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Being a pedestrian in New Providence is not easy. Many lose their lives each year navigating our streets.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) keeps a watchful eye on tourists and local pedestrians downtown, but elsewhere Bahamians are largely left on their own. Walkers, joggers, and cyclists share many of our roads, with police patrol presence being sporadic.
Congested areas such as Shirley Street have sidewalks placed with no cohesive approach. Kemp Road and other frequently used roads with high-density residential dwellings and schools need attention. Parents should not have to fear their children crossing a street next to a school.
Though the New Providence Road Improvement Project upgraded and installed much-needed sidewalks, some components such as the placement of concrete islands are puzzling. The crosswalks at Baha Mar are difficult for oncoming drivers to navigate. Vehicle and scooter accidents now occur frequently in the area and Baha Mar has yet to open.
Motorists tend to incur most of the blame, but pedestrians share responsibility and need to keep aware of their surroundings. With iPods and cell phones, pedestrians can be just as distracted as drivers - a dangerous gamble to play with a ton of metal whisking nearby.
The Bahamas must commit to greater pedestrian safety. If we want to encourage a more active community, we have to make Nassau more amenable to pedestrians. Downtown is hardly an enjoyable place to walk or drive. People cross at any point regardless of crosswalks, and drivers are forced to stop at green lights when seemingly unaware tourist stroll into traffic. It is a frustrating experience for all.
The RBPF must continue to issue citations for traffic violations, particularly for aggressive driving which occurs outside of police checkpoints and continues to be neglected. Aggressive drivers have too much freedom and treat the highways like a race circuit. We must also install crosslights across the island that provide countdowns of time to cross the street. And in highly congested areas like Baha Mar, stoplights with pedestrian call buttons to force traffic to stop only when pedestrians are present would appease walkers and vehicles.
Pedestrians and motorists share responsibility for road safety. Yet, the overwhelming number of traffic-related deaths attributed to pedestrians is too high. Crossing the street at any time of day should not be so dangerous.
"... the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain."
- Khalil Gibran
I was fortunate to have spent this week in Rome, en route to Switzerland. During this Italian sojourn, I visited numerous prominent historical attractions that many only read about in school books, view in movies or see in tourist brochures. During my entire stay in the Italian capital, I was frequently reminded of Khalil Gibran's observation that often we more deeply appreciate our own environment from a distance. Accordingly this week, we would like to Consider This... what are some of our reflections from Rome that help us to more fully appreciate the small country that we call The Bahamas?
Europe is very different from North America. And like the United States, the countries within Europe are as different from each other as are the different cultures, ethnicities, conventions and idiosyncrasies of the individual states that form the American union or even the different islands of The Bahamas.
Immediately upon arriving in Rome, the often expected difficulties that one could anticipate with border control were non-existent. There was no sense of immigration paranoia about foreigners that one sometimes encounters when traveling abroad. It was refreshing to experience such a welcoming and relaxed, almost nonchalant, vetting by immigration officers at the airport.
One of the earliest observations was that virtually all automobiles in Rome are very small - best characterized as either compact, mini or miniscule. The absence of large vehicles was extremely noticeable, as urban residents either use scooters as a primary means of transportation around the capital or the fairly reliable public transportation system of buses and trains. It is said that there are more scooters in Rome than automobiles, the result of both skyrocketing fuel costs combined with the ease of parking in public places.
One quickly appreciates that Italians are Euro-centric, with little concern about what's going on in the Americas. The majority of people I engaged about the state of affairs in Italy expressed a disappointment with the quality of Italian life since joining the European Union, primarily because of the adverse impact on the level of salary and wages and the replacement of the Italian lira with the euro in 2002.
Watching the news on television offered another perspective of and discernible difference in Italian life. Apart from the limited number of English-speaking channels in my hotel, it was obvious from the channels that were available that Italians are not inundated with CNN or other American media as we are in the Americas. Rather, Al Jazeera, Euronews and BBC World are viewed with greater regularity with those news services presenting a more balanced reporting of world news, again with greater interest and focus of what is taking place in Europe, Africa and Asia. For example, while scrolling the news channels, the latter broadcasts focused more on diverse international developments whereas CNN International, while reporting on selected international developments, provided more American news.
Notwithstanding claims about Italians' apathy to politics, I got the distinct impression that this is not a completely accurate assertion. The Italian Parliament, which is comprised of more than 600 deputies in the lower house of Parliament (the Camera of Deputies) and more than 300 senators, seems to be very active and engaged. While visiting the Italian Parliament, I observed several organized, albeit rancorous, demonstrations in front of the Camera of Deputies. I was also advised that this is a common occurrence, that Parliament meets regularly and that there are always organized demonstrations outside by Italian activists.
