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News Article
It's good to be king

There was King Eric. And then there's King Errisson, who has been praised as "the unsung hero behind Motown" by Ray Singleton in her book "Berry, Me, and Motown" as well as by Berry Gordy in his book "To Be Loved".
King Errisson Pallaman Johnson, 70, who was born, October 29, 1941, and raised on New Providence in the Coconut Grove community to Pallaman Johnson (Acklins) and Josephine Johnson (Exuma), is known the world over as a master of funky disco with lots of congas.
As a session musician he has worked with a diverse group of artists representing a variety of musical styles-- Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. He has also worked with Herb Alpert, John Klemmer, Doc Severinsen, Ringo Starr, Blood Sweat & Tears, Jim Stafford, Swamp Dogg, Barbara Streisand, David Cassidy, Bobby Darin, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mathis, OC Smith, Lou Rawles, Hodges James and Smith, Mickey Stevenson, Barry White and The Carpenters. King Errisson was a featured member of the Incredible Bongo Band and was a member of Neil Diamond's touring band since 1976. His musical resume is indeed impressive.
And then there's his acting resume. He has appeared in the movies "Uptown Saturday Night" with Bill Cosby and fellow Bahamian Sidney Poitier, and on television in Abe Vigoda's "Fish" series and "The Watcher", the 1980 remake of "The Jazz Singer" with Neil Diamond, and of course "Thunderball" with Sean Connery.
In fact, it was "Thunderball" shot in The Bahamas that got the ball rolling for him. At the age of 23, his talent with the congas was displayed in a memorable nightclub scene in the James Bond movie. In the scene he entertains audiences in a nightclub, when he notices a gun coming through the curtains at which point he frantically ups his drumming to attract Bond's attention that there was trouble coming. Bond turns around to see what King Errisson is doing and sees the gun. He puts the woman who was setting him up to be killed in the way and the woman gets shot instead.
"That scene catapulted me. And the rest is history," said King Errisson on a recent visit to the country of his birth.
He left Nassau to study drama in Canada, formed a jazz band in New York City and spent a year performing in a Bermuda club in those early years where he met Redd Foxx who invited him to appear at his place in Los Angeles. Sammy Davis Jr. asked King Errisson to appear on the Hollywood Palace and Cannonball Adderly became his mentor in the recording studio.
Despite the fact that he has attained his three score and 10, King Errisson is still in the game. He has just released a new album entitled "Secret Life". His previous albums include "The Magic Man/L.A. Bound" "Conga Serenade", Natural Feeling", "Nice" and "Global Music". He even has a jazz album called "The King Arrives". His work can be found on Amazon, iTunes, and CDBaby.
And while the man may have left the island, he still carries a part of the island with him today. On all of his work, there's a touch of calypso, even though he writes for a universal audience.
"My music is universal because I want to sell worldwide and not just be in a box, so I write music with a broad spectrum," he said.
King Errisson has enjoyed success musically, but to ask him he still believes he hasn't made it for the simple reason that he's an artist and he's always thinking that he could have done something differently and better.
"In our business, no matter how big you are, you've never made it. You always feel within your heart or in your mind that you could have sung a song better or that you could played a piece better. I have albums right now that to other people sound fantastic, and when I listen to them I'm thinking why didn't I do this or that. Like the new album right now, everything on it is beautiful -- I love every cut I did, I love every arrangement I did -- and when I listen to it, I smile and say I still have a better one."
As for his acting career, well, he believes because he did not give in to certain influences that he never made it as far as he thought he could have.
"After Thunderball, I got a hankering to be an actor and I was really gung-ho on being the next Sidney Poitier of The Bahamas and it almost happened. It didn't happen because of my biggityness... of my Bahamian style... of my not taking [expletive] from anybody because I am from The Bahamas. In Hollywood you gatta suck it up, and I never suck it up, so they were afraid of me ... they're afraid of anybody who don't suck it up, and I know that was my downfall," he said.
But as he sought a career in film, he had already enjoyed success as a musician, and said as a result he did not have to endure any foolishness just to get a part in a movie.
"God had blessed me enough to be such a great drummer and making so much money just playing my drums," he said. Despite that King Errisson still landed bit parts here and there and did some drumming in some films to round out his resume.
His advice to youngsters seeking a career in the music industry is to always be disciplined and sincere about where they want to go and how they want to go about it.
"You have to be disciplined and you have to be ready. When I left [The Bahamas] I said to myself that I would never leave this island until I'm the best in the world and when I thought I was the best I left, and then I never had to come back. But I was also prepared that if I lived on skid row for a day I was coming back home because I know I could eat out of the neighbor's potcake, rather than stay on skid row and sleep in box carts and stuff like that. I left here with that in mind, knowing that if I had to come back I could always come back because I have a home."
King Errison makes it a point to return home at least twice per year.

