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News Article
'Tremendous' impact anticipated from Abaco airport opening

Tourism stakeholders in Abaco were overjoyed as flights began coming into the new Marsh Harbour Airport facility yesterday, some 20 months after it was initially schedule to open.
Resort and retail operators said they expect the airport's opening to lead to a boost in air service to the island, resulting in more business all around. Ground was broken on the airport in 2011.
Percy Pinder, owner of the Sand Dollar Shoppe in Marsh Harbour, Abaco and the organizer of a petition to the prime minister last year, which called for the opening of the airport in the interests of the economy of Abaco and which garnered thousands of signatures, said he expects the airport to have a "tremendous" impact.
"Nobody believed it was going to open until it did, I was out there this morning and it's very, very nice. People are going and coming, and it seems to be going smoothly. I think now it's open you'll see a lot more flights coming in over the next year, and I think you'll see the price of tickets come down. It's going to be good for the economy of Abaco," he said.
Molly McIntosh, sales manager at the Green Turtle Cay Club, said that the boutique resort is "thrilled" to see the airport finally open.
"We can sit here and talk about how everything didn't get done how it was supposed to and go on and on, but we need to put a positive spin on things and just start to get more people here. More money will fix all of our problems."
As for whether she thinks the opening of the airport will lead to better air service into Abaco, McIntosh was a little more circumspect.
"To be honest, there has to be the demand. If the demand is there, they will come in and land at a little hut. I think the most important thing it will do is improve the first and last impression of our visitors, and I think it will also give everyone a better sense of pride and we'll come across better as a people, and that in turn will bring more people in.
"The airlines aren't going to come just because we have a pretty new building."
An employee of the Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour said the company is "really excited" about what the new airport will do for the area.
"We had outgrown the old building. A lot of times the tourists would come in and say, 'when are you going to open the airport'? A lot of the ones who come here yelling, they will be happy.
"Now it's open I think we'll have more flights coming into the island and that should boost the business of tourism."
Speaking in September 2013 at the Abaco Business Outlook conference , David Johnson, then director general of tourism, said that the introduction of the new airport would allow for upgrades to air service to the island, including direct jet flights beyond the currently limited Miami regional service provided by American Eagle.
"We are in the process of concluding negotiations with a major U.S. carrier to provide such a service," he said.
It is not clear to date exactly what led to the significant time and cost overruns on the project.
Some had suggested that part of the delay related to the fact that it became apparent that the airport would be difficult to operate profitably, due to its design, and therefore plans to bring in a private company to open and manage the airport had to be scrapped.
Instead, the government contracted with a number of professionals who formerly worked for the Nassau Airport Development Company, which built and transitioned the Lynden Pindling International Airport to operational status. These contract workers worked alongside a number of government employees in a team that has finally been able to open the facility.
Contacted yesterday for comment on how much the government anticipates spending on the operation of the new airport going forward and how many staff members will be taken on to operate the larger facility, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said she would reserve comment until after Prime Minister Perry Christie speaks in the House of Assembly on the matter today.
The government announced late Monday the opening of the airport for flights yesterday.
Guardian Business understands that operations flowed smoothly for the most part during the day.

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News Article
Tourism's soccer focus is a good sign

This past November, the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) had the official opening of the beach soccer facility at the foot of the Sidney Poitier Bridge. It was such a grand occasion that even the disappointing one-goal defeat of our nationals at the hand of Jamaica's Reggae Boys (6-5) did not seriously dampen the enthusiasm of the moment.
It was historic and the presence of Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) officials and also, leading administrators of the region classified the event as one of the signature happenings for the sport during the past year.
Present were three government ministers, namely Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis (there particularly to cheer on his son and the rest of the team), Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson. Indeed, the Government of The Bahamas was appropriately represented and Minister Wilchcombe clearly saw the sports/tourism potential that soccer provides. He indicated as much as well as an inclination for his ministry to have a definite role in the mix.
Well, this week, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) will stage its convention, beginning today with work sessions at the Indiana Convention Center. Sports Tourism Director Tyrone Sawyer will be present, along with Bahamas Football Association (BFA) Vice President Fred Lunn. No doubt, throughout the convention, the two will network closely with the objective being how tourism and the BFA can work together in the very near future for a mutual benefit.
I've always felt that the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism's sports department could be maximized once closer relationships were built with the various core organizations. I believe the Ministry of Tourism, through its sports department, has a meaningful part to play in the expansion of the Bahamian sports industry.
I know that Minister Wilchcombe feels likewise. It was he during the 2002-2007 administration of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), who sought to broaden the base of the ministry's sport department. It is looking like he still has the same mindset. This is good. The presence of Sports Director Sawyer demonstrates the positive outlook of the ministry for soccer, in this instance, and sports in general.
The local representatives will be in Indianapolis for the full duration of the convention sessions. The NSCAA convention is an excellent forum. The theme this year is, 'Innovate to Elevate', and according to the "promo", the main agenda items will be new techniques, training, youth programs, NSCAA market place and other educational aspects.
Of course, a priority for the Bahamian national program is how best to market youth soccer. I'm sure Sawyer and Lunn will be thus focused.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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Event
The Gathering Of The Eagles
The Gathering Of The Eagles

Sunday 4th December 2011  7:00 PM

Global Village Group Presents The Gathering Of The Eagles Guest Speakers: Dr Elizabeth Hairston-Mcburrows PH.D. (From New Mexico) Dr Showalter Johnson (Nassau, Bahamas) Dates: November 30, 7pm December 1, 7pm December 2, 7pm December 4, 11AM & 7PM(11am With Dr Showalter Johnson, CEO of GVG) Global Village Group # 10 Island Lane, Sandyport plaza, Nassau, Bahamas Telephone:(242)327-6024


