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KINGSTON, Jamaica - It's hard to imagine that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the darling of the entire Caribbean, has never stepped foot on the sunny islands of The Bahamas.
This May, she intends to change that by taking part in the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships, and the compact World and Olympic Champion is looking forward to the trip.
Winning four of the past five sprint global titles outdoors in the 100 meters (m), and by adding a 60m indoor title this year, the Jamaican national record holder is unquestionably the number one female sprinter in the world right now. Inclusive of relays, she has eight global gold medals since her OIympic debut in Beijing, China.
Her coach Stephen Francis calls her the greatest female sprinter over 100m in the history of athletics. With the hardware she has racked up in just a short period of time, it would be difficult to dispute that. In short, no other woman has done what she did, particularly in the 100m over the past six years. Still, the 27-year-old petite 'pocket rocket', as she is called by her many fans, remains as humble as ever, while still focussing on getting better.
"I'm driven from the inside and from certain circumstances what happened in my life. I don't pay attention to where I fall in history. I just want to continue to get better, and leave the sport better than I found it," said Fraser-Pryce. "I'm reserved. I try to stay away from being looked at as number one - just try to remain humble and grounded. Even after I won the three gold medals in Moscow (2013 World Championships), when I got back to my room, I was like, 'how am I possibly going to top this'. My husband says that I never enjoy anything, but enjoyment will come in time. I just want to continue to get better, and ensure that other young athletes could see that you need to work hard and you need to stay grounded and focussed to get to the top. The sky is the limit."
Fraser-Pryce leads by example. After pulling up to her morning workout last Thursday in her Mercedes jeep, she turned on her Bob Marley music through her head phones, and then engaged in an intense training session.
Francis, the head coach of the Maximizing Velocity and Power (MVP) Track Club, has the ultimate confidence in her.
"Stephen is a wonderful man. He looks rough, but inside he is soft-hearted," said Fraser-Pryce. "I admire him for the fact that he believes in me so much, and I believe in him as well. It's a two-way thing. For you to reap the rewards, you have to pay attention to the coach. I've always listened to him. He has not guided me wrong.
"I just want to continue to pave the way for the young men and women in our society. There is many more to come from Shelly-Ann. I still want to run 21 seconds, and I still want to go under 10.7, so I am still set on working hard, being grounded, and just trusting God to give me the strength and the health to do the things that I need to do."
Fraser-Pryce has personal best times of 10.70 seconds and 22.09 seconds in the 100 and 200m respectively. The 100m time is a national record for Jamaica. The world record in the century, her best event, is a blistering 10.49 seconds, set by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner 26 years ago.
"If I told you I didn't think about 10.49, I would be lying, but I'm one of those persons who believe that in order for me to think about a 10.49, I would have to get to a 10.6, and I would have to get to a 10.5," she said. "As it stands now, I'm not even at 10.6 yet. Until I get there, I try not to focus on the 10.49.
"I definitely believe in my heart that I'm a 10.6 sprinter, but nothing happens before its time. I just have to continue to work."
Fraser-Pryce said that she's very competitive when pitted against her rivals such as American Carmelita Jeter, but she's friendly as well.
"When we are competing against each other, we would walk past each other and don't say anything, but when we would have finished, we would stop and have a conversation. I would tell her that I admire her and she would say that she admires me, and stuff like that," said Fraser-Pryce. "It's a healthy rivalry. I like running against the U.S. They have been dominant for so many years, but we (Jamaica) are here now, and we have much more success to come."
Fraser-Pryce said that when she first started winning races, she discovered what her potential was, and how much better she could be if she continued to work hard.
"I knew what was expected of me," said Fraser-Pryce. "It's very hard to stay at the top, but you just have to keep working.
"I remember first walking through the tunnel at 'Champs' (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association Boys and Girls Athletics Championships), and being nervous. This shows how far I have come in the sport. I understand and analyze someone's start, technique, and the amount of power they are getting from the blocks.
"At my first 'Champs' I was very excited. I made final and finished seventh. The adrenaline was flowing, but after the race I was excited and proud. The Olympics has shown you that you need to be calm and relaxed. 'Champs' has paved the way for a lot of us, and for me, it taught me how to handle certain situations."
Coincidentally, 'Champs' wrapped up on Saturday at the national stadium here in Jamaica, two days after the interview. Fraser-Pryce, who represented Wolmer's Girls at 'Champs' during her high school career, even provided a bit of commentary during the five-day meet. Whereas full-time commentating as an analyst is quite possible once her athletic career would have concluded, Fraser-Pryce said that she highly doubts that she would go into coaching, because she sees the stress that Coach Francis go through on a daily basis, and doesn't know if she can go through the same thing. For now, she's just enjoying her time commentating at 'Champs'.
"Champs is just awesome. I really love it and can't help but to make noise. I'm one of those fans who get my nails done in school colors. I'm big on style, and I focus on what I like."
Fraser-Pryce's animated style has translated right over into her senior career. She is always seen on the tour, or at big meets, with an assortment of hair styles which separates her from the rest. As a matter of fact, it was at her hair salon, Chic Hair Ja in Kingston, where she gave the interview to reporters last Thursday.
"It's not just that I love hair, I have a passion to create jobs," she said, vowing to bring in a barber in short order as well. "A lot of young men and ladies in Jamaica have degrees and are sitting at home because there are no jobs. If I can create a business so that other persons can get employment, then that's healthy for me and for Jamaicans."
Despite accomplishing it all outdoors over the past six years outdoors, this year could have a special meaning in Fraser-Pryce's career, in that she has already won the world indoor title in the 60m in her first year running indoors, she could run in the Commonwealth Games for the first time, and she is expected to be competing in the inaugural world relays in what would be her first trip to The Bahamas.
