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News Article
Too Many Drum Majors

Dear Editor,

In one of his final sermons, "The Drum Major Instinct", the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "There is deep down within all of us an instinct. It's a kind of drum major instinct -- a desire to be out in front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first."

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News Article
Flying Fish introduces their Prix Fixe Menus

Experience the difference at Flying Fish! 
With unmatched service and attention to detail. A blend of traditional
& modernist cuisine techniques not used anywhere else in the
Bahamas.

Flying Fish Restaurant is pleased to introduce our Prix Fixe (3-course) Menu which features

your choice of a tantalizing
appetizer, a sumptuous main course item, and a delectable dessert.

Enclosed are our

Dinner, Lunch, and

Brunch Menus for your perusal...

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News Article
Dinner with Sir Sidney Poitier: Remarks by Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister

Los Angeles, Calif.

-

Tuesday August
21st, 2012

 

Every Bahamian
grows up knowing of Sidney Poitier.

Every Bahamian
knows the greatness of the man, achieved over an extraordinary lifetime.

And Americans
and Bahamians can agree: Sidney Poitier is one of a kind.

Cat Island is
a beautiful, hilly island in the central Bahamas. I have the honour to
represent Cat Island in our National Parliament. His Excellency, Sir Sidney
Poitier grew up on Cat Island working on a farm -- fishing and swimming in
clear calm waters while attending school.

Although he
later moved to Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, and then to the United
States, as a Cat Islander...

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News Article
Golden Knights Ride GB's Parade Float
Golden Knights Ride GB's Parade Float

The Golden Knights' visit to Grand Bahama required much organizing and on-island travel in order for them to be seen by as many locals as possible. The Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS) was happy to oblige organizers by letting them use the company parade float, which was already well known as star of this year's Independence parade.

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News Article
New 36.75 Million Resort Town Project to Be Developed in the Bahamas

Orlando - (South Florida Caribbean News) Though remote, the
natural beauty of the island targeted for this development offers both
excitement and relaxation. With breathtaking, untouched beaches and
unusual rock formations, it is a nature lover's dream, with deep caves,
coves, colorful reefs, some of the best bonefishing flats and big game
fishing spots in the Bahamas, making it ideal for fishers, divers, and
snorkelers alike.

The project's financing structure has been designed by Capital Corp
Merchant Banking, a middle market international project financing group.
The $36.75 million project will be financed through debenture and
common stock...

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News Article
Grand Lucayan partners with Freeport News on Photo Contest

GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND, Bahamas -
Aug. 23, 2012 - Grand Lucayan resort
and

Freeport News have launched a photo
contest, which allows island residents to win weekly prizes just by snapping an
image of their favorite spots and people on Grand Bahama Island. Through Oct.
10, 2012 residents can submit an image of their choice taken on Grand Bahama to
be entered for weekly consideration in

Freeport News' "Best Local Grand Bahama" photo contest.
Additionally, by submitting an image, one is entered automatically for the
"Best Grand Bahama Island" photo of 2012.

Island residents can enter the
contest as many times as desired and are encouraged to send in images of a
favorite activity, beach, friend preparing a Conch salad, a day at Lucayan
National Park, fishing adventure and more. Prizes for the weekly winners...Island residents eligible to win weekly prizes!

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News Article
Food 99/1: Great Italian wines at a reasonable price

I like to pride myself on finding a great deal on something that is of great value. A few years back, I took courses from the International Sommelier Guild that allowed me to take my prudent nature and find some great value wines at a great price. The thousands of dollars achieving Sommelier status has paid itself back in the bargains I have found because of my knowledge!
The wine list at Flying Fish is made up of a lot of new world wines (Chile, USA, Australia, South Africa, Argentina) that are not the run-of-the-mill household names that one would usually find on a wine list. The price point is intentionally kept on the low side (wines start from $30 and go to $110) because a lot of the varieties and names on the list are unknown and trying something new at a lower price point is always more enticing than trying something new that is expensive.
One of my favorite no-fail "bargains" is a classification in Italy called Indicazione Geografica Tipica or IGT. IGT denotes a wine that is a typical indication of a certain geographical area.
Prior to 1992, there were three classifications for Italian wine: table wine, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). The DOC and DOCG are very specific to appellations.
Chianti, for instance, is a DOCG and has very specific rules winemakers must adhere to in order to label a wine as a DOCG. Some of the rules include grape variety, irrigation, ripeness of the grapes at picking, ageing and labeling. There are 32 DOCG and over 300 DOC regions in Italy.   You can recognize DOC and DOCG by the pink ribbon along the capsule of the bottle of wine.

