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The economic downturn isn't the only reason private schools are receiving less aid from the government, according to Minister of Education Desmond Bannister, who said yesterday that the system of grants in aid to school boards has become "so skewed" that private school boards receive more money from the government than public schools.
"In this budget we will be giving the school board at the L.W. Young (Junior High School) $103,406. This is the largest grant that government has ever given to the school board at L.W. Young. We will also give the school board at the Doris Johnson High School $126,729, again the biggest grant ever given to this school board," said Bannister while contributing to debate on the 2010/2011 budget in the House of Assembly.
Instead of cutting the budget to charitable organizations and in other crucial areas, the government should have cut the $12 million it provides Kerzner International and other resort operators for marketing and public relations efforts, said Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly Obie Wilchcombe, while contributing to debate in the House yesterday on the 2010/2011 budget.
The Bahamas government signed a $1,192,651 contract with Garvin Neilly of St. George's Cay Construction Company to construct a six-classroom block addition to he Spanish Wells All-Age School, Wednesday, August 10.
The government intends to pay teachers the $3.5 million owed to them, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday.
Fitzgerald said this money is owed due to the failure of the Ministry of Education to address issues regarding reclassifications and promotions over a period of about 10 to 12 years.
Fitzgerald said when he came to office in 2012, he established a unit to determine which teachers were owed money and the amount owed.
He said the information was forwarded to the Ministry of Finance.
So far, he said, teachers received $1 million of the $4.5 million that was owed. It is unclear how many teachers are owed money.
"We will pay the teachers the remaining $3.5 million over the course of this year," he said.
"It can not be paid in a lump sum, but it will be paid in increments and we're hoping to make the first payment before the Christmas."
He said he communicated this information to Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson and officials of the union.
"So to a great extent, I am extremely bewildered, as are members of the public, as to why all of this commotion is necessary," he said, referring to industrial action ordered by the union.
"If it is focused around access to the schools and [BUT] wants to come on the grounds, they will have to accept the reality and get over it and they will have to move on...that's not going to change."
Fitzgerald said he will not compromise on his position to restrict the union from holding meetings on campuses during school hours.
Last week, Wilson ordered teachers to cease all after-school activities, claiming that the Ministry of Education failed to address outstanding issues, including the money owed teachers, and the union's inability to get permission to go on campuses during school hours.
But Fitzgerald told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that if the teachers fail to carry out after-school activities, the ministry would find others to do the job.
"With the after-school programs, the teachers and coaches who are involved in that, they are paid a stipend, so they are not doing it free," Fitzgerald said.
"So I would be very surprised that you would find any number of them who would be prepared not to get that income.
"Secondly, they are committed to those children, most of whom play on school teams. Furthermore, if they fail to do so, then we would have other people come in and take over those jobs because we have [the funds] in our budget."
The minister also addressed the issue in the House of Assembly. During his contribution to debate on a package of anti-crime bills yesterday, he said there is nothing in the union's collective bargaining agreement that gives authorization to BUT to hold meetings on campuses during school hours.
He said the ministry has no issue allowing teachers to come on these campuses after school or in cases of an emergency during school hours.
Wilson has also claimed that teachers are being mistreated, and police and security officers have intimidated union officers.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis and Minister of Labour Shane Gibson have all met with union officials to hear their concerns.
But Fitzgerald said the BUT will not convince him to change his stance on when campus meetings can be held.
"No matter how many people you go to see, that is the position," he said.
Though Nassau ends up being the hub of many artistic events in The Bahamas, Grand Bahama is making its strides. One such stride is Art Nucleus, a collective of artists who support and encourage each others' artistic practice and interact with the community through collaborative projects and events--such as 'Art'-iculate Talks, a series of artist-led talks on creative subjects.
Nassau, Bahamas - Grand Bahama East District
team of David Ferguson, Tajahnique Laing and Laquel Bodie captured the
2013 National High School Debate Championship title by defeating the
team from the South Andros and Mangrove District by a narrow margin of
1220 to 1215 points.
