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Boxing fans, for over three years now have been starved of professional activity in the country. The professional side of boxing is indeed dormant. What are the reasons?
Firstly, the market is a big problem. The economy is such that promoters face an uphill battle in getting gates that would enable them to at least break even. Funds are just not in abundance for fans to be able to budget $20 and upwards just for a single ticket.
What adds to the problem for promoters however are the outrageous purse demands of boxers.
I will use one example to make the point. It is my understanding that a former top rated boxer who has not won a fight in four years, is asking for $10,000.00 as his purse alone. Now this is totally ridiculous.
You haven't been victorious in over four years.
Your market value has plummeted.
You never really packed them in even when at your best and now wish to have a promoter come up with $10,000 in the present market?
Bahamian observers of the sporting scene need to be aware of such requests that are not realistic.
How could a fighter possibly think about asking for more money than he ever made for a single fight? This is one of the difficulties promoters face. There are several of them who want badly to put shows on. They have communicated with the Bahamas Boxing Commission and are comfortable with the terms and conditions given for an endorsement.
They are ready to go.
There are quality Bahamian boxers like Taureano Johnson, Ryan McKenzie and Meacher Major, who are reasonable and very interested in performing in The Bahamas. They could be matched up with local-based fighters, but the purses being asked for, just can't work in this market.
I told a prospective promoter, businessman Tommy Stubbs of Buttons Formal Wear, who has been trying to make a certain match, that one of the boxers in question just does not want to fight. Within his heart, he probably feels that another defeat will be the result, so the big demand of $10,000 is the cover for fear.
Nevertheless, the promoter indicated that he would work around that particular scenario and get into the promotion of boxing shows nevertheless. Stubbs has presented the Bahamas Boxing Commission with a good-looking plan and his timetable is for early 2014.
So, it appears that pro boxing will come alive again.
It's a grand sport that has great history here in The Bahamas.
Best wishes Tommy!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE family of Anthony (Tony) Hepburn, 72, who disappeared from Clifton Bay on Sunday, May 5, is asking anyone who might have seen him to contact the police or the family.
Prior to 1999, Renee Dean had never even heard of the word lupus -- she did not even know that there was such a disease. So the day she visited the doctor because she was feeling under the weather, she thought she was suffering with the flu. That doctor prescribed medication that did not seem to improve her situation. Finally, frustrated with the fine bumps on her back that kept itching and from which she could get no relief, she went to see a skin doctor. After a battery of blood tests, she was told she had lupus. It was the first time Dean had ever heard the word and found out that it was a disease.
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. It can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus is the facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks. Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there's no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
Shortly after Dean's diagnosis in early 2000, she was hospitalized for the first time for approximately nine days. To this day she says she can't recall exactly what happened. She says she only knows what people have told her, and that it has not been good at all.
"It was like I was out of my mind or something, so I think they had me heavily sedated," said Dean.
The last time she was hospitalized for a flare-up was in 2008 as she suffered with severe leg pain.
No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly. They may be mild or severe and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease, characterized by episodes called flares, when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.
Dean says she is currently in remission. She has not had a flare since her 2008 episode.
The one downside to her lupus diagnosis was that she was told not to get pregnant because of the risk -- she could either lose her life or her child. Dean does not have any children. With the world recently celebrating Mother's Day, being childless is something she says she has accepted. And she says having lupus isn't the only reason she is not a mother.
"I've always said I don't want to have children unless I'm married ... and I'm not married, so it doesn't affect me a whole lot -- not now," said the 42-year-old.
Signs and symptoms of lupus depend on the body symptoms affected by the disease. Symptoms include fatigue and fever; joint pain, stiffness and swelling; butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose; skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure; fingers and toes that run white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods; shortness of breath; chest pain; dry eyes; headaches; confusion or memory loss.
"The flare-ups happen whenever they happen," she said. "You can look at someone today and say nothing's wrong with them and the next day you can see them totally different [and] in a lot of pain."
Dean who is naturally slim and who normally tips the scale at around 135 pounds said she lost weight during her flare. The needle on the scale dipped below 100 pounds.
"For me to wear my clothes I would have to wear like four pants to keep the main pants up," she said.
