every person they came across, especially students, even if only for a brief time. Though they moved to Mexico in the mid-1970s where they continued to inspire countless lives with the power of dance, they sent frequent e-mails to the community of dancers they formed in The Bahamas, becoming lifelong teachers and family members to many Bahamians.
During each visit to Nassau - once in 1994 and again in 2007, where the New Breed Dancers threw a celebration in their honor - the pair continued to teach, offering guest instruction and inspiration to local institutions of dance like the Nassau Dance Company.
Indeed, the ripple effects of their short times in Nassau are still being felt in the country today, making them true icons in The Bahamas.
Like many cultural icons, however, their presence unfortunately remains unknown by the larger population. It's all the more reason to continue honoring their memory locally, says Robert Bain of Dance Bahamas, who was encouraged by the Zybines during one of their visits to continue to lift up dance in the community.
"It's a sad day for dance," says Bain. "Whatever we have achieved in dance in this country is partially responsible to Alex and we shouldn't forget that. We shouldn't forget him."

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News Article

January 12, 2012
Dead fish still washing up environmental advocates concerned

Officials from the Department of Marine Resources said yesterday that dead fish were still washing up on Montagu beach, something that has many environmental and animal protection advocates concerned.
On Tuesday, hundreds of dead fish washed up on the Montagu Foreshore, baffling vendors and environmental officials.
Yesterday Director of Marine Resources Michael Brennan said although the department was concerned, this particular incident seems to be fairly localized to the area.
"We're going to be returning to the area this afternoon (yesterday) when the tide changes to have a closer look at some particular features of the area," Brennan told The Guardian via telephone.
"We are expecting that the environmental health personnel will be able to link up with our people to see if information can be gathered."
Brennan recalled similar incidents that occurred on Grand Bahama, where cold temperatures and a bloom of bacteria or algae caused low oxygen levels in the water, resulting in dead marine life.
"We are hoping the environmental health people might be able to look at the oxygen levels and look at some of the nutrients in the water, to see if that could shed some light," he said.
Environmental and animal protection advocates also voiced their concerns.
Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, executive director of the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF), said she is concerned about what this occurrence could mean for the fishing industry.
"Even though the fish that died were small fish, they are an important component of the fishing industry.  The small fish are prey items for larger fish, which we would be interested in eating."
Kim Aranha, president of the Bahamas Humane Society and co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group, said she hopes the event is confined to the Montagu area.  She is confident that Brennan will discover the cause.
"I'm very concerned because we see this happening in other countries, where their waters are getting polluted and the fish start to die," she told The Guardian.
On Tuesday, some vendors expressed concern that the Montagu Foreshore Improvement Project may have caused or contributed to the event.
Lambert said yesterday that a change in the water's salinity could be caused by a runoff of contaminates from the land into the ocean, but said she couldn't speak to whether the project was a direct cause.

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News Article

February 21, 2012
KFC 'staring down barrel of gun'

The chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) expressed disbelief at the management of KFC's apparent disregard of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU).
While the ongoing spat between workers and management may have reached its tipping point, Winston Rolle said the fast food chain must nevertheless acknowledge the rights of the union.
According to Darren Woods, the secretary general of the BHCAWU, the management of KFC issued a letter to workers stipulating the perimeters of their new contract.  A second letter was also sent to the union, Woods said, indicating KFC's management no longer acknowledged it as a negotiating body.
"I don't think they can do that," Rolle said.  "If I remember correctly, the union would have received recognition through the minister of labour.  It's sad it has come to this.  I had hoped they would resolve the matter."
KFC is one of New Providence's oldest franchises.  Guardian Business understands that both sides met with the minister of labour last night.
Rolle felt management "must be staring down the barrel of a gun" to resort to these measures.  He said a strike by KFC workers will impact a number of employees and their families in The Bahamas.
KFC's management has refused to comment on the labor dispute since the beginning.
The letters to workers and the union is not the first unorthodox method taken up by KFC management. Earlier this month, advertisements were published in both major dailies outlining pay and benefits for employees.
The disclosure revealed generous benefits and pay that was nearly double compared to compensation paid at competing franchises.
The company also posted a notice declaring a new wage structure will be enforced on February 20.
Management clearly followed through with its intentions.
"The company is in a position where they feel they must make adjustments," Rolle added. "From a business perspective, they have to make decisions. Unfortunately they couldn't reach an amiable solution and now individuals will be impacted."
From the perspective of the BCCEC, Rolle hoped both parties can remain cool and levelheaded. He said KFC is clearly under a great deal of pressure and compromises must be made.
Either way, this latest action in the KFC saga will likely have ramifications for all sides.
"It will not go across lightly from anyone's perspective. It could impact the future of the BHCAWU. KFC must be under a lot of pressure to take those steps and prepare for what is to come," Rolle said.

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News Article

February 28, 2012
One moment in time

One of the signature songs of Whitney Houston was the Emmy Award winning "One Moment in Time", which she recorded for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the 1988 Summer Paralympics held in Seoul, South Korea.
The song captures the importance of seizing life's key moments in the pursuit of one's dreams.  The late Jackson Burnside made the same point in the documentary, "Brent Malone, Father of Bahamian Art", produced by Karen Arthur and Thomas Neuwirth.
Burnside made the point at the end of the documentary that Malone recognized that we all have a relatively brief moment in time to share our gifts and express ourselves in our own unique voice.
It was a poignant reminder by Jackson Burnside who himself would soon leave us almost as suddenly as Brent Malone.  Burnside also lived his life exuberantly taking to heart what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as the fierce urgency of now.
The aphorism, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration", captures the idea that a good measure of one's life is not only about seizing the moment.  It is about seizing as many moments as possible to make a life worth living.  In the end, the moments missed and those seized add up.
 