She spoke about how excited she is to be coming to The Bahamas.
"I have no idea of what The Bahamas looks like, but I can't wait to experience the culture and enjoy the championships there," she said. "I like the beach, not so much to go in the water because I can't swim, but just to sit on the beach and drink a martini and chill.
"I just hope that Jamaica fields more than one team because we have the depth. I'm not a huge fan of relays because there is always some controversy as to who will run what leg but this particular event should be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it, just going there and getting it done in The Bahamas. Relays are always exciting, and being a part of this first championship is very huge. I would love to be there to see what unfolds."
The world relays is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
At home in Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce's typical day is inclusive of her early training session at 6:30 every morning, taking her five-year-old niece to school at times, dropping by the hair salon, going to the gym around midday, getting a massage if needed, and then back for a second workout in the evenings. At times, she would have photo sessions, shoot commercials, and watch a movie if time permits. Her favorite TV shows are the Jamie Foxx and Steve Harvey shows.
As for her Pocket Rocket Foundation, it is geared toward assisting student-athletes in getting scholarships for secondary and tertiary level education.
"We're just trying to alleviate some of the stress and the problems that they face," said Fraser-Pryce. "When I started high school, I was blessed to have a woman assist me financially. She saw something in me that I didn't even see, and started to fund my education, my books, my lunch... everything.
"At that point, I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for Shelly-Ann, but she showed me compassion and love in so many ways and that in a way made me obligated to do the same thing to other athletes who are coming from impoverished situations. They are here, and a lot of their parents can't afford to send them to school so that they could become better individuals."
Fraser-Pryce's foundation gave out seven scholarships to deserving student-athletes last year.
"It has been really remarkable to see the progress that they have made, especially in the school area," said Fraser-Pryce. "We don't just hand out the checks, but be there for them emotionally as well. The foundation has given me a platform to cause a change for young Jamaicans. I just hope to get more sponsors to come on board so that we could give out more scholarships. These young kids are talented and bright.... they are just unable to pay their way through school."
On two of her tattoos, one on each wrist - one has the word 'hope' on it, and the other has the word 'faith' on it.
"I'm big on faith and hope. Everything that I hope for in life, I have faith that God will provide it for me," said Fraser-Pryce. "I still have a lot of work to do to get where I want to go. I understand what hard work does. I just have to remain dedicated and put in the work."
Apart from track and field, Fraser-Pryce said that she has grown to like football and cricket, but has an appreciation for all sports.
With a focus of promoting Caribbean athletics globally, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is continuing with its 'Day in the Life' Series, featuring some of the best athletes in the region. In Trinidad, Guardian Sports Editor Sheldon Longley who is with the IAAF team, caught up with sensational World Champion Jehue Gordon. Here is his story:
At 22, there is little doubt that Trinidadian Jehue Gordon still has a long career ahead of him in track and field. Yet, the youngster has already accomplished so much.
He is an Olympic finalist, and has won world titles on the junior and senior levels, the latter coming just last year in Moscow, Russia. These days, Gordon is trying to maintain a level of consistency in the long hurdles, his specialty event ever since his junior days at the Belmont Boys Secondary School in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
He finished fourth at the Berlin World Championships as a 17-year-old in a national record time of 48.26 seconds, missing a medal by three one hundredths of a second and beating his idol Dominican Felix Sanchez in the process. That was really his coming out party right there, a year after the Beijing Olympics, and a year in which he won double gold at CARIFTA in the short and long hurdles. The following year, Gordon duplicated that feat at CARIFTA, in record times, and carted off the Austin Sealy Award for the meet's best athlete.
Gordon has steadily been on the rise ever since, finishing sixth at the 2012 London Olympics and winning the world title last year, but he has yet to rise to prominence in 2014, a non-world championships or Olympics year. His season's best is a modest 49.32 seconds, significantly off the 47.69 national record he ran in Moscow. Gordon remains unfazed though, as he continues to balance the books and professional athletics. The full-time student at the University of West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad, knows his best work off the track comes during the summer months when he is out of school, and he is looking for resurgence during the 20th Commonwealth Games which will be held from July 23 to August 3, in Glasgow, Scotland.
"I'm in a unique position where I was the first in the Caribbean to pursue my degree full-time as a professional athlete. It's extremely difficult," said Gordon. "Having to come home late at night after practice and being tired and having to get up for class first thing in the morning is really taxing. I find myself not getting enough rest. My friends help me out a lot by taking notes in class, and we study in groups, and that helps a lot. I know it will be rewarding in the end. I don't believe in limiting my intellectual capacity, so I will continue to push myself on and off the track."
It is that same mindset which is exhibited in an unbelievable work ethic by Gordon. Growing up in the suburban area of Maraval, he said that he doesn't try to do anything outside of his normal environment, and stays focussed on his long-term goals. He said that growing up in hilly Maraval might have aided in his early development, but added that it could have a down side as well.
"Some of the muscles that you wouldn't use running on a flat surface could be developed from running on a hill, but at the same time, it could also be a setback in terms of doing those things earlier, and not being properly treated when something happens. It's a two-way street. It could have a down and up side," said Gordon.
On the track, Gordon said that he would eventually like to be an Olympic Champion in his specialty, the 400 meters (m) hurdles, and off the track, he's looking to pursue a masters degree in Sports Management, all while training and studying at home in Trinidad. In addition to running 47.69 seconds in the long hurdles, he has personal best times of 13.81 seconds in the short hurdles, and 46.43 seconds in the flat 400m.
"On campus, I tend to be more grounded," said Gordon. "It helps me to be Jehue Gordon and not someone else, just be a normal student. With training, a lot of people think that there is not enough infrastructure, not enough facilities here at home but that's not the main problem. Around Carnival time, they close off the stadium to us, and that is one of the biggest challenges. I actually hate Carnival season because it takes away so much time from being able to put in some solid hurdling work when it should be a time to be technical. It's difficult, and at home you constantly need that support, but once you're focussed I believe that you can achieve great things."
