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Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham touted his administration's achievements in office this year and said the government has kept a steady hand on the economy despite fiscal constraints from the worldwide downturn.
During his annual Christmas address, Ingraham said his government has preserved jobs and salaries in the public sector while many international counterparts were forced to let civil servants go in order to balance their budgets.
"My government has taken care to manage our economy prudently and sensibly so as to ensure that we are well positioned to benefit from the global recovery as it occurs. This prudence has enabled us to preserve jobs in the public service and to avoid salary cuts or lay-offs within the public sector as experienced in many developed and developing countries," Ingraham said.
He also said the government will continue to do all it can to lower the levels of violent crime.
His comments came hours after a man was killed during a domestic dispute in Grand Bahama, pushing the record murder count to 122 for the year, according to police.
"I and my colleagues in government are dedicating our full energies and doing all within our capacity to remove the criminal elements from our streets," Ingraham said.
To aid in the crime fight, the government has strengthened anti-crime legislation, modernized archaic laws and filled vacancies in the judiciary, said Ingraham.
"Further, we have ensured that our law enforcement agencies are properly manned and equipped to fulfill their mandate," he added.
These efforts alone will not be enough to stamp out the scourge of crime, said Ingraham, who again encouraged law-abiding citizens to also take a stand against the criminal element.
"We recognize that the fight against crime cannot be done by the government and law enforcement alone. We can and we will defeat the crime problem; but we will only do so together," he said.
Ingraham also gave an update on the progress of his administration's various infrastructure projects, which he said have given people jobs and buoyed the economy.
He said the New Providence Road Improvement Project -- which has been dogged with delays and cost overruns -- will be finished in July 2012 .
"In the meantime, all roads under construction in New Providence are open and drivable this Christmas season," he said.
Ingraham added that the construction of the new cargo port at Arawak Cay and its related in-land storage depot are also progressing well, "permitting the revitalization of the historic city of Nassau to take shape".
He added: "Phase II redevelopment of the LPIA (Lynden Pindling International Airport) is moving ahead well. Similar progress is being achieved with road and water works in our Family Islands.
"In Abaco and Grand Bahama construction of new public sector office complexes are completed and construction of the new Marsh Harbor International Airport terminal is progressing well."
He noted that construction on the new Accident and Emergency section and new operating theatres at Rand Memorial Hospital will start next month.
Additionally, the Child and Adolescent Unit at the Sandilands Rehabilitative Hospital will be completed and commissioned in early 2012.
Ingraham also pointed to Baha Mar's speedy redevelopment of portions of West Bay Street which gave jobs to five large Bahamian construction companies and scores of Bahamian sub-contractors.
In Grand Bahama, the expansion projects at BORCO and Statoil are moving forward, he said.
"All these projects have been important stimuli for job creation in the all-important construction sector, creating employment and economic security for many Bahamian breadwinners and their families.
"This has strengthened economic activity, putting us in a stronger position to compete when economic recovery comes," noted Ingraham.
He ended his address by wishing the country a Merry Christmas on behalf of his family and colleagues.
"My wife Delores, family and my colleagues in government join me in wishing each and every one of you, and the visitors within our land, a blessed Christmas and a happy and safe holiday season," said Ingraham.
Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas - Sabor Restaurant and Bar are please to present their
Christmas Martini Drink Specials!
Our special drinks are sure to get you in the Festive Spirit and is
all day / all night for only $4.00
(not included during
Happy Hour time 5pm -7pm.)
Try all 7 of our Christmas Martinis
: Candy Cane, The Grinch, White Christmas Dream, Kris Kringle, Gingerbread Man, Rudolph, and The Christmas Kiss...
First published June 23, 2008
Crime has many faces and is committed by men, women and children of every class, race and ethnicity. When we say that we want to "tackle crime", however, we don't mean the culture of lying, bribery, white collar t'iefin' and political kleptomania, but instead we mean "violent crime". I propose that we must go beyond recruiting more policemen, purchasing more police cars and bulletproof vests, and even beyond the imagined happy day when we start hangin' 'em high. Yes, violent crimes are brazenly being committed right before our eyes, and it is infuriating, but the solution to all criminal activity begins even closer to home with our children.
We are not the only ones fighting this battle. Here in the Caribbean, in Europe and certainly in North America, strategies are being offered on how to deal with troubled youth. From parenting classes to early childhood intervention, the options are out there, and in combination, I believe they can make a great difference.
On this occasion, however, I want to zero in on just one possible piece to the puzzle and that is after-school programs.