Tribute
Last weekend the country paid tribute to Tommy Robinson at the grand opening of the new national stadium named in his honor.  Tommy Robinson can look back on his athletic career and his contributions to national life with great pride.  Because he seized many moments during that career, he will be immortalized in the annals of Bahamian history.
The opening of the new national stadium has been fodder for some political back-and-forth.  Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham can rightly claim that the gift of the stadium was made possible because of the diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of China by his government in 1997.
In fact, Ingraham can justly claim that all the benefits The Bahamas is receiving from its relationship with China - financing for Baha Mar and the construction of the new gateway project -- are because of that important foreign policy decision.
It should be remembered that the PLP government had short-sightedly recognized Taiwan and had named an ambassador to Taipei before the 1992 general election.  That decision would not have been in the long-term interest of The Bahamas.
Nevertheless, Opposition Leader Perry Christie can claim that it was his government that negotiated the actual agreement for the stadium.
Herein is the cautionary tale to seize the day, or the proverbial 'strike while the iron is hot'.  In the end, it was the Ingraham administration that undertook the hard work of actually getting the stadium built and planning and executing the comprehensive development of the site.  The plaque that memorializes the grand opening will forever bear the name Hubert Alexander Ingraham.
 
Indecision
Christie has often been tagged with the moniker "late again", which speaks to his propensity for delay and indecision.  Christie could have gotten the stadium started, if not completed, on his watch.
But as with a number of other things, he and his colleagues succumbed to the folly that they would have more time to complete various projects in the second term that they did not get.  It is a folly of human nature to which many have succumbed.
Hubert Ingraham is propelled by the fierce urgency of now.  What he has often had to face is that some people can often only digest so much change at a time, and that others who cry out for change are not always prepared to endure the temporary inconveniences of change.  But he will rarely succumb to putting off until tomorrow what he can accomplish today.
The truth is as simple as it is compelling.  Not only are we not promised tomorrow, we aren't even sure how the rest of the day will turn out.  Often in life, delay means never.   There is a quote attributed to the German poet Goethe that captures the fierce urgency of now: "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
"All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events, issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.  Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius and magic in it.  Begin it now."
 
frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article

March 01, 2012
Full athletic scholarship for Printassia

Bahamian junior sprinter Printassia Johnson, a 2011 graduate of Queen's College, was awarded a full athletic scholarship to attended Illinois State University, a prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I school in Chicago, Illinois, this spring.
Johnson had a choice between numerous Division I programs, but after reviewing Illinois State's proposal, her heart and soul was content and confident that that is where she would begin her collegiate journey.
Director of Track and Field/Cross Country and Head Coach, Elvis Forde, is extremely elated and ecstatic to have Johnson join his elite program. He noted that both her academic and athletic accomplishments would be a huge asset to his program, and he is looking forward to excellent results from her this season. In addition, he also encouraged other athletes to stay focused and balance their academics with athletics, and other opportunities would be presented to them.
During her tenure at Queen's College, Johnson assisted her team to a number of second place finishes at the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BIASS) Track and Field Championships. Not only did she participate in events for her school, but she was also chosen to represent both her school and The Bahamas at major regional and international meets, namely the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships (2006-2011), the Penn Relays (2010-2011), the Embry Riddle Track and Field Classic, the BAYTAF Classic, and the Russell E. Blunt East Coast Invitational.
She is the daughter of Henry and Princess Johnson. At Illinois State, Johnson plans to major in business management, with a concentration in marketing, and later aspires to become the best real estate executive in The Bahamas.
A humble Johnson has expressed gratitude and is very appreciative to Citizen Bahamas Business and Consulting Firm for their continued support, guidance, assistance and nurturing that they have bestowed during her track and field career, and for making her dream a reality. She is convinced that both her experience and commitment to her academics and athletics would uphold her character, honesty and integrity in all of her achievements in the future. One of her favorite quotes comes from Albert Einstein: "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it."

