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The United States has again urged The Bahamas to expand anti-money laundering protocols in light of an expected growth in the gaming sector this year and the "possible" legalization of web shops...
The Bahamas remains virgin territory when it comes to shared ownership (as timeshare is increasingly becoming known), and as a destination with the potential to see booming business in that market, Neil Kolton, director of resort sales and marketing for Interval International, said he was concerned about the ability of the destination to consistently deliver value for money.
"It's a competitive landscape out there," Kolton told Guardian Business. "It's all about value."
Kolton spoke at the 16th Shared Ownership Investment Conference, held in Miami Beach
"The Bahamas is a very unique market in that [it] has so many different types of product offerings and so many different types of destinations it can offer," he said.
"There's no other destination that can offer such a broad range of types of locations and products and types of experiences."
In addition to that range of potential experiences, the ability to pre-clear customs, the presence of a "reasonable" volume of airlift and good infrastructure give the destination a broad appeal to a large segment of the leisure traveling population.
Kolton noted that the shared ownership properties in The Bahamas continue to generate robust sales - hundreds of millions, he said.
"It is a market that is definitely under-served. If you look at Nassau, just about every timeshare resort in Nassau is sold out, or mostly sold out. There's a definite opportunity for developing more product," he said.
Still, despite a generally positive view of the destination, Kolton admitted there are some challenges, particularly in terms of delivery of value for money in some of the older properties.
Some timeshare properties in The Bahamas have had challenges maintaining, upgrading and renovating on an ongoing basis, he said.
"How much of a negative impact does that have on someone who takes their precious vacation week or two once a year that they get, spend a heck of a lot of money to get to the island and the property's rundown, in disrepair, they're not getting the vacation experience or the hospitality or the level of service that they expected, right? They're never going to come back to that destination."
He added that in an information age, the speed with which information is disseminated -- through social media, email and other Internet applications -- should be taken into account along with bad word of mouth.
"That's something that can really tarnish the brand," Kolton said, referring to older properties that are poorly maintained and do not give value for money. "That's my main concern for The Bahamas."
Kolton's company, Interval International, operates membership programs for vacationers and provides value-added services to its developer clients worldwide.
Interval has an exchange network of nearly 2,900 resorts in more than 80 nations.
Through offices in 16 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and about 2 million families who are enrolled in various membership programs.
Interval provides its members -- vacation owners from around the world -- with comprehensive exchange services and a variety of other exciting benefits that offer value and convenience at home and on the road.
Interval-associated properties in The Bahamas include the Island Seas Resort (GB), the Freeport Resort and Club (GB), the Ocean Reef Resort and Yacht Club (GB), the Paradise Island Beach Club (PI) and the Harborside Resort at Atlantis (PI).
When the House of Assembly last met the prime minister repeated a foolish statement which he first said at the launch of his candidates in Grand Bahama: that the PLP has lots of money and that they (voters) must take the PLP's money and vote FNM.
While there is a role for fun, jokes and humor in politics, this is no time in such a grave economic climate to make such a joke. Fun and games need to be put aside. The serious and underlying message of the comment is to support political prostitution. We have enough of the evil influence of money on our politics for a prime minister to be engaged in this tomfoolery.
The PLP's campaign is adequately funded. The PLP is not a rich organization but it can and will meet the ordinary expenses of running a general election. It can match the ordinary expenses of an election in a fair competition with the FNM. But we must remember that this is an FNM going into a general election with its coffers fat and brimming from all the multi-million dollar contracts that it has given to its supporters, lining their pockets with the treasury's money. The PLP cannot match that form of corruption in politics. Nor is it in the business of corrupting elections like the UBP and its successor the FNM have repeatedly done.
The PLP is poised to win this general election and voters should not be fooled by the prime minister's reverse psychology. It is the FNM's intention to buy support given their desperate political situation. I as a PLP will fight this at every turn with every fiber in my being. Ingraham and his party are bad for The Bahamas and must go.
- Fred Mitchell, MP
Ways to save money on food shopping: How to eat cheap, but healthfully, despite rising grocery costs
According to general practitioner Dr. Patrick Whitfield, the cost of living continues to pose challenges to Bahamians. He said food, housing and access to efficient transportation...
