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The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a beautiful country and place to live. It has its share of social ills reflective of many other sovereign nations within the Caribbean and global community. Many of the problems we face in our general society are problems that have sprouted from the decay of the family structure, or that have begun in our homes and eventually manifested in the behavior of our citizens at a local and even global level. Many problems face both our country and world, such as an increase in poverty, rising unemployment, a global increase in crude oil prices, which affects every facet of life today. Further to these are a rise in crime, a constant rise in the cost of living without an increase in salary to compensate and a general sense of hopelessness due to so many ever-increasing stresses.
Whether it is due to socioeconomic factors or any other that can contribute, one of the greatest problems in our society today is an increase in the amount of abuse and violence against women, children and men in the home. Abuse in homes contributes to emotional and mental distress, which affects all of the sexes and all areas of society. The result is a cycle of abuse that is in the form of physical, mental, sexual and emotional abuse that occurs.
The Crisis Centre, formerly known as The Women's Crisis Centre, is a registered, nonprofit organization that provides services to people who are the victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, who saw an urgent need in the community for such a facility, opened ?the center in 1982. During the time the center has been in operation, the number of volunteers has grown steadily and the scope of services rendered to the community has been considerably expanded.
Because of the center's extensive efforts, through radio shows, newspaper articles, workshops, school talks and other presentations to churches and civic organizations, to sensitize the community to the devastating effects of all forms of abuse, persons from all socio-economic levels are seen at the center.
In its endeavor to continue both informing and educating the public about the reality of abuse in our society and its effects, the Bahamas Crisis Centre has launched a program geared towards raising social consciousness. The program's focus is to actively reach out to the community to educate about the different forms of abuse and to continue its mission. The program will be in the form of a weekly column, which will be printed on Tuesdays in The Nassau Guardian touching on different forms of abuse, legislation relating to the same and the manner in which to identify and seek help. In addition to the column there will also be community outreach where volunteers will be going into communities from door to door, handing out information pamphlets and answering questions individual families might have about the work of the Crisis Centre and about getting needed help. The Crisis Centre will also be sending out information relating to both the column and community outreach via social media and web-based media.
The Crisis Centre's continued mission is to work on seeing our country and world healed of abuse and violence and to work towards a peaceful today and tomorrow.
o For more information, check out our website at www.bahamascrisiscentre.org or contact us. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 328-0922. If you, or someone you know, have been the victim of child abuse, you can also call Child Protective Services at 322-2POD, 326-1451, 326-0526 or 326-5560 or the Child Abuse Hotline: 322-2763.
Hot weather can be dangerous for dogs because they lack the ability to cool off as effectively as is often required. Since we live in The Bahamas, known for our often soaring temperatures we are offering a few tips to keep your canine friends safe in the heat.
o Water, water and more water. Dogs can dehydrate very quickly. In the hot weather, dogs need access to plenty of water. Be sure to check their bowls a few times a day to ensure a constant supply of fresh water.
o Shade, shade and more shade. Think about it, if you get hot while in the sun, what do you do? Chances are you seek shade and feel the instant difference. Dogs require the same thing and need access to a shaded and ventilated area if they are kept outside.
o Limit your dog's exercise to cooler portions of the day.
o Remember dogs are much closer to the ground than we are, standing on the hot asphalt street will heat up the dog faster than it does us. Be mindful and choose grassy areas over the pavement to stop during your walk.
o Groom your dog regularly. This not only helps prevent flea and tick problems but it helps thin out the dog's hair which can trap heat. Dogs can get sunburn so avoid shaving off their hair; instead keep their coat shorter in the hotter months.
o Bring your dog inside your home during the hottest hours of the day.
o Please spay and neuter your animals. By ensuring your animal cannot produce more litters, you are saving lives and decreasing the suffering of unwanted animals. Please consider donating or helping with Baark!'s efforts to improve animal welfare in The Bahamas. For more information, contact us at email@example.com, 427-SPAY or visit our website www.baarkbahamas.com.
Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
"You are not yet 50 years old," the Jews said to him, "And you have seen Abraham!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
- John 8:54-59
During my seminary training in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I had to make regular calls to a rest home to which I was assigned. Occasionally I would sit and chat with a group of ladies who were always assembled around the same table.
As I sat with those ladies, I thought I was having a normal conversation. That is, until on one of my visits, one of the ladies informed me that she had gone home to Alabama over the weekend and that the people of her community had asked about me. Then on a similar visit another lady told me that someone at her lodge had said they had not seen me to meeting in a while.
Then I realized that I was the only one having a normal conversation. The old ladies at that special table were senile. They and I were having two different conversations.
In the above text, Jesus is having a conversation with some people; however, they and Jesus are on two different plains. Jesus is talking about spiritual matters while they are concerned with secular or earthly matters.