Home in Trinidad, Gordon still has all of the amenities at his disposal just like he probably would have in a professional camp overseas. After daily workout sessions at the Hasely Crawford National Stadium, he frequents the Memphis Pioneers Gym and Fitness Centre, winds down with massages from his massage therapist, and also has access to a chiropractor, a nutritionist and a psychologist.
He stays on campus at UWI St. Augustine, but also takes pleasure in dropping by his mother's home in Maraval to enjoy some home-cooking.
"I have a real intimate relationship with my mom. She's my backbone," said Gordon. "My mom connects with me spiritually overseas. When I'm getting ready to compete, the small, little things could make an impact at the end of the day, and she is always there for guidance. She told me to push my head at the world championships. I did that, and as you know I won by the slimmest of margins. Home is where it's at though. Whenever I'm home, I have to get some buss up shot (curry goat or duck roti) and some dumplings. Home is where the heart is."
Be that as it may, Gordon said that when he's home in Maraval, his neighbors don't get to see him much because he's always on the move whether he be at training, at school, or just out running errands.
"Things are much more structured as an athlete. There is less time to play and to actually be at home, so people don't really see me that often," he said.
At the Moscow World Championships last year, Gordon won in a national record world-leading time of 47.69 seconds, just one hundredth of a second ahead of second place finisher American Champion Michael Tinsley. He finished the year ranked as the number one long hurdler in the world. Gordon said that his life has changed quite a bit since winning that world title.
"Now, a lot of people tend to recognize me, and they want to take pictures, get autographs, or simply just give advice. Also, people expect a lot more from Jehue Gordon as opposed to before. I never really thought about the gold medal, but I'm grateful that I have it. I really thought that I had a chance in 2012 at the Olympics but it came a year later."
Gordon finished sixth at the London Olympics in 48.86 seconds, a year when he had a season's best of 47.96 seconds and was expecting to do big things. He said that he was devastated, and contemplated quitting the sport.
"I studied the medal and it ran away from me. In Moscow, I just stuck to myself and didn't put any pressure on myself. The attention was on Michael Tinsley. Really, I just wanted to have fun, and go out there and execute my race," said Gordon.
Prior to the final, Gordon said that a couple of his friends actually dreamt that he had won the world title. He brought those dreams to reality.
"I wasn't sure what to do after winning. Deon Lendore, my teammate, said that you have to do the archer style (bow and arrow) but at that moment nothing came in my head. After four years of hard work, I finally did it. It was a jaw-dropping moment for me."
Gordon said that his coach Dr. Ian Hypolite is like a father figure to him, always there for guidance and advice on every topic. Another person he looks up to in Trinidad is Edwin Skinner, an Olympian and a founding father of the Memphis Pioneers Track Club for which Gordon is a member of.
"Dr. Hypolite is well versed in everything. I look up to him because he has done so much for himself, for his country, and for his family. He is like a second dad to me, and Mr. Skinner is like a living legend. He started Memphis Pioneers, and has done so much for track and field here in Trinidad."
This season, Gordon has struggled a bit, unlike last year when he started off strong and eventually galloped to the world championships title. He actually started his season last year at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational (CBBI) here in The Bahamas, winning that title in 49.50 seconds. He dropped that time significantly during the season, eventually posting a world-leading 47.69 in Moscow. This season, he is yet to break the 49-second barrier, and if it stands, it will be the first such season since 2008.
"I have a really good relationship with Chris Brown. He is someone I look up to. He is a veteran, an example to the region and to the wider world. I couldn't pass that up last year because I always wanted to go to The Bahamas," said Gordon. "With this season, I know my season builds and progresses after school is out. Training has been going good, and once my mind is at ease, things would definitely fall into place. I just want to show everyone that it can be done from at home. I want to pave the way for the younger athletes. Most of the successful athletes train overseas but I have been training here as a professional athlete for the last four years. Now, I'm one of the most senior athletes in the club (Memphis Pioneers), and I feel that it is up to me to pass on the knowledge to the other athletes."
This year, Gordon has had a basically subdued season due to his full-time commitments in the classroom. He finished second at the Jamaican Invitational to two-time World and Olympic Champion Felix Sanchez in 49.32 seconds. Sanchez ran 49.21 seconds. Gordon also ran in Shanghai and New York, posting times of 49.56 and 49.81 seconds respectively. He finished sixth and seventh in those events. Just last Saturday at the NGC/Sagicor Open Championships at the national stadium in Trinidad, he was beaten by a compatriot in the men's 400m hurdles for the first time in six years. He posted a time of 49.69 seconds to finish second behind Emmanuel Mayers who posted a personal best time of 49.57 seconds.
"School is always a limiting factor for me. Next year I will be out but it will be interesting to see how different it will be to cope with a lot of the pressures of the different situations," said Gordon. "I'm looking to be more consistent on the Diamond League circuit, and perform as I expect to all of the time. I want to be an overall Diamond League winner. Also, I want to win an Olympic medal. It's not going to come easy but that is what I'm aiming for, and also to be world champion again.
"I think what we need to do as a country is benchmark Trinidad to the European circuit and try to improve the way that we conduct our sporting activities - utilize our resources efficiently. The whole structure needs to change in terms of treating the athletes more respectable, providing enough resources so that the athletes will be able to train more efficiently, and making sure that coaches are properly compensated or updated in terms of the programs that are going on around the world. The technology might be outdated."
With his 47.69 clocking, young Gordon is the 22nd fastest of all-time in the 400m hurdles, about a second off the world record of 46.78 seconds which was set by American Kevin Young 22 years ago. Young is the only man ever, to run under 47 seconds in the event.
