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Nassau, Bahamas - In
December 2010 the independent film
companies, One Light Collective and Soul Tools Production shot the
film, "Bahamian Son" at locations in Nassau; Fox Hill, Adelaide,
downtown Nassau. The project is written and directed by Reggie
whose father is Bahamian and mother is from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
traces Reggie's early life in Minnesota, with his mother and longing to
have some contact with his biological father, who hadn't seen him since
early childhood. Now an adult man, Reggie faces the challenges of trying
to mend bridges with his father meeting some obstacles and frustrations
along the way...
When we think about this place, we think about people strapped down and patients who would possibly do many terrible things to you. But as a frequent visitor, my experience was a lot more pleasant and inspiring. This is my account of the venture.
I had a love one there. So I went to the center quite often. At the gate there was a light-skinned lady - one of the security officers. We call her the Angel. Her welcome and the welcome of the other securities was always warm, but her welcome stood out. She was more than a person; she was a parent. She was more than a parent; she was a mother. She felt the pain that we were going through whenever we visited.
To the staff of renovated Eloise Penn, and to the staff of the maximum unit, words cannot express the gratitude and the humility I feel towards you. First of all, you are all underpaid. To nurse Rolle, nurse Chancy, sister Kayla, Mr. Higgs, Dr. Theophilus, Dr. Comby, Mr. Williams, Dino Clarke, Mr. Clarke, well done. Dr. Dillard, we want to say a special thank you to you.
Your days are not always filled with flowers, nor is everyday filled with thorns, but keep up the good work. Your service will always be needed in this stressful life. You could not have done this job if there was no passion in you. You could not have done this job if there was no love.
The only sad feeling I'm left with is looking in the visitors book and only seeing my name written so many times, much more than any visitors.
We as a people, as a nation, cannot put our families up there and not visit them. The first step to wellness is having the support from families. The people at the center will do their jobs, but they really need the love and support from the families of the patients. Fewer people would walk the streets if family would care more, thus causing them to make a meaningful contribution to life.
Once again, I am wising you all well. To the staff of the hospital and the patients, I know God will continue to keep you and bless you, and make your face shine on this earth even brightly and I pray that you all will continue to prosper and nothing would be too hard for you to attain in this life, and may all your endeavours come true.
- Your Frequent Visitor
Nassau, Bahamas -
National Movement (FNM) government plans to officially open the Thomas
A. Robinson National Stadium, a $30 million gift from the Chinese government,
on Saturday. With the critical issues facing our nation, the Democratic
National Alliance believes this is highly irresponsible and reflects
how out of touch the FNM government has been.
says it will spend between $500,000-$600,00 on the official opening
of the stadium. Minister Charles Maynard is quoted as saying that "the
original budget was around $1 million so the new figure of $600,000
is not exorbitant." The DNA begs to differ. While a government known
for wasteful spending may not see this as exorbitant, the DNA understands
that this money could be used to...
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today launched a set of giant Olympic
Rings onto the River Thames as he announced a programme of cultural
events to celebrate London 2012.
From 21 July - 9 September, live music,
outdoor arts and 'pop up' events will take place throughout London. Ranging
from an original fusion of ballet and film to a floating opera, the programme
will provide extra
opportunities to get involved with the London 2012 Festival.
'We're creating the biggest festival of outdoor arts ever to
be seen in the capital, as well as fantastic new work that will throw new light
on some of our city's lesser-known landmarks and hidden gems."
Freeport, Bahamas - On the 8th of March, women, men,
and children from Grand Bahama, are set to make history by
joining together at the Garden of the Groves to celebrate International
Women's Day as they walk across the Bridge in solidarity with women,
men and children around the world who believe in peace and equality
"Join me on the Bridge"
is the biggest women's rights campaign in
the world today. What started as a gathering of Rwandan and Congolese
women on a bridge connecting their two countries, showing that women
could build bridges of peace and hope for the future, has sparked what
is today a massive global movement. Last year over 75,000 people joined
The road to gender equality is long and requires an entire dismantling of social and legal constructs, particularly in The Bahamas. Many can see that grave issues of gender inequality exist in The Bahamas - yet little can be done unless we begin to come together to hold conversations that identify the problems in order to move towards solutions.
