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News Article

March 06, 2014
Mitchell: Sexual preference irrelevant in election

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that a person's sexual preference should be irrelevant to whether he or she should be elected to public office.
Mitchell made the statement when asked if an open member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community could ever be elected to Parliament or even as leader of the country.
"Martin Luther King said it is the content of your character," said Mitchell at a press conference at the House of Assembly.
"That's the only thing that matters. That's what this country stands for, the content of your character."
Mitchell said his aspiration for leadership is no secret and that people have used his support for LGBT rights to say he should be disqualified from ever attempting to lead the country.
"I don't want to start a whole other thing again," he said.
"There is no vacancy at the moment. When it comes I don't see any reason to step back from the breach."
In a recent speech in Trinidad and Tobago, Mitchell said that his political career suffers because of his support for LGBT rights. The Guardian yesterday asked him to explain that statement.
"There is a race for succession going on in the country," he said.
"So everybody is trying to look and see who in the prospective future might emerge as leaders or a leader of the country.
"Now there are some people who obviously are aware of my ambitions in that direction.
"It's not something that I have been hiding.
"There is no vacancy in the country at the moment. So the question doesn't arise. But that doesn't stop people from trying to plot and scheme into the future and say this fellow, I want to stop him if I can.
"So what do you do, you try to attack [his] intellect, you try to attack the ideas, you say all kinds of things.
"So you try all sorts of things. Now the most recent attack here is, because none of that works, because of his views on this particular subject of LGBT, that disqualifies him and of course that's not what they really mean and I'm not going to help them out on this occasion.
"That's not what they really mean. But they are trying to pin something on you and say to the Bahamian people you are unfit to go further."
Bahamas Faith Ministries International President Dr. Myles Munroe said on Sunday the prime minister should replace Mitchell because he does not represent the majority of views of Bahamians.
Munroe was referring to Mitchell's recent comments on LGBT rights.
He said Mitchell seems to have an agenda that may disqualify him from serving in the position as minister of foreign affairs.
Mitchell said yesterday that while he has enjoyed a successful career, the last three days, following Munroe's comments, have proven his point.
"Here you have a man going on a pulpit and saying this person is disqualified for the job he now has because of his views," he said.
"That's what I mean. That proves the point -- not because of the content of his character, not because he is disqualified from office.
"He goes to great extent to say, 'Oh, I respect him and this and that all the rest, but his views disqualify him from going further'."
The PLP is scheduled to hold a convention in November. It is unclear if leadership will be a major factor at that time.

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News Article

March 12, 2014
Who will run at the world relays

Although the addition of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships has caused challenges for the selection of national teams, numerous federations have resorted to various options for solution.
Most national championships occur either at the end of June or during July, which would be after the world relays. Only federations in the southern hemisphere like Australia and South Africa have their national championships early, which would be prior to the world relays. An exception to this is Cuba, just miles south of The Bahamas. Cuba always hold its national championships earlier than any other nation in the northern hemisphere.
For those other federations in the northern hemisphere, the possibilities are to stage trials expressly for the selection of team members, which would be difficult for those countries with numerous athletes attending schools in the United States; or to select who they consider to be their best athletes based upon prior competition, or by their listing in the current IAAF competition list or performances from 2013.
A few countries may have special trials for the relays.
The Bahamas' plan
In The Bahamas, the current plan, which might change, is to have a selection at the Silver Lightning Classic in early May. Numerous Bahamian athletes attend United States schools and may not be able to obtain clearance from their schools to participate in either the Silver Lightning Classic, or the world relays. On the weekend of the world relays, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regional Championships will be held.
In the case of Jamaica there will be no trials, but athletes will be selected based upon the IAAF competition list two weeks prior to the submission of entries deadline for the world relays. With regards to the NCAA Regionals, Jamaica has numerous senior athletes who are finished their college obligations, and many of those athletes reside in Jamaica.
Once they have that information, further scrutiny will be done by the federation prior to selecting the team.
In the case of the United States of America (USA), the proposal submitted by the High Performance Committee and agreed to at the annual meeting last December was that a pool for the 4x100 meters (m), 4x200m and 4x400m is to be selected from the top six athletes in each relay event in the 2013 World Championships, and the top six on the 2012 London relay teams, along with the first two finishers at the USA Indoor Nationals. Then they look at the top athletes from the IAAF lists from 2013.
At the same time, various pools will be assembled to participate at several national meets in relays including the Texas Relays, the Kansas Relays, the Mt. SAC Relays and the Penn Relays. After the final pools have been identified, they will have a camp in The Bahamas prior to the relay championships.
The USA vs. the world
Several nations will be invited to the Penn Relays, a month prior to the world relays, to participate in the USA vs. the World competition. This event, which is sponsored by Nike, has been quite popular over the last decade. The stadium overflows, especially with the Jamaican fans. Federations will have a good opportunity to see how fit the athletes are at that time, and make judgments if any adjustments are necessary in the few weeks prior to the deadline for final entries for the world relays.
Guidelines necessary
At present, many countries do not have specific trials for the world indoor championships. They use guidelines to determine which athletes would best represent them, and usually, just one performance will not do. With this in mind, we anticipate that there might be some challenges in selecting athletes for this year's world relay teams but the nearly 50 nations will work it out.
When the inaugural World Relay Championships are finished, most of us will wonder what all the discussion was about.

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News Article

May 11, 2012
Religious leaders hope new government will continue to do what's best for the nation and make good decisions for the good of the people in the years to come

The rigmarole that comes with election season is over and religious leaders say with the downfall of one government and the rise of another government, much is to be expected -- particularly in these trying times when unemployment is high, crime is skyrocketing and the country is still going through an economic depression. Religious leaders say it is imperative that the new government be "on the ball" to uphold a sense of hope, peace and freedom the country desperately needs.
Now that all is said and done, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government should be seeking to bring back a spirit of unity and healing in the nation according to Bishop John N. Humes, national overseer of the Church of God in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is his hope that the new leaders of the nation will recognize how much the people are hurting in the basic facets of their lives and make it their objective to bring relief in any way they can.
"The election season has been an intensive campaign and we have seen so much passion from politicians and voters alike. Some people may be rejoicing and others may be in mourning at this juncture, but we should all be happy that the season has gone with relative peace," said Bishop Humes. "No matter your preference, we all need to now join together again as a people and truly respect one another. There is no more time for red, green or yellow. Many people are hurting and they need a government that cares. So at the end of the day, it's about the nation and ensuring that whatever comes to pass is for the best of the people and future generations."
If nothing else transfers over from the election season, the Pentecostal minister said he hopes that the strong passion the people expressed for their political parties of choice would continue to overflow into other aspects of their daily lives.
"If more people were as passionate about God and keeping His word, the nation would be a much better place," said Bishop Humes. He added that the same devotion and dedication politicians gave to get into power, he hoped they would continue to wield that passion in their service to their people and to God during their term in office.
"While my church and I wish to commend the prime minister (Perry Christie), and we pray that he does well, we want to encourage him and other ministers to remember to also seek God's face and blessings in these times," he said.
Bishop Humes said running a country is no easy feat and it is only through the grace of God that things come together. He said leaders need to always seek God's guidance and aim to be in His favor -- especially in difficult times.

Bishop Laish Boyd

Bishop Laish Boyd, head of the Anglican Diocese in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos said that the main aim of any new government should be to maintain the peace and harmony of the nation and continue to invest in things that will truly benefit the people.
"We have a wonderful country and we should be a proud people to know that in our nation we can conduct major events like elections without violence and bloodshed. We are the envy of many regions of the world in this regard. This is something to not take for granted. With that in mind, the incoming leadership has tremendous responsibility and a lot they must uphold. This is why being in this position should not be taken lightly."
The Anglican Bishop said it is important for leaders and voters alike to forget political parties and be able to work together for the good of the people. He said the new government should try to remember that they are standing on the shoulders of previous administrations and are there to build on the foundation already laid. And that now is the time to really think about what they hope to accomplish and how it fits in with what the people need.
"There is no particular thing I would want to address that the government should deal with but I would say that they need to be willing to face the challenges they will meet now and deal with new ones effectively as they come," he said. "Bahamian people should also aim to be supportive of the new government despite how they feel if their choice lies with another party. The nation has come to a consensus about whom they want in power and the people have spoken. It is time to accept it and be supportive of your representative. At the end of the day it is not about PLP or FNM [Free National Movement]. It's about the people and the nation. So we must do our part to continue to build up this great country with our continuous support."