Because they are so concerned about earthly things, and because they have contempt for Jesus, their minds are closed to what he has to say. Their eyes are blind to the fact that the Messiah is in their midst. They have all of the signs but refused to see.
When he talked about and referred to Abraham, they were surprised that, at his age, he talked as if he knew Abraham personally. "... Before Abraham was born, I am!" This puzzles them. But then they did not have the faith of Abraham. Jesus, the Messiah, is the God of Abraham.
"I Am," is the name for God. When he was sending Moses to deliver the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh in Egypt, Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is the his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am." (Exodus 3:13-15)
Unfortunately, the old ladies to whom I was speaking were senile. They did not have the ability to have a normal conversation. However, the people in conversation with Jesus were different. They had all of their faculties but refused to look beyond their prejudices.
Their forefather, Abraham, believed when God gave him a glimpse of the future. Yet, they, who were beholding what Abraham longed to see, refused to believe. God's promised Messiah, the Christ, was in their presence, but, instead of believing and giving thanks to God as their father Abraham did, they picked up stones with the intention of stoning him.
Today, as we in the Christian church continue to proclaim this same gospel and present God to the world, they are still picking up stones to throw at us. The world is still calling us crazy. They are still saying that we are demon possessed.
Notwithstanding this, we should not be deterred. We follow in the train of the prophets and the apostles. We are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of the world.
God is still in control. He is still guiding us. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and sustain us in our mission. This we should do until he calls us away to our eternal rest. Amen.
o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone: 323-4107; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.
A Cuban detainee at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre escaped from the facility during last week's severe storm, according to a statement from the Department of Immigration sent yesterday.
However, Cuban Ambassador to The Bahamas Ernesto Soberon Guzman told The Nassau Guardian last night that no one from the government had contacted him about the incident.
"You know that this is the first news that I heard about this issue," he said.
"No one informed the embassy about this incident.
"You are the first [to] inform our embassy about this incident."
The Department of Immigration said the escapee, Roberto Angulo Lamadrid, was still at large.
"In response to press inquiries, we wish to advise the public that during the rain storm in Nassau last week, there was an attempt to escape the detention center at Carmichael Road. All were prevented from escaping, but one person," the statement read.
Guzman said he knows the detainee.
"I know that this person was in the detention center and until now I thought that he was still there," he said.
Guzman said he plans to visit the detention center on Monday.
The statement from the Department of Immigration said that a website was showing pictures of detainees within the center and voicing complaints about their treatment.
"These photos and their origin are being investigated," the release read.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said that Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie should not have taken on work as a consultant for a law firm representing the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) if he was considering another bid for prime minister.
Ingraham said the person making the ultimate decision about oil drilling in Bahamian waters should not be biased in any way.
"Perry Christie should not be a consultant for an oil company if he wants to be prime minister of The Bahamas," Ingraham told reporters after a rally in North Andros Monday night.
"When the decision is made, if the decision is made, to drill for oil in The Bahamas it should be a very thoughtful thing and The Bahamas should be ready for it.
"It cannot be [done by] a compromised person who acted as a consultant, who got paid as a consultant, from that company."
Last week, Ingraham told The Nassau Guardian that he would not allow oil drilling in Bahamian waters if the Free National Movement is elected for another term.
At an FNM rally in Grand Bahama last night, Ingraham said, "A government led by me will not agree to any drilling for oil in The Bahamas until all necessary and appropriate regulations are in place and until we are fully and competently in a position to regulate such activity so as to protect our environment and that of the world's ocean beyond from harmful and risky activity in our country and in our waters".
He also said, "We are not now in a position to so regulate and oversee drilling operations in our waters. My greatest obligation is to do what I think is the right thing to do at any given time to protect the best interests of you, the Bahamian people, and that of future generations.
"I will not take any deliberate action to cause harm to our country regardless of the promised financial reward for a select few consultants and legal representatives. We in the FNM do not go that way. We accept that we are different, distinctly different from them."
Last week, Ingraham revealed that Christie was a consultant for BPC and suggested that senior members of the PLP had ties to the oil company.
After Ingraham's comments, BPC's stock lost a fourth of its market value.
On Monday, Ingraham told The Nassau Guardian that BPC's stock market dive was none of his business.
Last week, Christie said he was a consultant for Davis & Co., the law firm owned by PLP Deputy Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis. Davis & Co. is one of two Bahamian firms that represent BPC.
Christie told The Nassau Guardian that if his party wins the next election the decisions made by him and his deputy on oil drilling would not be swayed by their current relationship with BPC.
"It's not a conflict because the advice I'm giving now has nothing to do with any decisions I [will] make as prime minister," Christie said.