Prior to the debate, Director of Education,
Mr. Lionel Sands addressed the audience stating that he is pleased, that
like the National Spelling Bee, this event brings together students
from both public and private schools throughout The Bahamas. According
to Mr. Sands, it also provides us with the opportunity to see the future
leaders of our country and hear their views on topical issues affecting
The PLP Carnival of smoke-and-mirrors, make-believe and magic tricks is now on full display for all to see. When you pull back all the gimmicks and the show-and-tell it is the same Do-Nothing, Never-Ready, scandal-ridden party you kicked out of office after a single term.
I report to you tonight that the Wave of Colour Red is headed for victory! I just came from MICAL over the weekend. I went to make sure they were in the bag. We tied the bag and tagged them – they are FNM!
It was confirmed yesterday that Grand Bahama-based athletes will compete in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) Trials. Freeport native, Wayne Smith was one of the coaches who was suspended by the BAAA?last year, said the interested athletes from Grand Bahama will be in New Providence for the April 8-9 trials.
Smith is an executive in the Grand Bahama Secondary Schools Sports Association (GBSSSA) and coaches at the Bishop Michael Eldon School. While confirming the athletes participation, he also stated that no coach nor the GBSSSA?will hold an athlete hostage.
“Grand Bahama has always maintained that they will come and partak ...
One of the leading sports figures, involved in martial arts in The Bahamas, is advocating that his fraternity is best suited to bring a level of discipline to the country that would aid our social problems greatly. Grandmaster Alex Penn, who heads the Nisei Goju Ryu Program here in The Bahamas, during a recent interview, pronounced martial arts as the key to restoring social order.
"Martial arts is very important to the nation today. It best provides that element of discipline that is needed to combat our social ills. The important thing about discipline is that it forms the foundation for so much that is good for properly developing our boys and girls," said Penn.
Significant to that perspective, according to Penn, is that the better-disciplined students are those who are more inclined to be academically successful. He appealed to parents and guardians to "not be hesitant about enrolling their young charges into martial arts schools."
"I encourage the parents, guardians, teachers and all who play a role in guiding our young. We in martial arts teach the combination of the physical skills and the necessity to stay in school. All of sports provide the excellent background for discipline, but, we in martial arts are convinced that with us, there is a greater demand for discipline. Martial arts is the good clean sports way to go and will help those involved throughout their entire lives," pointed out Penn.
The backdrop of Nisei Goju Ryu is most interesting in that it encompasses a broad variety of martial arts teachings, inclusive of Goju Ryu, Jiu jitsu, Boxing, Karate and Kickboxing. Other than the high discipline concept, Penn is of the view that mat sports could be the "very foundation of even more success from sports for this country."
"I believe the future of mat events in this country is huge. More people are recognizing the value of martial arts and the associated programs. There is a large population of martial arts students and leaders in this country, and we believe we can make a huge difference if we get the kind of attention we are entitled to," said Penn.
He acknowledged however, that there should be better public relations and general marketing of martial arts.
"The president of the martial arts federation, Brian Beckford, is aware that we have to make some inroads in public relations, and he has asked me to assist in this area. We plan to network with all the different martial arts bodies. The purpose is to put together a calendar of events to be knowledgeable of what is going on throughout the fraternity. All of the martial arts schools will be invited to come together and sort of collectively develop a public relations and marketing arm. There is a thought that we could promote the entire national program under one umbrella," informed Penn.
The approach, according to him, will be stretched across the archipelago. Penn is proud of the background of Nisei Goju Ryu. It was established in 1967 with Grandmaster Frank Ruiz as the first chief. The head instructor for the system is now Herbie Thompson, who is based in Miami, Florida. Penn has been given the responsibility of the program in this country.