Pastor Leonard Johnson

Pastor Leonard Johnson, head of Seventh-day Adventist Church said a unified front is what is needed by the people of the nation and the government now that the country is commencing another five-year journey under a new government.
"As Christians, Seventh-day Adventists recognize the legitimate role that organized government plays in society and the right of all people to vote freely. Accordingly, on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in The Bahamas I congratulate and express support for the new government of The Bahamas. We pledge our support to the government as they are duly elected. And we would like to encourage them to build up this wonderful Bahamas and seek to incorporate all persons as they do."
Pastor Johnson also said he hopes the government will take the importance of depending upon God seriously for guidance, wisdom and knowledge as it takes all of these qualities to lead a country and people. He said thinking they can do this great task alone is unrealistic and he hopes politicians remember to always put God first and see the miracles He can accomplish.
He said this is also the time to recognize the many men who came before and remember all that they did to set the country on its path -- particularly the outgoing prime minister and his government.
Many people may not be happy with the result of the elections but Pastor Johnson said it is important for all citizens of the country to show patriotism to the country and support its leader and government.
"This is not meant to be unsympathetic to the people who are hurting during this time, but this is something you can get over. It is important to do so because the nation will still need to move forward. And all citizens need to be active and supportive of the upward movement no matter who is in government. So this means praying for the government and showing support whenever possible. We hope the incoming government will continue to do what's best for the nation and make good decisions for the good of the people in the years to come," he said.

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News Article

November 20, 2013
National volleyball championship to spike off next week

The two top volleyball teams from four high school sporting associations in the country will take to the court, hoping to spike their way to a national title.
The inaugural National High Schools Volleyball Tournament of Champions is set for November 29-30 at the C.I. Gibson Gymnasium. The tournament has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and will be hosted by the New Providence Volleyball Association (NPVA), which falls under the umbrella of the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF). The two-day event is being sponsored by J.S. Johnson & Company Ltd.
The four high school sporting associations that will take part in the tournament are the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS); Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA), Grand Bahama School Association (GBSA) and Bahamas Scholastic and Athletic Association (BSAA). The teams are C.V. Bethel, C.R. Walker, Government High School, St. Andrew's College, Bahamas Academy, St. Augustine's College, Nassau Christian Academy, Mount Carmel, Teleos, Bishop Michael Eldon and St. George's High.
"On behalf of the Bahamas Volleyball Federation and the New Providence Volleyball Association, we would really like to thank the Ministry of Education for seeing it fit to invite us to come on board for such a prestigious event," said DeVince Smith, president of the NPVA. "With volleyball
being one of the core sports in The Bahamas, we would like to really thank you because we believe in creating a student-athlete and we realize the importance of sports and education. We see this tournament as a great start for volleyball for our youth in The Bahamas.
"Not only does it create a positive outline, but it gives our students an opportunity to develop their skills where they can become collegiate or professional players. We are grateful to have this opportunity to step in and do our part to ensure that this tournament is a success. We cannot thank you enough. We hope that one day this tournament can become as big, or create as much fans as the Hugh Campbell tournament."
The tournament will have a round robin format with each team playing at least two or three games before advancing to the play-offs. According to tournament director, Kirkwood Greene, the set-up is designed to provide more play opportunities for the teams. If the top two schools from any of the sporting associations are unable to attend, invitations will be extended to third and fourth place squads. Greene, along with the Director of Sports in the ministry, Evon Wisdom, are hoping to receive final confirmation by the end of the week, or no later than Monday.
With this being a national championship, Wisdom apologized for not having representation from all the schools in the country. He revealed that the ministry is in discussions with the other school sporting associations, hoping to have all the sports played around the same time. This, according to Wisdom, will make it easier when wanting to host national events.
"This tournament will grow from strength to strength and as the tournament grows, we will be able to get more of the different organizations and leagues within the islands to participate in the tournament," Wisdom said. "Discussions are now happening, as we try to get all of the schools playing the same sport around the same time. The only sport I know all of the associations come together is track and field. We are trying to do the same thing in the other sports."
The volleyball season in the GSSSA recently concluded and the BAISS season will start in 2014.

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News Article

December 03, 2013
Omar Daley pioneering sports initiative in Long Island

An interesting sporting relationship was forged this past weekend in Long Island. Bodybuilding/Fitness expert Omar Daley has agreed to be the representative for the national pro boxing arm of the Government of The Bahamas.
The Bahamas Boxing Commission, answering the call of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for organizations to reach out into the Family Islands to build a foundation for the coming National Sports Industry, ventured into Long Island. Although with a boxing focus as the chief objective, the commission has determined to provide a general base for conditioning and health care for those mini sporting programs in the Family Islands that need assistance. The idea is to establish boxing programs or tie into other disciplines for mutual development.
The traveling group included Chairman Alvin Sargent, Deputy Chairman/Secretary Fred Sturrup, Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Patrick Roberts, Officials Committee Chairman Fernley Palmer, Alvin Davis and James Tynes. Now based in Long Island as the community dentist is commission member Dr. Munir Rashad.
It was Rashad who to set the stage for the commission's presence. He selected Daley as one of the key sports leaders in Long Island to be interacted with. On Friday past, at the Community Centre in Clarence Town, the Deputy Chairman/Secretary Sturrup presented the commission's concept to Daley and his sister Erica Knowles. Daley is the island's outstanding bodybuilding expert who now heads the Long Island Sporting Academy. He has agreed to expand his bodybuilding and fitness program to include boxing conditioning.
The commission on its part, has pledged to provide Daley, for his very comprehensive center in Stella Maris, heavy bags, speed bags, boxing gloves, boxing cups, head gears and mouth pieces.
"We have agreed to make this gesture to show how serious we are about projecting boxing across the country, but also in assisting in sports development. We are happy that Omar has bought into what we are doing. We make a promise also to help him as he works to provide wholesome development opportunities for the young boys and girls in Long Island," said the Chairman Sargent.
Daley and Knowles are adequate for this initiative. Daley plans to structure the academy more efficiently by merging his bodybuilding/fitness with that assistance to be afforded by the commission. He also intends to make education a major part of the entire operation.
"The Long Island Sporting Academy is headed by myself as president. The vice president is Donavon Whymns and the secretary/treasurer is Alexandria Bullard. The academy caters to young individuals, starting at the age of 12. We wish to enhance their development in skills in areas of sports, the teaching of sports, the importance of being dedicated and disciplined to become good athletes and strong academic individuals.
"Thus far, the academy has been strictly funded out of my pocket since February, 1997. I speak of training, travel, sporting outfits and other expenses. I have also assisted some of my students with school needs. I have absorbed the costs for national examinations and I am proud to inform that a past student is now studying medicine in China.
"I am a firm believer that the children are our future and we should invest in them for a brighter tomorrow. My wish is to continue running this program for the children of the Long Island community, but because of financial constraints, this is becoming quite difficult. The road has not been easy, but quite worthwhile," said Daley.
He represents those unsung heroes of the Family Islands who normally are not nationally given due credit. Daley is much more than a mentor of students. He is a father figure. There is the competitive side to him as well. Daley has formerly represented the country in bodybuilding successfully. His students have been awarded about 200 medals, 50 of the gold variety over the years. Knowles, who is a rap artist of note, has a strong martial arts background. She expressed excitement over the attention the commission is showing to Long Island.
"This is good. I like what you are doing. So often, people from New Providence come into the islands and just talk. The commission is serious and has impressed me. This is now a good way to elevate the young boys and girls in our island and keep them in a productive program," said Knowles.
The commission plans to revisit Long Island in the not too distant future. It will present boxing equipment to add to Daley's fitness center.
(To respond to this sports feature, contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

