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News Article

December 03, 2013
Omar Daley pioneering sports initiative in Long Island

An interesting sporting relationship was forged this past weekend in Long Island. Bodybuilding/Fitness expert Omar Daley has agreed to be the representative for the national pro boxing arm of the Government of The Bahamas.
The Bahamas Boxing Commission, answering the call of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for organizations to reach out into the Family Islands to build a foundation for the coming National Sports Industry, ventured into Long Island. Although with a boxing focus as the chief objective, the commission has determined to provide a general base for conditioning and health care for those mini sporting programs in the Family Islands that need assistance. The idea is to establish boxing programs or tie into other disciplines for mutual development.
The traveling group included Chairman Alvin Sargent, Deputy Chairman/Secretary Fred Sturrup, Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Patrick Roberts, Officials Committee Chairman Fernley Palmer, Alvin Davis and James Tynes. Now based in Long Island as the community dentist is commission member Dr. Munir Rashad.
It was Rashad who to set the stage for the commission's presence. He selected Daley as one of the key sports leaders in Long Island to be interacted with. On Friday past, at the Community Centre in Clarence Town, the Deputy Chairman/Secretary Sturrup presented the commission's concept to Daley and his sister Erica Knowles. Daley is the island's outstanding bodybuilding expert who now heads the Long Island Sporting Academy. He has agreed to expand his bodybuilding and fitness program to include boxing conditioning.
The commission on its part, has pledged to provide Daley, for his very comprehensive center in Stella Maris, heavy bags, speed bags, boxing gloves, boxing cups, head gears and mouth pieces.
"We have agreed to make this gesture to show how serious we are about projecting boxing across the country, but also in assisting in sports development. We are happy that Omar has bought into what we are doing. We make a promise also to help him as he works to provide wholesome development opportunities for the young boys and girls in Long Island," said the Chairman Sargent.
Daley and Knowles are adequate for this initiative. Daley plans to structure the academy more efficiently by merging his bodybuilding/fitness with that assistance to be afforded by the commission. He also intends to make education a major part of the entire operation.
"The Long Island Sporting Academy is headed by myself as president. The vice president is Donavon Whymns and the secretary/treasurer is Alexandria Bullard. The academy caters to young individuals, starting at the age of 12. We wish to enhance their development in skills in areas of sports, the teaching of sports, the importance of being dedicated and disciplined to become good athletes and strong academic individuals.
"Thus far, the academy has been strictly funded out of my pocket since February, 1997. I speak of training, travel, sporting outfits and other expenses. I have also assisted some of my students with school needs. I have absorbed the costs for national examinations and I am proud to inform that a past student is now studying medicine in China.
"I am a firm believer that the children are our future and we should invest in them for a brighter tomorrow. My wish is to continue running this program for the children of the Long Island community, but because of financial constraints, this is becoming quite difficult. The road has not been easy, but quite worthwhile," said Daley.
He represents those unsung heroes of the Family Islands who normally are not nationally given due credit. Daley is much more than a mentor of students. He is a father figure. There is the competitive side to him as well. Daley has formerly represented the country in bodybuilding successfully. His students have been awarded about 200 medals, 50 of the gold variety over the years. Knowles, who is a rap artist of note, has a strong martial arts background. She expressed excitement over the attention the commission is showing to Long Island.
"This is good. I like what you are doing. So often, people from New Providence come into the islands and just talk. The commission is serious and has impressed me. This is now a good way to elevate the young boys and girls in our island and keep them in a productive program," said Knowles.
The commission plans to revisit Long Island in the not too distant future. It will present boxing equipment to add to Daley's fitness center.
(To respond to this sports feature, contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article

August 07, 2012
Problems at the new LPIA

Dear Editor,

Your editorial "Welcome to chaos" only touches the problems at the new Lynden Pindling International Airport. You give attention to the arrival of baggage and the customs procedure. But you do not mention the very long walk (it seems like a mile) from the gate to the immigration hall, with no travelators? Hardly a welcome to visitors or returning residents, who carry heavy bags as carry-ons.
On reaching the arrival hall a band such as Blind Blake's sometimes plays to keep the tourists and others in a good mood. The immigration officers do their best to process arrivals with a big smile. The delay is sometimes slow when three or four planes arrive at once. Sometimes the baggage never arrives on the same plane, a fact you discover only after waiting hours to locate it. Yet technology is supposed to record every bag on the plane. Cannot this same technology advise passengers when their bag is left to come on a later flight and that the airline will arrange delivery to their hotel?
My experience in the customs area has been that tourist arrivals are given preference, and are processed with only minor inspection. If a long wait is experienced it may be caused by the lack of operating conveyer belts. There should be better signs to direct tourists to tourist only customs officer lines, and better management of Bahamas residents only lines, where one person with excess baggage can hold up the line for half an hour.
If The Bahamas is serious about welcoming our visitors and sending them home with happy memories, there is need for an improved system for both arrival and departure for all travelers. We have a new airport, but unless thought is given to the problems of large numbers arriving at the same time, or leaving at the same time, there will be nothing but complaints. What will happen when the 2500 extra rooms on Cable Beach bring more and more travelers at the same time?