"What a Cabinet minister must do is declare [his] interests and ensure that it is clearly understood that in the past or present he's had a relationship [with a company]."
The PLP's candidate for Killarney, Jerome Gomez, is listed as BPC's resident manager on the oil company's website.
Ingraham expanded on the issue at the FNM rally in Grand Bahama last night.
"The approval of drilling for oil in the pristine waters of The Bahamas is among the most momentous decisions that any Government of The Bahamas will ever have to make," he said.
"This decision by your government should never be influenced by any financial relationship that exists between the company seeking the permit and its paid consultants and attorneys.
"It is a decision with wide ramifications that will affect the very nature and essence of who we are as a country."
Ingraham said as the country prepares for a general election, the leaders of both major parties have an obligation to be transparent and up front with the Bahamian people on this critical issue.
"The leader of the Opposition must answer some critical questions," he said.
"The Bahamian people deserve and demand to know how long he has been a consultant for the oil company."
Ingraham questioned whether Christie was hired for his legal expertise or because he was a potential prime minister.
"Is it a mere coincidence that a foreign oil company decided to hire as consultants and pay handsomely, the two most senior leaders of the Official Opposition, and potentially two senior leaders of the executive branch in the country in which they are seeking to drill for oil?" he asked.
Ingraham added, "There must be no question or appearance of the possibility of a grave conflict of interest or the potential for secret deals which can compromise the individual who serves as your prime minister."
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday lashed out at Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis for "flip-flopping" on the issue of gambling.
"He is clearly double-minded," Roberts said in a statement. "Dr. Minnis has no credibility as a leader."
Roberts added that Bahamians should not trust Minnis to lead "because he cannot lead himself by standing on his convictions and principles".
Minnis told The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday that any proposed gaming legislation presented to Parliament should ensure "fair play" for Bahamians.
When asked whether that meant Bahamians should be allowed to gamble in casinos, Minnis said, "In terms of [whether] Bahamians should be in casinos, I feel yes, but that is my personal view."
Roberts said this latest statement was evidence that Minnis engaged in double talk throughout the controversial gambling debate.
In August, Minnis said he had "nothing against individuals gambling in terms of lottery, buying numbers etc." and indicated that he would support making the numbers industry legal.
Minnis later said the FNM would not tell the electorate how to vote in the January 28 web shop and lottery referendum.
But in January, Minnis urged people to "vote no" on both referendum questions.
The majority of voters who voted in the referendum voted no, but it was less than 50 percent of the electorate.
Roberts said people should not be guided by any statements from Minnis.
The PLP chairman said, "I remind Bahamians that Dr. Minnis is a man who does not know his own mind and does not believe his own words, so why should anybody trust Dr. Minnis?"
When contacted for comment yesterday, Minnis said his stance on gambling never wavered throughout the referendum debate.
He said his comments on Wednesday were not evidence of flip-flopping and added that he spoke about Bahamians having the right to gamble in casinos, not web shop gaming.
When asked why the FNM told people to vote no in the referendum, he said, "The FNM had problems with the procedure, the entire process; the procedure was wrong."
The Gaming Bill in its current form would allow people outside The Bahamas to gamble on a website established, maintained and operated by the holder of a local gaming license.
But they must be in a country or jurisdiction that permits online gaming.
The bill would also allow work permit holders and permanent residents to gamble in The Bahamas.
Bahamians would be the only group of people prohibited from gambling.
This element has caused an outcry in some quarters.
The government is looking to modernize the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) to ensure that all investment board approvals do not take more than 30 days.
Khaalis Rolle, minister of state for investments, told Guardian Business yesterday that he plans to bring the Bahamas Investment Authority into the 21st century. That process includes restructuring and technological upgrades. While "significant" progress has been made, Rolle admitted that the investment promotion agency still has its share of challenges.
"If you look at investment promotion agencies around the world, particularly in the Caribbean, we are lagging behind in terms of our approach and how we promote. We don't have a website, which is a normal requirement for investment promotion agencies," he shared.
Another challenge is the transition from a manual system to an automated one.
"We should always know where we are with projects as opposed to the manual system that currently exists. So we have brought on someone that's dedicated solely to information technology who will help us to build an automated project system. But there will be some challenges as we move to an automated system, " according to Rolle.
"One of the things I want to do with the Bahamas Investment Authority is ensure that a modern structure exists so that an entity like this can achieve its goals and objectives.
It's all in the best interest of what we do moving forward."
Rolle confirmed to Guardian Business that the authority has been able to put a major dent in the backlog that previously existed.
"We're making significant progress. We were able to get rid of the backlog last week but it's still a work in progress," he revealed.
Recently, the Bahamas Investment Authority came under fire as a leading attorney and members of the business community expressed concern over the frequency in which foreign investment boards meet.
