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News Article

March 19, 2014
CR2 and College Ready Bahamas help students become college ready

CR2 (College Ready 2), the non-profit arm of College Ready Bahamas (CRB), is now an official partner with the U.S. Embassy. Founded in 2013, CR2 aims to expand tertiary education opportunities to Bahamian students.
There are many opportunities for tertiary education available to Bahamian students -- be it The College of The Bahamas, The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) or international tertiary institutions, there are opportunities for financing tertiary education. Students who prepare and plan early for tertiary education have a higher chance at gaining entrance and scholarship awards. The key is preparation.
CR2 helps students to focus and create a path that makes the student more competitive on the global education stage. Its message to Bahamian students is that college is for anyone who wants to go, and that they can help them find the right fit.
The organization works with colleges and universities worldwide. It also partners with local institutions -- junior and senior high schools, clubs and foundations. The organization thinks of itself as a complement to the invaluable services that junior and high school guidance counsellors perform.
In November 2013, CR2 partnered with the U.S Embassy and hosted College Week Live International Student Day Virtual College Fair which featured over 100 colleges and universities. Students from C.R. Walker School and Mt. Carmel Preparatory were invited to speak with college representatives. In January 2014, CR2 worked along with the U.S. Embassy, the Lyford Cay Foundation, The College of The Bahamas, the Ministry of Education and the College Board for a counsellors training and scholarship forum.
The initiatives of EducationUSA give Bahamian students a great tool with which to navigate the U.S. tertiary education system. We will be able to provide students with the most accurate and current information available due to the network of schools that work along with EducationUSA. Many of EducationUSA services are free, or for a minimal fee.
CR2 works with students through workshops and forums. Students may participate through a membership or can work with individual services. CR2 ensures that its services are either free, or minimally priced, so that as many students as possible may take advantage of the services. The membership provides the student with even more savings. For example, EducationUSA advisors sit with students during the application process to ensure that the scholarship application is completed correctly.
In a workshop setting, the advisors walk students through filling out the application and ensure that they submit all required support documents. Another service CR2 provides is essay critique during which the advisers tell students frequently, that they cannot write their essay for you, but they can help them brainstorm ideas, write a focused outline, and provide professional editing.
CR2's sister company, CRB, focuses mainly on test preparation. CRB provides classes in Scholastic Aptitude Tests and Advanced Placement Calculus. The company also has a foundation math and English course. During the summer months classes are offered in pre-calculus and college writing which are geared specifically towards students who are leaving for college and want to hone their skills.
As the first year of college is a big adjustment they try to ensure that students have exposure to some of the materials they will be expected to know when they get there. The courses make the adjustment smoother and the retention of scholarships easier. CRB is looking to expand into even more test preparation courses.
For CR2 the aim is college readiness -- being academically qualified, financially prepared, and emotionally and socially capable for the rigors of college life. CR2 and College Ready Bahamas have made it their business to help assist more students to be college ready.

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News Article

March 10, 2014
Fourth place finish for Mackey at Arnold Festival

Kenny Mackey has put The Bahamas at the forefront in men's physique.
Mackey recently participated in men's fitness at the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival. Amateur fitness athletes traveled from all over the globe to compete in the event in hopes to receive a pro card to compete at the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) elite level.
Mackey finished fourth, a position that is quite commendable, seeing that he has only been competing seriously in the sport for about a year. He said that he had mixed emotions about the fourth place finish.
"I felt both joy and a little pain with the finish. Last year I finished 12th in the same competition so this year my goal was to make the finals" said Mackey. "After I made the finals, my eyes were set on a bigger prize, winning the whole competition, so there were a bit of mixed emotions but it's still gratifying to see the hard work being recognized, so it was bittersweet."
The contestants were grouped by height and were judged on overall muscularity, symmetry, conditioning and stage presence.
To get ready for the competition Mackey said that he worked out at a number of different facilities in New Providence and had a vigorous workout regimen leading up to the competition.
"To get ready for the competition I would get in two, sometimes three workouts a day. Some days at Club One, sometimes at MACFit 360. I would get in a workout in the morning and do a session, then go back in the evening and do another," said Mackey.
"After a good workout sometimes I also would do cross fit by the airport industrial park for some functional training, because I feel that helps to keep the muscles more elongated."
Mackey also said that he owes a lot of his success to his mentor, Bahamian professional bodybuilder Joel Stubbs.
"He has been my mentor for a long time. He does my weekly assessments and tells me what I need to work on. He also plans my diet as well so I owe a lot to Joel and his mentorship," he said.
Stubbs said that he was proud of the progress that Mackey has made so far, and excited to see what they can accomplish together.
"I've been working with Kenny for a while now. We have been working on his body trying to put together the best package possible," said Stubbs.
"I was very proud that he not only cracked the top 10 but managed to get in the top five, so I was very proud of that. We still have work to do and we will work to win the CAC Championships in
September were hopefully he can win his pro card."
Mackey said that going into these events he looks to work on his overall physique and is looking to improve on his package, and not getting complacent.
"The goal is to keep building on your package because you don't want someone to be able to say you looked better last competition or that you look the same as the last time out," he said.
Mackey said that he's always working hard because he knows that he represents his country every time he steps on the stage.
"I'm blessed for the opportunity to represent our country at any level. I'm appreciative to have the chance to do something I love to do."
Mackey also gave credit to Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) President Danny Sumner.
"He's been instrumental in keeping in contact with all the athletes," Mackey said.
"Going into the Arnold, he made sure all paper work was done and that we were on top of the game with the IFBB. He made sure everything was together and he deserves credit for his capacity as president of the BBFF."
Mackey is looking forward to the rest of this year. It will be an active one with two major competitions. The BBFF National Championships is in early July and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships will be held September 12-14, in St. Martin. Both Mackey and Stubbs expect a good showing at the those events.

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News Article

March 27, 2012
Inaugural Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend launches with a splash

TREASURE CAY, Abaco -- The 2012 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend took place from Friday March 23rd to Sunday March 25th. Competitors from across the nation and from countries as far away as the UK, as well as Canada and the United States, were in attendance at race headquarters, the Coco Beach Bar at the Treasure Cay Resort & Marina.

The first event, a one mile open water swim in the serene waters of Treasure Cay Beach, kicked off on Friday at 5pm. Seven competitors participated from the Bahamas and the UK. 
The winner, with a time of 24:07, was Peter Wagner of Nassau, Bahamas, who decided 5 minutes before the start to participate. 
Gina Wilcox, a Treasure Cay second-home owner from the UK, won the women's division. Wilcox is associated with an open water swim club in the UK and was very impressed with the swim event.

The main events of the weekend, the triathlons, started early Saturday morning. Following a glorious sunrise on a picture-perfect day, at 7:30am the gun went off and the swimmers entered the again tranquil waters of Treasure Cay Beach.
The Olympic competitors swam 1500m, biked 40 km, and ran 10km. Greg Lowe of Nassau won the event with a time of 2:53:25, with Peter Wagner and Carlo Chee-A-Tow taking second and third.

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News Article

May 15, 2012
Baseball 1970s decade presented bevy of stars

Today's column continues to highlight that special decade of baseball in The Bahamas, the 1970s. The "best-of-the-best" performed for local fans. The senior league of the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) was arguably the most attractive sports entity at the time. Basketball was certainly quite popular and cricket still had a solid connection to many Bahamians.
Baseball at the Andre Rodgers stadium during the 1970s, however, was something extra special. The satellite era was not upon us fully and the fans flocked to night and weekend games. Being in attendance was a great experience. Luminaries, present day stars and icons like Andre Rodgers, Tony Curry, and the energetic All-History president George Mackey, afforded all and sundry a bit of interaction.
It was a great, big family affair, baseball at the Rodgers stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. The high point was the performance of the top players. There were many great ones for sure.
The All-Bahamian Team of 1978 was a case in point. The team included the first team for all of the positions plus the designated hitter. One could make a case easily for seven of the 10 being on a Bahamian Baseball All-History Team. The pitcher was Bertie Murray (All-History); Lorenzo "Doonie" Lockhart at second base (All-History); Roosevelt "Bruso" Turner at third base (All-History); Jayson "Peg" Moxey, Fred "Papa" Smith and Eddie Ford in the outfield (three All-History players); Simeon Humes was the designated batter (All-History).
Bertie happens only to be the most durable, yet talented pitcher in the history of baseball in The Bahamas. Who would argue about Lockhart's place in history? Asa Ferguson always called Lockhart "Captain Blood". He was indeed bloodthirsty when he went up to bat. Because his hitting was so potent, there was a tendency to underestimate his play at second and his running on the base paths. He was not as stylish as others, but he got the job done efficiently.
Turner was flash. He was pizzazz and extremely good. At short and third he was a high quality infielder. He was steady at the plate and packed surprising power, as his home-run totals for a few seasons of his long career indicated. Moxey was a slightly larger version in the Turner mold. His forte was the outfield. In 1978, he was the manager of the Holsten Knights and won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, impressively handling double duties.
Smith and Ford were all, of the very same ilk. They all played professional baseball. They hit for average and power. They were great thinkers when quick decisions were necessary on the diamond. However for them, mostly the game came automatically. They had so mastered the art. If I had to choose between the three All-History performers in the outfield, I would give Ford the edge. I haven't seen any better, inclusive of the long list of major league greats.
They just had the big stage. Humes did it all, like Moxey, Ford, and Smith and with the added designated hitter position, he was a no-brainer. He's All-History most definitely.
Peter Bethel, the long, rangy infielder who could hit the ball with the best of them, for average and power, could be an All-History choice. He was the 1978 All-Bahamian at first base. Catching was Charles Mackey who enjoyed a very good season with the St. Michael's ball club. Kenny Fox was at short on the 1978 All-Bahamian team.
What made the decade of the 1970s so great was the fact that at least three All-Bahamian Teams could have been selected and there would have been little argument about the players named. On the mound, Vincent Strachan or Eugene Taylor could easily have been selected for the 1978 squad. Spurgeon Johnson had a great season behind the plate and Sidney Outten, even with a not so awesome bat, was superb enough as a receiver.
In the infield, players like Roy 'Cowboy' Rodgers, Anthony 'Poker' Huyler, Harry Miller, Fred Taylor, and Jerome Moxey would have been good fits for the All-Bahamian team of 1978. So would Dick Lockhart, John Williams, Dencil Clarke and a few others, in the outfield. Such was the available talent during the 1970s. The year 1978 was a prime example. Jayson Moxey was the MVP. Huyler was 'Manager of the Year'. Murray was selected 'Pitcher of the Year' and a young hurler named Arthur 'Baldy' Seymour was 'Rookie of the Year'.
The year 1978 was indeed, a very good one.
Milestone baseball information provided by Sports Historian Jeff Williams.To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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News Article