Word soon gets around the traveling public. As the retired population increases and enjoys more vacations, the quick trip to The Bahamas will be off their short list when word gets around of the long waits in arrival and departure halls. Senior citizens won't put up with this and may stay at home or choose other destinations. All the money spent on advertising The Bahamas is soon counteracted by such negative publicity and word of mouth.

There must be a better way to process all travelers including the sick, the elderly, the lame and young children. No preference or consideration is given to those travelers, except that airlines offer wheel chairs and preferential boarding. No preference is given to senior citizens proud enough to join the rest of the public. No seats are made available in the customs hall while you wait to be processed or wait for your luggage. Even the lowly auto parts shops have a ticket system so you know how many people are in front of you, so that if there are many you can return to your car, or spend time looking at other merchandise. As for the lame or elderly, if they all took advantage of the complementary wheel chair services even more chaos would result. And why is there not better information on plane arrivals and departures and delays? Surely this should also be posted in the U.S. customs hall. Once in the U.S. customs hall you are a trapped. There is no way out, no way to get to a toilet, nowhere to sit down, and the wait can be over 90 minutes.
The commercial banks give preference to senior citizens, and big commercial customers, and make no profit from doing so. All LPIA travelers are paying good money to travel, and much of that money goes to the government and the Airport Authority and the U.S. government. You cannot blame the airlines.
If The Bahamas has negotiated for U.S. customs and immigration to pre-clear passengers at a cost paid by the traveler of $20.00 or more per person, they should be required to provide a better service. They know the flight schedules. They know the number of persons to process each hour. Yet they limit the number of officers allocated at peak hours, resulting in waits of two hours from the time the electronic ticket is processed by the airlines, to the time you clear U.S. immigration and customs. If the planes decide to wait for passengers delayed in this queue, this is a cost and a disruption to the airline and the various agencies handling passengers, not to mention the delays in the next flights later in the day.
Much is made of new technology. The requirements of the U.S. to have all travelers listed 24 hours before departure so that they can be pre-processed means they have no excuse. There should be a system to weed out suspected persons needing more scrutiny, so that the honest travelers can avoid these long queues.
Don't blame the system of pre-screening passenger luggage and body searches. This works in a reasonable time, and cannot be accelerated when the U.S. immigration and customs line is already starting well behind the entry to their hall. The patient passengers think they will soon be processed, and then find another hour or more in another queue inside the U.S. hall. It is worse than Disney World at peak times. At least they tell you if the wait is half an hour or two hours and you can choose to go or not on the ride.
Why do travelers need to be at the airport 3 hours before departure, then find that the flight is another 2 hours delayed? Five hours wasted before you get on your flight to the U.S.A., sometimes only 25 minutes in the air before arrival in Miami, for example. Again the technology exists to keep passengers advised. We pay $350.00 for a return trip to Miami, 180 miles. yet only $1200 for a return trip to London of at least 9 hours each way.