His resume includes all the steps leading up to achieving 10th degree status in April of this year. Penn actually started off in Jiu jitsu under the tutelage of the country's first grandmaster, Frankie Adderley, back in 1975. He got his first black belt in 1983 and quickly rose through the ranks to the highest level. Penn attributes a lot of credit to Adderley for the development and growth of martial arts in the country.
"He has been incredible in his application to our program. He is ideal for teaching and his devotion to his students has been one of the reasons the sport has grown so big. We have over 3,500 youngsters involved in the different schools in the country, New Providence and in some of the other islands," said Penn in saluting a true sporting icon.
Adderley, Penn and the others who keep the martial arts schools going across the country want greater acceptance by the Bahamian system, especially the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; the Ministry of Education and the Bahamas Olympic Committee. They deserve as much.
o To respond to this sports feature, contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a new breed of criminal in the Bahamas that "just does not care," Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said yesterday, insisting that the "carnage" persisting in the country recently cannot continue.
Speaking to the press after the launch of the police's summer camp at Grants Town Seventh Day Adventist Church, Greenslade commented on the demeanor of the criminals in The Bahamas which he said is different from criminals of the past.
He said many of the murders -- which have hit 67 for the year -- have been the result of arguments. And he lamented that robbers are committing murder for no reason other than they "just don't care."
And men account for more than 80 percent of the murders, according to statistics.
"There are persons who will take your money and not just rob you, but shoot you, kill you, maim you," Greenslade said.
"If you've robbed a person and taken their money why would you have to kill them?"
Greenslade insisted that the detection and apprehension of dangerous criminals could be increased if friends and families of those criminals assist in turning them in to police. He said, though, that the police have been successful in finding and arresting violent criminals this year.
"We have been arresting prolific offenders on a consistent basis, thousands of persons being arrested over the course of the year, hundreds of weapons taken off the street and thousands of rounds of ammunition," Greenslade said.
"There is no night that we do not knock on the doors of homes, execute search warrants and arrest people. Their names are known, their faces are known and they live on an island 21 by 7, 80 square miles.
"This is not about pointing fingers, not about being defensive; this is about waking up as a people and recognizing that we have some major problems that we have to come to terms with."
Greenslade contended that nothing is more important than getting to the young people and showing them positive role models.
Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson said in a statement released yesterday that she applauds the police's effort to come back into the schools.
"The liaison officers would be a much welcomed addition to the schools as health and safety is of paramount importance for our schools," she said.
"For the past several years, crimes such as stealing, fighting, bullying and stabbings are common occurrences on school campuses and around schools before, during and after school hours. This decision should have a positive impact on curbing criminal activities in and around schools."
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade yesterday encouraged students not to settle on an undesirable career path, when he spoke during a students' career day held at police headquarters.
Students representing New Providence schools attended the event as did members of the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) and officials of the Ministry of Education.
A live video feed broadcasting the event enabled students in Grand Bahama, Abaco, Exuma, and Eleuthera to also participate.
Greenslade urged students to make informed choices in life by using both intellectual and emotional intelligence.
"You are our hope for the future but you cannot find yourself until you first find God," Greenslade said.
"If you connect your heart with your head, you [would be able to] act like a human being who knows right from wrong and when to walk away and in many cases you have to walk away."
Greenslade also told students to be individuals and to choose career paths that they would love, even if it's an unorthodox choice, as opposed to selecting a position because of the potential earnings.
"Some of you are creative and have good unilateral thinking; play to that," he said. "There are lots of careers in this world that you can be a part of. You can be anything you want to be, but make sure that what you settle on in life is something that you like doing. If you love what you do, you will do it well and the money will come."
He added, "Don't force this thing and feel you have to look like another man or woman and you have to speak that way. [Not] everyone will be a good singer; some people will be good at mathematics and some will hate it. Again, play to your strengths."
Kareem Bowe, an official from the Scholarships and Educational Loans Division of the Ministry of Education, reminded students of the advantages of achieving good grades in school. He also promoted the importance of parents investing time in their children's career choices.