December 07, 2013
New Zealand VAT realities and The Bahamas

Dear Editor,

The goods and services tax (GST) is a value-added tax that was introduced in New Zealand in 1986, currently levied at 15 percent. It is notable for exempting few items from the tax. From July 1989 to September 2010, GST was levied at 12.5 percent, and prior to that at 10 percent.
The New Zealand government posted a smaller operating deficit than expected in the first four months of the financial year as it reported a bigger personal tax take and reaped more from customs duties on imported tobacco.
Finance Minister Bill English said in a statement: "Although the economy is improving and revenue is increasing, there are a lot of other large influences on the government's books. These include a growing prominence of financial assets and liabilities, which expose taxpayers to greater volatility."
The government's residual cash deficit of $3.26 billion was smaller than the $3.42 billion forecast in May, with $1.26 billion raised from the sale of instalment receipts in Meridian Energy. Another $627.5 million is payable on May 15, 2015.
Net debt of $59.08 billion, or 27.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), was slightly lower than the $59.43 billion, or 27.9 percent of GDP, forecast. Gross debt of $82.89 billion, or 39 percent of GDP, was more than the $80.83 billion, or 38 percent of GDP, expected, due to more government bond issuance.
New Zealand has been named the world's second best country to do business in, behind only resurgent Ireland.
The survey found New Zealand had the best scores among all countries for personal freedom and investor protection, as well as lack of red tape and corruption.
The Forbes survey graded 145 nations based on 11 equally weighted factors - property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.
The Bahamas fits none of the above 11 quality factors weighted, so why are we comparing our economy to their own with regards to VAT?

- Mr. Edwards

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News Article

December 10, 2013
Race track 'key ingredient' for continued Speed Week success

The chairman of Bahamas Speed Week Revival has said that groundbreaking on a race track that will allow Bahamas Speed Week to "treble" its participant numbers and "double" its economic impact, must occur by February of next year, with the race track critical to tapping further into the U.S. racing market.
David McLaughlin, who is also the event director of Speed Week Revival, said the racing track could be an "international facility" that could be used for multiple sporting events throughout the year, making it a "sustainable" investment for the government.
Guardian Business understands the development of the track could cost between $1 million to $2 million.
The co-owner of a luxury Exuma resort, which is hosting a large group of high-net-worth individuals involved in Speed Week, has also backed government's plans to support the racing event by building a new race track, saying he "can't stress enough" the importance of the development for the ongoing success of the three-year-old event.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis announced plans for the government to construct the race track in time for next year's Bahamas Speed Week, during the opening of the event last week.
The track will incorporate some of the original Oakes Field race track, which formed the epicenter of the original Nassau Speed Week, which would celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.
Peter Nicholson, co-owner of Grand Isle Resort and Spa in Great Exuma, told Guardian Business: "The third speed week revival was a success, and everyone was talking about the bright future it has as long as we can get the track built; that's the key ingredient and we can't stress enough that we really need that speedway.
"That's been the buzz throughout the whole weekend; how excited people are about the track. The concern we have is that the track at Arawak Cay can only go so far. We've hit maximum efficiency there. It really needs to go to a larger track and a larger level."
This year Bahamas Speed Week generated just under 1,000 room nights for local hotels, according to its organizers.
It drew dozens of high-net-worth drivers, who brought vintage and modern super cars valued in some cases up to $6 million, from countries including the U.S., Canada, the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.
For now, the event has been heavily European-centric, but with the addition of the race track, it is believed that it can treble the number of participants by encouraging more U.S. racers to enter. By enabling Speed Week to incorporate more racing, the idea would also be to allow it to transition to a more spectator-based event, encouraging yet more visitors.
"Undoubtedly it's fun to drive on a street track but you can't race seriously on that. On a purpose-built facility with all the safety features I am sure the American drivers will come," said McLaughlin.
"Back in the day, Nassau Speed Week was like a kind of Super Bowl, a play off between Americans and Europeans, and the top drivers of the day came. We're confident that we will be able to attract some of the top drivers that used to race if the track gets built."
McLaughlin said that the track would ideally be under construction by February, with marketing to begin shortly thereafter.
Nicholson suggested there could be a significant multiplier effect from attracting dozens of extremely high-net-worth individuals to The Bahamas on an annual basis via the event.
His resort has been selected as the Out Island host for 32 participants, fans and organizers of the event this year, a move which both he and McLaughlin said bodes well for the impact of the event on the wider Bahamian economy.
Nicholson, who chartered four planes and a helicopter to bring in and host the Speed Week visitors at the resort, where he purchased 31 villas in early 2012, said the relationship with Speed Week makes good business sense for Grand Isle Resort and Spa.
"It's important for The Bahamas to have events to bring people in, to give them a reason to come for a long weekend, and motor car racing is a high-net-worth attraction and The Bahamas and the Caribbean is a high-net-worth place; it's not the cheapest place to come and visit.
"The drivers themselves all seem to be multimillionaires, the cars are incredibly expensive to own and maintain and even the fans that came, they are car enthusiasts and they are all high-net-worth individuals. People who own expensive race cars are the same people who want to have luxury villas, so we feel it's going to be a good fit."
McLaughlin said he has long hoped to expand the scope of Bahamas Speed Week to take in more islands.
"My quest for three years has been to send all the visiting drivers home, many of whom are very, very, wealthy having seen the real beauty of The Bahamas, to be able to take people to the Exumas and to send people home with that message," he added.

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News Article

December 17, 2013
BBFF focusing on healthier living in 2014

With a strong focus on healthier living and family life, the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) is starting the new year off with a fun run/walk set for March, 2014.
BBFF President Danny Sumner said that it is their goal to get as many of their athletes as possible, and Bahamians in general, fit, eating right, and living healthy lifestyles. He said that it is imperative to maintain a certain level of fitness, especially for bodybuilders and fitness athletes to produce better results at international competitions.
"Proper diet and nutrition is so very important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle," said Sumner yesterday. "In the federation, it is our goal for our athletes to get their bodies in shape early in the year. I think it should be like that across the board, with all sports. That is why we are putting on this fun run/walk which will be open to all Bahamians. During the IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness) Congress this year, it was determined that a stronger focus should be put on fitness and family life. We want families to be aware of their diet and the type of food that they are eating. We are hoping to decrease the rate of obesity here in The Bahamas. Obesity, diabetes and hyper-tension are serious problems here in The Bahamas. We want to do our part to curtail that."
Sumner said that they are looking at it as their duty, as a sports organization, to promote health and fitness for the entire Bahamas. He said that they are doing this for the benefit of the whole country.
"We want to encourage people from all walks of life to take part in this fun run/walk," said Sumner. "It is our first event for the year, and we're hoping that it will be well attended. We want it to be a family affair - mothers, fathers and children of all ages are all welcomed to come out and take part. The focus is on the entire family. This is our first step in developing better athletes for 2014 and beyond."
Sumner said that they intend to get all of the major gyms in the country involved, so that Bahamians from every walk of life could take part in the event.
The fun run/walk is just the beginning of things to come for 2014 though, as far as BBFF events are concerned.
Sumner said that it is their intention to finally get the armed forces championships off the ground, which could possibly be held in conjunction with the novice championships. The event could possibly have a high school segment as well. After that event in May, the federation will move into the Northern Bahamas Championships, which is expected to include Bimini this time, and the nationals will wrap up local competition in July.
"With the armed forces championships, our goal is to get the police, the defence force and the prison together in friendly competition. It is imperative that these three arms of our national defence system maintain a level of fitness," said Sumner. "These championships will allow for those officers to engage in friendly competition, and at the same time, stay fit. We have been strategically getting the high school championships off the ground. We started it this year, but we still have a ways to go. There's a strong possibility that you will see a segment of that with the armed forces championships this year."
Overall, Sumner said that the focus this year is definitely fitness for all athletes.
"As you can see by our performances at the CAC Championships every year, we have some of the better athletes in the entire Caribbean, and that's across the board. What we are lacking is more advanced training to get our athletes as fit as possible. We are certainly getting there in that regard, but we still have a way to go. I would love to see a cross section of Bahamian athletes getting more fit, and that's in every sport. If they are getting the type of training that a bodybuilder or fitness athlete goes through, they would be better when they compete in their respective sport.
"Having said that, we desperately need more funding to get our athletes the proper training and proper dieting. That was a major problem for us in 2013, and hopefully we could get more assistance in that regard moving forward. For athletes to improve themselves in all aspects in their respective sports, we need for funding to be increased so that our athletes could get the proper training."
The BBFF will wrap up its year, in 2014, with representation at the 42nd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. A 15-member Bahamian team finished with 10 top five finishes, a pro card from Grand Bahamian Dominique Wilkinson, and an overall fourth place finish this year.
Sumner said that they are looking to possibly host the CAC Championships in 2015.