November 19, 2013
A natural approach to fibroid treatment

Just a mention of the word tumor can cause patients to experience a wave of terror, but according to health experts uterine fibroids that are generally non-cancerous tumors and grow in a woman's uterus are much more common that one would imagine.
Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus.
They can grow as a singular tumor or there can be many of them in the uterus, ranging in size from an apple seed to as large as a grapefruit.
Dr. Vanessa Ingraham, a licensed naturopathic physician and certified yoga instructor, said fibroids are very closely tied to an estrogen/testosterone ratio imbalance in women, and in The Bahamas the contributing factors to that imbalance are typically diet, the environment and cosmetic choices.
Ingraham and her husband Dr. Stephen Truszkowski, a trained sports-based chiropractor and contemporary medical acupuncturist, own and manage The Blake Integrative Medical Clinic.
"We know that consuming foods that contain xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens from plants or actual estrogens from either lactating animals or dairy products, or from chicken and animal foods, not only decreases the age of puberty in young girls but they also add to the estrogen burden on women throughout their life," Ingraham said.
"The xenoestrogens, which are all the plastic residues and agricultural chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and all of the things they spray on conventional crops, all of these things act as xenoestrogens.
"That means that even though they are not estrogen hormones they are able to bind to hormone receptors and trick the body into thinking there is estrogen, telling the tissue to separate or telling the tissue to do whatever it's meant to do when estrogen binds it."
When it comes to the women that Ingraham treats for fibroids, the understanding about the condition, its causes and how to limit the potential for recurrence ranges from patient to patient.
As noted by Ingraham, international statistics show that black women are three times more likely to develop uterine fibroids, though the exact cause of this is unclear.
Ingraham said that common skin care products, hairstyles involving glues and perfumes used by Bahamian women are often highly carcinogenic and can cause hormonal imbalances in the body.
"Lotions, make up and lipsticks that contain heavy metals such a lead, all of that," Ingraham said.
"Also the cleaning products, and women traditionally do more cleaning and are exposed to more household chemicals than men.
"All of the bleach, Febreze and scented products have an impact on hormone imbalance."
The four primary types of uterine fibroids include subserosal fibroids, which develop in the outer portion of the uterus and continue to grow outward, and intramural fibroids, the most common, which develop within the uterine wall and expand making the uterus feel larger than normal.
Then there is submucosal fibroids that develop just under the lining of the uterine cavity and can have the most effect on menstrual bleeding. This type of uterine fibroid is also associated with infertility and miscarriage.
Pedunculated fibroids grow on a small stalk that connects to the inner or outer wall of the uterus.
Natural treatment
According to the National Uterine Fibroids Foundation, 12 hysterectomies are performed in the United States every 10 minutes, but nine of them probably did not meet the guidelines set out by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists for hysterectomy.
Even more startling is that between 170,000 to 300,000 of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in the United States are the result of uterine fibroids.
The foundation notes that 60 percent of women who undergo a hysterectomy have their ovaries removed.
Some of Ingraham's patients have had hysterectomies performed, giving them the impression that there they are in the clear, but as pointed out there are many forms of uterine fibroids.
For women with fibroids, The Blake Integrative Medical Clinic focuses on significantly reducing stress, balancing hormones naturally via high-quality supplements.
But before treatment begins Ingraham and her team of consultants conduct an assessment in an attempt to identify the cause of the condition.
Nutritional therapy, diet and supplements can stabilize and lower the levels of estrogen in the body.
As estrogen amounts drop, existing fibroids should subside, reducing in size and even new ones can be prevented from developing.
Diet and supplements can also reduce some of the symptoms of fibroids, Ingraham suggested.
Supplements of both the herbal and non-herbal types are commonly used to shrink fibroids, including good sources of zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
"These are kind of standardized to know exactly how much of each phytochemical in each formula is used," Ingraham said.
"We use a lot nutritional supplements as well. A lot of the foods we eat are not as nutritious as they used to be because of shipping and containers, and not keeping things fresh and cold enough, or picking them too early.
"Foods do not have the same mineral profiles as foods did 50 or 100 years ago so we use a lot of dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals and amino acids."
There is range of products available, but Ingraham recommends using high-quality supplements after a consultation, and being mindful of vitamins made from coal tar and petrochemicals (source of artificial color that is used in many foods).
Petrochemicals and their byproducts, such as dioxin, are known to cause an array of serious health problems, including cancer.
What to avoid
Avoid pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and wash your food well, particularly fruits.
Bathe the washed food in a produce wash for around 20 minutes before cooking.
Have a good water filter for your source of water.
Use only organic whole foods where possible.
Buy hormone-free meats and dairy products where possible.
Do not microwave food in plastic containers.
Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food.
Do not leave plastic containers, especially drinking water, in the sun.
If a plastic water container has heated up significantly, throw it away.
Avoid using a fabric softener as it can put petrochemicals right on your skin.
Use a simple laundry and dish detergent with less chemicals.
Use organic soaps and toothpastes and avoid fluoride.
Avoid creams and cosmetics that have toxic chemicals and estrogenic ingredients such as parabens and stearalkonium chloride. Instead use more natural products. Inexpensive brands usually have more toxic ingredients.
Avoid nail polish and nail polish removers.
Use naturally-based perfumes as perfumes are petrochemically based.
Avoid surfactants found in many condoms and diaphragm gels.
o Recommendations provided by Beyond Vitality: Holistic Health, Nutrition and Fitness.
o For more information on the wide range of services or supplements offered at The Blake Integrative Medical Clinic visit www.purehealthbahamas.com or www.blakeclinic.com.

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News Article

December 05, 2013
BBC ventures into the Family Islands

The Long Island Sports Academy rolls easily off the lips. The name just sounds right. Tucked away in the northern end of Long Island, Omar Daley, a noted bodybuilder, has been making a huge effort since 1997 to provide young boys and girls from Stella Maris, neighboring settlements and the wider community with opportunities to stay fit and develop athletic skills.
Daley is known in the nation's bodybuilding family for sure. However, there was little or no general knowledge of his outreach into settlements of his beloved Long Island, on a constant mission to build quality adults. The Long Island Sports Academy was given full attention recently by a group from the Bahamas Boxing Commission. The commission's Family Islands program is timely for Daley.
He lamented the plight of young islanders who get exposed to "unhealthy physical and social realities" and often sink down into obscurity. Because of certain social conditions, lives can be changed negatively very early.
"I've seen so many instances of children not getting any chance at all to grow up gracefully and become adults who can contribute something meaningful to society. Sadly, they don't even get many chances to develop. This is a great social problem in our land. Here in Long Island I've been trying as best as I could, against large financial odds, to keep the movement going. I am very happy that the government is thinking about an overall, nation-wide body that will foster the growth of all sports and provide young boys and girls of the nation with all the benefits they deserve, as those who we look to lead the country in the future.
"I am satisfied that my program has helped a lot of them to emerge above the bad elements and lead respectable and productive lives. I want to do so much more. This talk of a National Sports Academy sounds good. Also, I get a good feeling when I see a group out of the capital, like the boxing commission come in with just one intent and that is to help. I'm glad that there is recognition that the best of talents are to be found in the Family Islands. Hopefully, the position taken by the commission, will spread and cause other Nassau-based organizations to come into the islands more often to help with the development process," said Daley.
Entities like the Long Island Sports Academy, the premier island product in Moore's Island that is operated by Rev. Anthony Williams, and James Culmer's program in West End, Grand Bahama are ideal planks for the National Sports Academy. Of course, the proposed national sports development arm, when fully established and legitimized through an act of Parliament, will need the support of federations and all other organizations that are involved in sports.
The Bahamas Boxing Commission has taken that big step to focus on the Family Islands. Director of Sports Tim Munnings, when told of the initiative, was pleasantly surprised.
"Oh yeah... that's good. I like the approach," said the director. The commission intends to provide Munnings with a detailed report and seek his guidance with the Family Islands program going forward.

(To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

May 14, 2012
LPIA Community Gives Back to Three Local Charities

Nassau, Bahamas - Three
local charities will benefit from the generosity of passengers and
employees at Lynden Pindling International Airport. The AIDS Foundation
of The Bahamas, Ranfurly Home for Children and Lupus Bahamas 242 all
recently received donations from the airport community.

Proceeds from NAD's first Health
Run/Walk held in April went to the AIDS Foundation.  Nearly 100 airport
tenants, airline workers, NAD employees and friends turned out to get
fit and to support a worthy cause.  "The health and wellbeing of our
employees is important and each year we dedicate time to educate our
staff.  This year our activities concluded with the health walk and we
are pleased to donate the funds to an organization that has participated
in the health fair every year," said Stewart Steeves, President &
CEO at NAD...

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News Article

December 09, 2013
'Pain and Glory' boxing show

Listed are the professional bouts, in addition to some of the amateur bouts, which will be contested on the 'Pain and Glory' fight card next Friday December 13, at the Rainforest Theatre inside the Wyndham Nassau Resort:

Main event
Meacher 'Major Pain' Major (Bahamas) 20-6-1 vs. Rodger Rosa (Brazil) 5-4-1 - super featherweight
Co-main event
Mike Sawyer (USA) vs. Alex Perez (Cuba) - welterweight
Bahamian grudge match
Lester Brown vs. Dencil 'Death' Miller - junior lightweight

Amateur fights
Tyrone Oliver (Bahamas) vs. Jeff Souffrant (USA)
Oliver - Strikers Boxing Club; 19-years-old; 140 lbs., 5'8"; Orthodox; 6-0 win/loss record under Strikers. He has approximately 20 fights under his belt under the guidance of several coaches in the past.
Souffrant - Sweatbox Boxing; 24-years-old; 147 lbs., 5'7"; Orthodox; 36-6 win/loss record.

Kendric Stuart (Bahamas) vs. Fernando Marrero Calderon (USA)
Stuart - Strikers Boxing Club; 18-years-old; 122 lbs., 5'5"; Orthodox; 5-0 under Strikers but has had approximately 20 fights under the guidance of several coaches in the past.
Calderon - Ft. Lauderdale Boxing & Fitness; 27-years-old; 120-125 lbs.; 25-7 win/loss record.

Charlton (Kerone) Knowles (Bahamas) vs. Arvin Santiago (USA)
Knowles - Champions Amateur Boxing Club; 18-years-old; 149 lbs., 5'10"; Orthodox; approximately 20 fights under Ray Minus Jr.
Santiago - R-Factor Boxing; 152 lbs., 5'11"; Orthodox; approximately eight fights under current coach Roberto Rios.

D'Angelo Swaby (Bahamas) VS Tamaria Edgecombe (Bahamas)
Swaby - Strikers Boxing Club; 24-years-old; 215 lbs.; Orthodox; 4-1 win/loss record.
Edgecombe - East Side Boxing Club (Quincy Pratt's club); 250 lbs.; Southpaw; 1-0 win/loss record.

