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News Article

November 02, 2011
Another downgrade - a call to action

In August of this year the international ratings agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P), hinted that there was likelihood that at its next review of the Bahamian economy, a downgrade was possible.  S&P recently released its latest assessment of the Bahamian economy at the end of October and true to form, the report downgraded the country's credit rating status.  The agency explained the downgrade in terms of a change in methodology in assessing countries by placing a greater emphasis on the degree to which an economy was diversified.
Given the existing structure of the Bahamian economy, an extraordinarily heavy reliance on one economic sector (tourism) for employment and growth together with an equal over-dependence on a single market (U.S.) for the majority of its visitors, we were the perfect candidate for a downgrade under the new system.  The downgrade by and of itself is of less importance than the type of policy response we propose to address what is essentially a challenge to sustainable economic growth and social development in a 'one-crop' economy.
One possible approach to our current position might be to subject the economy to a type of analysis, commonly used in the private sector, to determine whether the firm should change direction in order to successfully survive or even prosper in a changing marketplace.  That analysis, referred to as SWOT, is an attempt to realistically assess the firm's, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  In the context of the Bahamian economy, a cursory examination would reveal some interesting features.
Strengths: Stable political and economic environment; modern telecommunications and Internet facilities; trained and trainable labor force, particularly in the services sector; vast marine and land resources; easy access to local and international capital markets; a sizeable pool of local and foreign entrepreneurs; a modern legal system; international accounting firms; and the existence of business incentive legislation.
Weaknesses: Concentration of economic activity in a single sector; relatively small section of the labor force trained in technical areas; very little resources allocated for research and development of other economic sectors; relatively high cost of local capital and labor; slow and laborious system for dispute settlement and licensing requirements.
Opportunities: Attracting more tourists from the Far East; developing a true 'free' zone for international trade, similar to Panama; developing medical tourism like the offshore banking sector; further, given the large volume of existing and planned visitor accommodations throughout the country, the growing demand for food, furniture and equipment, entertainment and leisure activities against the background of an extraordinary level of imports for local consumption, there is a real possibility of increasing domestic production to lessen the dependence on imports.
Threats: Rising crime levels could negatively impact our tourism market; our failure to heed the warnings or take seriously the advice of ratings agencies and other well-meaning commentaries on the challenges facing our economy and the preservation of living standards throughout The Bahamas; a continuation of the global recession and a failure of the U.S. economy to rebound in such a way that travel to The Bahamas is restored to pre-recession levels could have debilitating effects on the economy.
In short, the fundamentals of the Bahamian economy are still solid.  However, the shocks to the economy over the past two years may give reason to pause, reflect and perhaps set a new course for growth and development, taking into account the new circumstances within which we find ourselves.

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News Article
Christie’s Great Estates Conference In Toronto
October 07, 2010

Branding was the conference theme that drew business principals
and owners from the Christie’s Great Estates network to Toronto this week. Affiliates, such as the affiliate for the Bahamas John Christie of HG Christie Ltd., previewed the network’s global expansion strategy, viewed the company’s new Web site to be rolled out publically by year’s end, and learned how to better utilize the resources of the parent company, Christie’s, to build business through art and real estate introductions.

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News Article

November 02, 2011
Cutlass wielding man attacks five is fatally shot by police

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- The son of a prominent Freeport businessman is dead after police say officers were forced to open fire on him, moments after he allegedly unleashed a violent cutlass attack on his brother, father and three others early Thursday morning.One of the victims, a male child, had to be airlifted to New Providence for further medical attention.

The tragedy, which unfolded at #139 Dampier Drive and ended at the rear of an apartment complex at Sommerville Drive not far away, has rocked the two tightly-knit communities.

At sunrise, bloodied footprints at one scene and a bullet-riddled back wall and a pool of blood on the second floor of an apartment complex at another scene, were all tell tale signs of the horrifying hours before.

Up to press time yesterday, all five victims remained hospitalized.

Police have identified the suspect as 26-year-old Michael Darville.

According to Acting Assistant Commissioner Emrick Seymour, the police responded after receiving a call shortly after 5 a.m. on Thursday about an incident at the Dampier Drive residence.

"Investigations revealed that a family member of that particular residence had reportedly chopped two other family members about the body with a cutlass," he said.

On leaving his home, police say Darville allegedly ventured across the street to a neighbor's house where three members of that family, a female and two male children, were reportedly chopped about the body with a cutlass before the suspect fled the scene on foot.

"In searching for the suspect, the police would have engaged him a short time later at an apartment complex on Sommerville Drive," he said.

Seymour said the officers made numerous attempts to arrest Darville, who allegedly used a screwdriver he had in his hand to threaten the officers.

ACP Seymour said the suspect refused to put the screwdriver down.

"They ended up at the location where he kept threatening the officers and said he wasn't putting down the screwdriver," ACP Seymour said.

"So the officers, being in fear of their lives, had no other choice, after the suspect would have thrown an object at the officers which hit one of them in the head."

According to Seymour, that object was a floor fan, and the suspect then threw a concrete block at the officer, with a screwdriver in hand.

It was then, the Grand Bahama police chief said, that the officers drew their service revolvers and fired on the suspect, fatally wounding him.

Up to press time, police were unsuccessful in determining a motive for the attacks, but said they had been called to the residence before on another occasion.

"This individual had a history of irrational behavior where the police had to be called several times to deal with the suspect," Seymour said.

Acting ACP Seymour said he has met with some of the family members of the dead man and offered his condolences.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members who lost their loved ones, as well as to those who were injured," he said.

MP for Marco City Zhivargo Laing visited with residents close to the situation Thursday afternoon."At the moment my focus is on the folks who have been injured, a number of whom are very well known to me," he said.

Laing said he was attempting to get counseling for the families of the victims and those who witnessed the turn of events.

"There had been a number of persons who observed either the attacks, or the shooting who had been close to that situation, and so I am trying to organize support for them in terms of counseling for the adults and for the kids, and so we're reaching out to the professionals, either in terms of pastors or the counselors who are able to speak to them," he said.

Police remained in the area for the better part of Thursday continuing investigations and cleaning up what was left of the bloodied scene.

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News Article

January 14, 2015
Govt must boost business environment, Sumner says

The government must place a greater emphasis on fostering an environment of entrepreneurship rather than focusing purely on job creation, according to Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) CEO Edison Sumner.
Sumner told Guardian Business yesterday that while the BCCEC had anticipated the Department of Statistic's most recent unemployment figures after a series of layoffs and redundancies in the financial services and tourism sectors, it stressed that the government needs to reduce the cost of doing business in order to facilitate growth opportunities for entrepreneurs and employees.
"I think that the government should shift their focus from simply trying to find jobs to finding ways to create an enabling environment so that we can begin to develop more entrepreneurs in our economy. Many people are struggling to make ends meet so we need to encourage more entrepreneurship and explore some of the government's incentive legislation to see what people can tap into in developing their businesses," said Sumner.
He felt that the extremely high cost of doing business continues to impede many Bahamian employers from investing further in developing their staff's skills. Chief among these expenses are electricity and business license fees, which Sumner said remains prohibitively high. Despite low fuel costs and a series of national renewable energy initiatives in the pipeline, Sumner stressed that energy costs remained a top concern for the BCCEC in 2015.
"If we can control some of those costs, then businesses will be more inclined to hire more people or be inclined to spend more resources on training soft skills. Until we get to a place where we can improve the skill sets of the workforce in the country, we'll always have a problem where people can't advance," he said.
Sumner echoed recent comments from Minister of Labour Shane Gibson and Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis, who both said that they had not been surprised by the Department of Statistic's latest Labour Force Survey, which indicated that the national unemployment rate increased from 14.3 percent in May 2014 to 15.7 percent in November 2014.
New Providence and Grand Bahama both experienced increases in unemployment. While New Providence's unemployment rose one percent to 16 percent, Grand Bahama experienced a sharp increase for the six-month period with a jump from 14.7 to 18.6 percent. A similar Department of Statistics survey conducted in Abaco revealed an unemployment rate of 20.3 percent.
The labor force grew to 201,040 persons, while the number of discouraged workers, those persons of legal employment age who have given up the job search, dropped slightly from 4,880 in May to 4,560 in November. New Providence witnessed an increase in discouraged workers while Grand Bahama saw a substantial decrease of 55 percent in its discouraged worker pool.

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News Article

September 23, 2011
Making government work to your benefit

Dear Editor,

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".  That quote from President John F. Kennedy resonates with me as I sit down to write this to you.  All of us, even those of us with just a casual level of exposure, are subjected to the constant dialogue over the airwaves and in the print media on the question of government intervention in our daily lives.  
I am a firm believer that we are a much stronger force when we work together, and are more likely to achieve substantial results, as opposed to individual pursuits.  Communities are no different, the stronger the community the greater the benefit to its constituents.  It has been my experience that forming community associations brings neighbors closer together as it can create a very welcoming atmosphere for children and adults alike.  The bonds formed quite often become life-long ones and can also lead to an enriched family experience as well.  There are also practical advantages that can emerge for example the option of families car pooling to work and school even after-school activities, which can result in great savings in gas expenses and decrease traffic in our already congested streets. A good communal life can serve to reduce the stress level encountered during the week, and improve the level of enjoyment over the weekend in fellowship with friends and family within the community.

Communities can work with its constituency office by sharing details of the individual or collective concerns of the members as it relates to garbage collection, pot holes, street lighting, illegal dumping, crime watch, CCTV, and many other issues that might require some level of assistance.  Currently, there is no form of local government in New Providence; however, by capitalizing on this form of communication, we are forming virtual local government in each constituency.  All of the stakeholders within the community (constituents) can become the eyes and ears on the street providing instant feedback through various forms of communication via e-mails, text messages, social media and even the telephone.

When the collective community decides on a project to benefit the neighborhood like developing a green space, that community can contact its constituency office to seek assistance with funding such an endeavor. This is how you can make government work for you.

The role that technology plays in all aspects of our life has increased significantly in the last decade and this has resulted in an opportunity for government to extend the reach of its services, making it easier to do business with its various agencies. The use of these technologies, particularly the online services, can make government work for you, by  providing timely information on government sponsored programs like educational opportunities - scholarships, programs in continuing education and many other services or benefits  that you may not have been aware of. The whole idea of information dissemination is critical in our development and the way we progress as a people.

Within my own constituency, we have embraced the concept of maximizing the use of technology to both discover and deliver essential services and demands from the various stakeholders within the communities that are within our reach. This gives us an opportunity to provide help when it is needed but in a way that is not intrusive to the enjoyment of life and privacy for our constituents.

However, all the above mentioned ideas are solely dependent on us making the right choices and making a decision to change how we make government work for us.  We must collectively decide to change from within in order to bring forth change in our communities.  We should change our attitudes, our love and respect for each other, and our way of servicing the public.  Change is what we need to make our Bahamas a better place.

Yours, etc.,
Dr. HUBERT MINNIS
Member of Parliament, Killarney

Minister of Health

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News Article

December 10, 2011
Another downgrade - a call to action

In August of this year the international ratings agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P), hinted that there was likelihood that at its next review of the Bahamian economy, a downgrade was possible.  S&P recently released its latest assessment of the Bahamian economy at the end of October and true to form, the report downgraded the country's credit rating status.  The agency explained the downgrade in terms of a change in methodology in assessing countries by placing a greater emphasis on the degree to which an economy was diversified.
Given the existing structure of the Bahamian economy, an extraordinarily heavy reliance on one economic sector (tourism) for employment and growth together with an equal over-dependence on a single market (U.S.) for the majority of its visitors, we were the perfect candidate for a downgrade under the new system.  The downgrade by and of itself is of less importance than the type of policy response we propose to address what is essentially a challenge to sustainable economic growth and social development in a 'one-crop' economy.
One possible approach to our current position might be to subject the economy to a type of analysis, commonly used in the private sector, to determine whether the firm should change direction in order to successfully survive or even prosper in a changing marketplace.  That analysis, referred to as SWOT, is an attempt to realistically assess the firm's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  In the context of the Bahamian economy, a cursory examination would reveal some interesting features.
Strengths: Stable political and economic environment; modern telecommunications and Internet facilities; trained and trainable labor force, particularly in the services sector; vast marine and land resources; easy access to local and international capital markets; a sizeable pool of local and foreign entrepreneurs; a modern legal system; international accounting firms; and the existence of business incentive legislation.
Weaknesses: Concentration of economic activity in a single sector; relatively small section of the labor force trained in technical areas; very little resources allocated for research and development of other economic sectors; relatively high cost of local capital and labor; slow and laborious system for dispute settlement and licensing requirements.
Opportunities: Attracting more tourists from the Far East; developing a true 'free' zone for international trade, similar to Panama; developing medical tourism like the offshore banking sector; further, given the large volume of existing and planned visitor accommodations throughout the country, the growing demand for food, furniture and equipment, entertainment and leisure activities against the background of an extraordinary level of imports for local consumption, there is a real possibility of increasing domestic production to lessen the dependence on imports.
Threats: Rising crime levels could negatively impact our tourism market; our failure to heed the warnings or take seriously the advice of ratings agencies and other well-meaning commentaries on the challenges facing our economy and the preservation of living standards throughout The Bahamas; a continuation of the global recession and a failure of the U.S. economy to rebound in such a way that travel to The Bahamas is restored to pre-recession levels could have debilitating effects on the economy.
In short, the fundamentals of the Bahamian economy are still solid.  However, the shocks to the economy over the past two years may give reason to pause, reflect and perhaps set a new course for growth and development, taking into account the new circumstances within which we find ourselves.
 

read more »


Event
2011 Visionary Business Leaders Entrepreneurs Awards Conference
2011 Visionary Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs Awards Conference

Monday 24th October 2011  9:00 AM

‘Change Agents- In It To Win It In 2011' Visionary Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Awards Conference scheduled for Monday October 24, 2011 at 9 am to 5pm at Workers House on Tonique Williams Darling-Highway. This year’s conference will empower entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders and managers to revamp their businesses inside - out starting with themselves by developing new mindsets, winning attitudes and making better decisions. An impressive lineup of speakers including: Internationally acclaimed Speaker & Author, Dr. Myles Munroe, President & Founder of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, who will be the keynote speaker, will challenge business owners to take their businesses to the next level. Other speakers will include: Pastor Silbert Mills, Leading Abaco Businessman- President Bahamas Christian Network Stacia Williams - Personal Branding Specialist - President of Total Image Management, Jerome Gomez, Financial Services & Small Business Consultant Dionisio D'Aguilar, Chairman of Abaco Markets and President of Super Wash Robbin Whacell, Founder & Editor, The BahamasWeekly.com Leslie Vanderpool- Film and Tourism Mogul- President Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) Utah Taylor-Rolle - TV Producer & Controversy TV Host -, President of Nitro Films along with many others Topics will include: · ‘Small Is The New Big;’ · ‘Closed Doors New Opportunities-How To Turn No’s Into Yes,’ · ‘The Do’s & Don’ts of Business- Playing Clean When Your Competitors Play Dirty;’ · ‘Social Networking- The Hook Up Is Better Than Money’ · ‘Start Up Tips For Small Businesses- The ABC’s of Starting Up A Business,’ · ‘Breaking The Glass Ceiling- A Woman’s Perspective On Business In The New Global Arena,’ · ‘Training & Retraining,’ Cost is only $55.00 if your register by October 17. Regular Cost is $75.00. Payments can be made with Ms. Aisha Ferguson at Global Corporate Management on Cumberland Street in the Global House Building behind Avis. Telephone 322-2045. For more information you may contact Visionaire Marketing at 323-5908 or 535-2277 or visionairemarketing@gmail.com or visionairemarketing@coralwave.com.


News Article
Gangster's Paradise Part 3
November 07, 2011
Gangster's Paradise Part 3

Abuse, armed robbery, housebreaking, rape, assault, murder and attempted murder are rampant in The Bahamas, and speak to social breakdown, and in fact, constitute an on again off again war against the social and economic system.  There are no shortcuts.  I propose seven areas of focus in terms of improving the situation.  I address the first three today.

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News Article

September 24, 2010
NEW FLIGHT FROM CANADA ON THE WAY

By JAMMAL SMITH
Guardian Business Reporter
jammal@nasguard.com
Another Canadian airline could possibly be landing on Bahamian runways in the future with Guardian Business learning that the country is in negotiations with a flight carrier from Canada.
Air Transat could be the newest airline from Canada offering services to The Bahamas if an agreement is reached between the two countries. Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace told Guardian Business that no final agreement has been reached yet, and several details must be ironed out before the deal is officially done.
"This is really only the opportunity for us to develop a partnership but we haven't finalized as yet,...

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News Article

January 08, 2015
Baha Mar to launch 'New Riviera' 3/27

The official release of an opening date for Baha Mar -- March 27, 2015 -- has occasioned much comment in the international tourism sector, with operators in other jurisdictions waiting to see how the $3.5 billion mega-resort will fare after delays and amid high expectations.
Initially sold as a "soft" or "trade" opening, Guardian Business now understands that on that opening date, the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar and the SLS LUX at Baha Mar will open to the public along with the majority of the amenities. While not all the rooms and amenities will be immediately available, this will not be a "trade opening," but an actual opening.
Guardian Business also understands that the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar will open on May 1.
From March 27 through May 20, guests will pay an introductory rate of $350 per night for a deluxe room with a minimum of a two-night stay at Baha Mar. The booking comes with a $100 resort credit, according to a Baha Mar spokesperson.
After the ramp-up period, Baha Mar expects the majority of its 2,200 rooms and amenities to be open and available. Also after May 20, the rates will no doubt change.
In addition to the four luxury hotels, Baha Mar will also feature a 100,000 sq. ft. casino, a TPC at Baha Mar Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, ESPA spa, pools, beach
experiences, and many restaurants and luxury shops.
Baha Mar CEO Paul Pusateri called Baha Mar "the New Riviera" when he spoke to the level of sophistication and resort experience the resort is expected to bring to one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Tom Dunlap, Baha Mar's president, said, "Baha Mar's vision will truly come to life once the first guests sleep in our hotels, dine at our restaurants, snorkel at our reef, lounge at our Cabana Club, play at our casino, dance in our clubs until dawn and experience the true soul of The Bahamas with impeccable service and joyful hospitality. This dream has been years in the making, and on March 27, 2015, it will finally become a reality."

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