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News Article

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

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

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News Article

December 24, 2013
Merry feet for Christmas

This is the season to be merry, however it is often not a merry time for the feet. Lots of holiday shopping usually means lots of walking and even sometimes running. In addition, it is time for lots of standing, while cooking, during parties, church and even Junkanoo. Further, most persons, especially women will be wearing new shoes during these activities. All these reasons can add up to painful feet!
A survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) showed that painful feet are a common occurrence during the holiday madness and the number one way women soothe their aching feet is by moisturizing their feet. Women admitted that stretching and massaging their feet were also on the list of favorite foot fixers. Here are a few more ways to keep your feet merry this holiday season.
Exercise your toes: Toe cramping is common due to long hours of walking, often in tight shoes. Avoid toe cramping by raising your toes, pointing and curling them for five seconds in each direction, then repeat 10 times. You can do this several times a day and you won't even break a sweat, but your toes will get relief.
Massage your feet: Women like it because it works. Massaging releases tension, increases circulation and rejuvenates the skin after a long day on your feet. Get out the lotion and rub those toes, better yet get a spouse, child or friend to do it. You can also use a foot bath or tub to massage the feet. Fill the tub with warm water and your favorite fragrant moisturizing soap and let the jets massage your feet. Persons who are diabetic should not soak or use hot water on their feet.
Elevate your legs: Long hours of standing, walking and evening sitting can cause the feet to swell especially at the end of the day. Reduce swelling by elevating the legs by sitting or lying down and lifting the legs above your heart.
Rotate your ankles: Because of swelling and long hours of standing and walking the ankles can get tired and ache. Relax your feet by rotating your ankles, turn your ankle up toward your head, down toward the floor then right and left, slowly five times. This loosens up the ankle joints and increases blood flow to the area.
Wear smart shoes: For the most part, during your holiday activities like shopping, cooking, etc., wear sensible, comfortable shoes and avoid high heels. Save the high heels for actual dressed up events. If you know you will be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes with arch support and a padded sole.
When purchasing shoes, do so in the afternoon and be sure to try them on and walk in them in the store to be sure they fit properly. Do not wear shoes that don't fit, they will cause blisters and other injury to the feet.
For persons who already have problems with their feet for example heel pain or Plantar Fasciitis or even an injury to the feet, it is vital to follow the podiatrist's instructions and continue to wear the prescribed foot wear during the holiday. It will prevent relapse and return of pain and other symptoms after the holiday.
Prevent injury: It is important to not over do it and prevent any injury to your feet while rushing to complete all the holiday activities. Pay particular attention to foot wear and walking surfaces. Drinking alcohol and other substances also increases your risk of injury. Continue your exercise routine during the holiday season. Be sure to stretch before and after exercising. Wear new sports shoes cautiously, by gradually increasing the time your wear them each day until you adjust.
If you follow these tips and suggestions you can prevent injury and ensure that your feet are also merry during this holiday season. However, foot injuries and pain, including fractures, ankle sprains, blisters, ingrown toe nails, etc., are common foot complaints during and after the holiday. If you do get an injury or develop foot pain, see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

o For more information visit www.apma.org or to see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane telephone 394-5820.

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News Article

December 31, 2013
Developer: BEC delay cost us 10,000-20,000

A developer in Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera has estimated he might have lost $10,000 to $20,000 in profits after reservations for three new cottages had to be canceled when the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) did not come to install electrical power in time for occupancy.
However, despite this and other delays, the developer behind the French Leave resort and marina on Eleuthera said he is pleased with the progress of construction to date.
Eddie Lauth, CEO of developer Shaner Bahamas Ltd., told Guardian Business: "I would say that we lost between $10,000 to 20,000 since the cottages weren't opened in time for the holidays like the original plan. It's disappointing because it's a lost opportunity, but we don't want to dwell on that. Hopefully, we can get the power in and then continue to move forward.
"We have had so many delays between us hitting flint rock and having no power. The three cottages were leased out for the holidays but obviously we couldn't do that because none of them had power. But things over at French Leave are going well."
To date, Shaner Bahamas has invested $7 million of an anticipated $17 million spend in French Leave.
Construction on the resort's 1648 Bar and Grill, fitness center, wedding pavilion and events lawn are all currently underway. Once that is completed, Lauth said work would begin on the rest of the cottages.
"Right now, we have a good chance of having the commercial area and the first three hotel cottages opened no later than March. And then bar and grill, along with the pool, should be done by June 30," according to Lauth.
"We're pleased with the progress of construction so far. I believe those who have seen the cottages so far, it has exceeded their expectations.
"We think that on Eleuthera, especially in Governor's Harbour, our vision has always been the old Bahamas, the other Bahamas. I think what we're building fits perfectly into that mold. I think when people see the cottages and the stone work, they get it."
Formerly the site of Club Med, the property was purchased in 2004, with further land acquired from Frank Lloyd Trust.
Shaner Bahamas, a company founded by Lance T. Shaner, entered into a partnership with Governor's Harbour Resort & Marina to build and finance the property. Shaner Bahamas is an off-shoot of the Shaner Hotel Group, a corporation with more than 24 owned or managed properties and thousands of employees.

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News Article

December 24, 2013
Baha Mar reaches over 6,000 in 2013 recruitment effort

Baha Mar has extended its recruitment outreach to more than 6,000 Bahamians in four countries in 2013.
The Baha Mar Academy, the resort development's training and recruitment arm, has visited Bahamian students and professionals in The Bahamas, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom over the last 12 months.
In a release from the company, it said that recruiting thousands of Bahamians to work at Baha Mar is not just about reaching a target number.
"Baha Mar is about taking the best of The Bahamas - our people and our culture - to the world," said Kristin Wells, Baha Mar Academy director.
Most recently, Baha Mar Academy hosted a mix and mingle event for Bahamian students and professionals in New York City to share information about the diverse career opportunities that will be available at the resort, and to interview potential candidates.
Human Resources executives attending the mixer included Terry Holden, area director of HR for Hyatt in New York; Benjamin Sims, HR director for Mondrian at Baha Mar; Nancy Kiska, HR director for the Rosewood Carlyle in New York, and Kristin Wells, director of the Baha Mar Academy and acting representative of the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel.
More than 8,000 people have submitted resumes on the company's website with the hope of filling one of the thousands of jobs by the scheduled opening of December 2014.
Each of the resumes is carefully reviewed by one of Baha Mar Academy's fifteen recruiters who identify the best candidates and invite them to face-to-face meetings.
"Baha Mar has a culture where people have a passion for being better than best, no matter their position," said Wells. "While we are looking for skills to fit all levels of the company, we're really looking for people who are friendly, pay attention to details, thrive as part of a team, and have a heart for hospitality."
Those who are interested in working for Baha Mar are advised to upload their resume on the Baha Mar careers page, and to stay up to date with the latest developments via Facebook and Twitter.