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News Article

January 12, 2012
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

June 02, 2011
Ingraham: Many judges incompetent

During a final courtesy call with then U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas John Rood days before the 2007 general election, Free National Movement (FNM) leader Hubert Ingraham remarked that many of the judges in The Bahamas were "simply not competent, having been appointed for political reasons," a U.S. diplomat claimed in one of the cables in the batch of diplomatic documents obtained exclusively by The Nassau Guardian through WikiLeaks.
"Ingraham acknowledged that the Bahamian courts were dysfunctional, and needed changes in leadership," the embassy official wrote.
According to the cable, Ingraham said he did not have a problem with extraditing major drug dealers, but believed that small time drug dealers should be prosecuted locally.
Ingraham reportedly told the ambassador that cases move too slowly and many criminals are out on bail committing new offenses.  "He also noted that Bahamian prosecutors are often wary of taking high profile cases to jury due to possible tampering, and that in non-jury trials the maximum sentence for a drug offense is five years."
The cable revealed that Ingraham and the ambassador sparred over the case of five baggage handlers arrested in December 2006 in Florida on suspicion of drug trafficking.
"Ingraham made it clear he believes the Nassau Flight Services baggage handlers were set up," the cable said.
"The ambassador stated that the training (the baggage handlers were going on) was routine, as others went and came back, adding that if individuals who commit crimes against U.S. law come to the U.S., they will be arrested."
The cable said Ingraham stated that his sources at the airport indicated otherwise.
He further indicated that if he was prime minister, the arrests occurring in this manner would have caused a serious bilateral issue, according to the cable.
Ingraham was quoted as saying, "If they committed the crimes here, they should be tried here".
The cable said he did not dispute the right of the United States to arrest them once they had entered U.S. territory.
In the end, the ambassador and Ingraham agreed to disagree on the manner of the arrests.
According to the cable, Deputy Chief of Mission Dr. Brent Hardt noted that other baggage handlers who did not travel to Florida in December had been picked up by the police but had not been charged.
He asked Ingraham how he would respond as prime minister if individuals engaged in such acts were unable to be prosecuted.
It is then that Ingraham allegedly made the comment about the dysfunctional court system.
"The opposition leader pledged that, if elected, he would make improvements in the Bahamian judiciary to speed up trials and get more criminals off the streets, the cable said.
The state of the judiciary was just one of several issues Ingraham discussed with the Americans, according to that cable.
Discussing aviation, Ingraham reportedly promised to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration on aviation issues if elected, and stated, according to the cable, that he "knew where his bread was buttered."
The cable said the ambassador raised the issue of airport security and safety problems with Ingraham, stating that he remained concerned by both security vulnerabilities and overall airport management.
He told Ingraham that he would support the imposition of a 90-day review period for the airport if no progress is made on addressing long-standing security concerns, though he acknowledged that the government did now appear to be giving the issue serious attention, the 2007 cable said.
Ingraham reportedly asked the ambassador to elaborate on the problems.
The cable said: "Not needing any further prodding, the ambassador outlined several problems, including: The aesthetic appearance of the facilities, the slow pace in processing passengers, radar problems, and endemic security concerns.
"Ingraham stated that Minister of Transport and Aviation (Glenys) Hanna-Martin was 'out of her depth' and that there is no direction being given to civil aviation."
The cable said charges that his government had purchased a radar system that did not work (the ASR-9) concerned Ingraham.
He reportedly noted that his government had purchased the system upon a U.S. recommendation, and added that if he wins the election, he would make changes at the airport, to include getting the new radar system repaired and on line.
The cable said Ingraham also stated that he supports FAA running the Flight Information Region, observing that he had learned through hard experience that it would be too risky to defy the U.S. on such a sensitive safety issue.
The Christie administration had pledged to gain full control of The Bahamas' airspace and had promised that such an effort would result in tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the government. However, this was never achieved.
 
INGRAHAM ON POLITICS
The cable said that turning to the political scene, Ingraham observed that he would support Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Perry Christie (then prime minister) for many jobs, but prime minister was not one of them.
As he did when he sat down with a U.S. diplomat in 2003, Ingraham in 2007 described Christie as "fatally disorganized and incapable of running a government."
The cable noted that the day before the meeting with the ambassador, the press widely quoted an exchange between Christie and Ingraham in which Ingraham referred to Christie as "impotent."
"Ingraham wryly noted that he was referring only to matters of governance," the cable said.
"He said that in his view, the PLP believes it has 'the right to govern' and that the FNM victories in 1992 and 1997 were accidents.
"He expressed the view that some of the investment projects such as Bimini Bay were too large, and that the environmental bureaucracy was unworkable."
Despite prodding, neither Ingraham nor Desmond Bannister, then chairman of the FNM, would reveal the FNM's budget for the upcoming election, the cable said.
It noted that parties are free to take money from any source, and Ingraham said that most of the money comes from businesses.
Persons outside the country can also contribute to parties, and he said that normally only outsiders with interests in The Bahamas do so, according to the cable.
"Ingraham also said that he had enough money for the campaign, but not all that he could use. Typically, money tends to flow in at the last minute when it is too late to deploy effectively, he pointed out," the cable said.
Observing that the PLP was running many more radio advertisements than the FNM this early in the campaign, he reportedly suggested that this reflected their anxiety about the election.
Much of the money used for campaign paraphernalia is actually spent in the United States to buy T-shirts and hats, he noted, according to the cable.
RACES TO WATCH
The cable said the FNM leader said he expected a short campaign of 24 days, with elections called soon after Easter.
Ingraham provided the ambassador with a "scorecard" of key races to watch to determine the outcome of the 2007 election, the cable added.
"In Fox Hill, he predicted that if the PLP wins that seat, they are going to probably win the election, but he also felt that Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell would be defeated by his candidate," the cable said.
"He also noted his surprise that Tourism Minister (Obie) Wilchcombe may be in trouble in his own constituency.
"On the other hand, if Housing Minister Neville Wisdom is reelected, that would be a sign the PLP was on its way to victory."
The diplomat wrote in that 2007 cable that the FNM expects to win the Exuma seat being contested by former Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S. Joshua Sears.
According to the cable, Ingraham noted that the polls in 2002 were more accurate than often acknowledged, adding that the lesson from that campaign was that undecided voters usually broke against the government.
"Polls are now being taken on the larger islands, but Ingraham refused to divulge the results," the cable said.
"Ingraham said the PLP strategy was to increase the negative perceptions of him and make him a central election issue."
The American diplomat wrote that Ingraham is a very polarizing figure and PLP ads are clearly targeting him personally.
"(Ingraham) alluded that many people are personally benefiting from the PLP government and do not want the gravy train to end with an FNM victory," the cable said.
"Ingraham dismissed the PLP's use of the race card, linking his party to the former colonial UBP party, stating that he had credibility on the issue and noted that Christie's own grandfather was white."
In the comment section of the cable, the American noted that Ingraham is "always engaging and never at a loss for words."
"Ingraham seemed very comfortable on the issues and did not shy away from disagreeing with the ambassador, as in the case of the airport arrests," the cable said.
"While he pledged cooperation on aviation issues and promised to make the judicial system work better, he also made clear he would not hesitate to disagree with the U.S. if he felt Bahamian interests were not being well served."
The diplomat added:  "Ingraham conveyed the self-assurance of a leader who has been in charge before and believes he soon will be again.
"From the United States' perspective, an Ingraham-led government would likely abandon the PLP's sympathetic posture toward Cuba and might be less interested in engaging China.
"Ingraham would also give us an interlocutor willing and able to make decisions and follow through on them.
"His ten years as prime minister have given him a good understanding of the United States and how to work with us, and he certainly looks forward to maintaining our traditionally close relations."
 
