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News Article

January 10, 2015
The Bahamas to host International Tennis Week January 12-16, 2015

Tennis teams from the USA, Great Britain, Canada and Barbados will be competing with The Bahamas in the third Bahamas International (IC) Tennis Doubles Week to be held at Breezes SuperClubs, Cable Beach from Monday 12th to Friday 16th January...

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News Article

July 02, 2011
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

March 29, 2011
The Prime Minister stresses the importance for honesty in executing Customs and Immigration duties

Nassau, The Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt.
Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham told trainee Customs and Immigration Officers that the
Government and people of The Bahamas demand that they be honest in the
execution of their duties.

"We have zero tolerance for dishonesty, for
slackness, for bad company, or bad habits, Prime Minister Ingraham said during
his visit to the induction training for the Officers at SuperClubs Breezes,
Friday, March 25.

"If by some stretch of the imagination you
believe you can sneak something past your supervisor, change your mind now," he
said...

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News Article
C.C. Sweeting Work Based Learning Programme students urged to defy the odds
June 12, 2013
C.C. Sweeting Work Based Learning Programme students urged to defy the odds

Graduates of the C.C. Sweeting High School Work Based Learning Programme were reminded that they might never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that as they graduate high school they should decide to be strong, confident A-grade employees.
Elma Garraway, former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, told the members of the sixth graduation class, of which Micheal Hanna was the top academic student, to decide that with determination, hope and commitment they can achieve their goals.
"It is my prayer that you will make wise decisions and remain safe as you move forward, upward and onward in your new role as a responsible adult, citizen and proud alumni of C.C. Sweeting Senior High School," said Garraway.
For those students seeking further training and educational experiences, Garraway reminded them that financial aid was available for them at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and that short courses can be found on a part-time basis in most of the technical and business areas.
The former education permanent secretary, who was also an educator, said it's never too late to learn anything their mind's can conceive of.
"You must be prepared to defy the odds [and] intend to win," said Garraway.
The former permanent secretary shared with the young men seven traits identified by the American Association of Technical and Vocational Education sent to her by Dr. Iva Dahl, the manager/consultant at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, that she said would ensure success once followed -- attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation.
"Positive people are in short supply, but are in high demand. Display good manners at all times and never let anyone determine how you should behave," Garraway said.
Garraway told them to be on time every time, as punctuality speaks to character and will give their supervisors an impression about how they feel about their jobs. She reminded them of an old adage: "The early bird catches the worm."
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Dress the part you were hired to play or would wish to play," she said.
The educator also said that their ambitions would show that they value knowledge and to always learn, read and continue their educations and training.
"Exceed the expectations of those around you and show that you are invaluable to your employer. My advice to you is to write down three goals you would wish to achieve. Look at them every week and evaluate how you are working to achieve them," she said.
Garraway reminded the graduating students to be accountable and people of integrity. She told them to always demonstrate that they can be trusted to complete all tasks assigned without being watched.
"Be honest in all things, and be the kind of person you would trust to work for you," she said.
She told them that they always need to be accepting of rules and regulations of the job, the country and the Bible and to respect authority and those placed in leadership positions.
"Be a good team player. And remember that in order to be a leader you must be a good follower," she said.
The former teacher reminded the graduates to always show appreciation and to go beyond the call of duty to give good service and be reminded that every satisfied customer is a repeat customer. She told them their supervisors would value their service.

The program
The C.C. Sweeting Work Based Learning Programme is an all-male cohort started in September 2007 by the school's former Principal Delores Ingraham. Its motto is: "It's Better to Build a Boy than to Repair a Man."
The main objective of the program is to act as an intervention for twelfth grade male students -- to reduce the dropout rate among high school male students who are challenged academically; to ensure that the students participating in the program achieve a skill/trade; to provide students with the opportunity for gainful employment. (If they work well enough on the job, the company may hire them for the summer and then full time); to expose the students to hands-on, on-the-job training opportunities; improve the number of male students satisfactorily completing high school; and provide participants with the opportunity to sit the Bahamas Junior Certificate examination for math, English language and health science if they have not done so.
Students attend school twice per week to receive instruction in the core subjects and report to the work site of their career choice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are mentored while acquiring a skill as they are exposed to various skill sets like air condition repair, auto repair, bodywork, landscaping, plumbing, hotel training, videography and welding while still completing high school.
Over 120 students have passed through the program since its inception. The program has an 80 percent completion average.
Current Work Based Learning Programme work sites are E & U Watercoolers, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Junkanoo Beach Resort, Superclubs Breezes and The Royal Bahamas Police Force Garage.

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News Article

April 03, 2014
Losing touch with your people

The issue of Prime Minister Perry Christie's intervention to help Ishmael Lightbourne, his value-added tax (VAT) consultant, not lose his home has been debated in the public sphere for several weeks now. This newspaper initially reported that Lightbourne had not paid real property tax for years. Then it was revealed that he was significantly behind on his mortgage payments on his home to CIBC FirstCaribbean bank to the extent that the bank went to court to take possession of it. Lightbourne is a former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate and senator.
Christie intervened with the bailiff who came some weeks ago to seize the house. He then intervened with the bank's managing director, Marie Rodland-Allen, to help Lightbourne. That last intervention worked for a time. However, yesterday police and a locksmith could be seen at Lightbourne's home in western New Providence. It appears as if it has finally been seized.
What has angered so many Bahamians about this matter is that Lightbourne seems to be on a list of people who get "special second chances" from really special people in high office; this at a time when there is 15 percent unemployment and thousands of Bahamians who have lost their homes since the Great Recession. Those people had no one to call. Those people had no one who would give them a six-figure job. Those people had no one who would make a call on their behalf to rescue them from eviction.
Yet, to this day, our prime minister still does not understand why some criticize him for "helping" a Bahamian in "need".
Christie gave an impassioned defense of his actions while in the House of Assembly several weeks ago and yesterday he indicated his move to prevent Lightbourne's home from being repossessed was an effort to help the bank recoup its losses.
"It is trite to believe that a prime minister separates himself and helps one person," Christie said at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce at SuperClubs Breezes resort. "I have [helped] hundreds.
"And please, tell them if they have them lined up, people who need advice, send them all to me. Send them all.
"Let them see that I govern myself with both head and heart, but also that I have a day-to-day relationship with the financial community where there is mutual respect and understanding and any involvement on my part or my government's part is to help the bank... not to help the individual. The bank has it."
The prime minister, however, did not explain specifically what help he offered those other families, nor did he identify those he assisted.
Christie's comments on this issue, and his conduct, indicate that he is starting to lose touch with the mood of his people. Bahamians do not want to hear how difficult life is for a PLP six-figure earner who does not pay real property tax and his mortgage in a timely manner, if at all. Bahamians do not want to hear their prime minister passionately defending such a person as if he is the most needy welfare case in the country. Bahamians also do not want to hear nonsensical rationalizations such as, "I intervened to help the bank." Simply put, Lightbourne was "one of the boys".
To be fair to Christie, he is by no means the first prime minister to help a friend who was accustomed to the good life. This matter, however, leaked into the public sphere and demonstrated to regular Bahamians how good life is when you are close to the chief.
PLPs keep jumping up to defend Lightbourne and Christie in this matter. Those younger members of the party should be careful with this. After 40 years in public life, it is not surprising that the PM is out of touch with his people. But for the party's next generation, if they want to be perceived as different, they should think carefully before giving sycophantic commendations to a leader who helped a friend who was by no means among the least of us.

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News Article

June 19, 2012
Nottage laments crime in prison

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.

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News Article

January 10, 2015
Bahamas to host International Tennis Week, January 12-16

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Tennis teams from the USA, Great Britain, Canada and Barbados will be competing with The Bahamas in the third Bahamas International (IC) Tennis Doubles Week to be held at Breezes SuperClubs, Cable Beach from Monday 12th to Friday 16th January.
Teams are from the International Tennis Clubs of the world (IC's). These are clubs of players who have represented their country, won national titles or who are strong players who have contributed to the development of tennis. For them, it is a means of keeping up the camaraderie and competition from younger days when many played Davis Cup and Fed Cup competition. Their motto is "Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean."
The Bahamas event is for a combined team of men and women in several age categories from 40 years to 65 plus years and allows for a "combined age" in a doubles pair. Each team plays every country over five days in two men's doubles, one ladies doubles and two mixed doubles.
At the last event The Bahamas came a close second to the USA and both teams are among the favourites again this time.

President of The Bahamas International Club (IC) Kit Spencer, talking about the event, said thank you to SG Private Banking for their continued support of this competition which helps The Bahamas bring teams from overseas for some great tennis and camaraderie in a top winter destination.

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News Article

July 04, 2011
Government immigration statements must be clear

The Director of the Department of Immigration, Jack Thompson, on Thursday made hawkish statements on the illegal immigration problem in The Bahamas while addressing principals at an event at SuperClubs Breezes Resort.
Thompson, said The Bahamas cannot 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."
Thompson also emphasized at that event that his department does not, as a matter of policy, apprehend undocumented children at schools.
Thompson's bold remarks reflect the frustration many Bahamians feel with the failed immigration policy in The Bahamas regarding Haitians. Successive governments have been unable to slow the flow of people from Haiti to this country. Therefore, there are thousands of people here who were not invited.
All right-thinking people would accept that it is impossible to stop unauthorized Haitian migration to this country.  Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and it has a population of nearly 10 million.  Many Haitians want a fresh start away from the struggling republic.
Many Bahamians, however, think that successive more can be done by our leaders to reduce the flow of Haitians to The Bahamas. This segment of society is frustrated and angry. Those Bahamians want illegal shantytowns demolished and those who are here illegally to be sent home.
By echoing this frustration, however, Thompson went in tone beyond the policy position of the executive branch of government.  The Free National Movement (FNM) administration has been moderate in its approach. The FNM has held to the traditional apprehension and repatriation policy, but it has also extended an olive branch, inviting Haitians who have been in the country for long periods of time to come in and be regularized.
The Nassau Guardian published Thompson's remarks last Friday.  It appears as if Thompson's superiors in the Cabinet were not impressed. On Friday he issued a more conciliatory statement, emphasizing that Immigration will not be targeting undocumented children in schools.
If the Cabinet wants to clarify the position of the government, that's fine.  Policy and tone are dictated by Cabinet.  We take issue, however, with the insinuation that this newspaper misconstrued what Thompson said Thursday.
"The Thursday's article gives the impression that children are to be targeted by the department's officials. The Department of Immigration regrets this insinuation and strongly condemns any such suggestion or attributions," said Thompson's Friday statement.
This newspaper reported what the immigration director said at a public forum. The comments the Cabinet has a problem with were uttered by its head of department.  The dispute it has is not with this newspaper and it should not have statements sent out suggesting improper reporting when the issue is one between the executive branch of government and one of its senior officials.
The Friday statement should have simply said that the immigration director was excessive in tone and that the policy of the Cabinet is more moderate.
The Nassau Guardian needs not be involved with the varied policy positions held between senior civil servants and the executive branch of government.

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News Article

January 14, 2014
Jamaican track star Usain Bolt meets PM Christie

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The world's fastest human, Jamaican track star Usain Bolt (centre) is pictured with Prime Minister Perry Christie and Mrs. Bernadette Christie, Jan. 12, 2014, at the renaming of a section of the old West Bay Street in the front of SuperClubs Breezes to Breezes Lane. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

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News Article

May 11, 2011
English Caribbean Softball Confederation's inaugural session this weekend

By RENALDO DORSETT

Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

THE establishment of a regional governing body with specific responsibility for the Bahamas and the remainder of the English-speaking Caribbean has the potential to change the course of softball on the international level.

The English Caribbean Softball Confederation will convene its inaugural session this weekend, with the Bahamas as the host country chosen to bring the organisation together.

The Bahamas Softball Federation will facilitate the formation of the group this weekend at Superclubs Breezes, May 13-15.

The opening day will feature a cocktail reception at Breezes, while day two will feature the start of business whi ...

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