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A regional youth expedition may be over but the friendships formed and the lessons learnt over the two weeks live on.
The Caribbean Award Sub-Regional Council (CASC) Adventurous Journey wrapped up Sunday (August 12), at St John's College. The official closing ceremony was held Saturday (August 11).
It is not unusual to have two murders in one day. The nation has seen three murders in one day and the shooting of an 11 year old boy and a 69 year old grandmother in separate home invasions recently. Multiple murders are becoming increasingly common in the crime wave of brutal murders that have left the nation numb. We have seen nine murders committed in one week. Something must be done to curb this evil and bring an end to the bloodshed. With all of the progress and advancements we have experienced in an independent Bahamas over the past forty years, we have lost the thing that is most important in the building of our nation, the family...
The president of the London-based Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) has called on the prime minister to support the development of The Bahamas as a center for international arbitration, by committing to investment in the "intangible" parts of the economy as much as the physical.
Intervening at the National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce, held at SuperClubs Breezes yesterday, Michael Stephens said that The Bahamas has "significant legal, financial and maritime services which are there to be capitalized on".
Stephens is in The Bahamas to participate in the Pre-ICCA (International Council for Commercial Arbitration) conference, set to begin tomorrow.
Stephens made his comments following a speech by Prime Minister Perry Christie, who spoke of the $100 million investment his government intends to make in Andros.
Stephens told Christie: "I was delighted to hear of the government's intention to invest $100 million in infrastructure.
"The comment that I may make is this: infrastructure includes not just lengthening the runways, building schools and other tangible structures, it also includes investment in services. In The Bahamas you have significant legal, financial and maritime services which are there to be capitalized on.
"I was quoted in The Tribune this morning as saying there is now hope that The Bahamas will become an international arbitration hub in the next three to five years. The comment I would offer to you is could the government be mindful when investing that it is not just the buildings, it is also the invisible services that could also bring great economic benefits to the community."
In an interview with Guardian Business, Stephens called for arbitration to "become part of the judicial training, part of the court rules, and certainly to become a technique that is well-known in the community" in The Bahamas.
"It will have benefits not just for the international economic aspect in the Bahamas but also for community relations and therefore for the domestic economy as well," he said.
Stephens said that ultimately it would help the cause if the government would consider establishing a "dedicated facility" for arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.
Responding to Stephen's public comments at the conference, Christie said he too agreed that infrastructural development must encompass more than the tangible, and added that he is "excited about the possibilities of arbitration", even discussing the possibility of making Grand Bahama the home for such a center.
"We are trying to really move in 20 different areas at one time all with a view of really positioning our country to be positioned in a maximum way with respect to new products," he added.
Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder in an address later on during the conclave, also stated that the government supports the development of the country as a center not only for trade-related arbitration, but also for financial and maritime matters, and for domestic arbitration.
"It will create efficiencies for the operation of businesses and members of the Chamber," said Pinder.
Providing an example of when The Bahamas could become a choice location for a trade-related arbitration matter, Pinder pointed to a case where a business in Florida trades with a business in Brazil, and they end up in a dispute.
In such a case, the Florida business may not want the dispute arbitrated in Brazil, and vice-versa, out of concerns over bias, and therefore would choose The Bahamas as a geographically close and neutral site for arbitration.
Pinder suggested that the development of The Bahamas as an arbitration center would complement his ministry's efforts to further the amount of trade done by this country. At present, said Pinder, his ministry believes The Bahamas can find ways to expand its trade in goods with the outside world through a "value-added trade strategy" that would involve sourcing components from all over the world and putting them together in The Bahamas for re-export.
The minister said a study has been commissioned by the government with the Organization of American States (OAS) that will further explore the possibilities in this regard.
The Pre-ICCA conference will be held in Nassau tomorrow at the British Colonial Hilton under the theme "The emergence of The Bahamas as an international arbitration center - complementing the Americas."
It is free and open to the public.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) revealed today the list of referees set to officiate the matches of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"We are proud to have gathered such an elite group of referees to oversee the integrity of every game during Gold Cup," said Enrique Sanz, General Secretary of CONCACAF. "We look forward to seeing the best the region has to offer on the field, both players and match officials during this tournament...