News Article
Team reduced to 36 members ahead of world relays

There is just about a week remaining before the start of the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) World Relay Championships, and the excitement around the island is increasing with each passing day. The work being done to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium is almost complete, and a number of athletes will be arriving over the next few days to prepare themselves for the relays.
Currently, there are 43 IAAF member federations scheduled to take part in the relays, and the event will be viewed by millions around the world. The Local Organizing Committee of the IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 (LOC) along with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture are making sure that the product The Bahamas presents to the world is filled with various aspects of Bahamian culture.
"The junkanoo is in full force here, you got a taste of it last weekend (high school relays) but I can tell you that the size of the band will double, the excitement will triple and we are going to use them to really soak up the atmosphere and provide the energy that we want from this competition," said IAAF Competitions Director Paul Hardy yesterday.
Every large sporting event is judged not only by what takes place in the field of play, but also by the opening ceremony, and the organizers of the world relays opening ceremony are trying to produce something that has never been seen before. The opening ceremony is set for 4:40 p.m. next week Saturday.
"Working with Paul and the IAAF has been a wonderful experience because it has brought a level of discipline in operating an event like this. Everything operates to the second and that alone brings a level of excitement," said LOC Events Director with responsibility for the opening ceremony Fred Ferguson. "From the moment the opening ceremony begins, everything is going to run by the clock. We are going to have the flags and placards of the country brought in by members of both the police and defense force but they will be led by the junior athletes, and this is all coordinated by BAAA President Mike Sands.
"This whole thing is about inspiring the youth and they will be leading the parade, to bring in the placards that will all be very colorful representing the colors of The Bahamas with music supported by joint members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and defense force bands. It will all be very timed and precise event, precision will be first and foremost. Members of the Cadets and Rangers will all be involved because they will be responsible for bringing in the flags and the other things that go with that.
"As far as entertainment is concerned, young Bahamian artist Angelique Sabrina will be singing the national anthem and most importantly, we know that everything ends in junkanoo. We have a joint junkanoo group that is 100 members strong and they will be there for the duration of the relays."
Some of the fans and athletes coming to these shores will hail from all over the world, and the LOC is trying to not only put on a track event, but also a show, something that the visitors will remember long after they leave the island. The goal is to make the tourists remember the country for something other than sun, sand and sea.
"I have been to nine or 10 world championships, and the decoration of the stadiums have always been pleasing but not striking, and that's what was planned for our stadium. It was looking pretty good but it was certainly not Bahamian. Vice chairman Mike Sands, Grafton Ifill and myself got together and said that our stadium is going to be seen by millions of viewers, and we had to let them know that they were in The Bahamas. One of the best ways to get them to know that is to make the stadium Bahamian," said LOC Chairman Keith Parker.
"We engaged artist Stanley Burnside and Joanne Smith to create what we believe is fantastic pageantry for the stadium. Over the weekend, some of the pageantry was in place but now all of it is in place and I believe it is very striking, and there will be no doubt in anyone's mind in the sense of a television audience that they have been to The Bahamas. That's what we are after. It is going to be a fantastic sporting event and also great publicity for The Bahamas."
The Caribbean islands have always been potent when it comes to track and field, and that was one of the reasons for the IAAF choosing to host the event in this region.
"This is a Bahamian sports tourism model on the world stage, we are branding ourselves as the number one sports tourism destination in this hemisphere and it is 'Sports in Paradise'. It has to look that way, feel that way, and we have to perform that way. I think we will be great hosts," said Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson.
"What you are seeing going on around the country is a generational shift and the significance of these relays are just that - literally the passing of the baton from one generation to another, and we are demonstrating in a large way in track and field, but later in the year you will see it in other areas around the country."
Shaunae Miller will be one of the up-and-coming athletes that will be under the spotlight during the relays, and she too expressed content about the idea of making the relays not only a sporting event but a cultural experience as well.
"The LOC is doing a pretty good job here setting up for the world relays next weekend. Everything is intact for the games and the athletes are really excited to compete because it is going to be home. I can't wait to get out there and compete," she said.
LOC Vice Chairman Sands said that the color code for Bahamians for the two days of competition, Saturday and Sunday, are aqua and gold respectively.

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News Article
The Bahamas settles for silver

It was a tale of two halves last night at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, as The Bahamas' senior men's national basketball team looked totally clueless in the first half before storming all the way back in the second.

They fell behind by 23 points in the second quarter, and trailed 53-33 at the half, but gradually chipped away at the lead in the second half. In the end the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) proved to be too fundamentally sound though, as they held on for a 91-89 wire-to-wire win, taking the gold in this year's Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships.

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News Article
The Annual Heart Ball this Saturday! Embrace the Opportunity!

Nassau, Bahamas -

It's an
opportunity to get dressed up to the ninth, look your best, walk the fashion
run way and the dance the night away. It's an opportunity to win lots of
wonderful prizes, bid on pieces that are not ordinarily affordable, and have
funs with family and friends. It's an
opportunity to save a little heart while enjoying the company of that special
someone in your life. It's the Annual
Heart Ball.

Under the
theme, "Save a Little Heart.... Embrace the Opportunity", The Heart Ball
Committee will host The Annual Heart Ball.
This event will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at Sheraton
Nassau Beach Resort. As guests enter the door to the reception are they will be
kissed by an angelic floral and fauna décor. The meal will be prepared by
Cacique Award winner, Chef Johnson...

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News Article
The Annual Heart Ball comes Feb 16: Embrace the Opportunity!

Nassau, Bahamas -

It's an
opportunity to get dressed up to the ninth, look your best, walk the fashion
run way and the dance the night away. It's an opportunity to win lots of
wonderful prizes, bid on pieces that are not ordinarily affordable, and have
funs with family and friends. It's an
opportunity to save a little heart while enjoying the company of that special
someone in your life. It's the Annual
Heart Ball.

Under the
theme, "Save a Little Heart.... Embrace the Opportunity", The Heart Ball
Committee will host The Annual Heart Ball.
This event will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at Sheraton
Nassau Beach Resort. As guests enter the door to the reception are they will be
kissed by an angelic floral and fauna décor. The meal will be prepared by
Cacique Award winner, Chef Johnson...

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News Article
Teams rise to the forefront in the BFFL

Last week Sunday, the Bahamas Flag Football League (BFFL) entered its seventh week; there were several marquee match-ups that took place and eventually shook up the standings in both the male and female divisions.
In the men's division, the Summit Academy Ravens showed why they were ranked as the best offensive and defensive team in the league. They destroyed the Bahama Clear Wolfpack, 34-0, improving their win/loss record to a perfect 6-0, while the Wolfpack fell to 1-4 on the season. The Finlandia Predators out-matched the N.P. Hurricanes, 47-0, and improved their record to 4-1. The Hurricanes fell to 0-5.
The Coca-Cola Hitmen came up huge in the fourth quarter as they held off the RBC Lions, 28-27, and put up their first win of the season. Meanwhile, A Sure Win's Team Elite came up with several big plays late in their game against the Orry J. Sands Spartans. They prevailed 14-8.
"The female division of the Bahamas Flag Football League took center stage during week seven of the regular season," said Bianca Lee, the league's public relations officer.
In the women's division, the defending champions Bahamas Welding and Fire Pink Foxes came up short against the Summit Academy Lady Ravens, losing 13-6. The loss was the Foxes second of the season. Division leader Sands Light Lynx showed why they were ranked as the best offensive team in the league; they defeated the SC Femme Fatale Lady Predators, 21-0, improving their record to 5-0 on the season.
The RBC Lady Lions came in tied with the Bahamasair Dashers on Sunday, but pulled ahead with a 6-0 victory over the Dashers. The Dashers fell to 1-3 in the standings. The Bommer G. Bobcats picked up a big win over the second place Johnson's Lady Spartans. The Bobcats won the game, 18-7, and managed to improve their record to 3-2, while handing the Spartans their first loss of the season.
The league will take a break this coming Sunday for Mother's Day, but will resume playing on May 18, with six games on the schedule.
In the men's division, the Lions will go up against the Strong Back Rams, while the Hitmen will square off against the Spartans. The Essential Service Avengers will go up against Team Elite and the Predators will go head-to-head against the Ravens. In the women's division, the Dashers will go up against the Lady Ravens, and the Lady Spartans will go to battle against the Pink Foxes.
The games will be played at the Winton Rugby Pitch in East Nassau, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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News Article
The Haiti International Jazz Festival

The Haiti International Jazz Festival is in its seventh edition, yet it is my first encounter with the festival. The Haitian tourism calendar is fortunate to have such a prestigious event as the coup d'envoie to its yearlong cultural activities. I have been a regular of the New Orleans Jazz Festival almost from the beginning in the 70s, in my school days at Tulane University. I enjoy going back often to the Jazz Festival in St. Lucia. These are major events that attract thousands of tourists, bringing a major impact to the economy of Louisiana and of St. Lucia.
The Haiti International Jazz Festival is still in its infancy. In fact, I am taking the chance of changing its name from Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival to Haiti International Jazz Festival. I am hoping the organizers will follow suit and make it a true national and international festival. Haiti cannot afford to stage another jazz festival in a different city in the same year; in addition, setting the event in major cities each day of the festival will add charm, cachet and improve the tourism experience for all, the locals and the foreigners.
Jazz music is new to Haiti, in spite of the fact that the jazz experience is part of the Haitian DNA. Watching Branford Marsalis starting the festival at Jacmel, I asked my companion to describe the sentiments felt. I had to educate her about the erotic emotion of the jazz experience. To me, jazz music is like making love to a woman (hopefully it is also vice versa). There is spontaneity, there is diminuendo leading to the crescendo, the pause, and the repetition of the same notes, the unexpected, the jazzy groove that gives you at the end the ecstasy of having gone to paradise and coming back to earth renewed and rejuvenated.
It was as such during a whole week from January 19 to January 26 in Haiti, where the United States, Canada, France, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and Switzerland combined to bring to the island nation, right after the days marking the anniversary of the earthquake (January 12), the gift of their best jazz music players. To mark the 150th anniversary of the continuous international intercourse between Haiti and the United States, Regine Rene Labrousse, the American embassy cultural attaché, told the crowd in Jacmel that the U.S. sent its premier star jazz player, Branford Marsalis and his group.
Staging a major international jazz festival takes a whole year of preparation. Its sponsor, the Haitian Jazz Foundation, led by Joel Widmaier and Milena Sandler, did not know, upon publication of the brochure of the event, if Jacmel as a venue could be added to the event, and if the media would receive transportation support and assistance.
Jazz is new to Haiti and, as such, public contribution by the government and civil society is not always forthcoming. Yet, the Ministry of Culture, in spite of austerity measures imposed by the Haitian government, has maintained its budgetary contribution at the same level as last year; a last minute announcement that gave an "ouf" of relief to the event organizers.
The jazz festival that started in Jacmel took place mainly in Port-au-Prince. With a full moon plotting happily to add its mystic and erotic touch, jazz music aficionados moved from the garden of the French Institute, to the garden of Fokal and then to the magnificent plaza of the Karibe Hotel to the historic sugar cane park. It was all free, except for the event at the Sugar Cane Park, where the entrance fee was US$20.
The international jazz players included: Augusting Carbonell, "El Bola", from Spain; Benjamin Struelens from Belgium; Molly Johnson from Canada; Sandro Schneebeli from Switzerland; Timo Vollbrecht from Germany; and Ilan Bar Lavi from Mexico. Those international stars intermingled with a fusion product that included Haitian artists such as Melanie Charles; Vanessa Jacquemin; Michou and the much loved troubadour, Belo.
During the jazz sessions, I took time to watch the crowd; the young men and women were all mesmerized by the dexterity of each player, the intensity of the partners, and the synchronization of disparate movements leading to a perfect landing at the end.
Whether Haiti will use its international jazz festival in January to capture its market share of the tourist industry will depend on the vision of the festival organizers. I put that question to Regine Rene Labrousse, the American embassy cultural attaché, a native of New Orleans with Haitian roots. She answered with the diplomatic cachet expected from a diplomat, but I could sense the message that the Haitians must own their international jazz festival. They must be willing to pay for the cost and reap the benefits therein.
In a coveted global circuit of jazz festivals, Haiti has the luck of the Irish to be first on the hosting line, in the middle of January, when the weather in Europe, the United States and Canada is freezing. It might seem easy if the tourists could use the Jared Diamond formula of "constructive paranoia": being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk but are encountered frequently to get themselves to Haiti where the weather is on beau fixe, the festival free, the culture free and an excellent cuisine cheap and convenient. (Dinner or lunch of fried plantain, banana pezée with grio: crisp fried pork or grilled chicken: poulet boucanné including hot salad with homemade organic juice: less than US$5.) The full week that the Haiti Jazz Festival took place was without a minor incident that could be registered as an infraction.
The Haiti International Jazz Festival can serve as the harbinger to bring back the tourist industry to Haiti. Once they taste the legendary hospitality of Haiti and of the Haitian people, I am sure they will come back to the island after a quick trip back home, to avoid the thaw of February. They will head again to Haiti for Mardi Gras; it will take place this year in the colonial- and museum-like city of Cap Haitian. March is dedicated to Rara, the rural carnival; from the beginning of May to November 1, the festival of saints will bring you as close as possible to the medieval era in our modern civilization in the different villages of Haiti.
The organizers will have to garner the support of the very dynamic minister of tourism, Stephanie Villedrouin, as well as her director general, Josette Darguste, promoted recently to minister of culture, to make the Haiti International Jazz Festival a passage oblige for the many fans of jazz all over the world. They will need also to consult with the veteran organizers of the jazz festivals from New Orleans and St. Lucia on how to entice an international crowd to such a spectacular event.
My Rolodex has the name of an influential international ad marketer who is willing to promote Haiti á la South Africa after Mandela for a few years free of charge. It should be taken up for next year's Haiti International Jazz Festival. Albeit warnings to the contrary, Haiti is set to become a major and unique tourist attraction in the Caribbean which is as close as possible to the culture of New Orleans, where the trademark and the roots came from anyway!
Note: Haiti can be reached from major international hubs with different airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, Air France, Air Canada, Continental, Insel Air, Spirit, Copa, KLM and United. Sunrise airline and Tortug'air offer local connections with Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitian and other cities of Haiti.