The proactive approach is to develop a long-term strategy of crime prevention which involves more than increased surveillance in commercial districts and hot spot neighborhoods. It involves investing in those who are inordinately represented among the prison population: young people from vulnerable homes and crime-ridden neighborhoods. In short, we must, as a nation, commit as never before to after-school programs for young people. This isn't a novel idea. This is something that has been recommended in various formats, settings and documents around the world. In 1990, the United Nations passed a resolution called the Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency or the Riyadh Guidelines. A key point of that document reads: "The prevention of juvenile delinquency is an essential part of crime prevention in society. By engaging in lawful, socially useful activities and adopting a humanistic orientation towards society and outlook on life, young persons can develop non-criminogenic attitudes."
Effective programs don't just make sure someone is keeping an eye on "dese rude chirren". They engage them wholesomely, build their self-esteem, ground their self-confidence in positive rather than negative things, give them opportunities for training and careers, address their educational deficiencies, attempt to correct their behavioral problems and most of all, make them feel loved, wanted, valued and respected.
According to the American organization, www.fightcrime.org, "the hours from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days are the 'prime time for juvenile crime'. [In America]...On a regular basis, 14 million children and teens are left unsupervised by adults after the school day ends. Studies show that after school is the peak time for teens to commit crime, be a victim of crime, be in or cause a car crash and smoke, drink or use drugs. Quality, constructive and highly supervised programs can cut
crime immediately and convert afterschool hours into safe learning time. One high-quality program found that boys left out of the program averaged six times more crimes than teens in the program. A study of Boys & Girls Clubs showed that housing projects without the clubs had 50 percent more vandalism and 37 percent worse drug activity than projects with the clubs."
Many teachers are engaged in clubs and coaching in our schools, but let's face it, this is not enough. It isn't reaching the students most in need of constructive afterschool activities. The average boy or girl who joins a club out of sheer personal interest is not the kid we are aiming for. One of the reasons for this may be that the typical groups (Anchor Club, Junior Achievers, Gentlemen's Club, etc.) are designed for the overachiever, not the underachiever. Carl Bethel, in his recent budget report, conceded that even his ministry's 10-week pilot afterschool program did not reach the targeted at-risk groups, despite having approximately 1200 participants. Sporting groups do better at attracting atypical students, however discipline problems usually make it difficult for some of these very same kids to stay on the team, and hence they are once again left idle and unattended to. Furthermore, our schools are already working with extremely limited resources. So to whom should we look? Why not draw upon our churches, businesses, the government, and even private citizens?
We know that in the 2007-2008 budget, members of Parliament were to each be given $100,000 for constituency allowances, once their plans were approved by the minister of finance. Currently only a little more than half of the MPs actually accessed their funds. Already, some are boasting of the forthcoming paving of roads and repairing of parks, but given the state of affairs in the nation, why do the same old thing and expect different results? That's been referred to as insanity. So what if we don't pave a single road this year? Shouldn't every constituency have a community center by now? Shouldn't those centers have staff trained to work with at-risk youth through programs in arts, academics, vocational studies, core skills, etc.? The National Task Force on Youth Development advocated this over a decade ago. Shouldn't every MP, not just the odd few, be in partnerships with constituents, churches and businesses to help with this massive task?
Changes are needed
There is no easy way out on this topic. Kids can be tough work, especially those who are surviving in dysfunctional homes, struggling with disabilities or disorders that have gone undiagnosed, or battling with issues of morals, class and values generated by popular culture. However, we should liken them to an investment, similar to other investments that we devote our money and time to. We need to properly train, educate, support, encourage and yes, finance those who are willing and able to work overtime with our children. No one bats an eye when we toss approximately $12 million into tourism for advertising alone. That's an investment we believe will pay off.
Perhaps we're too short-sighted. Perhaps all we see are "kids"; loud, abrasive, disrespectful and painfully inconvenient problems plaguing our society. Children are always someone else's problem. The catch is, unlike any other investment we'll make, you can't just throw money at them and expect everything to come up roses. They require so much more than parks, playgrounds, or even food and clothes. Folks, we are looking at young men and women without a discernible future. Young men and women, who, being ill-equipped to inherit will nonetheless wrest this country from our bare hands. Whether they can steer, build, manage and preserve it will be a testimony about us, not them.
o Ian Strachan is Associate Professor of English at The College of The Bahamas. You can write him at email@example.com.