The church and history
There are certain realities that transcend national boundaries. Citizens here express disappointment about the level of taxes imposed by the Italian government, including personal and corporate taxes. There is also a value added tax (VAT) rate of 21 percent on goods and services (10 percent in restaurants), which some observe has significantly contributed to the high level of domestic prices. Another common feature of this society is the number of people seeking alms, although it appeared that more women engage in this activity than we are accustomed to seeing.
During a visit to Vatican City, one could only marvel at the enormous impact that the Catholic Church has always had on Italian culture. Historically, more than 16,000 people visit Vatican City daily, although since the election of Pope Francis in March, the level of daily visitors has increased to 25,000.
Although Rome has a population of four million, the streets of this city felt safe for walking, both day and night. Security in Rome is provided by a ubiquitous police force particularly in the city center, including regular uniformed officers, and the elite Carabineri. The regular army is even present in some places. Of course, the Swiss Guard protects Vatican City.
I visited the usual tourist attractions, including the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna (the Seven Steps), the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Castel St. Angelo, the Forum, the Coliseum, the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Chains, and the Vittoriano Monument - a large white marble edifice in Piazza Venezia, which was erected to commemorate the unification of Italy in 1861. Wherever you go, you will find that residents of Rome have a tremendous sense of national pride about the role that Rome has played in the history of civilization.
Italians have every reason to possess such pride, having regard for the enormously incalculable contributions that Rome has made to the development of politics, academics, culture, the arts, jurisprudence and civil society.
The resurgence of the appreciation for the importance of the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance is visible on an international scale as well. These time periods were recently featured in films beginning with the movie "Gladiator", other Hollywood productions of Dan Brown's "DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" and recent TV series such as "Spartacus", "The Borgias" and DaVinci's "Demons".
Rome is a city of contradictions and ironies. During the Roman Empire, Rome led in the persecution of Christians, including the crucifixion and beheading of Sts. Peter and Paul, respectively, along with many other Christian martyrs, but it is also the city which ultimately became the center of the Christian church and the establishment of the Vatican as a separate and autonomous state and the seat of Catholicism.
It is also ironic that the some of the most beautiful churches in Rome were built with stones that were taken from the Coliseum, where Christians were executed, and from the pagan temples of the Forum where the early polytheistic Romans worshipped. It is equally ironic how many previously taboo pagan practices, rituals and customs were amalgamated or absorbed into the Christian church, particularly during the reign of Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.
Although we do not enjoy the millennia-long historical perspective of all that Rome has to offer the world, we in The Bahamas should also be proud of our accomplishments as a young country. From its earliest days, settlers both black and white demonstrated a robust resilience against great odds. They were able to survive by coaxing crops from the barren rocks of our islands. They withstood storms and starvation for centuries and created the vibrant society we call The Bahamas, complete with a rich culture, vigorous democracy and promising future. Certainly there are many exemplary episodes in Bahamian history that we can be as proud of as any Roman. All we have to do is make more of an effort to learn our own stories.
My recent visit to Rome provided not only a deeper understanding of the city that I visited nearly 20 years ago and of its contribution to humanity, but also a richer appreciation of Gibran's observation that "... the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain."
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just returned from a cruise from The Bahamas. Our ship spent a day in Nassau (December 29). As we exited from the ship, we saw several horse buggies carrying tourists. The horses were in bad shape; some had foaming and twitching mouths, others were limping. They were all dirty and very thin. Some had skin conditions that looked like rain rot.
Between rides the buggies were lined up under a long holding area. At some point I counted 11 horses in the line. Each "stall" area had a red watering dish attached. I walked up to see if there was water in the dishes but they were bone dry, most filled with garbage. One dish had some dirty water in it.
In between rides the horses were moved through the line so fast that they did not get a chance to drink from the one dish that had the water. I asked a young man -- he was driving one of the buggies -- why there was no water out for the horses in the other watering dishes. He just laughed and said that they gave them enough water. It was clearly not the case.
I was so disgusted and disturbed that I had to go back to the ship. From the ship I could see the area and saw that the same horses were ridden from 8 a.m. (when we arrived) and some were still there at 4:30 p.m. There was no food or water and they barely were able to stop to rest. They were standing in traffic with the cars, breathing the fumes all day.
Sometimes the last horse carriage in line was chosen by a tourist, so the horse was forced to back up, turn around with the carriage attached. As the hours passed they became even more lethargic, hanging their heads and dragging themselves and the carts.
Even though it was December and the temperature was only in the 70s, the horses looked hot and thirsty. I can't even imagine how they feel during the summer months!