- Concerned Bahamian resident and traveler

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News Article

June 05, 2014
Stop and pick up the trash

My wife and I swim six mornings a week, year round, winter or summer, hot or cold, on a lovely beach. We swim in spite of the temperature or condition of the sea. It is invigorating, refreshing and it stimulates the immune system. Unfortunately, the beach is not always free of trash. We have made it our civic duty, as loyal citizens of The Bahamas, to pick up the trash each morning before we swim. We pick up everything from condom wrappers, to food containers, clothing, towels, toys, tissue paper, shoes, beer bottles and soda cans. Sometimes we find money, cell phones, and wallets.
Why can't these people pick up their trash and place it in the nearby receptacles or take the trash home? Is it that they have no care for their surroundings? It has been four years since my wife and I have been picking up trash on the beach. When we first started picking up trash, the amount of trash we picked up each morning was equivalent to the size of one to two 33-gallon trash bags. Today, the amount is about two small plastic grocery bags. Yes, we have seen improvement, but there is room for improvement. We have noticed that many beach-goers are placing their trash in the receptacles. However, far too many just enjoy the beach but drop their trash. What a shame!
ATM trash cleaner
Why is it difficult for people to avoid leaving trash around? Why is it difficult for people to pick up trash when they see it, even if they did not put it there? I also call myself a bank trash-picker-upper. Most times when I go to an ATM machine there is trash on the floor in front of the machine. I really cannot understand how people can stand on a floor filled with simple slips of paper and not pick them up and place them in the receptacle provided. In fact, if each one picked up his/her own slip of paper, we would have no trash on the floor. So with my intolerable attitude toward trash at the entrance of banks, I first turn to the trash and pick it up while others pass by and do nothing. They just stand and watch me. I do this because it is my view that if I am at the bank with trash on the floor it is a refection of me. I feel uncomfortable standing on a bank line when papers are under my feet or at the entrance to the bank or a store as I just walked through.
Cultivated nastiness
The messages I am getting from people who refuse to pick up trash in their surroundings are: I am too good to bend down to pick up trash; it is not my job; it is the job of the cleaners or lower class people; I did not put that there, so why should I pick it up?
It is my view that people dressed in sophisticated clothing and who live in middle to upper class communities but who refuse to pick up trash at entrances of banks or on floors as they walk around, are just as bad as the people they look down upon in poor communities who leave mounds of trash in front of their properties. The only difference is the size of the mound. They are both nasty. In other words we have cultivated nastiness and uncultivated nastiness. They are both nasty.
Several years ago, my family traveled to Toronto, Canada, for vacation. We were amazed to see the attitude of people walking the streets when they saw a piece of paper on the ground. We noticed that if someone saw a person in front accidently drop a chewing gum paper, paper bag, or anything, the one behind, stopped, picked it up and deposited it into the nearest trash bin. You saw no trash on the ground in the city. It was clean. Everyone takes responsibility for keeping the city clean. Why can't we have the same kind of mindset and behavior in our country?
Let's begin today
Dear readers, join my wife and I as loyal citizens of this country who are neither afraid nor embarrassed to pick up trash and do not drop trash anywhere. We encourage you to stop littering yourself. The reason there is so much trash around is because many other people thought the same way. Just be on the lookout for trash bins, and be willing to hold on to your trash for a little while. When on the road, make sure items in the back of your truck are secured and nothing can blow out. Keep your truck bed clean and free of loose litter. If you own a business, keep your parking lot and the area around your dumpsters clean. Have trash containers available for customers. Keep them emptied so trash will not blow out of the containers.
Spread the word to friends and relatives about why littering is so bad. Don't hand out fliers because those could become litter themselves. Create awareness by writing letters to the editors of newspapers. Talk trash and emphasize how litter mars the beauty of the cities and countryside. Encourage citizens to work together to clean up the environment.
Start cleaning up. This can be done solo, with friends or in an organized group. Once you get started, you will not want to quit. Getting started is the hardest part. Don't be embarrassed to do it alone. Believe me, it will make you feel really good about yourself. Pick up litter while getting your walking exercise. A lot of people think picking up litter is disgusting and degrading. Litter is what is disgusting and degrading. If everyone would do a little to keep the environment clean, it would make a world of difference. Bring a plastic bag with you on trips, outings and walks.
You can pick up litter on the way to work or school if you don't drive. You may feel embarrassed if this is uncommon in your area, but you will eventually inspire others. You could occasionally take different routes for variety and to see if your actions have taken root with others. Start a community project for picking up trash.
Before you take a swim at the beach this holiday weekend, pick up the trash you meet, and do not leave any trash on the beach. Do not just stuff your trash into an already overfilled bin and leave thinking you have done your part. Take it with you and dump it at home or in another bin. When we become proud in picking up trash, we will soon become proud that we do not have trash to pick up anymore.

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News Article

August 03, 2012
Welcome to chaos

Arriving to Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) at midday is a journey into chaos. What should be at worst organized chaos is just plain chaos. With too few customs officers, Bahamians and our money-laden tourists descend into mayhem when they expect to be welcomed by the easygoing flow of island life.
It is a frustrating ordeal for all involved. Customs agents meet ill-equipped residents with no receipts, Bahamians rush to reach the customs agent to avoid the lines and tourists stand dazed and confused. Of course, this is after waiting 45 minutes to find your bag on what appears to be the only working conveyor belt with at least three plane loads of people also waiting to find their bags.
Our tourists, predominately from the United States, often have never experienced a customs declaration where an individual may or may not search your bag. It is a nerve-racking experience for first-time travelers at LPIA to wonder what Bahamian officials are looking for in their bags.
While we can breathe a sigh of relief that the new arrivals terminal at LPIA may at least be cleaner and gives the appearance of the 21st century, will customs be improved for both residents and tourists?
Improvement not only comes with infrastructure changes, but also requires an improvement of service. Will customs become part of the e-commerce community? What if Bahamians could prepay customs prior to arrival and show an itemized invoiced receipt with duty payment?
The Bahamas must welcome our tourists and our residents. A first impression is a lasting impression, and the first impression arriving at LPIA is not a good one yet despite the upgrades.