 
 
 
 
 

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News Article

January 14, 2012
Cultural ambassadors present an evening of dance

A group of dancers and musicians promoting Bahamian culture abroad will be presenting their talents during a special show tonight at the National Center for the Performing Arts on Shirley Street.
Under the theme of "Three Hearts With Love", the Bahamian Dance Theater Company presents a special concert featuring troupes from the local dance community and highlighting three talented Bahamian concert dancers - Mervin Smith, Denton Gay and Mychal Bryan.
"It's very rare in our country to find concert dance - dance that focuses on modern, contemporary and jazz," points out Mervin Smith, who besides helping to form the company in 2009 also acts as its artistic director.
"Our mission and vision at BDTC is to promote arts and culture through dance. We've lost that appreciation for performance, but this is the future and this is what is going on in The Bahamas."
Indeed, these three gifted young men continue to study dance abroad, giving them a chance to perform globally as well, making them true cultural ambassadors of The Bahamas who now share their talents with the Bahamian public during the BDTC's concert season.
The highlight will be their main dance, "Primitive: Male" to the song "Oya (Primitive Fire)" by Babatunde Olatunji, where they hope to give tribute to the male dancer as an important cultural figure. As male dancers themselves, they have faced prejudice and difficulty both professionally and socially, which they hope they can help the audience replace with admiration and awe.
"It embodies the essence of the male as a dancer," says Smith. "You get to see how the male interacts on a stage with other males and own our bodies, our space, who we are, and appreciative of the fact that we are males and we can present ourselves to this form of dance."
This idea of being true to oneself and finding strength in one's identity runs throughout their three solo performances - indeed, it was the thought behind the theme of sharing what's in three hearts.
For Smith, who studies Dance and Theater at Lehman College in New York and who is an alumnus of the esteemed Alvin Ailey Dance School, his dance, "Everybody Has Got Their Something" to Nikka Costa is meant to honor individuals' special talents.
"It tells you that everyone of us in our own space and ways have something to give and offer," he says. "I want this piece to tell people to follow their heart, that they have something to say and do because they will touch lives. People need to be uplifted and inspired."
For dancer Mychal Bryan, this solo performance, "Struggles in the Dark" to the "music" of a speech by Charlie Chaplain made in the 1950s, is a time to reflect on the perseverance of the individual.
"It's about humanity and the ways we get trapped in societies and how we struggle to exist and feel and stretch beyond ourselves to open up to humanness," he explains.
His dance will also be performed at a production at his school, The Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica, where he is also a part-time student at Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts. A talented individual, Bryan also performs with L'Acado, A United Caribbean Dance Force, under the artistic direction of Dr. L'Antoinette Osunide Stines.
The third solo performance by Denton Gay, "Who You Are", after the song by Jessie J., celebrates individuality despite all odds.
"It's about being true to oneself, true to who you are and not conforming to society," he says.
Besides being the rehearsal director for BDTC, Gay studies dance and business administration at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. Once he's completed his studies, he hopes to venture to New York City and eventually choreograph professionally at his own dance studio.
Indeed the night is all about helping these three young dancers to continue to achieve their goals to promote the joy of dance - all proceeds from the tickets will help them to continue on with their studies.
"Dance helps you connect with people on a spiritual level," points out Mervin Smith. "You can tell stories and express through movement what people want to say but can't."
Besides their time in the spotlight, the show will feature a variety of other dancers and routines from BDTC's repertoire: the jazzy "Suite-T Connection", the playful "Bahamian Fables: Once Upon a Time", the mini-cabaret "Stage A Blaze" and "Soul to The Caribbean" featuring mime work by the Lenelle Michelle Mime Company. Tonight's show will be a true reflection of how far dance has come and can continue to grow and challenge audiences.
Yet the evening is more than dance - indeed, BDTC is about promoting all Bahamian arts and culture and to that effect features a young and very talented musician making waves regionally and globally.
Talbert Williams will be presenting his original work, "Beautiful Soul", that interprets the poignant theme of the night.
"'Beautiful Soul' is that feeling where you see your love and you know what it is, but you can't put your finger on it," he says. "I hope the audience connects with me on that level."
Emerging on the music scene as a child prodigy in the National Children's Choir, Williams has continued on a great path of writing, composing and recording inspirational music. It has not only earned him several National Arts Competition Awards in soloist singing, but also regional Marlin Awards in Talent Gospel Search for Inspirational Recording of the Year.
Besides just finishing his studies abroad at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy where he studied musical theatre, Williams has performed even as far as China.
Indeed, these young artists are making exciting waves around the globe and promise to put on a dazzling evening of song and dance when they come together. Attending the performance tonight will not only give audiences a great insight into where Bahamian modern dance and music is heading in a globalized world but also will be a show of support for these young artists who promise to make it big in their craft worldwide.
"Three Hearts With Love" premieres during a special evening performance tonight at 7 p.m. at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $10. For reservations, more information or to make a donation, call 362-0622 or 436-7710.
 

