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News Article
Dr. Myles Munroe's moral stance on homosexuality

Dear Editor,
World-renowned pastor Dr. Myles Munroe has the country up in arms over comments he made several weeks ago about Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell. In a nutshell, Munroe basically wants the minister removed from his post because he feels that Mitchell is supporting an agenda that is ungodly and wrong.
Munroe has received sharp criticism from his statements from the local and international communities. There seems to be a shift toward persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) and there is strong support from the West that it is wrong to discriminate against persons of these orientations. U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged his support for the GLBT agenda. He has even praised people of fame for coming out of the closet, the most notable and recent being NBA veteran Jason Collins.
If we go deeper into what everyone is saying, we must first look at the source and what they stand for or represent. Munroe is a man of God and he believes in the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible does it give credence to men sleeping with men or women sleeping with woman. I wonder what would have been the reaction to Munroe's statement if he said that he supports GLBT lifestyles? Would the U.S. president have sent him a note too and supported his stance?
Fred Mitchell is a politician and we must realize that politicians always have shifting views on various subjects. I think it is dangerous to sit idly by and allow politicians to become our moral leaders and dictate to us because we will always have confusion and chaos.
In lieu of Munroe's statements, Mitchell sought fit to publicly bash him. I think this was in poor taste. When we have persons, especially politicians, publicly bashing our church leaders for biblical values that are entrenched in the Holy Bible and there is no public outcry, we then see how far our values have shifted as a country. I am of the view that if persons are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered then so be it. But I think that trying to convince the masses that this lifestyle is okay, to me, is being dishonest, deceitful and ungodly.
I honestly don't know if there is a scientific reason why persons are GLBT, but I do know that persons who truly believe in the Bible cannot support lifestyles that go contrary to God's teachings. Persons who are truly of God cannot have shifting views about their sexuality and this is why Munroe's statements as a man of God are on point. The criticisms leveled against him are certainly uncanny and distasteful.
Many world leaders and celebrities of all walks of life have given public support for the GLBT agenda. Many of them have their different desires and views on this subject but we must always remember the source - that is, who is making these utterances.
Our value system has deteriorated as a people and as a world. We are more tolerant of many things these days. We now have married men and women openly having sweethearts, school children hugging each other while walking home, persons in the church choir who are perpetrators of sin and known criminals in high office who are deserving of long prison sentences. Jean Toomer said, "Acceptance of prevailing standards often means we have no standards of our own."
I hate to say this but enshrined in our preamble to the constitution it clearly says that we are a nation of God. We can't have it both ways. If we don't do it the way God teaches us then we are acting contrary to His will.
I applaud Munroe for having the grit to speak biblically on this matter and I hope that persons understand that all of us are still God's people but that there are certain standards that must be maintained if we are calling ourselves Christians.
- Dehavilland Moss

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News Article
The illusion and magic of the circus

When Steven Best and Cassandra step onto the stage, their audience becomes a part of an unbelievable magic experience that will leave them mystified -- the master illusionist spins Cassandra's head in a full 360-degree turn -- and they remind you to remember to breathe as Cassandra fits herself into a small box and Steven pushes eight stainless steel, razor sharp spikes through her. This is the magic that Steven Best and Cassandra will bring to the stage as the circus has come to town.
So believe it or not, the circus will be truly amazing, based around a new cast performing and appearing on the popular television show "Ripley's Believe it or Not" and its famous museum in the United States. There will be 12 captivating performances of acrobats, contortionists, a Michael Jackson impersonator, local animals, famous cartoon characters such as Sponge Bob, Dora, Turtle and Elmo, a hilarious side-kick midget who will serve as co-ringmaster, daring swords swallowing act, rivaling Steven Best and Cassandra who headlined their own show in Las Vegas for five years, and who are now currently performing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in their new large-scale illusion show "Magic Spectacular!" for the best acts of the show title.
The sword act duo known as Captain and Maybelle, promise a show that will be shocking and filled with laughter. The self-proclaimed partners in crime perform classic sideshow entertainment with a contemporary twist, delivering zingers and stingers. Captain is a sword swallower, human blockhead and fire breather.
Captain & Maybelle were on "America's Got Talent Season 6", and if you missed them there, it's another dynamic duo that will leave you astonished and shaking your head in disbelief. You can see them push each other to their utmost physical limits, combining unique sideshow talent and spot-on comedy that will make you laugh and cry and have you asking why. They will show you how they quickly became America's favorite sideshow couple.
Rounding out the must see-acts will be juggler, Jonathan Jackson, and of course the co-ringmaster Stanley B. Booker Jr. who performed with the Universoul Circus in Atlanta, Georgia.
The circus has been brought to town again for the fifth year, courtesy of David Wallace and Soft Touch Productions.
"This year's event will be a circus of soul with lots of music and entertainment to hype the crowd," said Wallace, who said he tries to bring in different acts every year to ensure that the show remains relevant and a must-attend event. "This year in particular, there will be eye-popping, jaw-dropping performances that will have the audience anxious and on the edge of their seats when they see particular acts."
Matinee shows will be held today at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium (KGLI) for schools at 10 a.m., with a 1:30 p.m. show at Gerald Cash Primary. Shows open to the public will be held tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. at KGLI.
Admission is $12 students, $11 for pre-school aged children and includes a hot dog and drink. Adult tickets are $15 general admission and $20 ringside seating.
Tickets can be purchased at Seventeen Shop, Collins Avenue, Carey's Department Store, Mackey Street, Conliffe's Bakery off Carmichael Road and the Original Swiss Sweet Shop, West Bay Street.

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News Article
Architects to kick off Islands of the World Fashion Showcase with wearable art

NASSAU, Bahamas - Fashion designers won't be the only ones in the
spotlight at the much anticipated

Islands of the World Fashion Showcase
(IWFS) on

May 11th and 12th.

Four artisans from very different design fields have accepted the
challenge of taking materials they would traditionally use to build and
accessorize homes, offices and other buildings and make them fit on a
new kind of canvas - the human body.

Val Pintard, Apryl Burrows and the team of Reuno Pratt and Elizabeth
Clarke are the first official class of the newly created category of
IWFS, the

Jackson

L. Burnside Fashion and Design Presentation. The
division highlights one...

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News Article
Man who escaped hangman's noose says he wants to do good

To meet Stafford Clarke now, you may not believe that the quiet, unassuming man spent 25 years in prison for murder.
Clarke, 58, said he used that time to turn his life around.
As a youth, Clarke admits that he fell in with the wrong crowd.
That wrong path eventually led to a murder conviction in 1985 for the shooting death of Leon Pratt a year earlier in what Clarke claimed was a drug deal gone sour.
Clarke was released from prison in March 2010 as a consequence of the landmark 2006 Privy Council decision in Forrester Bowe Jr. and Trono Davis that determined the death penalty was discretionary and not mandatory and should be reserved for exceptionally gruesome killings.
By that time, Clarke's mandatory death sentence had already been commuted to life in compliance with the Jamaican case of Pratt and Morgan that banned executions after five years on death row.
Clarke had to be resentenced because the decision in Bowe and Davis invalidated his original sentence of death.
The sentencing judge considered the circumstances of Clarke's crime and the progress he made while in prison before determining that he was a fit candidate for re-entry into society.
Now Clarke said he spends his time trying to convince wayward youth to avoid the same mistakes that he made.
Clarke said he often spoke to students when they visited the prison.
"Anytime I see wayward youth, I tell them they need to better their condition," he said.
"I tell them make sure get your education because you're not going to get far without it. Discover your purpose and walk in your anointing.
"You can't get sucked into the vacuum of lawlessness because those things are going to lead you to destruction and death."
Clarke said he delivered this message to group of young men who he encountered on the street recently.
One of them who dismissed his advice as "foolishness" is now in prison, Clarke said, adding that the young man's friends thanked him for reaching out to them and helping them avoid the same fate.
"If I can reach one," he said, "it isn't in vain. I feel that it's my calling to motivate wayward kids."
Born to a single parent, Clarke said his mom tried to steer him on the right path "but I was rebellious and followed Satan, instead of following my divine creator."
Clarke said he regretted not completing high school and getting a college degree.
However, he said he made up for the deficiencies in his education while in prison by taking classes and doing a lot of reading.
Clarke learned to do electrical work while in prison and he has used that trade to sustain himself. He said he was also taught sewing, plumbing and welding at the prison.
Clarke said he was devastated when he went to prison because he left behind three children and an unborn child.
He said reading the Bible sustained him because it gave him "the peace of mind to know there is life beyond prison".
"I had that feeling that one day I was going to emerge from prison and make a positive contribution to society and live a life that was pleasing to God," Clarke said.
He said he was scheduled to be hanged on April 11, 1989, but was granted a stay. He considers that reprieve as divine intervention.
Clarke recalls, "I had been praying a lot, reading my Bible, trying to get my mind spiritually inclined. It's as if God stepped in. I felt he was responding to me."
Clarke said he does not believe the death penalty is a deterrent to a potential killer. He said there were three murders shortly after his death warrant was read.
"A lot of guys don't think," he said. "They just react. And if that means killing someone, they do."
Clarke said that prior to his murder conviction, he served three years in prison for robbery.
"At that time I just did my time," he said. "I didn't use my time. I sat back and counted days on the calendar."
However, he said most inmates who serve sentences of 20 years or more lose the inclination to reoffend.
"After doing that amount of time, you don't allow anyone to suck you into a vacuum that's going to lead you back to prison," he said.
Clarke said that while attending a recent crime symposium he suggested that the government amend the laws to give longer prison terms for firearms to deter gun crimes.
"It looks as though I'm wrong. A lot of guys, if they're going to church they carry a gun because of their lifestyle," he said.
"I spoke to a guy and he said, 'I don't care how much time they give me. I'm going to have my gun with me wherever I go'."
Clarke said although he was "wayward", he never had a need to be armed constantly. He said his gun wasn't for protection "but a working tool".
"Our country on the whole has taken some dramatic turns for the worse," he said.
"Before witnesses made it to court. That doesn't happen anymore. Guys today, they're more bold. They don't care, where, who or why. They just do what they want to do. A lot of guys they just don't care what's going to happen.
"I consider myself a part of the problem. This mayhem and chaos began in the 80s. I'll do anything right now to be a small part of the solution. We're a country used to tranquility. I trust that before I go I can see our nation come back to that."