o Jean Hervé Charles LLB, MSW, JD, former vice-dean of students at City College of the City University of New York, is now responsible for policy and public relations for the political platform in power in Haiti, Répons Peyisan. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.com. Published with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.

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News Article
Thompson: Private trust amendments make Bahamas more competitive

The Bahamas is becoming more competitive in the area of private trusts in light of recent amendments made to legislation focused on improving that sector.
Heather Thompson, a partner at the Higgs & Johnson law firm, said the changes which took effect in December 2012 make The Bahamas much more competitive in attracting private trust business.
In 2007, the Banks and Trust Companies (Private Trust Companies) Regulations introduced a light touch regulatory regime for private trust companies in The Bahamas. Effective December 17, 2012, the regulations to the act were amended by the Banks and Trust Companies (Private Trust Companies) (Amendment) Regulations.
"I think it makes us more competitive than we would have been. We came out with a very good piece of legislation when the amendments to the Banks and Trust Companies Regulation Act and the regulations themselves were passed," she told Guardian Business.
Under these changes, companies limited by guarantee can be formed and not just companies limited by shares.
"Other jurisdictions would permit companies limited by guarantee so in some instances you may have missed opportunities that you could have otherwise encountered. And the other amendments are basically tidying up to make sure that the regulator has the controls in place that are desirable from their point of view," Thompson noted.
"The changes are mainly enhancements. The most significant one from a private practitioner's point of view is you can now form companies limited by guarantee rather than companies limited by shares, so that you can have a private trust company which doesn't have an ownership structure on top of it."
Thompson believes these changes couldn't come at a better time. The amendments allow for private trust companies limited by shares or by guarantee, with a minimum share capital or guarantee of $5,000. Previously, only companies limited by shares could qualify as private trust companies.
This change eliminates the need for a holding structure for the shares of a private trust company such as a purpose trust or a foundation, potentially simplifying trust structures and reducing costs.
Before the changes, the responsibility for notifying the inspector of a change in registered representative fell with the private trust company under the act. A private trust company would be exempt from the requirement to obtain a business license provided that the criteria to qualify as a private trust company are met.
"I think it comes at an important time because a lot of clients now are looking at private trust companies and this gives them one other option to consider, having the company limited by guarantee rather than strictly just by shares. So I think it comes at a good time because we are seeing an increase in inquiries regarding private trust companies," Thompson added.

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News Article
Two more companies seek oil licenses

The government is considering applications from two oil companies that are seeking exploration and production licenses to search for oil in waters north of Grand Bahama.
Bahamas Petroleum and Atlantic Petroleum have applied to the government for eight licenses for territory covering an area of around 5.4 million acres.
Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett and Bahamas Petroleum Company Limited (BPC), confirmed that the companies are separate and apart from any exploratory efforts being undertaken by BPC, which currently has five active exploratory licenses in the southern Bahamas, close to the border with Cuba.
Dorsett said that the government is now seeking public feedback on the proposed licenses, according to the law.
"We look at each applicant on its merits and make decisions based on each application, and I think that's what has historically been done. BPC are the only ones who have been issued a license, at present, but there are others who have, in this instance, made an application, but they've not been licensed. The law requires a process and the areas involved have to be gazetted."
Dorsett did not say whether the government is minded to approve the licenses.
Permanent Secretary Camille Johnson said that there is a "nexus" between the two companies, Atlantic Petroleum and Bahamas Petroleum, although it is unclear in what regard at this stage.
According to filings before the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in July 2010, a company called Offshore Petroleum Corp (OFC) listed companies called Atlantic Petroleum Limited and Bahamas Exploration Limited as subsidiaries.
While it is unclear if there is a connection between this subsidiary and Atlantic Petroleum, and if Bahamas Exploration Limited and Bahamas Petroleum Limited may, in fact, be one and the same, OFC said that its objective was to "explore and, if warranted, develop the area covered by eight licenses to be granted by the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas".
The filings later stated that there was "no assurance the licenses will be granted".
"We will not list our shares on any exchange, or further pursue the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, until the licenses are received," said OFC.
Guardian Business attempted to reach the company at the phone contact provided, but the number listed, for an office in Fort Lauderdale, was out of service.
The development comes as investors in BPC, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, continue their efforts to identify a partner who will bring the capital needed to spud an exploratory well in Bahamian waters.
Such a well is necessary to test the results of the data gathered by the company so far, which it says indicate a significant possibility of a major oil find in Bahamian waters.
Last week, Guardian Business reported that BPC's share price has fallen to its lowest level since 2009, as investors questioned whether or not the company will be successful in its "farmout" efforts to find a company to partner with in the drilling initiative.

