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Saturday 27th October 2012 8:00 PM
5th Annual CosPlay and Halloween Party Get ready for The C.A.G.E. Club’s 5th Annual Halloween Party & Cosplay Competition!! This year is go na be krunk cuz we're hosting the first ever SUPA SEXY AWESOME ASIAN DANCE as apart of the fun, goodies and games. Remember its $5 entrance w/ costume, $15 if your are in regular clothing. Thank you and hopes to see you there! The one and only Hobby Store on the island. For all your Cardfight!! Vanguard, Yu-Gi-Oh Cards, Naruto Cards, your favorite Anime, Video Games and East Asian Entertainment needs, enter The CAGE.
A key Family Island resort is boasting about its 20 per cent increase in revenue for 2013.
The Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina continues to show impressive business growth for the year.
"We are pacing to be one of the better performing properties in The Bahamas this year," said General Manager Michael Weber.
"And 2014 is off to a great start with several weekends already sold out."
Closed for two years, the Big Game Club, which was founded as a dinner club in 1936, was re-opened in 2010 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.
Weber and his wife, Diana, who handles sales and marketing, credits "hard work and creative thinking" to positioning and promoting the 51-room, 75-slip marina property located in Alice Town.
"We continue to exhibit at various boat shows and other trade shows to generate more business to the resort. We've also re-established big game tournaments drawing large turnouts, created the world's first dockside bull shark cage experience, increased our group dive bookings drawing European and Canadian visitors and improved our food and beverage offerings adding a Shark Bar, private labeled Big Game Club Ale and introduced holistic menus for those requesting gluten-free and vegetarian meals, as well as meeting other dietary requests," said Diana Weber.
"We've also seen an increase in our marina business thanks to seasonal discount specials and long-term slip rentals."
Also joining the Big Game Club in 2013 is the Bimini- Quebec Watersports operation that offers a variety of watersports including back country kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, bicycle rentals, sailing and bareboat rentals.
"Especially popular with families is our free pool 'Intro to scuba dive' class for all guests with a PADI dive instructor," said Diana Weber.
The Webers continue to plan more events to attract guests in 2014, including a return of the highly popular "Wahoo Smackdown" tournament in February and in April the first ever "NFL Hall of Fame Billfish Invitational."
Alice Town, Bimini,
The Bahamas - The Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina today announced
plans for a unique one-day guaranteed shark encounter experience that will also
help fund regional shark tagging and conservation efforts through a partnership
with the Shark-Free Marinas initiative.
The Bimini Bull Run is a first for the global shark diving
industry, providing divers and non-divers with an up-close and personal
adrenaline packed thrill of shark encounters from the safety of specially
designed cage systems attached directly to the docks at The Big Game Club
Marina. The system will employ a unique "Hooka' air system, allowing
non-certified divers to experience the opportunity in addition to those certified
divers who would prefer to SCUBA
Paradise Island is cracking down on crime among its employees and explaining that unethical behavior is impacting revenue goals and bonus payouts.
Atlantis, the largest private sector employer in the country, has reported losses of at least $225,000 in 2012 due to a series of scams perpetrated by workers. According to an internal publication at the mega resort, a scam involving water accounts at Ocean Club Estates cost the company in excess of $50,000. A "wrist band scandal", whereby Discovery Atlantis passes were being sold to taxi cab drivers under the table, was estimated to cost upwards of $75,000. The mega resort also took a $100,000 hit from a medical scam where line staff and managers were found to have cheated Atlantis, the hospital, national insurance and the union.
Meanwhile, Paradise Island made international headlines last year after workers attempted to rob the casino's main cashier cage.
Crime dominated the entire front page of the resort's recent internal newspaper.
Atlantis is attempting a "new approach" with its P.S.S.T. Initiative (Prevent, Stop, Save, Talk), whereby workers are encouraged to actively participate in the fight against company theft.
"We are very tough on crime," Markantonis told Guardian Business yesterday. "We have a lot of investigations ongoing. We know the loopholes and won't hesitate to take people to court and charge them, or just terminate them if there is evidence they are defrauding the company or have engaged in criminal acts."
The top executive said the resort is highlighting the fact that crime hurts everyone's pocket book. Bonuses are based on overall revenue, and according to the internal publication, crime in 2012 nearly impacted its targets.
Turning to the issue of crime at large, Markantonis said all Bahamians must realize that security is not just police business. It only takes one incident to permanently impact the country's primary source of income.
The concern is being echoed by the Ministry of Tourism.
Obie Wilchcombe, the minister of tourism, said yesterday that the government is poised to launch a "domestic campaign" educating Bahamians on the impact of crime on the economy.
"This is a serious campaign talking to our people. With discipline and understanding we can take the arms out of our hands and use the same arms to embrace people," he said. "It will promote the greater role people have to play in tourism and encourage better service."
The senior government official went so far as to suggest The Bahamas is "getting killed" in its levels of service.
The domestic campaign will hit radio television and newspapers by the start of next week.
The push against crime follows a recent advisory by the U.S. Embassy warning Americans about a rise in armed robberies in the country. Prime Minister Perry Christie noted at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace tourism conference last month that crime is the biggest threat to Caribbean tourism.
"The combination of travel advisories against certain destinations, coupled with media publicity in the major markets discouraging tourism travel to certain destinations, is a trend that is bound to not only continue, but to accelerate and widen unless we manage to bring criminal activity down, way down, in our respective countries across the region," Christie said.
Cedric Munroe is a self-professed pessimist. He always thought the odds were stacked against him, so he never gave entering competitions a second thought. But there was something about the sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. essay competition that enticed him to give his writing skills a whirl. He went with his gut instinct and it paid off. Munroe's essay written on Maya Angelou proved to be a winner. He bested the 120 entries from around the country.
"I was elated," said the Doris Johnson High School senior. "When you enter things like this, you go in not knowing what will come of it ... if you will even place. But I knew within myself that if I worked hard enough I definitely would get something from it," he said.
His winning essay earned his school a visit from the United States Charge d'Affaires, John Dinkelman who presented Cedric with an iPad and a certificate noting his accomplishment in front of his peers. Six other students from the school were also presented with certificates for penning essays to enter as well.
Students had to select any American civil rights leader who was inspired by Martin Luther King and write an original essay of 500 words or less that articulated his/her contributions to the civil rights movement. Students also had to describe what they could do or what they have done in their own community to contribute to a more peaceful and non-violent world.
Cedric wrote on how King Jr. influenced poet, author and activist Maya Angelou.
"I chose Maya Angelou because she is different and I love that she has done a lot through her poetry, books and speeches. She has really done a lot through her work by inspiring people -- particularly teen mothers. She was able to use her own tragedies, rape and teen pregnancy as a way to encourage other people, especially younger women to keep on striving."
The 17-year-old said he enjoyed writing the essay because what he learned made him feel good. He said that writing, like other art forms, requires patience and time to make it perfect, which he did to make it the best possible entry he could. Although winning was great, Cedric's hope is that people really learn something from what he wrote about.
Fifteen-year-old, Channon Pennicooke, also entered an essay in the competition. Although she didn't win, she said the process of writing the essay was an invaluable experience because it forced her to research black history from an angle she hadn't been taught in school.
The tenth grade student at Doris Johnson penned her essay on Amelia Boynton-Robinson, a yong woman who campaigned for women's suffrage, and was a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama. She was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal in 1990.
"I was thinking of doing it on another person like Rosa Parks or Jesse Jackson but my English teacher advised me not to since they are both popular activists and numerous other students were likely to write on them. Although it would've been easier to write on one of the more popular people, I am glad I did write on Boynton-Robinson because I never even heard of her before the competition."
As she did her research, Pennicooke said she didn't find a lot of information on Boynton-Robinson, which forced her to look at her topic in a new way. As she found more information, she said it became really interesting.
Shashla Bethune, Dominic Cooper, Brittany Saunders, Shanise McLennon and Rodney Brown were the other Doris Johnson School students that entered essays into the competition.
Dinkelman presented Munroe with his prize and the other participants from the school with certificates of participation. He was pleased that so many young people participated in the essay competition and had so much to say.
Although Dinkelman did not have a say in deciding on the best entry, he said what struck him about the winning essay was that it was one filled with earnestness and genuine emotion. He said putting oneself into one's work and writing from the heart is probably one of the main reasons why Munroe outshone his peers and took home the prize.
Doris Johnson School principal Linda Major, was proud that her students participated in the competition and especially of Munroe whose essay earned the school its second consecutive win in the annual competition. She was even more proud that the winners had been males, which she said set a positive example for their counterparts.
"This is so great to see that the students are doing so well -- especially the males," said Major. "The winner of last year's competition was D'Angelo Rahming. He's now in grade 12 and still doing well. So for Cedric to come and win the competition shows that we really have talent in our school and our young men are doing something great. This is a good boost for other young men to aim to do their best and soar. We can see that they can and we are proud of them," she said.
Cedric Munroe's winning essay
"It's not a past tense for me. Dr. King continues to have an impact on my life, as he does upon the lives of many people in the world. A dream never dies. I'm trying to be that fair person, that kind, generous and courageous person, that loving person that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was and encouraged us to become." -- Maya Angelou.
Marguerite Ann Johnson, more commonly known as Dr. Maya Angelou, was born on April 4, 1928. She is a known actress, activist, poet, author and an Academy of Achievement inductee. This "Phenomenal Woman" has inspired many persons. She has inspired me to write poetry of my own, a few of which have won awards. Dr. Angelou fights for civil rights. She advocates equality among all races and same sex marriages, and motivates teen mothers and neglected persons to surmount their struggles.
Maya Angelou has traveled the world teaching moral values and virtues. She has been the voice for those who don't have the courage to speak. Dr. Angelou volunteers her time at high schools around America to divulge her life experiences. Having been a teenage mother, she knows the cruel pejoratives that premature mothers face. She has dedicated a portion of her autobiography, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" to them. Dr. Angelou has counseled teen mothers, built their courage and motivated them to aspire for transcendence.
In addition, Dr. Angelou has focused on neglect within the black community. After witnessing blacks fighting blacks and committing adultery, she perceives these as "acts of negligence." To this end, Dr. Angelou has spent much time educating blacks of the importance of being their brother's keeper. Through her lectures at Wake Forest University, she has encouraged youths to be concerned for the welfare of others.
Furthermore, Dr. Angelou is an advocate of same sex marriage. Dr. King's teachings are evident in the works of Dr. Angelou. In order to eradicate this prejudice in society, Dr. Angelou has used her poetry to make others tolerant and more accepting of the gay community. She has recited her poem, "Still I Rise" at same sex conferences across America. Presently, she fights for the rights of gays with the intention of abolishing discrimination against them.
Both Dr. King and Dr. Angelou have inspired me to be a difference maker. I have made it my goal to make the world a more peaceful place. At my school, I'm the vice-president of the Interact Club. We've donated money and labor to the needy, and also comforted the elderly. My student council body and I have implemented a peer-tutoring program, to work with the academically challenged at my school. Additionally, as a prefect, I have taken time to talk with my male peers about anger management. Dr. Angelou's words, "You may encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated" serves as my motto. Dr. King inspired Dr. Maya Angelou, and she has inspired me. Now, I must inspire my peers to personify Dr. King's morals.
As we observed in this column earlier this month, summer marks the travel period, with many Bahamians visiting near and far-flung venues, although recently more Bahamians are traveling to the Family Islands. In the first two installments of this series on the islands of The Bahamas, we featured the islands of Andros and Abaco. This week, we would like to continue to Consider This... what is the lure for Bahamians to explore our Family Islands?
Geography and demographics
The Exuma islands are a 150-mile-long chain with over 365 islands and cays scattered in a long line extending north toward New Providence from Great Exuma. The Exuma Cays, with approximately 100 square miles of land and, according to the 2010 census, a population of 7,314, are some of the most exotic of the Bahamian Family Islands, a collection of tiny jewels set in the aquamarine and sapphire of the most beautiful water imaginable.
The capital and largest town, George Town, located on Great Exuma, was founded in 1793. Great Exuma, which is 37 miles in length, is joined to Little Exuma by a small bridge, and has an area of 61 square miles while Little Exuma has an area of 11 square miles.
The area is so unique and its reefs and island environments so pristine that The Bahamas government set aside a 176-square-mile section as the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the world's first and most successfully preserved marine park.
Exuma was settled around 1783 by American Loyalists following the Revolutionary War. They brought a cotton plantation economy to the islands and named George Town in honor of King George III, to whom they remained loyal.
Lucayan natives made Great and Little Exuma their historic home until they were taken away as slaves in the 16th century, leaving the islands uninhabited until the 18th century. In the intervening period, Exuma provided many hideouts for pirates. Elizabeth Harbour was a favorite lair of Captain Kidd and the Exuma Cays were a favorite hangout for Captain Norman, hence Norman's Cay.
John Rolle, the first Baron Rolle, a major figure in the islands' history, was an absentee land-owner. At his death in 1842, he left his significant Exuma land-holdings for the exclusive use of his slaves. As a result, two settlements on Great Exuma were named after him, Rolleville and Rolle Town.
Exuma is also well-known for the slave revolt led by Pompey which started in early 1830 when, with only three days' notice, a group of 77 of Lord Rolle's slaves were told that they would be sent to Cat Island. With Pompey leading them, many of the slaves involved hid in the bush for five weeks until exhausting their provisions. At that point, 44 of them, representing nine families and three single slaves, stole Lord Rolle's salt boat and sailed to Nassau in an effort to personally put their case to the Governor, Sir James Carmichael Smyth.
Sadly, the slaves were taken into custody and thrown into the workhouse before seeing the governor. The adult slaves were tried immediately as runaways and most of them, including five women - two of whom were nursing babies - were sentenced to be flogged.
When the governor, known for his sympathy towards slaves, found out, he was furious, immediately firing the police magistrate and the two justices of the peace involved in the case. He also ordered Pompey and his group of rebels to be returned to Exuma.
Pompey's rebellion created the precedent that Bahamian slaves could not be moved without their consent, a major achievement in beginning to establish that slaves should be regarded as people who had some civil rights.
Exuma, with a wide variety of resorts and hotels that range from five-star resorts such as the Grand Isle Resort & Spa and the luxuriously elegant all-inclusive Sandals Resort, to condo-resorts and locally-owned fishing lodges, offers an amazing assortment of vacation possibilities. Tourism is important to the Exuma chain which is full of dream destinations for boaters, fishermen (flats, reef and offshore), divers, snorkelers and kayakers. The private islands and cays are custom-designed for those seeking the ultimate escape, and the new levels of luxury available offer perfect spots for an island wedding or honeymoon.
The islands are a popular spot for yachting, sailing, diving, and coral reef and cave exploring. Some of the islands on which there are permanent residents and resorts include Norman's Cay, Wax Cay, Fowl Cay, Staniel Cay, Black Point, Farmer's Cay, Musha Cay and Barraterre. Thunderball Grotto, located just a few hundred yards from Staniel Cay, is where the James Bond movie "Thunderball" was filmed. Sandy Cay, just a short boat ride from Little Exuma, was the location used for "The Pirates of the Caribbean". The novel Wind from the Carolinas was set in Great Exuma, and featured the ancestors of today's prominent Exumians.
The anchor of the Exuma archipelago is Great Exuma, where one can enjoy a great selection of casual Bahamian restaurants and iconic resorts such as the Peace & Plenty Hotel, which was named after a ship bringing Loyalists and slaves to Exuma that was shipwrecked in George Town in 1818. Today it is a meeting place for friends of old, especially at the annual Exuma Regatta, where they cheer on the keen competition between sloops in Elizabeth Harbour.
Stocking Island features spectacular views from atop its high bluff and a series of idyllic beaches separated by limestone promontories. On the leeward side, the Chat & Chill is a classic beach bar which attracts boaters from near and far.
Exuma International Airport serves George Town directly from Nassau, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Toronto. Norman's Cay, Staniel Cay, Black Point and Farmer's Cay have government approved and operated airstrips.
Sandals at Emerald Bay
We recently stayed at Sandals at Emerald Bay in Exuma and were immensely impressed by the tremendous contribution that this resort makes to the Exuma economy. Its 250 ocean-view and ocean-front suites, some with exclusive butler service, its championship 18-hole golf course and a 150-slip deep-water marina have propelled Sandals to become the superlative resort on Great Exuma. The full-time employment of 600 persons has enormously and positively impacted Exuma's economy, as has the greatly enhanced and revitalized airlift resulting from direct jet service from Canada, a project initiated by Sandals' owner and chairman, Gordon "Butch" Stewart.
Sandals also has a substantial community outreach program, having established five computer centers on the island and is working on its sixth. In addition, there are many community activities to which Sandals contributes, like the Exuma Regatta, which exemplifies its robust commitment and astounding corporate citizenship to the island's community and future development.
The main island has been a haven for celebrities for years. Until recently, the tourist population on the island was minimal, allowing anonymity for anyone wanting to escape the spotlight. Frequent visitors included Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, who has stayed at Goat Cay, the late Jackie Onassis, and Jessica Tandy.
In light of the relatively reasonable cost and the relatively attractive Bahamian tax regime for non-Bahamians, a number of celebrities own luxuriously exclusive private islands and cays and palatial homes or resorts in the Exuma chain. These celebrities include the Aga Khan, Nicolas Cage, David Copperfield, Johnny Depp, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Ali Karimi, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Irvine, Butch Stewart and Tyler Perry.
The hub of the Exuma Cays is Staniel Cay, where boaters congregate at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club's bar and restaurant, and where a landing strip serves as the gateway to many of the other cays.
There are several urgent infrastructural enhancements required, principally on Great Exuma if the island is to continue on its successful trajectory. The Exuma International Airport is in urgent need of modernization and there is an equally urgent necessity to construct a new shipping port, which some have suggested should be erected at Barraterre, as much for revitalizing that and other surrounding communities as for being the most appropriate location because of its deep-water and sheltered harbour.
Exuma remains one of the best kept secrets of The Bahamas and will continue to emerge as one of the more sustained successes of the nation, as its prospects for continued growth and development are extremely bright. In the words of George A. Smith, who represented Exuma for 29 years in Parliament: "Over these islands and cays, the winds whisper endlessly; and the seas and beaches are of almost unbelievable colours of aquamarine and whiteness and of beauty."
We will continue our tour of other Islands of The Bahamas later in the year.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past weekend, the Beast Mode Fight Team competed at the 16th Annual International Chinese Martial Arts Championships (ICMAC) in Orlando, Fla. The event was held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and hosted the largest amount of competitors since the 2007 version of the event.
Athletes traveled from all over the world to compete in four disciplines -- Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Wushu and Sanda. The Beast Mode Fight Team competed in the Sanda discipline and brought back seven medals - the most of any club present at the meet.
Winning gold medals for the club were Dijonaisse "D.J." Brown (lightweight title), Cameron Lewis and Kenny Neymour. Giovanni Johnson and Neil King won silver medals, and Andrew Simmons and Wayne Mackey brought home bronze medals.
Sanda, also known as Sanshou, is a martial art which was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the study and practices of traditional Kung Fu and modern combat fighting techniques. It combines full-contact kickboxing, which includes close range and rapid successive punches and kicks, with wrestling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, kick catches, and in some competitions, even elbow and knee strikes.
Dr. Kent Bazard has been a long time fighter in several disciplines, but this time he served as the head coach for the team.
"This time it was a lot different for me because I really had to control my excitement, because usually when I go to an event I prepare a certain way and do certain things and focus on my warm-ups. With this event I had to be focused on other people's mental state, making sure the weigh-ins were done correctly and making sure that they were matched up correctly. It was different, but it was exciting," said Bazard.
"I also think that this event helped me to mature as a fighter and as a coach. As far as fighters go, I'm probably in my twilight. I'm 36-years-old and even though that's not old in terms of fighting, that's really old. I probably won't be fighting much longer so it was bittersweet to watch them, but I was also proud to see the Bahamian team doing well."
Countries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Brazil, which are all hot beds for mixed martial arts and have been known for producing champion fighters, all competed in the championships. Given that the Bahamian fighters competed against this level of competition bodes well for them. It made their victories that much more impressive.
"A lot of fighters from those countries go to schools that just teach martial arts alone, so they came in and are very high quality fighters. It was good being in an environment like that on a big stage with a lot of high quality fighters," said Bazard.
"We had the highest medal count as far as the teams went, so the guys did very well for their first time out. There were only two knockouts on the evening and one of our beginners got one of them. Kenny Neymour defeated his opponent from Uzbekistan in the first round. What was really impressive was that it was Kenny's first full contact fight."
As times goes on, Bazard hopes that the sport will become more popular here in The Bahamas because he sees a lot of potential in some Bahamian fighters.
"I always say that I think The Bahamas has natural talent and natural physical ability. We have naturally good fighters; growing up all children play a game called 'dashing'. The slaves actually brought that game here so it is in our genes. We are naturally strong and athletic and I'm looking forward to seeing more fighters come forward, and seeing the sport grow," said Bazard.
In September, the fight club will be returning to Orlando once again, but this time it will be the females out of the camp competing in cage matches. Bazard expects to spend the rest of his summer getting them ready to take to the big stage and ensuring that they are ready to take on the best in the world.
ALICE TOWN, Bimini -- The Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina announced plans Monday for a unique one-day guaranteed shark encounter experience that will also help fund regional shark tagging and conservation efforts through a partnership with the Shark-Free Marinas initiative.
The Bimini Bull Run is a first for the global shark diving industry, providing divers and non-divers with an up-close and personal adrenaline packed thrill of shark encounters from the safety of specially designed cage systems attached directly to the docks at The Big Game Club Marina. The system will employ a unique "Hooka' air system, allowing non-certified divers to experience the opportunity in addition to those certified divers who would prefer to SCUBA.
"You can fly from South Florida, check into your hotel room and be in a Shark Cage all in less than an hour," said Michael Weber, Big Game Club General Manager.
For those who prefer to stay firmly on dry land, the Bimini Big Game Club is also constructing a new bar at Bimini Bull Run to allow those interested in an educational look at these wonderful sharks from behind safety rails. Bimini Big Game Club also conducts other types of dive expeditions in Bimini, a tiny, but historically significant Bahamas out-island less than 30 minutes flight-time from Southeast Florida. The 51-room resort and marina offers various wreck and reef dives, thrilling offshore shark dives, and world-class offshore big game fishing trips and well as a variety of family-friendly watersport activities.
Weber said the Bimini Bull Run operation will feature safe encounters with a variety of sharks, including Bull, Tiger and Lemon sharks.