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News Article
Behind the Scenes of the film, Bahamian Son

Nassau, Bahamas -  In
December 2010 the independent film
companies, One Light Collective and Soul Tools Production shot the
feature
film, "Bahamian Son" at locations in Nassau; Fox Hill, Adelaide,
downtown Nassau.  The project is written and directed by Reggie
Henderson,
whose father is Bahamian and mother is from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The film
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...

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News Article
Behind the Scenes of the film, Bahamian Son

Nassau, Bahamas -  In
December 2010 the independent film
companies, One Light Collective and Soul Tools Production shot the
feature
film, "Bahamian Son" at locations in Nassau; Fox Hill, Adelaide,
downtown Nassau.  The project is written and directed by Reggie
Henderson,
whose father is Bahamian and mother is from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The film
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...

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News Article
The Facts on the National Prescription Drug Plan

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:

In
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
Drug Plan.

The
public should know that the Drug Plan's formulary of medications provides
more than 160 drugs and medical supplies for the treatment of eleven
chronic conditions...

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News Article
Giant Olympic Rings launched on the River Thames

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."

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News Article
Freeport to Hold Third Annual Join me on the Bridge in light of International Women's Day

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
for all.

 

"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
together...

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News Article
Bethel sheds light on FSB watch list

A former advisor to the Ministry of Finance is seeking to explain comments made by Barbadian Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler this week that The Bahamas has been placed on a watch list by the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
While not willing to speculate on the exact motives of Sinckler, or which list he might have been referring to, Rowena Bethel said the FSB published a report in November of last year identifying The Bahamas as having planned or requested a review of the international cooperation and exchange of information regime for its securities sector.
The same report also identified Barbados as having done the same for its banking and securities sectors.
The last time The Bahamas received a financial sector assessment review, which would have included a review of international cooperation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was 2004, she said, with the next apparently scheduled for June of this year.
She told Guardian Business, as a preliminary measure, FSB would have referred to the most recent IMF reports and information from the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to determine whether a country is meeting the international standard for cooperation.
Where the earlier report identified deficiencies in meeting this standard, the FSB has sought to obtain an update on measures taken by the country to address them.
"We get excited about lists without necessarily understanding what their purpose is," Bethel said.  "People need to understand the context under which the comments were made. The role of the FSB is to coordinate the activities of standard-setting bodies to ensure that countries are putting in regulatory measures and meeting standards. As part of their exercise, they went back and looked at the previous IMF reviews."
On February 28, Sinckler said Barbados and The Bahamas have been placed on a watch list of countries for examination by the FSB, which is an off-shoot of the Group of 20 (G-20). The minister made the comments during a visit from European Union officials.
Barbados is preparing to access million of dollars in funding to build an Institute of Financial Risk and Regulation.
"The Financial Stability Board, an offshoot of the G-20 process for the regulation and examination of financial centers, has put Barbados and The Bahamas on their list of countries for examination and for watch, even though we only control less than one percent of the resources flowing through in terms of the global financial architecture and structure," the finance minister said at the time.
The FSB report, which has been obtained by Guardian Business, provides a list of jurisdictions that have demonstrated a strong adherence to international regulations.  Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are the only Caribbean jurisdictions on this list.
Jurisdictions planning to take action on FSB recommendations include The Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Hungary and Malaysia.
Nations such as China, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Poland have already commenced efforts to sufficiently adhere to the international measures and regulations, according to the report, while FSB is in dialogue with Greece, Mauritius, Russia and Turkey.
Zhivargo Laing, the minister of finance, told Guardian Business, "We are not sure what Sinckler is talking about.  There is no new listing The Bahamas is on that causes us any concern at all," he added.

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News Article
'Reno' expects pro career to flourish

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

UNDER new management in a new environment, Taureano 'Reno' Johnson expects his young professional boxing career to flourish even more.

At the Greensboro Coliseum Saturday in North Carolina, Johnson won his second fight for the year, improving his record to 7-0 after he pulled off a unanimous decision over Joseph Benjamin.