For the past 14 years, Dean has been taking five different medications -- some she takes once a day, others she takes twice daily in her fight against the disease. While she's comes to terms with lupus, the one thing she says she's certain of, it's that she is sick and tired of taking all the medication that she does.
"It's tiresome," she said. "Some days if I miss when I'm supposed to take it (medication) I don't worry about it, I take it the next day."
As she looks to her future her hope is that one day a cure is found or that one day she goes to the doctor and is told that her lupus is "all gone".
And Dean says it's her trust in God that has helped bring her through the last 13 years living with lupus.
"Even when they told me [I had lupus] I was calm straight through because I said I can't change the situation there's nothing I could do about it, so I just accepted it and trust and believe in God. I have had great support from family and coworkers and that too has helped me," she said.
During the month of May Bahamians will join millions around the world to raise awareness for lupus. Nassau-based support group, Lupus 242, is leading the way with events planned to educate locals about the debilitating disease affecting many people living in The Bahamas.
An estimated 5.5 million persons globally live with the chronic autoimmune disease brought on by genetics, environment and hormonal imbalances in the body. There are no real statistics on the number of persons in The Bahamas with lupus. In addition to raising awareness, Lupus 242 is working to establish a local database of lupus patients.
"May is Lupus Awareness Month and we are appealing to the general public and to corporate Bahamas to support our events and activities," said Shanelle Brennen, Lupus 242 president and a lupus fighter for more than 20 years. "It's amazing the amount of Bahamians who are suffering in silence. We want to provide them with much needed support through events and through our monthly meetings. Lupus is not an easy illness to live with, but there is hope," she said.
Since Lupus 242 launched in April 2012, persons throughout The Bahamas have reached out to share their stories on how lupus has impacted their lives. In addition to the events, the group is also releasing a public service announcement entitled "But You Don't Look Sick" and will be selling wristbands and bumper stickers to the general public.
Dean is appreciative of the Lupus 242 group -- a group that she says has interesting and informative meetings.
"The have different health persons come in and talk to us. And just to know different people that have lupus is good. Since I've been with Lupus 242 I haven't been sick, but it's a good support," said Dean.
LUPUS 242 CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Monday, May 20
9:30 a.m. - Hope Floats Balloon Release ceremony in honor of lives lost to lupus at the top of Fort Charlotte.
Sunday, May 26
3 p.m. - A Purple Hat Tea Party Affair at St. Matthew's Parish Hall.
Finding a way to relax and control her weight was what originally led 49-year-old Porcia Fernander to try acupuncture. The first time she tried the treatment over the course of several weeks she lost 10 pounds and knocked a few inches off her waist. That was one of the most energizing periods of her life. She was thankful to the physician that advised her to try the Eastern alternative form of medicine. She had finally found the relief she sought and now has regular acupuncture therapy to cope with her occasional pain and aches related to her job.
"As a bus driver I don't get a lot of time to move around or exercise particularly since I have early mornings and late evenings. I also struggle to eat a proper diet as I don't really have any real breaks when driving a bus particularly since I run my own business, so it is easy to pack on the pounds with continuous poor eating as well as get cramped and achy due to sitting in the same position all day or having bad posture. I really needed to find a way to get my metabolism going and start a health plan that was more natural. So I was glad when I found acupuncture because it truly solves my problem."
Acupuncture therapy, a procedure that in previous years was met with lots of trepidation by Bahamians due to their fear of needles or their general misinformation about the procedure, is taking off in The Bahamas according to Dr. Nisha Armbrister, a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese medicine at Alternative Care Center located on Dean's Lane. But she said that there are adventurous people or who are educated enough about what actually happens who are willing to try it and who have found that this Eastern alternative form of medicine really helps.
According to the doctor acupuncture is when disposable thread-like needles are inserted into the pressure points of the body (of which there are over 300 points) that are all connected to the nervous system. In stimulating the pressure points by inserting needles, a message is sent to the brain to produce more of certain hormones and natural chemicals. In a way this naturally accelerates metabolic processes in the body and in essence encourages more expedient self-healing from ailments or pains."
