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A major Cable Beach resort is reporting occupancy in the "mid-80s" so far this year, while overall revenue has improved 10 percent with the elimination of discounts.
SuperClubs Breezes in Nassau, the 400-room all-inclusive resort, has been "discounting less than last year" due to a rebound in the global economy. The destination has attributed its relative success to a greater value proposition compared to other resorts in the capital.
"We are optimistic about the coming months. I feel we offer particular good value and excellent service," said John Issa, the founder of Breezes. "March was very good. February there was a shortfall in Canadians compared to the previous year, but we had a big increase in European and Caribbean business, so it balanced out."
The top hotelier felt that 2013 would be "up and down", but overall, total occupancy is expected to be on a similar level to 2012. Breezes has focused on boosting its food and beverage options over the past year, Issa added, most recently with Munasan, its new Japanese restaurant.
More upgrades are planned for 2013, including a "substantial" improvement to the main buffet dining room in the fall. Breezes is also introducing new furnishings and a renovation to the Ocean View Room, which is popular for corporate meetings and weddings.
Issa told Guardian Business that the resort could spend up to $2 million on new capital projects for the remainder of this year.
Meanwhile, as its $3.5 billion neighbor continues to rise next door, Issa said that Breezes is already seeing the benefits of having a new mega resort close by.
Baha Mar and the government have invested considerably in the local infrastructure, including an initiative to restore the beach and make it continuous along the Cable Beach area. Issa said he is investing in new cabanas and gazebos along this stretch.
"The road from the airport is so much better now and the trip is shorter. So all of these things are benefits to us. Even though construction is going on, the overall area has been upgraded," according to Issa.
In the past, the all-inclusive has expressed a desire to develop synergies with Baha Mar whereby its guests can avail themselves of the entertainment and services for an additional fee, not so unlike the arrangement between Atlantis and Comfort Suites on Paradise Island.
Back in December, Guardian Business exclusively revealed that Breezes is planning a 50 percent room expansion sometime after Baha Mar opens in December 2014.
The new rooms will be located around the tennis courts, with that sporting facility shifted to a five-acre spot of land across the street.
Baha Mar is constructing a brand new sewerage plant for Breezes in the area in exchange for taking over a small parcel of land nearby. The old facility would have been too close to one of Baha Mar's up-and-coming hotels.
U.S. Charg presents Missouri Sherman-Peter with The Bahamas' 2013 International Woman of Courage award
NASSAU, Bahamas -- For the last seven years in honor of International Women's Day, the United States Government has asked its embassies around the world to nominate one female leader for the International Women of Courage Award. Each year, U.S. Embassy Nassau proudly recognizes a Bahamian female leader who has demonstrated perseverance in the struggle to address inequalities faced by women throughout The Bahamas.
On Friday, March 15, 2013, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires John Dinkelman along with senior U.S. and Bahamian government officials came together at the SuperClubs Breezes Resort on Cable Beach to recognize the U.S. Embassy's 2013 International Woman of Courage (IWOC) award recipient, Ms. Missouri Sherman-Peter, for her courageous leadership in advocating women's rights and empowerment throughout her 40 years of public service in national government and multinational organizations. Two previous International Women of Courage award winners were also on hand for the celebration; 2012 award recipient The Honorable Janet Bostwick, a Bahamian national and "matriarch of women's rights" and the 2010 honoree, Dr. Sandra Dean Patterson, founder and director of The Crisis Center.
In his remarks Chargé Dinkelman he noted that International Women's Day is a time when each of us must recommit to ending gender inequality around the world, so that every woman and girl can live up to her full potential because all societies benefit when women are healthy, safe, and can contribute their labor, leadership, and creativity to the global economy. He also applauded Ms. Sherman Peter for personifying the possibilities that have been created by female Bahamian women trailblazers and urged young women throughout The Bahamas to take the reins.
Director of Immigration Jack Thompson yesterday called on school principals to report unregularized students who register at their institutions, saying the Department of Immigration intends to "flush out" undocumented foreign nationals enrolled in the public school system.
Thompson, who was speaking at a forum for public school principals yesterday morning at SuperClubs Breezes, said The Bahamas can not afford to have illegal immigrants in the public school system "absorbing our resources."
"You should call me and tell me where they are living because I have to deal with them," Thompson told the principals.
"We have to hit at the root. The root is the parent. I am not in the business of sending the children home and not the parents or sending the parents and not sending the children. We have to send them together.
"All of them must go and they must go as soon as possible because we can't have people illegally residing and going to school and absorbing our resources. You know how the community feels about this. The communities are outraged."
He pointed out that the children who are not Bahamians should be in receipt of a permit to reside.
Thompson noted that the permit to reside card is similar to a Bahamian driver's license.
He said his department has to begin a dialogue with the Department of Education "so we can flush out and unclog the system because there is a lot of concern."
Thompson stressed that immigration officials will not target the undocumented children but will go after their parents and deal with both simultaneously.