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News Article
The John Beadle Project at NAGB: April 25th

 



Nassau, Bahamas - Under the Patronage of The
Honourable Dr. Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture,
you are cordially invited to the opening of The John Beadle Project

Thursday April 25th, 2013 7pm - 9pm at The National Art Gallery Of The Bahamas West & West Hill Streets...

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News Article

News Article
Team Bahamas strengthens with Freeport players

The Bahamas is expected to field a stronger team when the Freeport players are added to the mix this weekend.
Playing in their second try, the U19 select youth rugby squad will go up against the Canadian team, Joan of Arc, at 2 p.m. Saturday, at the Winton Rugby Field. This is the first match-up for the national select squad, which started training late last year. According to Elystan Miles, director in the Bahamas Rugby Football Union (BRFU), the team still has a lot of work to do. Miles also noted that the friendly games are being used as an evaluation for the local coaches.
Miles said: "This is the first time many of them are actually playing organized rugby, more of a tournament style play. To be honest, the team here just started training several months back and you can see them making progress. We aren't putting any pressure on them; we are quite aware of their strengthens and weaknesses. All we need to do is see how they perform and take it from there.
"The team coming in from Canada is a strong one, but the players from Freeport are also strong so we are expecting a better game tomorrow. Over in Freeport, they have a strong youth rugby program. Here in Nassau, we are just trying to build our program. So we have gone into the schools. Those players who are coming out, you can see improvements but more work is needed."
The BRFU recently launched their high school program, using it as a feeder system for national teams. So far, several schools are playing rugby, including C.R. Walker Senior High, Doris Johnson Senior High, Queen's College and St. Augustine's College.
Training for persons in the program will continue, with the hopes of several of the players being named to the national U19 team that will take part in a regional tournament in July. That tournament will be played in Trinidad and Tobago. A local Youth Sevens tournament is scheduled in the upcoming weeks. That will be used as preparation for the regional event.
The national men's squad will play in the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) tournament starting April 13.

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News Article
Time winding down for the world relays

