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Nassau, Bahamas - The Nassau
Chamber Ensemble is pleased to present its third concert, an afternoon
of delightful Baroque, Classical and Romantic Chamber Music to be held
at the Bahamas Historical Society on Sunday, 10th June 2012 at 3pm. It
is hoped that everyone interested would be able to attend this
delightful event. Refreshments will be served.
The Nassau Chamber Ensemble is a 12-member string ensemble comprised of 6
violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, 1 double bass and a harpsichord. The
ensemble was co-founded by Noël Thompson and Hélène Péloquin in
September 2010. Their objective was to bring together a group of
like-minded musicians interested in performing beautiful instrumental
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) party is now 12 months old. It had ambitious plans to take The Bahamas in a new direction and set us on a course to true economic empowerment and governance free of colonial ties and corruption. Its leader Branville McCartney spoke to the old saying by Albert Einstein that if you do the same thing over and over again, then the end result will not change.
On May 7, 2012 the Bahamian people voted for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and even though the PLP did not get the popular vote, it received a landslide victory at the polls. The Free National Movement (FNM) became the opposition and the DNA, while it received over 13,000 votes, was unsuccessful in winning any Parliamentary seats. Even though the DNA made history as the first major political party to field a full slate of candidates, and even though the message of change that was being preached was probably a good direction for the country, the people rejected it at the polls.
It is mind-boggling to me that people are saying that they were pulling for the DNA to do well, but they voted for the PLP or the FNM. I don't consider myself to be a genius, but this argument to me makes no sense at all. That is like saying, I want my child to perform well on his exams but I kept him up watching TV all night before his exams. It just does not add up.
The PLP now has to carry out its mandate and its current term in office may well be the most critical term of governance in recent Bahamian history. Already, Bahamians are heavily criticizing Perry Christie and the PLP for some of their election promises; the education budget being one of them.
The FNM is opposing and commenting on all the PLP's moves so far and rightfully so. Time will tell if it is effective enough, though, to convince the people in five years if the PLP did a good job or not.
The DNA, fresh from its historic campaign at the polls, has not regrouped as yet. Two weeks have already passed and there has been little activity coming from its camp. Its message of change was not accepted by the Bahamian people, but if it is to become a viable entity in 2017 it must continue its work now.
Electoral reform, prime minister term-limits, reducing the powers of the prime minister, jailing corrupt government officials, creating a national consortium agency that would have combined the intelligence of the armed forces, creating an independent body for government procurement and creating an immigration policy are just some of the initiatives proposed by the DNA. But the Bahamian people were not ready for these changes and they voted against the DNA.
There will be new leaders of the PLP and the FNM in 2017. The DNA's status remains to be seen. What is sure to me is that The Bahamas needs change and change will come only if the Bahamian people want it. The PLP government has a mammoth task ahead of it and I implore all Bahamians no matter their political persuasion to support the present government in its effort to bring progress to our country.
- Dehavilland Moss
Dr. Hubert A. Minnis (FNM-Killarney), the leader of the official opposition, has his work cut out for him. He has some big political shoes to fill as he seeks to reconstruct and mold the shell-shocked Free National Movement (FNM) in his own image. The ever pervasive shadow and hologram of Hubert A. Ingraham (FNM-North Abaco) loom large over his shoulders.
I have long predicted that Dr. Minnis would emerge as de facto leader of the FNM, even if, for the time being, the former leader is, in fact, the de jure leader of that defunct party. So said, so done. At a recent press conference or was it a one man, as usual, diatribe, Ingraham demonstrated that he is still of the bogus and mistaken view that he is still relevant in Bahamian politics.
The biggest single reason why the FNM went down in flames in the general election is Ingraham and his abrasive style of leadership. Yes, he used to be relevant, bold and fresh. Today, he is irrelevant, timid and stale, with all due respect. His shelf life has expired but he continues to act and believe that Bahamians still want to purchase a rancid loaf of bread.
Dr. Minnis, however, has what it takes to become prime minister of this nation. Some misguided persons think that it is all about being bombastic. Others, just as deluded, believe that a leader must wear his or her mantle on their shoulders like some big and bad bully.
The days of such leaders are over in The Bahamas. What we want today is a mixture of both where compassion is combined with laser-like focus on the issues and concerns which impact ordinary Bahamians on a daily basis. Political insecurity and one-man band scenarios have plagued our country for too long and we must move beyond them. Who is Dr. Minnis the man and is he up to the task of unseating the now resurgent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration?
