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Thanks to Jessica Colebrooke of Jessica's Tileworks Ltd., customers of McDonald's can enjoy some beautiful Bahamian artwork while they have their meals.
First seen at the McDonald's location downtown, her tiles are now adorning the walls at their Palmdale location.
It's all part of the renovation efforts by the local franchises to create a more contemporary environment for their customers, explains Colebrooke. Besides providing WiFi and televisions tuned into the news, as well as different seating areas and better eating-in facilities, they also wanted to personalize the space with artwork - especially from local artists.
"They wanted to use a Bahamian artist instead of a foreign one, which is a great investment in our country," said Colebrooke. "When I look at the pieces, I'm proud - not only because I created them, but because it shows Bahamians can get it done. When people walk in I want them to be proud it's Bahamian."
Indeed, though the subject matter is different in each location, all invoke Bahamian pride. From Junkanoo pieces in the downtown McDonald's location to underwater scenes in its Palmdale location, Colebrooke's unique tiling design brings fresh perspective to common Bahamian art themes, giving viewers a chance to dwell on its important messages of conservation.
"I think the conservation theme is seen in the subject matter here, in the fish and coral," said Colebrooke. "We have to preserve our place. Hopefully these aren't just pretty pieces; hopefully it makes viewers really look and appreciate what we have as a people and as a culture."
Colebrooke began her partnership with McDonald's in 2010 with their downtown location renovation, and was thrilled to be asked back for their second location renovation in Palmdale. She now looks forward to making new designs for their third in Oaks Field.
"I was nervous at first because the approval had to come from corporate," she said. "I was worried they might not understand what I was trying to convey. I had to create two actual physical ceramic pieces for the approval, and when they did approve it, I felt very proud and honored I had met their standard, and proud and honored Bahamian work could be displayed on their walls."
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) secured a destructive and body blow victory during the general election. Apart from a miracle from heaven the Free National Movement (FNM) is likely to be in opposition for a long time. Mind you, under the capable and steady hands of Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hubert A. Minnis (FNM-Killarney), that rump party may well emerge from the ashes of defeat in 2017, but it will need a major surgical operation.
Now that the PLP and its greatly underestimated leader have been returned to power, they will both be baptized by fire, in my humble submission. The FNM and its out of touch former leader jacked this nation right up with not the least bit of apparent shame.
Our national debt, as far as most people are aware, exceeds $4.5 billion. The so-called ongoing road works may cost us an additional $70 million to $100 million. Our schools here in New Providence and over in Grand Bahama are literally falling apart.
While Hubert "Nero" Ingraham was singing and preening, the country was being run like an out of control locomotive. The ship appears to have run aground and the shaving cream is smeared all over the fan. Governmental contracts and apparent "perks" for political hacks and cronies were, allegedly, dished out like lamb chops with mint jelly in the weeks leading up to the general election.
According to the best estimates, the PLP administration will require at least $500 million in new borrowings just to keep The Bahamas afloat this fiscal year.
Crime and the appropriate punishment are still problems and no apparent solutions are in sight. The civil service is bloated and very counter-productive, to say the least, but our politicians lack the political will to downsize it.
Our society, as we used to know it, has disintegrated right before our very eyes. Our men and women of the cloth are now wolves and bandits in sheep's clothing. Big rusty men are preying on our youth, be they male or female, and the beat goes on. Affordable housing for the masses in New Providence is but a pipe dream for the vast majority.
The PLP and its leader are now in the process of being baptized by fire. It will take a great deal of ingenuity for them to turn this economy around and to create the 40,000-odd well paying public and private sector jobs required to stabilize employment and under employment. Teenage pregnancies and rampant alleged abortions are moral blights on our collective society and ain't no one checking.
Traffic congestion and management are but figments of our imagination. The traffic police of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, headed by my "good" friend Supt. Ken Strachan, is overwhelmed, under-resourced and, apparently, clueless as to how to bring sanity back to our jacked up roads, especially during rush hours. The commissioner himself seems to have gone AWOL and is nowhere to be seen except at photo opportunities.
Our utilities, inclusive of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) are, clearly, not up to the challenges. With the smallest drop of rain or high winds, BEC has to load shed. BTC was sold with great fanfare a year or so ago and services and options have never been worse with all due respect.
Top management at BEC needs to be shuffled or even made to step back and smell the coffee. Over at BTC, Geoff Houston needs to rationalize his top-heavy management team and come up with a fresh and bold business module. What we are getting and experiencing now is unacceptable and certainly unbelievable.