EDITOR, The Tribune.
Any money spent in a community for the residents of that particular community can be considered money well spent however, looking at the park one can see that it is in a deplorable state. Discredit should not be on Honourable Branville McCartney but the uncaring and destructive residents who have no self-respect and pride for their community. Oftentime when parks are repaired the very next day equipment is stolen or destroyed. With individuals of that nature no amount of money is ever sufficient.
September 14, 2010.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage and Minister of Labour Shane Gibson last night blamed the Ingraham administration for alleged abuses involving the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA).
The MPs made the charge in the House of Assembly after Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn claimed the government is not being transparent regarding the PHA issues.
But a forensic audit into the PHA pharmaceuticals and medical supplies covers both the Ingraham and Christie administrations.
The audit notes: "This report covers the period July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2013 with the mention of earlier periods for trend and horizontal analysis."
The Nassau Guardian reported on Monday that the audit revealed that at the end of 2013, there was a $10 million difference in pharmaceutical inventory between the physical count and what is reflected in the Princess Margaret Hospital's (PMH) computer system.
The government has not yet tabled the report in Parliament.
Lightbourn said the government "does not seem to feel that, that is something, which requires urgent attention".
Rising to his feet, Nottage, a former minister of health, shot back, "The money was lost during their administration."
"It was during their administration. And who was it that ordered the audit? This administration.
"That's how we know what it is. You all lost the money. Tell us where it is."
Gibson claimed the report covers the period between 2009 and 2012.
"We were not the government," he said on a point of order.
"They were the government. The report was submitted last year.
"The person, who was the minister of health at the time, is to his (Lightbourn) direct left: The member for Killarney (Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis).
"So we are concerned. That is why we are the ones who initiated the report. The report covered the period when they were in office, not us."
But Lightbourn said the report noted that the pharmaceuticals that were unaccounted for were for the year 2013.
"I don't know what the member for Bains Town and Grants Town (Nottage) is talking about," Lightbourn said.
"The report was up to the December 31, 2013. They were in power."
The auditor quotes a separate report produced by the hospital's Internal Audit (IA) Department.
It gave a "scathing report on the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Inventory and Pharmacy year-end count for 2013".
"Sample results revealed that an excess of $10 million in inventory did not physically exist in the pharmacy during the year, but remained in [the computer system]," the IA's report says.
The forensic report says there has been no satisfactory explanation for this.
While the IA audit covered the period of 2013, an earlier audit by an outside auditor for the year ended June 30, 2012 "noted numerous differences in the quantity of inventory items between physical count and the inventory report".
The audit gives multiple findings that cover periods under the Ingraham administration and other periods under the Christie administration.
For instance, it pointed to another audit for fiscal years 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 that says PHA controls were circumvented to give a certain company an unfair advantage that led to "advance payments, outstanding deliveries, increased expenditure and a loss of funds".
The forensic audit said, "The PHA must establish uniform policies, procedures and standards that demonstrate high ethical standards".
Last night, Lightbourn noted that Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez declined to comment on the report.
"So you can understand why we are concerned with the way in which this government deals with money," Lightbourn said.
"We want to know what it is going to be used for. We want accountability, transparency. There is no transparency in this country at this time. Not ever. We hide everything."
Minnis also did not comment on the matter even after Lightbourn raised it in the House and the ministers charged abuses happened under the Ingraham administration.
BAHAMAS Electricity Corporation Executive Chairman Leslie Miller said yesterday he does not understand the controversy surrounding the $100,000 cash payment his daughter made toward an electricity bill for his family-owned business last week because "money is money".
By CHESTER ROBARDS
Tribune Senior Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party deputy leader Philip "Brave" Davis challenged Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to reveal where the PLP's alleged "dirty money" is coming from.
Davis said Mr Ingraham has suggested that the PLP has been receiving campaign funding through unscrupulous sources.
During his address at the opening of his party's Southern Shores constituency office he asked the Prime Minister to directly name these sources.
"I don't know what he means when he says that the PLP is getting dirty money," he said. "Who we getting dirty money from and when?"
Davis mentioned Victor Kozen ...