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News Article
Critique of PM's remarks at Business Outlook

Dear Editor,
Prime Minister Perry Christie arrived, late as usual, to deliver his annual address to the Bahamas Business Outlook Conference without a prepared text. He explained that he had spent seven hours rearranging his remarks the day before and that the finished text was still not ready.
He then began to speak to the assembled business persons without prepared remarks. That was unfortunate. The prime minister considers himself to be a great orator. He is not. His unscripted words revealed disjointed sentences that pulled away all disguises of his growing intolerance for any and all who oppose him. So much for consultative government!
Newspaper reports have brought the PM's unguarded remarks to the public's attention. Many are now alarmed.
The prime minister attacked citizens who dare to oppose the government's plans to introduce VAT this summer. Recalling his success at raising money to fight an election, he seemed to caution the private sector not to fight the government on tax reform matters because, in his own words, "There is no limit to any campaign I would go into" presumably using the resources of the public treasury to win the tax fight.
Using public money to fight his political agenda is nothing new for the prime minister. In just over 18 months he created two expensive but unnecessary ministries with portfolios that overlap and conflict with the responsibilities of other ministries (Grand Bahama and Financial Services); spent over a million dollars on a useless numbers referendum meant to protect his effort to deliver on his pre-election promises to the numbers men; expended another million dollars plus on a public witch hunt at NIB to remove a public official who refused to approve unlawful use of NIB funds; wasted additional millions of dollars on unnecessarily large official delegations travelling internationally during difficult economic times; and committed countless millions of public money to fund politically motivated contracts and consultancies for political friends and supporters and for foreign consultants on all manner of subjects: gaming, stem cell, VAT - you name it.
Indeed, a minimum of two foreign consultancies seem to be necessary on all of these matters: British and then South African consultants on gaming; Washington-based and then Florida-based consultancies on stem cell therapy -- to bolster advice from a Canadian interested party; IMF, the IDB, then New Zealand and now US based consultancies on VAT!

And all this from a man who claims to "Believe in Bahamians"!
The PM went on to tell his audience how many violent criminals had been released on bail. He chided the judiciary for granting them bail and accused the church of not 'talking to' such individuals charged before the courts. And he claimed that The Bahamas has 'no system' to provide counseling to its' at-risk population. Social workers and counselors assigned to the school, community and prison systems will be surprised to learn that the prime minister does not recognize their work. Many would have been hoping that he would have highlighted the urgent need to increase both their numbers and the resources available to them to improve the tough work that they do.
The prime minister renewed a recent promise to make the terms for bail more difficult in contradiction to PLP election campaign promises to soften the tough anti-crime laws enacted by the FNM. And, he attempted to usurp the authority of the judiciary by renewing another new PLP anti-crime promise of having 10 supreme courts all to become operational in the near future.
The PM used his Business Outlook talk to justify another of his signature programs. He claimed that household surveys, to be undertaken using funds he proposes to reallocate to the Urban Renewal 2.0, would identify, ' who is deaf, dumb, not working, and who's the smartest resident' in every household in the country beginning with his own. This it seems is central to the PM's anti-crime fight. Why the health or employment status of individuals in his own household would impact the government's anti-crime program is not self-evident. Perhaps the prime minister will further enlighten us at his next unscripted public talk.
Bahamians are right to become concerned with the increasingly intolerant public statements by the prime minister. In recent weeks alone he has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the commissioner of police; questioned the ability of the Royal Bahamas Police Force to meet its anti-crime mandate; dismissed the concerns of the chief justice over incursions by the political directorate into the constitutional preserve of the independence of the judiciary and chided the president of the Bahamas Christian Council to whom he claims to wants to deliver a message on what the church ought to be doing in the crime fight.
The prime minister's assertion that the chief justice knows that "he is a democrat" rings more hollow with his every outburst against those who do not support his every view or program. This is especially so when one considers that earlier, the prime minister had declared the leader of the opposition to be unfit to become prime minister - as if he is qualified to determine who is qualified to hold that office!
Bahamians cannot take any great comfort from the prime minister's advice on the economic front either. Having the benefit of receiving his prepared remarks, the prime minister told assembled persons that the economic outlook for The Bahamas was good. Days before, the chairman of his party, Bradley Roberts issued a statement making the same claim - as if to set the path.
The PM's optimism is based on two points: Firstly, that the government will reform the tax system enabling it to reduce government spending even while maintaining all essential health, education, social welfare and national security services; and secondly, the projected success of a litany of foreign investment tourism projects meant to create menial jobs for Bahamians extending from Grand Bahama in the north to Exuma in the south.
Several of these projects will intrude on highly sensitive environmental regions in Bimini and the Berries but this is clearly not a concern for the prime minister. His economic agenda does not stop for the Bahamian environment.
So much for believing in Bahamians!
- Geoffrey Cooper

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News Article
RBC supports 2014 Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend

More than 1,150 runners will pound the pavement at the 2014 Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend, beginning on January 18, 2014. RBC has renewed its support of the event for the fourth consecutive year. Marathon Bahamas, as it is affectionately known by running enthusiasts around the world, includes events for persons of varying abilities and fitness levels. In addition to the Marathon and Half Marathon, Marathon Bahamas includes a four-person relay, with distances ranging from 5.7 miles to 7.5 miles, and the Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure 5K.
The Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend has become an increasingly popular event for both local and international runners. Marathon Bahamas hosts close to 500 international runners, has contributed $260,000 to the fight against cancer and continues to draw both participants and spectators from every walk of life. Joining in the race this year will be more than 100 RBC employees. Nathaniel Beneby, managing director, RBC Royal Bank, expressed his pleasure that so many RBC employees are taking advantage of the opportunity to participate in race weekend at cost fully subsidized by RBC.
"RBC is delighted that so many of our employees have accepted the Marathon Bahamas challenge. RBC is proud to once again support the Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend. The event is a wonderful opportunity to get fit, have fun and support a worthwhile cause."
RBC is committed to raising awareness about breast cancer and to supporting cancer research and education not only through supporting external initiatives such as Marathon Bahamas, but also through the RBC/RBTT Caribbean Children's Cancer Fund. The fund was established five years ago to assist young persons throughout the Caribbean who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend kicks off the morning of January 18th with the 5K Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The race raises awareness about the fight against breast cancer, honors those who have lost their battle to breast cancer and celebrates breast cancer survivors. The race begins at Montagu Beach and ends at Paradise Island. The Bahamas Marathon, the feature event, is scheduled for Sunday, January 19th, 2014. The full marathon begins at 6 a.m. at Junkanoo Beach.
Proceeds from all Marathon Bahamas events will benefit the Cancer Society of The Bahamas, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative and the Cancer Association of Grand Bahama.