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News Article
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.

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News Article
Students focused on the road to success

To most parents all summer schools are the same -- but that was not the case for parents whose children attended the Forward and Onward to College and Upward to Success (FOCUS) academic supplementary program Summer SLAM (Summer Student Learning and Achievement Mania). The Lyford Cay Foundation sponsored year-round project-based summer camp engaged the 70 student participants in academics by getting them to participate in daily activities that ranged from watching movies, viewing powerpoints on scientists and inventors, writing creatively and factually and exploring the power of group work and team effort.
For many students the unconventional summer camp encouraged them to not only see summer as a time to do more than laze around, but get a jumpstart on their schoolwork as well as ignite a new love for academics.
Because of his participation in the FOCUS Summer SLAM program, 10-year-old Teran Cash's lukewarm feelings about school has changed. The Mabel Walker Primary School student said he is now more excited to learn new things, and about school. The atypical academic summer experience has given Cash the drive to learn new things, and challenge himself to do better in his studies.
"I never had so much fun learning new things before I came to FOCUS," said the first year student. "The program is really nice and it teaches me things I would have never learned in school normally. I think being in the program will give me an advantage over other students who aren't in it. This is a really different kind of summer school and it makes learning fun. I'm really excited for school to start now because I will be ready," he said.

Program has layers
There is another layer to this student friendly program. It is also designed to assist students in the long run so they can further their academic success. After all, every student imagines going to college, fulfilling their dreams and living the life they set their minds to. But with the growing cost of attaining a higher level education such dreams seem almost unattainable and many students simply give up.
Despite the challenges, 10-year-old Margo Scarlett, a student at Oakes Field Primary knows that collegiate success can be attainable as long as she works hard for it. Through
"I like the program because I am learning a lot and my teachers said that I will get a scholarship one day if I do well," said Scarlett of the unique opportunity that sets a foundation for a bright academic future for the students who participate in the nine-year program. "That will be great for my parents so they don't have to worry about it. I like that the camp encourages us to do things together and I'm learning responsibility and things like that. It's also great that I know I will be able to do something great one day without any questions."
FOCUS is a free academic development and enrichment program aimed at transforming the lives of its participants. For teachers, it is an opportunity to be a part of an exciting process. The program provides academic support in a wide range of educational activities, counseling and mentoring to talented, but under-resourced public school students in the fifth to twelfth grades who are
performing at an average or above-average level.
Although it is structured similarly to many summer programs, facilitators stress that FOCUS is not remedial support or a day camp. They say there are many summer programs in New Providence that provide fun activities for children, but few that are solely academics based. But the most impressive aspect of the program is that beyond the fast-paced summer program it also provides ongoing monitoring and assistance throughout the school year.

Preparing them for college
Reaching out to underprivileged children and preparing them mentally and academically to get into good colleges with the promise of scholarships determined on the extent of their hard work is the key to this Lyford Cay sponsored program. For many of the children in the program the chances of getting into college are slim and for others, just getting past the typical primary school class is a challenge, so the program aims to not only teach students everyday things they need for class, but to also push them to see themselves as bigger than their environment and to excel beyond their dreams.
"We try to accomplish this annually by reaching students where they are academically and push them to learn even more through a fun project based curriculum and teach them how to be responsible in the process of each other's learning," said program director, Felicity Humblestone.
"This is more than a summer camp or after school program. We want to reach out to students holistically which is why our lessons are not typically just straightforward Math and English. We incorporate our planned summer project -- inventing makeshift instruments that can be used in a symphony into the subject lessons so they can see how things connect and start thinking more creatively."