That is exactly what The College of The Bahamas is aiming to do next week with the Women's Suffrage Movement Symposium. Under the theme "Commemorating the past, reflecting on the present, envisioning the future: 1962 and beyond", the four-day gathering brings together local and regional academics and scholars to take a long hard look at how far women's rights have come in the 50 years since they first exercised their right to vote.
"Initially what we were thinking about is this notion that while women received this right to vote in 1961 and eventually exercised it in '62, there's a sense that the movement has either been aborted or deferred," said Dr. Christopher Curry, chair of the Women's Suffrage Committee and head of the History, Religion and Philosophy Department in the School of Social Sciences at the college.
"Receiving the right to vote and citizenship did not immediately equal gender equality in The Bahamas, so there's a long struggle still continuing today for gender equality that giving women the right to vote didn't actually achieve," he continues.
Indeed women continue to suffer inequalities in every facet of society - socially, politically, and legally especially. While the global focus on women's reproductive rights have produced heated discourses that stem from fear of giving women power, in The Bahamas even the most basic rights of independently owning land and transferring citizenship onto your spouse and children and the right to legally protect oneself from sexual and physical abuse in a married relationship continue to favor men - to the great detriment of society.
After all, Curry points out, when such inequality is perpetuated, the society suffers by depriving half of its citizens with basic human rights.
"It has to do with personal empowerment - women's empowerment is essential to the full and deeper expression of democracy in The Bahamas," he said. "The fact that we don't have it in a way undermines the whole notion of us being a democratic society."
Though the symposium aims to examine the successes and failures of the last 50 years in the first part of the symposium, "The Legacy of the Women's Suffrage Movement", the discussion will then begin to take a deeper look at gender inequality as a whole in The Bahamas during the second part of the symposium. A panel of distinguished College of The Bahamas professors and academics will tackle this issue by examining male underperformance in academics, domestic violence and discourses on masculinity.
"We're moving beyond women's history to gendered history, which requires looking at both femininity and masculinity," said Curry. "Gender requires you to look at how power is played out
between men and women so you have to look at both sexes."
Indeed, taking a look at the very way in which gender is constructed into archaic notions of masculinity and femininity and how both sexes play these acts out to their detriment can shed light on problems the country faces in a world where women are gaining ground and power in fields that are still, through socially constructed notions of gender, considered to be male territory.
Such problems stem from the way the sexes are socialized in the home and in schools, points out Women's Suffrage committee member Dr. Ian Bethel-Bennett, a College of The Bahamas professor in the School of English Studies who will speak on gender discourses during the symposium.
"People often talk about male social exclusion and it's more detailed and nuanced than that - men are opting out of academia for various reasons and they're also being encouraged to opt out because they're encouraged to be the providers. So they get a job but they're not taught that at the end of the day, they're going to be limited in the future," he pointed out.
"That's where I see a lot of interpersonal violence being played out in society today because men are having a lot of difficulty with women who are shirking the traditional gender notion that have been prescribed to them and are going out and working and becoming the providers," added Curry. "So men who are socialized into that archaic notion of masculinity are saying no, they are the breadwinner; women can't do this, and so then you get a lot of that interpersonal violence as a result."
The last part of the symposium aims to find ways to push the boundaries of such limited and detrimental constructs through local and international discourse. Bethel-Bennett headed the initiative to bring several regional and international academics contributing to a journal of West Indian Literature to present their papers on gender in West Indian culture and literature, sharing global perspectives through a visit to the college or via Skype discussions on-site.
"We thought it would be a great idea to somehow connect this to the symposium because it would be a way we could get people to come and present their papers and see how they worked with the issue," said Bethel-Bennett. "From there it morphed into gender transformation and moving beyond boundaries which speaks more to the intersections of male and female/femininity and masculinity."