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News Article
Tourism plan to boost economic impact

With 65 percent of The Bahamas' total $500 million in room revenue being generated by just one hotel, the Ministry of Tourism has devised a plan to diversify the tourism sector through government intervention to increase connectivity for international passengers into and out of the Family Islands and the creation of a tourism master plan.
Director General of Tourism David Johnson, in an extensive interview with Guardian Business, said that after 50 years in tourism The Bahamas continues to be too focused on Nassau and Paradise Island, with the result that tourism is not supporting the economic and social development of the country to the degree that it could.
However, he said that the potential from diversification is massive and he explained a plan which he anticipates could begin to yield significant returns for the Family Islands by the fourth quarter of this year.
Charging that now is the time to "charter a new strategic direction" to enhance the contribution of tourism to the economy, Johnson said that two things must occur: The extension of convenient, visible and cost-effective airlift into the Family Islands, and the generation of a "master plan" that will see the touristic development of particular islands guiding which investment proposals are solicited or accepted, rather than proposals driving the development trajectory of particular islands.
"We should not be evaluating proposals in a vacuum. We should know what we want to happen in a particular island and seek out proposals that fit that," said Johnson.
With respect to expanding airlift into the Family Islands, Johnson said that the goal is to increase occupancy at Family Islands resorts from an average of 38 percent, by around 25 percent, to a position where they are operating in a sustainable way. He said that through partnerships between the government and private airlines, it is his belief that through various steps that will be taken this year, this can start to be achieved in 2015.
Airlift as 'infrastructure'
Johnson said that making a genuine change in the progress of economic development in The Bahamas will require "mandating" the provision of key infrastructure that serves the Family Islands - with airlift falling into this category.
"As much as we saw the need for roads in Nassau so people could get to school and to work, this is the same thing. Getting the air network to a competitive level is also going to cost a lot less.
"It revolves around rationalizing the role of Bahamasair as a service provider and the other licensed carriers providing that service.
"From a consumer perspective, if we can enable consumers in New York, London, Atlanta, China or Latin America to search and see these islands and see them in the same way that they can see and search Nassau and Grand Bahama - to find out how soon they can get there and what transport options are available; and book their passage and connect the same day at fares within the same range to come to Nassau and Grand Bahama, I think we will begin in a very, very, real way to diversify our tourism industry. Until then we will not - and 80 percent of our revenue will continue to go into one or two guys' pockets. And God forbid anything happens to them.
"So the government's role is to provide the climate and infrastructure for this to happen."
Johnson argued that emphasis has been placed on providing inter-island flights at times that are convenient for Bahamians, but these are not always convenient for tourists, and this - along with the inability to see domestic flights in international booking systems - has depressed Family Island stopover arrivals.
When visitors go from Nassau to the Family Islands, they more often than not cannot connect both in and out in without staying overnight in Nassau or waiting for extended periods of time at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
"So you can go at 6.30 a.m. to Abaco, and then the flight in the evening is at best about 5 p.m. You can connect on the return but you might arrive at 7 a.m. in Nassau and not be able to leave until 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.
"We have to encourage growth in the amount of equipment (aircraft) and the ability to deliver more critical mass of services to the islands. We have to say in this first year we will grow tourism to Family Islands by 25 percent. We have to engage and invite those providers to roll the dice for us... they will put in the extra flights and by that I mean some that turn around sometime after 11 a.m. and before 2 p.m.
"We can make smart investment decisions and we will engage the operators on the basis of a proposal where there's an upside to them embracing what we are suggesting. There's a business risk to bring the comfort to a provider, sometimes it becomes the issue of a joint venture, so if we have to invest as an agency to make things happen then we will do that.
"If we have to make an investment I can't think of one where we would get better value for money. If we can start with six strategic Family Island gateways where you can connect the same day, it would make a huge difference.
Re-crafted Bahamasair
In conjunction with increasing the service provided by domestic private airlines, Bahamasair is expected to play a greater role in servicing international routes and driving down fares.
"As a country there's an understated role that Bahamasair as a national flag carrier can play in the economic development of the tourism and the country, and it has much more to do with how it should be able to perform as a low fare, high frill provider of jet service to our major markets.
"We have the ability to influence airfares that are representative of our proximity to the marketplace - today our airfares do not reflect our proximity. That is the role of our re-crafted Bahamasair, and in my view this can be done with less than the current level of subsidy."
Johnson said that Family Island resort partners the Ministry of Tourism has spoken to about the plan "without exception support it, and see the need for it".
"I am confident we will get this plan embraced, can execute it, and will see the benefit of it in the fourth quarter," he said.
Discussions with domestic airlines
With respect to the private domestic airlines that will play a pivotal role in the plan, Johnson said an initial approach was shared.
"We have had meetings on that. They have agreed on the platform (but) there are two paths to it: Path 'A' they were aware of and has complications that we've addressed; path 'B' is the revised approach, I haven't shared that with them, but I will in short order.
"It will require additional equipment and expansion by service providers, but with some philosophical change that must accompany the actions that will follow, which will enable this to happen very quickly.
"But we have to give responsible reasons for those providers to get into expansion mode. They've got to see where that makes business sense, we have to demonstrate that, and we can."
Johnson said The Bahamas' has "only just scratched the surface" of its potential in tourism.
"If we were all stock, The Bahamas' earning potental for investors or owners is so much greater because we've used less than five per cent of our capacity; some of our competitors have used more than 60 percent, so there's not much remaining life there.
"We have almost 200 hotels in The Bahamas, but our energy has been too heavily focused on the capital."

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News Article
Miss Teen Bahamas International offers top model title

It's pageant season and the Contestant Debut & All-White Party fundraiser of Miss Teen Bahamas International (MTBI) is just one of many events lined up on the extensive calendar for the twelve incredible young ladies in this year's pageant. Scheduled for April 11, the contestants will take to the stage in their first and official presentation to the Bahamian public at The Courtyard at J-line Fitness, Shirley Street.
Miss Teen Bahamas International organization has partnered with one of the largest and most reputable modeling agencies in the world, Major Model Management. Anthony Smith, the national director of MTBI, closed the deal a week ago with great optimism and excitement.
"It was one of the most difficult tasks in terms of negotiation we have had to do in years, simply because this is not something that is orthodox in the modeling and pageant world. Model agencies are not fond of pageant ladies and beauty queens and although the pageant community has been more welcoming with young ladies who are of the model type becoming beauty queens, it is rare that the two roads meet."
Considering there are so many teen pageants now coming up, what does Miss Teen Bahamas International offer that attracts young ladies to your pageant?
We have a comprehensive "Enrichment Program" that includes modeling classes, make-up application, self-defense, film production, communication and public speaking, health and nutrition and so much more in between. We want each lady to leave feeling empowered and self-sufficient. Our program offers training that will be useful to the young ladies long term.
Why did you include a modeling competition segment in your beauty pageant? And what are the requirements?
The same as the pageant requirement. Young ladies must be between 15 and 19 years. No children and free from criminal charges. There's not a height requirement. MTBI included the supermodel competition because I've seen lots of girls who have successfully made the transition from beauty queen to cover girl, spokesperson or runway model. It seems to me to be a matter of teaching them the right way to do it. Some of them find out later that the pageant world is sometimes a light step towards introducing them to the world of endless excitement that comprises modeling. After their introductions, many of them care very little about the answering of questions, judges interviews, etc and would much prefer to walk the runway, showcasing fine designer pieces.
What are the prizes for the winner for the Teen Super Model?
A one year contract with Major Model Management agency with locations in New York, Miami, Milan and Paris, and $10,000 in prizes including round trip travel to New York for a model portfolio shoot, cosmetic products, wardrobes and cash. There is also an opportunity of a lifetime for the winner to model on the international stage for some of the major designers. The opportunities and possibilities that come with all of this are endless. This is major for any young lady who is wishing to get a jump start in the modeling industry. She does not have to compete at another competition after ours for the Super Model spot. If she wins, she is automatically contracted.

Do you feel that there is a big enough market for models in The Bahamas to find work?
Certainly not, but that doesn't mean it does not exist and the push towards developing and acquiring work for local talents is not unattainable. I see many local talents modeling for local beverage companies, clothing stores, restaurants and jewelry shops. We have to simply be able to show merchants, designers and brands that we are serious about what we are and how we do it! With our training and guidance the vast array of local talent can receive the same value, if not more, with the beautiful resources we have here.
What is the next step for Miss Teen Bahamas International?
Along with our relentless and foremost pursuit to finalizing a four-year scholarship for our queens, we are always in pursuit of putting The Bahamas on the map by winning an international title, even if it does not come in the form of the young lady winning. It might happen by virtue of one of our former delegates winning Miss Bahamas and then winning the Miss Universe. But either way, pushing for our country to take pride in enlightening our young ladies and getting the best of what we have to offer here getting only the most excellent out of them in the pageant and modeling community.
What makes MTBI different or unique from other local teen pageants?
We are risk takers. There is nothing in the form of personal development, community service and pageant program building that I will not consider as long as it stays within the context of a teen and a wholesome lifestyle. There are not sufficient programs out there that are offering modeling, make-up, self-defense, film production, life coaching, social etiquette, personal communication and public speaking. We seem to have lost it. So, there's a challenge among young good men to find great wives because some times they might be smart, career oriented but not refined. No grooming or poor grooming can determine a young ladies' fate in the world, much like the story of Queen Esther in the Old Testament.
What advice would you give to young ladies who are shy and really don't like people staring at them?
Welcome to the real world! They will regardless. So make sure when they do the staring and the talking, make it worth it. Remember, you are a child of the universe and have a right to be here, and it is up to you to ensure that your value is not diminished by other people's opinion or perception of you, or actions against you. It has been my personal experience that the things that intimidated me most, or that I feared, were the ones that were leading me to my calling and my opportunities.
How would you rate your reigning queen?
Angel is a 10 all the way. We love her! What can I say, she's a teen and a growing young lady with lots of ambition and drive, and desires to know, learn and become. She has come a long way since the evening of her crowning, and she has her own philosophy and her own way of how to make things work. It's exciting to see that. MTBI encourages that. She is a true leader, highly and strongly opinionated, so we are proud of her accomplishments and her as a representative for our MTBI title."
When is the date of your pageant?
June 1, at the Rainforest Theatre, Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace.
oFor more information contact Miss Teen Bahamas International at 676-5156 or dtnmagazine@gmail.com. Check us out on Facebook at missteenbahamasinternational

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News Article
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
Bodybuilding nationals set for June in Freeport

With Freeport, Grand Bahama coming on stream as a major player in bodybuilding and fitness in the country, that sport's national championships is now being moved to that island. For the first time in the history of the country, the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation's (BBFF) National Championships will be held in the nation's second city. The 39th annual Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) sponsored event is set for Saturday June 21, at the Our Lucaya Resort, in Grand Bahama.
"The main thing is to give them a chance to see what they can do," said federation president Danny Sumner. "They have been calling for this for a while, and now they have it. A lot of the athletes themselves are from Grand Bahama. There was a time when Grand Bahama dominated the nationals, and it was just over the last 10 years, when New Providence took control and reigned supreme. Now, we are seeing a return to prominence for Grand Bahama."
Actually, all four overall national champions from a year ago hail from Grand Bahama. Rob Harris and Tammy Stubbs won the overall titles in male and female bodybuilding respectively, Charnice Bain was the overall winner in fitness, and Dominique Wilkinson prevailed in body fitness. They are expected to be back to defend their titles. Veteran Raymond Tucker and former overall winner Lorraine Lefleur are expected to make the trek to Grand Bahama to compete as well.
Apart from being in Grand Bahama, the nationals will have an added twist this year, as it is being combined with the novice championships and the Northern Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. The novice athletes will still enter as novices, and will still be judged as such, while the northern Bahamas athletes are expected to be an added treat.
"First of all, I want to apologize to the novice athletes who have been training for not being able to stage the novice championships
separately this year. Quite frankly, we didn't have enough athletes entered. Anytime you have less than 10 athletes entered to compete, it doesn't make sense to go ahead with that particular event. One of the problems that we have faced is that the government has cut back on funding as it has done with all of the sporting federations. Hopefully, the ministry can make some adjustment in that regard. It is expensive for us to put these shows on, and it is expensive for the athletes to compete. Over the last two years, we have still been going to the CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Championships, but we had to cut back on the teams. These are just some of the challenges that we are looking at now."
The New Providence athletes who cannot make the trip to Grand Bahama do have something to look forward to this year though. According to the local association president Stephen Robinson, a fitness and physique competition is set for June right here in New Providence. Despite the setbacks this year, federation president Sumner said that they still have plans on the drawing board to expand the sport here in The Bahamas.
"Well, we have to find a way to venture into the high schools," he said. "We had one successful year where we had about 12-15 athletes, but we have to see if we can keep that going on a more consistent basis. It is our objective to sit down and see if we can formalize a plan with the incoming minister. I would like to officially congratulate him on his new post. Fitness and overall health are some of the main goals of the federation. We're looking at getting more people involved, possibly taking it into the Family Islands.
"When you look at most of our senior athletes, they have reached an age where they are almost at retirement. There is just one senior athlete who has been competing consistently over the past 20 years, and that's Raymond Tucker. Hats off to him for his performances over the past 20 years or more. Other than him, most of the senior athletes have reached the age where they don't want to get back in shape or it is difficult to get back in shape. Therefore, our main goal is to bring more young talent into the sport. What better place to start than in the high schools."
Out of the national championships in Grand Bahama, teams will be named for the Antilles and Southern Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships, and the CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. The Antilles is set for late August in Trinidad and Tobago, and the 40th CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships is set to be held from September 20-22, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sumner said that it is the plans of the federation to send national teams to both events.

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News Article
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
First Light installs 300 solar bollards for Atlantis

First Light Technologies Ltd., a leading designer of architectural-quality, integrated solar lighting products for pedestrian applications, is pleased to announce that it has designed and installed 300 solar LED bollards for a high-profile client: Atlantis on Paradise Island.
"We successfully designed these lights from the ground up to meet Kerzner International's unique demand for a solar-powered light that would fit a high-end architectural aesthetic, be unobtrusive and yet provide sufficient lighting," said Sean Bourquin, First Light Technologies managing director and co-founder.
The lights, used for landscape lighting and way finding applications around the resort, replaced existing lights.
Because electricity prices at the resort are $0.37 per kilowatt-hour (versus typically $0.12 per kWh in the U.S.) and all electricity is generated via diesel fuel, it was important that the new lights be solar powered to cut down on operational costs and greenhouse gas emissions. A savings of 78,840 kilowatt hours per year is projected.
First Light Technologies worked with the resort's facilities and operations teams to meet these design challenges and was able to design, implement, test, manufacture and ship all of the lights within 12 weeks - completing all the work on time and budget.
The resulting design is a robust, completely self-contained, solar-powered LED bollard that will operate reliably under virtually any environmental condition, for years on end with no electrical consumption, bulb changes or other maintenance or operational costs. First Light's proprietary Energy Management System (EMS) technology ensures continued operation even in cases of low-solar weather patterns or unusual charging conditions.
The First Light bollards offer several advantages over the existing lights, such as more environmentally robust construction; improved cost savings; improved lumen output; improved light distribution; improved light color temperature, and increased intelligence with self-learning, adaptive capabilities (patent pending)
Also, since the lights are completely self-contained, they require no trenching or wiring. "The installation was easy," stated Greg Mazor of Service Electric Limited. "Our team was able to install 300 solar LED lights efficiently and on time."
First Light Technologies recently released this design-build product for other markets as its WLB Series Solar LED Bollard, an ideal light for all low-level architectural, commercial way finding and landscaping applications.
"Following on the heels of our PLB Series Solar LED Bollard launch, this offering continues our commitment to bring simple, effective self-contained solar-powered lighting to a market with an accelerating demand for such environmentally friendly and cost-saving innovations," said Bourquin.
According to McKinsey & Company, the $13 billion (2010) market for outdoor and architectural lighting will grow to $18 billion by 2016, while LED lighting is expected to outperform the general lighting market with a CAGR of 34 percent from 2010 to 2016.
"Energy efficiency is the driving force that will contribute the most powerfully to the upcoming discontinuity in the lighting industry," states the report, driving LEDs' share of the general lighting market to grow from seven percent to 70 percent by 2020.

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FNM MP criticizes ministers' decision to carry guns

Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage's decision to carry a gun could have a negative impact on the society and urged the government to rethink that decision.
"The record reflects that no previous minister of any government has ever carried arms and I would ask this government to reflect on the gravity of what is happening and reconsider that decision because it now opens the door to perhaps allowing our country to become a legal gun-toting society," said Butler-Turner during debate on the budget in the House of Assembly yesterday.
Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell confirmed earlier this week that he and the minister of national security are personally armed with police issued firearms.
Butler-Turner, who is also the Free National Movement (FNM) deputy leader, said she is opposed to this "reckless action".
"I cried yesterday that we have come to a point in our country where ministers of the government now see fit to be armed with automatic weapons," she said.
Butler-Turner said even though she received two death threats while she was minister of state for social development, she never felt the need to arm herself.
"There is nowhere in this country where I'm afraid to go even as a woman," she said.
Butler-Turner quoted a Nassau Guardian article in which Bell explained, "As a minister of national security it would not only be prudent, but it would be unwise for a minister who has to...make critical decisions which deal with life to not be armed given the serious business and nature and decisions that he has to make."
But Butler-Turner said, "To have the national security minister armed, where does that put our people who don't have... bodyguards, who feel unsafe in their homes? Where does that put us?"
MP for Mangrove Cay and South Andros Picewell Forbes insisted that the previous National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest carried a weapon, however, Butler-Turner denied that claim.
"Whenever arms are distributed from the armory, they are signed for. There is a record of every firearm taken from the armory," she added.
Turnquest previously said he has never carried a weapon.
Earlier in the week, Bell said both he and Nottage have been trained to use firearms.
But Butler-Turner questioned their level of training. She said the matter is too serious to be taken lightly.
"The level of acrimony that happens right here within the chambers of this place and the level of anger that some people display in here, when they are armed with a gun it makes it that much worse," she said. "We do not know what we can do when we become angry."
As it relates to crime in general, Butler-Turner said the government must increase its efforts to reduce crime.
She noted the large number of murders committed since the PLP won the election on May 7. Twenty murders were recorded since then.
"The government was overall unprepared for office on day one," Butler-Turner said.
"The past few weeks demonstrate that it is shockingly unprepared to aggressively combat the scourge of violent crime.
"The rapid escalation of crime and drug and gang related violence raises troubling questions."

