Tue, Jun 30th 2009, 12:00 AM
The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has partnered with Transfer Solution Providers Ltd. (TSP) to launch the new Tourist Mango Card.
The Tourist Mango Cards allows for cashless financial transactions with merchants. Visitors or other individuals who purchase the cards can make payments for services or to purchase goods. The cards will be available for purchase in varying amounts, up to $100.
Vernice Walkine, Director General of Tourism, said the tourism professionals in the Bahamas are always seeking to exceed the expectations of guests. The card will allow this to be accomplished through enhanced safety and convenience, she said.
?Visitors to the Bahamas will be able to make transactions with added convenience and in a much safer environment due to the electronic payment system offered by this Bahamian software and technology company,? Ms. Walkine said. ?The safety of the card has benefits that will outlast our guests? time in the Bahamas. When they return home, we will be the beneficiaries of an enhanced reputation due to the improved safety that these electronic payments will provide. We want to always be seen as a safe destination in which visitors move about freely. They can window shop and make purchases without hassle and without falling victim to crime.?
Dr. Johnathan Rodgers, president of TSP, said 85 cents of every tourist dollar eventually leaves the Bahamas. In the case of arrivals by sea, estimates are as high as $13 leaving the country for each dollar that remains, he said.
?This really shows that there is a tremendous leakage of moneys out of the Bahamas and this economic model is not sustainable,? he said. ?We have a GDP of about $6 billion and tourism accounts for 60 percent of that GDP. If we can increase the amount of money that stays here by five cents, this will translate into another $1.2 billion staying in the Bahamian economy every year, and this is almost as much as government makes in total every year.?
Julian Francis, chairman of TSP, said the Bahamas has not maximized the economic possibilities of the tourism business. He said there is a market of roughly 4.5 million tourists coming to the Bahamas every year, and they provide business that Bahamians can tap.
Mr. Francis said tourists are used to the convenience of cashless transactions in their home countries. He believed that they would be eager to utilize the Tourist Mango Card while visiting the Bahamas.
TSP estimated that the Tourist Mango card will be available within two months.
Tue, Jun 30th 2009, 12:00 AM
Sat, Jun 27th 2009, 12:00 AM
NASSAU, The Bahamas --- The pilot tele-medicine program between Abaco and New Providence has resulted in a 70 per cent decrease in morbidity rates, Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis has confirmed. It has also led to a 31.8 per cent decline in the need for air ambulatory services from Abaco to the Princess Margaret Hospital in New Providence.
Dr. Minnis was addressing the annual 'Meet the Ministers Forum' hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, June 25. Tele-medicine was launched in December, 2007 at the Marsh Harbour Health Centre, Abaco, by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Public Hospitals Authority, the Department of Public Health and the Princess Margaret Hospital.
?The reductions have occurred because individuals in Abaco now have the opportunity to be examined and assessed by our physicians in Nassau without them having to travel to Nassau for those assessments,? Dr. Minnis said.
?The ability to be assessed, examined and diagnosed has had a similar impact on the morbidity rates of those persons needing air transport. "Our physicians have been able to stabilize (patients) prior to them being transported to New Providence." Tele-medicine has also allowed healthcare officials at the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Marsh Harbour Health Centre to utilize the expertise of plastic surgeons.
lastic surgeons have been able to review lacerations and lesions in Abaco, undertake assessments, undertake the management while here in New Providence, organize transportation and definitive surgical procedure, he Minister explained. ?This has resulted in no waiting or delayed times as it is just a matter of transporting patients from Abaco to our theatres in New Providence,? he said.
The programme has been expanded to Grand Bahama. Radiologists in New Providence can provide interpretations of tests performed on Grand Bahama patients who need air transportation to New Providence, ahead of their arrival. Tele-medicine or e-health, he said, will allow health officials to utilize expertise in New Providence in a more "efficient and effective way so that our one, central location (New Providence) can now look after the entire nation.? With the growing populations on many Family Islands, there has been increases in injuries from motor vehicle crashes and a subsequent increase in the need for emergency services.
?As a result of the increased demand for air ambulatory services," said Dr Minnis, "the Government of The Bahamas designed and implemented the pilot tele-medicine programme to support remote clinical consultation and diagnostics on Abaco." Dr. Minnis said health officials and professionals are "excited" about the short-term benefits of the program. "The medium and long-term prospects are just as exciting," he added. Medium-term benefits of the programme include a further reduction in patient waiting times and greater access to diagnostic results for patients residing in the far-flung islands.
Longer term benefits will include integration with global systems and an expansion of the services offered locally. Future services will also address clinical, technological and human resource challenges, he said.
Thu, Jun 25th 2009, 12:00 AM
BLUE LAGOON ISLAND ? First birthdays are a cause for great celebration and no exception was made to mark the birthday of Milo, the first California Sea Lion born in The Bahamas at Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island.
With his marine mammal family, trainers, local children, and guests of Dolphin Encounters present, Milo enjoyed a first birthday party that included the usual highlights, cake and presents ? with a marine mammal twist. Seated at his own table, Milo was presented with a cake with a fish ?candle? that was eaten instead of blown out after being sung ?Happy Birthday.? His gifts included toys appropriate for a baby sea lion and ?fishsicles? ? a combination of ice and frozen fish - which each sea lion received as a treat for Milo?s birthday.