I am not a PLP and I would not even talk about the FNM. What I am, however, is a true born Bahamian who has an unequalled passion for my country and the orderly advancement of all who call this nation home, bar none. Political tribalism will be the death blow to the hoped for success of the PLP. Far too many so called PLPs believe that God Himself bestowed this nation upon them and to hell with the rest of us who may not belong to their tribe.
Already one is witnessing the return to positions of influence of the "old guard" within the PLP and already one is able to cringe when one sees how contracts and other governmental favors and perks are being handed out, like candy, to those who bow at the altar of Perry Christie and the boneless sycophants who worship the rest of them.
Mind you, don't get me wrong, in politics this is the way it is. I submit, however, that there must be several slices of the collective loaf of bread available for other Bahamians regardless of political affiliation. It is morally wrong and politically unacceptable for the whole hog to be shared amongst only those who belong to a governing party.
This is the difference which Dr. Minnis will bring to the table. He is a self-made man whose means have very little to do with his political posture or the virtue of his being in the House of Assembly. Whatever he might have he earned it the old fashioned way by hard work, focusing on an agenda and by prudent investments with his own income.
Lynden Pindling, Christie and Ingraham, by contrast, never had to really work hard in their natural lives. None of them, God bless them all, has ever had to work "hard" in the private sector for too long.
Dr. Minnis came from relatively humble beginnings and had to go out to work early in his life. Yes, his father may have been able to do something for him, but basically he came up the rough side of the mountain. He has a tenacity and attention to detail that few frontline politicians seem to possess or have the ability to display. His speaking style is adequate to the task at hand and he is a sharp debater in the House of Assembly. His feathers are not ruffled easily.
In going to meet the man called Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, I am of the firm view that he is more than capable and able to stand his ground in any and all circumstances. I am also aware that some of my PLP friends and enemies (and I have a load of them both) will question why I seek to praise and embellish the abilities of the leader of the opposition but I call a spade a spade. I serve at the altar of no tin gods, iron men or Fruit of the Loom women.
"Going to meet the Man" is the title of a book written some years ago by the now deceased, celebrated black American writer James Baldwin. The sentiments expressed therein by Baldwin are applicable, in today's context, to the leader of the opposition. Dr. Minnis, eventually, will reconstruct and mold the now shell-shocked FNM into a force to be respected by its detractors.
If the PLP fails to deliver on its big gold dream, the average Bahamian will be merciless in his/her treatment of that party come the next general election. The immediate task at hand for Dr. Minnis, however, may well be a hopeless one. The upcoming by-election in North Abaco, in my submission, will be lost, big time by the FNM unless they immediately put certain measures in place.
In going to meet the man, Dr. Minnis must rise to the occasion. If he fails to do so, and I am of the view that he is being set up to so do, his leadership momentum will be subjected to severe challenges. Do I know how they in the FNM would be able to retain North Abaco? Absolutely. Will I so advise them?
To God then, in all things, be the glory.
- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
Parents, teachers and art enthusiasts were treated to a wonderful evening
of fine art, a silent auction, steel pan entertainment, delicious food and
refreshments in a successful first edition of the "Art of Warriors" - a unique
showcase of tremendously talented young artists.
Warriors" showcased great artistic
talents of students of both the primary and secondary departments of Bishop
Michael Eldon School - with student entries ranging from watercolours and
acrylics to digital art and photography along with incredible class group art
pieces from the primary grades...
Killarney MP Dr. Hubert Minnis and Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner have emerged leader and deputy leader, respectively, of the Free National Movement, as the party struggles to find its feet in the post-Ingraham era.
Minnis, a former Health Minister in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, was elected leader unopposed during a special one-day convention the party held at Holy Trinity Activities Centre in Stapledon Gardens on Saturday.
Butler-Turner, former minister of social services, emerged the first female deputy leader of the FNM.
Charles Maynard, a former sports and culture minister, was elected chairman after defeating Carl Bethel, the incumbent, in a hotly contested race.
Dr. Duane Sands and Darron Cash were both elected deputy chairman. Both are relatively new to front-line politics.
Butler-Turner thanked those
who supported her and those who challenged her and lost. She held off challenges by Senator Desmond Bannister, Rev. Dr. Frederick McAlpine and Gladys Sands.
She pledged to support Minnis as they begin the work of renewing the FNM.