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News Article

May 24, 2012
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

May 25, 2012
Guy Harvey partners with Green Turtle Club

Weeks after parting ways with Bimini Big Game Club, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts has reached an agreement with the Abaco-based Green Turtle Club.
The new alliance becomes effective immediately, as the Green Turtle Club will become the inaugural member of the new Expedition Properties Portfolio by Guy Harvey Outpost. President of Guy Harvey Outpost Mark Ellert said the partnership is a perfect chance to showcase one of the hidden gems in The Bahamas.
"We are extremely excited to launch the Expedition Properties Portfolio with the famed Green Turtle Club as our inaugural member hotel," Ellert said. "Our intent with Expedition Properties is to showcase small, independently owned properties in unique destinations that are focused on watersports recreation and whose owners are committed to customer service, sustainability and conservation.
"Given the Club's legacy, the professionalism of its staff and dedication of its owners, I'm hard pressed to think of a better opportunity in The Bahamas than this."
The news comes after Guy Harvey Outpost cut ties with Bimini Big Game Club earlier in the month, with foreclosure issues influencing the move in another direction. The two former partners had a business relationship for two years, in which Guy Harvey Outpost pumped $3.5 million in renovations to revitalize the Bimini-based resort.
Due to the foreclosure setback, it prevented Guy Harvey Outpost from purchasing the property when it wanted to, which spurred the decision to take its business interests elsewhere.
As an Expedition Property, Guy Harvey Outpost will market the club and offer travel and booking services to its customers through its Outpost Travel Desk and central reservation office. Co-owner of Green Turtle Club Adam Showell said the company led by Ellert was an ideal fit for both parties.
"Guy Harvey embodies the personality of the club, and its guests," Showell said. "His authenticity, commitment to excellence and passionate outreach to those of all ages and accomplishment are hallmarks of the Green Turtle Club."
While the deal between Guy Harvey Outpost and Green Turtle Club is still fresh, Ellert hinted at more opportunities that may await.
"Thirty degrees north and south of the equator, there are a lot of great properties with committed owners like Adam and Ann who share our vision of sustainability and hospitality," he said. "In growing the Expedition Properties Portfolio, our intent will be to spotlight these properties and encourage our customers to support them."

Green Turtle Club offers 31 guest rooms, a 40-slip marina and fuel dock, restaurant, bar/lounge and poolside bar. The Club hosts the annual Green Turtle Club Billfish Tournament, having just concluded its 25th Silver Anniversary last week.

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News Article

June 03, 2012
Soccer Sports Bonanza for Grand Bahama Kids

Freeport, Bahamas - Grand Bahama kids get the chance

in a couple of weeks time

to share in a sports experience already enjoyed by more than three million young people in the UK.

It's
a tailor-made programme aimed at giving the children confidence,
teaching them teamwork and responsibility while giving them fun and
helping keep them fit. 

 

That's the day-to-day

work

responsibility of the three pro coaches who will be leading the

Sir Jack Hayward Soccer Camp

from

June 25 to June 29...

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News Article

June 08, 2012
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

June 12, 2012
Understand your needs before buying a generator

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

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

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News Article

June 11, 2012
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

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

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

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

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

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News Article

July 20, 2012
Miss Teen Bahamas International heads to pageant

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

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News Article

June 09, 2012
Using appliances to take the strain out of cooking

Gone are the days when the most essential kitchen tool was a well-seasoned cast iron skillet which if properly taken care of would last for generations. Today, your great grandmother would probably be in a pickle if she were to enter the modern kitchen. From mandolines to microplanes, zesters, silpat liners, smoking guns, hand blenders and food processors, she probably would not even know where to begin.
Knowing that it would not only be grandmother that would be confused walking into the modern home store, and figuring out how to use the many kitchen supplies, Master Technicians staged the first of what is expected to be a number of live culinary showcases to show people how to use the appliances for everyday recipes.
Local chef Keshlah Smith put KitchenAid's countertop equipment, the hand blender and the 5-Speed Artisan Blender to good use to show patrons how to make smoothies and dips; and they used the 5-Quart Artisan Series Stand Mixer used to mix a cake; the 12-inch convection countertop oven to make Monterey meatballs, and the 13-cup food processor to make a colorful seven-layer salad.
Chef Jamal Petty, who was in the audience, said as a cooking professional it was useful to get to see the appliances at work before making a purchase as it allowed him to get a better understanding of how much of a assistance the tools can be.
"A lot of time we don't purchase stuff not because we don't like it, but because we don't know about it," said Petty. "It's good to see [the tools] in action because I can already see myself using them."
Master Technicians General Manager Derek Francis said the way forward is to allow for people to experience appliances before purchase so that they can know how to utilize them in their home kitchens.
"We want to present the customer with the opportunity to see just how these appliances can make your life so much better," said Francis. "We not only want to showcase the products that we bring to the marketplace, but we want to create that experience so people come to us thinking they don't just sell appliances they live their appliances."
The company hopes to host quarterly culinary exhibitions during which home cooks and professionals can try out their products.
"When you talk to any of the chefs, the tedious tasks tend to be the chopping tasks, but if you can turn on a food processor and let that thing evenly slice cucumbers in less than a minute and a half ... for a business you're not absorbing as much time and that creates efficiency," said Francis.

Make use of Kitchenaid's
Food Grinder Attachment

Monterey Meatballs
What You Will Need:
Countertop oven
Aluminum foil
Oven mitt
Medium mixing bowl
Serving plate
Paper towels
Spatula
Ingredients:
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (9 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic
1 slice white bread
1 pound beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch strips, partially frozen
1 pound pork steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch strips, partially frozen
1 small onion, quartered
1 rib celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ jar (24 oz.) marinara sauce
Italian parsley sprigs

Preheat countertop oven to 450 degrees F. Position oven rack in "down" position in center slot. Line oven baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Assemble and attach food grinder with fine grinding plate. Grind cheese, spinach and garlic into mixer bowl. Grind one slice white bread to clean spinach from grinder body. Remove food grinder and attach bowl and flat beater to mixer. Turn to Stir speed to blend cheese, vegetables and bread together, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture into another bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Return food grinder to mixer. Continuing on Speed 4, grind beef chuck and pork steak into mixer bowl. Re-grind meat mixture to achieve even texture. Grind onion and celery onto meat mixture. Remove food grinder and attach bowl and flat beater to mixer. Add bread crumbs, egg, seasoned salt, and pepper. Turn to Stir speed and mix until ingredients are well combined, about 30 seconds.
To make meatballs, roll a heaping tablespoon of cheese mixture into a ball, approximately one-inch in diameter. Form about two tablespoons of meat mixture around cheese ball, shaping into a round ball, approximately 1.5 to two inches in diameter. Place 12 finished meatballs on prepared baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until cooked through. Spread marinara sauce on bottom of display platter. Arrange meatballs in sauce. Garnish with parsley. Repeat with remaining meat mixture and spinach mixture.

Fresh salsa
What you will need:
Chef knife
Cutting board
Paper towels
Serving bowl or tray
Spatula
Ingredients:
12-14 large ripe Roma tomatoes, cored
4-6 jalapeno peppers, with some seeds and veins removed, cut in half
2 Anaheim chilis, seeded
4-6 green onions, trimmed
½ cup packed cilantro leaves, divided
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
4 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
Cilantro sprigs
White corn tortilla chips

Cut tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, Anaheim chilis and green onions into approximately one-inch pieces. Place tomatoes in large bowl and peppers and onions in medium bowl and set aside. Assemble and attach food grinder with coarse grinding plate. Turn to Speed 4 and grind half of tomatoes into mixer bowl. Exchange coarse grinding plate for fine grinding plate. Grind half of jalapeno peppers, Anaheim peppers, green onions, and ¼ cup cilantro leaves into tomatoes.
Remove food grinder attachment. Attach bowl and flat beater. Add two tablespoons lime juice, two teaspoons salt and one teaspoon sugar to bowl. Turn to Stir speed and blend mixture, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to display container and garnish with cilantro sprig. Display with tortilla chips.

Cranberry Apple Relish
What you will need:
Chef knife
Cutting board
Medium mixing bowl
Measuring cups
Paper towels
Serving bowl/tray
Ingredients:
4 medium Granny Smith apples with skin, cored
2 naval oranges with skin
2 packages (12 ounces each) fresh cranberries, partially frozen
3 cups sugar, divided
½ cup Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, divided
Mint sprigs

Cut apples and oranges into approximately one-inch pieces. Place in bowl and set aside. Assemble food grinder with coarse grinding plate and attach to mixer. Turn to Speed 4 and grind one package cranberries, and half of apples and oranges into mixer bowl.