Creative lessons
Camp teachers and mentors give students creative history lessons to introduce them to the concept of inventions, learn about inventors and other applicable ideas they would need to make the project come to life. They also did music lessons to get them used to instruments and what models they could base the results of their project on. To get students focused in English they participated in numerous activities from writing plays or stories about inventors, inventions or musical ideas they come up with. Math was also creatively incorporated by having students do problems based on what they learned. They are focused on their project but get all their core subjects packed into one day.
Humblestone said if the program goes the way it should, students should not feel average in a classroom setting. She said they should be able to have a fun and easy-going experience that they can utilize in their future scholastic encounters. As they get older and enter high school, the program adjusts to students' needs and is more college focused to prepare them for tertiary level work.
The academic enrichment program targets students in the northwestern district of public schools and hosts an intense summer program for six weeks from the beginning of July to mid-August. To keep students a step ahead after the school bell tolls there are 15 Saturdays of academic support planned per school semester. Forty students were accepted into the program this year to join the 30 students that were already enrolled.
"We really want to get students to think bigger and do better in their every day work. We want them to be more creative thinkers and have the right mindset to continue to excel," said Humblestone. "It is important for us to start working with students as young as those in grade four because at this point in the pipeline we can work to influence them to be on the right track academically and assist them in problem areas early enough so their ability to do well later down the line is not affected."
Kenny Hall, a first-year student in the program, said the experience he had ignited his imagination about his future. The Woodcock Primary student said he now feels that growing up to be a law enforcement officer is a possibility for him and hopes the program will help him to work hard to attain his goal.
"I don't want to be just any police officer or Defence Force officer. I want to be a smart one so I can raise [through the ranks]," said the nine-year-old. "I know that I have to study really hard and work even harder. So it's good that I will have people who can help me to do well in my schoolwork and teach me new things. I want to be more creative so I'm really happy to be in the program."
Students eligible to apply to be a part of the FOCUS program have to be in the fourth grade in one of the northwestern district of schools which include Oakes Field Primary, T.G. Glover Primary, Woodcock Primary, Mabel Walker Primary, Stephen Dillet Primary, Albury Sayle Primary and Naomi Blatch Primary. They must get recommendations from their teachers as well as have their parents attend an information seminar on the program and give their approval. An application form can be filled out by parent and student. It should also be accompanied by an essay on why they want to be in the program.

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News Article
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.

read more »


News Article
Cable Bahamas: Living Up To Promises
Cable Bahamas: Living Up To Promises

"When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships." - Andy Warhol

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Event
Get Charlie Movie Encore and DVD Release
Get Charlie Movie Encore and DVD Release

Wednesday 14th August 2013  8:00 PM

Get Charlie Movie Encore and DVD Release August 14th and 15th in Freeport at Galleria Cinemas Freeport at 8PM. The wait is over! Back by popular demand "Get Charlie" the feature length film written and produced by Collage Entertainment is back in theaters for an encore viewing along with it's DVD release. Grab a friend and come out to watch get Get Charlie - it's suitable and enjoyable for ALL ages and on your way out don't forget to pick up a DVD to keep the laughs rolling at home. See you there!