The 31-year-old Benjamin was riding a two-win streak going into the match against the 28-year-old Johnson in a light welterweight bout.

"He was a very difficult fighter, one that I had given all, I had to knock him out because that is my main interest right now," said Johnson in an interview with ...

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News Article
Success is measured by ability to change

INDUSTRY POSITION: Vice president and chief financial officer, Foyil Asset Management; recently elected as brand ambassador at BFSB
 
What attracted you to the sector? 
With the task of researching a high school business project, I chose the topic of "Banking, the #2 industry in The Bahamas".  Initially, my interest may have stemmed from my mother and other close relatives working in the sector but upon completion of the project, I became even more excited.  From then, I wanted to be a part of that growing industry and planned my educational studies around this disposition.  I enrolled in all business courses, and once I found the right fit, I made the decision to pursue a degree in finance.  After two years of study on a government scholarship at the College of The Bahamas (COB), I traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to complete my bachelor's degree at Saint Mary's University.  Upon my return home, I started working at my present company as a junior fund accountant and within a year, I was the accountant for the firm's corporate and fund accounts.  Looking back, The Bahamas was still in its infancy as a financial services destination and the government and regulatory bodies were just commencing development of platforms to boost the industry to achieve the country's full potential.  By the time I returned, The Bahamas had made vast advancements with a fully operational stock exchange and a newly established financial services board working to further augment the industry.
 
How long have you been involved in financial services?
It has been thirteen years; I started working part time at the international banking firm, Banco Santander, while I attended COB.  This experience further motivated me to pursue my finance degree.
As it was when I made my decision to study finance as a high school student, so it is now.  I am proud to be part of a growing environment.  When I started at Foyil, the company was providing fund administration and fund management services only.  Over the past ten years, the company has expanded to provide services in Eastern Europe such as brokerage, custody and corporate finance.  This expansion not only strengthened my financial management skills but it kept me challenged and informed of the global financial environment.  In the same way that I am enthused about the growth of my company, I am inspired to see The Bahamas becoming the premier jurisdiction for financial services.
 
Why do you think you have been successful?
I do not become complacent; there is always opportunity for improvement to advance both myself and the sector. In my professional development, I saw that the financial industry would warrant more regulation, so I expanded my certification to qualify me as a money laundering reporting officer as well as a compliance officer, and gained membership in the International Compliance Association and Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers.  In addition, I have sought to be a representative for the financial industry in my role as a brand advantage ambassador.
 
What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform?

With the financial sector constantly progressing and the universe figuratively becoming smaller, being qualified requires me to keep well-informed with international evolution and regulations.  I see The Bahamas as a foremost financial services destination, and in that light, global reform affects local regulation.  It is important to attend seminars, conferences and be a part of organizations that are active in the progression of the industry.  Along with the certifications in compliance and anti-money laundering from the Manchester Business School, I have furthered my degree with a MBA with speciality in finance and accounting from the University of Liverpool.
 
What has been the biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?

Over the last five years, the global financial climate has rapidly evolved and regulations have progressed equally as swift.  In addition, the effects of the financial crisis (especially in Europe and emerging markets) require a broad spectrum of accountability and financial management.  With investors uneasy about expanding or even maintaining their current investments, and the risk management platform becoming more intense, the challenge has been to remain focused; so I reaffirmed my commitment to transparency and long-term vision. Collaboration and discussions with my colleagues and regulatory agents within the industry kept me informed thus enabling me to be innovative with expansion of services to our clients.
 
What are you currently reading or something you have recently read that has been influential?

"Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson, M.D.  This book is particularly applicable considering the changes in the environment over the last five years.  It is an amazing metaphoric outlook of how to deal with change.  Johnson sums it up well: Change happens; you should anticipate it, monitor it and adapt to it quickly.

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News Article
Nearly 90 get jobs at Solomon's Fresh Market

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.

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News Article
Small business development

Dear Editor,
 
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:
 
Government
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.
 
Commercial banks
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).
 
SMEs
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

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