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News Article

December 11, 2013
BBFF names its athletes of the year

As the sixth Bahamian to earn professional status in bodybuilding and fitness, this year, and the first ever in body fitness, Grand Bahamian Dominique Wilkinson was a unanimous choice as the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation's (BBFF) overall athlete of the year. Her gold medal finish at the 41st Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, sealed the deal.
"Dominique is one of those rare athletes who is just a natural at what she does," said BBFF President Danny Sumner yesterday. "Since she came into the sport, she has excelled in body fitness. She has been one of the best body fitness athletes in the Caribbean over the past three years, and it really showed this year as she was able to win her pro card in the event. Dominique is just phenomenal. She won the body fitness short class last year, and took the overall title this year. The body fitness short class has always been one of the most competitive divisions in bodybuilding and fitness, and Dominique always comes ready to perform. Her symmetry was good at the CACs and her poses were awesome. She captured her class hands down at the CACs, and as a result, was the first Bahamian to capture a pro card in body fitness. Hats off to Dominique for a tremendous job this year," added Sumner.
Wilkinson entered the sport about 10 years ago, and according to Sumner, always aspired to be a professional athlete. With her golden performance this year, the federation could now apply on her behalf to the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB).
The other three main awards in bodybuilding and fitness went to two-time national champion Jimmy Norius, Lorraine LeFleur and Dawn Charlton. Norius took the Male Bodybuilder of the Year Award, Lefleur was named as the Female Bodybuilder of the Year, and Charlton won the Fitness Athlete of the Year Award. Kenny Mackey won the Male Physique Athlete of the Year Award, and Bernard Davis, from Grand Bahama, was named as the Most Improved Bodybuilder of the Year.
"When you look at the performances this year, you would see that a number of athletes did extremely well," said Sumner. "When you look at Lorraine Lefleur, she had a tremendous year in female bodybuilding. She was able to beat one of the country's top female bodybuilders at the Northern Bahamas Championships in Tammy Stubbs, and then she turned around and beat her again at the nationals. At the CAC Championships, she finished second in her division for bodybuilding. Also, we have to give honorable mention to a person like Amy Sands for her performance in the swimsuit competition. She won a bronze medal in her class at the CACs.
"Overall, Bahamian athletes did very well this year. We look good, and we look forward to better things to come in 2014. We're going to start the year off by focussing on nutrition and getting our bodies in shape through proper diet and proper training. Our goal is to always improve as a federation. One of the problems we faced this year was getting proper funding and training, and that was the reason why we were only able to field a small team for the CAC Championships. I think that sporting federations on the whole have to find a better way to generate funds on their own. If the funding isn't there, the athletes aren't going to get the proper training, so that is vital. Right now, we are just focussed on getting better for 2014 and beyond," he added.
The Bahamas' 15-member at the CAC Championships secured 10 top five finishes, a pro card from Wilkinson, and an overall fourth place finish for the second year in a row. Barbados won the overall title, Venezuela was second and host country the Dominican Republic placed third, just ahead of The Bahamas.
Wilkinson earned a pro card by winning a gold medal in Body Fitness Short Class, and the overall title in Body Fitness. In addition, The Bahamas got a bronze medal from Dawnitta Fry in Body Fitness Tall Class, a silver medal from LeFleur in women's light heavyweight in bodybuilding, a silver from Davis in men's heavyweight in bodybuilding, a bronze from Sands in women's bikini short class, a fourth place finish from Stubbs in women's masters in bodybuilding, a fourth place finish from Norius in men's bantamweight in bodybuilding, a fourth place finish from Mackey in men's physique short class, and a fifth place finish from Charlton in women's fitness.
As for Wilkinson, she joined Stubbs, Charles Kemp, Jay Darling, Gena Mackey, and Natasha Brown in fitness, as the only Bahamians to earn their pro cards at the CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. Next year's CAC Championships will be held in St. Maarten.

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News Article

January 21, 2014
BTC shares may be up for grabs

Prime Minister Perry Christie has indicated that he is minded to offer shares in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company to the general public and added that the government has no interest in having managerial control of BTC.
"The way of the future really is that we have to, like the Bank of The Bahamas, involve more Bahamians in the ownership of these entities, and so from my point of view, without prejudging the government, the answer is yes to that question," said Christie when asked if he would ever offer shares in BTC to Bahamians.
Upon coming to office in 2012, Christie announced that his administration was shelving the Ingraham government's plan to offer nine percent of BTC shares to Bahamians.
While Christie indicated in a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian that the government would likely eventually sell shares, he made it clear that the focus at this time is concluding the deal with Cable & Wireless Communications for majority control of BTC.
The Cabinet will today discuss the final details of the deal, according to the prime minister, who again expressed optimism in the outcome of the effort.
Christie said it was never his intention for the government to have managerial control of BTC.
"The reason why I have put the airport under management is because I accept the efficiencies that private managers bring, and so I want Bahamasair, I want BEC, I want the water corporation, I want to be able to infuse private management into some of these because we're losing money and I want to be able to broaden ownership and the risk and the responsibility," he said.
"So no. From my purposes, that was never an issue when we were talking about owning 51 percent and intending to sell in our first term. We always knew that it would be private management that would be the order of the day.
The prime minister said from his point of view, the deal to acquire a majority interest in BTC is "complete". But he said, "When we announce this, I want to do it knowing that the government has agreed."
Christie added, "From the point of view of the government of The Bahamas, the government of The Bahamas must actually see the dots and the crossed Ts -- in other words, the literal agreement or memorandum of understanding itself.
"From my point of view, from the point of view of the committee I have appointed, we have completed that. I think the country will have a very interesting set of propositions that will be put to them.
"And to those people who told me don't waste my time, they will have, I think, a surprising outcome to this whole affair."
BEC
Christie also told The Nassau Guardian that the deal to restructure the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is "nearing its final stages".
KPMG is one of the government's advisors for the breakup of BEC and was expected to make recommendations to the government about the preferred bidders that propose to take over the corporation's management and power generation.
The company also advised the Ingraham administration before it sold BTC to Cable & Wireless Communications.
Asked why his administration, which was highly critical of the BTC deal, decided to use KPMG as its advisor for the BEC deal, Christie said, "I thought in the process they would be the best of the people available to us to take this deal to the conclusion we would like to see.
"The Ministry of Finance was using them on other matters, like for example, the Ministry of Finance had used them to examine subsidies to hotels and the tourism industry, and so it was a natural fit for us we thought since they had been through the learning experience of BTC, for us to use them for BEC, and it has proven to be so."

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News Article

December 24, 2013
Things to be happy about in Bahamian track and field for 2013

Bahamians have much to cheer about regarding the success of their international track and field campaign in 2013. At the Moscow World Championships, no medals were won for the first time since 1995 but much hope was shown.
Shaunae Miller
Junior Shaunae Miller, this year's Austin Sealy Award winner for the outstanding athlete at the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games, switched to the 200 meters (m) from the 400m and finished fourth in Moscow in 22.74 seconds. Miller was the only junior athlete on the team and capped quite a successful season.
Her 22.45 seconds, done at the BTC National 'Open' Championships in Grand Bahama this June behind Anthonique Strachan's 22.32 seconds, is a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Junior record and is fourth on the CAC senior list for 2013 and 12th on the world's list. At the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games, Miller set a new CARIFTA record for the 200m at 22.77 seconds, breaking Anthonique Strachan's 22.85 mark from Bermuda in 2012.
Miller dominated the world junior list in both the 200m and 400m. In the 200m, she had the top six times in the world. Her 50.70 seconds time done at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, is the fourth best in the CAC region and 16th worldwide. In Moscow, Miller was a member of the 4x400m relay team that won their semi-final but was later disqualified for lane violation.
Anthonique Strachan
The 2011 and 2012 Austin Sealy Award winner Anthonique Strachan concentrated on the 200m this season. As a senior and professional athlete, she improved her personal best to 22.32 seconds at the BTC National 'Open' Track & Field Championships in Grand Bahama. This performance was the second best in the CAC region behind Jamaica's Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and sixth worldwide. Strachan missed qualifying for the final in Moscow by a hundredth of a second.
Sheniqua Ferguson
The 2008 World 200m Junior Champion and 100m bronze medalist ran 11.18 seconds this season, at the BTC National 'Open' Track & Field Championships for 11th place on the CAC list. She made it to the semi-final in the 100m in Moscow and participated in the 4x100m relay. In the relay she was charged for a lane violation.
Bianca Stuart
The Bahamian national record holder in the long jump had the best performance in the region at 6.73m, done June 12, in Dakar. Stuart was unable to advance to the final in Moscow.
Teshon Adderley
Adderley has run the third best time in the 800m in Bahamian history after Vernetta Rolle and Whelma Colebrooke. Adderley was the first Bahamian to participate in the 800m at the World Junior Championships. This season, she ran 2:06.38. This time was the 15th best in the region this year.
Devynne Charlton
Charlton captured the under-20 girls 100m at the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games, running a personal best of 11.60 seconds. She had won the event two years ago in Montego Bay. Charlton led the 4x100m team to victory at CARIFTA.
Doneisha Anderson
Anderson won a bronze medal in the 400m at the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games. She won the Most Outstanding Female Athlete Award at the CAC Age Group Championships in Curacao, helping The Bahamas to win the championships. Anderson is coached by World and Olympic 400m Champion Tonique Williams.
Donald Thomas
Thomas had a challenging year but in the end, he jumped his best in several years, 2.32m to finish in sixth place in Moscow. This was ninth on the world's list.
Ryan Ingraham
Ingraham jumped a personal best of 2.30m at the Edmonton Invitational in July. This placed him in second place on the regional list and 21st on the world's list. At the World Championships in Moscow, Ingraham, who was still 19 at the time, finished in a three-way tie for 10th place with a performance of 2.25m.
Jamal Wilson
Wilson jumped a best of 2.28m at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational. His performance was third in the region, helping The Bahamas to sweep the top three spots.
Trevor Barry
Barry, the 2011 World Championships bronze medalist, was injured this year and was only able to clear 2.25m. This placed him fifth in the region.
Derrick Atkins
After making a comeback in 2012, the national record holder and Osaka silver medalist ran a best of 10.06 seconds for 14th place in the region. He was injured after the 2013 BTC National 'Open' Championships and did not compete in either the CAC Senior Championships in Morelia, Mexico, or the Moscow World Championships.
Shavez Hart
Hart had a best of 10.16 seconds which was 28th on the regional list. At the Moscow World Championships, he did not advance to the semi-final.
Men 4x100m relay
In Moscow, history was made when all four relay teams qualified for the World Championships. The men's 4x100m relay team had broken the national record twice at the CAC Senior Championships in Morelia. Trevorano Mackey had been suspended for a doping infraction and was replaced by Warren Fraser at the Moscow World Championships. The team of Adrian Griffith, Jamial Rolle, Fraser and Hart was able to run 38.70 seconds for a new Bahamian national record in Moscow.
Michael Mathieu
Mathieu, who set a new Bahamian national record in the 200m last year, was able to run 20.35 seconds in San Paulo, Brazil. This placed him 11th on the regional list. Mathieu ran at the National 'Open' Championships but was not fit enough to participate in Moscow.
Ramon Miller
The anchor man from London had the best time of all 400m runners in The Bahamas this season at 44.93 seconds. He ran that time at the 2013 BTC National 'Open' Championships. In the first round of the Moscow World Championships, Miller suffered "tightness" in his legs and was unable to advance to the next round.
Chris Brown
Brown did not have a banner year after having dedicated much of his time to organize his invitational meet. He made it to the semi-final of the 400m but did not advance to the final.
Jeffery Gibson
Gibson ran himself into the Bahamian track and field record book when he ran 49.39 seconds in the men's 400m hurdles at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, breaking Greg Rolle's record of 49.96 seconds which was set in May of 1983. In doing this, Gibson qualified for the Moscow World Championships. He is the first Bahamian to qualify for the event since 1983. Gibson advanced to the semi-final.
Stephen Newbold
Stephen Newbold had a fantastic showing at the 2013 CARIFTA Games even if he did not win. Newbold, the 2011 World Youth Champion in the 200m, ran the 400m this time. In the heats of that event in the morning, Newbold ran a National Junior record of 45.94 seconds, and was only able to run 46.01 seconds for third place in the final that evening. To be able to come back that evening with such a performance was just unbelievable! At the National Junior Championships, Newbold set another National Junior record, this time in the 200m. He ran 20.76 seconds, breaking Michael Newbold's record which stood since 1987.
Teray Smith
Smith finished sixth in last year's World Junior Championships' 200m. At the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games, he upset the field, running from lane eight.
Andre Colebrooke
Eleuthera native Andre Colebrooke finished second in the 800m at the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games. At the Pan American Junior Track & Field Championships in Bogota, Colombia, Colebrooke captured the bronze medal in that event, the first Bahamian ever to do that.
CARIFTA Joy
Finally, one of the greatest performances at the 2013 BTC CARIFTA Games was the under-17 boys 4x400m relay. It seemed unlikely that the team of Henry Deluze, Tyler Bowe, Kinard Rolle, and Mikhail Bethel would win. On the final lap, Bethel shocked the fans and finished in 3:16.38.