Sunday 14th February 2010 5:00 PM
-Happy Hours Drinks -Live Band from 7pm -Jerk Chicken or Pork Specials Event: Sunday Afternoon Pig Roast What: Grill Out Host: Green Parrot Start Time: February 14th at 5:00pm Where: Green Parrot Harbour Front, East Bay Street
Being smart really pays off as evidenced by a handful of students that got the opportunity to get up close and personal with Prince Harry on his recent visit to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II. While thousands of students can say that they saw him, it's those smart kids that can say they spoke to the prince or shook his hand.
Fifteen-year-old Queen's College student, Selandia Toote, was the first person to greet the young royal as soon he disembarked his flight. She was charged with presenting him with a floral bouquet.
The tenth grade student was selected to present the prince with flowers because she got the best grades in the last Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) examinations -- eight A-grades and one B-grade.
Although a simple gesture, that was over in the blink of an eye, it was an honor Selandia said she will never forget.
"When I was told I would see Prince Harry I wasn't sure how to feel. Eventually I was very happy and excited. It was a one in a million experience and I will definitely not forget it. It was very exhilarating," she said. "I was so nervous when he got off the plane because I was tasked to give him flowers and be the first person he met. It didn't sink in how important all of this was until I was there in front of the plane as he was coming down. He told me thank you for the flowers and that he appreciated them. I was then led to the end of a long line of government ministers who were also there to meet and greet the prince. I then got a chance to actually touch the prince as well when he shook my hand. I was so excited."
If she had gotten the opportunity to spend more time with Prince Harry, she said she would have liked to engage him in conversation and take a photograph with him.
Selandia said she would have questioned him on what it was like to be a prince, and whether it was anything like what she reads in stories. Being able to ask him trivial questions about himself like his height and favorite everyday things, she said, would have really made her year.
"I felt that I was special to be able to shake his hand. Few people get that chance to do that or even be in close proximity. I am glad I did so well in my BJCs. I would tell other students to strive to do their best and don't settle. To do above and beyond. Aim for 100 percent and don't waste time. Chances like these don't happen everyday and you never know what opportunities may come your way due to your hard work."
Even though her time with the prince was very brief, she said she still has a story to tell her children and grandchildren in the future.
Anna meets the prince
Forest Heights Academy seventh grade student, Anna Albury truly knows the value of working hard and seeing it pay off. The blind 12-year-old who was named the 2011 primary school student of the year, not only spoke at a youth rally in honor of Prince Harry, but unlike Selandia, she got to sit and have a conversation with him as well. She said the experience was remarkable and anticipated she would never forget her moments with the prince.
"At first when I was told I would meet the prince it was so overwhelming. My mom and dad just came home one day and told me I may want to sit down to hear what they had to say. She then told me I would be speaking at a youth rally in New Providence in a month or so. I was excited about that but then when she told me it would be in front of Prince Harry as well, I was overjoyed."
She said she prepared to speak to the thousands that would be in the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium for weeks. Her excitement increased when she was informed that there was a chance the prince would sit in the same row she would sit in at the rally. It wasn't until she was on the stage and sat down that she realized Prince Harry was sitting right next to her.
"It was so exciting. What I will remember the most is about how genuine Prince Harry really was. He was not stuffy or just being polite. He really was interested in talking to me about myself and finding out a bit about my life. It was so interesting. He could've just sat there and said nothing and he didn't even have to stand up to greet me. But he did and it was so amazing. Although I couldn't see him I could tell so much about him from those few moments. He's tall, kind and a genuinely nice person. I will truly never forget my time with the prince."
The most special thing of all to young Anna was that Prince Harry congratulated her after her five-minute speech. After he gave his, he turned to her and asked her opinion on his two-minute performance as well. It was a small moment that may not have meant a lot to other people but it meant the world to her.
"I am so glad I worked so hard in school. If I hadn't done so well I would not have been there on the stage next to Prince Harry. Because of this wonderful experience I would definitely tell other students to stay in school, further their education and those who have disabilities don't let them hold you back. Challenges and obstacles will come but be determined to overcome them, she said.
And true to fashion like most young girls who at some point or other all believe in fairytales, Anna said she playfully entertained thoughts of being whisked away and marrying Prince Harry.
J'Quianne gets a once-in-a-lifetime experience
J'Quianne Lowe, an eleventh grade student from San Salvador High School only expected to get a far-off glance of Prince Harry. An hour before the youth rally she was informed that Prince Harry at one point would sit next to her in the bleachers.
