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Acting Secretary General of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union Jeffrey Murphy said yesterday that the organization does not support the harassment of tourists, but he understands why taxi drivers at Festival Place would have to make the first approach to visitors.
Murphy said with a number of other businesspeople jostling for business in the area, taxi drivers have to approach visitors if they are going to make a living.
"They can't stay there with their mouths shut because you have a lot of different people out there like hair braiders, surrey operators, scooter rentals and boat operators," Murphy said.
His comments came a day after police conducted an inspection at Festival Plac ...
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 email@example.com.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO paramedics have been suspended following claims that they forced injured tourists to pay for treatment and transport to hospital.
The actions of the two-member crew are now being investigated by bosses at Emergency Medical Services.
It is alleged that two visitors injured in a traffic accident were the victims of extortion - having been told they would have to pay up-front for treatment and transport.
The tourists were said to be riding a scooter at the time of the accident, but it is not known if another vehicle was involved.
EMS director Dr Avery Hanna confirmed the crew has been suspended pending further inve ...
Fishermen start your engines, because with over $5,000 in prizes to be won, simply for removing a few invasive lion fish species from Bahamian waters, gassing up the boat will be more than worth it.
As the fishermen do their part, members of the public who aren't able to catch any lionfish can remain on the shore and sample delicious
lionfish offerings that will be prepared by Island Smokehouse. Topping it all off, the evening will conclude with a performance by Willis & The Illest, a conscious roots dub-style reggae band that fuses rock, hip-hop, jazz and other genres into their musical sound.
"The main objective of the lionfish tournament and tasting is to familiarize the public with the fact that lionfish is good eating," said tournament director Jenny Pinder. "One person described the taste as if a grouper and crawfish had a baby, so we're getting the public aware that it's good eating and doing our part to get rid of them, because the lionfish is destroying the marine life and Out West Hospitality Group just wants to do its part with the community to try and rid our waters of this invasive species that is causing havoc in our waters."
Fishermen can head out at the crack of dawn on Saturday, July 19 to engage in Hawaiian sling fishing (spear fishing) for the lionfish, anywhere in Bahamian waters that they want to fish, but they need to be back to the marina at Island Smokehouse at Elizabeth and Bay Street by 3 p.m. for their fish to be counted and weighed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
"If fishermen want to, they can bring their boat to Elizabeth and Bay, or they can drive their fish catch in if they're, say, out at Lyford. But they just need to be there by 3 p.m." said Pinder.
The fisherman catching the most lionfish will take home $800, an electric scooter and $400 in gift certificates redeemable at any Out West Hospitality restaurant including Traveller's Rest, The Beach House and Island Smokehouse.
The person catching the biggest lionfish will walk away with $800 and $400 in restaurant gift certificates.
As patrons wait for the fishermen to return with their catch, they can indulge in lionfish dishes prepared by Island Smokehouse like sliders, ceviche and tacos, with all the popular Bahamian sides.
BREEF, BASRA and the Bahamas National Trust will also have a presence at the event. Demonstrations on the proper way to handle lionfish and their cleaning will also be done.
With bouncy castles to keep the children entertained, Pinder said the lionfish tournament and sampling event should amount to a fantastic day for adults and the littlest members of the family.
"It's going to be a great day by the bay, not to be missed," she said. "The general public will pay $10 dollars to sample and be educated on how to handle, clean and cook the delicious fish. Included in the cover charge, patrons will be able to enjoy scrumptious lionfish dishes, Bahamian sides, a cash bar and vote on their favorite lionfish dish."
Willis & The Illest caps off the day's activities with a performance at Island Smokehouse, starting at 9 p.m., and patrons will be in for a treat from the group fronted by lead vocalist Willis Knowles, as the band bridges the gaps of music, people and culture through their energetic performances representing love, peace, unity and positive vibes.
Fishermen have to sign up with Jenny Pinder to compete in the lionfish competition, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 427-1542.
Nassau, Bahamas -
Lyford Cay International
School this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and many celebratory events
are being held to both fund-raise to expand and upgrade facilities, and to mark
the important milestone.
One such event was the recent Gala Dinner and
fund raising Auction at the Sheraton Hotel's Independence Ballroom on Nassau's
Cable Beach. Guests sipped champagne and viewed the 130 very diverse Silent
Auction items which included a 19 foot Boston Whaler, a Yamaha Scooter...
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.
"I'm vex at people who complain about traffic, completely failing to see the irony. They're the reason traffic exists, because they're the ones driving the cars. One would think that a tiny, flyspeck island such as New Providence would welcome two wheeled transportation such as bicycles, scooters and motorcycles with open arms, but Bahamians are so ignorant that we stick to the old tradition of 'only 'Hyshins' is ride bicycle!' And we all know how Bahamians view 'Hyshins'."
- Concerned citizen
"I vex an' sad that all dem stores on Bay Street get burn down and happy dat at least one left mostly saved intact is da well known 'Bat' ...
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE country's biggest tournament, featuring teams from the primary to the high school level, is scheduled for December 9-17 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
The 27th version of the Father Marcian Peters Basketball Classic, organised by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, is all set for teams in the private, public schools and Family Islands.
Tournament coordinator Michael 'Scooter' Reid said the classic promises to be another exciting one. "We really want to stress to the teams to send in their entry forms as soon as possible so that we can formulate the schedule in time," said Reid, a senior sports ...