Gun control
It is with absolute horror that we watched the assault on innocent moviegoers unfold at the theater complex in Aurora, Colorado recently. But what is most frightful is the thought that this could happen anywhere.
The Bahamas has strict gun control measures, but clearly our borders are porous and our enforcement is weak. The Nassau Guardian reported July 17, that the Royal Bahamas Police Force removed 319 firearms thus far in 2012, a 24 percent increase over 2011. Ammunition recovery is also higher than 2011 with 5,083 rounds seized.
While we can applaud the recovery and confiscation efforts, the volume of weapons confiscated indicates a worrying trend. There are just simply more weapons out there. Police are not just collecting handguns or shotguns, there are high-powered assault weapons on our streets like the one used at the movie theater.
The night club shooting at East Bay Street and Mackey Street on May 29 that left eight shot with two dead warns of increasingly violent incidents in public places, especially in New Providence. Even more so, these incidents occur in areas deemed safe for tourists, lest we forget the daytime robbery at John Bull.
Even before the Colorado incident, Bahamians went out with increasing trepidation of becoming victims as an innocent bystanders caught between a gang quarrel or domestic dispute. The innocent are arming themselves against the violence. However, it is hard for the guns law-abiding citizens have to match up to high-powered weapons.
The innocent are tired of empty rhetoric on gun control. We must find the remedy in order to significantly reduce the flow of weapons into our country, enforce stiff penalties for those carrying illegal weapons, and teach our children and adults that guns do not solve disputes.

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News Article

July 24, 2012
Welcome to chaos

Arriving to Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) at midday is a journey into chaos. What should be at worst organized chaos is just plain chaos. With too few customs officers, Bahamians and our money-laden tourists descend into mayhem when they expect to be welcomed by the easygoing flow of island life.
It is a frustrating ordeal for all involved. Customs agents meet ill-equipped residents with no receipts, Bahamians rush to reach the customs agent to avoid the lines and tourists stand dazed and confused. Of course, this is after waiting 45 minutes to find your bag on what appears to be the only working conveyor belt with at least three plane loads of people also waiting to find their bags.
Our tourists, predominately from the United States, often have never experienced a customs declaration where an individual may or may not search your bag. It is a nerve-racking experience for first-time travelers at LPIA to wonder what Bahamian officials are looking for in their bags.
While we can breathe a sigh of relief that the new arrivals terminal at LPIA may at least be cleaner and gives the appearance of the 21st century, will customs be improved for both residents and tourists?
Improvement not only comes with infrastructure changes, but also requires an improvement of service. Will customs become part of the e-commerce community? What if Bahamians could prepay customs prior to arrival and show an itemized invoiced receipt with duty payment?
The Bahamas must welcome our tourists and our residents. A first impression is a lasting impression, and the first impression arriving at LPIA is not a good one yet despite the upgrades.

Gun control
It is with absolute horror that we watched the assault on innocent moviegoers unfold at the theater complex in Aurora, Colorado on Friday morning. But what is most frightful is the thought that this could happen anywhere.
The Bahamas has strict gun control measures, but clearly our borders are porous and our enforcement is weak. The Nassau Guardian reported July 17, that the Royal Bahamas Police Force has removed 319 firearms thus far in 2012, a 24 percent increase over 2011. Ammunition recovery is also higher than 2011 with 5,083 rounds seized.
While we can applaud the recovery and confiscation efforts, the volume of weapons confiscated indicates a worrying trend. There are just simply more weapons out there. Police are not just collecting handguns or shotguns, there are high-powered assault weapons on our streets like the one used at the movie theater.
The night club shooting at East Bay Street and Mackey Street on May 29 that left eight shot with two dead warns of increasingly violent incidents in public places, especially in New Providence. Even more so, these incidents occur in areas deemed safe for tourists, lest we forget the daytime robbery at John Bull.
Even before the Colorado incident, Bahamians went out with increasing trepidation of becoming victims as an innocent bystanders caught between a gang quarrel or domestic dispute. The innocent are arming themselves against the violence. However, it is hard for the guns law-abiding citizens have to match up to high-powered weapons.
The innocent are tired of empty rhetoric on gun control. We must find the remedy in order to significantly reduce the flow of weapons into our country, enforce stiff penalties for those carrying illegal weapons, and teach our children and adults that guns do not solve disputes.

read more »


News Article

August 31, 2011
Johnson: GDS is on the horizon

Tourism officials are in the midst of active negotiations on a new flight sharing system set to revolutionize the way travelers book flights to The Bahamas.
Director General of Tourism, David Johnson, said "solid progress" has been made on tying Bahamian airlines into the Global Distribution System (GDS).
"I suspect that we will be in a position to reach an agreement within a fortnight or so," he told Guardian Business.  "This is something that's critical.
"We are having very active dialogue to facilitate carriers in The Bahamas to begin the transition from what they have to the Global Distribution System."
Guardian Business understands that while industry sources are excited about the move, they remain wary on how the deal will be structured.  The cautious attitude is based around concerns the arrangement will link many of the airlines to the world through Bahamasair, with bookings made only after the incumbent has been sold out.
Ministry of Tourism officials had expected to have all airlines in the country signed up for the GDS by the second quarter of 2011.
The change is expected to give local airlines better access to international travelers and subsequently replace a limited internal system that hinders their visibility.
For passengers, it means being able to buy a ticket with one airline and possibly being able to travel on to a destination with another airline if complications arise -- without any extra fees incurred.
The airlines -- consisting of the national carrier and several of the major domestic carriers -- have been in negotiations for the past several months trying to negotiate the details on the interline agreement.
The latter agreement is something that is commonly practiced in most of North America and Europe, given the convenience it lends in conducting business. If created in the form used around the world, the interline agreement would also provide for connecting flights throughout The Bahamas, without passengers having to recheck in bags at the other airline and guarantee passengers a flight if there were delays along the first leg of the trip.
While all the local details of the agreement have not been finalized, having a GDS could mean some of the other airlines would be able to book flights going into international destinations where they currently don't travel.
It's unclear at this point if Hurricane Irene will affect these strides towards a SGDS.
Tourism and Aviation Minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace has announced, however, that the country's tourism industry was open for business from this week.

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News Article

September 17, 2014
Gymnast Simone Hall to represent The Bahamas at the Pan Am Games

For the first time ever, The Bahamas will be represented in gymnastics at the Pan Am Games.
Simone Hall, Toneka Johnson and Kiana Dean all competed in the Pan Am Gymnastics Championships this summer in Mississauga, Ontario; based on their collective performances, Hall will be returning to Canada as the sole Bahamian gymnast of Pan Am Games 2015. It's a feat of giant proportions, and Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas President Barbara Thompson couldn't be happier.
"We are making our mark, and these young ladies are setting the example for many other aspiring gymnasts to follow," said Thompson. "I'd like to thank to the Bahamas Olympic Committee for assisting us and enabling gymnastics to advance to this level. It's been a long road, but we finally developed a program which enabled us to have representation at the Pan Am Games next year. It's a wonderful accomplishment and I'm looking forward to it."
The historic feat comes on the heels of The Bahamas taking part in the Pan Am Championships in gymnastics for the first time ever. And now, one of those three athletes will be packing her bags for the Pan Am Games, which are set for July 10-26, 2015, in Toronto, Ontario. It is the highest level for regional competition in the Americas.
"This is a great achievement for sports and The Bahamas on the whole," said Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Wellington Miller. "We would like to thank the president of the Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas Barbara Thompson and her executive team, the coaches, parents and, of course, the record-breaking, history-making athlete herself, Simone Hall. On behalf of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, and all of our member groups, I would like to wish that you have a productive trip to Canada in 2015."
The Bahamas received an invite from the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) to compete in the upcoming Toronto Pan Am Games 2015. At the Pan Ams next year, Hall is expected to go up against 56 other gymnasts from 19 nations, and the Bahamas Olympic Committee is making provisions to have her take part in a training camp prior to competing.
"I'm very proud of these young ladies," said National Coach Trevor Ramsey. "This moment didn't happen overnight - it was a very long process. There has been many struggles, but these girls here today have accomplished a milestone. I hope to see more athletes follow them, and just for the sport to grow more here in The Bahamas."
Ramsey said that attending the Pan Am Championships in Mississauga was an eye-opening experience for them.
"We realized that we have a lot of work ahead of us, in order to prepare for the Pan Am Games. We definitely need to seek training outside of The Bahamas, in better facilities. Once we could do that, and these girls could get the support from the whole Bahamas, we could achieve great things," he said.
Hall said she learned a lot from the experience at the Pan Am Championships and is now looking forward to competing in the Pan Am Games.
"The experience at the Pan Am Championships was overwhelming. There were a lot of athletes who had more skills than us, but we just went in there and competed to the best of our ability," she said. "We have a lot more to do, and the road is long, but I'm sure that we are going to make it."
Johnson, who said that she was nervous during the Pan Am Championships, is optimistic as well.
"That was my first time in a competition like that. The level of competition was top notch, and I was nervous the whole time, but overall, it was a good experience," she said. "I just want to get better, and try to make it to the Olympics. The talent is there."
The other young lady of the three-member team in Mississauga, Dean, studies and trains in the United States.
BOC Secretary General Romell "Fish" Knowles said that about 60 percent of the total grant from Olympic Solidarity is geared toward "small sports", such as gymnastics. He said that the BOC is committed to working with young people, assisting in their development.
The BOC also revealed yesterday, that nine young Bahamian athletes have been awarded grants, through Olympic Solidarity, leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The grants carry a value of $780 per month for each athlete for a duration of 22 months, climaxing one month before the start of the Olympics. The nine successful athletes are: Simone Pratt in tennis, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Joanna Evans in swimming, Cynthia Rahming in judo, and Shane Jones, Raymond Higgs, Ryan Ingraham, Lathone Collie-Minns and Shaunae Miller in athletics.
Rahming, a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) student, who is the sole judo athlete on the list, said that she is grateful for the assistance and will continue to train hard leading up to the Olympics.
"I'm very thankful for the scholarship. It will help a lot. I'm working on strength training and could feel myself getting stronger. I intend to increase the intensity of my training. My experience at the Commonwealth Games really motivated me because I do not want to lose again. I'm just looking forward to good performances from here on," she said.
The financial grants are awarded two years prior to the Olympics for each quadrennial period, and are primarily intended for aspects such as training, coaching, nutrition and travel. Also, the respective athletes have to report to the BOC on their progress every four months. Otherwise, the grant could be cancelled. A grant could be cancelled due to injury as well.
"These grants are awarded with a view of them participating at the next Olympic Games," said BOC Secretary General Knowles. "This is an elite program encompassing athletes who have the highest possibility of making it to the Olympics. Internationally, you would have had to compete at a very high level and you would have had to be approved by the respective international federation.
"These grants help the athletes with their development leading up to the Olympics. Also, at the end of the program, the Bahamas Olympic Committee will give each of the athletes $5,000 and a travel grant. They travel to quite a number of events to train outside of what we do here, so we want to make sure that they are properly compensated."
For the last Olympic period, a total of six Bahamians were subvented, and now that number has increased by three. Knowles said that they will be handing out continental grants as well, specifically designed for development for high level regional competition.
"The continental grants will be given to the smaller federations with respect to the Pan Am Games, the CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) and the Commonwealth Games, but ultimately, our task is to prepare Olympians," said Knowles. "We're asking the various federations to use these resources for its intended purposes, and to keep athletes in the pipeline. We want to know what you have in the pipeline. We cannot continue to grow the sport if we don't have athletes in the pipeline. What we want is a smooth transition and no gaps from one generation of athletes to the next. There must be consistency in the program. That's the only way we are going to succeed - build capacity in all Olympic sports and develop the entire Olympic program."
Overall, Knowles said that the BOC will allocate about $150,000 for the subvention of athletes leading up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He said that through Olympic Solidarity and the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), they have assisted in the training and development of about 15 sports on the Olympic program.
Among other smaller Bahamian sports federations and associations which were singled out for this type of advancement by the BOC were archery, handball, rowing, cycling, judo, volleyball, boxing, equestrian and bowling.

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News Article

September 17, 2014
Gymnast Simone Hall to represent The Bahamas at the Pan Am GamesGymnast Simone Hall to represent The Bahamas at the Pan Am Games