Confederation commits to development, sets the foundation for future education programs.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) launched its first D License coaching course today in Mexico City, serving to reinforce the governing body's vision and commitment to education, so that the standard of the game can be raised throughout the region...
THE LOVE Yourself and Your Health campaign will continue for its second year - renewing a commitment to "encourage, empower, and ignite" a cultural shift in Bahamian people towards healthy living.
In addition to giveaways, demos and recipes, music, and discounts on health services and veggie food, organisers have also added a Green Smoothie Challenge which will afford participants an opportunity to win a three-month healthy living assistance package for 2011.
The Love Yourself Wellness Package will include a health assessment, one meal per day, green smoothies, natural health and beauty products and a host of health services such as, massage therapy, physical training, acupuncture, and chiro ...
When you hear about cancer treatment, you traditionally hear about patients undergoing surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. You may even hear about biological therapy, hormonal therapy and anti-angiogenesis treatment. But what is often missing from traditional treatment is diet, exercise, stress management, side effect maanagement and caregiver support and training to assist with the physical and emotional needs of the patient and their loved ones, according to cancer survivor Dr. Kathryn DeSouza, who also happens to be the only practicing physiatrist in The Bahamas.
"We didn't hear anything about diet," said Dr. DeSouza, who recently went through treatment herself. "It's really important when you have cancer to review your diet, because there are many things that can actually make your diet worse; or even if you have a history of cancer in your family, may increase your predisposition to cancer."
An example in breast cancer, she said, has shown that there is a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer and that breast cancer survivors or people with a family history of breast cancer should probably either not drink, or limit their alcohol intake to one or two drinks a week. She also noted that there is also possibly a link with dairy and soy, ingredients that people should consider going without when they have breast cancer. The other nutritional aspect to cancer, she said, is that sometimes during treatment people don't feel like they can eat, and don't have a taste for anything and they lose weight and get weak. She said looking at their nutrition to offer some advice as to what foods may be more palatable to them is also important.
Speaking at the recent Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series on cancer rehabilitation and wellness, the physiatrist who serves as a liaison between the oncology team and the rehabilitation team likens herself to the contractor who coordinates the home restoration after the fire is put out by the fireman (oncologist).
Importance of exercise
Dr. DeSouza also cited the importance of exercise for cancer patients as she said oftentimes they lose muscle because they might have long periods in bed, may not be eating well or just might not be up to doing their regular activity. She said exercise could improve a patient's heart and lung function in cancer, as some of the drugs used in cancer treatment can affect heart function and some diseases can affect lung function. Ensuring that they get in exercise, she said, could also increase patients' endurance, which is important as it provides more energy to complete activities of daily living. Exercise can also improve a patient's mood, which is an important part of cancer rehab.
"Stress management... relaxation exercises, yoga are important in breast cancer rehabilitation, and are often not thought of when you think of traditional cancer treatment techniques," she said. "Lifestyle management is also incredibly important [because] when you have cancer and are tired from your chemotherapy, you need to know how to prioritize, what really needs to get done, and what you need to ask help for from someone, and what you cannot do. If you do not get the chance to mop the floor, it's probably not the end of the world, so you have to prioritize and make sure that you have the energy to do what really needs to get done and what's important to you to get done."
Cancer patients often have to incorporate rest periods into their day. And those people who may still be working should assess whether their work places can accommodate them needing to take breaks during the day, or not having to climb stairs.
The number of side effects from the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, she said, have to be managed and can often be easily done with interventions like exercise and physiotherapy.
She said one aspect to cancer rehabilitation and wellness that is often neglected is caregiver support; the focus is centered on the person with cancer, but the person who is taking care of the person with cancer also requires support.
Cancer rehabilitation is a process that assists cancer patients with obtaining maximum physical, social, psychological and vocational functioning within the limits created by the disease and its resulting treatment. It is necessary in treatment the world over, but even more so in The Bahamas where the statistics are frightening. In The Bahamas one in 10 women will develop breast cancer, and the average age of a Bahamian woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer is 42. In other countries, it's in the 60s. Twenty-three percent of Bahamian women also carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. And the person who has this gene mutation has a much higher level of having aggressive, early cancer said Dr. DeSouza.
The Bahamas has the highest proportion of breast cancer mutations in the world, and the most people with the gene mutation.
