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News Article

July 12, 2012
The partial gambling referendum

When each of the political parties said during the election campaign that they would hold a referendum on gambling for Bahamians and legal residents in The Bahamas if elected, many thought that the referendum referred to would put on the table the full issue for the people to decide upon.

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) won the election and it is now in power.  Prime Minister Perry Christie has committed to holding the referendum, but it won't be on the full issue of gambling.
There are at least three mainstream forms of gambling: sports betting, casino gambling and lotteries.  Based on the statements of the prime minister it appears as if the referendum will only be on lotteries.

The hotels have long opposed Bahamians being allowed to use casinos.  At the heart of it, there has always been a fear by some that regular Bahamians would not know how to behave in a casino.  Therefore, according to those who hold this position, Bahamians should be barred.

This is a bizarre position to hold in that Bahamians can rent the most expensive rooms in hotels and spend tens of thousands of dollars per night, or they can lavish friends in the most expensive hotel restaurants or nightclubs, spending additional tens of thousands of dollars at a time, and this is fine.  But these same people would argue a Bahamian would not know how to behave if he lost $50 at a slot machine.
 
A major problem with the current system we have of allowing illegal gaming is that it perpetuates a culture of lawlessness and duplicity in The Bahamas.  We say we are a land of laws, yet we allow an industry to operate openly in violation of the law.  Finally holding a referendum on gambling should be viewed as the moment to once and for all decide what we want to do on the issue as a people.  Either it is legal or illegal.  By only voting on one type of gambling we risk legalizing that type of wagering and leaving the other types to continue to flourish as open illegal operations.
 
While the numbers business is likely the biggest of the forms of gambling in The Bahamas, many Bahamians also regularly engage in illegal casino play and sports wagering.
 
Why not put the full question to the people?  If they say yes, it is legal.  We then regulate it, tax it and move on.  If they say no, we should move to shut down the whole industry.
 
A rigorous debate has already erupted between the church and those who seek to legalize numbers.  This is good.  Such a momentous vote should be preceded by a fierce back and forth between the sides.
 
However, we must take time to consider what it is we are going to vote for in this referendum.  Referenda are supposed to put difficult and momentous issues before the people in order for them to make what sometimes is a once in a generation decision.  Will we resolve this issue by only posing a part of the question?

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News Article

July 19, 2012
Defending the FNM's record

In his typical bombastic and inelegant style, the chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in a letter to the editor of The Nassau Guardian of July 3 responded to legitimate criticism from the leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) of the PLP's denial of the severity of the global recession by charging that the FNM administration made it worse.
This deceit was part of the PLP's propaganda when in opposition. Another part of that deceit was the outrageous claim of the billions of dollars of "notional" projects which they had lined up for inward investment prior to their defeat in 2007 and which they claimed the FNM's 'stop, review and cancel' policy had prevented from progressing.
The continued reference to billion-dollar projects that suffered from the alleged 'stop, review and cancel' policy must be a reference to the PLP planned massive land giveaways (as was contemplated at Mayaguana) to various prospectors who had not even secured the funding for some hugely exaggerated projects on which they could not possibly deliver even with the sale of Bahamian land.
But this was the propaganda engaged in at the time and presumably being resurrected by the chairman of the PLP now. The PLP seemed to subscribe to a policy of announcing huge investment deals, highlighting exorbitant sums which they hope will be invested and large numbers of new jobs they hope will result, but not making the terms of the agreements public so that if or when they did not materialize the government's embarrassments might be minimized.
The Free National Movement (FNM) does not go that way; that is why before the end of 2007 the FNM government tabled heads of agreement concluded by the PLP but never tabled in the House of Assembly as follows:
Project/co. name

Date heads of agreement signed
1. Governor's Harbour Resort & Marina

March 23, 2004
2. Rav Bahamas (Bimini Bay)

June 9, 2004
3. Kerzner International
(Supplement to heads)

December 7, 2004
4. Pittstown Landing

April 27, 2005
5. Cape Eleuthera Properties &
Powell Point Properties Ltd.

May 3, 2005
6. Baha Mar Development

April 6, 2005
(Cable Beach)
7. GINN-LA West End

Dec 9, 2005
(Amendment to heads of agreement)

June 8, 2006
8. EGI Ltd.

April 24, 2006
9. Sky Beach Development
(Eleuthera)

April 20, 06
10. RC Rose Island Hotel Co.