There are numerous things to be happy about in Bahamian track and field this year. These are only a few!

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News Article

December 24, 2013
Bahamas Medical Center's clinical exercise physiologist wins international award

Bahamas Medical Center's (BMC) Clinical Exercise Physiologist Sharad Johnson is the 2013 recipient of the Medical Fitness Association's (MFA) Rising Star Award -- International Region.
Johnson, one of the key team members at Medical Fitness Center at BMC on Blake Road, received his award at the annual MFA Conference in San Diego, California in November.
"MFA is thrilled to have such strong leaders dedicated to helping their communities become healthier through medically based fitness programs," said Bob Boone, president and CEO of the Association. "We are proud to recognize centers and individuals who are making a difference through the provision of individualized fitness programs and services that impact lifestyle-related chronic diseases within their community."
The Rising Star Award -- International Region recognizes outstanding individual achievement and leadership by front line staff within the medical fitness community.
Johnson played a lead role in the development of the new Medical Fitness at Bahamas Medical Center. He focused on establishing customer service standards, developing a pricing structure and was instrumental in strategic development decisions, and is praised by his clients and colleagues for his enthusiasm and ability to motivate. By helping to establish hiring standards for Medical Fitness at Bahamas Medical Center, he ensures a high quality of services will be delivered to clients and patients.
"We are very pleased to have Sharad working at the Bahamas Medical Center to lead the team providing medical fitness," said Barry Rassin, president of Doctors Hospital Health System of which Bahamas Medical Center is a part. "He is a knowledgeable, energetic and dedicated young man who wants to be a part of the change to improve health in The Bahamas. He truly is a star in medical fitness and we are happy that the Medical Fitness Association has recognized him for his contribution so early in his career."
Medical Fitness at BMC offers personalized fitness assessments and training, sports training, nutrition consultation, chronic disease management, physical therapy, cancer rehabilitation and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation as well as corporate wellness and their customized obesity management program, weight loss solutions.
The Medical Fitness Association is a professional association representing fitness facilities that believe in and promote the medical fitness difference and integrated care as the prescription for better health. MFA serves facilities and professionals who are committed to providing individualized health and fitness programs that help people manage their health risks, proactively work on primary and secondary prevention of lifestyle related chronic disease and post recovery step down programs.
A non-profit organization founded in 1991, the MFA is the only provider of a high quality facility certification process provider of industry standards and benchmarks, educational programs, professional development and networking.

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News Article

May 24, 2012
A postmortem on the FNM's Take 5 team's election performance on Grand Bahama

Dear Editor,

Former Prime Minister and Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Hubert A. Ingraham made several strategic moves in the months leading up to the May 7 general election in an effort to stave off the political onslaught of the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) Gold Rush in Grand Bahama. The FNM's six candidates in the 2007 general election were able to win five of the six seats that were up for grabs that year. Sensing that the tide in Grand Bahama was turning against the former governing party, the leadership of the FNM decided to make several significant changes to its slate of candidates on the island.
The former governing party's slate of candidates that would contest the May 7 electoral contest was called the "Take 5 Team". This group of candidates was touted as being the best fit to revive Grand Bahama's economy as Ingraham's leadership did before. During the campaign, this team reminded Grand Bahamians that the FNM government gave minimum wage to workers; provided free medication for chronic diseases; and some $25 million for the education of Bahamian students.
The FNM government also introduced the unemployment benefit program and the national job readiness and training initiative in order to cushion the blow of the stagnant recession. There were other things that the FNM government did, such as the construction of the $19 million government complex on Mall Drive and the multimillion dollar upgrade to Rand Memorial Hospital. But obviously the FNM's message was not resonating with the majority of voters in Grand Bahama. This is due to the fact that thousands of Grand Bahamians are jobless.
A few days before the May 7 election, campaign workers of the then opposition party were all over Freeport handing out anti-FNM flyers. The flyers read "We Deliver?" Of course, this title was referring to the campaign theme of the then governing party. These political propaganda flyers listed 27 businesses that had closed down under the Ingraham administration in Freeport. Some of these businesses include: Consolidated Electric, Miniature Golf Course, Redwood Inn, Casa Bahama, Ice Cream Palour, Pusser's Pub, Island Palm Resort, Stone Crab, Royal Palm Resort, Food World, Perfume Factory, Reef Village at Our Lucaya, Ferry House, The Columbian, Fenestration Glass Company and Kay Shell Furniture. Obviously, the closure of these businesses meant the job losses of hundreds of Grand Bahamians.
Such a negative campaign spelled disaster for the FNM and its Take 5 Team. As far as the FNM was concerned, something had to be done. Ingraham was counting on this team to win all five seats. Considering the fact that the FNM had won five seats in 2007, anything other than this would obviously be considered a let down.
Another issue that undoubtedly played a factor on the election outcome was the Hannes Babak debacle. His work permit was not renewed by the Ingraham administration in December of 2009. He was the chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA). This controversial decision obviously caused a friction between the FNM government and the GBPA. In fact, there is a school of thought that says that Babak allowed several of his businesses to go belly up in order to get back at Ingraham. This action by the Austrian born investor had caused scores of Grand Bahamians to be placed on the jobless line. Obviously, the FNM suffered a voter backlash from these people and their family members. In addition to the Babak fiasco, the residents of this island have had to contend with outrageous electricity bills from the Grand Bahama Power Company. There have been reports of families living without power because of their inability to pay their light bills.
Late last year, the controversial decision was made to drop Kenneth Russell, former member of Parliament for High Rock and housing minister, and Verna Grant, former representative for the constituency of Eight Mile Rock. Ingraham would go on to fire Russell as his housing minister after he openly voiced his disapproval of being dropped from the ticket by the former prime minister.
Former Chamber of Commerce president and businessman Peter Turnquest received the nomination to run in Russell's place. Turnquest was able to win East Grand Bahama because it is one of the two remaining strongholds of the FNM on the island. As for Grant, her seat was eliminated by the boundaries commission. Ingraham chose journalist Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe to run in that area instead of the former Eight Mile Rock representative. Some political analysts saw this as a move by Ingraham to kill two birds with one stone.
The former prime minister wanted to retire Obie Wilchcombe in West Grand Bahama and Bimini by running a popular and attractive journalist against him. Like Wilchcombe, Parker also hails from west Grand Bahama. Ingraham also wanted to place the community of West End in the win column of his party by joining it to the community of Eight Mile Rock. West End has been represented by an FNM MP for only one term, between 1997 and 2002. Judging from the beating Parker received on May 7, the plan to eliminate Eight Mile Rock, an FNM stronghold, had obviously backfired.

The Eight Mile Rock constituency was formed in 1987; and has always been won by the FNM. Before then, it was a part of the West End constituency. Had Eight Mile Rock remained a separate seat, it would have more than likely remained in the win column of the FNM even with Grant as the standard bearer. Many Grand Bahamians have probably missed the significance of Wilchombe's win on May 7. He is the first PLP to represent the community of Eight Mile Rock in 25 years.
The move to join Eight Mile Rock to West End and Bimini reminds me of Aesop's famous fable entitled 'The Dog and its Reflection'. In the fable, a dog carrying a stolen bone looks down at a crossing stream and saw a reflection of itself in the water. Mistaking the reflection for another dog with a better bone, it opened its mouth to snatch at what it thought was another bone. In the process, it lost the bone that it had. Obviously, the moral of the story is that in its attempt to capture the seat of West End and Bimini by joining it to Eight Mile Rock, the FNM ended up losing both. In any event, the series of moves that were made in that area by the FNM were disastrous, to say the least.
In another move that raised many eyebrows, Ingraham moved former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing from Marco City to an area in New Providence, and nominated veteran educator Norris Bain to run in his place against the PLP's Gregory Moss. Both Laing and Bain lost their contests by impressive margins. The former Marco City MP has recently been named to the Senate for the opposition party. Moss' victory in Marco City did not come as a surprise to me at all. I had written on several occasions that the FNM was in grave danger of losing that seat. Apparently, the leadership of the FNM was also aware of this. That is why the party made the decision to run Laing elsewhere. However, there are some who are beginning to question the decision to move Laing. According to these people, he stood a better chance at being reelected in Marco City.
Many political observers were expecting a dead heat between the FNM's Kwasi Thompson and the PLP's Dr. Michael Darville in Pineridge. But that was not to be. Thompson was obviously a very good MP. That is why the FNM decided to run him again in that area. He ran on his own merits as a good, productive representative. But he received a thrashing at the polls by over 800 votes. Surprisingly, that contest wasn't close at all. Perhaps the unfriendly reaction to the former prime minister's visit to the Garden Villas community on the day before the election should have served as an indication that Thompson was in deep trouble. Pineridge has for years been considered a safe seat for the FNM. Yet the way the residents in that area carried on when Ingraham visited them, you would think that the former prime minister was visiting the PLP's bastions of Bains Town and Grants Town, Englerston, Nassau Village or Centreville.
Thankfully, the FNM's Neko Grant was able to stave off his main opponent in Central Grand Bahama, the PLP's Julian Russell. No reasonable analyst expected differently. That area in Grand Bahama has many middleclass and rich constituents who have more in common with the conservative FNM than with the PLP, a grassroot political organization. However, the thing that should concern the FNM is that the PLP is gaining ground in that area. Grant's margin of victory wasn't all that impressive.
The election results have taught me that the Grand Bahamian base of the FNM has eroded significantly. Grand Bahama is no longer FNM country. While the PLP made a good showing at the polls in its bastions in New Providence, the FNM has struggled to even hold on to the two seats (Central and East Grand Bahama) that are considered to be its strongholds. The next five years must be used to rebuild its base on this island. The FNM must also identify its candidates much earlier than it did in the last campaign cycle.