Get Charlie Encore Movie DVD Release


News Article
Sit-in at Carlton Francis Primary

Teachers at Carlton Francis Primary School staged a sit-in yesterday over issues that included a "severe shortage of teachers" and a lack of adequate furniture for students.
Several teachers, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian on condition of anonymity, said some students are forced to stand or sit on the floor in classrooms because of a lack of chairs.
They also claimed that teachers in grades one and two have to move between classrooms because there are not enough instructors.
As the teachers stood behind the school gates, a group of about 20 parents stood on the other side demanding that the Ministry of Education address the concerns.
Other issues include a poor drainage system, mold in the classrooms, a leaking roof and the lack of a pedestrian crossing, the teachers and parents claimed.
Morgan Brooks, whose child is in the first grade at the school, said the lack of furniture at the start of the school year is inexcusable.
"Tell the minister (of education) to bring his chair from his office for my child to sit in," she said. "Bring his desk from his office for my child to sit at.
"Instead of focusing on cutting my teachers' [salaries], let's cut his salary for our roof because it is leaking... Bring us some furniture. Some of the children don't even have a desk to sit at. We need action and we need it now."
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said the ministry recently received cabinet approval for the purchase of about $800,000 worth of furniture.
"From time to time we do have these issues that unfortunately schools have to deal with," he said.
"It's not to the point where we feel like it will impact the level of education...But we should have those matters addressed throughout the country."
As it relates to any other issues the teachers may have, Fitzgerald said he has asked Director of Education Lionel Sands to go to the school and meet with them.
"I want to get a full report before I make any determination," he said.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA) President Sharmaine Adderley said the problems at the school have been simmering for years.
"We've gotten promises year after year," Adderley said. "That's why we haven't said anything.
"This is the first three weeks of school and we find teacher shortages through the roof, teachers having to be taken to hospital for high blood pressure; we have to do something about it.
"Our teachers are standing here because they want to teach. This is not a lazy staff. These are workers. These are good teachers. So we are asking for them to step forward and get these things done. Bring in the people."
One angry father stormed on campus and brought out broken pastic chairs he claimed that second graders are forced to sit in. He placed the chairs in the middle of the road.
Shantell Mackey, who has two children who attend the school, noted the possibility of injuries that those chairs pose to the children.
"You see those prongs sticking out," she said, pointing at the broken chairs. "Can you imagine what type of injury a child can get?
"I really want the ministry to come and deal with issues that are happening with this school."
Shelly Anderson, who has a son in grade two, said it seems as if her child is only being entertained at school.
Anderson said she has yet to see evidence that he is learning anything.
"Every day I pick him up from school and I ask him, 'what did you do in school' or I look in his book and there is nothing. He says 'mommy they take me into the library and we watch movies'."
The school has just over 1,000 students and 46 teachers.
The sit-in follows similar action at Stephen Dillet and Uriah McPhee primary schools this week over conditions at those institutions.

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News Article
Stop replaying your failures!

Firstly, let's establish that everyone fails in life at some point.....this is A FACT! It is also a Fact of Life that so many people learn some of their greatest lessons in life from their failures as they learn, sometime in a most painful way, what actually doesn't work. So, as I put it in the very first book that I wrote back in the seventies 'Success Is Simple', "Failure is an integral part of the growing, the learning process of life". Now having said that, let's get on to the very important lesson, relative to failure, which we all need to learn here today, including 'Yours Truly'. When we fail, we need to learn the lesson which the failure was designed to teach us, and then move on in a very positive, upbeat frame of mind to achieve a new goal. However, what a whole lot of people do when it comes to failure, is to keep on reliving the incident in their mind.
In other words, as the title of this article describes it, they keep 'Replaying' over and over again their failures, as if they were watching a movie on the screen of their mind. This My Friend, is one of the most destructive practices which anyone can engage in, believe me. Now, rest assured that I fully understand how people do this as I have done it myself after a very painful divorce. But one day whilst I was wallowing in self-pity after my wife had left me, a very wise soul who was obviously deeply spiritual said to me "Dr. Reilly, she has released you for your higher good". From that point onward, I started to heal, as I stopped replaying my failure.
My Friend, what failures are you inclined to continually replay in your mind? Now, think for a minute before you blurt out an answer. Are you always thinking about the fact that you failed your exams at school , and thus could not go on to attend a place of higher learning? Are you sad that you failed in business when you were younger, and then gave up the idea completely of building a business of your own, as you constantly replayed that painful failure in your mind? Are you replaying a marriage or personal relationship failure over and over again in your mind, which is slowly but surely playing havoc with your life?
My Friend, you MUST 'Stop Replaying Your Failures' as it's a most destructive form of thinking which will keep you forever in bondage, and indeed, could play havoc with your overall health and self-image. The past is over, so leave it behind you Now.....TODAY! Instead, set some new goals and get excited, and you'll move quickly on to a Bright, Successful future.....Yes You Will!
THINK ABOUT IT!
Email: dpr@corporatemotivation.org.
Listen to 'Time to Think' the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.

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News Article
Yohan Blake - YB Afraid of 'The Beast'

With a focus of promoting Caribbean athletics globally, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is spearheading a 'Day in the Life' Series, featuring some of the best athletes in the region. The first stop on the regional tour is the island nation of Jamaica. Sheldon Longley is with the IAAF team, and will be bringing updates here in the Sports Section of The Nassau Guardian.