February 13, 2006
(Amendment to heads of agreement)

April 12, 2007
11. Crystal Mount (Cat Island)

January 16, 2006
12. Royal Island (off N. Eleuthera)

December 14, 2006
13. Park Ridge Securities (Albany)

November 9, 2006
March 6, 2007 (Amendment)
14. Lignum Vitae Cay Ltd.

April 27, 2007
15. Bonds Cay (Berries)

May 1, 2007
None of these projects were stopped or reviewed by the new FNM government. Instead everything was done to facilitate them moving forward in a timely fashion. The worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression intervened and stopped virtually all of these projects. Those which proceeded - Albany, Baha Mar, Rav Bahamas - did so because of extraordinary efforts by the FNM.
Such efforts and support to others of the projects - notably GINN, Exuma Resorts Developers-Setai/Aman, RC Rose Island and the Harcourt Group in Grand Bahama - could not overcome the fallout for these projects from the recession and very directly the failure of important international financial groups like Lehman Brothers.
The record also shows that by February 2008 the FNM government had concluded and tabled in the House of Assembly three major agreements which had stalled under the first Christie government: those relating to the doubling in the size of the Baha Mar project inclusive of seeking and obtaining parliamentary approval to transfer a portion of the public road (now deviated West Bay Street) and other government-owned land to Baha Mar; the conclusion with the Park Ridge Securities relating to the Albany project and including parliamentary approval for the transfer of portions of south west Bay Street and of portions of South Ocean Boulevard in exchange for a new south west Bay Street now named Frank Watson Boulevard, and the conclusion of a superseding heads of agreement with the Exuma Resorts Developers for the development of a Setai/Aman Resort at Norman's Cay.
Bradley Roberts continues the PLP distortion that the FNM chose to award the New Providence Road and Utility Improvement Project to an international (Argentinian) company excluding presumably able Bahamian companies. He ignores the fact that the bid for this project was put to international tender (as required by the Inter-American Development Bank) by the PLP government. Under that government no reputable international company responded to the bid. The FNM's return to government brought a response from international companies and following a competitive analysis, Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC) was awarded the contract.
Roberts also conveniently fails to acknowledge that every Bahamian road paving company was engaged by the FNM government between 2007 and 2012 on other important and significant road and utility upgrade projects - many of which are now ongoing in New Providence (deviated West Bay Street and the connector road to JFK Drive; Bay Street from Nassau Street to Mackey Street, intersection improvements along East Bay Street to the Montagu fishing ramp; Moss Road extension and access roads to the new sports center and all Family Island road projects).
Roberts also seeks to ignore that in each of the five budgets presented to Parliament during the FNM's last administration - 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 - there was a consistent reduction in customs duties and the elimination of duties on a number of products to ease the cost of living on the community, to improve the competitiveness of the tourism product or to provide specific incentives. This happened in each of the five budgets. It is worthy of recalling that the systematic reduction of customs duty rates and the reduction of the number of rates are policies introduced by the first FNM government between 1992 and 1997.
It is acknowledged that in the 2010/2011 budget, in addition to continuing the reduction in customs duties on selective products to ease the cost of living broadly, provision was made for increases in several taxes to ease the financial strain that was having an unfortunate impact on the country's fiscal circumstances. Roberts' claim that the policy was a failure is untrue. The policy produced an increase in revenue over the previous year of $160 million and led directly to a lower deficit.
It is never clear from these critics of that fiscal policy whether they are promoting lower spending or higher deficits. Balancing the trade-off between debt and unemployment in that global recession was probably an issue of such delicacy that it did not likely catch the chairman's fancy.
Roberts has also not been able to make the distinction between debt and spending that creates infrastructure - fixed assets for the country and debt for which no remaining evidence can be found. This is why he has been able to say such critical things about the increase in debt during a devastating global recession in which the opportunity was taken by the FNM to deficit-finance the construction of infrastructure to facilitate the economy's future growth while also easing the strain of unemployment. On the other hand he overlooks, and hopes that the public will not notice, the shame of the huge creation of debt during a period of economic growth with nothing to show for the spending during the period presided over by PLP from mid-2002 to mid-2007. He might consider this is why his party while commanding a majority of seats in the House of Assembly, does not command the support of the majority of registered Bahamian voters.
Roberts and the PLP already are getting a sense of the challenge of economic management in a period of economic adversity. Already they have demonstrated that their understanding of job creation is restricted to finding jobs for their members and supporters even if they can only achieve this by firing Bahamians they met working.
It is also to be noted that notwithstanding that economic circumstances have already begun to improve and the recession has ended, they began their term with the largest deficit in the country's history. No doubt they will seek to blame the previous administration for the size of their deficit, but they understand that they are in charge now, as they are quick to point out, and the choice was theirs to make.
Finally, Roberts objects to the FNM reminding that the PLP has failed to keep its promise and pledge to be ready to govern on day one. He seeks to excuse the failure of the PLP to name new boards including naming new chairmen for the most important public corporations where FNM political appointees resigned their posts at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) and the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (ZNS) by comparing the PLP record to that of the FNM. The FNM welcomes such comparisons as the superiority of FNM performance in every segment of government can be readily seen. We have a record and we are proud to stand by it.
Roberts will have considerable opportunity to engage in vitriolic bluster in response to legitimate criticism of the PLP's governance and propaganda, particularly since so much of their governance seems to be conducted by public broadcast by way of the usurpation of ZNS news.