Just days before the start of the IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014, the Class 1 certification of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium has finally made its way to The Bahamas, and is in the hands of Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson.
It appears to be just a matter of time now. The track is now certified, the accreditation process has started and is ongoing at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. Landscaping around both the new and old stadiums is just about completed, and athletes have already begun filing in - all for the biggest sporting event to ever be held in The Bahamas!
The inaugural International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships is set for this Saturday and Sunday at the new Thomas A. Robinson Stadium.
Even the tickets for the event are just about sold out. At a press briefing yesterday, Managing Director for the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the event Lionel Haven said that the western grandstand, gold, silver and bronze packages are already sold out; up to this weekend, on the eastern grandstand, there were just about 1,100 tickets remaining for Saturday and just under 1,000 for Sunday.
"Operations are moving along very well. People will see that there has been a dramatic change in that stadium from the test event a couple weeks ago to the opening of the World Relays on Saturday," said Haven. "We have received the IAAF certification for the track and will be presenting that to the minister today. We wanted this stadium to be the jewel of the Caribbean - something that could host international events, and we were able to accomplish that. We're looking forward to a very, very exciting event," he added.
In addition to the 15,000 seats in the stadium, Minister Johnson said that they have installed some junkanoo bleachers, thereby accounting for an additional 1,000 seats, but those particular seats have already been earmarked. About 800 athletes from 42 countries are coming to these shores for the event. The total amounts to more than 1,000 visitors, factoring in coaches, trainers, officials and IAAF delegates.
"I'm so delighted to be able to witness what is happening this coming weekend," said Bahamian IAAF Council member and 'Golden Girl' Pauline Davis-Thompson. "I never thought that I would have seen this in my lifetime," she added. "Being a part of the IAAF Council put me in a position to agitate for us to get these World Relays. It just seemed to be so fitting for The Bahamas to be the country to host this event, because we are passionate about track and field and we're even more passionate about relays. The Bahamas is known as [a] small country [with] great athletes, so when the IAAF said that they wanted to host these World Relays in the NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean) region, there were many big countries which expressed an interest in hosting."
Eventually, The Bahamas was given the bid for the first two years of the World Relays.
"They wanted to solidify it before they move it somewhere else," she said. "They said that the perfect spot to solidify it is The Bahamas based on our history in the sport of track and field and our history in relay running. Lamine Diack (IAAF President) came here in 2002 for CARIFTA, and fell completely in love with The Bahamas. With him buying into it, it was so easy to convince the other members to join in as well. Therefore, I am so proud to be a Bahamian and to be sitting on that council. I just hope that Bahamians could be as proud as I am this weekend. What the LOC has been doing behind the scenes, I call them our unsung heroes. There are Bahamians who are working day and night to ensure the success of this event."
IAAF President Diack, from Senegal, will be making his third official trip to The Bahamas. Davis-Thompson said that most of her fellow council members will be here for the first-of-its-kind athletics event.
"Last year, we hosted the CARIFTA Games, and then after that, we went through a scenario in regard to the certification of the track. It was a concern to us because we wanted to be able to host the best of the best here in The Bahamas," said Minister Johnson yesterday. "The track itself had to meet the highest international standard, and I am pleased to say that we have achieved that. We are now certified as a Class 1 Grade A facility. This is the newest track in the world, and the fastest track on the planet."
The minister said that he wasn't worried at all, despite the late arrival of the Class 1 certification.
"We have been positioning ourselves for Class 1 certification for a while now," he said. "We contracted Mondo to get the work done, and Mondo is the number one track manufacturer in the world. They go through a very detailed process in regard to how it is done. After December had passed, our track was already manufactured and sitting in the factory in Italy. We knew that having Mondo on board, with the credibility of the company, we would have the desired results."
Minister Johnson added that the certification itself came at different levels, and a number of things had to be done to get the facility Class 1 certified.
"When you look at this track, the quality is in the design and the kind of surface that is laid," said the minister. "A lot of other things come with Class 1 certification as well. All of the support features around the track gives you Class 1 certification. There has to be another track nearby that is also 400 meters (m) and is also at a certain level of IAAF certification. Also, there needs to be a third straight away. There are three pieces to this certification, and we met all of them. Accompanying that has to be bathroom facilities, the appropriate medical facilities, the appropriate EMS facilities...the full nine yards. Everything in that complex has to meet a certain standard, and we have met that standard."
The minister said that the security of the stadium in totality was, as expected, very high on their agenda, particularly with the world coming to The Bahamas for this grand event.
"That was also one of the priorities of the certification process," he said. "I think that having more of these events is going to have an impact on our crime situation. For one, young people will have something to inspire them that they can gather in large groups and there will be no incidents, and number two, when people see the economic impact of what this could do for the community, that will have a great effect. The knock on effect of large-scale events, I think will increasingly inform public opinion as to the manner in which we should behave.
"With this event, we won the bid for 2014 and 2015, so we are looking to see what are the dynamics for us to do it again. We're looking at having something every year in this space that may be track related. It justifies our investment going forward," he added. "We ended up around the $10 million figure, but the economic impact is estimated to be around $20-25 million. I think we spent around three to five million dollars for the event itself, and then the infrastructure which we get to keep to use in the future was another $5 million. Bahamians have to figure out how to capitalize on the operational side, and that's where the economic impact comes in. We are making an investment into this, but it's the young Bahamians who have to figure out how to plug into this to have economic impact."
Minister Johnson said that his ministry, on behalf of the government, will present a detailed financial report at the conclusion of the two-day World Relays, but for now, the focus is on the actual event, particularly with the sports power image The Bahamas has projected at world-class athletics events.
"In The Bahamas, we want to show the world that we are truly a sports power," he said. "On any given day, The Bahamas can line up with any country in the world, and we could be in it to win it. We have earned that respect."
On the strength of a strong athletics performance, The Bahamas was the per capita champions of the Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta, 2000 in Sydney and again in 2004 in Athens.
As far as remaining work in and around the stadium is concerned, LOC Managing Director Haven said that just cosmetic work is left to be done.
"That's not something that is going to take an inordinate amount of time," said Haven. "We have a lot of Bahamians employed on this project, and that's a part of the economic impact of this event. We're pretty confident that what needs to be done will be done in time for the event on Saturday and Sunday."
A colorful opening ceremony is set for 4:40 p.m. on Saturday. The junior segment will start at 3:30 p.m. each day, and the World Relays will get underway at 5:30 p.m. each day.
The patron for the event is the country's first minister of sports, Kendal Nottage. 'Golden Girl' Davis-Thompson said that, growing up, she was inspired by him and his coining of the phrase "The Bahamas - el numero uno".
"That stuck with me and carried me throughout my career," said Davis-Thompson. "I want to tell Bahamians to let's show the world a grand Bahamian time. Let's show them the spirit of the Bahamian people. They love our warmth. They love our friendliness, and that is what I'm expecting my fellow Bahamians to display this weekend. What we do this weekend will determine whether or not we are on our way to becoming the number one sports tourism destination in the region," she added.
Whether or not The Bahamas hosts the event again in 2015 remains to be seen, but for now, the focus is on 2014. Two and a half years of planning and preparation is about to come to pay dividends, as the IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2014 is now just four days away.
Get ready Bahamas!

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News Article
The private world of gastronomy

Name: Ron Johnson
Position: Culinary artist, Savory Art Culinary & Consultation Service
Guardian Business: Can you briefly describe your experience in the tourism sector and what your role is today?

Ron: I've been a part of the hospitality industry since the age of 16. I was an apprentice chef at the Atlantis Resort & Casino and eventually left my post for educational pursuits. However, during my tenure at the property, I've always felt a strong sense of pride and responsibility ensuring guest satisfaction, simultaneously pleasing my superiors. Whether local or international cuisine was requested, working independently or with a team, contentment was the primary goal. It should be noted that in most areas of people activity, food is involved either in overt or subtle ways.
After attaining my formal educational goals, I've currently been active as a personal/private chef for celebrities, affluent individuals and occasionally working aboard yachts (seven in total thus far), cruising to the Exuma Cays and sometimes Harbour Island, showcasing elements of island flare and other cuisines to the best of my ability. At 31, I would see myself as a culinary ambassador of sorts, particularly to those unfamiliar with tropical cuisine.

GB: Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?

Ron: At first, the career chose me, along with my mother's stern guidance and foresight. After graduation from high school, I had no idea of what path I would take. I felt idle, without purpose and eager to make a quick buck. I enrolled at The Bahamas Hotel Training College (now called School of Hospitality Training Studies) and found myself performing fairly well, particularly out of fear and love. The fears of letting anybody think I was inadequate were intertwined with my affinity for the profession.
I eventually simmered down and found it was something that I could handle fairly well. It allowed me to be creative with my hands, only limited to what my mind could conceive. A friend told me that certain African tribes believed that your spirit/vibe was transferred into your food creations. I would hope people get an overwhelming sense of love and commitment when they taste what I create.

GB: What has been your most memorable moment?