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The name of his foundation is YB Afraid. He has a passion for cricket, and on the tour he is known as 'The Beast'. All perfectly describe the man who is the second fastest sprinter ever behind his training partner and triple world record holder Usain Bolt.
Just a couple years ago, Yohan Blake was laying down some times and performances that solidified his place as one of the world's best sprinters. He had surpassed Michael Johnson's former world record in the 200 meters (m), and had matched Tyson Gay as the second fastest ever in the 100m. He was looking forward to an even greater progression in 2013, but a severe hamstring injury kept him out of the Moscow World Championships and he was unable to defend his world title.
Now, Yohan 'The Beast' Blake is on the comeback trail. He still feels that he is not at 100 percent, but is looking forward to a great season, inclusive of the inaugural world relay championships in The Bahamas. He said that he is looking forward to running with his Jamaican teammates in a sister Caribbean nation. The 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
"It's going to be exciting," said Blake in an exclusive interview with the IAAF 'Day in the Life' Series team on Friday.
"I've always been a relay person so I'm looking forward to the world relays. Back in high school, we always talked about just running relays and relays alone. It would be fun. It was an idea of the late Neville 'Teddy' McCook, and we're looking forward to it. We're going to The Bahamas to represent Jamaica well, and we're going to love it."
Blake has personal best times of 9.69 seconds in the century, and 19.26 seconds in the 200m, both ranking second best of all-time. He is one of those Jamaicans who train at home, as a key member of the Racers Track Club.
"I just can't wait for the season to get started. I feel good - just taking my time and working my way back. I'm patient," he said. "I know what I can do. Once I'm healthy it's going to be problems (for his opponents). I just try to keep me focussed and keep working hard to get myself back to where I was before the injury."
Blake said that his focus, drive and love that he has for the sport separates him from everyone else.
"I never give up. While everyone is sleeping I am working," he said. "All of the athletes look up to me. They want to work with me because of the work ethic that I have. They see that I'm coming back from an injury and continue to train hard. That's the standard that I set in training," he added.
This past Sunday, the IAAF 'Day in the Life' Series team visited the Mt. Olivet Home for Boys in Walderston, Manchester, Jamaica - the home of Blake's latest project and the base for his YB Afraid Foundation. Currently, 26 boys, ages 7-18, are at the location. The home, which was established by the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in 1967, provides a place for boys who would have been abused or neglected in the past. The home is licensed to house 30 boys.
"What this does is keep them happy," said Blake on Sunday. "When a lot of them first came here, everyone was fighting, but now they've kind of settled in. We're trying to build chemistry among the boys. With training ongoing, I don't get to come here that much but the YB Afraid team checks in and reports back to me.
"Every day it gets harder and harder. A kid gets kicked out or lose their mom or something like that. The pile is getting bigger every day. It's tough. Every day I get emotional. This place needed help, and it needed help fast. I give my all in everything I do - in this project, in track and field, and in my life."
Since taking on the project, with the help of Adidas, Blake and his team have provided furniture, a computer room, and sporting facilities such as a mini basketball court and a mini soccer pitch for the establishment. He's not stopping there, as he and his team plans to move to his hometown of Montego Bay next, and then possibly take on a project in Africa as well.
Sonia Lowe, director of the home and also of the Pringle Home for Girls in St. Mary's, said that Blake has established an ongoing relationship between himself and the boys, and they love it when he comes and visit.
"They cannot wait to see him. They know everything about him, and they always want to know more," said Lowe, who has been with the home for four years. "What happens is that these boys go before the courts, and if space is allocated, they get assigned to us and we prepare for their arrival. They come from all over Jamaica. We want our boys to succeed in whatever they do. We need trained men in all facets of society, and that's what we want from our young boys here. We don't want them to end up homeless, and I wouldn't want to see any of them washing anyone's car windows. We just want to push them to be the best that they can be."
When Blake is not training and dealing with his foundation, he said that he enjoys playing cricket here in Jamaica, and reading books.
"I just feel at home in my own country. I enjoy being home," he said. "I grew up loving cricket through my father. It's imbedded inside of me and something that I will cherish forever. Of course I'm passionate about track and field as well, but I don't like to talk too much about it because I don't want to put too much tension on my body when I'm competing. I like to take my mind off what I do, so as not to put too much pressure on myself. You would find that Usain and Warren (training partners Usain Bolt and Warren Weir) are basically the same. In my spare time, I just like to read books and play cricket. I like a lil bit of tennis as well and watching horror movies."
