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I interacted with a goodly number of persons on Saturday past, before and during the official opening of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Pertaining to what went on at the various stages of the celebration that honored famed track sprinter and sports ambassador Tommy Robinson, I heard no negative comments.
A general feeling of pride was evident. It was a joyful scene as Bahamians in great numbers greeted each other and visiting guests. Indeed for one special moment in time, Bahamians like they haven't done in a very long time, collectively, participated in a totally refreshing atmosphere.
Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes, Ambassador Hu Shan of the People's Republic of China, International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) executive Chuck Blazer and Bahamian international recording star Johnny Kemp added to the really nice flavor of the activities on the milestone occasion. Some significant contributors to national sports development in this country were not there in person, but on the two big screens, tribute was paid to them.
Was it a learning experiencing? Yes, it was.
The honoree did not speak. That was odd. I have never been present at or heard of an event in which the chief person being honored did not speak or have someone give remarks on his/her behalf. Robinson seemed quite capable enough when he was introduced. He came out near the platform and waved with energy for a few moments to the crowd. He was cheered lustily.
Was he given the option to speak or not is the big question. If he was not, then that's a story for another time. Then, there was the list of persons who got special notification. That list should have been inclusive of some others.
There were a few hiccups in the coordinating of the seating for the sporting executives. What was noteworthy and very much appreciated though, was that a lot of effort went into sorting that situation out. A dedicated group of volunteers were on hand and they created a comfort zone.
All-in-all the ceremony gets a "good" rating from me. It flowed. The fanfare was exceptional. Cleophas Adderley, Ronald Simms and others handled a tall organizing task handily. The police and defence force bands were magnificent. The one-lap march of the representatives of sporting bodies was a fitting segment that showcased the key players in the sports development process of our nation.
The entertainment by local artists who performed secular and gospel music, the dance and junkanoo routines, historic video clips and huge posters of the life and times of Robinson amounted to a combined touch of class. I have to point out also that the politicians skipped the rhetoric. Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard was solid and on point as he spoke to the quality of Bahamian sports.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was gracious and stately. He gave credit to the Perry Christie government that started the new national stadium process with the People's Republic of China. He had warm praises for Robinson.
It was an elegant showing on the part of PM Ingraham. High level political campaigning is going on in the country presently as the day of the general election nears. Ingraham's presentation on Saturday was one that even his most ardent detractors would be hard-pressed to criticize legitimately.
The presence of Blazer was important. The game of soccer might end up being the greatest marketing item for the Sports Authority, given its popularity around the world. As the guest of Bahamas Football Association (BFA) President Anton Sealey, Blazer cemented the high priority status of soccer for the national stadium. He is a FIFA executive committee member and also the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) secretary general.
Blazer coming in for the opening could be a good indication that it is soccer that will christen the stadium with a big-time sports event in the not too distant future.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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...
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
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.
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