Ron: Most experiences I've had thus far have their own merit in my life. One in particular, as Montell Williams personal chef aboard a three-week yacht trip throughout the Exuma Cays, still permeates in my memory. Although I've had the pleasure of cooking for him a few times prior to the most recent trip, we had a chance to really have in depth discussions about my future in general and I got to interact on a higher level with his family and staff; they were truly appreciative of what I fed them and the level of professionalism I maintained. Beware of getting too 'familiar' with a guest or client by the way.
Notwithstanding, they were appreciative to the point that they questioned and hesitated dining out on other yachts they got invited on or local restaurants because the precedent I set made them compare my performance; they said it was better than others. The reassuring moment came when he complimented my mother about my professionalism and gave me a hefty 'thank you' gift that made me smile from ear to ear; he personally gave me his contact information as well.

GB: Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?

Ron: Where to begin? I'm a bit at a disadvantage properly responding to this, as my personalized service isolates me to a degree. However, I converse with colleagues and make observations as well. On a side note, the common misperception is that when one sees a chef jacket of sorts, they automatically assume you are employed at a hotel. There are other atypical, unconventional places chefs work at such as stand-alone restaurants and chocolate factories, as well as in positions as personal chefs, food and beverage directors and managers of franchises and supermarkets. The industry has changed in other ways as well to my knowledge. As we are in the Information Age, access to revered techniques, recipes and ideas are easily accessible at the speed of touch and type. I'm also noticing a stronger push for utilizing native grown produce.

GB: What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?

Ron: This is a hard question to answer in that a definite response does not justly address a myriad of issues one may perceive. However, I can speak to factors such as nutrition, redefining and elevating our cuisine and adapting more European culinary disciplines in our forte. Generally speaking, our food is truly tasty and satiating. Tourists from across the globe make an effort to try chowders, stews and souses, fritters, peas n' rice, Bahama Mamas and other local gastronomy. Adversely, our diet impairs our health. Finding creative ways to preserve or create new flavors with an emphasis on wellbeing for the health conscious or apprehensive tourist (or native) is barely exploited.
Lastly, for those with a high appreciation of fine dining, we can improve on presentation and modern techniques; the taste is already there.. I'd like to see a Bahamian restaurant achieve a Michelin Star or three, fully exploiting local produce. That would definitely garner attention to our country and perhaps promote more food-based tourism to a different audience.

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News Article
Tomal Kelson Stubbs, 31

Funeral Service for Tomal Kelson Stubbs, age 31 years, of Springfield, Fox Dale, will be held on Saturday December 3rd, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Ebenezer Mission Baptist Church, St. Charles Vincent Street. Officiating will be Bishop Elkin Symonette, assisted by Rev. Michael Symonette. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Gardens, Solider Road.
Left to cherish his precious memories are: his parents: Rev. Zendel and Sandra Stubbs; three brothers: Judson, Zendel Jr. and Jabari; his fiancé: Aisha Brown; nineteen aunts: Mary Canter, Sherry Baptiste,  Elizabeth Cartalla, Michelle, Fredricka and Lorna Glinton, Barbara McDougal, Evan, Yvonne Stubbs-Rolle, Nicole and Nadia Rolle, Denice Stubbs-Lewis, Manette Stubbs-Darling, Michelle Deveaux, Margaret, Arlina and Tatianna Stubbs, Beulah Hart and Shena Mortimore; fourteen uncles: Min. Patrick Glinton, Fred, Anthony and Lionel Glinton, Joseph Canter, Ruben, Perry and Geno Stubbs, Jeffrey McDougal, Geoffrey Stubbs-Deveaux, Darrel and Dhann Rolle, Kemuel Lewis and Phillip Knowles; nine grand aunts: Francina Cleare, Pamela, Precina, Claudine and Ruth Stubbs, Leah and Nora Rolle, Joyce McClean, and Leatha Brown; eight grand uncles: Rev. Freddie, Rev. JJ., Abraham and Jerry Stubbs, Cornelius Ambrose, Roosevelt Cleare, Leviticus Rolle and Alexander Newbold; nine great grand aunts: Jenny Smith, Florence Moultrie, Barbara Pitt, Icelyn Rolle, Lenora Stubbs, Rosabell, Maudline and Jessimae King and Dorothy Burns; numerous cousins including: Javado Thompson, Jameko Ferguson, Michael, Valentino, Melissa, Lamar, Ashton, Ashley, Sochia, Cedranique,  Tyler, Manesha, Daniella, Daniel, Kyle, Geran, Daria, Gere, Tavashio, Orval, Giovanni, Candia, Astra, Enoch, Mark Stubbs and Ruben Stubbs of Atlanta, Cpl 2052 Anton Hamilton, Cpl 2382 Jeffery Canter, Con.142 Monalisa Woodside, Ellen Archer, Helton and Anika Adderley, Sharon, William, Corrie, Athyma and Andrew Smith, Calvin Brown, Rosemary and Kirkland Glinton, Estelle, Danny, David, Nelson and Shirley King, Rena Wilson, Devon Daley, Owen Williams, Geno Forbes, Ronald and Kitonia Walcott, Kishanique Watson, Shantell, Geno, Geno Jr., Genniqqiah Forbes, Shaquille Moss, Tameka Clarke, Norma Brown, Barbara, Trevor, Demetrius, Valerie, Tanya, Deidre, Ingrid and Prescott Cleare, Doyle Gaitor, Joey, Ellis, Oral, Bobby, Teresa, Debbie, Christina, Mona, Donnie and Brian Ambrose, Keva Romer, Patricka Glinton, Stanley Pitt, Suziemae Dorsette and Leonard Smith of the R.B.D.F., three god parents: Fred Glinton, Noel Dale, Dorethia Bain; other relatives and friends including: Malfred Collie, Paula Crawley, Xavier Cartwright, Vado Major and family, Jakeil Cartwright, Annette Williams and family, Atlantis Laundry Choir, Drexel Newbold and family, Rakeish Major and family, Orie Godet and family, Ellen and Obie Archer, Ervin Moxey, Elcina Knowles, Dorcas Johnson, Elsiemae Stubbs, Alfred and Cindy, Willimae Pratt, Olgamae Meadows, Coralmae, Wendamae, Junior, Nat, Michael, Josey, Philip, Charles Stubbs, Rev Abraham Colebrook, Byron Missick, Karen Missick, Lloyd, Phillipa, Glen, Helena, Bridget, Shanette, Candi Rolle, Denise, Dennis, Bradley Rolle, Ingrid Gibson, Lana Knowles, Jennifer Braynan, Fr. Dwight Rolle, Janis Rolle, Marilyn Taylor, Leroy, Joanna, Bernadette, Diane Rolle, Ambri Close family, Springfield Road family, Charles Strachan, Judy Strachan, Munroe, Mr. Bobby Glinton and family, Canterbury Park family, the Adderely, the Curry, the Brown, Lewis, Bethel and Robinson families, Sidney Deveaux and family, and the Management and Staff of Atlantis Laundry Department.
Friends may pay their last respects at Butlers' Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Ernest and York Streets on Friday December 2nd, 2011, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and at the church on Saturday December 3rd, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. until service time.