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News Article
BPC begins 'farm-in' negotiations

The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) has begun negotiations with major oil and gas companies in an effort to secure financing for an exploratory well.
The disclosure, included in a presentation to shareholders, details how "farm-in negotiations" are underway and expected to continue into July. A "farm-in" may serve as an operational and equity partner for BPC. While it is unknown what negotiations have taken place, oil and gas giants Shell, Exxon or British Petroleum, for example, could fit the bill and provide considerable backing and expertise.
In May, Guardian Business reported how BPC enlisted Applied Drilling Technology (ADT) to help carry out the exploratory well. ADT, a subsidiary of Transocean, is a service provider that is simply contracted for the work.
Indeed, recent negotiations with a financing partner indicate that BPC is still full steam ahead on its plans to spud an exploratory well next year.
Simon Potter, the CEO of BPC, did not return requests for comment before press time.
The presentation, held in London late last week, goes on to detail how the drilling program will be funded from new sources, such as the farm-in and a "placing".
A placing implies that BPC could offer another initial public offering (IPO) and release more shares into the London Stock Exchange.
The presentation injected a measure of confidence into investors on Friday. BPC shares rose 4.19 percent for the day, ending at 7.71 pence per share. The latest target, according to the report, is 23 pence per share, with a "risked upside" of a whopping 400 pence.
At present, 80 percent of the investors in BPC are from the UK, 15 percent from Europe, and five percent other. Retail investors make up 60 percent of the total register.
While the mood among investors remains upbeat, the political situation in The Bahamas remains one of the biggest sources of concern. Just prior to the election, the former government suspended BPC's exploratory licenses, and the new administration is noncommittal on the issue.
According to the recent presentation to investors, BPC states that: "license 'shall' be renewed" (with quotes over the word "shall"). It also notes that it plans to commence a well "by end of first year", which opens the door for a revised schedule.
BPC had previously committed to spudding a well no later than April 2013.
"The government is working to put regulations in place to oversee activities," the presentation stated. Meanwhile, BPC said it is aligning itself with "best practices" seen in Norway, the UK and the US "as we prepare to drill".
Earlier this month, Kenred Dorsett, the minister of the environment, insisted that the government is still undecided on the issue of oil drilling. He also backtracked on whether a referendum would take place.
"We do believe that the Bahamian people ought to be consulted, Whether it goes the extent of a referendum, that will have to be determined based on the costs. That is a matter for the Cabinet to decide on," he said.
Dorsett has not elaborated on what other public consultation would be available.
The company's financial statements reveal BPC spent a total of $38.9 million in 2011. Detailed 3D seismic testing took up the lion's share at $29.4 million.
Total cash came in at $35.5 million, and it reported total funding raised from IPOs and original shares of $104.3 million.

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83M NCP eyes full consolidation

The Nassau Container Port (NCP) has spent $75 million so far on development to Nassau's new front door, reporting that all major shipping companies have fully uprooted operations from downtown.
But work still remains. Top executives at the port said a further $7 million is still to be spent on infrastructure, and before shipping operations are fully consolidated, the companies need to "fit out" their leased space at the Gladstone Freight Terminal.
CEO of APD Limited Michael Maura Jr. said shipping companies have one month to complete this process.
"Bahamas Customs is also in the process of completing their fit out space as well at Gladstone. The expectation and reality is it must be done in less than a month. Then importers can submit their paperwork at Gladstone, pay, and pick up their freight in the one-stop-shop environment," Maura said.
Final delivery of the one-stop-shop is considered integral to the success of the new port.
Whereas today the process can be quite tedious, requiring payments and approvals at various offices and docks on the island, consolidation and efficiency are at the heart of the $82 million initiative.
"All of the carriers have relocated their vessel operations from Bay Street docks. Everything seems to be working very well," he told Guardian Business. "As anyone would expect, we have had a few minor adjustments and learning challenges rely on, but I think for the most part we have got past all of that."
Among the critics of the new port at Arawak Cay has been Rupert Roberts, the owner of supermarket chain Super Value.
In the early going, he said, "It's easier to get in and out of Fox Hill prison down there."
He said full consolidation might be in the plans, but in the person, that pledge has yet to come to fruition. Roberts noted how the process was actually demanding more staff requirements on his end. Other rules and regulations imposed by the port have been criticized by Roberts and other members of the business community.
Nevertheless, as NCP continues to fine tune the process, it is also carrying on with minor infrastructure projects that make up the remaining $7 million investment.
"Probably the biggest phase is the construction of the administration building at the Nassau Container Port," Maura explained.
Once these preparations are complete, the CEO revealed that the port will pursue picking up additional business from transshipments. NCP's upgraded cranes and dredged harbor give it the capacity to take on larger ships. There is the potential that $2.6 billion Baha Mar project will demand enough cargo to warrant an additional carrier into Nassau, he added.
Maura said this capacity may entice more shipping companies to include Nassau on their global routes.

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News Article
BSA appeals for sponsors for youth sailing program

Hundreds of young Bahamians who otherwise would likely not have had the opportunity to have learned to sail in New Providence during the summer months, have been able to do this through funds raised by the Bahamas Sailing Association's (BSA) Sponsor A Child program. By donating $400 for each child, the public can allow a child to participate for two intensive weeks in this program that has helped to change the lives of many youngsters.
This year's summer sailing program is scheduled from July 9 through August 17 and the BSA is again inviting individuals, corporations and civic groups to sponsor a child. The first summer sailing program was launched in 2005 and 30 young sailors from D.W. Davis, C.H. Reeves and H.O. Nash took part.
Since then, hundreds of students from 38 schools in New Providence and Long Island have learned to sail in seven summer programs and a number of the youngsters developed a real affinity for the sport, and have gone on to represent the country in international competitions.
Junior Bahamian sailors are now participating each year in the International Sailing Federation's (ISAF) Youth World Championships, Laser North American Championships, Orange Bowl Regattas for Lasers and Optimists and international sunfish events. Also this year, three junior sailors, ages 12 and 13, will be participating in the Optimist World Championships being held in the Dominican Republic.
"We found it unfortunate that in a country surrounded by some of the most incredible waters in the world, so many of your youngsters were denied an opportunity to learn a sport that is such a natural fit for the country because of their financial situations," said Robert Dunkley, director of the National Sailing School with responsibility for fundraising. "It's obvious that if we can get our kids involved in activities that build self-esteem and teach discipline, we can help them grow and mature and that is something that's positive for them and positive for the country."
Keeping the program going and growing is expensive as certified instructors need to be hired. Also, the fleet of optimist dinghies, sunfish and lasers needs to be purchased and maintained and food and drinks need to be provided to keep the youngsters' energy levels up.
In the years since the program was initially launched, a total of 12 Bahamian sailing instructors have been certified, two Bahamian sailors are now on the College of Charleston's sailing team (one of the top teams in the United States) and a number of others are working today in the marine industry - one of which is training to be a ship captain.
The cost for each two-week session in this summer's program is $400 and sponsorship checks can be made payable to the Bahamas Sailing Association and dropped off at the Nassau Yacht Club or mailed to P.O. Box N-752. Questions about the program and sponsorship needs and opportunities can be directed to Robert Dunkley at 357-3959 or bsajrsailing@gmail.com.