They claimed that meetings at the authority, where crucial approvals for land acquisitions and other direct foreign investment (FDI) proposals occur, have reportedly become increasingly sluggish since the general election one year ago.
Chad Roberts, a partner at Callenders and Co. who specializes in property law, said his understanding is the foreign investment board "rarely meets."
"Permits used to be granted within a month or so. It has taken two or three months now, or much longer. As I understand, they just aren't meeting," he told Guardian Business.
Noting that the system has become "really bogged down since last May", Roberts emphasized that the grievances are not political.
The Bahamas Investment Authority is the government's investment promotion agency and is responsible for the administrative processing of investments and applications.
"As an investment destination, The Bahamas must ensure that it is perceived to be adequate," Rolle noted.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell yesterday lamented the plight of people like web shop boss Sebas Bastian, CEO of Island Luck, whom he suggested is being stifled economically in his own country.
"You have a young entrepreneur like Sebas Bastian and they have huge amounts of capital in their own country, and their own country will not allow them a legitimate opportunity to invest their monies to grow their wealth," he said.
"And this [is] a new generation of Bahamians. We have to fix that, Mr. Speaker."
He also questioned why successful Bahamians like Robert Sands of Baha Mar and another veteran hotelier, Russell Miller, were not in charge at hotels in The Bahamas.
Mitchell also lashed out at critics of the government's draft Gaming Bill.
He questioned why detractors were so upset over the proposed legislation that has not yet been considered by the government.
The bill in its current form would allow work permit holders and permanent residents to gamble in casinos in The Bahamas.
Bahamians would be the only group of people prohibited from gambling.
This element has caused an outcry in some quarters.
The bill would also allow people outside The Bahamas to gamble on a website established, maintained and operated by the holder of a local gaming license.
But they must be in a country or jurisdiction that permits online gaming.
It would also allow mobile and online gaming at the properties of license holders.
Work permit policy
Mitchell also dismissed concerns from the business community that the government's work permit policy will deter foreign investment.
Mitchell made the statement while contributing to debate on a bill that will make January 10 a public holiday to commemorate majority rule.
He said local businessmen were "rowing in the press, saying investors are going to be scared coming to The Bahamas".
Mitchell said this is not true.
"First of all, how is that going to help your business to spread the kind of false message that The Bahamas is not a place to do business?" he asked.
However, on Tuesday Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle conceded that the policy will "certainly" scare away foreign investors.
But he said he believed that Bahamians should get first pick of available jobs, considering high unemployment.
Rolle said foreign workers are needed in areas where Bahamians cannot meet the labor demand.
NEW YORK -- A revamped Caribbean tourism website is
making it easier for consumers to find events taking place in The Bahamas
and other Caribbean countries, a Caribbean Tourism Organization official
revealed at a Caribbean Week workshop.
Sharon Coward, intranet administrator
at CTO, said the organization's website, onecaribbean.org, was recently
revamped to be a more affective tool for its more than 30 members.
Before, the homepage allowed only six events to be featured, but now
32 events can be listed at the same time.
Luciano's of Chicago has started its preparations for Hands for Hunger's one-of-a-kind culinary experience and most anticipated charity event in The Bahamas - Paradise Plates, a culinary celebration benefiting the fight against hunger in the Bahamian community.
As a culinary partner of the event, Luciano's is excited to once again join this year's Paradise Plates marking its fifth year of participation in the lively evening that features gourmet cuisine from top local chefs and restaurants, fine wine, beer and cocktail tastings. Additional highlights of the evening include exciting silent auctions, raffles and live musical entertainment, all contributing to a great cause.
"Paradise Plates has become one of our favorite annual traditions since its inception in 2009," said Sue Lawrence, director of special events at Luciano's of Chicago. "It's an event we particularly look forward to as it's all for a great community cause, as well as being an enjoyable event that showcases culinary art at its best."
At last year's event, Luciano's of Chicago prepared a number of unforgettable and delectable dishes which included variations on arancine (traditional Italian deep-fried stuffed risotto rice balls), as well as variations on meatballs, including Luciano's signature Beef and Pork Meatball, with a choice of Penne or Rigatoni Pasta with Pomodoro Sauce and much more.
"Over the years, Paradise Plates has become an annual social highlight in Nassau. This year we expect to offer guests and supporters a sensational Luciano's of Chicago experience with the culinary options being prepared for the event," continued Lawrence.
The restaurant's culinary team will prepare a number of menu selections which will be featured at Paradise Plates on Saturday, September 28, in the Crown Ballroom, Atlantis.
To learn more about Luciano's of Chicago, please visit the restaurant's website at http://www.lucianosnassau.com or visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LucianosNassau.