"Lift up your heads FNMs," a jubilant Butler-Turner said. "Wipe away any remaining tears. Stand up tall and proud. Let your voices be heard. Refresh your spirits [because] we have work to do.
"Our task is bigger than holding the government accountable. We have to rebuild and expand our support in the country."
In his maiden address on Saturday night, Minnis said: "I have a privilege afforded to few -- the privilege of accepting the leadership of our great Free National Movement. I accept this honor with gratitude and great confidence. I am especially confident that we will demonstrate to the Bahamian people that we are the party of the future."
But Minnis said the Opposition would not oppose the government just for the sake of opposing.
However, he pointed out that already there are claims of victimization by the PLP and said that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is retreating from promises it made on the campaign trail.
PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts congratulated Minnis on his win. But he said Minnis has already broken his promise not to oppose for the sake of it.
"Dr. Minnis... spent a large part of his speech [demonstrating] that he plans to do no such thing, even when it means distorting the record of the PLP government as he did with his ongoing denial about how the FNM dismantled Urban Renewal, his unfounded talk about victimization and his repeating the foolish talk of his predecessor about corruption..."
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Shop at
Sawyer's Fresh Market on Oak Street and watch your grocery bill get lower!
Locally Owned -
Locally Operated - Earth Friendly -
Always Fresh - Smart Choice - Best Quality - Fabulous Selection
Open 7 days a week! Sundays from 8am to 1pm; Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Sawyer's Labour Day Weekend Super Hoilday Sale is going on NOW until Monday June 4th. Get low prices on everything Fresh at Sawyer's Save-A-Lot. We carry the most sought after produce when it's in-season and bring you the best prices and the best quality.
Shop at Sawyer's Fresh Market on Oak Street and watch your grocery bill get lower! Locally Owned - Locally Operated - Earth Friendly - Always Fresh - Smart Choice - Best Quality - Fabulous Selection.
Lucayan Tropical, a top food producer, is rising to the government's pledge to ban certain imports if the same products can be produced locally.
Tim Hauber, the general manager, said there is "no doubt" his operation could supply the entire country with cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. And to prove it, the leading agriculturalist will be leading V. Alfred Gray, the minister of agriculture, on a tour of his farm in the next two weeks.
Last month, Gray told Guardian Business that the government will ban or impose high tariffs on any food item that can be produced locally in sufficient quantity, and at the right price.
Hauber believes there is now a renewal of interest and confidence in the industry since those comments.
"There are a handful of products that we could without a doubt supply to the entire country," he told Guardian Business. "At least while they are in season. I can supply all of the country's needs of cucumbers and sweet peppers. Hands down."
The chief at Lucayan Tropical, one of the new food producers in the country, stands as a strong example to others in the sector. The Bahamian food bill has remained persistently high over the years, hovering in the $500 million range, with the vast majority imported from the U.S. or Mexico.
Hauber pointed out that it will take a time to realistically bring the local industry up to a standard that places a noticeable dent in that bill. He encouraged other producers, however, to step up and focus on specific foods.
"The Bahamas is not going to produce its own food. But we need to take key products and get that going well, achieve some profitability, and then you'll see the momentum going," he said. "We don't need to get super theoretical about it. We just need to get that ball rolling."
Calling the minister's latest remarks on the industry "balanced", the top farmer speculated his current weekly production to be 400 cases of cucumbers, 800 cases of colored peppers and 500 cases of tomatoes.
Lucayan Tropical now sells to various supermarkets in the country, as well as hotels, but he said it is still a common sight to see a cucumber from the U.S. or Canada.
Much of the country's produce ends up going unused and wasted, he noted, which is a common source of frustration among farmers.
And that's where Amanda Wells comes in, the agricultural officer at the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation. Her role in the "Buy Fresh. Buy Bahamian" campaign includes collecting data from farmers on what they are producing.
That role will become increasingly important as local food producers attempt to meet the government's expectations, and ultimately, curb the influx of foreign products.
"I am on board with that. If the numbers are good, I would endeavor to do something about it, and submit it to government," she said.
The BAIC now offers free consultation services for would-be and current farmers. Wells encouraged those interested in the industry to stop by, as the organization offers complimentary business plans for those looking to get off the ground.
Gray, the minister of agriculture, has acknowledged that "it's not an easy situation out there".
"So I am certainly willing to do what I can to assist the industry. We have to consider the consumer. If we can't get enough of the product, that's a problem. But I am prepared to consider banning certain things from imports."
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.
On 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