The PLP clamored for another opportunity to govern our beautiful, if challenged, country and it got its wish. Now that it is in the seat of governance again, it must usher in heaven on earth in the shortest period of time. The electorate has woken up and it will no longer tolerate broken promises and pie in the sky dreams and delusions. We want it (whatever that is) and we (not necessarily Ortland H. Bodie Jr.) want it now.
Baptism by fire is not a pleasant exercise or ritual, as the PLP and its leadership cadre will soon find out. The FNM and its holographic leadership has left us in the unenviable position where we will soon be seeing "dead people" wherever two or more are gathered.
To God then, in all of these things, be the glory.
Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
Weeks after parting ways with Bimini Big Game Club, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts has reached an agreement with the Abaco-based Green Turtle Club.
The new alliance becomes effective immediately, as the Green Turtle Club will become the inaugural member of the new Expedition Properties Portfolio by Guy Harvey Outpost. President of Guy Harvey Outpost Mark Ellert said the partnership is a perfect chance to showcase one of the hidden gems in The Bahamas.
"We are extremely excited to launch the Expedition Properties Portfolio with the famed Green Turtle Club as our inaugural member hotel," Ellert said. "Our intent with Expedition Properties is to showcase small, independently owned properties in unique destinations that are focused on watersports recreation and whose owners are committed to customer service, sustainability and conservation.
"Given the Club's legacy, the professionalism of its staff and dedication of its owners, I'm hard pressed to think of a better opportunity in The Bahamas than this."
The news comes after Guy Harvey Outpost cut ties with Bimini Big Game Club earlier in the month, with foreclosure issues influencing the move in another direction. The two former partners had a business relationship for two years, in which Guy Harvey Outpost pumped $3.5 million in renovations to revitalize the Bimini-based resort.
Due to the foreclosure setback, it prevented Guy Harvey Outpost from purchasing the property when it wanted to, which spurred the decision to take its business interests elsewhere.
As an Expedition Property, Guy Harvey Outpost will market the club and offer travel and booking services to its customers through its Outpost Travel Desk and central reservation office. Co-owner of Green Turtle Club Adam Showell said the company led by Ellert was an ideal fit for both parties.
"Guy Harvey embodies the personality of the club, and its guests," Showell said. "His authenticity, commitment to excellence and passionate outreach to those of all ages and accomplishment are hallmarks of the Green Turtle Club."
While the deal between Guy Harvey Outpost and Green Turtle Club is still fresh, Ellert hinted at more opportunities that may await.
"Thirty degrees north and south of the equator, there are a lot of great properties with committed owners like Adam and Ann who share our vision of sustainability and hospitality," he said. "In growing the Expedition Properties Portfolio, our intent will be to spotlight these properties and encourage our customers to support them."
Green Turtle Club offers 31 guest rooms, a 40-slip marina and fuel dock, restaurant, bar/lounge and poolside bar. The Club hosts the annual Green Turtle Club Billfish Tournament, having just concluded its 25th Silver Anniversary last week.
Bahamas - The Miss Grand Bahama Beauty Pageant came to a close on May
20th, 2012 after a busy weekend of activities. Saturday, May 19th the
contestants were involved in a car parade from the YMCA leading to the
Port Lucaya Marina for the National Costume Completion. After little
rest, the contestants had to be fresh and ready for the big finale night
on Sunday, May 20th.
The pre-show at the Hilton Outten
Convention Center started with a slide show of Miss Grand Bahama 2011
Keriann Stuart's busy year and the 2012 Miss Grand Bahama contestant's
activities leading up to the main event...
Nassau, Bahamas - Speaking Notes of Fred Mitchell, MP, Fox Hill, at the
House of Assembly, Nassau, Bahamas.
Mr. Speaker let say it is a privilege to second this resolution and I do so.
doing so, I want to congratulate you on your elevation to this post. I
look forward to a return to fairness and decorum in the House of
Assembly. I have no doubt that you are well equipped for the job.
Knowing your family and antecedents as I do, we justifiably expect great
things for you stewardship of the House.
We have won a great victory and the PLP represented here its 29
members are a mix of the seasoned and the new. It is a chance at
renewal, a fresh start...
Prime Minister Perry G. Christie and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government have a mammoth task ahead of them -- rescuing a dying economy.
I was alarmed after reading about the massive financial deficit the country finds itself in for the 2012/2013 fiscal period.
According to the prime minister and the Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis, the budget deficit is projected to be a staggering $500 million. That's over half a billion dollars. The Bahamian government collects approximately $1.5 billion in revenues per annum.
However, that is not enough to meet the financial obligations of an ever-expanding government.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, the PLP, while the official opposition, thought that this year's budget deficit was in the neighborhood of $300 million. But they had grossly underestimated the deficit by some $250 million.