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News Article

January 15, 2012
Bahamas United World College National Committee announces its 40th anniversary

The
year 2012 commemorates the fortieth year of service to The Bahamas by the UWC
National Committee and the fiftieth anniversary for United World Colleges
International.

The
Bahamas UWC National Committee, which is comprised of a volunteer group of
committed individuals, is proud of their record of achievement which includes
ninety-three (93) scholarships awarded to date with a significant increase in
the annual scholarships and placements over the past three years from one or
two per year to the current number of nine scholar-ambassadors who are presently
completing their two-year IB degrees abroad.

Committee
Chairperson, Mrs B.J. Deveaux expressed sincere thanks to the donors and
sponsors who have made the funding for these scholarships possible and urged
more members of the public to support the efforts of the Committee. "Our
mission is to

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News Article

June 01, 2011
Support for stiffer penalties for gun crimes

Harsher penalties for gun crimes would be welcome news to the police force, according to Assistant Commissioner Glenn Miller.
"Whenever it comes to stiffer penalties for unlicensed firearms the police welcome that," Miller said.
Miller's comments came after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly on Monday that the government is considering amending the Firearms Act.
Ingraham also said the government would seek to amend the Bail Act to make it more difficult for persons accused of serious crimes to get bail.
"We are still giving consideration to the question of gun related crimes," said Ingraham as he opened debate on the 2011/2012 budget in the House of Assembly.
"As you know we have sought to get away from minimum sentences.  We are troubled by the six-month, one year, 18 months sentences given to persons found in possession of weapons, particularly at a time when so much criminality and violence is taking place in our society."
So far this year, more than 70 percent of the 52 murder victims died as a result of gun shot injuries, according to police.
Guns are also the weapon of choice in most robberies.
"I hope to have a consensus among the policial class," Ingraham said.  "The reality is that the maximum sentence a magistrate court can reasonably give is five years even though some think it possible to impose higher sentences."
Police have taken about 180 guns off the streets so far this year.
Firearms can be obtained with relative ease, according to authorities.
The government announced in January that in conjunction with the judiciary it had set up a gun court so those found in possession of illegal firearms are quickly prosecuted.
Ingraham said since then there have been successes.
"The magistrate court hearing firearm offenses has in the first two months [of existence] heard more than 180 cases, several of which are ongoing," he said.
Former chairman of the National Advisory Council on Crime Bishop Simeon Hall has previously expressed support for stiffer penalties for gun crimes.
"The fact that guns remain the predominant weapon used in brazen robberies and murders in our country should motivate the authorities to revisit the existing gun laws with the view of removing guns and gun users from the country," Hall said in a statement earlier this year when the murder count stood that 34.
He said the high crime rate clearly indicates that criminals have no regard for the existing gun laws of the country.
According to police statistics, firearms were used in 69 of the 94 murders that occurred last year.
Police seized 351 illegal firearms and 2,624 rounds of ammunition in 2010, according to statistics they made public.
As it relates to the Bail Act, the government declared in the Speech from the Throne that it will bring an amendment to Parliament which would further restrict the right to bail for accused serious offenders.
However, there has been some concern surrounding the constitutionality of such a move.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the Office of the Attorney General has already drafted the legislation that would restrict bail.
Ingraham said the bill would be brought to Parliament soon.