"That world record time is ridiculously fast," said Gordon. "I'll just be happy if I can be consistent and run fast when I need to run fast. I'm certainly putting no pressure on myself for that. Right now, I'm just focussed on showing gradual improvement and being there to mentor the young athletes."
When he's not competing or in the classroom, Gordon said that he just stays to himself most of the time, but does maintain contact with some of his competitors, particularly Jamaican Leford Green, and they often discuss training regimens while catching up on old times. He's a football fan as well, giving allegiance to the Chelsea Football Club in the English Premier League. When asked why Chelsea, Gordon simply replied, he used to like a girl named Chelsea, and followed the club ever since.
That's just the casual approach that makes him who he is - fierce on the track, but quite humble off of it.
After reaching the mountain top in Moscow last year, it will be interesting to see what he does for an encore in Beijing next year, and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It's almost summer and most women are looking forward to getting a pedicure and showing off those pretty toenails, but as diabetics, before you kick off your shoes, consider the potential downsides of pedicures.
People with diabetes are at high risk for a number of complications including infections, ulcers and amputations. If there is a break in the skin, it can lead to a leg or life-threatening infection. As podiatrists, we recommend that individuals with diabetes do not receive a pedicure because of the often questionable sanitary conditions of the beauty salon, the skills of the individual performing the pedicure and the cleanliness of the instruments used.
Regardless, many women (and, yes, even men) with diabetes are still heading to salons and spas. Aside from being a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, pedicures can ensure that feet are clean and moisturized, which is important when you have diabetes with dry skin. The reality is that women are going to get pedicures whether they are diabetics or not. If people with diabetes choose to have pedicures. they must be aware of the risk and follow these tips to keep their feet safe.
Know when to skip it: If you are healthy, with your diabetes under control and without complications, getting a pedicure may not pose as great a threat as it does for people with diabetic foot complications. If you have decreased feeling in the feet (neuropathy), an infection or an ulcer, don't book an appointment. An open wound will allow in any bacteria that may be hiding in the foot basin, the water or on the instruments. Further, because of the nerve damage you may not be able to tell if you've been cut or burned if the water is too hot.
Check out the salon: Before scheduling a pedicure at just any nail salon, it is wise to look into the cleanliness of the salon and its practices. It is important to look into all the salon's sanitation practices, the technician's training (make sure he/she is licensed), how the tools are cleaned and how the basin is cleaned. If the salon looks clean, but you're still not sure, don't be afraid to ask them how they clean their basins and instruments.
Foot baths and instruments should be cleaned with a hospital-grade, EPA-registered disinfectant after every client. If the salon or spa does not clean often enough or with the proper chemicals, don't take a chance on going there. There are so many things you can catch at a salon that is not clean including fungus or bacteria. It is recommended that you visit and check out the salon or get a manicure first before getting a pedicure.
Examine the foot bath: Foot baths provide a pool of warm, bubbly water that is relaxing. But they can also be filled with bacteria that can come from the water or from the basin not being cleaned properly after the last client. It is recommended that basins are thoroughly cleansed between each client.
Inspect the tools: Before you let a pedicurist touch your feet, find out how her tools are sanitized. All nail instruments should be cleaned after each use. Dirty instruments used on past customers or soaked in unchanged sterilizing fluid or open containers are very dangerous and can be the source of an infection. Pick a salon that uses stainless steel instruments, which are easier to clean rather than wooden sticks or porous files. To prevent the spread of infection, emery boards and nail buffers should be used once and given to the client or thrown out after each client. To ensure instruments are clean and safe, some people take their own tools to the nail salon. At the end you would take the tools home and clean them yourself.
Give instructions: If you have diabetes it is best to tell the nail technician you have diabetes. Give clear guidelines on how you want them to take care of your feet safely. Tell them that you cannot have your feet soaked in hot water. Request that the technician not clip your cuticles or file your heels or calluses with a blade.
Make sure the water is warm, not hot, and that your toenails are cut straight across. Moisturizing lotions or creams should be massaged into your feet, but not between the toes. Insist that the pedicurist avoid a credo blade or razor on your feet.
Consider the alternatives: These measures may seem a bit excessive, but consider the alternative. Unsterilized instruments can pass bacteria and infections between clients. The first thing to understand when it comes to diabetics is that pedicure risks in healthy people are multiplied in diabetics.
The first thing that a diabetic should do is to consult their podiatrist and ask them if they can have a pedicure. Sometimes patients with controlled diabetes can enjoy pedicures without much more risk than normal healthy people. However, nail technicians must remember that instruments should be cleaned before use and that diabetics are at increased risk for complication and that their skin should never be broken.
In the unfortunate situation that the skin of a diabetic is broken, or if there is pain or soreness you must take immediate steps to clean the wound and place a dressing on the wound. You should see a podiatrist as soon as possible if symptoms persist. When you have diabetes, any injury to your feet is a major concern even if it is caused by the manicurist. An injury is an open invitation for an infection. An infection can lead to higher blood sugars and higher blood sugars can interfere with healing, which can lead to ulcers and potential amputation.
When it comes to pedicures, persons with diabetes must ask themselves if it is worth the risk? People with diabetes should be seen by a podiatrist on a regular basis for routine foot care. It is best to see the podiatrist, regularly so any problem or potential foot complications can be dealt with early.
o For more information, email me at email@example.com or visit www.apma.org or pedicuretip.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street or call 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane or call 394-5820.
The legislation and regulations the government drafted to guide its value-added tax (VAT) regime when it takes effect next July would tax over 80 different professions, cable bills and phone bills for all consumers, and electricity and water bills for businesses.