"If you don't have a plan you cannot do anything," Bowe said. "When you plan your career it is similar to construction; you need a foundation first and your foundation is school."
He pointed out that having all the right contacts when entering the working world would not necessarily gain an individual his or her desired career path or salary.
"There is a saying that once you know someone you will go places," Bowe said. "That is true until you arrive at the place that you want to go. In the public service anyone will tell you that the way your salary is decided is according to your qualifications."
Administrator of the Scholarship and Educational Loans Division Reginald Saunders, who also attended the event, advised students of the opportunities available to them through a number of scholarship programs.
These include the National Technical Training Scholarship, the National Scholarship Award and the National Merit Scholarship, among other grants and bursaries.
"The Government of The Bahamas is the largest provider of scholarships in the country. This year we provided over $12.5 million worth of scholarships to young people, which everyone has access to," Saunders said.
"Gone are the days where we are pushing you to become doctors and lawyers. In another four years we are going to need over 6,000 people in the hotel industry when the Baha Mar project is finished," he stated.
The $2.6 billion Baha Mar Resort is expected to be completed in Dec 2014.
A number of events will take place during October as a part of National Career Awareness Month. They will include training and communication sessions for students in order to gain more in depth information about career offerings.
Some sessions will allow students to engage in discussion with people who are passionate about their career choice.
October is also recognized as National Youth Month.
NASSAU, The Bahamas --- The Women’s Suffrage Movement is one of the signature events in the country’s history that Bahamians must never be allowed to forget, Minister of Social Services and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie S. Griffin said.
Members of the Haitian-Bahamian community encouraged the government to take a firm position on the regularization of children born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents.
Luvy Jean, founder of Univision, a community-based service organization, said the constitution should be amended to remove what he called gray areas regarding those eligible for automatic citizenship.
Jean made the recommendation to the Constitutional Commission yesterday.
"Reduce and remove politics associated with citizenship," Jean said. "Children born in The Bahamas to legal foreign parents while living in The Bahamas should be Bahamian citizens.
"An example is, if a child is born to two legal teachers, two foreign teachers from Guyana, and they were to have a child in The Bahamas, that child should be a Bahamian at birth."
Children born in The Bahamas do not automatically become citizens, but the constitution provides that children born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamians can apply for citizenship on their 18th birthday or within the following 12 months.
Those children can receive a public school education and healthcare, but Vice-President of Univision Jeannette Jean said those children, who can be denied citizenship, are barred from contributing to society.
A child born to a foreign woman and a Bahamian man automatically receives citizenship at birth regardless of the place of birth.
The same cannot be said for children born to a Bahamian woman and a foreign man, where the child takes on the father's citizenship.
"Foreigners...when they come to The Bahamas, they have children," she said. "The Bahamas educated these children, they send them to the public schools likewise. They give them public healthcare and after investing for so long it is only fair that The Bahamas should get a return.
"And it is only fair for these children to give back to the community, but like I mentioned before, because of the present laws it is difficult for The Bahamas to get as much in return from these individuals."
According to the 2010 census, of the 351,000 people living in The Bahamas, 40,000 were Haitian, making up more than 60 percent of foreigners living in the country.
Jean suggested the government set a date, and after that period children born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents should assume the nationality of their parents and be deported to their country of origin.
"I think it is only fair because of the present law that we have. We already have children born in The Bahamas," she said.
She noted the regularization process typically takes between two and six years meaning citizenship may be granted when a person reaches age 24.
According to data in the birth report collated from 1970 to 2010, while births among most foreign women have dropped in the past four decades, from around 30 percent in 1970 to about 18 percent in 2010, the birth rate among Haitian women in The Bahamas has nearly doubled during that period.
Jean said Haitians living in the country face a unique plight. She argued although they make up the majority of foreigners in The Bahamas, because of challenges in gaining citizenship and ongoing discrimination, there are generations of stateless individuals.