The procedure she said has been used for over 4,000 years worldwide, particularly in Africa, Asia and South America compared to modern western medicine which has only been around for 250 years she said. And contrary to belief, Chinese medicine is not just confined to acupuncture but also includes three other modules Chinese medicine practitioners like Armbrister use -- herbal medicine, nutrition and Tui Na or body massage which is used to increase circulation and vital energy (qi).
"A lot of people believe a myth that acupuncture is only for weight loss, but there is so much more to it than that," said the acupuncturist. "Originally acupuncture was intended to relieve pain, but in treating patients for pain by creating balance in the body, the patient's metabolism often increased and as a result weight decreased."
Another myth that Bahamians have she said is that acupuncture hurts. The wellness professional says while it may prick at times, it does not hurt in the same way that a traditional hollow needle used for immunization or taking blood may feel. The needles used are thin, solid and disposable. They are small enough to fit in a skin pore and are usually only inserted a half inch into the skin.
Undergoing acupuncture is a simple process that Dr. Armbrister said does have merit. Despite modern people having a deeper affinity for Western medicine she has found many people who are interested in the Eastern medicine and are willing to try it before trying surgical or synthetic means of pain relief. There are even people who choose acupuncture and other natural means of relief primarily over medications and developing dependencies on synthetic products.
"Unlike Western medicine where you expect immediate relief with the pop of a pill, acupuncture is not like that. If you have an acute pain or disorder you can get a session or two to get you back on track, but with long term illnesses and aches and pains you will need more sessions. After all, the illness didn't develop overnight so how can you expect it to be healed overnight. This is very natural and allows people to use their bodies' own natural healing defenses which is the way to go about things in most cases."
Dr. Michael Ingraham, a general practitioner who operates from the Natural Health Center said acupuncture does have a lot of merit due to modern science finally being able to monitor how it works. He said the medical procedure was first mentioned in the "Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine," an ancient text that is generally used as the foundation of Eastern medicine and that unlike many modern forms of medical treatment, acupuncture is all-natural.
"Acupuncture is a very useful procedure for most people with any kind of pain, chronic illness or bodily imbalance. This procedure is not hype like many people may feel and it's good for more things besides the popularized weight loss theory. I have successfully treated many patients with problems ranging from migraines, sports injuries, sciatica (ruptured disk), lumbago (lower back pain) and even chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. All of these illnesses may seem to have little in common and you may wonder how something like acupuncture can treat them all, but the truth is acupuncture is a means to stimulate the body to heal itself no matter what the problem is."
The doctor with 32 years of medical experience said that acupuncture in many ways is superior to modern medicine due to it being universally helpful for many illnesses. He said it should also be a preferable treatment method for people hoping to go a more natural route as opposed to using chemicals and surgery to cure or manage an ailment. He said such extremes like medicines should be a last resort as they actually alter the body's chemistry and in some cases end up doing more harm than good. He said using invasive methods like surgery to heal the body of non-critical chronic illnesses should not be done before trying alternative and more gentle means of healing like acupuncture and massage therapies.
Dr. Ingraham said acupuncture heals because it focuses on over 360 important points as well as the 12 essential meridian system or energy channels in the body and stimulates them. The points and channels closely align with other systems in the body like the lymphatic system and circulatory system. Because they even lie near important organs through massaging or treating acupuncture points they in turn assist in the circulation and healing to the area connected to the point.
Despite its usefulness many people may still be turned off by acupuncture due to its use of needles and a universal fear of pain but the physician said the procedure has evolved over time and people can be less fearful.
"When people think of acupuncture they may think of all the needles and pain that is said to be associated with it, but acupuncture, although ancient has become a very modernized thing," said Dr. Ingraham. "The point of acupuncture is to pinpoint areas of the body that are in pain or affected by poor or hyper-energy circulation. And the traditional way of doing it used to be needles but now we have advanced and there are electro-magnetic therapies that can target the same painful areas and give results. Another method is laser treatment which is a form of acupuncture that uses a gentle light to treat that is very effective on young children; so really acupuncture is not what people think about anymore."