The Value Added Tax Bill 2013, and the Value Added Tax Regulations 2013, obtained by The Nassau Guardian, propose a flat tax rate of 15 percent on a long list of professional services, utilities and imported goods.
Financial services carried out for a specific fee, many financial transactions and insurance transactions and premiums, except for health and life insurance, will also be subject to VAT.
As has been widely reported, hotel rooms and food and beverage transactions would be taxed at a rate of 10 percent.
Condominiums that are part of a hotel complex, even if they're part of a rental pool, would be taxed as well.
However, some services and goods will be exempt from the new tax.
A variety of breadbasket items, educational institutions, daycare, after school, retirement, medical, and disabled facilities, religious institutions, charitable organizations and the sale or rental of a dwelling not part of a hotel complex would be exempt.
Games of chance, gambling and lotteries would also be exempt.
While the government has drafted over 160 pages of legislation and regulations, there are still a few things that have yet to be set in stone.
For example, the regulations propose a threshold for VAT being applied to electricity and water bills for commercial consumers.
This means that if a business consumes less than a certain amount of electricity per month to be determined by the government, it would pay no VAT; everything exceeding that as yet undetermined level would be subject to VAT.
The same is being proposed for businesses that consume public water.
While the draft legislation does not propose to impose VAT on these services for residential consumers, The Guardian understands that the prime minister will soon decide whether this will change, bearing in mind his party's pledge to lower the cost of electricity.
The government has also not decided on what the threshold will be for professional services to become VAT registrants.
The Guardian understands that currently the government is considering $100,000 or $150,000 as the threshold at which VAT will apply to those services.
The legislation also exempts professional services that are conducted for people who are not in The Bahamas in many instances.
Domestic transportation by land or water, other than in connection with a tour, would also be exempt.
VAT registrants who will be required to impose the new tax on retail transactions will be those businesses whose revenue exceeds $100,000 per year.
The VAT legislation and regulations are quite detailed and complex, but there are many areas that are quite straightforward.
What will you pay more for?
Expect financial transactions to impact your bottom line.
Financial services and transactions are not exempt from VAT if they levy a fee.
This includes, short-term insurance contracts; legal, accounting, record packaging services, and tax agency services, including advisory services; the provision of insurance, other than life or medical insurance; safe custody for money or documents; brokerage services; debt collection or factoring services and trustee services.
Also taxable would be the transmission of money or monetary value in any form; the issuance, sale or redemption of money orders or traveler's checks; check cashing; currency exchange issuance, sale or redemption of money orders and traveler's checks and currency exchange and pay day advances.
Loans to consolidate finances from bank to bank will be subject to VAT if the repayment terms are in installments.
However, financial services provided to a person treated as a non-resident for purposes of the Exchange Control Regulations are exempt.
Accounting and record packaging services rendered to these institutions would also be exempt.
What won't cost more
Many basic food items will be exempt from VAT.
Beef, chicken, pork, sheep meat, horse meat, smoked meat, dried meat, salted meat, sausage, sandwich meat, corned beef and fish will be exempt.
Fresh milk, milk products, concentrated and evaporated milk, cream, cheese, dairy spreads and butter will also be exempt.
VAT will not apply to fresh and frozen vegetables and fruit.
Rice, fonio, quinoa, triticale, flour, cereal, cereal grains, cereal groats (like oat, wheat, barley and rye), meal and pellets will be exempt.
Soybean oil, ground nut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, castor oil, other oils used for cooking and vegetable fats will also be exempt.
Margarine, imitation lard and shortening will be exempt.
Cane sugar, beet sugar and white sugar will be exempt.
VAT will not apply to bread, noodles, couscous, bulger wheat or foods for infant use.
Mustard and mayonnaise, soups and broth will also be exempt.
Mineral water for infant use will have no VAT applied to it.
Laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, soaps and domestic utility goods will also be exempt.
Licenses issued by the government will be exempt from VAT as well.
Government agencies, ministries, departments, statutory bodies, local government councils, or other government entities that provide services that are usually taxable will be exempt from VAT if the services are of a nominal amount or they are not intended to recover the cost of those goods and services.
The Ministry of Finance will begin a series of intensive VAT workshops for the public starting tomorrow, Financial Secretary John Rolle said recently.
The workshops will come amid criticism over the proposed implementation date and questions about its impact.
The government has said VAT is necessary to bring down the government's massive deficit and get the country's spiraling debt situation under control.
Ministry of Finance officials estimate that VAT can generate about $200 million in annual revenue.Professions subject to VAT under draft bill1. Accountants
10. Athletic Trainers
21. Custodial engineers
22. Custom brokers
23. Dental Assistants
24. Dental Hygienists
32. Financial Analysts
34. Funeral Practitioners
36. Hair Dressers
38. Health Care Providers
39. Home Repair Service Providers
40. Interior Designers
42. Land Sales Developer
43. Landscape Architecture
46. Massage therapists
48. Naturopathic Doctors
49. Nurse Practitioners
51. Nursing Home Administrators
52. Occupational therapists
53. Occupational therapy Assistants
59. Physical Therapists
61. Physicians (MD)
65. Professional fundraisers
66. Professional Planner
70. Radiologic technicians
71. Real Estate Appraisers
72. Real Estate Professionals
73. Respiratory Care Practitioners
76. Social Workers
77. Speech-Language Pathologists
78. Stock Brokers
82. Timeshare Developers
83. Timeshare Sales Agent
84. Transient Sellers
87. Such other professions that the minister may add
For the average distance runner, one goal is to compete in a half marathon and then eventually a full marathon, whether it's for his or her own personal gratification or just for a worthy cause. For the past three years, the Bahamas Roadmasters Club has provided both opportunities.
Now into its fourth year, the Roadmasters annual charity run is set for Saturday, September 17 and the interest is brewing from a cross section of the society. Last year, the proceeds went to the Pilot Club of Nassau in their quest to build a pool for the Physically Disabled. Previously, the Aids Foundation and the Aids Camp were among the beneficiaries. This year, Bahamas Roadmasters' goal is to raise at least $10,000 to assist the Ranfurly Home for Children.
The club, founded by president George Smith and others, provides an avenue for Bahamians to develop their dreams of being marathon runners. It also catered to those members who were primarily interested in losing weight or just improving their physical conditioning.
Kimley Saunders, chairman of the organizing committee for the run, said they are opening doors for so many other Bahamians to participate because of the charity aspects attached to the event. Although it's not a full or even a half marathon, the run features a number of aspects that will cater to just about every causal or competitive runner, from a five-mile run or walk from Montagu Beach to Charlotte Street and back.
There's also a 10-mile run/walk that leaves Montagu Beach and travels all the way to Goodman's Bay and back. If a participant dares to be more adventurous, there's the 20-mile run that leaves Montagu Beach and travels all the way to Blake Road and back to Montagu. Additionally, there's also the 20-mile uniformed officers relay that already has a team from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), two from Her Majesty Prison and three from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) signed up to compete. There is also an open relay.
For those doing the 20-mile run, the start time is 4:30 a.m. The five and 10-mile races will begin an hour later at 5:30 a.m.
Saunders noted: "We hope to have at least 150-200 participants or more and that everyone will have fun and enjoy themselves and at the same time support the Ranfurly Home. We hope that we can raise the $10,000 or more that we are anticipating to raise for the Ranfurly Home."
In July, 2009, Angela 'Grandmother' Rahming decided to increase her mobility by moving up from walking to running. She did her first charity run two years ago and returned for her second appearance last year. This year, however, Rahming has decided to work closely with the organizing committee. She serves as the assistant secretary, but she said she was so inspired by her ability to "complete the run" without any problems that she's made it her goal to encourage others to get involved.
"It can be for anybody," she insisted. "You don't have to worry about keeping up with anybody. As long as you are consistent, you can finish. Every day you go out, you can add your mileage. Being consistent is the key."
Through her new found love, the actual 'grandmother' of one said a lot of the members were taken aback when she started, but she never allowed anyone to discourage her. In fact, they are all in awe of her achievement in just three years. Last year, Rahming participated in her first half marathon on January 31 at the ING in Miami. Her nephew, who lives in Florida, was so thrilled about her commitment and dedication, that he decided to join her.
With the support of her daughter, grandson, sister and niece on the sideline cheering her on, Rahming completed the course in three hours and 10 minutes.
"For me, that was good, really good. Obviously, it's not elite running time, but for me it was super," she quipped.
That has led to Rahming making strides in a series of other events. In October, she did a half marathon on a Saturday in Washington and on Sunday, the following week, she did her first full marathon. In April, Rahming duplicated the feat when she ran the Kentucky Derby, then drove back to Ohio and did a half marathon.
"I didn't tell anybody in the club that I was going. I just went with another friend," she stated. "They were all surprised that I did it."
Although it was a new event last year, the RBDF has dominated the relay competition and this year, sports officer Ramone Storr said the Defence Force will be back to do it again.
"I guarantee a repeat in the relays," said Storr of their dominance of the first, second, third and fifth place finishes. "We have a couple solid young fellas in training and on the squad now, so I guarantee we will repeat with the relays."
Known for their athletic prowess, Storr said the Defence Force is always capable and ready.
"This road race will just showcase our talent," he pointed out. "We really are in it because we want to do to our part to assist with charity."
For a registration fee of just $20, each participate will receive a T-shirt, Eco friendly bag, a water bottle and free food - stew conch, chicken souse, Johnny cake, fruits - Gatorade, juice and water. A number of prizes will be offered, including tickets on the Bahamas Fast Ferries, dinner for two at British Colonial Hilton and gift certificates from the Sports Centre, Mystical Gym, Lickety Split, Dominos Pizza and a full body massage from International Orthopedics.
Registration sites are the Palmdale Vision, the Reef Restaurant and the Ranfurly Home for Children.
The British Colonial Hilton recently hosted the latest in its Corporate Club Liaison seminars. The corporate loyalty program geared towards all Hilton corporate bookers welcomed clients to a fun-filled, exciting evening in the Governors Ballroom .
Club members received expert tips on how to reorganize and refresh their homes and personal style for the spring and summer seasons. The British Colonial Hilton & Club Liaison partnered with various local vendors and corporate partners who put on fantastic displays of their latest products including Quality Home Center, with its full displays of fresh new looks for every room of the home, including chic colorful furniture pieces. John Bull highlighted its new designer bag and shoe collections from Coach, Michael Kors and more, while the Cosmetic Boutique and the MAC style team of Nestae and Deangelo gave great makeup tips and complimentary spring makeovers for attendees.
Members were able to see and purchase designer straw bags, fabulous jewelry, and summer and beach fashions from vendors including Sonia's Crafts, Minka Swimwear, Point of View and Tanya Sunders Boutique and Creative Jewelry. Guests also received great tips on healthy hair care from Hair & Now. Of course the makeovers would not have been complete without some hands-on tips on rejuvenation, as complimentary massage treatments and brow waxing were available from the teams from Creative Beauty, Marcian Bethel and Total Bliss.
Guests enjoyed the high energy and excitement of the evening, as great prizes were given away while the Hilton Bullion Bar team was present with signature Bullion drinks to sample and enjoy, along with delicious treats from the Hilton culinary team. Jamiel Clarke, Hilton Beach Club manager, was also on hand to provide information on the exciting corporate/individual option and gave away prizes inviting guests to experience some of the club's benefits.