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News Article

June 07, 2011
The Obama and the Ingraham haters Pt. 2

Barack Obama and Hubert Ingraham share more than a birthday and being reared from a young age by devoted grandmothers who instilled within them confidence and the promise of rewards for hard work and relentlessness.
Against considerable odds, both men combined prodigious intellect, a dogged work ethic and discipline to overcome disadvantage, setbacks, and racial and class prejudice, eventually becoming the leader of their respective countries.
The President and the Prime Minister are highly successful politicians with notable accomplishments who chose the law as their profession but public service and politics as their passion and life's vocation.  Men of clear ideals, they are pragmatists getting what they want over time.
What fellow Nassau Guardian columnist Ian Strachan astutely observed of Mr. Ingraham can be said of Mr. Obama:  They are typically the smartest people in the room.  And, they take great pride in recruiting people of talent into their administrations.
Both can be technocratic, delighting in the details of public policy and the workings and intricacies of government.  Early risers, they enjoy working, doing so around-the-clock and often at a feverish pace.  They know the value of time and that lost time means squandered opportunities.
The leaders take considerable care with important public statements and addresses suggesting a discipline of mind and a penchant for preparation resembling an attorney preparing to deliver a public brief on behalf of a client.  Neither is given to empty rhetoric in their policy utterances.
PERSONA
It is not an uncommon mistake in politics to confuse persona with policy and even with potential for productivity.  Winston Churchill, Britain's articulate, eloquent and charismatic wartime leader would undoubtedly win the popular vote for greatest prime minister.
But a more sober and reflective group of historians came to the conclusion that that title should go to Clement Attlee who was the exact personality opposite of Sir Winston: mild-mannered and almost totally devoid of anything that could be described as charisma.
Yet it was Mr. Attlee, the historians concluded, who changed Britain forever with his socialist revolution in 1945 bringing about the most fundamental, sweeping and lasting changes in British society.
Though stereotyped as cool and unfeeling by their detractors, both Mr. Obama and Mr. Ingraham have demonstrated that the critics have missed out on something deeper and more important about the two men.
Mr.Obama's critics were misled by his persona to conclude that, for instance, he would be soft in the "fight against terrorism", especially when compared with his bombastic predecessor, George Bush, who indulged in "dead or alive" rhetoric about Osama bin Laden.
Yet it was the allegedly effete, arugula-munching Barack Obama who demonstrated the kind of courageous decisiveness and nerves of steel that resulted in the death of bin Laden.
Because of his less than warm and cuddly persona, Hubert Ingraham has been accused of being lacking in compassion.
CHANGES
Yet, historians -- and those who care to examine the record even now -- will conclude that he was the Bahamian Prime Minister who brought about the most sweeping and progressive changes to the benefit of working class Bahamians, including the minimum wage, shorter work week and unemployment benefits.
Although Barack Obama and Hubert Ingraham have different personalities and different life stories, it is intriguing how they evoked similar responses from their detractors when they aspired to national leadership.
The personal attacks on the black man who presumed to aspire to the highest office in the United States started at the very beginning and has not let up.  That racism has fuelled much of the relentless onslaught is undeniable.  Sometimes the language is barely veiled.
Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Ingraham did not have the opportunity for a university education and the acquisition of great social polish.  In a country such as the Bahamas one might have thought that one so capable would have been celebrated for having come so far from such humble beginnings.
Yet, like Mr. Obama, Mr. Ingraham has had to endure endless abuse.  While not all motivated by racism, the attacks on Mr. Ingraham have certainly been about class and background.
Even those who acknowledged his extraordinary intellect and his obvious political talents (one even claiming credit for helping to develop the latter!) still attacked him on the basis of class and background.
UNAMBIGUOUS
Also, in the case of Mr. Ingraham, there has been little if any attempt to use veiled language.  Witness such expressions as "rude boy", "delivery boy", and the clear and unambiguous "no broughtupsy".
What is remarkable is that Mr. Ingraham does not lose his temper when he hears some of his detractors whining and complaining about "personal attacks".
Mr. Obama and Mr. Ingraham have different public personas but similar political characters.  They are both pragmatic, results-oriented political leaders who are not afraid of crisis and challenge, but who are impatient with stupid talk and dismissive of pie-in-the-sky dreamers.
Barack Obama came into the presidency of the United States at a time of great economic challenge.
While Hubert Ingraham has practised the art of politics longer than Barack Obama, they are both good at it and generally effective.  To borrow a witticism, they also share the sort of critics who, even if they walked on water, would criticize them as for being unable to swim.
Barack Obama came into the presidency of the United States at a time when America was facing its greatest economic challenge since the Depression.  It appears that his efforts to guide the country out of the crisis may have been successful in spite of the stumbling blocks put in his way by his opponents.
Hubert Ingraham, in his first administration, had the unenviable task of restoring the good name of the Bahamas which had been dragged through the mud of corruption and scandal by his opponents.
In his second administration, Mr. Ingraham and his colleagues have successfully steered the Bahamas through rough economic waters brought on by external forces.
No doubt historians will examine with great interest how Mr. Ingraham was able to avert what could have been a catastrophic experience while at the same time carrying out the greatest infrastructural restoration in the history of the country.
frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article