Towards the end of the day, the men were filling up buckets with water and carrying them toward the horses. I thought that they would water them at that point but I was mistaken. They used the water to clean the rental scooters.
I am wondering if anyone keeps an eye on these poor creatures. It was just horrible to see that so many people looked at those horses, but did not see their suffering. Please let me know if there is anything that can be done to improve the lives of these horses.
-- Andrea LaChance
Being a pedestrian in New Providence is not easy. Nearly 20 pedestrians lost their lives in 2012 and already New Providence has recorded its first pedestrian death (January 5). Pedestrian deaths are too common on this island.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force keeps a watchful eye on tourists and local pedestrians downtown, but elsewhere Bahamians are left on their own. Walkers, joggers and cyclists share many of our roads which barely support two passing SUVs. Even with reflective clothing and common sense, surviving seems to take a bit of luck.
Congested areas like Shirley Street have sidewalks placed ad hoc with no cohesive approach. Kemp Road and other frequently used roads with high density residential dwellings and schools need attention. Parents should not have to fear their children crossing a street next to the school.
Though the New Providence Road Improvement Project upgraded and installed much needed sidewalks, some components such as the placement of concrete islands are puzzling. The crosswalks at Baha Mar are difficult for oncoming drivers to navigate. Not only do drivers have to stop nearly in the roundabout, but pedestrians are hard to see ahead and to the left when drivers are focused to oncoming vehicles from the right. Vehicle and scooter accidents occur frequently and Baha Mar has yet to open.
Motorists tend to incur most of the blame, but pedestrians share responsibility for keeping aware of their surroundings. With iPods and cell phones, pedestrians can be just as distracted as drivers; a dangerous gamble to play with a ton of metal whisking along side.
The Bahamas must commit to greater pedestrian safety. If we want to encourage a more active community, we have to make Nassau more amenable to pedestrians. Downtown is hardly an enjoyable place to walk or to drive. People cross at any point regardless of crosswalks and drivers are forced to stop at green lights when the seemingly unaware tourist strolls into traffic. It is a frustrating experience for all.
The RBPF must continue to issue citations for traffic violations, particularly for aggressive driving which occurs outside of police check points and continues to be neglected. Aggressive drivers have too much freedom and treat the highways like a race circuit. We must install cross lights that provide a countdown of time to cross the street. And in highly congested areas like Baha Mar stoplights with pedestrian call buttons to force traffic to stop only when pedestrians are present would appease walkers and vehicles alike.
Pedestrians and motorists share responsibility for road safety. Yet, the overwhelming number of traffic related deaths attributed to pedestrians is too high. Crossing the street at any time of day should not be an exercise in fate.
- Genre : Crime, Drama, Thriller
- Rating : C - 18yrs and Older
Jackie Cogan is a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game....
Peter Maillis' crew out-speared six other teams, capturing 110 lionfish to walk away as the big winners of the recent Out West Hospitality Group's Lionfish Tournament and tasting event.
The Maillis team cruised away from the competition with an electric scooter, $800 and $400 in Out West Hospitality gift certificates redeemable at Traveller's Rest, the Beach House and Island Smokehouse.
Andrew Pike's crew captured the biggest and longest lionfish at 16.5 inches. They walked away with $800 and $400 in gift certificates redeemable at any Out West Hospitality restaurant.
In a surprise twist to the competition, John Andrew McKinney boosted the prize money by donating an additional $500, giving $300 to the second place team and $200 to the third place team.
The main objective of the lionfish tournament and tasting event was to familiarize the public with the fact that lionfish is good eating, and to have people do their part to rid Bahamian waters of the lionfish, an invasive species that is causing havoc in Bahamian waters.
Over 200 lionfish were speared during the tournament.
The Out West Hospitality Group wanted to educate the public on the numerous ways to help control the nuisance. Hundreds of Island Smokehouse guests also enjoyed nine varieties of dishes for the public to sample and vote for their favorite dish. The fan favorite on the day was lionfish prepared in lemon capers. Another crowd favorite was the lionfish peas and grits.
Other variety of lionfish dishes showcased on the day, included beer battered, smoked, broiled, curried, Cajun, and lionfish cakes.
BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation) was on hand to demonstrate proper handling and cleaning of the lionfish.
A TOURIST was taken to hospital yesterday after losing control of a rented scooter.
The accident took place at about 3.45pm at Go Slow Bend in Nassau, along West Bay Street, where it appeared the scooter rider had lost control of the vehicle and struck the wall between the road and the sea.
A number of other scooter riders were on the scene, along with an ambulance and a police car, before the ambulance headed towards the hospital with the injured tourist.
- Genre : Drama, Mystery, Thriller
- Rating : C - 18yrs and Older
With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent....