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News Article
Sunquest lifts off with direct flights from Halifax

Tourism officials believe that expanding its Canadian market will only have a positive impact on The Bahamas' bottom line.The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is teaming up with Canadian tour operator Sunquest, as it announced direct flights to Nassau from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tourism's National Manager for the Canadian office Janet Cuffie said the venture is part of the ministry's expansion strategy.

She believes the key to ensuring that The Bahamas is seen as a strong destination by vacationers is through successfully convincing travel partners to offer more destinations in more markets.

"There will be two weekly departures on Thursdays and Sundays aboard Thomas Cook Airlines' 217-seater Boeing 757 aircraft," she said.

Cuffie told Guardian Business the launch of this newest service is in addition to the year-round flight from Toronto to Nassau that Sunquest currently operates.

Cuffie revealed that in addition to the flights, Sunquest will offer Nova Scotia residents the opportunity to book three, four and seven night stays at any of eight Nassau or Paradise Island area resorts.

These resorts include Atlantis Paradise Island, Comfort Suites Paradise Island, Paradise Island Harbour Resort, Best Western Bayview Suites, Superclubs Breezes Nassau, Wyndham Nassau Resort&Crystal Palace Casino, Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort.

Sunquest's Vice President Steve Buchart toldGuardian Business the company is delighted to offer direct flights between Halifax and Nassau as part of its winter 2012 program.

He called this move a win-win situation for all involved.

"This new route not only allows our customers in Halifax to experience, first-hand, our Thomas Cook Canada flights and the best-in-class service that goes with that, but it also provides us with the opportunity to further promote Nassau as a fantastic vacation destination.

"Not only does Nassau offer great resorts, beautiful beaches and ample opportunities for fun, it is now easier than ever to visit with this new direct service."

The Halifax program to Nassau with Sunquest is showing strong sales for the month of February.

In fact, last night's inaugural flight was sold out.

Sunquest has been offering Canadians vacation packaged holidays for over 40 years, specializing in the Caribbean, The Bahamas, Central America, southern Europe and Mediterranean cruises.

Halifax is the largest city in Canada's Atlantic region.

The nonstop seasonal service from Halifax to Nassau commenced yesterday and will end on April 8, 2012.

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News Article
Immigration crackdown

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.

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News Article
25th annual Bahamas Bridal Show's Your Wedding Day thrills hundreds

Nassau, Bahamas - "On behalf of all
exhibitors, the organizers of the annual Bahamas Bridal Show wish to
thank every person and company for their efforts and contributions to
another successful event," said show executive producer Tommy Stubbs,
general manager at Buttons Bridal & Formal Wear which organizes the
annual event.  "We are always pleased with the enthusiasm of the
hundreds of brides and grooms and the thousands of show followers who
make the bridal show the No.1 social event of the year."

SuperClubs
Breezes took the spotlight during the trade exhibition as the
all-inclusive resort took up a large portion of the ballroom serving
sample Asian food for hours. Other notable exhibitors included the
British Colonial Hilton, Burns House, Arawak Homes, Colina Insurance,
Noveltease, Grand Bahama Development Co. Ltd., Template, Bahamas
Local.Com, Jewels by The Sea, Bristol Wines & Spirits and Bertha's
Go-Go Ribs Catering...

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News Article
Police liaison officers for public schools

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.

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News Article
Boxing Hall of Fame ceremony tonight
Boxing Hall of Fame ceremony tonight

Tonight at SuperClubs Breezes, the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC) will induct its Hall of Fame Class for 2011.

Beginning at 7:00 p.m., BBC Chairman Pat Strachan will lead the reception that will honor Open Inductee Bertram 'Bert Perry' Perigord and Veterans Inductee Wilfred 'Battling' Douglas.

Tonight's event is the second of the present commission's initiative to pay tribute to the icons of Bahamian boxing. In early 2009, the commission made a decision to begin the Hall of Fame program and in November of that year, with the full endorsement of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the first ceremony was held during the Caribbean Awards Sports Icons (CASI) week.

The first inductees were William 'Yama Bahama' Butler, Gomeo Brennan and Everette 'Elisha Obed' Ferguson. Yama Bahama and Brennen were the original international pioneers of Bahamian boxing and Obed was the first (and still only) fully recognized world champion. He won the World Boxing Council's (WBC) Junior Middleweight crown in 1975.

Brennan twice held the Commonwealth (British Empire) middleweight title, winning it the first time in 1963. Yama Bahama was the original Bahamian prime time sports star of television and radio. Tonight, officially their company will be expanded by two more.

Perigord is a former two-time heavyweight champion of The Bahamas and a New York State Golden Gloves silver medalist from 1968. Douglas is one of the more exciting Bahamian boxers who ever put on a pair of gloves.

For the 2011 Hall of Fame Induction, the commission decided to include a Veterans category. The decision was grounded in the need to acknowledge all of the high-level contributors and pacesetters of the sport from its beginning in the country. The political powers in the land enacted legislation during the decade of the 1990s to control professional boxing.