Although the physician would recommend this procedure to most patients he warns people to be wary of who they are attended by. He said there are many people who claim to be acupuncturists but who are not certified or properly trained. Before opting to visit an acupuncturist he advises people to do their research on the practitioner and the clinic to ensure they are qualified and certified for the job. He said to also enquire about their proper sanitation of needles if they are used in the procedure. The doctor said while acupuncture can do wonders over time, if it is not done by a qualified practitioner it can do more harm than good.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- A new health group is being formed in Grand Bahama, but this one deals with the head and mentality. Following speaking with the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise, member Billie Bowe, Behavioural Health Activist, said that a small core group for The Family: People Helping People Programme, met this past Friday at the YMCA and they have already gained some corporate support and they are looking at an official launch soon.
Mrs. Bowe told the Rotary Club last Wednesday during their regular weekly meeting at Geneva's that there is a growing concern among the citizens of The Bahamas regarding the steady increase in violent crimes facing our communities.
"We are all talking about it in the lunchrooms, or at the office" she continued. "Or maybe even around the domino tables, where we are all asking, 'what is going on in Nassau with all these crimes?'
"And while it is tempting to get caught up in the many seductive explanations being put forward as to the 'numbers' of murders vs homicides, etc., very little attention is being focused toward answering the questions as to why. Why are these things happening in such a small country? What help, if any, are persons who are victims of crimes getting? I won't rattle on about crime statistics here. It's unnecessary. The bottom line is crime, most especially violent crime, is on the rise - plain and simple!"
Mrs. Bowe said that according to a poll The Bahamas as rated #5 most happy country in the world but she asked if we are so happy then what is causing so many symptoms like depression, suicide, erosion of the traditional family structure, drug addiction and violent crime that are so prevalent in our country?
NFL WEEK ONE
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos, 8:30 p.m.
What a way to kick off the new season! The Broncos and Ravens playoff thriller from a year ago, will be on display this week when the these two teams meet in Week One. As a result of an important function, I missed last year's shootout between these two teams but I certainly won't miss this one. What makes this game even more interesting, is that with both of these defenses being weakened from a year ago, this game promises to provide more fireworks on the offensive side. Peyton and the Broncos are just too potent for me to go against them at this particular point. They're still fuming over that playoff loss from a year ago, and will definitely have revenge on their minds this time.
Broncos 34, Ravens 30
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
The big question for the Patriots this year, will be: Can Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman make up for the absence of Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. In addition to that, Aaron Hernandez was released after involvement in the Odin Lloyd murder case, and Rob Gronkowski figures to miss at least the first three games of the season. Every time I try to put a spoke in the Patriots' wheel, they somehow find a way to recover though. Tom Brady will have a new bunch of receivers to throw to this year, but I have a feeling the All-Pro quarterback will find a way to get it done. Besides, they're opening their season against the lowly Bills.
Patriots 30, Bills 17
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Seattle promises to have one of the better teams in all of football this year. Their defense is certainly top notch, and led by Marshawn Lynch and Ryan Wilson, their ground and pound offense will be a force to reckon with. Newly acquired receiver Percy Harvin will be out for about half of the season, and the Seahawks will miss some production on the offensive side with him out, but their defense should be able to carry the team until his return. Cam Newton and the Panthers are up-and-coming, but the Seahawks defense will dictate he pace of this game on Sunday.
Seahawks 23, Panthers 14
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
With a full year under their belts in Chicago, Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall should be more productive this year. They're arguably top five in the league, in terms of quarterback to receiver tandem. However, the Bengals' duo, Andy Dalton to AJ Green, isn't bad either. I think this game will be one of the more competitive ones of the week, possibly coming down to a late field goal before it is decided. I'm going to roll the dice and go with the visiting team in this one. The Bengals could very well be a playoff team in the AFC again this year, and they'll prove their worth on Sunday.
Bengals 20, Bears 19
Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.
When it rains, it pours! Just when my Fins figured to make a significant move in the AFC East this year, they lost starting tight end Dustin Keller for the season. Now, there's no doubt that quite a bit of the load is going to be on Ryan Tannehill's shoulders this season. The Dolphins' second-year signal caller will have to prove that he has what it takes to be a top notch quarterback in this league, in order for the Dolphins to make the playoffs. I think he will show tremendous improvement, especially with Mike Wallace spreading the field and the reliable Brian Hartline catching everything in sight. Somehow, someway, the Fins will challenge the Pats for supremacy in the AFC East this year.