Blake, now 25, exploded on the world stage during the 2010 season when he lowered his personal best times to 9.89 seconds in the 100m and 19.78 seconds in the 200m. The following year he won the world title in the 100m, and about three weeks later, he recorded the second fastest time ever, in the 200m. He has also been a part of two world record setting 4x100m relay teams for Jamaica, but is still missing that elusive Olympic individual gold medal - a feat that he says drives him in practice each and every day. At his Olympic debut in London in 2012, he won two individual silver medals behind Bolt.
"Getting an Olympic gold medal would really mean something - it is something that could atone for four years of hard work," said Blake. "It's real important because that is the biggest stage in the world. What I learnt from my first Olympics is not to crush under pressure - take the experience from it. When it's your time, it's your time. I will always wait until it's my time. I always give my best and when it's your time, nothing can stop you."
Blake, a high school athlete at St. Jago in his younger days, watched as two of his sprint records were broken at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, commonly known as 'Champs', over the weekend. His 100m time of 10.34 seconds fell in the final of the Class 2 (14-15) final in that event as Raheem Chambers, also of St. Jago, ran a time of 10.29 seconds, and his Class 1 (16-19) record of 10.21 seconds was blasted by Kingston College's Zharnel Hughes who posted a time of 10.12 seconds.
"I really like what I saw at 'Champs'. I'm really impressed by what is going on," said Blake. "Records were meant to be broken. I just hope that these guys could hold the faith and continue what they are doing after they are finished with high school. I am really impressed with what they are doing. We just need to preserve our athletes after high school."
Young Chambers is a fellow Jamaican, but Hughes is from the tiny island nation of Anguilla. As far as his foundation is concerned, Blake said that one should never be afraid to help, hence the name of his foundation, which is known for providing good support for impoverished kids.
"I have the opportunity to assist, and I'm going to do that," said Blake. "Growing up, it was tough for me. I always told my mother that I wanted to make things better not only because of what I was going through but also to help young kids. I've been to some places in Jamaica, and it's really sad to see what some of the young kids are going through. Sometimes it makes me cry. These kids have a lot of talent, and I'm just trying to create a better world for them.
"Some of them have been abused and neglected. I'm trying to get them back to a life of normalcy. We at the foundation have made a lot of strides in that area. It is successful, and a lot of persons want to come on board because they see the success that we are experiencing. These kids are starting to do well in school. Every day I try to talk to the young kids at UWI. The sky is the limit for them, no matter what. I just want them to know that they could aspire to be the next fastest man in the world or even prime minister."
Blake and his high profile Racers Club teammates share a training ground with the young athletes from the IAAF High Performance Training Centre, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus. Growing up, Blake said that he got a lot of his inspiration and his drive from his parents.
"My mom and dad are the ones who supported me when things were really tough. It was really hard for them to send me to school. I didn't know I was going to turn out to be this type of person, but I just have to thank God for it. Going through what I been through, it's a huge drive for me. Sometimes in training, you feel like you can't go but when you remember where you come from and that you are making poor people happy, you have to keep going," he said. "You know training with guys like Usain and Warren is a lot of fun. We have chemistry, we gel together. We have fun and that helps the camp. It's a situation where you have the best four or five in the world training together, and that makes all of us better."
While he is eagerly anticipating the world relays in The Bahamas, Blake said that he hasn't made a decision on the Commonwealth Games as yet. The 20th Commonwealth Games is set for July 23 to August 3, in Glasgow, Scotland.
"For right now, I'm just looking to get my stride back, and get back to where I was in the world. I'm training and things will come together," he said.
On the tour, Blake has his own style that makes him stand out from anyone else, whether it be the plaits, the uniquely-designed socks or the long nails. He said that he likes the image that he presents, and just doing things differently.

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Letter: Shocked by behaviour of MPs in House of Assembly

EDITOR, The Tribune.

I was shocked and very dismayed at the behaviour displayed by Members in the Honourable House of Assembly and the lack of respect they seem to have for each other!

I tuned in to Channel 40 yesterday because as a Bahamian I was really interested in the debate concerning BTC. I wanted to hear both sides of the debate, but I was so stunned by the rudeness in the House of Assembly that I thought for a moment that I had to be watching a nightmare movie. Members of the House carried on like a bunch of small children, each trying to get their own way - not in trying to get their point across, but in trying to score political points! All this at the expense of the Bahamian publi ...

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