- Kevin Evans

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News Article

May 24, 2012
New Providence Body Building and Fitness Expo announced for June 16th

Nassau, Bahamas - The

New Providence Body Building and Fitness Association will be
hosting, it's first ever

Classic on

June, 16th 2012 8:30pm at the Rain
Forest Theater Cable Beach. The event is in aid of the National Team members
travel to Puerto Rico in October for the CAC Championships, where they
will be trying to better their 2nd place finish in 2011.

The
Classic will be honoring and paying tribute to some of the veteran body
builders and fitness athletes who've won the National titles in
previous years, and have represented the country and won medals at the
CAC level or higher.

Some of the names being
honored are Della Thomas, former middleweight, lightweight and
heavyweight champion as well as CAC medalist..

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News Article

June 05, 2012
The Bahamas to face Bermuda on Saturday

A bonus point and a win by more than four tries is the only way The Bahamas men's national rugby team can avoid missing their chance to compete in the Rugby World Cup.
The team can no longer contend for the North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championship, and the chances of advancing through the qualifying rounds for the Rugby World Cup 2015 are slim, after dropping its first match to the Cayman Islands. That defeat placed The Bahamas in a must win situation, in the game against Bermuda. The Bahamas will have to win convincingly to avoid relegation into the pre-qualification group.
The countdown to the game against Bermuda has already started, and Team Bahamas is making its final preparation. The game will be played on Saturday, at the Winton Rugby Pitch. This is the third game in the second round for countries in the north.
Play in that division started on May 19 with Bermuda taking on the Cayman Islands. Bermuda defeated Cayman Islands, 10-3. Seven days later, The Bahamas was defeated by the Cayman Islands, 27-7. According to Elystan Miles, board member in the Bahamas Rugby Football Union (BRFU), the Cayman Islands will still move on, despite that loss to Bermuda. He also noted that Bermuda is almost guaranteed to move on, no matter the outcome of Saturday's game.
"We have to rip their legs off," said Miles. "We have to get a bonus point and win the game by at least four tries. We are out of contention for the Caribbean Championship but we need to beat Bermuda to avoid relegation into the second group. We don't want to drop down.
"We had a good team in the game against the Cayman Islands, but we weren't strong enough. It was a heart-breaking loss. We have a young team so there's always next year, but the positive part is that the fitness is up from previous years. The main difference is that Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, they play with expats and our team is Bahamian, so you never know who you are going to see."
In the last meeting against Bermuda, The Bahamas lost 13-10. That game was played last year in Bermuda. Miles believes that the home field advantage should work in The Bahamas' favor this time around. The Bahamas defeated Bermuda in 2005 and Miles is confident that they can do it again. He said the team is up to the challenge, even though they know it is not going to be an easy task.
Miles said: "Some of the players who were expected to travel to Cayman did not due to personal commitments and technical problems. Now that we are home I expect a better showing. We will have the fans behind us this time."
The team will continue training for the game, which will start at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

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News Article

June 08, 2012
Evidence Act allows witnesses to speak from the grave

The death of a witness does not necessarily mean the information he or she supplied to police cannot be entered into evidence during a criminal trial.
Section 66 of the Evidence Act allows relevant statements given to investigators before their demise into testimony as long as certain conditions are met.
The Act sets out various circumstances for the acceptance of statements, among them, when witnesses have become medically or mentally unfit or cannot be located.
However, the court has sole discretion on whether the statement is admitted having regard to the circumstances in which the application is made, the contents of the statement and any likelihood the accused will be prejudiced by not having the opportunity to cross-examine the person who supplied the information.
This provision of the Evidence Act could be invoked in an upcoming murder trial in which Nora Mae Johnson and her son Dario Dean were scheduled to testify. Johnson and Dean were killed during a home invasion at their apartment in Pinewood Gardens on Tuesday.
Police have not said whether they believe they were murdered in an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
An investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said when officers take statements they should ensure the documents contain facts and not hearsay. The officer said the person taking the statement should also factor in questions that may arise during cross-examination.
He said videotaping the proposed witness' statement would allow jurors and the court to see the witness' demeanor.

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News Article

June 12, 2012
Understand your needs before buying a generator

At the beginning of every hurricane season, most of us give some thought into investing in a stand-by generator. Because you will be shelling out a fair bit of cash for the purchase, you may want to sit down and do a bit of homework before making that call to a supplier.
There are different considerations depending on if you are purchasing for residential or commercial use, and further still if you already occupy your property or are merely in the planning stages. Regardless of where you fit though, your first step is always to think about conservation. And secondly, you should assess what your real needs are during a power outage.
From the point of view of conservation, you simply want to ensure that you have the most efficient lighting and appliances that you can comfortably afford. This is good practice in general, as it will save on your monthly bills and reduce the amount of standby power that you require.
If you are assessing an existing property, you can have your electrician or electrical engineer help you decide what size generator you require. If money is no object, you may just want to buy a system that can power up your entire house or office building.
However, it might be worthwhile to consider what your real needs are in an outage. For example, air-conditioning can easily account for 35 percent of your electrical load so crossing this off your list of essentials might be a good idea. For the homeowner, your list of essentials might be the kitchen, water pump, bedrooms and bathrooms minus the air-conditioning and hot water of course!
For some businesses, air-conditioning is essential as the sheer size of the space means that most building occupants are away from operable windows. In such a case, there may be other ways to minimize the size of the generator required.
If you do prefer a standby system for only essential loads, I would recommend having an engineer redesign your existing electrical system so that you have a separate generator panel that is loaded with the essentials and you utilize an automatic transfer switch so that these are the only areas that receive power during an outage. If you are still developing building plans, consider this option as a way to save on the upfront and operational costs of the generator.
A very green solution would be to utilize photovoltaics and generate your power using the sun or wind using a windmill. To make these investments in renewables worthwhile, it is ever more important to first invest in energy efficient lighting and appliances, ensure that your building envelope is tight and that your roof is properly ventilated and insulated.
Whichever way you decide to go, ensure that you establish your needs, do your homework and seek professional advice to both select and install a suitable standby power system.

o Send questions or comments to sbrown@graphitebahamas.com. Sonia Brown is principal of Graphite Engineering Ltd. and is a registered professional engineer.

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News Article

June 19, 2012
Proper ceremony due for national stadium

There are times when, in order to do justice regarding history, certain events should be redone.
Earlier this year, on February 25, the former central administration caused a so-called opening ceremony to take place at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The state-of-the-art facility is a gift from the People's Republic of China. The nation that made the kind gesture saw to it that the project was completed and the handover took place as planned, in June of 2011.
Unfortunately the government of the day did not make sure that the connecting infrastructure work was done, so at the handover ceremony, the stadium was not fully operational. The local authorities had the project so far behind schedule that Christmas of 2011 came and there really was no light at the end of the tunnel.
The year 2012 dawned and seemingly the big focus for the Free National Movement (FNM) government was to use the national stadium as a showpiece to garner support. So, despite the fact that roadways were not finished, the parking lots not constructed and the sewerage system was far from completion, the
government spent the taxpayers' money and orchestrated what amounted ultimately to a farce.
I give full credit to Cleophas Adderley and all of the assist teams that worked on the activities. They did what they had to do and the full house (some 15,000 spectators) enjoyed the affair. Yes, although, there were some glaring omissions, those in attendance had to feel some pride. I got a good feeling and held the view that having had the opening ceremony, the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; the Ministry of Works and other sectors, would cause the remaining infrastructure work to be done in short order.
Alas, the work pace did not pick up at all and that's when one had to seriously ponder the situation. The opening seemed to be all about looking good at general election time. The big day, May 7, came and the national stadium still sat there like an albatross, looming large but virtually a dead item. Today, a year to the month since the handover, the stadium that had an "official opening ceremony" in February, is still not fit to function as intended.
The sewerage system is the Achilles heel of the project. The track is not certified and neither is the soccer field. There are no areas for vendors. There is no media work area. All such facilities around the world are constructed with a media area/center than enables those on assignment to be able to process coverage material directly to their newspaper, radio and television bases.
It's really one big farce, about to become a great embarrassment. Such situations are the reason why the warning "be careful what you wish for" has resonated through the ages. The present Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government has inherited this and many other problems and the electorate expects them all to be addressed to satisfaction.
Accordingly the huge challenge of getting the stadium ready to host events adequately, confronts the new central administration. Obviously the network the previous government had in place failed miserably. Even with a special committee, inclusive of the then ministers of works, environment and youth, sports and culture coming together in regular meetings (I understand), the progress was dismal.
This present government must now put the right nucleus to work so that in the near future the national stadium will be able to host all events, local, regional and international, appropriately. There ought to be a solid concentration on getting the facility fully suitable for operation.
Then, the new powers that be should redo what the previous government did and stage a proper opening ceremony befitting a facility of its kind and doing justice to the Bahamian people. Also, make sure that the major contributors are on hand and saluted for the significant roles they played.
Along with the present Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, all of those who formerly monitored the national stadium (on behalf of the various governments), Neville Wisdom, Byran Woodside, Desmond Bannister, and yes, even Charles Maynard, should be showcased because of their efforts from 2005 to present.
Among the special invitees should be the Original Golden Girls (Pauline Davis-Thompson, Chandra Sturrup, Eldece Clarke, Savatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie); quartermiler Tonique Williams-Darling, the only Bahamian in our history who has been an individual World and Olympic champion; world champion high jumpers Troy Kemp and Donald Thomas; 2001 World Champion in the men's 400m Avard Moncur; first track and field Olympic medalist, triple jumper Frank Rutherford; other living world champions such as Kingsley Poitier and Glen Wells of bodybuilding; Sir Durward Knowles of sailing; and Mychal Thompson and Rick Fox of basketball.
It must be done right. Of course, the man, the legendary one the national stadium is named in honor of, Thomas Robinson, should be allowed to say a few words during the ceremony to the people of The Bahamas and yes, the wider world through technology. He wasn't granted that simple courtesy by then Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard.
Prime Minister Perry Christie certainly has a full plate, but this is one of the ways to prove without a doubt that he is ready to spearhead quality causes and make some really fine things happen during this second time around, for him as the nation's leader.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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Business Category