Dolphins 23, Browns 13
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
The Lions figure to be one of the surprising teams in not just the NFC, but the entire league this year. Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, they were second in the league in passing last year. The latter broke Jerry Rice's single season mark for receiving yards, and Stafford almost duplicated his 5,000-yard passing season from 2011. They'll be potent again, and the addition of Reggie Bush will add firepower on the offensive side for sure. In addition to that, the Lions' defense is quickly maturing. This bunch will certainly be too much for the Vikes to handle this Sunday.
Lions 33, Vikings 17
Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Here are two teams obviously headed in the opposited direction. The Colts are poised to be a serious contender in the AFC while the Raiders are slipping further and further into oblivion. The season hasn't even started yet, and football fans everywhere have a clear idea of what they're going to get from these two teams. Quite frankly, the Raiders are going to stink! What sealed their fate, for me, was when Terrelle Pryor won the starting job at QB over Matt Flynn. They might as well had kept Carson Palmer. Al Davis must be rolling over in his grave right now. Don't expect for the Colts to show any mercy on Sunday.
Colts 37, Raiders 10
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Quite a few analysts are picking the Chiefs to be the darkhorse team for the 2013 season, and with good reason. In addition to bringing in Alex Smith, Anthony Fasano and Donnie Avery, they maintained Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. On defense, they acquired Sean Smith to line up next to the steadily consistent Brandon Flowers. I don't see the Chiefs overcoming the Broncos in the AFC West this year, but they turn a few heads and pull off a few upsets.
Chiefs 24, Jaguars 16
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Game of the Week! With Sean Payton back to lead the Saints, and the 'Dirty Birds' threatening to challenge again, this game certainly shapes up to be one of the better games on the schedule in Week One. It's a also a huge rivalry game, with both of these teams playing out of the NFC South Division. I think the division will be won between these two teams for sure. The Saints will be playing with a chip on their shoulders this season, but in their demise a year ago, the Falcons took charge and aren't prepared to relinquish their grip on the divisional title. I think the Falcons will win the division, but the Saints will be fired up to take the season opener.
Saints 30, Falcons 27
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.
The Jets is a team in complete disarray. Unless Bahamian descent Geno Smith has sensational rookie season much like Andrew Luck, RG3 and Ryan Wilson of a year ago, I really don't see much hope for the Jets. Mark 'Butt Fumble' Sanchez is expected to miss at least the first three weeks of the season, but that might be a blessing in disguise for the Jets. Meanwhile, the Bucs will only go as far as Josh Freeman will carry them. I like what Doug Martin gives them in the running game, and Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are a formidable duo at wide receiver, but they'll probably still be looking up at the Saints and the Falcons in their division at the end of the day. The Jets shouldn't pose much of a problem on Sunday though.
Buccaneers 24, Jets 13
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Everyone is wondering what kind of team the Steelers will bring back this year - will their defense be as potent as it was a year ago? With defensive guru Dick LeBeau guiding this unit again, and a healthy Troy Polamalu to go along with guys such as Ryan Clark, LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote, I don't see why it can't be. Led by their 'Steel Curtain' defense, and 'Big' Ben Roethlisberger as steady as they come under center, I think the Steelers will be a force to reckon with once again. They should certainly be able to contain Chris Johnson and the Titans in the season opener.
Steelers 23, Titans 13
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams, 4:25 p.m.
The Rams appear to be a team on the rise, while the Cards appear to be a team in disarray. They won their first four games last year, before falling into a season-ending slump, and don't appear to be much of a threat this season either. The Rams, on the other hand, might have lost all-purpose back Steven Jackson but they could be deadly in the passing game and their young defense is capable of having some impressive outings. Sam Bradford is one of the better deep passers in the league, and now he has All-Pro tackle Jake Long to protect his blind side. The Rams will be a force to reckon with, but I'm not sure if they are ready to challenge the Seahawks and Niners in the NFC West just yet.
Rams 28, Cardinals 16
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m.