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News Article
Deepening our democracy and their pockets

"Cable Bahamas has earned profits of over $203 million in fourteen years."
Last week in this column, we asked our readers to consider whether the Utilities Competition and Regulatory Authority (URCA) should approve Cable Bahamas' request for an increase of the basic cable fees by as much as 27 percent. We foreshadowed a town meeting that was organized by URCA on Tuesday, September 11 to allow them to hear the public's views on the requested increase. We went to that town meeting which was well-attended, lively and, at times, even passionate.
Therefore, this week we would like to Consider This... was the URCA town meeting productive? What, if anything, did it teach us about Cable Bahamas?

Meeting overview
The URCA-hosted town meeting was represented by some of its senior executives. Several Cable Bahamas executives were also present as well as one identifiable director of that Company. The meeting was chaired and the ground rules were clearly explained by URCA's general counsel and, except for several reminders to allow individuals to be heard, the meeting was lively and occasionally boisterous.
There were approximately 200 persons at the meeting and at least 50 of them spoke to the issue.

Not one single person who publically expressed their view felt that the increase was justified or should be approved. There was unanimous objection to the proposed price increase. We did not get a sense that anyone in attendance felt intimidated about supporting the price increase. Admittedly, URCA did not adequately explain the reason for the proposed increase, except to state that Cable Bahamas felt that the cost of programming had increased, without any statistics to support Cable's claims, as well as the fact that the cost of living had increased since 1995 by 37 percent.

Expressed sentiments
Some of the sentiments expressed by participants at the town meeting included the following:
o Cable Bahamas should be ashamed of itself for asking for an increase;
o In light of the channels that subscribers are receiving and Cable's poor level of service, Cable is not entitled to an increase;
o Cable should consider keeping the current price level while decreasing the number of channels offered because many subscribers could do without some of the channel offerings;
o It is patently unfair for Cable to charge a reconnection fee of $55 or $56, particularly given the frequent outages experienced by some subscribers;
o Given its monopoly, subscribers are held technologically hostage because there is no choice of service providers;
o There are many students who rely on the Internet for study purposes and "without Cable Bahamas, we are technologically blind";
o Too many of the channel offerings are in Spanish which, in an English speaking country, is unacceptable;
o This town meeting was only cosmetic and a farce and it was felt that a decision had already been made by URCA to grant the increase;
o URCA was asked to quantify how much of The Bahamas has cable, pursuant to Cable Bahamas' mandate to "provide cable to the entire Bahamas." URCA never answered the question;
o It is grossly unfair for Cable Bahamas to charge households $30 and $50 to businesses for its monthly service. This disparity is unacceptable and unjustifiable;
o Cable Bahamas is demonstrating that it is the worst kind of corporate citizen by asking poor people for an increase while many Bahamians are still suffering the effects of the economic downturn; and
o The proposed increase of $8 for household consumers is unconscionable because with that amount "we can buy at least eight tins of tuna fish or at least three tins of corned beef".
Perhaps the biggest bomb shell was dropped when activist Rodney Moncur asked URCA to confirm that its Chairman Randol Dorsett is the lead attorney for Cable Bahamas, which Moncur maintained resulted in a gross conflict of interest. Moncur added that "it is professionally immoral for the chairman of URCA to be Cable Bahamas' lead counsel (in the Supreme Court) and therefore has no confidence in URCA's ability to be independent in this matter". The question went unanswered.

Cable Bahamas director's views
While no one from Cable Bahamas spoke at the town meeting, in an interview with one of the daily newspapers, Dionisio D'Aguilar, one of the Company's Directors, agreed that if Dorsett is still Cable Bahamas' lawyer and URCA's chairman, "that does seem to be a bit of a conflict". He was also quoted as describing the meeting as "stupid" and a "complete waste of time". He continued that for Cable Bahamas, "it made no sense for them to respond to those people". He is also quoted as saying that "those town meetings are the stupidest things that God ever created. They are always out of control; they are just a way for people to vent".