Jean said those people do not feel a part of Bahamian society nor do they feel welcome although they were born in this country.
The commission's report is expected to be presented to government in June.
Expert Harbor project irrelevant to beach erosion
PLP counsel makes final submissions in Election Court
Tourist dies during dive
Police investigating Doctor accused of rape
Man's body washes ashore
Magistrate's car vandalized
Hotel owners plead guilty to not having work permits
Police seeking to work with security firms
Suspected asbestos piping discovered on Blue Hill Road
No relief yet from mold for ministry employees
FNM chairman says party won't name candidates yet
Minnis: Violent crime impacting healthcare system
Police shoot suspect
Woman facing fraud charge
Man on murder charge denied bail
Cool weather for a couple of days
Glass company closes, 50 face unemployment
Doctor charged with rape
Prime Minister plans review of Election Court decision
Duane Sands looking forward to 2012 Elizabeth election
Bus driver and mother charged in sexual assault case
BEC wants to save you money
Former gang member speaks out
Three armed robberies and stabbing
One-month jail sentence for loiterer
Police find 15 pounds of marijuana
Once again, Gunite Pools is sponsoring the annual Swift Swim Meet. This marks the 21st year of the meet, and Gunite Pools has been there as a corporate sponsor from the beginning.
The meet is scheduled for Saturday, January 21 at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex. It will offer heats, timed finals, and finals in all age groups.
Who says you will have to wait until the London Olympic Games to see top level gymnasts soar through the air, and then stick a perfect landing? Well, you don't. Over the next two days local and international gymnasts will give it a 'twirl' at Atlantis Crown Gymnastics Invitational.
Baptist Bishop Simeon Hall said yesterday that homosexuals ought not to be demonized by homophobic clergy, but they, like anyone else, should be invited to the church to, "experience the transforming power of God."
"Over the last three days, three young men contacted me since I made this statement to all those with a sexual orientation to seek help," said Hall at a Rotary Club of West Nassau luncheon at Graycliff.
"One of these men came to my office on Tuesday evening, the other on Wednesday and the other has an appointment.
"Their painful and sordid stories were frightening, but my response to them was pastoral."
In a statement on Monday, Hall urged homosexuals to seek help to turn away from their "non-productive and deadly practice".
Hall said yesterday, "I do not demonize anyone, their sexual preference notwithstanding.
"But what I find disturbing is men absent, men unable to take care and provide for their families, men dying and leaving children to fend for themselves and men infecting their partners with HIV/AIDS.
"All this negatively contributes to a society already on the edge of disintegration."
Hall claimed that the sexual practice of men who have sex with men (MSMs) is negatively impacting the growth and development of The Bahamas.
"If this sexual practice [has led] to an increase of 14 percent of our men contracting HIV/AIDS, then it is clear that this practice, which, by the way, can produce nothing, is now...deadly and is a threat to our national infrastructure."
Hall released his statement on Monday in response to a Nassau Guardian article that revealed that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in The Bahamas among MSMs is near 14 percent, which is nearly double the eight percent documented in 2008 by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
"All over this nation leaders are crying about the absence of men; the church, the schools [and] young women looking for strong 'male men' to marry them," Hall said yesterday.
"My appeal, therefore, is to the homosexual community to seek help so that they can play their God ordained role in our communities already distressed with crime, social distress and disorder."
The Government of The Bahamas is co-sponsoring the 2011 Caribbean HIV Conference at Atlantis Resort. The conference opens today and ends Monday.
The Commonwealth of Nations has a notable sports legacy. The Commonwealth Games Federation has been the pacesetter. The federation organizes and controls the Commonwealth Games.
This was the forum that helped significantly to launch The Bahamas' sports power image. The late Tommy Robinson's legacy is built around his phenomenal achievement at the Commonwealth Games of Cardiff, Wales in 1958. His half-lap sprint gold and the silver for the 100 yards dash highlighted a representation that introduced The Bahamas to a great portion of the world as a growing sports presence.