o Charles Maynard is the chairman of the Free National Movement.

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News Article

May 28, 2014
Bimini Big Game Club Resort Marina reports record Memorial Day weekend

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Management at the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, www.biggameclubbimini.com, reported a record breaking Memorial Day Weekend with just over $100,000 in sales, including rooms, food and beverage dockage.
"We maximized every profit source at the resort," said Michael Weber, general manager.
Overall, according to Weber, the 51-room resort is up 23% year to date through the low season, with a strong upcoming summer where several weekends are already fully booked. Weber said the resort's family business continues to build and that the restaurant and bar business remains strong.
Closed for two years, the Big Game Club, which was founded as a dinner club in 1936, was re-opened in 2010 by the Southern California-based Hankey Group of Companies, following completion of a $3.5 million renovation that included all guest rooms, the new Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, Hemingway Rum Bar and Social Lounge, Gulfstream Conference Center and the Outfitter Shop.
Though Bimini is still primarily a destination for fishing and diving, Weber and his wife, Diana, marketing director, have worked diligently to add family fun and activities, with the addition of watersports, including backcountry kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, bicycle rentals and even yoga lessons.

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News Article

May 24, 2012
Dorene Ester-Mae Rolle, 51

Funeral Service for the Late Dorene Ester-Mae Rolle, 51 years of Claridge Dale Gardens, will be held on Saturday May 26th, 1:30 p.m. at New Bethlehem Baptist Church, Independence Drive. Rev'd. Dr. Everett Brown, Rev'd. Helen McPhee and Rev'd. Dr. Marina P. Sands will officiate. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, Soldier Road.
She is survived by her Mother: Minister Irene King; Tw0 Daughters: Shantell Steed, Benkisha Rolle; Two Sons: Emmanuel Rolle, Edward Braithwaite; One Brother: Dr. Rudolph King; Two Aunts: Gracie King, Gwendolyn King; Cousins: Naomi Roberts, Granville, Perry, Terry And Rochelle King, Whitney, Terrance, Orson, And Brian Mortimer, Min. Dorian Cox, Dr. Lina Mortimer-Rayes; Kenneth King ,Apell King, Adrian King, Keysha King-Doziere Of Miami Florida, Otive Brice-King, Shervin King, James And Hiram Dawkins, Deloris Fernander, Hartman Dawkins, Rev'd. Christopher King, Joseph King, Harry King, Ezra King, Huey King, Samuel Hunter, Cordell King-Hunter, Redell King-Hubbard, Idel  King- Burrows, Christine King- Seymour, Elouise King, Maxine King, Minister Charlotte Brown, Michelle Sands, Sheila Sands , Rev'd. Michael, Charles and Sidney Sands, Derek Mackey, Jestina Rolle, David Rolle, Rev'd. Helen McPhee, Kim Hanna, Jackie Smith-McPhee, Shannon McPhee, Shantice McPhee, Ronnie Pratt, Sherry Pratt, Deidre Pratt, Rev'd. Garnet King, Ruth King-Outten, Dora King-Bethel, Paul King, Firstina King-Hepburn, Thelma Rolle, Derek Bowleg, Coral Bonamy, Leslie Bowleg, and Rev'd. Etienne Bowleg, Stephanie Bowleg-McKenzie, Vanria King-Davis, Paulette King-Nairn, Dorothy King-Miller, Ernestine King, Sandra King-Storr, Arthur King Jr. Bradley King , Nora King-Newbold, Etherly King-Gibson, Pearl King-Adderley, Alberta King- Hall, Cynthia King-Stubbs, John King, Rose King, Alverne King, Carol King- Ingraham, Celeste King, Rev'd Percy King, Alton McKenzie, Stephan McKenzie, Emily King-Osadebay , Jackie King-Micklewhite, Delores King-Saunders, Ingrid King, Eleanor King- Conliffe, Clement King, Lowell King, Kerlin King, Octavia King-Johnson, Gladys  King-Sands, David Seymour, Hartman Moncur And Family, Alice, Moncur; And a Host Of Other Relatives & Friends Including: Charles  Braithwaite Jr., Charles Braithwaite Jr., Laniccina Adderley, Christopher Adderley, Edwin Rolle, Percina Rolle, Beverley Rolle, Sharon Rolle, Esthermae Rolle, Princess Smith,  And  Vandmae Rolle-Albury, The King Foundation  Family, Salute To Greatness Awards Family, The King, Seymour Moncur Family, Bahamas Inflight Catering Staff, Ministry Of Education Faculty, Ministry Of Sports Faculty, Staff, Deep Creek Bar & Lounge (Fish Fry), Tims Air- Conditioning Staff, Yellow Strawberry Beauty Salon & Spa Staff, Ferg's Beauty Parlor (Bettyanne); and Many More Family And Friend's  Too Numerous To Me Mention.

Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 12:00 noon until service time.

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News Article

May 16, 2012
BAAA's 60 years of growth, a Bahamian sports standard

The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has covered six decades and is moving steadily through another. The organization was born as the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association in 1952. From a humble beginning with the first medals, regional ones, coming not until the 1957 West Indies Federation Games, the BAAA grew to world prominence.
Gold medals have been won at all levels of regional and international events, in abundance. With the BAAA scheduling a 60th anniversary affair at the Thomas Augustus Robinson National Stadium for Sunday, May 27, winning medals against the best the world has to offer has become a certainty.
It is a powerful statement The Bahamas, through the BAAA, has made to the world. While great nations such as India, Chile, Ecuador, South Africa, Venezuela, Egypt, Israel, Colombia, Chinese Taipei and many others much larger than The Bahamas, struggle mightily to get into the medal mix, we consistently put athletes on podiums no matter how grand the stage.
Without a doubt, the BAAA has been and remains one of the great sports pillars in the country. Sailing blazed the trail with Sir Durward Knowles winning the 1947 Star Class World Championship (with Sloane Farrington as crew); the first Bahamian Olympic medal (a bronze in 1956, again with Farrington as crew), and the first Olympic gold medal (1964 with Cecil Cooke as crew).
Bobby Symonette bested the world in the 5.5 Metre Series and Ocean Racing; and Pierre Siegenthaler and Donnie Martinborough have been superb in winning World Sunfish Sailing titles. Others such as Winifred Sands, Kenneth Albury, the Kelly brothers (Godfrey, Basil and David), Foster Clarke and Roy Ramsay have been outstanding in regional competition.
Yes, much to be proud of was produced by our sailing ambassadors. The BAAA has been constant. From 1992 to the present, athletes from the BAAA have collected Olympic medals for The Bahamas. It's really an incredible record of consistency the BAAA has had. We expect so much, because of having been blessed so abundantly in sports. When you compare The Bahamas to the nations aforementioned however, we might be considered a country that continues to over-achieve.
Much is owed to the BAAA. Robinson was on that national team at the 1957 West Indies Federation Games. He won a bronze medal in the 100 while teaming up with Oscar Francis, Enoch Backford and Tom Grant to win the sprint relay bronze. That was the start for the BAAA. Robinson became a regional legend in track and field and was the first Bahamian from the sport to reach a final at the Olympics (1964 in Tokyo, Japan).
Frank Rutherford was the pioneer Olympic medal winner in track and field due to his triple jump bronze medal in 1992 at the Barcelona Games. The original Golden Girls (Pauline Davis, Chandra Sturrup, Eldece Clarke, Savatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson) won a silver medal in the sprint relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and the gold four years later in Sydney, Australia. Davis won the 200 meters gold in Sydney.
In Athens, Greece, in 2004, Tonique Williams-Darling was the 400 meters gold medal winner and Ferguson won a 200 meters bronze. In 2008, in Beijing, the 1,600 men's relay team won a silver medal and Leevan Sands duplicated Rutherford's feat with a triple jump bronze. Troy Kemp, the original Golden Girls, Ferguson, quarter-miler Avard Moncur, Williams-Darling, and high jumper Donald Thomas won world championships. The BAAA has paraded out scores of junior regional and world champions.
Quite frankly, today around the world when The Bahamas is mentioned, most would say they know that "the country is very good in track and field". Without a doubt, the BAAA and the sport it governs are more synonymous with our country than anything else. That's the true measure of the organization.
Robinson these days just smiles at the knowledge "of us coming so very far".
"To me the years seem to have flown by. I have to pinch myself sometimes. Fifty-five years have gone by since we got the medals in Jamaica at the West Indies Federation Games. When you really think of all that we've accomplish and you put us next to a good number of the largest countries in the world, you know, we've done well," said Robinson.
Indeed, and, it was 54 years ago that he sent that big message to the world that The Bahamas produced top track and field talent. He won the 220-yards dash and finished second in the 100 yards at the Commonwealth Games that year in Cardiff, Wales. The BAAA has grown in leaps and bounds over 60 years. President Mike Sands and his colleagues are to be congratulated on behalf of what they have done to craft the legacy. I salute also the administrations before his.
It's been a great run for the BAAA family! Celebrate the milestone with them on May 27!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