June 01, 2011
There is no anti-PLP agenda

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Member of Parliament for Fox Hill Fred Mitchell gave a spirited contribution during the budget debate yesterday.  He ended chanting "Bahamians first" as his opposition colleagues banged on the desks of the House of Assembly in support of him.  Members of the governing Free National Movement (FNM) heckled from the other side.
During his contribution, Mitchell spent a lot of time addressing the United States diplomatic cables being published by The Nassau Guardian.
"Here we have a press that does not support the PLP.  They oppose the PLP.  They have now used their resources to get these so called cables. They do not get an independent panel to edit and release the information. Instead they arrogate to themselves the right to selectively choose what to release," said Mitchell of the cables obtained from WikiLeaks.
"Now in a situation where there is support for the FNM why would anybody not be surprised that the PLP is the subject of these attacks with the same tendentious propaganda and slogans of the FNM now repeated in the mouths allegedly of U.S. diplomats."
The Nassau Guardian has no political affiliation. It has chosen to publish the diplomatic cables just as esteemed media companies -- the New York Times, The Guardian, La Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde -- around the world have.
In the region, The Gleaner in Jamaica has also obtained the cables on that country. The Gleaner is publishing the Jamaica cables as The Nassau Guardian publishes the cables on The Bahamas.
We did not write these cables.  Officials from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau did.  The Gleaner did not write the Jamaica cables.  Officials from the U.S. Embassy in that country did.  Mitchell and the PLP must accept this simple fact.
Let us be clear that the written words of the cables contain the words of embassy officials and their views, but mostly they echo the spoken words of the Bahamian persons then being interviewed.
All the words of Bahamian participants were freely given and must have reflected what those individuals thought and felt at that time even though those same persons may be somewhat embarrassed regarding those same words now.
The time period covered by the cables is an accident of history.  The media simply has in its possession what was leaked.  The Bahamas cables mostly cover the PLP's last term in office from 2002 to 2007.  That's just how it is.  If the cables mostly covered the FNM's period in office, the majority of the stories to be published would be about the FNM.
The Nassau Guardian has been responsible in how it has handled the cables.  The stories written by our team of journalists have been measured and analytical, fitting with the overall style of the paper.  We prefer substance to fluff; we prefer examination as opposed to titillation.
If the U.S. diplomats did not think highly of the PLP, the PLP should examine their critique.  The Americans were not just reciting FNM propaganda.  They worked closely with the last PLP administration for five years.  The opinions they expressed in the cables are based on that interaction.
The PLP should be very concerned that senior diplomats from the most powerful and richest country in the world think that its leader, Perry Christie, "has a well-deserved reputation as a waffling, indecisive leader, who procrastinates and often fails to act altogether while awaiting an elusive consensus in his Cabinet," as was reported in a cable.
The Nassau Guardian thinks the Bahamian people should know what the U.S. thinks of Bahamian leaders.  The majority of the tourists who visit our country come from the U.S.  If the U.S. blocked its citizens from visiting this country, there would almost be no economy in The Bahamas.
Mitchell and the PLP should relax.  The publishing of these cables, worldwide, is historic.  Bahamians have been fascinated by the insight provided by our stories.  Historians will use the cables, and the stories written on them, to write about this chapter of the human experience in The Bahamas.
There is no anti-PLP agenda or any pro-FNM agenda at The Nassau Guardian regarding this process.  Such an assertion is silly.  We have written about the FNM and non-political actors too and we will continue to do so.  In fact, the PLP should be happy that a fair and balanced newspaper such as The Nassau Guardian had the initiative to obtain the cables.  If certain other papers in The Bahamas had obtained them, the cables certainly would have been used to attack the PLP.
We are a responsible paper.  We have made no such attempt, and we will make no such attempt.  If Mitchell and the PLP are upset at what was said by the Americans, they should go see the Americans and have a chat.  Attacking this newspaper, based on what was written and thought by U.S. officials, is illogical.
 

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News Article
Sprinter Atkins missing in action
June 20, 2011
Sprinter Atkins missing in action

What's happening with Derrick Atkins?
He will forever have an important distinction in the sporting history of The Bahamas.
Atkins established himself as one of the nation's greatest sprinters in 2006 when he annihilated the former national 100 meters (m) mark of 10.18 seconds. Atkins jetted to a 10.08 finish in becoming the new record holder. The next year, he crashed through the 10 seconds barrier, registering a 9.98 clocking for another 'new' national mark.
He would lower that to 9.91 while capturing a silver medal at the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Championships later in 2007. Atkins had arrived in a big way on the international scene. He had beaten the Jamaican world record holder at the time, Asafa Powell, and was second to American Tyson Gay.
He was right there among the top three sprinters in the world. This was of course, before an athlete named Usain Bolt captivated the world like no sprinter ever had before. For Bolt, the legacy continues, while Atkins has not in the last four years, come close to his performance of that historic day for Bahamian sports in Osaka, Japan.
He ran a couple of races in the low 10 seconds area (10.14 and 10.13) while advancing to the quarter-final round in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics but failed to get into the final which became Bolt's ultimate stage. In just a year, Atkins had dropped out of the top three in the world to an non-qualifier for the Olympic final.
His status kept diminishing in 2009 and 2010.
Here we are in 2011 with the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) National Championships scheduled this weekend in Freeport, and by all appearances he will be a no-show.
BAAA President Mike Sands, when we chatted recently, admitted to not having a lot of information on Atkins other than the understanding that he has been fighting injuries and is not in peak shape.
Atkins, being almost invisible, is cause for another discussion.
He is one of the top beneficiaries from the Government Sports Subvention Program. The highest category is $34,000 given to elite athletes for training purposes. There is the condition that the athlete competes and represents the country. Also, participation in the Nationals is a must, unless there is a good reason accepted by the parent federation, in Atkins' case, the BAAA.
Sands did not have to speak to this particular issue, because it is common knowledge. The BAAA chief expressed no position on the issue or on the subvention status of any other elite within the track and field family.
I know the terrain however and strongly advocate that the taxpayers' money that fund the subvention program is spent prudently, especially in these downward economic times. The Bahamian people should have the full story on Atkins. His situation might be one that is quite reasonable and if so, people will understand.
The view here though, is that there ought to be much more information coming in from Atkins about his MIA status.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at frobertsturrup@gmail.com)

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News Article

June 18, 2011
Bahamas backs gay rights

The Bahamas supports the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution passed yesterday that affirms equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette.
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, but is in favor of the resolution in principle, Symonette said.
He noted that he had not seen the resolution, but said the government supports the expansion of rights for "people of any persuasion."
"Our record is clear, we continue to support freedom of expression and the right for people to express their opinions," Symonette said.
"We actually voted in expansion of the rights [of GLBT people in a UN General Assembly vote earlier this year]."
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."
One month ago, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay equated homophobia and transphobia to misogyny and racism. She also claimed that hate crimes against GLBT people were on the rise.
"States have an obligation to decriminalize homosexuality and to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation," she said.