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News Article
Ingraham: Include casino gambling in referendum

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the government should include the question of casino gaming in its upcoming referendum, as Bahamians have the right to decide if they can gamble in casinos.
The North Abaco member of Parliament said The Bahamas is the only country he knows of that bars its citizens from playing in local casinos.
"If you're going to put the question of gambling to the public of The Bahamas, then the whole question must be put," Ingraham said yesterday at a press conference in the Majority Room of the House of Assembly. "We are singular in our decision in The Bahamas that excludes its citizens from being able to gamble in our casinos. Nobody else in the world does that."
He added that the law which banned Bahamians from casino gaming was made in 1965, at a time when it was also illegal for locals to work at casino tables. He said the government later saw fit to reverse that decision.
"In fact at the time of Independence in 1973 the then prime minister (Sir Lynden Pindling) said at a press conference that as long as he was prime minister there would never be a Bahamian croupier in the casinos in The Bahamas, because that was the established policy," Ingraham said.
"They changed their mind over time. The public of The Bahamas ought to have a right to decide whether they want to gamble in the casinos or not."
Prime Minister Perry Christie has said government plans to bring a referendum on the legalizing of gambling for Bahamians by December. Christie added, however, that a by-election in North Abaco - which has to be called within 60 days after Ingraham's resignation - will take precedence over a vote on gambling.
The ballot will only have two options: Establishing a national lottery or legalizing numbers houses. Christie has said his government will not deal with reversing the law that prohibits Bahamians from gambling in local casinos.
Ingraham added that as it stands he would not waste his time voting in the government's proposed referendum.
The North Abaco MP also urged the government to state its position on gambling and not hide behind the excuse that it is leaving the decision up to the public.
Ingraham also alleged that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) received financial support from illegal web shops during the 2012 general election campaign.
The North Abaco MP said he would do all he can to postpone the referendum, which is one of the reasons why he delayed his resignation from Parliament from July 19 until August 31. However, Ingraham did hand in his letter of resignation to Speaker of the House Kendal Major yesterday.
Ingraham also questioned why the government would spend money to hold a referendum so early in its term, when there are pressing social issues which need to be dealt with.
He also criticized the Christie administration for not educating the public about the referendum and the repercussions of the vote.
"When I last had a referendum the argument was the public was not educated. Well I don't see anything happening about educating the public about the referendum," Ingraham said, flanked by Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and several FNM MPs and senators.
Dozens of energetic party supporters also crowded into the room and cheered several times during his statements.
"So I'd like to postpone it as much as I could so the public can be educated," Ingraham added. "You can't make a deal with the numbers fellas before the election, get their money and then call upon me to support you or to vote for it."
When asked how he would vote in the referendum Ingraham said, "I wouldn't waste my time on such a referendum."
Both the PLP and the FNM promised to hold referendums on gambling if they won the May general election. In 2010, the Ingraham administration considered legalizing the gambling sector, but after pressure from the religious community, Ingraham decided that the FNM would put the question to a vote if re-elected in 2012.
Yesterday Ingraham said he would not have proposed a referendum on gambling that did not include a question on casino gaming.
"I would not have had a referendum that did not include the casino, that would be unthinkable."
Yesterday's press conference was held a few minutes after Ingraham handed in his resignation from Parliament to Speaker of the House Dr. Kendal Major. The resignation takes effect on August 31 but Ingraham had earlier said he would resign on July 19, on the anniversary of his first election to Parliament in 1977.
The former prime minister said he put off his resignation for three reasons: To delay the timing of the government's proposed referendum on gambling, as well as to allow the FNM's prospective North Abaco by-election candidate Greg Gomez time to meet the constitutional requirements to be eligible to be elected to the House.

Ingraham said he also delayed his resignation because the new leader of the FNM Dr. Hubert Minnis asked him to stay on longer.

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News Article
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
Bimini Big Game Club Resort Marina's Shark Dive Program Now MJ Approved

Alice Town, Bimini - Editors
of MensJournal.com have certified the shark dive program at the Bimini Big Game
Club Resort & Marina as MJ Approved.

Men's Journal is an active
lifestyle magazine and website with a focus on gear, adventure, travel, health
and fitness, food and drink and style.
Once editor tested, the magazine and website is providing its readership
with a Men's Journal road-tested stamp of approval for what they deem best of
the best...

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Family Islands get $10m boost

The Bahamas yesterday signed a $10.109 million loan facility with the Caribbean Development Bank for several social and economic infrastructure upgrades in the Family Islands, plus a $37,000 technical grant for road and port feasibility studies - the first such loan from the CDB in a number of years.

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News Article
No love lost

It was my first time at a James Catalyn and Friends stage play, so I was more than excited to see "Lost Love". It turned out to be funny, interesting and relevant. For the most part, I enjoyed it, even though it dragged at times, but despite that it's a play I think people should see if it returns to the stage.
"Lost Love", a play that holds a magnifying glass to issues of ageism in The Bahamas, played recently to a packed house at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
It confronts how old people with dementia and Alzheimer's are relegated to geriatric homes and treated horribly by their families, and encourages a more positive attitude toward the social issue.
Set in a traditional Bahamian home, the play's main theme runs throughout the drama and is centered around Addie and her sister Annie. Addie is the primary caregiver of their elderly mother, Rebecca, who has Alzheimer's and becomes increasingly difficult to take care of. Annie on the other hand lives a carefree life and is only concerned about her life's pursuits and illegal job of selling numbers. She has no time to help Addie with the care of their mother.
Other members of the drama include Addie's son Samson who is for all intents and purposes a responsible young man -- a refreshing change from the societal depiction of young men today; Claudius, Addie and Annie's brother who chips in to take care of his mother when needed. There is also Emma, a caring neighbor; Enty, a charming old friend of Rebecca who represents an old person of sound mind but not of sound body, and last but not least, the family priest who does his best to help lead Annie down the right path.
From curtains up, the characters fit into their roles perfectly. Their use of "Bahamianese" and funny colloquialisms seemed natural and unforced. The comedic factor flowed seamlessly. Annie quipped sayings only your grandmother knew one after another, which kept the audience in good humor for the duration of the play.
While the play is undoubtedly a comedic piece of work from Catalyn, some of the jokes in the play seemed a bit predictable. I could almost see the punch lines coming. I had the pleasure of sitting beside a lady who got so into the play she kept talking to the characters in moments of silence, often preempting things they would say.
One of the biggest highlights of the play was the character of Rebecca, who provided a good portion of the comedic value. Her sayings of "Well who you is?" and "They ain't feed me for the day" right after eating kept the play moving along quite nicely. Her character was written and directed with a lot of insight into older adults with dementia and Alzheimer's and the toll such a situation can take on families. The way Rebecca addressed the burden of her disability on her family touched on how difficult it is to take care of an older person with the disease -- but did so charmingly without too much seriousness that might have weighed the play down.
One of the characters I found interesting was Annie, the recalcitrant daughter of Rebecca. Annie is introduced in skin tight jeans and a sexy top and mimics old fashioned ideas of a good time girl. Annie is completely selfish and dabbles in illegal numbers selling to support her lavish lifestyle. She is notorious in the community for cavorting with men and presents herself as entirely materialistic and unconcerned with her mother's plight.
Addie, who is the complete opposite constantly admonishes Annie about her behavior which seems to push Annie farther away and makes her act out even more.
Annie stays very consistent to her character until the third act where she does a sudden about face and turns into a good person who cares about her mother and comes to take care of her regularly. This was a bit anti-climactic, not only in the suddenness of the change, but the about-face happened as a result of a conversation Annie had numerous times with her family members about her behavior. One was left wondering what was so different about this conversation to sway Annie to the other side so quickly and completely.
The overall story speaks to a well-known issue in The Bahamas and connected with the majority of the audience. The play clipped along in the first two acts and dragged a lot in the last act for me, but Rebecca's charming portrayal of memory loss prevented the audience from becoming too bored.
For me the themes of the play were almost too well developed, becoming very repetitive after the second act. I kind of felt beat over the head with the admonition to take care of the elderly over and over again -- which coincidentally the older audience did not mind, but as one of the few young people in the theater, the constant repetition took away from my overall enjoyment of the play.
I was delighted to see that a lot of effort went into character development. That being said, there were moments when the characters seemed to be reaching for their lines as there were lots of pauses and shuffling to get back on track, but the fumbles were skillfully handled, and did not detract from their stage presence or acting.
And it was sometime during the second act that I wondered where the title of the play fit into the story, since it seemed to have no real correlation at the time, but during Annie's redemption, she recited the poem "Lost Love" and tied it in quite nicely. The poem was one of the more poignant moments of the play and seemed to note the redemption of a person lost in the world find themselves and love as result. After the poem Annie embarks on her new journey as a better person.
No matter what, the play, which played to a packed house on opening night was most successful in its real factor and the audience seemed to have a good time relating to the vibrant characters and the funny colloquialisms. James Catalyn and Friends did a great job of pulling off a good Bahamian play.
"Lost Love" was written by James Catalyn and directed by Omar Williams.