The panels are not the only highlights of the symposium, however - high school competitions in poetry and essay writing on the impact of the Women's Suffrage Movement are being held and the winning work shared on the first day of the schedule. A teaser for the documentary on the Women's Suffrage Movement by Marion Bethel will also be shown at regular intervals, as well as even a dramatization that will reenact the famous January 19, 1959 speech that Dame Doris Johnson gave in Maxwell Thompson's magistrate mourt.
Such a comprehensive program really aims to get at the various sources of problems in the present that stem from the past in order to build a future Bahamians wish to see and live in happily and securely.
"The idea is to bridge the past and the present to the future by problem solving and thinking critically about what is going on now, but being informed by the past," said Curry. "Hopefully then you can problem solve for the future."
The Women's Suffrage Movement Symposium will be held March 6 to 9 at the Performing Arts Centre at The College of The Bahamas. For a comprehensive schedule of events, check out The College of The Bahamas website at www.cob.edu.bs, or call 356-0244/5/6 to find out more.
KFC employees showed up for work yesterday but were met by locked doors, according to union representatives.
Secretary General of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU), Darren Woods, said employees were instructed to show up to work.
However, management failed to follow suit.
He told Guardian Business the dispute will likely take a "different stage now" as "legal minds" are brought in to make sense of the matter.
Hundreds of KFC employees have been without work since Monday, when management issued a letter to the union saying it no longer recognized its authority. A second letter detailed a new wage and benefits structure for new employees, while perks for current employees were slashed, according to the union.
Brian Nutt, a board member at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), called the situation "uncharted waters". Nutt said the employment and labor division of the BCCEC has never seen a company flat-out refuse to work with a union.
In his mind, the crucial issue at stake is the fact that KFC's management acknowledged the BHCAWU in the first place.
"The interesting thing here is you have a situation where an employer has stated it will withdraw its recognition.
Whether it was voluntary or mandated, they did recognize them in the past," he explained. "Recognition once it's given cannot be taken away so quickly. There is a process that must resolve that."
The BCCEC board member agreed that legal action is likely the next course of action in the matter. He wondered what would happen in a court of law as it relates to provisions under the Industrial Relations Act. He said this process should shed light on any wrongdoing by either party.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the BCCEC, Winston Rolle, expressed surprise and disbelief at the move by KFC's management, questioning its ability to unilaterally make such a decision.
Richard Lowe, the vice president of the Nassau Institute, told Guardian Business that "there has to be a point where they say this is crazy".
He pointed out the current situation is a lose-lose for everyone. Employees are out of work, he said, and the company is losing money by the day.
"Temperatures are running high. Someone has to settle down and say let's come to a temporary agreement to restore the status quo," he said. "This is the worst case scenario. Everyone hurts even more."
Woods said the situation is now "far reaching" for other unions in the country. The law prohibits the "intimidation" of workers, he added, and other organizations should be concerned about the treatment of KFC workers.
Woods told Guardian Business the union is now in a 'holding pattern" as it charts the next move.
"Once we regroup, we'll speak with our legal team and decide the course of action," he said.
NIB Sets Record Straight on NPDP Drugs and Payment
Nassau, Bahamas - The following is an NIB Statement on the National Prescription Drug Plan Generic Drugs and Payments:
light of recent misinformation heard on the radio airwaves with respect
to the National Prescription Drug Plan and generic drugs, The National
Insurance Board wishes, once again, to provide the public with the true
facts about prescription drugs supplied by the National Prescription
public should know that the Drug Plan's formulary of medications provides
more than 160 drugs and medical supplies for the treatment of eleven
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday praised the investment made by AML Foods Limited at the grand opening of Solomon's Fresh Market in western New Providence, adding that the market has already employed nearly 90 Bahamians.
"AML Foods Limited undertook this significant investment in a 38,000 square foot grocery store during what is recognized as the great recession, the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s," Ingraham said.