Public school officials cannot refuse to register illegal immigrants, as according to Bahamian law, all children residing in The Bahamas have the right to an education.
"This is a balancing act, because while on one hand you can not deny education, by the same token we have a responsibility to crack down and to deal with this issue," Thompson said.
Children who are born to Bahamian women, whether married or single, have the automatic right to citizenship. Only in cases where a non-Bahamian woman is married to a Bahamian man is the child automatically granted citizenship.
Children born in The Bahamas to single women who are not residents of The Bahamas have a right to apply for citizenship when they turn 18.
Thompson said immigration officers never round up illegal immigrants at schools, hospitals or clinics and churches.
"That is a no, no," he said. "While we have a job to do, we have to do things the right way."
He said apprehension exercises will take place in the communities where they live.
While he had no official count, Thompson said there are "a number" of children attending school without proper documentation.
He said it is the department's policy to ask undocumented migrants to leave the country and apply to be regularized through the proper means.
"What we are challenged with now is, should we regularize someone while they are here in the country? Should we regularize someone after they have been here for five years?
"So we're often criticized when we send people back but if we start regularizing persons who are here to start with, then I'm not sure what message we are sending."
Director of Education Lionel Sands, who also attended the forum, told principals that they should work along with the Department of Immigration in its efforts.
Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade announced yesterday that a police liaison officer will be assigned to each government school when schools re-open in September.
Greenslade and other government officials, including the Director of the Immigration Department Jack Thompson, met with public school principals during a forum at SuperClubs Breezes Resort yesterday morning to discuss crime and immigration related issues affecting the public school system.
School violence has been a major concern in public schools, especially in New Providence, over the last few years. The Department of Education and police have had to respond to fights, stabbings and at least one homicide on or near New Providence public schools.
"I've assured principals that they are fully in control of their schools and we stand in full support of them," Greenslade said.
"But we will be more than happy to ensure that there's a school liaison officer assigned to every school in The Bahamas. We have sufficient officers to deal with that and they should be available at all times to the schools and any issues that needs to be pushed further up will be handled by our officers."
Greenslade's announcement came fours years after the Free National Movement (FNM) administration dismantled the school policing program left in place by the last Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration.
This program involved stationing police at public schools.
That initiative was replaced with a community policing approach through which officers are stationed outside schools during peak hours (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and his government have held to the position that police officers do not belong in schools.
Immigration Department Director Jack Thompson yesterday revised remarks he made Thursday on the issue of undocumented migrant children in the school system, emphasizing that his department does not intend to enter schools and remove children who do not have legal status to be in the country.
Thompson, who was speaking at a forum for public school principals Thursday morning at SuperClubs Breezes, said The Bahamas cannot afford to have illegal immigrants in the public school system.
"You should call me and tell me where they are living because I have to deal with them," Thompson told the principals on that occasion.
"We have to hit at the root. The root is the parent. I am not in the business of sending the children home and not the parents, or sending the parents and not sending the children. We have to send them together. "All of them must go and they must go as soon as possible because we can't have people illegally residing and going to school and absorbing our resources. You know how the community feels about this. The communities are outraged."
Yesterday, in a statement, Thompson emphasized a point he made at the event Thursday while backing away from some of his more aggressive remarks made at the education forum. He said his department will be humane as it carries out its duties.
"The director emphasized that as a matter of policy the church, schools and clinics were off limits for apprehension exercises," said Thompson's statement.
Thompson also stressed Thursday, while calling on educators to inform his department of undocumented students, that immigration officials would not target these children. Instead, he added, they would goafter their parents and deal with families simultaneously.
"Administrators were told that students of foreign nationals attending schools should apply to the Department of Immigration for a residency permit or permit to reside. It was emphasized that while students should not be denied the right of a basic education, records by the Department to Immigration are critical for future applications - i.e., permanent residence (and) citizenship," said Thompson yesterday.
The public school system in The Bahamas does not bar children from receiving an education if they have no legal status in the country.
Commonwealth Bank AGM: Dividend Increase and Record Results Mark the Bahamian Bank Growing From Strength to Strength
Nassau, Bahamas -
Shareholders were treated to welcome news at the Commonwealth Bank AGM
as Executive Chairman William B Sands Jr. announced a 20% increase in
the 2011 quarterly common dividend to 6 cents per share from last year's
5cents per quarter.
Nearly 300 Commonwealth Bank shareholders
filled the ballroom at SuperClubs Breezes, Cable Beach, for the annual
general meeting held on Wednesday, May 18. Under the theme "From
Strength To Strength" shareholders heard a glowing report on what marked
the 51st year of the bank's operations...
Behind the gates of Her Majesty's Prisons, crimes are being committed by both inmates and prison officers, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said yesterday.
Nottage said some incarcerated criminals order hits while a small group of "rouge" prison officers supply inmates with contraband.