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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
Homeless man shares story of struggle

Thomas Humes has spent the last seven years living on the streets of New Providence, depending on the kindness of strangers to get by.
Complications from diabetes, glaucoma and arthritis have kept the 57-year-old out of the workforce for nearly 10 years and forced him to beg for money to buy food, he said.
His life is filled with uncertainty about where the next meal will come from and where he will sleep at night.
A month ago, he said, he was sleeping on a church porch, exposed to the elements and the dangers that a street life brings. Now he lives in a shelter but does not have long-term accommodations, he said.
Humes is one of the many homeless and downtrodden people who are fed by Great Commission Ministries' Feeding Centre on Wulff Road.
He and more than 100 men, women and children lined up outside the center's doors recently, clamoring for a hot meal.
"After you get lunch here there's no telling what will happen later on, when you get hungry again," he said, as he waited for a plate of food, clutching a green ticket numbered 111.
"If I ask for a dollar or two I probably could buy a bag of chips or maybe even sometimes [I have] enough to get a snack from one of the fast food chains."
Humes said he lived in the United States for a few years before returning to New Providence shortly after the September 11 attacks.
He said the last time he had a steady job was in 2004, before his declining health led him to withdraw from the workforce.
"Within the space of a month I had two diabetic comas where I had to be hospitalized," Humes told The Nassau Guardian.
"It caused me to have a phobia about taking on an eight-hour job. I was living with family and at the time they [were] willing to house [me] but only for so long.
"It deems me unfit [to work] but people look at my structure and think he is fit to hold a job."
In spite of his bleak situation, Humes is able to see the positive side to his life.
"People asked me about my sleeping quarters and when I told them, they asked me if I'm not afraid to sleep out in the open like that," he said.
"To me, I felt like I trust God enough not to be harmed while sleeping under the open skies. I'm glad that God placed the people in my presence that looked out for me."
Humes said it is important that people not judge those who are homeless and out of work, adding many street dwellers do not have the skills to hold down a job.
"It's real serious out here," he said.
"A lot of brothers that are able to work can't find a job because they're illiterate and can't fill out an application. I mean the way this world is going now, even with a high school education a lot of brothers and sisters still can't fill out an application."
Humes' number was eventually called and he made his way to the front of the line.
He emerged with a plate of white rice and chicken, two sodas, and a smile on his face.

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News Article
Web shops fuel banking concerns

If the web shop sector is going to be allowed to exist then it should be regulated, Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas Wendy Craigg told The Nassau Guardian.
Noting that web shops are operating outside the regulatory framework, the governor said they really are not underground businesses.
"It does not fit the definition of underground activities," she said of the sector. "It has a face. It is very visible."
The governor pointed out that the Central Bank and local commercial banks adhere to strict national and international standards aimed at guarding against money laundering and terrorist financing.
When she was contacted for comment recently, Craigg did not take a position on whether web shops should be allowed to operate, as it is a highly political issue in the purview of the government.
Instead, the governor pointed to the dangers of having an unregulated web shop sector.
"As a Central Bank, we are certainly aware that last year the domestic banks took explicit measures in compliance with these AML (anti-money laundering) regulations to have accounts that were operated by these number houses closed," she said.
"That definitely came to our attention, and so they were left with a dilemma as to what to do with these large cash balances.
"We know that some of them were directed to the Central Bank to acquire government paper, government registered stock, treasury bills, but since we are also bound to comply with national KYC (know your customer) requirements, we had to deny those requests."
Ian Jennings, president of Commonwealth Bank, told The Nassau Guardian that the bank is still abiding by the position that the numbers businesses are operating illegally.
He said Commonwealth Bank will not entertain these accounts because it has to comply with know your customer and other requirements.
"Obviously, since the referendum, the whole question has been called into account as to whether or not it is illegal or legal activity," said Jennings, referring to the gambling referendum which took place one year ago today.
"For Commonwealth Bank, until the court rules otherwise or there's a change of the law the bank is still at the position that it is an illegal activity."
A legal challenge filed by web shops in the wake of the failed referendum remains tied up in the courts.
Jennings noted there is no clear evidence of what is happening to the proceeds of the unregulated industry.
"It's like the governor said, we hear anecdotal stories, but there is nothing we have that can prove to anybody [what they're doing]."
Jennings also said, "We're concerned with regard to the extention of credit."
He added, "The total level of credit, if it is not being regulated just adds more burden onto the consumer."
VULNERABLE
Craigg said unregulated businesses involved in "cash intensive activities" could be vulnerable to criminal exploitation.
"And that is why they've been recognized by the international organizations as requiring oversight under national AML so they have to abide by those requirements," she said, "the same way the casinos [have to]. Casinos today have to comply with AML/CFT (combatting the financing of terrorism) regulations."
The governor said some of the businesses involved in numbers made applications to the Central Bank for permission to invest overseas.
"And then the informal information that has come to our attention is that they are becoming very important providers of credit which is outside of the formal regulated banking sector and if these activities are sizeable, this certainly creates an unleveled playing field for regulated credit entities and it basically results in an under reporting of the value of credit activities in the economy," she said.
"Our understanding is that some of them are engaged in the provision of small loans, consumer loans perhaps through becoming owners of or funding pay day advance companies.
"They provide mortgages. They do in-house financing for housing and condominium development. They are owners of large commercial housing developments, so this is just a way that they are investing their cash resources that they cannot place within the banks on deposit."
The governor added that this unregulated sector could also be distorting important national economic data.
"If they are not being measured as a part of the activity that's taking place in the economy then we have an under reporting of economic information such as employment, personal income, GDP output data for the country, and by their very nature these web shops or number houses are very cash intensive."
The Nassau Guardian contacted the governor for comment on this highly divisive issue after Prime Minister Perry Christie said she had concerns about the unregulated numbers industry.
In a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian, Christie said, "Today, the governor of the Central Bank is demonstrating concern for this because what has happened is there has now been the evolution of a new economy that is underground, a new banking order that is taking place where mortgages are being given and where huge sums of money are moving.
"You always have money laundering concerns when you don't regulate, but I'm thinking now of when the banks say you can't bank your money, the Central Bank says you can't invest in treasury bills, the Central Bank says you can't export your money, you can't put it in another country, then you ask the question if that is the case, what is supposed to be happening to the money?
"And so, that is a very trying set of circumstances for me now."

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News Article
Sumner returned as BBFF president

The Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) held its election of officers last week, and Danny Sumner was returned as president of the esteemed body.
Back for a third consecutive four-year term, Sumner said that he feels it is his duty to incorporate new strategies and ideas into the federation's program for the next four years, and he has every intention of doing so. Sumner also serves as Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Vice President, and is still in charge of the sport in the Antilles region.
Serving in this term with him will be vice president Dr. Cyprian Strachan who replaces Derek Bullard and secretary general Lillian Moncur. Bullard will be new executive director, Oreantheia Mackey is the assistant secretary, Simone Sawyer will be the chairman of the Judges Committee, the new chairman of the Technical Committee is Jeremy Knowles, Sharon Sawyer was elected as the chairman of the Ladies Committee, the new chairman of Research and Development is Chevy Roker, the legal counsel is Donna Major, Dr. Strachan will be in charge of the Doping and Medical Committee, the two advisors are Chrishanda Newbold from Freeport, Grand Bahama, and Donna Williams from New Providence, and Dr. Richard Demeritte and Dr. Norman Gay are the two patrons of the federation.
"Well, I'm happy to be back and I'm looking forward to the task at hand," said Sumner. "There are some more things that I want to accomplish such as the high school championships, and also an armed forces segment of the nationals. The new executives are all committed to working hard, and I want to congratulate and welcome all of them into the federation. I'm happy with this team that was elected. Each one is responsible for a strategic position where they could assist in better grooming the federation. It should be a grand year, and I'm looking forward to great results moving forward."
Sumner said that they are all in high spirits, and have all pledged to work hard to ensure that the federation has continued growth.
Up first for the federation will be a fun run/walk set for Saturday March 29. The novice championships are set for May, the Northern Bahamas Championships will be held in June, and the nationals will once again be held in July.
"We have already started to embark on a number of objectives," said Sumner. "When you look at the fun run/walk, we want to encourage Bahamians from all walks of life to get involved with this. There is a strong focus on healthier living and family life for Bahamians this year. Also, one of our major concerns is getting more young people and more women attracted to the sport. There has been a decline in female bodybuilding, not just locally but worldwide because of the swimsuit factor. Females are starting to get involved with the swimsuit competition. That is more attractive to them."
In addition to swimsuit, the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) also introduced male physique in 2013. Also, there are categories such as male fitness, now male fitness, body fitness, figure fitness and classic bodybuilding that are becoming more and more popular.
"The IFBB has grown tremendously over the past 20 years. Back then it was just male and female bodybuilding but now there are so many aspects of the sport to get involved with," said Sumner. "We want to grow with the IFBB. It is our intention to tap strongly into the high school program. It will be good if we could get it into the school curriculum. What we noticed is that a lot of schools don't have training equipment, and that's vital for the program. I think that all of the schools, public and private, should have a mini gym with weight machines and cardio machines. That will go a long way in assisting us in getting the program started in the schools."
Sumner said that major goal of his this term, is to facilitate the involvement of Bahamian high schools in the sport of bodybuilding and fitness.
During his 10 years in office, Sumner was instrumental in having the BBFF National Championships moved to the hotels from old venues such as the Garfunkel Auditorium and the Poinciana Arena. Also, the federation joined the CAC regional body under his reign, and The Bahamas won seven CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness titles in the past 10 years. Also, five athletes earned their pro cards under Sumner's reign - bodybuilders Joel Stubbs, Gena Mackey and Jay Darling, Natasha Brown in fitness, and most recently Dominique Wilkinson in fitness.
This year, the CAC Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships are set for October 2-4, in St. Maarten. Sumner said that they are looking to possibly host the CAC Championships in 2015.