AML Foods Limited owns Domino's Pizza, Cost Right Warehouse and Solomon's Super Centre and is in discussions to bring Carl's Jr., a popular American eatery, into the country, he said.
"I believe that you have chosen wisely in locating your newest store in this portion of the western district. This area includes a new business angle, existing neighborhoods, which continue to expand, as well as new residential subdivisions."
He added that Solomon's Fresh Market will become a catalyst for other businesses to follow in the years to come.
Ingraham said Bahamians can all be proud of the fact that this new market is environmentally friendly, inclusive of building materials, air conditioning and refrigeration, and light and water usage.
He added that much progress is being made on the construction of the four-lane highway which will link Blake Road to Oakes Field and beyond to the center of Nassau, making travel to the new market much easier.
The market is located on Windsor Field Road near Lynden Pindling International Airport.
After my organization hosted the first Small Business Summit in 2009, it was evident that The Bahamas needed a national strategic plan for the development of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). However, our country for 38 years, has had a flaw for not developing a practical strategic national plan for anything (crime, economic development, immigration, etc.).
Industry leaders from the professional and medical services; manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries, wholesale merchandising and retail; construction, tourism, hospitality, commercial banks and government indicated during the 2009 Small Business Summit that an Act to developed the SME sector was far overdue.
As a result, a report was developed to identify how this SME could be formulated and implemented in an effective and efficient manner. This report, Act As One: The Importance of Stakeholders' Collaborative Efforts When Developing the Small Business Act of The Bahamas, can be viewed at http://www.markturnquestconsulting.com/Entrepreneurship.html. After consulting with the government, I applaud the Ministry of Finance team for creating the political will to develop the Bahamas SME Development Act and to create a new strategic framework to enhance the productivity level of the sector.
However, there were too many questionable decisions in 2010 on how to perform infrastructural development (mainly the road improvement works) and what formula of tax increases to apply on import duties. I hope that these two decisions will not reduce the effectiveness of the SME Development Act in the future. In 2010, the main focus to stimulate the SME sector should have been to provide incentives and concessions to mitigate the impact of the recession. There was a small window of opportunity to 'stop the bleeding' and it was not taken advantage of; hence, I witnessed hundreds of SME failures and the death of many entrepreneurial dreams. Governments must realize that sometimes negative effects of policy decisions without proper consultations are sometimes irreversible.
My main concern with the formulation process so far is that there has been limited participation by the Act's main stakeholders - SMEs. If this had occurred, then the $7,500 Jump Start Program (grant funding) would not have been given a green light. The grant is not enough and other sources of funding are required by local and international financial institutions to be pooled together to benefit new and existing SMEs.
Other concerns are as follows:
o There should be town meetings with the wider SME community in order to gather information about the major problems and opportunities facing the sector;
o In addition, there needs to be more industry-specific (construction, agriculture, merchandising, hospitality, manufacturing, technical services, tourism, hospitality, fashion design, etc.) discussions, so that local and international issues that affect individual industries could be addressed in the Act.
The formulation process of the SME Development Act needs to be evaluated and corrective measures should take place. I am aware that there were consultations with the Inter-American Development Bank, The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation and a few others, but this is not an effective way to develop such an important Act. There needs to be 'inter-stakeholder synergy'; this means that more trade organizations, banks, industry leaders and especially SME owners should be involved in the formulation process before the Act is debated in Parliament.
This inter-stakeholder synergy between the government, NGOs, trade associations, financial institutions, industry leaders and SME owners would align resources and capabilities to craft a SME Act that is meaningful to the sector. Although this Act should not precede a strategic national plan for SME development, it is a good start because our SME sector is lagging behind in competitiveness, globally.