For the first time ever, The Bahamas will be represented in gymnastics at the Pan Am Games.
Simone Hall, Toneka Johnson and Kiana Dean all competed in the Pan Am Gymnastics Championships this summer in Mississauga, Ontario; based on their collective performances, Hall will be returning to Canada as the sole Bahamian gymnast of Pan Am Games 2015. It's a feat of giant proportions, and Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas President Barbara Thompson couldn't be happier.
"We are making our mark, and these young ladies are setting the example for many other aspiring gymnasts to follow," said Thompson. "I'd like to thank to the Bahamas Olympic Committee for assisting us and enabling gymnastics to advance to this level. It's been a long road, but we finally developed a program which enabled us to have representation at the Pan Am Games next year. It's a wonderful accomplishment and I'm looking forward to it."
The historic feat comes on the heels of The Bahamas taking part in the Pan Am Championships in gymnastics for the first time ever. And now, one of those three athletes will be packing her bags for the Pan Am Games, which are set for July 10-26, 2015, in Toronto, Ontario. It is the highest level for regional competition in the Americas.
"This is a great achievement for sports and The Bahamas on the whole," said Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Wellington Miller. "We would like to thank the president of the Gymnastics Federation of The Bahamas Barbara Thompson and her executive team, the coaches, parents and, of course, the record-breaking, history-making athlete herself, Simone Hall. On behalf of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, and all of our member groups, I would like to wish that you have a productive trip to Canada in 2015."
The Bahamas received an invite from the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) to compete in the upcoming Toronto Pan Am Games 2015. At the Pan Ams next year, Hall is expected to go up against 56 other gymnasts from 19 nations, and the Bahamas Olympic Committee is making provisions to have her take part in a training camp prior to competing.
"I'm very proud of these young ladies," said National Coach Trevor Ramsey. "This moment didn't happen overnight - it was a very long process. There has been many struggles, but these girls here today have accomplished a milestone. I hope to see more athletes follow them, and just for the sport to grow more here in The Bahamas."
Ramsey said that attending the Pan Am Championships in Mississauga was an eye-opening experience for them.
"We realized that we have a lot of work ahead of us, in order to prepare for the Pan Am Games. We definitely need to seek training outside of The Bahamas, in better facilities. Once we could do that, and these girls could get the support from the whole Bahamas, we could achieve great things," he said.
Hall said she learned a lot from the experience at the Pan Am Championships and is now looking forward to competing in the Pan Am Games.
"The experience at the Pan Am Championships was overwhelming. There were a lot of athletes who had more skills than us, but we just went in there and competed to the best of our ability," she said. "We have a lot more to do, and the road is long, but I'm sure that we are going to make it."
Johnson, who said that she was nervous during the Pan Am Championships, is optimistic as well.
"That was my first time in a competition like that. The level of competition was top notch, and I was nervous the whole time, but overall, it was a good experience," she said. "I just want to get better, and try to make it to the Olympics. The talent is there."
The other young lady of the three-member team in Mississauga, Dean, studies and trains in the United States.
BOC Secretary General Romell "Fish" Knowles said that about 60 percent of the total grant from Olympic Solidarity is geared toward "small sports", such as gymnastics. He said that the BOC is committed to working with young people, assisting in their development.
The BOC also revealed yesterday, that nine young Bahamian athletes have been awarded grants, through Olympic Solidarity, leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The grants carry a value of $780 per month for each athlete for a duration of 22 months, climaxing one month before the start of the Olympics. The nine successful athletes are: Simone Pratt in tennis, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Joanna Evans in swimming, Cynthia Rahming in judo, and Shane Jones, Raymond Higgs, Ryan Ingraham, Lathone Collie-Minns and Shaunae Miller in athletics.
Rahming, a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) student, who is the sole judo athlete on the list, said that she is grateful for the assistance and will continue to train hard leading up to the Olympics.
"I'm very thankful for the scholarship. It will help a lot. I'm working on strength training and could feel myself getting stronger. I intend to increase the intensity of my training. My experience at the Commonwealth Games really motivated me because I do not want to lose again. I'm just looking forward to good performances from here on," she said.
The financial grants are awarded two years prior to the Olympics for each quadrennial period, and are primarily intended for aspects such as training, coaching, nutrition and travel. Also, the respective athletes have to report to the BOC on their progress every four months. Otherwise, the grant could be cancelled. A grant could be cancelled due to injury as well.
"These grants are awarded with a view of them participating at the next Olympic Games," said BOC Secretary General Knowles. "This is an elite program encompassing athletes who have the highest possibility of making it to the Olympics. Internationally, you would have had to compete at a very high level and you would have had to be approved by the respective international federation.
"These grants help the athletes with their development leading up to the Olympics. Also, at the end of the program, the Bahamas Olympic Committee will give each of the athletes $5,000 and a travel grant. They travel to quite a number of events to train outside of what we do here, so we want to make sure that they are properly compensated."
For the last Olympic period, a total of six Bahamians were subvented, and now that number has increased by three. Knowles said that they will be handing out continental grants as well, specifically designed for development for high level regional competition.
"The continental grants will be given to the smaller federations with respect to the Pan Am Games, the CAC (Central American and Caribbean Games) and the Commonwealth Games, but ultimately, our task is to prepare Olympians," said Knowles. "We're asking the various federations to use these resources for its intended purposes, and to keep athletes in the pipeline. We want to know what you have in the pipeline. We cannot continue to grow the sport if we don't have athletes in the pipeline. What we want is a smooth transition and no gaps from one generation of athletes to the next. There must be consistency in the program. That's the only way we are going to succeed - build capacity in all Olympic sports and develop the entire Olympic program."
Overall, Knowles said that the BOC will allocate about $150,000 for the subvention of athletes leading up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He said that through Olympic Solidarity and the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), they have assisted in the training and development of about 15 sports on the Olympic program.
Among other smaller Bahamian sports federations and associations which were singled out for this type of advancement by the BOC were archery, handball, rowing, cycling, judo, volleyball, boxing, equestrian and bowling.