Four years later, he won the second of his short sprint silver medal "trifecta" at the Commonwealth Games of 1962 in Perth, Australia. In 1963, Gomeo Brennan captured the British Empire (Commonwealth) middleweight boxing title and actually became a "two-time" champion. Over the subsequent years, the Commonwealth Games has been a springboard situation for the careers of many other local track and field athletes. In boxing, there have been three Commonwealth champions since Brennan. So, the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Commonwealth Boxing Council (CBC) have been instrumental in the development process and exposure for the national sports program in this country.
There is a third prominent Commonwealth sports element in the mix that has gone largely unnoticed in The Bahamas. I refer to the Commonwealth Sports Awards. Founded by the Jamaican-born resident of Great Britain, Al Hamilton, MBE, the Commonwealth Sports Awards platform is very much an institution now.
This past October, Hamilton partnered with associates in Trinidad and Tobago for the hosting of the 30th version of the sports awards extravaganza. He is to be saluted for being the driving force behind an important part of the Commonwealth sports excellence mix. As the Bahamian sports industry expands, more focus should be given to the Commonwealth Sports Awards.
On awards night, Hamilton, during his address, offered a compelling appeal for "goodwill" in the Commonwealth of Nations.
"During the past 30 years, the Commonwealth Games, the showpiece of the Commonwealth, may have lost its sparkle. Most young people are not aware of the relevance of the Commonwealth today. We have a calendar Commonwealth Day, the highlight of which is a message from Her Majesty The Queen. Surely, there is scope for much more. Why not dedicate the rest of the week (at Commonwealth Day time) to further activities? We had pen-pals in schools, why not email-pals, fostering goodwill across the Commonwealth, sharing life experiences and culture at the click of a button? Remember, our young women and men of today are 'he prime ministers of tomorrow. It is incumbent on us as custodians to work tirelessly to preserve this 'brand' for posterity. Procrastination is the theft of time," said Hamilton.
That's most inspiring. It's a call to arms from a deep-rooted Commonwealth fraternity member. I have long held the conviction that the Commonwealth Diaspora has not progressed over the years with strength, as ought to have been the case. In truth, the Commonwealth Games once held the secondary position on the world sports stage, behind only, the Olympic Games.
A Commonwealth boxing title was once cherished mightily. Only an actual world title had more rank. Now there are countless minor world and regional titles that do battle for prominence with a Commonwealth championship. So yes, I support Hamilton's vigorous invite for the "fostering of goodwill" in the Commonwealth of Nations through sports.
Best wishes Al, for the continued success of the Commonwealth Sports Awards!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Many times people can observe problems in their society, but few can put forth the resources and time needed to resolve them.
In 2008, a group of students wanted to make a difference in their community where so many people went to bed hungry while good food was discarded. Spearheaded by Alanna Rodgers, they formed the humanitarian organization, Hands for Hunger, and set out to resolve the problem.
"They asked: How can we bridge the gap between hunger in the community and food waste?" says Executive Director of the non-profit, Yolanda Darville.
Modeled after City Harvest out of New York City and Second Harvest out of Canada, Hands for Hunger simultaneously rescues food from local restaurants and redistributes them to centers who can reach the hungry.
Years after its inception, Hands for Hunger can measure their success in pounds--with their refrigerated trucks, they've provided 300,000 pounds of food to their community, and on average, every week they rescue and redistribute up to another 2,000--that's enough food for 2,000 people.
"We're proud to have been able to provide 300,000 meals to Bahamians," says Darville. "It's even more amazing when you think about how that's all food that could have been thrown away."
Indeed, by partnering with hotel restaurants -- like those found in Atlantis, the Sheraton at Cable Beach and the Wyndham Nassau Resort -- and local restaurants such as Starbucks, Subway and Sbarro's, they can provide discarded food to eighteen local doner centers, including the Salvation Army, Urban Renewal Kemp Road and Great Commission Ministries International.