The main policies that must be adapted by key stakeholders when diligently transforming the Act from formulation to implementation are as follows:
I. Ensure that possible amalgamation of Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Bahamas Development Bank and Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund focuses on leveraging the strengths and correcting the weaknesses of the organizations;
II. The new SME development framework that is being developed must be structured to eliminate financial and non-financial decision making based on political influences. This is the main reason why the Bahamas Development Bank is near bankruptcy;
III. Focus on Family Island development but keep the natural heritage and cultural resources of each island;
IV. Reduce the barriers that make it almost impossible for SMEs to access international funding;
V. Promote and encourage e-commerce activities and remove policies that make opening on-line merchant accounts very difficult;
VI. Adapt public policy tools to SME needs - especially facilitating SME participation in the public procurement process;
VII. Consider creating a Ministry or Department of Commerce to protect the SME sector from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and to develop strategies to improve on its five percent contribution to gross domestic product.
I. Partner with government and international leading institutions to develop comprehensive SME funding scheme (SFS) so that more financial support can be extended to SMEs;
II. The $7,500 grant that is currently being offered to a few SMEs by the government could be used as a down payment so that local and international banks, and private investors could give more meaningful funding in order to prevent business failure due to undercapitalization;
III. Focus on packaging loans extended to SMEs that have built-in accounting management, human resources and marketing support programs at an affordable cost for at least a year.
The Bahamas Chamber Of Commerce and Employers Confederation
I. Focus on providing new SMEs with more market information about various industries. The organization should partner with the College of The Bahamas and the Inter-American Development Bank to perform more market research on the economy of The Bahamas;
II. Become more visible in the SME market (over-the-hill) and remove the perception that the organization only focuses on big businesses;
III. Encourage professional and trade associations and SMEs to become more knowledgeable about the pros and cons of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
I. SMEs must be committed to acting in a socially responsible manner (paying business licenses, NIB, correct custom duties, etc.);
II. SMEs must become knowledgeable about all aspects of their business model (operations, marketing, accounting/finance, human resources, etc.);
III. All SMEs must have sound marketing, management, human resource and accounting systems. SMEs must invest in the Quickbooks Accounting Software; it is an invaluable tool for businesses.
The Bahamian consumer
At the heart of the new Act, there should be the conviction that achieving the best possible framework conditions for SMEs depends first and foremost on society's recognition of entrepreneurs.
Bahamian consumers must support the implementation of the new Act and SME framework to buy authentic Bahamian made products and discourage criminal activities that would negatively affect local SMEs. The Bahamian consumers should understand that vibrant SMEs will make The Bahamas more robust to stand against the uncertainty of business cycles (especially recessions and depressions).
Finally, framers of the initial draft of the Act must consider the following important matters:
I. Ensure that presidents of trade and professionals associations clearly identify problems that their members are experiencing from local regulations and international competitors;
II. Build in major incentives in the Act for entrepreneurial ventures that create innovative products, delivery systems, operational structures and marketing strategies in filmmaking, fashion design, e-commerce, information technology, agriculture, manufacturing, education, software development, art and handicraft;
III. Create added concessions to protect 'socially responsible' SMEs that employ over 25 Bahamians during future recessions;
IV. Provide special assistance to local SMEs that focuses highly on exporting authentic Bahamian products and creative services;
V. Provide regulatory policies to protect the management consultancy sector from unfair and unethical practices that are performed by international service providers.
I hope that the initial draft of SME Development Act is brought to the business community. The government must host a series of town meetings and workshops so that all aspects of this Act could be diligently crafted. My advice to the government is not to dilute the process, but have adequate consultation with SME owners and not to force this Act down the throats of SME owners. The government must understand that this is an important Act and not to delay communicating the contents of it to SMEs throughout The Bahamas.
In addition, members of Parliament must become more involved in the formulation of the Act. They should immediately host meetings and obtain information about the challenges and other issues that SMEs are experiencing in their constituencies. This is important so that they (MPs) can have intellectual debates when discussing this Act in the House of Assembly.
I would like for SMEs to contact me so that we can ensure that this Act is diligently formulated and implemented. To contact me call 326-6748/427-3640 or log on to www.markturnquestconsulting.com.
- Mark A. Turnquest