"With respect to the importation of contraband, it is well known that illicit drugs and cellular telephones are the contraband items of choice in prisons worldwide," he said while addressing the Caribbean Association of Corrections Conference at SuperClubs Breezes.
"These twin evils continue to wreak havoc on prison administrations because of the polluting and contaminating influence on institutional law and order and public safety generally.
"The incorporation of various technological devices to stem the stream of contraband smuggling has met with varying degrees of success.
"I am advised that this is because most of our penal institutions are saddled with a relatively small band of highly organized rogue officers who use trafficking as a part time occupation."
Nottage said in order to reduce the problem, officials must not only focus on trying to identify those who are corrupt, but must find ways to incentivize officers "who are otherwise law abiding but indifferent and silent in the face of wrongdoing."
"So members of ACHCPS (Association of Caribbean Heads of Corrections and Prison Services) must find new ways not just to oppose corruption; it is your duty to expose it," Nottage said.
He said the emergence of gang activity in prisons is also a major concern.
"Given the poisonous, insidious impact of gangs in our prison systems, no effort should be spared to eradicate them by all lawful means necessary," Nottage said.
"In the case of The Bahamas, I am advised that organized gangs in our prison system is a relatively new phenomenom. Not only do gangs spell violence but they are often central to hits being ordered on law-abiding witnesses and ordinary citizens.
"I note from your program that one of your sessions will examine the role of gangs within prisons. It is my hope that as a result of your deliberations you may help to formulate new ideas and policies on how we may best deal with this vexing problem."
In recent years, some witnesses have been murdered.
Earlier this month, two people who were witnesses in an approaching murder trial were killed.
Dario Dean, 23, and his mother Nora Mae Johnson, 53, were shot to death at an apartment on Buttonwood Avenue in Pinewood Gardens on June 5.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in conjunction with the International Development Bank sponsored a five-day seminar under the theme, "Strategies and Best Practices for Improving the Educational Support Services for Inclusive Education". The seminar was held from Monday, 17th June to Friday, 21st June, 2013 at SuperClubs Breezes, Cable Beach...
Members of the men's national volleyball team believe the best way to move onto the next qualification round for the World Championships is to win the second at home in front of a large crowd.
With a regional title and first round win under its belt, The Bahamas' men's squad was spiked the hometown favorite by the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) for the qualification tournament. Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) executives are making preparations and will meet with the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, to confirm the hosting. The qualification round will be played at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs gymnasium, May 11-12. The last time the federation hosted an event was in 2006, and that was the Caribbean championships. This is the first qualifier the BVF will stage."The Bahamas Volleyball Federation is in the process of writing the letter to the ministry for permission to host the event," said Joseph Smith, first vice president in the BVF. "That letter to the ministry should secure the venue and give us the permission to host. It won't be one that will request financial assistance, but moreso the approval so we can forward it to NORCECA.
"Once we can get that approval then we will deal with the National Sports Authority and face any other challenges that may arise. But one of our concerns is accessing the gym. The area is still under construction, and parking is not as clear cut as it use to be in the past. So, hopefully, we should have final words from both of them in a week or two. We need to secure a meeting with the minister to let him know exactly what we are doing and what we plan to do as well."
Meetings with hotel executives, transportation and food vendors are also priorities for the federation. Right now, according to Smith, the executives are looking at the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, SuperClubs Breezes and the Royal Palm Hotel. Smith said he's awaiting another communication from Mushtaque Mohammed, president of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA). That document, Smith stated, should have all the requirements the federation will need.
He said: "I think the higher the round is and level you play at, the more upscale everything must be. Even the hotels must be at a high standard. So if you did a two star hotel in round one, the hotel must be three or four star in the next round. We are waiting on that information from NORCECA so we can know exactly what hotel on the Cable Beach strip to book. The confirmation that will be sent back to the board will basically be for the accommodations or hotels, transportations and venue. They also ask federations to send a list of food so they can forward to the other teams. Once we tie those areas down, I think we will on the way."
The Bahamas will play host to Barbados, Saint-Martin and Nicaragua. The men's squad won the first round, held in Curacao in December. Playing in that first round were Jamaica, Martinique and host country Curacao. In July of last year, the men's squad captured the CAZOVA Championships. Both titles were the first in the history for the men's program.
"This is the first time we are hosting a world championships qualifier, so this an inaugural time for us," said Smith. "We are looking to host more tournaments, but the gym has to be up to international standards. We were approached about hosting the Junior World Championships, but we can't. I don't think we are ready for that as yet for a lot of reasons, one being the gym must be able to seat about 5,000 to 10,000 minium seating. The gymnasium needs to have practice courts, along with the courts you will be playing on. So we can't bid for things like that as yet. We are hoping we can in the not too distant future. Tournaments like this will be good for The Bahamas, a good investment."
Smith said the country will now get to see how far the program has come, and share some of the moments through plays when the tournament is held here. The team will welcome a new trainer in March to help with preparation.