News Article

July 19, 2012
Famguard questions A.M. Best downgrade

A recent downgrade of Family Guardian Insurance Company is the result of a "one-size-fits-all" approach, says the president of the firm's parent company Famguard Corporation Limited, as the standards of the U.S. economy are not necessary "in sync" with the situation in The Bahamas.
"The focus on mortgage loans, we felt, was out of sync with this market. Our loan concentration has actually improved when we had a rating of 'A-'," said Patricia Hermanns.
A.M Best, the top rating agency, downgraded Family Guardian by revising its financial strength from "A-" to "B++", or from excellent to good. Its issuer rating also fell down a notch. However, the rating agency has now classified the overall outlook from negative to stable.
The top executive at Famguard told Guardian Business that the BISX-listed firm's delinquency rate within the mortgage portfolio is in good standing at 7 percent, which is well below the national average of 13 percent.
Hermanns said it is unclear on what basis A.M Best focused so heavily on mortgage loans. In The Bahamas, she said, mortgage loans are often administered on a more intimate, individual basis.
This country does not have the same kind of experience as North America, she explained.
Hermanns noted that A.M Best claimed that Family Guardian's growth opportunities are limited, and yet at the same time, the rating agency acknowledged that it had achieved meaningful growth despite the harsh economic conditions.
In fact, Family Guardian recorded growth in premium income, and over the past five years achieved an annual rate of premium growth of 13 percent.
Eva Sverdlova, a senior financial analyst at A.M. Best, explained to Guardian Business from New Jersey that the limited investment market, combined with a relatively sluggish economy, could not be ignored.
Pointing out that Family Guardian's financials "are not poor", macro economic factors nevertheless placed the firm at risk, and conditions are not getting any better.
"The prolonged exposure to these risks contributed to the downgrade. It is part of a perfect storm that forced us to make that step," according to Sverdlova.
When asked if other companies in The Bahamas should be wary of a downgrade, the senior analyst said: "Probably not this year".
"I can't say for sure. There could be rating changes next year, when the annual rating comes about. It will depend mostly on the economic conditions, and the fact that in June of last year you had the downgrade to the economy. That also didn't help Family Guardian."
The A.M Best senior analyst highlighted that, for now, the insurance industry as a whole enjoys a stable outlook. The ratings are considered global, she noted, and a person looking at a Bahamian rating in the U.S. should expect it to be at the same level and standards.
While exposure in the mortgage portfolio was a strong reason for the downgrade, Sverdlova further explained that A.M. Best "does not look positively" on any concentration of assets. It noted overall performance poses a challenge to the longer-term financial results and growth opportunities.
Famguard, the parent company, was issued a rating of stable by A.M Best.

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News Article

July 20, 2012
Miss Teen Bahamas International heads to pageant

Young Bahamian beauty Vanessa Leach is eagerly anticipating her trip to Chicago, Illinois to represent The Bahamas in the Miss Teen International Pageant, which will be held on July 26 and 28.
The competition will showcase 43 delegates from around the world as they compete in fitness, fashion, interviews and community involvement.
The competition attracts people from the fashion and entertainment industries - from directors, producers and modeling agents to network executives. A unique opportunity will, therefore, be afforded to Vanessa to be seen by top professionals in the beauty and talent industries.
Vanessa has done many fashion spreads in local publications, including NU Woman and Profiles Magazine. She has also walked the runway and strutted her stuff in fashion and runway charity shows for Coles of Nassau and Islands of the World Fashion Week, has a talent for fashion design and is an excellent painter.
"It brings me a lot of joy and relaxation to sit down and create," she said in a release. "It transports me into a different world".
Her artwork has been exhibited at the Bank of The Bahamas during special exhibitions.
Miss Teen Bahamas International aspires to become a self-made business woman after completing her studies in accounting and emerging markets. She also aspires to learn Italian and French.
Recently Vanessa was afforded the opportunity to work with The Bahamas Children's Emergency Hostel, where she was able to take the children on an all-day field trip to the Adventure Learning Center.
"I don't like seeing kids look as though they are troubled or hurt. I don't like seeing kids being mistreated or isolated," she said.
"I think that many of the children at the Children's Emergency Hostel are fortunate to have a place to stay. They're not on the street, but it does bother me to learn how many of them end up in shelters."
Vanessa explained that her involvement in the student council at St. Andrew's High School was the catalyst for her initial visit to the hostel.
Both her parents, Kelvin and Kathyrn Leach, said with pride: "We support Vanessa and all of our children in whatever they aspire to do. We believe in Vanessa and know that she has the stuff that great queens are made of. She is diligent, hardworking, very bright, and has a genuine love for children as well as for community service."
The local pageant team is encouraging the public to go online to www.missteeninternational.us to cast their vote for Vanessa.

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News Article

October 30, 2012
Leaders praise 'unheard of' CBL move

The business community is praising Cable Bahamas Limited's (CBL) move into the U.S. market, calling its acquisitions a rare, if not unprecedented moment for local industry.
CEO of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Winston Rolle said CBL has "absolutely the right mentality". He said more Bahamian companies, particularly those listed on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX), should adopt a broader perspective.
"The Bahamas has a limited market capacity in terms of size. The only way to grow would be to look outside, and that's why as a chamber we have been doing a number of things, such as trade missions to Haiti and soon Panama," he added. "Bahamians need to look to do business elsewhere."
The comments follow CBL's formal announcement that will acquire telecommunications companies in Florida with the aim of tapping up to 18 million new U.S. customers. The deal, worth $65 million, is essentially unprecedented, according to James Smith, a former governor of the Central Bank.
CBL now requires regulatory approval in both The Bahamas and the U.S. before the deal officially goes through.

"It is the first time I have ever heard of it," he told Guardian Business. "I don't see approval being a problem, except it has implications for foreign reserves. As a local company, their revenue base is in Bahamian dollars. I don't think it's a problem but they need approval."
Guardian Business understands that CBL plans to trade under an entirely different name in Florida. That said, the overall logistics of the U.S. division and how it fits in with Bahamian operations are still relatively unknown.
"It really is an intriguing proposal," Smith added. "Usually, these deals are the other way around. Also, given the U.S. and its efficiency in the cable market, and the number of firms, it seems rather ambitious."
The former state minister of finance said CBL was "preparing for the future", in the sense that exclusivity agreements have come to an end in the telecommunications market. Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has made its intentions known concerning a TV product in 2013.
Inevitably, the introduction of a competitor should eat into its market share.
"Cable Bahamas might very well be trying to rebalance by going international," he told Guardian Business.
Smith anticipated, however, that the customer should ultimately benefit as the two companies grow and improve.
Rolle from the BCCEC hoped CBL's move will inspire other businesses to not have a "closed" approach.
He said The Bahamas tends to have a "laissez-faire" way of doing business, and entering the U.S. market could up its game. Local business should ultimately be enhanced through CBL's ambitions.
Keith Davies, the CEO of BISX, agreed with Smith that he has never heard of such an expansion by a publicly-listed company into the U.S.
"It is unique what they are doing. The way the world is going, if you're not thinking internationally, you'll have difficulty. Those international companies will come here," according to Davies.

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News Article

June 23, 2012
Treat her like you need her: Responding to Rodney Moncur

Dear Editor,

Kindly allow me space in your newspaper to respond to an article in The Tribune June 7, 2012, referring to Rodney Moncur entitled, "Women need to stop taking devil's pills and take man's seed".
It was interesting to read the article referencing Democratic National Alliance candidate and social activist Rodney Moncur drawing women's attention to the negative effect of using contraceptives. Moncur's opinion might be true, but let us examine this matter more carefully. Your opinion is that women should cease use of contraceptives and have their babies. It is also stated that with the introduction of birth control to The Bahamas in 1966, women embraced the opportunity to become unfaithful to their spouses/fiancees/boyfriends. I am not sure which sector of society he is targeting but it appears as if he is talking about the matrimonial home. If that is the case, Moncur should have addressed the male population. Before I go any further, let me state right now that I do not support sex without marriage and neither do I support unfaithfulness in marriage. Husbands were admonished by God to love their wives. This is so because men cannot learn to love. If they do not love you, the more you do for them the less appreciative they become.
Moncur should be telling men to abstain or wrap it up until they are ready for a permanent relationship, and teaching them how to love, care and share. Sir, are you aware that many of the wayward young men are from the absent father homes and when the male leaves the female, he also leaves the child/children?
Women must protect themselves and it is unfortunate that this is done at such a great price such as the compromising of one's health. However, the truth of the matter is that most of our men are weak, distrustful, cheating and could care less about the woman or the child. If many married women want to be honest they will tell you that the children's father is at home but hardly plays an active role in their lives. You seem to be demeaning women as unfit wives and mothers. Instead, talk to the men and tell them to roll up their sleeves and become good role models - and also, that a father is not a sperm donor. He is a provider, protector, nurturer, counselor and a guide. He also needs to know that he could only lead if he is being led. He needs to know Jesus Christ as his personal savior and Lord and stop being a trifling, jive turkey of a human being.
Women must react when men act. Women are not toys. They are flesh and blood like men and if she is promiscuous, her better half is not taking care of her needs. Most of our men are not good communicators. For us to combat problems, we must sit down and talk about it. Our men do not have the time. You see, for the most part our women are not the problem. Men need to act like the priests they are supposed to be and take the time to listen. If I say we need to talk, we need to talk; not have sex. Men do not get it.
Sir, educate our men and tell them to wrap it up. After all if the woman relaxes and lets it go, home boy is gone too. Do not be biased. Men are equally responsible. Most of our men are insensitive to the needs of a woman, trifling and never satisfied. If women know that they are loved and respected, your seed is safe because she knows you will be there for her, giving her some time for herself. That is by changing, feeding and spending time with the baby. However, with the majority of male attitudes, before a woman conceives a child for these trifling fellows they need to prepare in their hearts to not only carry, but to work and raise the child.
When people love each other they communicate and make the decision to have a child. However, this conversation will be useless if the father had not contributed to the child or other children. Sir, you think Sarah called Abraham, her husband, Lord right so or because that was her husband? No sir. Abraham loved Sarah and she knew it. Love shines in the dark. Haggar got beside herself because she was with Abraham's first child. Sarah let Abraham know that Haggar was being nasty to her. His response to her was "do what you see fit". If that was a Bahamian man, he would hit his wife so hard she would stumble, and then he would leave the marital home and secure the other woman with the child.
The problem you are trying to fix will only be fixed after men learn to respect their wives. Randomly ask the average married male with children when was the last time he took his wife out somewhere or sat down and had a nice conversation with her. His response will be, "I do not know". He is not taking her anywhere because for one, the marriage is crowded. He does not want the wife to know that there is another woman and he does not want to make the other woman unhappy because she just might see them or hear about their outing.
Furthermore, he will complain that the wife is either fat or lacks understanding. The other woman is probably the same but he could find no fault with her. She is loose. She takes his money and buys her clothing, her main man's money pays the car note, and boyfriend number two's money takes care of the miscellaneous, such as the manicure and pedicure.

Her money goes to the bank. Now you see we have competition and the men give their finances away to other women never looking after his home first. If you want women to take the man's seed, stop trifling, playing the field and grow up. We are waiting for our men to act responsibly. Women are not toys. Stop playing with our emotions.