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News Article

August 01, 2014
2 mil. drug bust on high seas

Three Bahamian men were arrested early yesterday off the coast of New Providence in connection with a $2 million drug bust, Superintendent Samuel Butler reported.
The suspects, ages 42, 39 and 38, were traveling on a 30-foot vessel around 2 a.m. when police intercepted their vessel, said Butler, who heads the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU).
Following a search of the vessel, officers found more than 40 bags stuffed with marijuana, Butler said.
Officers of the DEU, the Police Marine Support Unit and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency carried out the operation.
Butler said the seizure was the result of "strategic patrols".
Police believe the vessel was destined for New Providence. It was unclear where the drugs came from.
Butler said the suspects are expected to be charged within the next week.
Yesterday's seizure was one of dozens the DEU made this year.
Approximately $23 million worth of marijuana and cocaine were seized so far, according to Butler.
Butler said up to the end of July, 10,000 pounds of marijuana were confiscated.
The estimated street value of the marijuana is just over $10 million.
According to police, 900 pounds of cocaine were confiscated. The value is estimated to be $13 million.
In April, two Bahamian pilots and a Canadian man were arrested in connection with a million-dollar drug bust at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
That same month, officers seized more than $1.2 million worth of marijuana onboard a speedboat in waters near Andros.
Butler said based on the travel routes, DEU officers are able to strategize how to spread resources.
"We recognize that The Bahamas is not a producing country, so we focus on the points where intelligence has led over the years," he said.
"And based on our analysis and strategic planning we are able to come up with where we put our patrol units, our joint units and our [American] partners."

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News Article

May 08, 2013
Students from C.H. Reeves Junior and a Delaware school plant flowers in a show of peace

Students at C.H. Reeves Junior School have a tangible reminder of peace. Sixteen students and six teachers from East Side Charter School & Learning Center in Wilmington, Delaware, recently visited the school in Montell Heights where they planted hibiscus and Impatien flowers in the school's peace garden.
The goal of their visit was to expose the Delaware students to a different culture.
"We wanted them to give them a unique experience prior to them moving on to high school," said East Side Charter School & Learning Center principal, Dr. Lamont Browne.
Jacinda Fields, an eighth grade student from Eastside said that she was happy to be in The Bahamas and that within seconds of their arrival on the C.H. Reeves School campus she made many friends.
"It seems like yesterday that we found out we were coming to The Bahamas. I was so excited about coming to The Bahamas since I never travelled outside of The United States," said Fields.
She said she was impressed by the friendliness of the students who asked her questions and wanted to learn about her.
Giovanni Thompson, an eighth grade C.H. Reeves student was excited about having the visitors at his school and that he enjoyed working with them in the peace garden.
After the planting, some of the C. H. Reeves students engaged the East Side students in a spontaneous dance session and later the guests were treated to coconut tart and Goombay Punch. The two schools did have their basketball shoot-out which resulted in a one-game victory for each side. During their visit the students also visited the Straw Market.
According to Dr. Browne, the staff and students of the school decided last year to visit another school in a different country to interact with other students. And that school vice-principal Letisha Laws suggested The Bahamas.
School officials contacted the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in September 2012 to seek permission to establish a relationship with a local school. Eulease Beneby, superintendent for the southeastern district referred them to C.H. Reeves Junior School. The two schools arranged the visit.
After nine months of planning, the visitors arrived in Nassau onboard a Disney Cruise ship. They were greeted by the school's principal Greta Brown, Beneby and other faculty members of the school and transported by bus to the school where they were greeted by the student body.
Immediately after the introductions, some of the students from C.H. Reeves challenged their counterparts from East Side to a basketball shoot-out, but the school's principal refocused their energies on the planting project. Holes were dug, old roots pulled, plants placed in the ground, covered with soil and mulch and watered.
The group paused for a moment for the presentation of tokens by the principal, district superintendent and some students. Each of the bags contained a C. H. Reeves' Raptors t-shirt, a poster and other trinkets.
The two groups discussed C.H. Reeves students traveling to Wilmington next year.

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