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News Article
The dangers of the web shop status quo

A year has passed since the web shop referendum. The people voted against legalizing web shops and a national lottery. Since the vote there was much talk by police and the government about shutting down the illegal gaming sector. However, nothing has changed. Illegal gaming persists in the open.
The web shop industry has gone to court hoping that the court will say it has a right to be open. The case is pending and police and the government are hiding behind that court case as justification for not acting to close down illegal gaming operations.
During the web shop referendum debate it was estimated that $400 million per year flows through the sector, which is not regulated. It is wide open for money laundering.
Wendy Craigg, governor of the central bank, in an interview with this newspaper last week noted the dangers of having this much money pass through an unregulated sector. She said unregulated businesses involved in cash-intensive activities could be vulnerable to criminal exploitation.
The current status quo is dangerous for The Bahamas. Allowing this sector to grow unregulated could lead The Bahamas to eventually being sanctioned by the international community. Drug dealers and other malevolent actors could use the numbers sector to "wash" their money. We should not wait for sanctions to come before we make changes.
The illegal numbers sector needs to be shut down. If Parliament wishes to make gambling legal for Bahamians and residents a new local gaming sector needs to be created via law with only "fit and proper" people being given licenses to operate in that sector.
If Parliament wishes to keep gambling illegal for Bahamians and residents, an aggressive crackdown is needed to close the current illegal operations. The assets and proceeds of illegal gambling should be seized by the state via the law. If these laws need to be strengthened that should be done to assist law enforcement in doing what is necessary.
The Bahamas must move beyond being a rogue jurisdiction where anything goes. While our political class may think it is fine to allow open illegality when it comes to illegal gaming, our international partners will not turn a blind eye to this forever. Allowing the illegal gaming sector to grow in The Bahamas is a danger to us all. We must act to fix this problem before we are painfully pressured to do so by outsiders.

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News Article
Book explores what makes companies successful

Growth and profitability is the top priority for most Bahamian businesses, but one that's becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. However, some companies do it well, delivering sustainable growth year on year. So what makes these companies so successful? And more importantly, what can your business learn from them?
In their book 'Growth Champions' Tim Jones, Dave McCormick and Caroline Dewing provide a revealing insight into 20 of the world's leading companies such as PepsiCo, Audi, Rolls-Royce and Apple. Their aim being to identify how such organizations have achieved their success by assessing what they all have in common and understanding the strategies they have implemented.
To achieve this aim, 'Growth Champions' is split into three core sections:
1. The Growth Agenda - what it means and how it is changing
2. The Growth Champions - how leaders have achieved success
3. The Growth Challenges - the issues that we all need to address.
The Growth Agenda is explored by presenting an overview of the change drivers and strategic approaches to achieve growth using academic theory and case studies. This helps to demonstrate why companies such as Amazon, BASF, Google, LEGO, Nestle, Novo Nordisk, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, Shell and Tata have grown into market leaders.
These market leaders are used to identify the key characteristics of Growth Champions, which includes:
o Clarity of Ambition: Growth aspirations must inspire and be specific
o Shared Values: Clear ambitions that fit with the organizational values
o Organizational Confidence: understanding strengths and areas for development
o Innovation: across core products, services and internal processes
o Foresight & Insight: understand the trends shaping markets and their implications
o Leadership: being prepared to challenge conventional wisdoms.
Finally we are led into the Growth Challenges for the next decade, which bares an uncanny resemblance to the current economic environment within The Bahamas. The authors argue that the three key 'Growth Champions' are likely to include attracting Chinese investment, working collaboratively with companies with different approaches, and delivering sustainability to drive growth. You only have to look around to see that it's already here, with the Baha Mar development on Cable Beach being a perfect example.
My only complaint is that 'Growth Champions' allows many of the top-20 senior executives to promote their companies' virtues in a manner that would make their PR departments blush - as saying goes 'don't believe the hype'. However, it's a quick read, relevant, inspiring and 'Grows' on you, which is a big plus for a business book.

o 'Growth Champions' edited by Tim Jones, Dave McCormick and Caroline Dewing.
Published by John Wiley and available from www.Amazon.com.

o Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within an academic, managerial and strategic leadership role. He is a member of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management and can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk or follow him at twitter.com/writingrightnow .

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News Article
BEAUTY, health and fitness at BTVI fair

BEAUTY, health and fitness were the focus as more than 20 exhibitors joined in The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute's (BTVI) Wellness Fair.

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News Article
Grand Bahama Artists Association off to a stellar 2014 start

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The Grand Bahama Artists Association began this 2014 year with a bang! They have a newly elected board, a membership of new and returning persons, and a wonderful array of new and original paintings, ceramic vessels, sequenced tapestries, beaded images and illustrations.
There are small delicate paintings of children and birds, or larger images of boats, people and flowers. All are on display at the Gloria Banks Gallery, Rand Nature Centre. There is something to fit everyone's tastes, in colours and imagery, as well as budget!
The Grand Bahama Artists Association, or G.B.A.A. had their opening evening on Thursday, 6th February, 2013 with over 200 art lovers in attendance. Steve Stubbs, President, has a lovely painting of the boat on the shore, shown here, and the Vice President, Portia Colebrooke, is seen here with one of her wood engraved pieces. Members of the G.B.A.A. were present to meet and greet the persons who attended the opening event.
A raffle of art work was well received, with the winners of the evening walking away with original pieces of art. There was also a display of work in progress, so that people could get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes. There was the intricate images coming to life in the sequenced process, a wood carving of a mermaid, a water color painting of under water life, and the creation of beaded works.
The exhibit continues from 6th February til 1st March, 2014, during the hours of 9:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Gloria Banks Gallery, Rand Nature Centre, Monday - Friday, and 9:00 - 2:00 Saturdays. Come and view the exhibit, "For the Love of Art!' You will leave inspired, and have the opportunity to own art you will always cherish and love.

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News Article
Bahamas likely 'not on radar' in Chinese credit crackdown

The Bahamas and Baha Mar should not have as much reason to fear the effects of a Chinese "credit crackdown" as other countries and projects, an economic observer has noted, as evidence emerges that major Chinese lenders are clamping down on access to credit and engaging in more "aggressive" loan management.James Smith, former governor of the Central Bank and economic advisor to the present government, said that he doubts very seriously that The Bahamas is on the radar of Chinese lenders such as the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China as a candidate for credit cutbacks.Smith made his comments in an interview with Guardian Business after the Financial Times reported that the China Development Bank has begun asking some international clients to postpone drawing down previously committed credit lines, in moves which the newspaper said highlight how strains on the country's financial system are reverberating abroad.While the crackdown is mainly aimed at reining in rapid credit growth that has been associated with the country's "shadow bank" system, the Financial Times reports that even the state-owned China Development Bank has felt the impact.Meanwhile, the newspaper also noted that the Export-Import Bank of China, Baha Mar's lender, which offered the resort development a $2.4 billion loan, is now being seen to show "greater willingness" to put international borrowers into bankruptcy and sell their assets to recover value from failed loans, indicating that it too may have been impacted by the "crackdown" underway in China.Commenting on the report, Smith said that if China is to look anywhere for places where it may wish to take more aggressive action in relation to credit extended in order to avoid losses, or reduce lending overall, it would most likely be to places like Africa and India where it has lent much larger sums than in The Bahamas, and also to more risky projects and countries."I doubt Baha Mar would fall into that category - the funding in The Bahamas and in the Caribbean is a very miniscule part of their total funding worldwide," he said."This is probably a question of quantum; Baha Mar's exposure is $2 billion, while in other places it's well in excess of $50 billion. In addition, Baha Mar is due to open at the end of the year and so it will be finished drawing down soon."However, the reports highlight one of the less discussed potential consequences of obtaining credit from China, which stepped in following the financial crisis - as it did in the case of Baha Mar - to provide credit liberally where others feared to tread due to a reduced lending appetite in the wake of the 2008 collapse. Its lending over the past five to six years has seen the country become a larger creditor to governments and companies in the developing world than the World Bank.When its lending spree began, the Asian giant was deemed an economic miracle on an inexorable path to development, while today many economic analysts suggest that the question is not when the country may suffer an economic slowdown, but how "hard" or "soft" it will be, with concerns escalating about the health of the country's financial system.Now with a massive portfolio of international borrowers, the extent to which each may potentially be subject to any efforts the government now sees fit to take to address its own internal challenges relating to the financial sector and how to best reconfigure its growth model to one focused on domestic - rather than foreign - consumption remains to be seen.The Financial Times reported that among the loans which the China Development Bank had asked international borrowers not to draw down on include two to Indian companies, including an infrastructure developer and a shipping group. The size of the credit lines was not disclosed.

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