Club Liaison is a region-wide recognition program which aims to reward a select group of representatives of corporate accounts responsible for booking guestrooms and meetings at any of our properties throughout the Caribbean region.
In joining Club Liaison at no cost, you are eligible to accrue points for your bookings and convert them into attractive awards.
For further information, kindly contact Audra Riley, senior sales/corporate manager.
Summer is here with a vengeance, and most Bahamians are busy planning or going on their next vacation. Whether you are planning to walk around amusement parks, shop until you drop, or explore one of the beautiful Family Islands at home, traveling can take a toll on your feet, and an injury can ruin your entire vacation.
Before you go on your next trip, here are some sensible travel tips to follow for good foot health while traveling. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, visit a podiatrist before traveling to find out what's causing the problem and have it treated. Remember, foot pain is not normal and it can ruin your travel plans!
Review your travel itinerary and the activities you have planned to decide on the kind and amount of shoes you will need to pack. As a general rule, wear comfortable, supportive shoes such as sneakers. They should fit properly, with good arch support and be worn with socks to prevent discomfort and blisters. Do not take new shoes that have never been worn on your vacation. It is a good idea to condition and prepare your feet and legs for the activities you plan to perform during your vacation. If you plan to walk a lot, several weeks before your trip, begin a regular walking program wearing the shoes you will take on your trip. This will help you to enjoy your vacation more and prevent aches, pains or injury that may accompany a new workout routine.
Preventing a blood clot
When flying or driving for long periods of time, there is an increased risk of developing a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT which is a blood clot in the legs) especially if you have risk factors such as a recent long surgery, confined to bed, cancer, older than 40 years of age, obesity and smoking. The risk of developing DVT from air travel is strongly linked to age. It is uncommon in young people and very common in the elderly. Studies estimate that three to five percent of travelers develop clots in their veins related to travel. In the United States it is estimated that there are one million cases of DVT related to air travel every year and that 100,000 of these persons die. To prevent this we recommend when traveling for more than four hours you should get up and move around every two hours, drink plenty water, stay hydrated, don't drink too much alcohol or caffeine, avoid crossing your legs and exercise your leg by flexing your feet and ankles, wiggling your toes and unlacing your shoes if your feet swells.
Don't go barefoot
Always wear shoes or sandals while walking on the sand to prevent foot injuries from the hot sand and puncture from objects that may be hidden beneath the sand. Walking barefoot exposes the feet to sunburn, as well as the virus that causes plantar warts, fungus that causes athlete's foot or nail fungus and many other infections. Persons with diabetes should never walk barefoot, in doors or outside.
For persons with lighter complexions, be sure to apply sunscreen to your legs and feet while basking in the sun. Apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet and legs regularly at least every three to four hours to prevent sunburns and protect against the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Foot first aid
Take a foot first aid kit and be prepared in case of a minor foot problem. Pack Band-aids, foot pads, talcum powder, antibiotic or first aid cream and nail clippers in your toiletry bag. If you injure your foot or ankle while traveling, seek professional attention from a podiatrist.
Pamper you feet
After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, walking, hiking or whatever you have planned for your vacation, treat your feet well, massage them, rest them and keep them elevated. After all you will need them to do it all over again tomorrow.
o For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.foothealth.org or apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit the Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.
Schooner Bay is developing a $2 million retreat to entice guests seeking a therapeutic escape - but with a twist.
Well Bahamas, comprised of several buildings spilling out into a courtyard, should come online by Spring 2013. Luxurious yet simple, the attraction hopes to remain consistent with Schooner Bay's mantra of sustainability.
"It's in development now," said Amanda Lindroth, the wife of the key developer behind the South Abaco community. "It has to be run by great personnel, so they have been developing it with us. The concept, like Schooner, is predicated on health and well being, away from the fitness center with pounding music."
Instead, Well Bahamas aims to offer a serene setting with accommodations for up to eight people at a time. The restaurant will dish out healthy, clean meals, with many of the products grown on site.
Walking routes through the forest or down the beach, massage treatments, manicures and pedicures, and a variety of body treatments will also be provided.
Lindroth expects Well Bahamas to generate 10 jobs upon opening.
"The modern idea of going to spa ... I find the concept dated now. Schooner evokes a spirit. It's so elemental and there is so much nature. It makes you think abut approaching things in a more natural way," she added.
Well Bahamas may also have a taste of the modern, however. Lindroth said the spa could bring in electronic kiosks or provide mobile applications so guests can log progress on the designated walks.
Lindroth told Guardian Business "there will be nothing like it in The Bahamas".
According to blueprints obtained by Guardian Business, Well Bahamas consists of five or six structures facing a courtyard. There are fitness rooms, treatments rooms and rooms for guests at the spa.
The end of the year opening should work well with the considerable growth expected at Schooner this year.
In fact, up to $30 million will be spend on infrastructure, amenities and homes as it grows into a full-fledged community. As many as 30 homes are slated for completion in 2012, in addition to the 12 now underway at various stages of construction.
Many houses are already finished and the community has welcomed its first residents.
The opening of the harbor, the only one within 20 miles in any direction, is being touted as a major step in Schooner's development.
James Malcolm, the head of marketing, said the fuel dock will be installed this year and up to 20 boats should be moored there by the end of 2012.
"Now we're getting powered up with the opening of the harbor, and everything has been very deliberately orchestrated," Malcolm said.
Like many parents, Brennamae and Fernley Cooper want only the best for their children -- success, health and for them to maximize their full potential. With a thriving, striving eight-year-old son and a perfect second pregnancy with all of her checks balancing out, the Coopers were shocked to learn just days after their daughter was born in 2009 that she had a congenital heart disease. The mother described the feeling as she was told of what was wrong with her daughter as "heart-wrenching".