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News Article
Team Bahamas gets trounced in opener

The first full 15-aside match was hard-hitting for the women's national rugby team which got a real taste of the sport, yesterday afternoon.

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News Article

News Article
The Commonwealth: The black and white of it

Boris Johnson, the mayor of the British capital city, London, has joined in a chorus of voices in the Conservative Party that has been calling for Britain to abandon its membership of the European Union (EU) and to look instead to the Commonwealth of Nations as "countries that offer immense opportunities for British goods, people, services and capital."
This is a huge reversal from 1971 when the then leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of Britain, Edward Heath, told the House of Commons that the idea that the Commonwealth might become "an effective economic and political let alone military bloc had never been realized."On the contrary, he argued, it was generally accepted that trade with the Commonwealth overseas, unlike that with the European Common Market, held no prospect of dynamic growth. Britain's subsequent entry to what is now the European Union (EU) in 1973 put an end to any further development of the Commonwealth as a preferential trading group.
After 40 years of fundamentally changed global trade arrangements, the Commonwealth no longer offers opportunities as a preferential trading bloc. Those in Britain who continue to pit the Commonwealth as an alternative to the EU are really raising a straw man to bolster their wish to get out of the EU and the conditions of its membership that they find unacceptable. For the majority of Commonwealth countries, there is little benefit today in trying to assemble a Commonwealth trading group even if it would not be severely hamstrung by World Trade Organization rules that disallow preferential trading arrangements for all but the poorest of poor countries. This is not to say that individual Commonwealth countries could not intensify trade bilaterally.
What is of more current interest about Boris Johnson's remarks made in Australia and New Zealand is that, in saying that Britain should "raise our eyes beyond Europe"and not think of "ourselves as little Europeans run by Brussels", he said Britain should open its doors to skilled workers from Commonwealth countries "such as Australia and New Zealand." He went as far as to say that Britain and Australia should set up a "bilateral Free Labour Mobility Zone." All of this is an alternative to persons from the EU entering Britain to live and work, and more importantly, benefitting from its social welfare system.
In promoting the idea of skilled workers from the Commonwealth being allowed to enter Britain, Mr. Johnson mentioned only Australia and New Zealand, whose populations are predominantly white people. But, since he is the mayor of London - a city with a huge multi-ethnic population drawn from all over the Commonwealth and elsewhere - it has to be assumed that Mr. Johnson mentioned only these two countries because he happened to be visiting them when he made his remarks.
Of course, it is every country's prerogative to enter bilateral migration arrangements with any other country that it considers appropriate. In this connection, it is perfectly feasible that Britain could set up "bilateral Free Labour Mobility Zones" with Australia and New Zealand. But, if it were to do so while applying stricter immigration and visa requirements on other Commonwealth countries, such as those in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean whose populations are not predominantly white, the arrangements would be seen as inequitable with overtones of racism. Such a move could be seen as a "black" and "white" division and it would diminish regard for the merits of the Commonwealth association. Further, it would not advance Britain's desire to intensify trade with, and investment from, Commonwealth countries such as India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa that are among the top Commonwealth growing economies.
Britain faces a predicament over the free movement of people in the EU. Because of its more generous social welfare system and its greater economic development than all of the newer member states of the EU, it has become a magnet for Eastern Europeans - many of whom do not speak English and have little, if any, appreciation for British culture and traditions. The migration to Britain of Eastern Europeans has caused resentment among Britons, but not only to white ones. People from Commonwealth countries who migrated to Britain in the 1950s and 60s, and who have worked all their lives in Britain contributing to the economy and also adhering to its culture and traditions, also resent the influx of European migrants. This is a problem the British government is trying to resolve, but it will not be solved by Mr Johnson's suggestion that the EU should "stuff it."With regard to the Commonwealth, the Eminent Persons Group (of which I was a member and Rapporteur) that made recommendations in 2011 on reform of the Commonwealth to make it relevant to the people and times of the association, recognized that if the Commonwealth is to have value for its peoples, one of the things that could be done is to give recognition to Commonwealth citizenship by providing means of privileged entry in all Commonwealth states. We had recommended the creation of an expert group to report to the 2013 Heads of Government meeting on ways in which entry by Commonwealth citizens to Commonwealth countries on business or holiday might be gradually improved. A group of three renowned persons from the Ramphal Institute in London has visited 15 Commonwealth countries over the last few months to produce a report and recommendations on easing entry for Commonwealth citizens in various categories including businesspeople and students. The extent to which all governments agree on easing entry requirements for agreed categories of Commonwealth citizens will indicate the value they place on membership of the Commonwealth.
The point is that Commonwealth countries looking to each other for a deepening of investment, commercial and migration arrangements - based on their common laws, shared language, and declared common values - would help to lift all their economies as well as the quality and benefits of their Commonwealth connection. But they should all pursue such deepening on a pan-Commonwealth basis and in a spirit of co-operation and mutual respect that would enhance the Commonwealth Club.
o Sir Ronald Sanders is a consultant and senior research fellow at London University. Responses to: www.sirronaldsanders.com. Reprinted with the permission of caribbeannewsnow.com.

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