The present commission is going a bit outside of the box and expanding its functions with the Hall of Fame ceremonies. Commissioner Paul Moxey has been appointed Chief Statistician and has the mandate of the organization to work with a committee on a research effort it is hoped will eventually result in the listing of all of the champions of the past and present. The boxers from different eras will also be compiled. It's a tough task because no records were kept prior to the establishment of the Bahamas Boxing Commission Act.

However, this commission has undertaken the responsibility. It will take a quality job by the research committee to sustain the Hall of Fame program.

Tonight, the Boxing Hall of Fame spotlight will be on Bertram 'Bert Perry' Perigord and Wilfred 'Battling' Douglas. They will be the center of attraction one more time.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at frobertsturrup@gmail.com)

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News Article
Thompson: Undocumented children not targeted

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.

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News Article
Commonwealth Bank quarterly dividend up 20

Shareholders were treated to welcome news at the Commonwealth Bank annual general meeting (AGM), as executive chairman William B. Sands Jr. announced a 20 percent increase in the 2011 quarterly common dividend to six cents per share from last year's five cents 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.
"Your bank continues to grow from strength to strength," said Sands.  "I am pleased to report that the bank recorded a new high of $1.4 billion in total assets in an economy that has still not recovered from the 2008 downturn."  Net income for the year was $53.8 million, a new record for the bank and a 27 percent increase over the results recorded in 2009.
The chairman's report further revealed to shareholders that while a challenging operating environment in 2010 repressed loan growth, the bank was able to meet or exceed many of the significant objectives.
Mr. Sands also recognized the bank's shareholders whose continued support and loyalty contributed to the company's overall success.  In 2010, the bank was again able to sustain its long-standing and consistent dividend program, distributing more than $25.6 million to common shareholders.  With the bank's continual strength in performance, it has maintained a position as the largest public company traded on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX).
Sands also disclosed that during the year, the bank successfully expanded its Saturday banking service to a third branch in New Providence - Oakes Field Branch - and launched a major development project at its Marsh Harbour, Abaco branch.  Speaking to the latter, Sands said that the branch expansion project would serve to accommodate the rising economic activity on the island. "It is important to the board of directors that the bank invests in our local communities and continues to support the growth and revitalization of the areas in which we do business.  When the branch is completed in the fourth quarter 2011, it will transform the existing structure by adding an additional 6,000 square feet and creating a modern state-of-the-art full-service facility featuring the bank's signature design and amenities."
Overall, the bank remains cautiously optimistic as it looks to the future and the anticipated domestic economic and global recovery.  Economic indicators point to the beginning of a recovery in late 2011 or early 2012.  The bank's president Ian Jennings noted that Commonwealth Bank has always been a market leader, and its business model has provided it with a strong, time tested foundation, which allows it to quickly adjust to market diversities in order to maximize the opportunities that exist.  "Our underlying strategy is to continue to produce long-term, profitable growth by delivering exceptional value to our customers, shareholders and communities through a well controlled and risk mitigated environment," he noted.
The evening ended on a celebratory note, as the bank saluted former chairman T. Baswell Donaldson, CBE on his retirement after an outstanding and distinguished career of 13 years of service, marked by the bank's asset and profitability growth and its focus on distinctive customer service.

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News Article
Who will take home the 2013 Bahamas Galaxy Crowns

Nassau, The Bahamas - 
After several months of training and workshops, 20 beauties will be
vying for the title of Little Miss, Junior Miss, Miss Pre-Teen, Teen and
Miss Bahamas Galaxy. "This year we have a total of 20 contestants, and
since this is our second year introducing the Junior Divisions, I am
thankful that with these additions, our growth has taken the Bahamas
Galaxy Pageant to a higher level," stated Mrs. Andrea Knott, Pageant
Director of The Bahamas Galaxy Pageant. She further emphasized that
through the support of various sponsors, SuperClubs Breezes, Dupuch
Publications, Enu Magazine, Stylezine, Nu Woman, The Beauty Shack,
D'Albenas Agency, the YWCA and many others, they have greatly
contributed to the success of the 2013 pageant...

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News Article
Bahamas Chamber Of Commerce and Employers Confederation
Bahamas Chamber Of Commerce and Employers Confederation

You are cordially invited to the Bahamas Bureau of Standards' FIRST National Standardisation Forum, to be held on February 17th-19th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at SuperClubs Breezes Resort...

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News Article
British team wins SC Private Banking title

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

THE British won the Bahamas IC Tennis Week Doubles Tournament on Friday at Superclubs Breezes.

In a battle of two undefeated teams, Great Britain prevailed with a hard fought 3-2 decision in their five-game series over Austria to cart off the prestigious SC Private Banking title.

In identical fashion, Mexico knocked off the Bahamas to clinch third place; Belgium blanked Germany 5-0 for fifth and the United States won seventh place over Bermuda as the week-long tournament came to a close.

In their showdown, the team of Niall Sweeney and Diane Hill secured the win for Great Britian when they pulled off their mixed doubles wi ...

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