"Sometimes you're not going to be able to have your very best function that you had before cancer while you're undergoing cancer treatment, but you need to get to the best of it you can with your treatment. After treatment, you might be left with some side effects of the treatment. Our goal in cancer rehab is to get you to the best that you can be within the limitations of your disease or your treatment," she said.
The other thing that specialists in cancer rehabilitation like Dr. DeSouza to look at is the whole person. The physician said an individual may be a cancer survivor, but may also might be obese, have high blood pressure or suffer from cardiac disease.
"You might have been perfectly healthy, but now with your cancer, you've developed some of these diseases -- heart disease, lung disease, pain, obesity, osteoporosis (thinning bones), cognitive defects (memory deficits) inactivity, diabetes, weakness/fatigue -- all of these conditions must be accounted for by the healthcare team when we develop your program for cancer rehab," she said.
She said it's definitely a team approach to dealing with cancer. The team consists not only of the oncologist and the oncology nurse and the patient's family, but the physiotherapist, the exercise physiologist, the nutritionist and physiatrist working together to help the patient to be the best they can be. And she said it's important that patients' family members and significant others be active participants in the program and help them to develop goal setting.
"It does not make sense for me to work on having you climb stairs when you have no stairs in your house, and no part of your day ever deals with stairs," she said.
Dr. DeSouza said many patients with cancer have easily remediable but unrecognized rehabilitation needs. And that it can be something very simple that the team can figure out to help the patient make their life better.
As a physiatrist, a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. DeSouza's goal is to improve her patient's function -- whether they're an athlete with a sports injury, a construction worker who has back pain, or a cancer survivor who isn't able to go to work because they are fatigued.
When rehabilitation is needed
The physiatrist said a person may need rehabilitation when he or she is unable to do now what he or she could do before a cancer diagnosis. Other situations in which a person may require rehabilitation include: a change in diet and appetite; seeing a change in activity level or exercise regimen; having cancer and treatment affect the ability to work; experiencing the inability to perform daily tasks or recreational activities that were previously enjoyed; experience disruptions in the ability to function, including getting sleep, due to pain; developing an interest in building up strength or stamina; being tired and having a lack of energy affect the ability to function day to day; or being sad, worried, anxious or depressed and having those moods affect the ability to function.
The length of time a person needs rehabilitation, Dr. DeSouza said, is an individual answer; some people will need ongoing rehabilitation from the day they are diagnosed until they recover. Others only need a brief period of rehabilitation. It really depends on the type of cancer a person has how severe it is, and what the treatment or the disease has caused to become a problem in their life.
She said for cancer patients some of the physical side effects they may experience are only temporary and occur during or right after cancer treatment, but some are longer term, such as cardiomyopathy (cardiac damage from chemotherapy) and also peripheral neuropathy which is damage to the nerves from chemotherapy and that in breast cancer they often see a problem called lymphedema. If health care providers are not certain how to address a cancer patient's rehabilitation needs, Dr. DeSouza said they can refer the patient to a physiatrist who can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.
Your feet bear the brunt of your daily working life. The average person walks the equivalent of five times around the earth in a lifetime and each step can exert up to two times your body weight in ground reactive forces through your lower limbs. Prolonged standing, walking, operating machinery, high heels, carrying heavy objects and slippery surfaces are just some of the dangers the feet are exposed to in the workplace.
Every year, it is estimated that 2 million sick days are lost due to complaints and disorders in the lower limbs, however, many of these sick days can be prevented. Studies show that about 80 percent of adults will experience some foot complaints during their lifetime. This can vary from aches and pains, swelling, corns, calluses, injuries, fungal infections, varicose veins and much more. These common foot problems occur both on and off the job. However, there is no doubt that some work related factors can lead to, or aggravate foot problems, especially jobs that require long periods of standing or that put the feet at risk.
It is recommended that workers spend no more than 30 percent of their working day standing, however there are many jobs where workers stand for longer periods. Workers who are required to spend too much time on their feet are at increased risk of pain and discomfort around their feet, legs, hips and lower back. Standing for long hours, day after day, not only tires the worker's feet but can also cause permanent damage. Continuous standing can cause the joints and bones of the feet to become misaligned causing flat feet, inflammation that can later lead to arthritis, and damage to the veins in the legs leading to pain, swelling, varicose veins and even ulcers. Prolonged standing can damage joints, causing swelling of the legs, and result in a range of problems for the feet, including bunions and corns and heel spurs.
Work-site accidents also result in a significant number of injuries to the feet and lower legs including sprains, strains and fractures. Foot injuries account for 15 to 20 percent of all disabling injuries. While not all of these are the result of work activities, a large proportion occur due to the conditions feet are exposed to at work.
Our feet are exposed to many dangers at work and like every other danger, the risk can be avoided or removed if employees and employers take simple straightforward steps to protect the feet at work.
o Wear the right shoes for work: Workers should wear the shoes that are appropriate to their occupation, working environment, and foot type. Improper footwear can cause or aggravate existing foot problems. Footwear that fits poorly or is in need of repair also contributes to foot discomfort. Prolonged standing, hard flooring and inappropriate footwear are very common working conditions. If safety or special footwear is required for the job (e.g. steel toe boots) employers must ensure that employees have the correct shoes and are not allowed to work without them. In many work-sites such equipment are supplied by the employer at no cost to the worker.
High heels are the favorite work footwear for many women but should not be. They throw the body weight onto the balls of the feet, which may lead to calluses, painful bunions, corns, neuromas and back pains. The position of the foot in narrow width high heels can cause the ankle to become unstable, resulting in ankle sprains. Wearing high-heels for long periods may cause the calf muscles to become shortened and tight over time. The body compensates for this tightness in the calf-muscles by lowering the arch of the foot, or by affecting the knee, hip or back. Backless (sling back) shoes force your toes to claw as you walk, straining the muscles if worn over a long period. To prevent this, keep heel heights to about two inches for everyday use.
Calf stretches help to keep the feet supple and maintain a good range of motion to the ankle joint. Vary your heel heights from day to day, one day wearing low heels, and the next day slightly higher heels. Wearing shoes with a strap or lace over the instep is better than slip-ons because they will improve the fit and help stop your foot from sliding forward in your shoes.
Comfortable, well-structured, sensible and properly fitted footwear is essential to maintain good foot health and prevent minor foot ailments and injuries at work. Proper footwear is important, not only for foot comfort but also for one's general well-being.
o Choose the best shoes for work: It is important to ensure that the safety shoe is appropriate for the task for which it is intended. Upper should be made from natural materials such as leather or a breathable man-made fabric. The toe box area should be rounded or squared and deep enough to prevent rubbing, allowing the toes to wriggle. Insoles can be inserted to provide padding and absorption. The heel should fit snugly on the foot, stopping the heel from slipping out of the shoe. The heel should have a broad base and be no higher than two inches if they are worn for a long time. The sole should be strong and flexible with shock absorption to cushion the jolts of walking on hard surfaces. Laces, buckles or velcro should be used to secure the foot in the shoe.
o Foot safe work sites: In addition to the footwear, the work surfaces also have an impact on the feet at work. Hard, unyielding floors like concrete are the least comfortable surfaces to work on. Working on a hard floor has the impact of a hammer, pounding the heel at every step. Slippery floors are hazardous, resulting in slips and falls, ankle sprains or even broken bones. Employers should make sure that floors are kept clean and dry and non-skid floors should be installed.
Standing or working on a hard, unyielding floor can cause a lot of discomfort. Wood, cork, carpeting, or rubber -- anything that provides some flexibility -- is gentler on workers' feet. Footwear with thick, insulating soles and shock-absorbing insoles can alleviate discomfort. Special anti-slip flooring or matting can reduce slipping accidents.
o Prevent injuries at work: Most occupations have different footwear requirements, but in almost all of them, there is a need for well-fitting, supportive shoes and guidelines for safe floor surfaces. Such guidelines should be followed at all times to prevent injuries in the work place. Being physically fit can also prevent injury to your feet at work. To keep the feet healthy, it is necessary to compensate for long standing or working in a stationary position by performing simple exercises that can be performed at work. They include contracting and relaxing the calf muscles, and flexing and straightening the ankles and knees.
Remember, foot pain is not normal, it is an indication that something is wrong. If you have foot pain, see a podiatrist for a complete exam and treatment.
For more information or to see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street 325-2996, Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane 394-5820 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apma.org.