This playoff rematch from a year ago promises to deliver quite a bit of thrills. The Niners is a bonafide Super Bowl contender, and it will be interesting to see if the Packers could get back to that level, particularly without their best receiver Greg Jennings. Their running game was inexistent a year ago, but they might have to rely more on that aspect of their offense, in 2013. It will be hard pressed to get any kind of offense going against that swarming defense of the Niners though. I think the read-option offense of the Niners will create problems for the Packers' 'D', and the Niners defense will be more than enough to limit the production of Aaron Rodgers and the pack.
49ers 27, Packers 20
N.Y. Giants at Dallas Cowboys, 8:30 p.m.
The Giants are a perfect 4-0 against the Cowboys in their new stadium, but I have a feeling this particular trip will be different. Each of those four victories for the Giants have been by slim margins. The Cowboys are poised to end that run. Can this finally be the year the Cowboys live up to their pre-season expectations and go deep into the playoffs? Well, first of all, they would have to make the playoffs. I see another disappointing season for the Boys where they fall short of their goals, and then somehow try to validate Tony Romo's shortcomings and his big contract at the end of the season. I don't have them making the playoffs again this year, but somehow I think they'll sneak past their nemesis, the G-men, on Sunday.
Cowboys 30, Giants 27
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, 7:10 p.m.
The Redskins are poised to win the NFC East this year, but everything rides on the health of their franchise quarterback. A healthy RG3 is set to start Week One, but whether or not he remains healthy for the duration of the season is another issue. If he does, I think that they will definitely be a force to reckon with, not just in the regular season, but the playoffs as well. Led by RG3 and Alfred Morris, the Redskins will have one of the better rushing attacks in the entire league. They led the league in that department last year, averaging almost 170 yards per game on the ground. It will be interesting to see how the Chip Kelly led Eagles will look this year, but they're a year or two away from seriously challenging for a playoff spot. The Skins will get an early jump on their divisional foes with a huge win on Monday night.
Redskins 27, Eagles 20
Houston Texans at San Diego Chargers, 10:20 p.m.
The Texans come into the 2013 season as one of the favorites in the AFC to get to the Super Bowl. I think they'll fight off a charging Colts team to take their third consecutive AFC South title, and will challenge the Broncos among others for a spot in Super Bowl XLVIII. In Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, the Texans have top five players at their respective positions, and their defense is much improved, but their real test will come in the postseason. The Chargers shouldn't present much of a challenge on Monday night, even though they'll be playing at home. The Texans dynamic duo of Foster and Johnson will just be too much for them to handle.
Texans 30, Chargers 20
It was my first time at a James Catalyn and Friends stage play, so I was more than excited to see "Lost Love". It turned out to be funny, interesting and relevant. For the most part, I enjoyed it, even though it dragged at times, but despite that it's a play I think people should see if it returns to the stage.
"Lost Love", a play that holds a magnifying glass to issues of ageism in The Bahamas, played recently to a packed house at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
It confronts how old people with dementia and Alzheimer's are relegated to geriatric homes and treated horribly by their families, and encourages a more positive attitude toward the social issue.
Set in a traditional Bahamian home, the play's main theme runs throughout the drama and is centered around Addie and her sister Annie. Addie is the primary caregiver of their elderly mother, Rebecca, who has Alzheimer's and becomes increasingly difficult to take care of. Annie on the other hand lives a carefree life and is only concerned about her life's pursuits and illegal job of selling numbers. She has no time to help Addie with the care of their mother.
Other members of the drama include Addie's son Samson who is for all intents and purposes a responsible young man -- a refreshing change from the societal depiction of young men today; Claudius, Addie and Annie's brother who chips in to take care of his mother when needed. There is also Emma, a caring neighbor; Enty, a charming old friend of Rebecca who represents an old person of sound mind but not of sound body, and last but not least, the family priest who does his best to help lead Annie down the right path.
From curtains up, the characters fit into their roles perfectly. Their use of "Bahamianese" and funny colloquialisms seemed natural and unforced. The comedic factor flowed seamlessly. Annie quipped sayings only your grandmother knew one after another, which kept the audience in good humor for the duration of the play.
While the play is undoubtedly a comedic piece of work from Catalyn, some of the jokes in the play seemed a bit predictable. I could almost see the punch lines coming. I had the pleasure of sitting beside a lady who got so into the play she kept talking to the characters in moments of silence, often preempting things they would say.