Cable Bahamas' financial results
When asked about the level of profits that Cable Bahamas has earned over the years, one of URCA's executives replied that Cable Bahamas is a public company whose profits can be viewed online. So we went online and noted a startlingly revealing history of profitability by that company. For the period 1998 to 2011, the published annual audited net profits earned by Cable Bahamas are as follows:
It is revealing that Cable Bahamas earned a net profit of $7.2 million in 1998 (its lowest) and a record high net profit of $28.5 million in 2009, or an average annual net profit of $15 million for the 14 years reported. Could it be that the company applied for a rate increase in 2011 because it realized that its annual net profits were declining from 2009 and wanted a higher return for its shareholders that approached that banner year results? Is that sufficient justification for a rate increase?
Or perhaps Cable Bahamas has noticed that, because of the economy, its subscribers have migrated from the more expensive packages to the basic package, thereby accounting for some of the decline in its profits. So, instead of applauding the allegiance of its subscribers who, in such a desperate economy, have found a way to stick with cable, albeit in a smaller way, in an example of capitalism at its worst, cable decides to raise the price of that basic package, perhaps taking it out of the reach of the very customer who has been forced to drop the more expensive package to scrap together that $30 each month. To even the casual observer, it appears to be a classic case of corporate and individual greed.

Conclusion
Whatever one might think about URCA's town meeting, one thing is certain. These types of public fora are indicative of a maturing and deepening democracy which enables citizens to express their views on issues of national importance. They should be encouraged and we commend URCA for hosting such meetings, even if they are uncomfortable for some of the stakeholders. To date, given the enormous profits that Cable Bahamas has earned over the years, especially in light of its cable monopoly, a persuasive argument has not been made that would support the proposition that URCA should grant the requested increase at this time, having regard for the already high cost of living that many Bahamians are experiencing.
This exercise has clearly demonstrated that such public meetings will contribute to the deepening of our democracy even while a monopolistic company is simultaneously seeking to deepen its coffers and the pockets of its shareholders.
Next week, we will consider how, from its inception, URCA seems to be plagued with charges of conflicts of interest and what can be done to overcome such perceptions and allow them to do their important work, free of the shadow of scandal.

o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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News Article
Delegation to visit Dominican Republic to address illegal poaching

A delegation of government officials will visit the Dominican Republic at the end of the month in an effort to curb the presence of illegal Dominican poachers in The Bahamas, but if that fails the government is prepared to implement more stringent measures to keep them out of Bahamian waters, said Minister of Immigration and Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian Mitchell said there have been far too many complaints made by Bahamian fisherman about illegal poaching.
"The Dominican Republic does not have a bank, The Bahamas is mainly [made up of] banks and shallow water, the conch and crawfish live on the banks and their nurseries are in the banks, so the question is where does the Dominican Republic get such an extensive fishery," Mitchell said.
"Our information is there are large commercial operations out of the north of the Dominican Republic and they really fund these exercises.
"We want the cooperation of the Dominican government to bring this to a quick halt, to let them know that we are quite serious about his matter."
He said if that doesn't work, more stringent measures will be taken by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and stronger legislative measures will be taken by the government to control the amount of poachers in Bahamian waters.
Mitchell noted that poaching poses a serious problem to the sustainability of fishing in The Bahamas.
"You must reap the fish by a method that is sustainable," he said.
"The problem we have is twofold. First of all the waters belong to The Bahamas, not the Dominican fisherman.
"Secondly the methods that are being used are in fact unsustainable and they wipe out so much of the species which are in the water, which makes the long-term prospects of recovery more difficult for all of the various species, and this includes conch and crawfish in particular."

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News Article
International Champagne Day (Oct 28) celebrated all weekend long at Flying Fish

Freeport, Bahamas - Attention Champagne Lovers! October 28th is

International Champagne Day
- a global celebration and as good a reason as any to drink some
bubbly! Champagne and Flying Fish Modern Seafood is taking part in the
bubbly fun.

Come
celebrate Champagne Day in style at

Flying Fish Modern Seafood all weekend long (

Thursday, October 25 through
Sunday, October 28)

as our chef's offer you a 5-course Tasting Menu sure to be 'champagne
friendly'...

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