Attach bowl with ground fruit and flat beater to mixer. Add 1 ½ cups sugar and ¼ cup liqueur to bowl. Turn to Stir speed and mix for one minute, or until well blended. Transfer mixture to display bowl and garnish with mint sprig.

MAKE USE OF YOUR KITCHENAID'S 13-CUP FOOD PROCESSOR

Mini pizzas
What you will need:
Countertop oven
Cooking spray
Mixing bowl
Kitchen towel
Serving tray
Rolling pin
Ingredients:
Pizza Dough
1 package quick-rise active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ¾ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toppings
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 package (8 ounces) Mozzarella cheese
1 package (8 ounces) provolone cheese
1 small stick pepperoni
1 small zucchini, trimmed
1 small green pepper or red pepper, seeded and cut in half
1 small sweet onion, halved
3 Roma tomatoes
½ cup coarsely chopped or chiffonade-cut basil leaves
Garlic and sea salt grinder
Pepper grinder

To make dough, dissolve yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar. Let stand five minutes. Position dough blade in work bowl. Add remaining sugar, bread flour and salt, to bowl. Pulse one or two times to mix. With processor running, slowly pour dissolved yeast mixture and olive oil through feed tube. Continue processing until dough forms a ball, about 45 seconds to one minute. Dough will be slightly sticky.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place, until doubled in bulk, about 20 to 30 minutes. Prepare toppings while dough is rising.
For toppings, position shredding disc in food processor. Process Parmesan cheese. Remove cheese to small bowl and set aside. Using shredding disc, process Mozzarella and provolone cheese. Remove cheeses to display platter and set aside. Exchange shredding disc for slicing disc. Set on Thin (1MM). Slice pepperoni, zucchini, peppers, onion and tomatoes. Remove each vegetable after slicing and place on platter with cheese to display until ready to assemble pizzas.
Preheat countertop oven to 425 degrees F. Punch dough down and divide into eight pieces. Flatten each piece slightly and lightly flour on both sides. Roll with rolling pin to form a circle about five to six-inches in diameter. Repeat with another piece of dough.
Place dough circles side by side on pizza screen. Top with cheeses and vegetable combinations. Season with garlic, sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil and reserved Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly on wire racks. Place on display platter. Repeat rolling dough and pizza assembly with remaining ingredients while first batch pizzas bake. Have second batch ready to bake as first batch is removed from oven. Repeat process.

Seven-layer salad
What you will need:
Serving bowl (glass or clear plastic)
Spatula
Paper towels
Ingredients:
1-2 small heads romaine lettuce, trimmed
4 tomatoes
3 ribs celery
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded
1 small red onion
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
4 ounces Cheddar cheese
¾ cup plain Greek-style yogurt
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley sprigs
¼ cup fresh basil leaves

Position slicing disc in work bowl and slide external slicing lever to Thick (6mm). Trim lettuce to fit feedtube. Process to slice. Remove lettuce from bowl and arrange in bottom of glass or plastic bowl. Slice celery. Use small center feed tube to keep celery upright and produce best slices. Remove celery from bowl and arrange on top of tomatoes. Slide external slicing lever to middle (3MM). Slice tomatoes. Remove tomatoes from bowl and arrange on top of lettuce.
Move external slicing lever to Thin (1mm). Trim yellow pepper to fit feed tube. Process to slice. Remove pepper from work bowl and arrange on top of celery. Slice red onion. Remove onion from work bowl and arrange on top of peppers. Sprinkle peas over onions.
Exchange thin slicing disc for shredding disc. Shred cheddar cheese. Remove from work bowl, and place in small bowl. Set aside.
Exchange shredding disc for multi-purpose blade. Place mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, sugar, seasoned salt and pepper in work bowl. Process for 30 seconds, or until well blended. Pour dressing over salad. Spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with reserved cheddar cheese.
Exchange multi-purpose blade for mini-bowl and blade. Place parsley and basil in mini-bowl. Process to finely chop. Remove from bowl and sprinkle over cheese. Display finished salad.

MAKE USE OF YOUR KITCHENAID BLENDERS
Tropical Breakfast Smoothie
What you will need:
Chef knife
Cutting board
Paper towels
Serving bowl/cups & plate
Ingredients:
Smoothie
1 medium banana
¼ fresh pineapple
2 large oranges, peeled
3 cups pineapple orange juice
1 container (5.8 oz.) vanilla yogurt
3 cups ice cubes
Orange slices for garnish
Topping
1 cup peanuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans

Cut banana, pineapple and orange sections into approximately one-inch chunks. Place in bowl and set aside. Place approximately 1/3 of banana, pineapple and orange chunks, and one cup juice in blender beaker. Process on Speed 3 using a gentle up and down motion for 50 to 60 seconds or until smooth. Add three tablespoons yogurt and one cup ice. Process on Speed 3 using a gentle up and down motion for 30 seconds to one minute or until smooth. Pour some of smoothie into display glasses and garnish with orange slice and a sprinkle of chopped nuts. Repeat.
Chop nuts ¼ cup at a time on high speed in various combinations to demonstrate chopping capability of hand blender chopper attachment. Display on plate and use to garnish smoothie.

Roasted red pepper and green onion dip
What you will need:
Measuring cups (½-cup and 1-cup)
Spatula
Chef Knife
Ingredients:
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream or 1-cup light sour cream
½ cup Romano cheese, grated
1 package ( 2/3 ounce) Good Seasons Italian Dressing
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, well-drained
2 green onions

Crackers, for serving

In the one-liter pitcher, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, romano cheese and salad dressing. Attach the multi-purpose blade to the hand blender and blend ingredients on Speed 5. Set aside.
Drain roasted red peppers and place in the chopper attachment.
Cut the ends off of green onions and then cut in half. Place in chopper attachment.
Attach hand blender to chopper attachment and chop red pepper and green onions on Speed 3 for about 10 seconds.
Combine red pepper and green onions to the ingredients in the one-liter pitcher.
Attach the whip attachment to hand blender. Mix ingredients in one-liter pitcher on Speed 3 until evenly combined. Serve on crackers.

Make use of your KitchenAid blender
Chilled melon soup
What you will need:
Chef knife
Cutting board
Serving bowl
Paper towels
Ingredients:
3 cups ripe cantaloupe
3 cups ripe honeydew
1 ½ cups orange juice
2 tablespoons mint leaves
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh mint sprig

Cut cantaloupe and honeydew into approximately one-inch pieces. Place fruit in pitcher. Add orange juice and mint leaves. Hit Mix button and move up a speed every 15-30 seconds until reaching puree. Add honey and lemon juice. Start with Mix and move up a speed until blending ingredients well. Pour soup into honeydew display bowl and garnish with fresh mint sprig.

Make use of your KitchenAid blender
Green smoothie
What you will need:
Spatula
Paper towels
Serving bowl or cups
Ingredients:
1 banana
2 (Kensington pride) mangos
1 handful of baby spinach leaves, pre-washed
1 tray of ice cubes (15 cubes)
About 1 cup of water

Peel the mangos and add into blender. Add the banana, spinach, ice and water.
Hit Mix button and move up a speed every 5-10 seconds until reaching puree. Blend until you can't see pieces of spinach floating around.
The shake should be a light greenish color, and it should have a smooth, relatively thick consistency, somewhere between a milkshake and a thick shake.
This recipe makes enough shake to fill two average-sized glasses.