May 17, 2012
The Bahamas sprint teams in struggle to qualify for Olympics

If The Bahamas has any hopes of being represented in the sprint relays at the London Olympics, our athletes would have to get faster... much faster.
As it stands now, neither the men nor women's 4x100 meter (m) relay teams are on the radar as far as Olympic qualification is concerned. Both teams are not in the top 20, with time running out to post qualifying times. Only the top 16 aggregate times will qualify for the London Olympic Games.
At the fourth leg of the Brazilian Athletics Tour in Sao Paulo yesterday, The Bahamas entered a team in the men's 4x100m relay. The team of Antillio Bastian, Jamial Rolle, Jonathan Farquharson and national record holder Derrick Atkins placed fourth in 39.77 seconds. The top time for The Bahamas in that event this year is 39.68 seconds, done by the team of Michael Mathieu, Rolle, Warren Fraser and Farquharson at the Penn Relays. The problem is the team needs to run around 39 seconds flat, twice, if it has any hopes of qualifying for the Olympics, which means The Bahamas team would probably have to run two national record times. The present national record is 38.98 seconds, done by the team of Iram Lewis, Renward Wells, Dominic Demeritte and Sylvanus Hepburn, in Montauban, France in 2000. Lewis said he certainly believes that a squad can get the job done this year, and it's just a matter of them coming together at the right time.
"When we set the national record, there was a guy on the team who was running around 11 seconds, so I know that those guys can get the job done," said Lewis yesterday. "Right now, they have the foot speed and they have the talent, and they appear to be healthy as well. It's just a matter of them putting it together at the right time and having a quality performance. They just have to develop that chemistry, and once they do that, their chances will be very good. They might have to break the national record to do it, but they have the talent to do so."
China, which held the 16th and final spot in the men's sprint relay at the last ranking for the London Olympics, has an average time of 39.01 seconds in two races. Right now, The Bahamas is not even close to that.
The Bahamas' women's 4x100m relay team has a season's best time of 44.14 seconds. That time was turned in by the quartet of V'Alonee Robinson, Nivea Smith, Sheniqua Ferguson and Anthonique Strachan at the Penn Relays this year. China once again occupies the 16th and final spot according to the last relay ranking for the London Olympics. They have an average time of 43.96 seconds. The Bahamas isn't listed in the top 20.
Also competing at that Caixa Grand Prix meet in Sao Paulo, Brazil yesterday, was long jumper Bianca Stuart. She failed to get off a good jump as she scratched on all four of her attempts. In the men's 100m, Bastian was 14th overall, in 10.68 seconds, and in the women's 100m, Sheniqua Ferguson was sixth overall, in 11.47 seconds.
On the next side of the world, in Daegu, South Korea, Trevor Barry returned to the venue where he won the country's only medal at last year's world championships, and came away with a first place finish in his specialty, the high jump. Barry cleared 2.25m (7' 4-1/2") to win the men's high jump, at the Colorful Daegu Championships Meet, in Daegu. He has a season's best leap of 2.27m (7' 5-1/4").