- Jillian Curry

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News Article

July 02, 2012
Junkanoo Bowl a smashing success

On the heel of hosting a successful international tennis tournament, the governing body for the sport in the country is all geared up for their annual Junior Nationals set to swing into action today.
The week-long tennis tournament, at the National Tennis Centre, will feature some of the up and coming junior players competing under the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association's (BLTA) umbrella. Runner-up in the under-14 girls' singles at the recently held Junkanoo Bowl Tournament, Gabriela Donaldson, is expected to lead the charge once again. Donaldson was defeated by Kianah Motosono, of the United States of America (USA), 6-2 and 6-1. The Junkanoo Bowl Tournament was a grade four event, sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
A number of high ranked players from around the world participated in the event, which wrapped up this weekend. The under-18 boys' title went to American Daniel Kerznerman, who defeated Farzin Amiri, 6-1 and 6-3. American Mariana Gould secured the under 18 girls' crown with a 7-5 and 6-3 win over Valeria Salazar, of Mexico.
A 6-4 and 6-2 win was landed by Blaise Bicknell of Jamaica for the under-14 boys' singles title. Bicknell took to the court with Joshua Turnquest of The Bahamas. In the doubles, Bicknell partnered with fellow teammate Dimitri Bird. The duo defeated Nick Lines and William Way, both of Bermuda, 6-2 and 6-2.
The doubles title, for the under-14 girls, stayed in the country thanks to Donaldson and Iesha Shepherd. The Bahamian team stopped Eva Frazzoni and Motosono 6-2, 4-6 and 6-3. Tshea Ferguson won the consolation round robin match, in the under-14 girls, and Sierra Donaldson was the runner-up.
President of the BLTA Derron Donaldson is looking forward to the event and said he is excited about the high level of play that will be seen.
"If the players compete the way they did in the Junkanoo Bowl tournament, then I see no reason why the nationals won't be a success," said Derron Donaldson. "The Junkanoo Bowl tournament went rather well. The competition was very stiff and all the games were at a high level. I think the Bahamians did well, but there are a few areas they fell short in. One main area was fitness. They are not in tip-top shape so playing at that level might be hard. They don't see that level all the time and having a tournament like this is needed. Even though we hosted this one, we still need more tournaments like this. We had one last year and that is on the schedule again for November."
Derron Donaldson is hoping that all the players will take full advantage of the Junior National tennis event this weekend. The tournament will cater to players between the ages of 10-18. The draw in each division will be released today.

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News Article

July 25, 2012
Education comes in many forms

The biggest concern for parents and educators during the summer months is that students do not lose everything they learned over the course of the previous school year, so for many people, ensuring that students keep their noses in their books during the break is essential. But there are those people who believe that hitting the books at all times isn't all that it's cracked up to be. They believe education comes in many forms and that book work should be supplemented with creative outlets that allow students to be able to express themselves.
This is why the 306 campers that attended the Central Division Police Summer Camp were encouraged to do more than just stick to their books over the summer. Organizers of the annual activity-based summer program say that excelling in life is not always about being focused academically. They say that sometimes for students to be the best they can be, they need to be pushed into honing natural abilities and technical skills.
It is with this value system in mind that many campers flocked to the fun-based camp.
For 12-year-old Rodesha Brown, who described herself as quiet and a person who doesn't always say what she would like to say, being in a camp where she got to use her hands was a perfect fit. While she has managed fine academically, she said she felt a greater sense of purpose and interest in the crafts she made during the summer program.
"I really like that I can express myself in different ways at the police camp," she said. "I like learning to do crafts like making picture frames and sewing. It's fun and something I never knew about before," she said.
And 18-year-old Miguel Neely found his niche through working with his hands. He admitted to not being the smartest academically, but said he felt useful when he used his hands to make things. And during the camp he taught the younger campers to make jewelry boxes as well as how to draw human faces.
"I'm really glad that I have been a part of this camp. I'm learning how to get along better with other students and younger children. I'm learning more about arts and crafts which I always loved but never really put my all into. I am really inspired just being here," he said.
The four-week camp which will end on Wednesday, August 8 focused on not only keeping students on top of their academics, by having specific periods times when students brought their schoolwork from the previous school to review it, but the camp also provided an outlet for the campers to express themselves creatively.
"We want to foster children who can do well on different fronts," said Sergeant 2212 Berkley Johnson, coordinator of the summer camp. "Not every student is academically talented, so it was important for us to encourage them to exhibit their skills in other areas as well. We have so much for the youth to do from day to day like sports, crafts, academics and field trips. We try to keep everything interesting so students don't get bored and actually learn something they can use for school later in the year or for the rest of their life. We are here to do more than just have fun and play games."
And it showed in Andrea Hanna, who said the camp helped to improve her positive characteristics.
"Everyone used to tell me that I didn't have a pleasant attitude or anything before, but when I came to the camp and listening to the police officers I have learned how to be a better person by respecting people, listening to adults and being honest and obedient. It's not easy but I feel everything the teachers and police officers are telling us makes sense," said the 14-year-old.
For 11-year-old Larissa Rolle the camp is about new experiences. According to her there were so many projects that she wasn't able to participate in half of them. She said she learned something new every day she was there. And she was fascinated to learn rug making and sewing. The reality of having so many options made attending the camp something she looked forward to every day.
While some children looked forward to the extracurriular activities, Torianno Rolle, a 12-year-old student at Oakes Field Primary School, said he was happy he was able to review his sixth grade academics as he prepared for junior school. He also enjoyed his new experiences.
"I am having so much fun," said Rolle. "I can study old things and learn about new things. I'm making a rug now and it's great. I like that I get to do so much at one camp. I wish school could be like this. I'm really having a good time this summer," he said.
While the younger students went about their craft projects and brushed up academically, many of the older campers between the ages of 13 and 17 were sent out to learn about life in the real working world at business establishments. It is hoped that the new feature would teach students to be appreciative of what their parents go through, as well as build their work ethnic and sense of responsibility.
Campers are looking forward to their final day when an arts and crafts exhibition will be staged at the National Arts Theater on Friday, August 3, for all divisions of the police summer program. It's there where their family and friends can view all that they've done.

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News Article

June 26, 2012
Are the regulators killing the financial sector

Dear Editor,

Let me open by remarking that in my discussions with many colleagues involved with various sectors of financial, investment and banking services I have found that there is 100 percent unanimity of wanting The Bahamas to be a well regulated jurisdiction. It is believed that a well regulated industry will help considerably to sustain and attract business to The Bahamas.
Attracting new business in this current environment is extremely difficult and The Bahamas needs to be able to emphasize and demonstrate why it should still be considered a jurisdiction of choice.
Like the hotel industry (the number one industry of The Bahamas) the financial services industry is made up of large, medium and small players.
It is this diversity of operators that gives the public choices. This diversity should also be recognized as a positive strength. By way of example, look at the potential employment and other mayhem that would have occurred had Atlantis closed its doors. Similarly in the financial industry, there is and always has been the potential for the "big banks" to immediately withdraw from the jurisdiction. This could be for a variety of reasons often beyond the direct control of The Bahamas - i.e., changes in business strategies and consolidation among the global players.
This is not just empty rhetoric it is evidenced by the reduction of bank licensees. Another example of note is to acknowledge what has happened to the mutual fund administration segment of the financial services industry - from a thriving segment it too has essentially disappeared. The Bahamas should not ignore these events and it needs to be fully alert to these potential dangers which would/could prove to be a death knell for the financial services industry as a whole.
In order to create a favorable environment it is important for the regulators to enhance the development of all sectors within the financial services industry and in particular recognize their size. Such actions would considerably enhance the attraction of new players, clients, etc., which in turn will continue to broaden the base of the financial services industry. Quite often one gets the impression that The Bahamas only wants to attract the big global players. This might be an ideal goal but in reality, I do not consider it to be realistic especially as their numbers are shrinking.
Currently the regulators tend to be viewed as an impediment to business as opposed to being a benefit. Recently the Securities Commission of The Bahamas circulated papers (some for discussion) others as guidelines to its licensees relative to compliance officers, capital requirements and increased annual fees.
The approach taken by the Securities Commission, and to some degree by the Central Bank, is to adopt policies and guidelines for the entire industry - i.e., a "one-size-fits-all" syndrome. This situation is becoming more pronounced by the Securities Commission as it is tending to automatically include Financial and Corporate Service Providers (FCSP) licensees along with the investment sector participants - the FCSP licensees seem to be losing their individual identity (they have already lost their individual regulator).
In the cases of the "big" players the "one-size-fits-all" policies and guidelines are probably regarded as impediments, however they invariably have the adverse impact of increasing the cost of doing business. Though, when it comes to the medium and small players such impediments become difficulties - serious difficulties which can and do divert potential business from this jurisdiction. I briefly expand on the recent bulletins received from the Securities Commission.
Compliance Officer - Guideline: This states that the person fulfilling this role has to be an independent person. How can a business of maybe two or three persons be expected to have an employee with an independent role? Why cannot the CEO or COO be assigned to fulfill this role? With smaller firms there does not tend to be sufficient business to occupy the full time of such executives and it would make viable and economic sense if one of them could also fulfill this role.
Does such a suggestion of amalgamating these functions increase the risk that an independent person would have? Specifically, securities investment advisors have minimal risk, as they do not undertake banking or custodial roles thereby the risk is significantly reduced. For the "big players" who have independent persons as compliance officers all of them have the right to raise non-compliance issues; however, it is invariably senior management who makes the ultimate decision on how to deal with all of the issues raised. I do not think that allowing the dual role (similar to the smaller banks) undertaken by small firms will significantly increase the risk exposure.
Capital Requirements - Guideline: A recent change in the legislation has increased the required capital of a security investment advisor from $25,000 to $125,000. What is the rationale behind a 400 percent increase? One can argue that $125,000 is still a relatively small capital requirement which if viewed in isolation is true but equally one can ask why? What is this supposed to represent? This is considered an adverse move as pending applicants now have to find an additional $100,000, which may not be that easy.
In other words it creates a difficult environment, which faces the smaller operators (especially Bahamians) as well as the negative aspect of changing and/or evolving guidelines.
Furthermore, one has to query the relevance of this increase in capital. For example, is it based on risk formula or is it just an arbitrary number? I would have hoped that the Securities Commission would have followed the Central Bank's example of determining the overall risk of their licensees relative to their business segment. If this modern risk-rating approach was undertaken then it may make more sense and be more appropriate to ensure the company had adequate professional indemnity insurance (PII).
In most cases the security investment advisor licensees have minimal risk as they do not undertake any banking functions and they are not the custodians of the assets. Their real and only exposure would be erroneous trade executions. Once the risk is ascertained then the appropriate level of capital and/or professional indemnity insurance could be put in place. The capital, however, should be allowed to accumulate via retained earnings and consideration could be given to a possible control over the dividend payments. At this time, the guidelines indicate a new company can obtain professional indemnity insurance within the first 12 months of its operation. However, in reality the Securities Commission will not issue the license until it has evidence that the PII is in place. Which should come first the chicken or the egg? How can an adequate level of PII be ascertained without some factual history? Currently the Securities Commission now demands the minimum capital and proof of professional indemnity insurance in an amount which is subject to unknown determination. The guidelines say minimum PII covers up to $500,000, however it has been learned that this amount is subject to negotiation.
Negotiation without any determination of the risk is not the way to proceed and dangerous precedents can be set. The issues of capital requirements should be spelled out clearly for all licensees - large, medium and small.