Calling it "the big missing link", the head of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) said it is "incumbent" on the organization to find ways to move ahead with the creation of a new educational institution aimed at addressing the "crisis" represented by the country's growing skills gap.
Robert Myers, chairman of the BCCEC, said he views it as critical that the chamber helps to contribute to making some of the 55 percent or more of the adult population, which he says data suggests is "unfit for corporate employment that requires good skills and continued job training" more productive.
Seeking to turn things around, Myers pointed to a new proposed initiative - the "Chamber Campus" - which is currently in the conceptual phase.
The private sector advocacy organization is currently looking for funding to design the administrative, operational and physical aspects of the campus concept. From the completion of that phase it would drive a feasibility study, business plan and determine investment opportunities.
Myers said that this, in conjunction with changes to the country's immigration policy, is what is urgently needed to begin to turn around the country's growth prospects.
In particular, the chairman said a more relaxed immigration policy, which would reduce the high cost to businesses of accessing skilled middle and upper management-level employees where they do not exist, while encouraging the entrance of new job creators into the economy, is key.
At the same time, the
chairman suggested the government must do more to implement successful strategies to deter the growth of the numbers of low-skilled workers in the economy.
Establishing the Chamber Campus is about creating "practical applications that allow business to grow and GDP to improve". The chairman said he would like to see the campus be "as big as we can afford".
"The idea is to create more cohesion between business and education by creating a campus with the Chamber of Commerce at the center of it and meeting rooms that are flexible for teaching or meetings. It's a vocational institute that feeds in from the high schools.
"The theory is you have STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs from high schools that then feed into work force or vocational training and certification and incubators, and those guys can either go work in jobs in whatever industries we're pushing or in an incubator with business mentors to help them get moving. It's a concept of investing in the workforce," said Myers.
In a letter to stakeholders, Myers recently wrote that with 3,300 persons entering the job market each year who are semi-literate and numerate, employers are faced with the problem of "not being able to obtain or provide normal levels of upward mobility" to their employees.
This is "seriously hindering and limiting the normal growth and development of businesses" and contributing to an education and wealth gap that is causing "serious breakdowns in society", as evidenced by rising crime.
In an interview with Guardian Business, the chairman called the Chamber Campus "the big missing link" in this regard.
"We're hearing we've got to get GDP growth up, but there's no plan for GDP growth. We've got to grow the economy and the only way we can do that is to improve the work force, to make our people more productive."
Myers commented on the project as data provided by the Department of Statistics in its Socio-Economic Report 2008-2012 revealed the severity of the gender gap in education in The Bahamas.
According to the department, over the five year period between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012, roughly 300 percent more females (1,749 persons) than males (439 persons) graduated in total from the college.
On average, 437 students graduated from the college each year.
Myers said this huge disparity between male and female graduation rates is particularly troublesome, given that while it is seen on a global level that females tend to do better in school than men, this gap often narrows at the college level.
"That clearly doesn't seem to be the case here. I think it's a disturbing number, and there's clearly some work on the part of social services and the government to figure out what's going wrong. It needs to change."
Meanwhile, of those who are studying at the tertiary level abroad, data recently released by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has shown that over 60 percent of them remain abroad.
Myers said he has recently sought to drive home the seriousness of the crisis facing the country in an internal report. Of the 6,000 leaving school each year, only around 1,600 on average are "capable of entering higher education or employment" while the remainder, according to educational data on exam grades, are "semi-literate or numerate".
"Even more disturbing to me and the Chamber Institute and why we say this is a crisis is because you've got an educational gap which is creating a wealth gap and instability and hampering GDP growth. So you've got more than a 2:1 ratio when it comes to those able to move into higher education or middle management or higher income employment than those that are not."
Myers said it is incumbent upon the chamber and supporters not to "allow the status quo to continue to erode the economy".
"The beauty is you've got this interconnection between business, education and industry. The idea is if the private sector is telling the pedagogy what kind of people they want and they design programs around that, there's almost an automatic employment effect," said Myers.
Asked how the Chamber Institution would fit with already existing institutions, such as the Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute, Myers said that given the current levels of appropriately skilled people in the economy, BTVI appears to be "barely scratching the surface" with respect to providing the necessary training.
"You've got a backlog of 30 years of under-educated people. You've got tens of thousands of people who need to learn to become productive; the system has failed them and there's no capacity."