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News Article

May 25, 2012
Guy Harvey partners with Green Turtle Club

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.

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News Article

June 15, 2012
Parents body blazing historic athletic trail

The sport of track and field (athletics) in this country deserves to be highlighted regularly.
Athletics received the baton from international sailing decades ago and has been a magnificent pacesetter ever since. Often though, and rightly so, the general public makes a profound connection only with the athletes. This is the case because indeed, the athletes are the faces of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
However, there is an entity that has for more than 20 years now, been the very foundation for the strides made by the BAAA. The officers operate in a humble fashion, neither seeking nor even wanting public recognition. Their collective role is to be that base organization that drives a successful program.
I refer to the Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes (PATFA). This splendid group has been around since 1999 and is largely (and in many instances) single-handedly responsible for the success structure within the BAAA. The original Steering Committee included: President Harrison Petty; Vice President Grafton Ifill Jr.; Vice President/Administrator Donna Nicholls; Secretary/Treasurer Joyanne Petty; Director Yvonne Lewis; Director Gonzalez Caine; Director Leevan Sands Sr. and Director Peter Pratt. Other founding members were Rupert Gardiner, Foster Dorsett and Barton Duncanson.
Presently, the Pettys and Pratt maintain their administrative responsibilities, joined by vice president Bernard Newbold and Director Mabelene Miller. The main objective back in 1999 and today is to "procure scholarships to junior colleges and interact on behalf of Bahamian student/athletes with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)."
The alumni of the PATFA numbers into the hundreds with World Championship performers, sprinter Derrick Atkins and high jumper Trevor Barry, as the prime examples of athletic/academic excellence. Other than that awesome role of empowering the talented and dedicated Bahamian students, the PATFA is also the financial bloodline of the BAAA.
The major events that generate funding, the connection with corporate sponsors, and in general, the branding of the BAAA, are duties handled by the PATFA. A case in point was the BAAA 60th Anniversary Ceremony held recently at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium and the signature supplement production. The PATFA led those initiatives, further proof that without this group of dedicated parents, grandparents and guardians, the BAAA would not be nearly as successful as it is today.
It is important as the country embarks on the mission to define the sports industry, that important elements like the PATFA are given full credit for ongoing contributions to nation building.
I salute Harrison Petty and his colleagues in the PATFA. The BAAA is challenged to continue working with and feeding off this group. There are three government ministries that would be minded to heavily support and partner with organizations such as the PATFA, as much as is possible. Those are the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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News Article

April 25, 2012
Anti-doping education focus essential

It is essential for anti-doping education in this country to be ongoing. Our athletic program is broad. It stretches from north to south over the archipelago.
Our elite athletes are fully aware of the international anti-doping code signed on to by most countries of the world. They understand from personal experiences the testing process and the importance of an anti-doping program to ensure as best as is possible, fair competition. Junior athletes from The Bahamas who have been engaging in regional and international sports, know of the world anti-doping mission as well. So do our student/athletes who are involved in programs in their respective institutions abroad.
It must be recognized though that the majority of the locally-based young (and some older) athletes who have not been afforded the necessary exposure, know very little or nothing about the anti-doping program. Well, there is an organization called the Bahamas
Anti-Doping Commission (BADC). It is of course, a most recent development, so it figures that an educational program would be high on the BADC's agenda.
Charged with leading the educational thrust of the BADC is Dr. Patti Symonette. She had the opportunity recently to provide information about anti-doping to a group of young ladies. Reference is to the national under-17 female soccer squad.
Dr. Symonette conducted a seminar upon the request of the Bahamas Football Association (BFA). It was a well-timed event. The team is about to embark on the most significant soccer venture in the history of The Bahamas. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) stages its tournament final in Guatemala May 2-10 and The Bahamas is one of the eight best teams In the region.
There is indeed an anti-doping focus at major sporting events, so athletes need to be educated. Dr. Symonette primed the under-17 girls.
"Say no to doping in sports. Know what you are putting into your body. If you are not certain... don't take it... ask questions first. Know that some substances are prohibited in and out of competition. A prohibited substance list is available to every player, parent and coach," informed Dr. Symonette.
What about athletes who have a particular health issue that needs treatment by medication that is on the prohibited list?
"As an athlete, you might have an illness or condition that requires a certain medication. If this medication appears on the prohibited list; you may be granted Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) which gives permission to take it. If your health will be significantly impaired if you do not take the substance; if the substance does not enhance your performance beyond what brings you back to normal health; if there are no alternative treatments available, TUE is a way to ensure that you are able to obtain treatment for a legitimate medical condition... even if that treatment requires a prohibited substance or method," Dr. Symonette explained.
Such education platforms on anti-doping are good and yes, pivotal as the world sports stage expands, with our athletes figuring prominently in the process.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