Furthermore why cannot the "capital" be one or the other - i.e. paid in capital and/or PII ? What additional risks are being mitigated by having both?
Proposed Increase in Annual Fees: To even suggest increasing fees in this world economic environment is very bad news. The rationale given behind the proposed increases is, in my opinion, flawed. To say that the proposed increases only represent 30 percent (or only 12 percent in real terms when adjusted for inflation) and is comparable with other jurisdictions (the identity of the comparison jurisdictions are not given). It is far from obvious how these percentages were obtained yet from my discussions with people in the financial services industry their increases range from 125 percent to 700 percent. Let's be cognizant of what I call Economics 101 - the "law of diminishing returns". This could be a direct result if the proposed increases are put into effect. Increases of such amounts are unacceptable in today's environment and will have the direct effect of driving business away from The Bahamas - not just potential new business but also existing business. In other words such increases can effectively 'kill' the business. Also part of the rationale given for such increases is to allow the Securities Commission to be an independent body. However, such an arrangement could allow the Securities Commission to be overstaffed, inefficient and bloated. Is this an example of the well regulated jurisdiction that The Bahamas wishes to promote? Unfortunately and due to recognized and understandable cost constraints, both regulators carry some elements of their workforce who are unskilled and/or inexperienced for the roles to which they have been assigned. Unfortunately this can and occasionally does have a damaging external impact on the image of The Bahamas. Jurisdictional impact is not just something that the regulators should question of its licensees, it is also something the regulators need to consider when issuing such pronouncements reports, etc.
I go back to my opening remarks: "All licensees want a well Regulated Bahamas jurisdiction". In such an environment one would expect and hope that some teamwork would evolve in arriving at mutually beneficial solutions - the licensees (often represented by seasoned professionals) and the regulators should cooperate and learn from each other and make this a more user-friendly environment. Alas this is not the case, there are too many known situations where the licensees have found the approach of the regulators to be confrontational. There are also many instances where the regulator will never admit to a mistake or even retract a position. This is most unfortunate and prevents the benefits of meaningful two-way exchanges to flourish where both parties can learn from each other to everyone's mutual benefit. A recent impasse relates to "segregation of cash and client assets" where the current posture of the regulators is the opposite to the tenets of the law. I have been involved with, and a part of, the financial services industry covering a variety of roles for over 35 years. I have seen the good times and the changing times. It is an industry that has brought significant but un-quantified benefits to The Bahamas - between 15 percent and 20 percent of GDP are numbers frequently promoted. It also provides an essential diversification from tourism.
The Bahamas needs to seriously consider the "big picture" and consider changing the current regulatory climate to "custom-fit" all licensees in accordance and related to their size and risk.
I trust the foregoing will be accepted in the constructive manner intended so together we can build an improved business climate.

- Law abiding resident

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News Article

August 09, 2012
Regulatory landscape continues to take shape

The regulatory framework of the securities and capital markets in The Bahamas is drawing closer to achieving higher international standards, according to the Securities Commission of The Bahamas.
A statement released by the agency noted that standards will be improved through the implementation of the Securities Industry Act, 2011 (SIA), and with the closing of the industry consultation period on six key proposed rules and guidelines.
The statement comes as an International Monetary Fund mission wrapped up its Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) review of the jurisdiction last week. Without commenting on any results coming out of that review, the commission's Executive Director Dave Smith said the promulgation of the well-crafted SIA, along with the ongoing development of key Rules and Guidelines needed for its full implementation, are achieving the goal of demonstrably improving the regulatory regime for the securities and capital markets.
"A significant number of issues related to the legislative framework of the securities and capital markets have been addressed with the passing of the SIA," according to Smith. "The way the SIA is structured, there are a number of critical Rules and Guidelines which are imperative to fully implement the new law."
Releasing papers for consultation to industry participants is integral to the process the commission employs to develop legislation, regulations, rules and guidelines. A total of 1980 copies of papers were forwarded to registrants (based on governing legislation) and industry associations, and valuable feedback has been received, ultimately assisting in shaping the regulatory landscape.
Smith admits that while the pace of change has been rapid, this should be understandable given the necessity and urgency of the implementation of the SIA.
According to Smith, the number and content of the formal responses returned on these important regulatory matters suggests an industry by-and-large supportive of the many changes being brought about through the various proposals forwarded in the consultative papers. He emphasized that the necessary development of the regulatory framework yields the best result with full engagement by all stakeholders.
Four papers concluded the industry consultation phase on July 31, covering areas including a proposed fee regime for investment fund administrators and financial and corporate services providers; a proposed regulatory capital framework; the outsourcing of material functions, and the licensing of compliance officers. Two additional papers governing the fitness and propriety criteria of applicants for regulated activities, and proposed liquidity risk guidelines for licensees and registrants, will conclude consultation on September 1, 2012.

It is also anticipated that a further three papers will be issued for consultation in the first week of August, 2012. Papers are released for consultation for a period of no less than 45 days.
During 2011, consultation on proposed physical presence and fees rules was concluded and the relevant rules established.
Smith said the commission has a clear understanding of the 38 principles for good financial regulation prescribed by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the international standards setter for securities and capital markets regulation.
The process the commission uses to move the regulatory framework to the international standards espoused by IOSCO considers benchmarking against appropriate jurisdictional contemporaries, primary research and initial screening by small focus groups, followed by broad industry consultation prior to implementation.
The Bahamas is seeking to achieve signatory status to Appendix A of a key international benchmark for cross-border cooperation and combating securities and derivatives law violations, for which the implementation of the SIA is essential. The benchmark is IOSCO's Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (MMoU).

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News Article

October 26, 2012
LPIA airport in Nassau to open Friday at 3pm

NASSAU, Bahamas (Oct. 26, 2012) - The public is advised that normal
operations will resume at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA)
at 3:00 p.m. on Friday October 26.

NAD's Hurricane Preparedness Team has conducted inspections of the
terminal buildings, airfield and surrounding area and have concluded
that the airport is fit to resume normal activities.

Passengers with itineraries to or from LPIA should contact their airline
carriers...

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News Article

January 20, 2014
Promising Bahamian boxer shot listed in stable condition

One of the most productive amateur boxers in Bahamian history, is this morning laying up in a hospital bed after himself being a victim of crime over the weekend.
According to a police report, a young man standing in front of an apartment complex on Kemp Road, in the vicinity of three others, was shot multiple times around 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. It was later revealed that the young man in question was junior welterweight boxer Valentino Knowles, who was on the cusp of qualifying for the London Olympic Games one and a half years ago.
Knowles, 25, is one of the most talented boxers the country has ever produced. He turned professional a little over a year ago, after a stellar amateur career in which he was a multi Caribbean Amateur Boxing Association (CABA) medalist, won an Independence Cup bronze medal, a Commonwealth Games bronze, a Commonwealth Championships silver, a Pan American Games silver, and a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games gold just to name a few.
Also, he is the first Bahamian to ever win a bout at the prestigious International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Championships. He accomplished that feat when he outscored Joseph Njogu from Kenya, 11-8, in 2009 to advance to the round of 32. Knowles failed to reach the field of 16 but had already made history for The Bahamas with his first round victory at the championships.
According to the police report, shortly before 2 a.m., three men and a woman were fired at when the occupants of a red Honda Fit vehicle pulled up alongside them. Knowles received multiple gunshot wounds and another reportedly received a gunshot wound to the leg. According to reports, Knowles is now listed in stable condition in hospital. The other male who was shot in the leg is reportedly listed in stable condition as well. The woman was not injured during the incident.
Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB)
President Wellington Miller said that he got an opportunity to visit Knowles on Saturday, and the once promising professional who currently has a pro win/loss record of 2-0, remains in high spirits.
"From all indication, he is going to be okay," said Miller yesterday. Miller is also the president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC).
"This is a terrible thing what happened, but Valentino is in good spirits. He was happy to see us. We just told him to take the tablets to kill the pain and get some rest. Right now, it is unsure if he will ever box again. If that is the case, it would be a big loss for our boxing program but the most important thing right now, is for him to survive this ordeal and be okay. Valentino has represented The Bahamas very well for the past 10 years. He is one of the most decorated amateur boxers in Bahamian history. We wish him a speedy recovery."
Miller said that Knowles' leg is broken in three places, his jaw is fractured, and he was also shot in the chest. He was admitted to the emergency room but is apparently resting comfortably at this point. In 2011, leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games, Knowles was ranked as the number two junior welterweight amateur boxer in the Americas. That's inclusive of North and Central America, and the Caribbean region.
Police are requesting the public's assistance solving the shooting incident. Investigations are ongoing.

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News Article

January 09, 2014
Minister: 'Exploit culture' for GDP boost

With The Bahamas preparing to host its first rum festival next month, a senior government official has suggested that events like these throughout the year could generate up to three percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Festival Rum Bahamas is just one of ten festivals that The Bahamas expects to benefit from, according to Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson.
Recognizing that the country's economy is currently "flat", he stressed that there is a tremendous opportunity to "exploit culture" as another revenue generating stream. "Culture is a billion-dollar industry and this festival is going to slice off a piece of that pie. The better you get, a bigger portion of the pie you will receive, and that's been a challenge to us. We have to push it and support it. We have studied the impact of culture and what it could do on our country," he revealed during a press conference to officially announce the three-day rum festival.
"There is a billion dollars worth of art and entertainment sitting there for us to take. Now it's up to you how much of that economic potential that you are able to walk away with. But there is a billion-dollar culture industry based on the fact that we have five million visitors and they extrapolate the spend. Cruise ship passengers have money that they're willing to spend but they need something to spend it on. We know that tourists will spend money on festivals."
Fort Charlotte is expected to undergo a complete transformation as part of the festival. Rum competitions, rum vendors, food booths, live entertainment, visual displays, rum tastings involving over 30 rums, culinary competitions, educational talks and live demonstrations will be just some of the features that will be highlighted at the festival.
Event Chairperson Alexandra Maillis-Lynch projects that it will cost $600,000 to stage and an estimated 9,000 people will attend the inaugural event.
"We believe in the potential of this event, so we are challenging our vendors to think outside of the box. Come out and sell yourself. We're not taking profits from our vendors so we don't control how you sell yourself. We're merely the facilitators, you make your money so how you price it, how you market, that's entirely up to our vendors," she said.
"There's a huge following of rum festivals around the world. So that's why we're really pushing to take this to the entire Bahamian market, in addition to tourists."
The Ministry of Tourism is also onboard as the festival's marketing partner. Tourism officials believe that Festival Rum Bahamas is an "excellent" fit with the country's tourism product, providing another compelling reason for visitors to come to The Bahamas.
The festival is set to take February 21-23 at Fort Charlotte from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., with a daily entry fee of $25 per person or $60 for a three-day package. VIP packages are also available.

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