"Shock is an understatement. It was so unreal," she said. "I recall when the doctor was explaining it that I immediately started crying because everything up to that point was good. My pregnancy was great, I felt good and I had been up-to-date with all my checks, so there was no indication."
At her first post-natal visit, the doctor heard a heart murmur and referred the Coopers to pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jerome Lightbourne. Grace was diagnosed with a heart condition called Trilogy of Fallot. She had a hole in the lower chamber of her heart, a common thing, but in Grace's case it was multiple, and that the pulmonary vessel that takes blood to the lungs was too narrow, restricting the proper flow of blood to her lungs. Dr. Lightbourne made plans for the just days old baby to fly to Florida for life-saving medical help. In the first two years of her young life, Grace has already undergone a number of operations, to repair a number of defects, including having surgery to remove a portion of her small intestine after she developed intestinal infection after one of her surgeries. The baby had to undergo open-heart surgery in 2010 at one year and two months of age to repair the hole in her heart and the valve.
The Coopers know their daughter will have at least one future surgery to replace a stent that was put in to open a valve which they know will have to be replaced as Grace grows and it becomes too small. But they say God's will be done.
As she approaches her third birthday, Grace is thriving, having met all of her milestones. And her mother marvels at the milestones she said her daughter has achieved.
"Initially, the motor skills we had to work on and thankfully while I was by her bedside I was able to watch the physical therapists as they massaged and worked her legs, arms and neck, positioning her so she could hold up her head and do the different things to strengthen her because she was in a sedated state for such a long time that the body could become stiff in certain areas," she said.
"So I learned to do the exercises and when we returned home, my husband and I continued doing them with her at home for a few weeks. After that, Grace was just striving -- feeding, sitting up and crawling. Now she's walking, talking and doing well."
Her mother describes her as a toddler with a strong personality who loves to sing and smile. "She's just a happy soul," said Cooper.
Grace was able to have all of her surgeries done in the United States courtesy of The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, a privately funded charity that raises funds primarily through donations and from the annual Heart Ball held in February, and which will be held on Saturday, February 18 at Sheraton Cable Beach Resort. Over 97 percent of each dollar raised goes directly to the aid of children.
"Prior to 2009, I honestly did not even know about the Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation ... and honestly I don't know if that's sad or whatever, but often times you don't know about these things until you have to use them yourself."
She said as Dr. Lightbourne made arrangements for her daughter to seek life-saving medical help in the United States, she still was unaware to what extent the organization would be able to help them. Cooper said she was left speechless when the doctor explained that the foundation would cover the bill. Today, she is eternally grateful and still does not know how much it cost for her daughter's life-saving surgeries.
"I recall one day when one of the medical personnel came by and asked if I wanted to have a look at what the bill was so far, but I said to her I really didn't want to know because I didn't want a headache that day. Later on she kind of gave us an idea, and it was thousands of dollars -- money that my husband and I would not have been able to come up with at that time -- and not even now. From when this happened, we knew we would not be able to pay back monetarily -- not dollar for dollar, but what we can do is tell people about the foundation."
Reliving the ordeal they went through with their daughter is still painful to the Coopers, but the mother said she and her husband agreed to share her story as their way of giving back.
"If it touches the heart of people who hear the story to give to the foundation, we would do it every time because we are eternally grateful. I know of situations where parents who got bad news from doctors that their loved one has to go into surgery, and they have to come up with 'X amount' before the surgery can even be done, and we cannot relate to that thanks to the foundation. We don't know how that feels."
Cooper said they've made one or two monetary contributions to the foundation since, but nothing they do in comparison can compare. And she encourages people to make donations to the organization because they're not just making a donation, but saving lives.
Through the generosity of others, she says Grace's life -- which she knows has a purpose, has been saved.
"I work with children who sometimes have certain disabilities that prevents them from leading a full life, but because of the opportunity that the foundation has afforded us, Grace can live a normal life. Grace can run around like her peers now, and the teachers don't have to be cautious, and if they are cautious, it's only out of their own fear, and they want to be extra careful. It's not because she's ailing," she says.
With Grace "out of the woods", Cooper says their goal is to help Grace to live a full life, grow up and use her existence as a testimony to let people know.
"We are firm believers in God and I know that even going through it, if I had a different spirit ... a different mindset, I can honestly say I wouldn't have been as mentally stable as I am today because even the way Grace's body changed, and things we saw with our eyes could have blown our minds. As a young couple we were close," said the 35-year-old mother, but this whole experience has brought us even closer because we went through this together and that made it even more easy to deal with."
After the ordeal her family went through she says many people have told her that they expect Grace to be "spoiled", but the mother says she disciplines her daughter when necessary, but has noticed that her daughter has a mind of her own and is very strong-minded. She says if Grace wants to do something she will let them know. And that Grace doesn't stop calling for her mom until she has her attention.
With the foundation's major fundraiser, the Heart Ball scheduled for Saturday, February 18 at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort, the Coopers are planning to attend for the first time. She says for the past two years they weren't able to attend because they weren't able to financially, but this year the Cooper's are making the sacrifice to pay the $500 per couple price tag, for tickets plus travel into New Providence for the event. She says it's the least they can do.
The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation was established as a living tribute by Lady Sassoon following the death of her husband, Sir Victor Sassoon, in 1961, to assist Bahamians with heart disease. Lady Sassoon had asked that instead of sending flowers to honor her husband, that people send a donation to the local heart fund. A few weeks later the hospital called to tell her that a substantial amount of money had been donated in her husband's memory, but that there was no local heart fund. She took it upon herself to create one.
Through the foundation's fundraising efforts, over 4,000 children have been afforded quality medical care. The foundation currently has a list of 11 children that need immediate life-saving surgery.
Donations can be made to the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation at P.O. Box N-8189, Nassau, Bahamas.