"I didn't expect to be able to experience seeing the prince like that at all. Not many people can say the prince sat next to them and spoke to them for a while. spoke to me and a few other students about things that interested him. He told me about his favorite sport -- polo, and asked me about our athletes and things we do. He spoke about his trip to Eleuthera and how nice he thought the Bahamian people were. It was nice."
The "well-rounded" student who represented her school, said her trip New Providence was half paid for by her school said she was glad she made the trip to the capital.
"I was so happy. I will not forget this," said J'Quianne.
National record holder in the women's 100 meters (m) and former Olympic relay champion Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie is curious as to why certain members of the original Bahamian 'Golden Girls' were not invited to the opening of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, on Saturday evening.
After hearing that a reenactment of the gold medal performance in the women's 4x100m at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games was staged during the grand celebration, Ferguson-McKenzie expressed great disappointment that they were not there to witness the show. She said she, Chandra Sturrup and Savetheda Fynes would have liked to see the younger athletes perform and share the moment with legendary athlete Thomas A. Robinson, who is a mentor to them all. However, no elite athlete was notified, revealed Ferguson-McKenzie, nor were invites extended.
"Whether it is the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA) or the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, whoever, they needed to send an invite to just say, 'hey we are having the opening of the stadium. It is open to the public. We would love to have you guys there. If you can make it, if not we understand'," said Ferguson-McKenzie. "As far I am concerned, myself, Chandra, I am sure Savetheda didn't hear anything about it. I am just saying, all of the people like Frank Rutherford, Troy Kemp, I don't know... I am just saying. We would have all liked to be there.
"We were never told about it. No one mentioned anything. I know people might say we are making excuses and that it was general news, it was in the newspapers and on the air. I understand all of that, but like I said, we are not home so you can't assume that the information reached us. I think it is just common courtesy just to let us know and ask for us to be there."
Ferguson-McKenzie, one of the more decorated senior track and field athletes in the country, stated that e-mails are usually sent around when they would like elite athletes to attend functions. She believes that a mass e-mail communication should have been forwarded to all. If the adjustments in schedules had to be made, she is certain that persons who were competing this weekend would have had no objection to making them.
As for the member of the original 'Golden Girls', Ferguson-McKenzie said she would have hopped on a plane on Friday so she could be a part of the historical event, but the courtesy was never extended.
She said: "To my understanding, this is history and this is a one-time moment for us and the Bahamian public in general to celebrate and share that moment. It is not a football arena. It is not a basketball arena. This is a track and field stadium. Our stadium, the Bahamian stadium, and as a Bahamian track and field athlete I was disappointed. I felt hurt about everything, as far as that part is concerned. I am happy for Mr. Robinson as they were able to give him his flowers while he is alive. You know you give people flowers when they are dead and gone, but to give him that tribute and respect that he deserves now, I am so happy for him.
"I would have found an excuse to come home. I live in Orlando, it is like an hour and 15 minutes away from home. I would have came home Friday and returned today (Sunday), so I would have been home to celebrate that one moment in time - our stadium, a new stadium for the Bahamian public and athletes named after a great man. Not being able to participate in that is crushing and disappointing. I am not trying to take anything away from anyone because I heard it was spectacular, but it is amazing, like having all of the trailblazers in the past there, persons who we looked up to and the 'Golden Girls' not being able to partake in history like that. Yes, I think it was like a slap in the face.
"If they need any information from us, let's say they have to prepare tickets for us, they have all of our e-mails. Some people have our phone numbers. You didn't have to call. All you had to do was send a mass e-mail to the athletes saying that we are having the opening on this day, at this time if you can make it please we would love to have you there. If you cannot, we understand, but just to let you know this is a one moment in time thing, and we would love to have you present. That's it. It is courtesy."
The gold medal, won at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, was the first for The Bahamas in the sport of track and field, at the games. Frank Rutherford won a bronze in 1992, in the men's triple jump and the women's 4x100m squad captured a silver in 1996, in Atlanta. The name 'Golden Girls' was given to Ferguson-McKenzie, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Eldece Clarke-Lewis, Sturrup and Fynes as a result of the gold medal won. These five ladies were the members of the 1996 team as well.
An emotional Ferguson-McKenzie said she is glad that the younger generation was highlighted during the time and believes that the stadium is going to be for the next generation.
Whether portrait or still-life, Arjuna "AJ" Watson is known for his distinct urban painting style evoking the graffitied landscapes of major cities. Now this work will be on display in one of the major urban graffiti capitols worldwide--the big apple itself.