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News Article

June 26, 2012
Are the regulators killing the financial sector

Dear Editor,

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

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

- Law abiding resident

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News Article

June 26, 2012
Many a slip between cup and lip

Perry Christie is one of those politicians typically at his best when he feels threatened. Tellingly, despite a landslide of seats in the House of Assembly, though not of the popular vote, he executed a defensive manoeuvre to diminish threats to his leadership.
Despite a sizeable House majority, to forestall the possibility of losing the confidence of a majority of government MPs he appointed what the opposition labelled a gussimae Cabinet.
Of the 29 PLPs in the House, 21 are in the Cabinet, three are parliamentary secretaries and one is the speaker, leaving only enough backbenchers to comfortably fit in a compact car, which can be driven to the comfortable appointments they will likely be assigned.
Christie is playing the political version of carrots and sticks. He unsheathed his Damocles sword, quickly announcing the possibility of a midterm Cabinet shake-up, the effect of which is to keep his Cabinet guessing while tantalizing ministers of state and others with the possibility of future full ministerial appointment.
A prime minister has other bulwarks against losing his status as first among equals. Controlling the votes at a national convention is such an indispensable measure.
Christie learned this lesson from Sir Lynden Pindling who was nearly overthrown in what became known as the attempted Christmas coup of 1962 and the revolt of 1970. Christie also learned it of necessity, as reportedly much of his first Cabinet in 2002 appeared not to have supported him as leader.

Survivor
Still, he is a survivor. He has stacked the PLP with scores of stalwart councilors loyal to him, making him seemingly unbeatable within the party. Dr. B.J. Nottage and other contenders for the top spot learned this lesson well.
So has Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, who is building his own base in the PLP, and who would like the qualifier, "deputy" dispensed with as quickly as possible. But before there is a Brave new PLP, Davis will have to contend with how to accomplish his ambition.
Christie did not win the 2012 general election for the PLP as much as he was a beneficiary of a punishing global economic crisis. What he can claim, is that he didn't lose the PLP a golden opportunity to return to power.
Given that the PLP lost the popular vote, likely in part because of what arguably most view as Christie's leadership deficits, he still seemed a plausible prime minister in the minds of enough voters to return his party to government. Having recaptured the top prize, he will jealously guard its privileges and powers from covetous Cabinet neighbors.
Uneasy may lie the head that wears the crown, but those seeking to seize the prime minister's crown must heed Machiavelli's warning that "he who draws his sword against his prince must throw away the scabbard".
There is something of the air of the UK's Tony Blair versus Gordon Brown rivalry in the Perry Christie and Brave Davis drama. As with the former coupling, have the latter already reached a private understanding on handing over power?
The rivalry between Blair and Brown was stretched to near breaking point, Brown seething that Blair had reneged on a reportedly private agreement by overstaying his time at 10 Downing Street.
All of which was exacerbated by Brown's influence as a mighty Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the power of the public purse, able to dispense largesse and favors. With a formidable intellect and as keeper of the purse, Brown directed wide swathes of public policy, almost as a seeming co-prime minister.
In our political system, all roads in the executive branch lead to the two central arteries of power, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance, the latter another powerful tool in Christie's hands.
Given the extensive arsenal of power at Christie's disposal, Davis' campaign to succeed him has been curiously lacking in subtlety. Some of his colleagues appear alternatively amused and bemused, among other more colorful verbs, by his posturing as a sort of co-prime minister.
After the death of PLP stalwart Al Jarret, Davis hurriedly released a statement of condolence on behalf of him and his wife, dispensing with the protocol that an initial statement come from his leader on behalf of the party and the government.
The interplay between the principals was displayed at a press conference at the House after the budget communication. As Davis attempted to speak over his leader, Christie shushed him, basically advising him to wait his turn.
It is remarkable how a single incident in a drama can reveal the plot, the motivations, the subtext and the character of the main protagonists, though one has to wait for the denouement. Timing makes all the difference as do, "Events, dear boy, events." The banana peels on which we slip are often of our own placement.

Editorial
This brings to mind a curious editorial in The Nassau Guardian helpfully advising Perry Christie, merely over a month in office, as to how he may make a graceful exit. How kind of the editorial to be so solicitous of Christie's welfare.
He must have been especially pleased by this concern for his legacy. In terms of helpfulness, missing from the editorial was an approximate or exact departure date. Perhaps these are to come. What's next, an office for the deputy prime minister in the Office of the Prime Minister?
When, in the UK, Michael Hesseltine directly challenged Margaret Thatcher, he succeeded in helping to bring down the Iron Lady. He also fulfilled a political maxim that the one who strikes the first blow is often also felled in the offing.
With Thatcher defeated and Hesseltine deeply wounded, the compromise leader was, unexpectedly, the nondescript John Major. The denouement of the Thatcher versus Hesseltine drama ended as neither expected, which was, quite badly.
Still, Perry Christie is a survivor, overcoming many challenges including the 2007 defeat. He is as ruthless as others, but it comes with a smile and charm.
He knows that there are many a slip between cup and lip. The contenders for his crown are well advised to appreciate the same. Christie initially declared that were the PLP re-elected he would demit office before the end of the term. He abandoned that pledge for reasons an inquiring mind might readily conceive.
If one takes him at his latter pledge he may serve a full term, towards the end of which he may advise the party to choose a successor. There is no telling whom he may back. And, there is no telling who will become party leader.
Christie's successor may swoop into the top job like a deus ex machina, surprising those who calculated that they were next in the line of succession.
Like the paraphrase that those who enter a papal conclave as a favorite to become pope often come out a cardinal, those who go into the Cabinet as a favorite to become prime minister often leave as a minister.

ofrontporchguardian@gmail.com www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article

July 21, 2012
Young Valin Bodie looking to excel in soccer

One of The Bahamas' brightest young soccer stars has a busy few weeks ahead of him, as he prepares for what could be a life changing experience next week, followed by an opportunity to represent the country at a major regional beach soccer tournament.
Valin Bodie, 17, is set to head to the George Kiefer's University of South Florida Soccer Elite ID Camp next week. He leaves for the elite camp in Tampa, Florida today. The camp, which will be held from July 22-25, is expected to be attended by hundreds of young soccer players throughout the United States and the Caribbean. A number of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and Division II coaches will be on hand to scout the young talent.
"I'm very excited. Over 45 colleges are going to be at the camp, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity," said Bodie. "I'm focused. At the end of the camp, there's going to be an evaluation where they point out your strengths and also your weaknesses and tell you what you need to work on. It's going to be a great experience. I think I just have to remain focussed and I'll be fine."
On the heels of that South Florida soccer camp, Bodie will travel as a member of the senior men's national beach volleyball team to a tournament in Jamaica. He is the youngest player on the team that will compete in the Jamaican Independence Tournament. Actually, young Bodie is a member of six local soccer teams. He also plays American football, softball and does the pole vault in track and field. As for his soccer teams, he was the team captain for the St. Augustine's College's (SAC) Big Red Machine senior boys soccer squad this past year, he was the team captain for the Cavaliers FC under-17 team that placed second this past year. He is a member of the Cavaliers FC men's team, The Bahamas' national under-17 team, The Bahamas' All-Star team, and now he's preparing to represent The Bahamas as a member of the senior men's national beach volleyball team.
Bodie himself admitted that even he doesn't know how he does it - balancing so much activities with his school work. He'll be entering the 12th grade of SAC in September.
"All I can say is it takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort," he said. "To me, the key is fitness and being on the right diet. First of all, you have to be focused. It's tough but I find a way to do it. Right now, I'm just focussed on finishing up my last year in high school, getting recruited for college, and doing my best to represent my country."
Bodie, who spends most of his time at goal, particularly for the beach soccer team, started playing competitive soccer at age six. When he's not playing goal keeper, he can normally be seen playing midfield, but is quite versatile. He said that he would love to be a professional goal keeper for beach soccer one day, but is just taking it one day at a time.
"I definitely rather beach soccer than field soccer, but if I get the opportunity to play professional field soccer, I will definitely take that," he said. "It feels good to make the senior men's national team, being only 17 years old. I feel there is a little bit of pressure, being the goal keeper, but I'm just going to go out there and do my best. Just to be playing at this level is an accomplishment."
As for the elite soccer camp next week, young Bodie will spend time training with college coaches, and is expected to gain international exposure. He is aspiring to study environmental engineering in college when his high school days are over.

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News Article

June 21, 2012
Palacious: Fatherhood is a gift of responsibility

Fatherhood is a precious gift God gave His people. To be presented with the responsibility of another's life and well-being is a feat to take seriously from the moment one takes up this title. If more men took their role seriously and provided for their children as they should, the country would be in a better state. And getting men to see how essential it is to get back to the basics of praying, protecting and providing in their homes was the message that Archdeacon James Palacious left with the congregation during the Father's Day service at Holy Spirit Anglican Church.
"Being a dad is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it is not something to do just because you can, Father Palacious told the congregation. "It is easy to be a father, but it's another story to be a dad," he said.
The Anglican archdeacon said men are willing to father children all over the place but forget that the real work comes in raising the child in the right way. He said men have to be everything their children need no matter what life may throw their way.
As a provider, he said a father should aim to meet his children's needs, and that it's not so much about giving into their every whim, but teaching the value of what they do have and giving them what they need to succeed. He also said providing did not mean financially, and that being a good father also means providing for the emotional and psychological needs of children.
"Good fathers make sure their children know who they are -- that they are special and important. Their daughters know they are beautiful and loved. No one else has to come and tell her so. Your sons will know where they stand and what it means to be a young man. They will not be confused or wonder where they belong and seek bad company to fulfill their need to fit in," said Archdeacon Palacious.
The priest encouraged the men in the congregation to also provide the template their sons should be emulating and their daughters should be searching for when they look for a husband one day. He told them that a good father figure should be able to encourage their children and build up their self-esteem and confidence so they are sure of themselves and not at the mercy of the opinions of others.
"Fathers today need to step up and do what they are mandated to do by God. They are to be there for their children and should not be sidetracked into thinking providing financially will suffice," said Fr. Palacious. "Children need just as much to have a sense of love and belonging from both parents."
He said many fathers today are doing their job, but that there are more out there not taking up the mantle.
Fr. Palacious also said that being able to protect children is also a good sign of a good father. Ensuring that children aren't polluted by the world via the Internet, television or even other family members is something a parent needs to do to raise a child right in this media-driven world. He told them that the job of the
father is even more rigorous today because it is easy for children to be influenced, and that it is not easy to control all elements in society which is why fathers should be vigilant and not dump the responsibility of raising children on mothers or other family members.
The Anglican priest also said that setting the right spiritual example is an essential part of being a father and that protecting and providing are all well and good, but ensuring children know how to walk in Christ was even more important. He said fathers should make it a point to pray with their children, and attend church as a family often. And that showing rather than telling is the best way to instill the right values, and to really get children to understand the value of spirituality.
Archdeacon Palacious said God meant for fatherhood to be a privilege within marriage, but that most children are born out of wedlock. He said the child who lives with married parents is a statistical anomaly.
"There is no surprise that the country is going in a downward spiral. We are not doing as God ordained and not all men are living up to what He expected of them. You have to be there more than financially. It is not enough. The greatest things that shape your child cannot be bought with money," the minister told the congregation. "In my family we use the three 'F' words -- free ... family ... fun. It's just about spending quality time. Not harassing your children or stressing out over life. Just have a good time and let them feel loved. This can be a ride in the car or a visit to the beach. You should want to spend time with the kids. They will remember that more than the hundreds you spent on a game or the endless hours you worked to provide for them," he said.
Fr. Palacious said men should be thinking about the legacy they will be leaving behind for their families. He said when their children look back on their youth, that fathers should want them to remember the good times, the fun occasions, the morning prayers and life lessons. And that they should not want their children's only memory of them to be of them working and never showing up to important events in their lives.
"Everyone leaves behind a legacy. You never know when the Lord may call you, so it is best to utilize the time you have to set the foundation you would want your children to build upon. No matter how old your child is, it is not too late to try to set things right and guide them in the ways they should go. God gave fathers a responsibility to be heads of the home and a staple in their children's lives. So to me it is very wrong to shirk this duty," said the priest.

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News Article

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

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

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News Article

July 28, 2012
Neymour thrilled to be a part of Olympic team

LONDON, England - If there's one thing The Bahamas has been blessed with over the past 10 years, as it relates to track and field, it's quartermilers. For Wesley Neymour, it's been quite an uphill battle getting to the Olympics, and he's savoring every moment of it.
Neymour wasn't even considered to be a part of the relay pool at the beginning of the year, but worked hard this season, persevered, and can now call himself an Olympian. After last year's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Demetrius Pinder, Chris Brown and Ramon Miller were figured to be in the mix for this year's Olympic team, Michael Mathieu was being looked at as a possible fourth man, and runners like LaToy Williams, veteran Avard Moncur, the injury plagued Andretti Bain, and even youngster O'Jay Ferguson were considered to be in the running for alternate spots. Neymour made sure he wasn't going to be left out.
The lanky Bahamian ran a personal best time of 46.18 seconds at the BTC/Scotiabank Olympic Trials, ensuring that his name would be in the hat for Olympic team consideration. He finished fifth at those national championships, behind Pinder, Miller, Brown, and Andrae Williams.
The first six at any national championships are normally guaranteed spots on national teams for relay purposes, but two Bahamian quartermilers, Michael Mathieu and Avard Moncur, didn't run due to injuries. It was unsure if Mathieu would run the 400 meters (m) anyway, as he appears to be focusing on the half-lapper this year. Both he and Moncur had faster times than Neymour this year though, and after fitness tests, both were named to the Olympic team. Actually, to avoid any controversy, the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) through the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) ratified seven members, including Neymour, for the men's 4x400m relay.
"I'm just happy to be here," said Neymour. "It feels great to be a part of this team. I don't know if I'll get a chance to run, but if I do, I just want to go out there and give it my best shot. We're looking to do our best, and hopefully bring home the gold. I think the main thing for us is to make sure we get through the rounds. We might have to use the top three guys we have in the heats. If it comes down to that, then so be it. I just want us to get to the final, and hopefully win the gold."
Last year in Daegu, a critical coaching error left The Bahamas out of the World Championships final. The team was regarded as one of the favorites to win a medal, but for some reason, coaches decided on a line-up for the heats without The Bahamas' top three quartermilers. Neymour is just hoping for a chance to run. He wants to make the most out of his first Olympic experience, and prove that he belongs on the Olympic team.
"I know there's a chance that I won't get to run, but if my number is called to run the heats, then I'm definitely going to be prepared and do whatever it takes to get The Bahamas into the final," he said. "I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed and continue to hope for the best."
The athletics portion of the Olympic Games will get underway on Friday August 3. The heats of the men's 4x400m are scheduled for Thursday, August 9, and the final will be on Friday, August 10.

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News Article

October 25, 2012
Minnis urges Curry to carry out Ingraham's vision for North Abaco

Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday encouraged North Abaco MP Renardo Curry to carry out the vision that former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham had for the constituency.
"North Abaco has been represented by a giant, a former prime minister who had a vision for The Bahamas, who had a vision for North Abaco," said Minnis in the House of Assembly as he congratulated Curry on his win at the polls last week.
"And through you, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say, there's nothing wrong with him (Curry) speaking to the former prime minister.
"There's nothing wrong with him speaking to the former leader of our great party and the former representative of North Abaco so that he can understand what was the vision, not necessarily for The Bahamas, but the vision for North Abaco, and that he can carry that through."
Ingraham resigned his seat on August 31. He announced his retirement on the night of the May 7 general election when his party was defeated by the Progressive Liberal Party.
He represented North Abaco for just over 35 years.
In the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie said Minnis' remarks had "a clever political slant".
"This is a day for the new member and it isn't a day for politics in that sense," Christie said. "I commenced my 36 consecutive year and I don't know if I've ever heard an effort of the kind that began as a tribute and congratulatory remarks to the new member take such a context."
He suggested that Minnis take the high road.
Minnis also suggested that Curry fight to ensure that the works that were started under Ingraham are allowed to continue.
"The member stands and must fit in big shoes," Minnis said.
Christie added that Curry has already voiced his intention to meet with Ingraham to discuss the issues in the constituency.
"So even though you may acknowledge the lecture from the leader of the opposition, you are well on your way to demonstrating a high level of maturity," Christie said.

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News Article

January 20, 2014
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

January 17, 2014
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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