One of the biggest highlights of the play was the character of Rebecca, who provided a good portion of the comedic value. Her sayings of "Well who you is?" and "They ain't feed me for the day" right after eating kept the play moving along quite nicely. Her character was written and directed with a lot of insight into older adults with dementia and Alzheimer's and the toll such a situation can take on families. The way Rebecca addressed the burden of her disability on her family touched on how difficult it is to take care of an older person with the disease -- but did so charmingly without too much seriousness that might have weighed the play down.
One of the characters I found interesting was Annie, the recalcitrant daughter of Rebecca. Annie is introduced in skin tight jeans and a sexy top and mimics old fashioned ideas of a good time girl. Annie is completely selfish and dabbles in illegal numbers selling to support her lavish lifestyle. She is notorious in the community for cavorting with men and presents herself as entirely materialistic and unconcerned with her mother's plight.
Addie, who is the complete opposite constantly admonishes Annie about her behavior which seems to push Annie farther away and makes her act out even more.
Annie stays very consistent to her character until the third act where she does a sudden about face and turns into a good person who cares about her mother and comes to take care of her regularly. This was a bit anti-climactic, not only in the suddenness of the change, but the about-face happened as a result of a conversation Annie had numerous times with her family members about her behavior. One was left wondering what was so different about this conversation to sway Annie to the other side so quickly and completely.
The overall story speaks to a well-known issue in The Bahamas and connected with the majority of the audience. The play clipped along in the first two acts and dragged a lot in the last act for me, but Rebecca's charming portrayal of memory loss prevented the audience from becoming too bored.
For me the themes of the play were almost too well developed, becoming very repetitive after the second act. I kind of felt beat over the head with the admonition to take care of the elderly over and over again -- which coincidentally the older audience did not mind, but as one of the few young people in the theater, the constant repetition took away from my overall enjoyment of the play.
I was delighted to see that a lot of effort went into character development. That being said, there were moments when the characters seemed to be reaching for their lines as there were lots of pauses and shuffling to get back on track, but the fumbles were skillfully handled, and did not detract from their stage presence or acting.
And it was sometime during the second act that I wondered where the title of the play fit into the story, since it seemed to have no real correlation at the time, but during Annie's redemption, she recited the poem "Lost Love" and tied it in quite nicely. The poem was one of the more poignant moments of the play and seemed to note the redemption of a person lost in the world find themselves and love as result. After the poem Annie embarks on her new journey as a better person.
No matter what, the play, which played to a packed house on opening night was most successful in its real factor and the audience seemed to have a good time relating to the vibrant characters and the funny colloquialisms. James Catalyn and Friends did a great job of pulling off a good Bahamian play.
"Lost Love" was written by James Catalyn and directed by Omar Williams.
A directive from then National Insurance Board (NIB) Chairman Gregory Moss ordering NIB to issue a $15,000 guarantee to help pay for emergency heart surgery for a Grand Bahama woman last July, violated the National Insurance Act and Regulations, according to a legal opinion obtained by Grant Thornton (Bahamas).
The opinion, from attorney Heather Maynard, is a part of a forensic report completed by Grant Thornton.
The chartered accountants examined allegations made against Moss by NIB Director Algernon Cargill.
The allegations are a part of an affidavit Cargill filed last November when he took legal action against Moss and NIB.
In an interview with auditors, Moss maintained that his instructions did not violate the act because he was authorized by the board to enter into any contract up to $50,000.
In February, Moss told auditors that he did not know the patient who needed the surgery, had met her once after the surgery, and that if he saw her again he would not recognize her.
Moss said he first met the woman after her surgery when she approached him and hugged him while he was with Environment Minister Ken Dorsett in Freeport.
"When he did not recognize her she said that she is the woman whose life [he] saved by helping to pay for the surgery at the Doctors Hospital and she showed him her scar," said the report tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday by Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson.
"[Moss] said he remembers the woman's daughter from having seen her at rallies in Freeport and having collected a thank you card from her on behalf of her mother.
"He said that he would not recognize the woman who received the surgery if he sees her again because that was the first and only time that he met her."
Moss said the issuance of the guarantee happened on a Saturday.
According to the auditors' report, Dr. Kevin Bowe, vice president of NIB's medical department, told the auditors that Moss had said there was a provision in the act giving him the authority to approve the guarantee and that he would go back to the board members afterwards.
According to the report, Moss said he subsequently discussed this matter with Minister Gibson and advised the minister that he would not bother asking the Board of NIB to approve the sum as a donation, but would simply pay it himself.
He said that he and the minister agreed that a third party would issue a $15,000 check to Doctors Hospital in order to preserve his (Moss') anonymity, and he then issued a personal check for $15,000 to reimburse the third party.
In the report, Moss also defended his decision to hire an assistant, Franklyn Laing, with an annual salary of $40,000.
According to the report, Minister Gibson approved the hire.
Moss said when he was appointed chairman he told the minister that it was prudent that he bring along someone who could assist him in "understanding the lay of the land".
"He said that Mr. Laing's role was to help him understand the personalities of the people inside NIB and that he did that job," the report said.
"[Moss'] recollection was that the total effort was completed in the month of August."
In his affidavit, Cargill said this was the first time an NIB chairman had a personal assistant and claimed that Moss' recommended compensation to Laing was outside his scale of work.
Laing was hired in July 2012. His appointment with NIB ended in September.
Another allegation made by Cargill related to Moss' travel to Mangrove Cay, Andros, on Saturday, August 18, 2012.
Cargill claimed the trip was not connected to NIB business.
Cargill said he learnt that Moss went to Andros for a political meeting, but was given an NIB per diem of $250.
Cargill said NIB executive Theresa Burrows advised him to be aware of any request for subsistence payments to Moss for this non-NIB related travel.
However, Moss told the auditors that the trip was NIB-related "because his purpose of coming to Mangrove (Cay) was to inspect the NIB facility under construction".
"He also addressed a gathering that evening on NIB related matters and reported the trip to the Board at the next sitting of the Board," the report said.
"Also, he said that the minister told him that NIB should have a presence in all of the islands."
The auditors said it is "important to remember that the chairman of NIB is the chairman of NIB Bahamas and not of NIB Nassau.
"Mr. Gregory Moss had a board of director's approved spending limit of $50,000 and the thought that he would need authorization from an employee at NIB to travel within The Bahamas, request per diem for that travel and obtain prior permission from NIB staff when hosting fellow Board of Directors at a hotel is not practical."
Moss also explained to the auditors why he directed Cargill to purchase a vehicle from Friendly Ford for him to use while in New Providence.
He said that Cargill told him there was no designated company car for the chairman and that he would have to choose one.
Moss said he chose a car from the Ford dealership and an employee emailed the invoice to Cargill.
He said the vehicle was always parked at the airport in the parliamentary parking section when he was not in Nassau.
Cargill also raised concerns about Moss' "unusual" charges on a corporate credit card and said it appeared that NIB was paying Moss $125 per diem for days when he came to Nassau for parliamentary sessions.
However, Moss told the investigators that any time he came to the capital at NIB's expense "he engaged in NIB related business" or was at NIB for meetings or work.
Moss also said he never sought parliamentary reimbursement for NIB-related travel.
"He only used the NIB credit card for hotel charges and travel (airfare) expenses when he traveled to Nassau on short notice when it was too late to book those travels through the NIB office as, for example, when he had to meet with someone on NIB business or when he was called by the minister to meet with him on a NIB matter," the report said.
The report also detailed Moss' credit card activity.
Among other charges amounting to $2,621.39 it shows billings to the Hilton hotel in Nassau of $400.44 on August 4, 2012; $690.46 on August 17, 2012 and $138.22 on August 24, 2012.
The report relating to the allegations against Moss consists mainly of his denials of wrongdoing and his explanations of various matters that transpired while he was chairman.
Moss said his actions were not personal though, as they were sanctioned by the Board of NIB.
While much of the report outlines Moss' responses to the allegations made by Cargill, the auditors made few conclusions or findings on these accusations.
While Cargill claimed that Moss' actions toward him were designed to frustrate him in the execution of his duties, Moss denied "any of his actions were of malicious intent".
The auditors interviewed Moss on February 7, 2013.