April 25, 2012
High school teams set to leave for Penn Relays

Once again, the winning under-20 relay teams from the Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. Each year, the teams are afforded the opportunity to travel to the prestigious Penn Relays, courtesy of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA). This year's teams are the St. Augustine's College (SAC) 4x100 meters (m) and 4x400m girls relay teams, the C.V. Bethel Stingrays senior boys 4x100m relay team, and for the third consecutive year, the Moore's Island All-Age senior boys 4x400m relay team. Those four teams will leave for the 118th running of the Penn Relays today.
"The exposure to the great athletic competition, the scholarships that are available and the incentives that are provided gives the BAAA the incentive to contribute sponsoring the winning teams," said BAAA Public Relations Officer Alpheus 'Hawk' Finlayson yesterday. "I just want you athletes to know that you will get an opportunity to see the best athletes in the United States, the Caribbean and the rest of the world," he added.
The event, also known as the Penn Relays Carnival, is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States. It has been hosted annually since April 21, 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This year's event, which is expected to attract over 100,000 spectators, will run from Thursday to Saturday. On a regular basis, more than 15,000 participants from high schools, colleges, and track clubs throughout North America and the region compete in more than 300 events.
The manager of the team is Lyndon Johnson, and the coaches are Dianne Woodside from SAC, Rupert Gardiner from C.V. Bethel, and Rev. Anthony Williams from Moore's Island All-Age. For the past three years, the incentive has been provided by the BAAA to the winning under-20 relay teams from the Scotiabank high school nationals, but recently, there has been some controversy as reports surfaced about C.V. Bethel not being represented at the Penn Relays by the winning team from the Scotiabank nationals. According to reports, the coach had plans to take other athletes from the school as opposed to the ones which ran and won the relay at the Scotiabank nationals.
"Well it's an incentive provided to the winning schools," said Finlayson. "The schools are allowed to use whichever athletes from their school that they feel give them the best chance of winning," he added.
Be that as it may, order seems to be restored. As for the athletes, Shaunae Miller, fro SAC, said they're looking forward to doing their best, and hopefully coming out on top. Elroy McBride from Moore's Island All-Age said that they want to go out there and represent their school and country well.
"We feel that we have a very good team so we feel confident of our chances," he said. "The weather will be a bit of a challenge but we've been there before so we know what to expect. We're just going to go there and do our best," added McBride.
The uniforms for that Moore's Island team has been donated through the efforts of the National Workers Health Plan. The following is a statement released by that organization:
"We're pleased to assist the 4x4 relay team from Moore's Island and their dedicated coach, Rev. Anthony Williams. It's a tribute to Rev. Williams's Christian ministry that he has found a way to involve young men and young women in a form of discipline that has tremendously impacted the lives of the young people of Moore's Island and indeed the nation. What is unusual about Mr. Williams and Moore's Island is that as a pastor in a traditional fishing community he has found a spark that will change the destiny of many young men and women. The emergence on the scene in Moore's Island Track Club winning at the nationals, at CARIFTA, and being invited to compete in the Penn relays is a testimony to Rev. William's dedication. It is also a testimony of the national gift that lies in many of our out island children. Without the benefit of modern facilities, Rev. Williams has proven what is possible. His work and his faith is a hallmark for all of us to admire. We want Rev. Williams to know that we are in support of his team and the work he seeks to do to give each of them an opportunity to dramatically improve their lives. A light has been put in Moore's Island that will make a difference in its future; it is our moral responsibility to stand with Rev. Williams and the young men and women from Moore's Island. The National Workers Health Plan salutes Rev. Williams and the team from Moore's Island. We wish them well at the relays."
Also attending the Penn Relays this year, through their own arrangements, are the boys 4x100m and 4x400m teams from Queen's College, the boys 4x100m and 4x400m teams from SAC, the boys 4x100m team from Moore's Island, Queen's College's Jermaine Smith who will be competing in the 110m hurdles, and SAC's Danielle Gibson and Antonique Butler who will be competing in the long and triple jumps respectively.

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