The $500 million deficit is a clear indication that the former Free National Movement (FNM) government had overspent by the hundreds of millions in its effort to stimulate the sagging economy. According to one of the national dailies, the national debt will reach the $5 billion mark before the end of the upcoming 2012/2013 fiscal year. With a population of about 350,000, this means that each citizen is saddled with a debt of $14,285.
The Ingraham administration was emulating U.S. President Barack H. Obama's economic policy of pumping government money back into the economy in order to stimulate economic growth. Clearly, the financial advisors in the Obama administration are following the theory of the late British economist John Maynard Keynes.
After nearly three-and-half years in the Oval Office, it is now evident to all and sundry that Obama's fiscal policies have failed to get the U.S. out of the prolonged Great Recession.
Now there are fresh reports that the U.S. economy is slowing down again. This bad news couldn't have come at a more inopportune time for Obama, who will be seeking reelection in November against his GOP rival Mitt Romney. The Great Recession has already caused several incumbent governments around the world to fall over the past several years. The FNM government was no exception. It looks like the same fate awaits Obama. Even Red China, Brazil, India and many of the nations in Europe are now struggling financially.
According to a U.S. Internet daily, the jobless rate in that country has climbed to 8.2 percent. And this is not counting the millions of discouraged workers who have simply given up on looking for a job.
Even more alarming is a recent report stating that about half of American households are now receiving some form of government handout in other to make ends meet. The U.S. national debt is fast approaching $16.3 trillion.
It is projected to reach $17.5 trillion next year. Obama has added $5 trillion to the national debt since early 2009.
When the U.S. suffers, we suffer. Our economic health hinges on the state of the U.S. economy. Many American families have simply cut back on their spending.
Of course, this means that more and more Americans are not taking vacations the way they used to when the economy was buoyant.
With over 85 percent of our visitors coming from the U.S., it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why the tourism sector has floundered in recent years. Many of the hotels in Grand Bahama are either closed or have scaled down.
One example is the Grand Lucayan Resort. This resort has three hotel properties, but only one is open for business, Breaker's Cay.
Even our financial services sector is a mere shadow of its past. The two main economic engines of our economy have struggled. Tourism and banking have carried this country for over 50 years. In fact, these two important industries, in their present forms, were created by the legendary Stafford Sands, The Bahamas' first tourism and finance minister in the United Bahamian Party government. He was the architect of the modern banking system and the year-round tourism industry. Since majority rule, no government has introduced any industry that has been able to have the kind of impact that tourism and banking have had on our economy. Not one. Our overdependence on tourism and banking has finally caught up with us. We have failed to diversify the economy. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Before majority rule, ours was mainly an agrarian society. But after 1968, many Bahamians began to view farming and weeding as Haitian work. We don't produce anything. Over 98 percent of our food products are imported from abroad.
I think that we have entered a new era. I believe that our way of life in this country will experience a radical change in the next decade or so. I also believe that our dollar will eventually be devalued, as was the case with Jamaica under the socialist Manley regime during the turbulent 1970s.
I think that the level of poverty in this country will continue to increase, despite the valiant efforts of the prime minister. Sooner or later, Prime Minister Christie will have to start entertaining thoughts of reducing the over bloated civil service.
With a population of 350,000, we have a staggering 25,000-odd persons on the government's payroll. What's more, we have government corporations like the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, Bahamasair and the Bahamas Water and Sewerage Corporation that are bleeding the Treasury dry. Obviously, with the nation in a financial mess, the government just cannot continue to allow these unprofitable entities to bankrupt this country. Tough measures will have to be taken by the prime minister.
In the last analysis, successive Bahamian administrations have been guilty of running deficits.
With tens of thousands of Bahamians in the civil service, successive governments had no other choice but to overspend.
The recent revelation by the prime minister concerning the financial state of the Treasury should cause every Bahamian to be concerned about the future state of our economy.
No matter what policies the Christie administration implements, the stubborn facts remain that ours is a service based economy that is overly dependent on the U.S. economy.
Outside factors have brought our economy to its knees. While it was politically expedient for the PLP during the past several years to downplay the gravity of the global financial meltdown and its negative impact on our economy, sooner or later the prime minister will have to admit to the nation that our economy has been negatively impacted by outside forces.
Between 2002 and 2007, the first Christie government created some 22,000 jobs, but Christie's first tenure as prime minister had coincided with the presidency of George W. Bush. The period between 2002 and 2007 saw great economic growth in the U.S., especially in the housing sector.
The first Christie regime was simply a beneficiary of the tremendous prosperity in the U.S. Now, however, the prime minister will have to contend with a recession which has baffled even the keenest financial minds on Wall Street, and he will have to deal with a president who believes in the Marxist theory of wealth redistribution.