It's a mission that for Darville, who just began working for the organization in March, is truly inspired by.
"One of the first things I did when I came on board was ride on the trucks and see what happens every day when food is picked up and delivered," she says. "It was so exciting to see -- I remember at Great Commission Ministries, people were actually running to the trucks and they were so excited to see us and they wanted to help us offload the food and they were saying thank you."
"It just hit home for me that even though The Bahamas is a wealthy country, there are still so many people in need and they're just so grateful someone is stepping up to help."
Though the focus for Hands for Hunger began on food rescue, they're now also turning their attention to education and research, pushing for a food security assesment in the nation.
A little research has been completed in that area, and they've been looking at a variety of factors that influence food security, including food importations and farming, so as to eradicate hunger at its root.
At the same time, they're going into schools and local communities to educate people about the realities of hunger in the community. On October 15th, designated World Food Day, they'll partner with the Ministry of Agriculture for a day of awareness, educating the public about food insecurity.
"That's something we're really trying to educate the public about--why do we have the issue of hunger in The Bahamas in the first place and what can we do about that?" Darville says.
"There's currently no research and there's no expert you can go to, so what we're trying to do is be one of the forces pushing for change so that we do have that assessment in the country, we can see what the issues are and how we can change them."
Yet they don't plan to drop their food rescue program anytime soon--in fact, they're pushing for more corporate involvement for the community.
With their new volunteer resources and corporate partnerships coordinator joining the team, they hope to attract local businesses who want to make a difference much like Starbucks did earlier this year during their international initiative, Global Month of Volunteerism Campaign, collecting donations from patrons for a local organization.
"We were told by Starbucks that the reason they wanted to partner with us is because they know we partner with 18 recipient agencies we donate the food to--so really by partnering with us, they were able to partner with 18 organizations all at once," says Darville.
"We know that there are many companies that want to do something with their employees," she continues. "They're into corporate social responsibility but they don't have the time to coordinate things -- companies are more likely to do it if you're organized to coordinate it, so we're excited about that opportunity."
They also hold fundraisers and reach out to the community for assistance through their annual events Paradise Plates and their bread and soup booth at Jollification every year.
Yet, Darville says, no matter their expansion or direction, the organization is truly driven by their many tireless volunteers--over 400--who give their time loading trucks, taking pictures, and putting any of their skills to use for the organization that makes such a difference in the lives of many Bahamians.
"I just love seeing all sectors of the community come together," says Darville. "One of the things I love is that we're constantly being approached by people who want to volunteer. It's great to see -- it's so heartwarming to see people who want to make a change."
For more about Hands for Hunger, visit their website at www.handsforhunger.org.
Do you know someone who positively impacts your community? Contact us to share their story!
Too often, art classes act in an "academic vacuum" said College of The Bahamas art instructor, John Cox. To give his advanced students experience in the local art world and to "breathe life into the art program" at The College of The Bahamas, he helps them plan and carry out site-specific art pieces.
The latest location is the new building at The College of The Bahamas, the state-of-the-art Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre - fitting since Harry C. Moore was a lifelong patron of the arts.
"I think a lot of people don't know what a supporter of the arts he was and these pieces bring attention to it," said Cox. "It presents a present and future effort to make the library a monument to contemporary visual expression."
Over the next few weeks, Arts&Culture will be examining the installations in this library by his Art 400: Advanced Painting students.
Located just to the right when entering the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at The College of The Bahamas is a cascade of a thousand cranes illuminated behind glass.
The display adds a thoughtful cultural element to the institution with its impressive undertaking of ancient Japanese art of paper folding, Origami. Yet behind such a breathtaking display is a single artist's focused intention through the symbolic act of folding paper cranes to change her path.
Artist Amy Collins set about the task of folding the 1,000 cranes out of paper for her project after her experience with Origami for another assignment, yet the task became more about process than product.