From March 23rd to April 5th, Gallery 69 in New York City will pair Watson's work with graffiti legend Metro (Myles Carter), who tags his work "MEO", in the exhibition "Urban Blight".
With multicultural backgrounds--Watson in Trinidad, Australia and The Bahamas, Carter in New York City, Paris and Martinique--the pair bring distinct bold styles born out of a myriad of influences, sure to fit right in to the "melting pot" of the city.
"I think we'll bounce of each other with big brash and bold color and emphasis on urbanism," says Watson.
"Myles spent 10 years in France so the way he paints is quite different too--it's not traditional graffiti anymore. It kind of looks like Basquiat meets Keith Haring meets old school NY graffiti," he continues. "And my stuff is more grown-up urban. I don't really use spray paint anymore--I like texture, I like oil and enamel. It's urban realism."
For Watson, the show is a chance to exhibit about a dozen new paintings that take a departure from his usual in-your-face subject matter. Though he remains true to his color and form, his work takes a more tender spin that softens his edgy application, creating deeply compelling work that asks for a more complex emotional response form his viewers.
"All of a sudden I started painting flowers--and I haven't painted flowers in more than 20 years," says Watson. "I refused to paint an iris ever again after the amount of irises I used to paint commercially. But I started painting daisies and it just started working and I kept going."
"You have to look into it a little bit--the subject matter is always about something else," he continues. "It's a bit softer than my usual work--I've stopped with the political stuff because I think there's enough woe in the world to focus on that. I just didn't want to do it anymore, I wanted to forget it. So this is appealing to me at the moment and I went with it, I didn't try to fight it."
One series of work in this collection examines childhood fancy, pairing nautical code with daisies to spell out "she loves me". Often a bittersweet game--if you end on "she loves me not", that settles it, yet if you end on "she loves me" you have already destroyed the beautiful object with which to return her affection--the code of picking flower petals is layered with another code of language in nautical code, examining the complex rituals we create for communication and understanding. Yet Watson takes an optimistic stance, presenting only "she loves me" in his painted language.
"It's decadent. It's 'she loves me', not 'she loves me not'," he says. "You know when you're a kid and you're picking a flower saying 'she loves me, she loves me not', and you get to the last one and it's 'not', then you're devastated--it's not that. These are the special flowers."
As this is his first show in a major NYC gallery, Watson hopes such work will evoke positive responses from viewers and play off nicely with work from Carter, earning him some deserved recognition in the global art scene.
"I feel very positive about it, but it's scary," he admits. "This is hundreds of hours of work and I don't know if it's going to work or not until it's up and people start buying. I'm happy about it but I don't know what people will think until they actually see it. I hope to get recognized and I hope I get invited back."
Friday 14th December 2012 5:00 PM
Join us for Corporate Happy Hour, every Friday from 5-9pm, at Bahama Grill Cafe, West Bay Street. Stop in after work to enjoy our new dining area and full lounge upstairs. $10 Cover with Free Drinks til 9. (Suggested Attire- Business Casual) Bahama Grill Cafe Nassau's Newest Place for Hickory Smoked BBQ Ribs, Grilled/BBQ Chicken, Rotisserie Chicken, Grilled Conch. • Voted the number one ribs in the Bahamas - And the best Rotisserie chicken in the Bahamas • Hickory smoked pork, baby back or beef ribs • Rotisserie, Grilled, or BBQ Chicken • Sides include Fresh Vegetables, Roasted Corn, Peas & Rice, Plantains, Cole Slaw, Real Potato Fries and more...
Friday 7th September 2012 6:00 PM
Beach Club Cafe Happy Hour Every Friday 6-9pm DJ Yiorgo's Beach Club Cafe West Bay St 1/2 Priced Appetizers with the purchase of Heineken Buckets Opened in May 2007, the Beach Club Cafe serves local, seasonal food in a relaxed seaside setting that makes us a perfect spot for parties, weddings or intimate dinners on our private pier on Sandyport Beach, Bahamas. Please visit the Cafe Boutique and discover original crafts made by local artisans and from around the world.
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Ladies love to dance, and Ladies love champagne!
Every Thursday night at Neptune's, aside from their ever popular Happy Hour from 7 - 9pm, the Ladies can enjoy
Chandon for only $6.50 a glass (regular price is $12.95).
Enjoy music by DJ Lochs or DJ Say My Name and make it your night to hang with the girls and dance the night away to the most upbeat tunes.
Ladies Night is perfect for a birthday, Hen Night, or Wedding Shower, or simply a night to get away with your BFFs...