Christie will soon discover that it is lonely at the top as the leader of this country, despite having a massive cabinet.
The eyes of the nation are on him now, not on any of his 20-plus cabinet ministers. They will be expecting him to do what he had promised on the campaign trail - fix the economy and create thousands of jobs. Frankly, I don't think that he will be able to avoid the coming economic armageddon. In fact, not even the mighty United States of America, China, Brazil, Japan, Europe and the former Ingraham administration have been able to do so.
- Kevin Evans
Don't miss this opportunity to learn the 115 ways to catch, pen, cook and eat an Andros crab at the world famous
All Andros Crabfest which takes place
Thursday, June 7 to Sunday June 10, 2012 in Andros at the Queen's Park in Fresh Creek.
Andros is known as the land of crabs and its people are renowned for
their crab-catching expertise. One of the highlights of this cultural
event is the Crab Cultural Show, which features top Bahamian bands, solo
artists, and sweet Rake 'n' Scrape music; and the releasing of the
crabs. Take a flight with LeAir or catch the boat with Sealink!
According to data released on Tuesday from the Ministry of Education, students sitting for the 2012 BGCSE exams received an average letter grade of D in English Language and an E+ in mathematics; moreover this is considered an improvement.
How can we be proud that the average score in two pivotal subjects is mere points away from failure?
It is absurd to know that the next generation to come into the work force will have basic skills that are below average. Though not everyone is in favor of standardized testing, tests such as the BGCSE and BJC establish a platform of comparison not subject to grade inflation. Here, education administrators can grasp the academic performance of students in specific subjects across The Bahamas, regardless of the school.
But is the system designed to facilitate failure? With nearly 50 percent of students not qualifying for a diploma they settle for a leaving certificate. Do our students view a leaving certificate as a way out, lessening the need for a diploma? Is our society accepting of leaving certificates? It certainly seems so.
A national graduation diploma is desperately needed. Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald is right to demand a level of minimum criteria to obtain a diploma. Our government and society cannot accept the current laissez faire attitude towards education. Establishing minimum criteria for graduation also helps those students gain employment when a business knows what skill levels it can expect from graduates.
Just as a business needs strategic and succession planning, The Bahamas must prepare a national development plan and invest in our future leaders. With no idea of where we are heading, how can we educate our students for a future Bahamas? At least one government department, the Ministry of Education, has put forth a worthwhile plan with perceived deadlines that will positively impact the lives of Bahamians.
It is no wonder that many well-educated Bahamians choose to remain abroad. But such loss of talent deprives The Bahamas of our future leaders and innovators. Instead our island nation struggles with a work force that lacks basic reading, writing and math skills. Should we be surprised then that businesses seek foreigners and work permits?
We place such emphasis on employing Bahamians, yet as the data reveals, many Bahamians are unemployable for white-collar jobs. Service standards are dismal, yet we are forced to pay gratuity. Do unions survive because they fear the educated overachiever who is determined to succeed?
It is crucial to have role models, figures who define excellence and aptitude, examples for our young Bahamians to look up to. Athletes often take on this role but more often than not teachers have the authoritative position to instill a passion for lifelong learning and achievement.
Teachers are professionals with the immense responsibility for educating our sons and daughters. As such they should be treated like professionals with standards, continuing education, evaluations, monetary rewards and dismissal when needed. If our teachers cannot perform how can we expect a student to perform? Is every Bahamian teaching graduate from COB going to be a good teacher? Not likely.
It is refreshing to hear the minister of education's vision for more vocational-oriented learning. We need more applied education where training leads to jobs. Such ambitions for our education department are encouraging but only time will tell.
Meanwhile, businesses will continue to struggle with hiring competent individuals. We will continue to receive government letters or documents with grammatical and spelling errors. And yet we have hope that one day, in the near future, Bahamians will not settle for the laissez faire attitude of island life but will be invigorated by the quest for higher achievement.
behalf of the Executives, Advisors and Members Organizations of the Bahamas
National Youth Council (BNYC), we would like to express our deepest sympathy to
the family of the late Charles T. Maynard, former Minister of Youth,
Sports and Culture and former Member of Parliament of the Golden Isles
Minister, Mr. Maynard was indeed a great supporter and believer in the BNYC, he
has sought to continuously meet with the executives to garner fresh ideas for
youth development which assisted in the mobilization of his ministry. He always
believed that there should be a close working relationship with BNYC and
the Ministry of Youth, which fosteredfurtherpositive progression of
our nation's youth. Furthermore, Mr. Maynard was a young leader in the former
government, a man who enjoyed Bahamian Culture and believed in the
development of all young Bahamians.
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