"I researched and the Origami crane has a lot of history - in my research I found a saying that if you fold a thousand cranes, you get your greatest wish," she said. " I had been going through a rough patch in my life. I was in the education program and I didn't want to be - I was searching for a way out."
"When I started making these I kind of found a new beginning - I was offered an apprenticeship for tattoo design and I'll be starting that in May and hopefully then coming home and having my own shop next year," she continued. "So it actually did help me make decisions. You sit there and folding and folding and folding, so you have a lot of time to think."
Some may already know the story of the young Japanese girl Sadako Sasaki who popularized folding one thousand paper cranes to gain a wish, said Collins. After being exposed to radiation from one of the atom bombs dropped over Japan in the Second World War, Sasaki aimed to fold a thousand paper cranes. She died before she could complete the task, so her classmates folded the remaining amount, and the act - along with Sasaki's story - has become a testament to world peace.
"That was one of the stories I came upon and thought it was touching. It was one of the stories I took inspiration from and thought I'd give it a try," said Collins. "It was a great teacher in patience and learning patience."
As hanging one thousand cranes in a space is believed to be a lucky charm, having this piece itself in the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Center is no error, says the artist.
With each color symbolizing a wish - red for love and friendship, purple for bravery, and white and cream for purity and good intention - Collins hopes the installation positively impacts the students working in the space as much as making them impacted her.
"I wanted it to be in here because I wanted people to take something from it," said Collins. "I wanted them to be in a place where it represents how people feel when they are in schools and making decisions."
"I hope people will see their journey will be a beautiful thing if they work hard enough. I'd like people to see them and feel a sense of calm."
The number of job possibilities in the medical field is easily in the thousands, according to a leading lecturer and physician, and the country must do more to highlight these opportunities for Bahamians.
Dr. Robin Roberts, the director of the University of West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research in The Bahamas, made this appeal ahead of the Grand Bahama Business Outlook next week.
Roberts will serve as a speaker to stress the potential of healthcare to cure high unemployment.
The subject is perhaps a timely one.
Herbert Brown, the managing director at the Public Hospitals Authority, told Guardian Business late last year that up to $700 million will be spent on healthcare in the next 15 years. In fact, the $75 million expansion of the critical care block at Princess Margaret Hospital has already begun, as well as other extensions and upgrades to medical facilities in Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
Meanwhile, according to recent figures from the Department of Statistics, the unemployment rate currently stands at 15.9 percent.
Roberts said this expansion and an aging population means The Bahamas must truly double its efforts to provide employment opportunities in the field.
Because at the moment, he said, Bahamians aren't getting the message.
"I don't know whether it is the schools aren't preparing them, or Bahamians are simply not aware," he said.
"The job opportunities for growth in the industry are phenomenal. We really need to double our efforts. We need to look at what is happening in our schools. That's where our efforts need to be. We need a much more aggressive and visible campaign."
To illustrate his point, Roberts said he is currently a lecturer at the College of the Bahamas. Although there is a "significant shortage" of pharmacists in the country, the class is often under-represented - even when scholarships are available.
Too many jobs in the healthcare field are occupied by foreigners to make up for the lack of skills, he said, and those that do well often end up in North America in the search for higher paying jobs.
He felt the country needs to make a commitment to jobs in the medical field.
Roberts noted that there are misconceptions that healthcare jobs only involve specialized occupations that require a great deal of schooling. He said a wide variety of positions are needed and available in the field.
"The beauty of healthcare jobs, is these are professions where you are working on the job site within two years," he said.
"I can't say offhand exactly how many jobs there are, but we're really into the thousands."
In regards to medical tourism, Roberts told Guardian Business that is "a whole new ball game".
He saw tremendous potential in this area as a means to generate jobs and revenue for the country, particularly for older retirees looking to settle down in a warm climate close to North America.
"When they are migrating and looking for retirement, the first question they ask is healthcare," he said. "If the investment is made in the industry, I think you'll see we can really take advantage of this."