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News Article

June 14, 2011
Butler dealt a bad hand

Dear Editor,

It appears as if Opposition Leader Perry G. Christie is unmoved by the sudden resignation of Craig Butler from the Progressive Liberal Party.  Christie stated that people are always leaving the PLP. He also stated, however, that people are always joining his party. Mr. Christie also added that he wishes Mr. Butler all the best in his future endeavors.
Christie said this much about Craig Butler during a PLP rally that was held at their headquarters Gambier House on June 1st.  Mr. Butler is the grandson of Sir Milo Butler, the first Bahamian governor general.  He was also the treasurer of the PLP.  It appears that Mr. Butler's family connection was not enough to help him get the nomination for the PLP.
Mr. Butler has on numerous occasions expressed an interest in running as a candidate for the PLP.  In fact, just last year after the resignation of Elizabeth MP Malcolm Adderley from the House of Assembly, Mr. Butler, along with Ryan Pinder, both vied to get the PLP nomination for that constituency.  The nomination was given to Mr. Pinder.
He was favored by Mr. Christie to run in the 2010 bye-election in Elizabeth.  However, Mr. Christie, before he had made his final decision on who would run in Elizabeth, sounded as if Mr. Butler had a fighting chance to gain the nomination.

Nevertheless, despite what could only be described as a major disappointment in being rejected by the PLP in Elizabeth, Mr. Butler remained a loyal PLP supporter.  Mr. Butler then turned his attention to the Kennedy constituency.
That constituency is represented by FNM MP Kenyatta Gibson.  Gibson had defected from the PLP in 2008. I understand that Mr. Butler had been canvassing the Kennedy area, with the hope of galvanizing support from PLP supporters.
Many of the PLP supporters in Kennedy were interested in Mr. Butler and his message.  It appears as if Mr. Butler really believed that he would be given the PLP nomination for Kennedy.  According to some political observers, it appears as if Butler was given this impression by the leaders of that party.  This would explain why he was so disillusioned with the PLP and resigned after he was once again rejected by the party.
According to the press, one Dion Smith has been given the nomination to run for the PLP in Kennedy.  It is obvious to myself that Mr. Butler was really disappointed at being overlooked again by the PLP.  According to the press, Butler was denied a nomination because of his past drug addiction.
Butler has admitted that he once struggled with drug addition.  Yet he is quick to add, however, that he has truly reformed.  Christie, however, appears not to be impressed with Mr. Butler.  Perhaps the opposition leader feels that Butler's past indiscretions would turn off too many voters from the PLP.
Mr. Christie obviously wants to present to the Bahamian electorate a slate of candidates that are squeaky clean.  Therefore, it is understandable why Mr Christie is unwilling to accept Butler's nomination. But with that being said, why has Mr. Christie refused to heed the warning of Raynard Rigby, Philip Galanis and George Smith?
These three prominent PLPs had warned Christie not to accept the nominations of Obie Wilchcombe (West End and Bimini), V. Alfred Gray (MICAL), Shane Gibson (Golden Gates), Leslie Miller, Picewell Forbes (South Andros), Anthony Moss (Exuma) and Vincent Peet (North Andros), for the upcoming general election.  Most of these gentlemen listed above have also had their share of issues.  In fact, several of them, including Keod Smith, Kenyatta Gibson and Sidney Stubbs, had caused the PLP to lose the 2007 general election.
Mr. Christie obviously intends to run these men in the general election.  He had written a letter to a prominent tabloid newspaper stating the reason why he had rejected the suggestions of Rigby and co.
Question: If the leader of the opposition is hell-bent on running these candidates, who have also made their share of mistakes, why is Mr. Christie unwilling to do the same for Craig Butler?
If Mr. Christie is willing to overlook the alleged indiscretions of these men, why not do the same for Butler?  After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  If he is determined to reject Mr. Butler's nomination because of his past, then he should do the same thing to his MPs, who were mentioned in that famous letter that was leaked to the press!
Further, the incident with Craig Butler is similar to an incident that had occurred almost ten years ago in Marco City.  The Rev. Frederick MacAlpine was a PLP supporter who himself was given the impression that he would be given the PLP nomination for Marco City to run in the 2002 general election.  I live in Marco City.  I remember the Rev. MacAlpine sending us letters and holding functions in Marco City.  I thought that he would be running in Marco City for the PLP.  However, Miss Pleasant Bridgewater was given the nomination instead.
The Rev. MacAlpine felt slighted by Mr. Christie and the PLP. Therefore, he, like Butler, eventually left the party.  It appears as if Mr. Christie and his party have a penchant for leading people on.
These men had obviously spent a lot of money and time in these constituencies, only to be told at the eleventh hour that they won't be receiving any nomination from the PLP.  If this is what was done to Mr. Butler, then Christie and the other leaders of the PLP should at least apologize to him for wasting his time.
Why tell a man that he has a good chance of securing a nomination, when you have already made up in your mind to run someone else?  This is one reason why I find it difficult to support Mr. Christie.
Mr. Christie needs to understand that you just can't treat people like impersonal objects. People are to be treated with dignity and respect. I believe that Christie dealt Craig Butler a very bad hand in this case!

Yours, etc.,
KEVIN EVANS

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