?Milo?s first birthday is a big milestone in his life and for our marine mammal family,? said Robert Meister, Managing Director of Dolphin Encounters. ?His birth is significant as it marks the beginning of a new generation of our sea lions. We are delighted that we could share this day with local children, visiting guests and of course our animal training staff, who take excellent care of Milo and all of our marine mammals.?
Born on June 23rd, 2008, weighing 16 pounds, he is the son of first-time mother Magnolia, known as Maggie, and first-time father Murray, both part of the marine mammal family at Dolphin Encounters. His birth was also the first time a California Sea Lion was born in The Bahamas. To mark the occasion he was named in honour of Milo B. Butler the first Governor General of The Bahamas. The robust one-year old is now 63 pounds.
?Milo has been a healthy, extremely playful baby sea lion since he was born,? said Kim Terrell, Director of Marine Mammals of Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island and Milo?s primary trainer. ?We are very proud of him. His parents came to Dolphin Encounters in September of 2006 after hurricane Katrina had destroyed their home in Gulfport, Mississippi. Milo?s birth is a confirmation that the animals are well-adjusted to their environment and continue to thrive.?
?Milo is incredibly active and in his mind he is as big as his 580 pound father, Murray,? added Ms. Terrell. ?He has no fear of his large all-natural habitat and explores every inch of it. He especially delights in capturing and playing with parrot fish. His natural curiosity and playfulness caused him to get in a bit of trouble with the older sea lions in the beginning, but they have all now accepted him into the group. He is also a very quick learner and to date has a repertoire of 40 behaviours.?
For Kim Terrell, Milo?s birth and first birthday has even more meaning. The former Director of Training at Marine Life Oceanarium and Marine Animal Productions in Gulfport Mississippi for fifteen years, Ms. Terrell has known Murray, Milo?s father, since he was born and knew Maggie?s relatives. She also followed their progress through Hurricane Katrina and was responsible for finding them their new home here at Dolphin Encounters in The Bahamas.
?Watching Milo being born just a year and a half after his parents came to live at Blue Lagoon Island and now celebrate his first year is emotional,? said Ms. Terrell. ?It is our first generation of sea lions and it confirms that they have completely adapted to their new home and that is an extraordinary accomplishment.?
?Marine mammal breeding has uncertain outcomes, but we?ve had tremendous results with our dolphin calves, and with the birth of our first sea lion pup Milo,? adds Ms. Terrell. ?Also, the fact that 11 of our 18 dolphins were successfully born to our facility speaks for itself. Dolphin Encounters now has first and second generation dolphins and now sea lions that were born on Blue Lagoon Island.?
Milo has certainly made his mark at Dolphin Encounters and is well-loved by the many schoolchildren that participate in the Dolphin Encounters - Project BEACH educational programmes as well as with guests that enjoy the Sea Lion Encounter programme that also reached the one year mark in May. The Sea Lion Encounter Program, the first of its kind in The Bahamas, is based on Dolphin Encounters? highly successful and award-winning dolphin interactive programs and allows guests to meet California sea lions up-close in their pristine all-natural marine mammal habitat.
?Milo has brought such energy and joy to our entire Dolphin Encounters family,? said Mr. Meister. ?This is our 20th Anniversary and Milo turning one year old this year has made it particularly special as we start a new chapter in our history.?
Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island is home to a family of 18 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and six California sea lions. Dolphin Encounters is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA), the largest organisation of its kind. In 1997, the facility was accepted into the prestigious Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), and in 2004 became an accredited member of the group, cementing its status as one of the top marine parks in the world. In 2003, Dolphin Encounters and Project B.E.A.C.H. received the prestigious Cacique Award, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism?s highest honour for excellence in tourism and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The facility has also made the lifetime dream of many children come true by participating in the Make-A-Wish Foundation program.
For more information visit www.dolphinencounters.com, become a fan on Facebook, or call 242-363-7150 (general inquiries) or 242-363-1003 (reservations).
Tue, Jun 23rd 2009, 12:00 AM
Nassau, Bahamas ? Bahamians from all walks of life packed Christ Church Cathedral Monday to bid farewell to Milo Boughton Butler Jr., former Speaker of the House of Assembly. The Official Funeral Service reflected upon the life of Milo Butler Jr. in special tributes, music, prayers, and scripture readings.
Among those bringing tributes was Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham who said Mr. Butler came out of a tradition that encompasses the values of hard work, personal development, enterprise and generosity of service. ?While his independence of thought and devotion to certain principles did not always make him a political favourite, his contributions and capabilities did not allow for him to be overlooked,? said the Prime Minister. He described Mr. Butler as a ?nation builder?, a ?freedom fighter?, a ?progressive thinker? and, a man with "a passion for the progress of his people."
Also giving tributes were Elder Basil Butler, brother; Godfrey Eneas, family friend; the Hon. Pierre Dupuch, parliamentary colleague; Sir Arlington Butler, family friend; the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, leader of the Opposition and Rev. Dr. James Moultrie, rector of St. Matthew?s Anglican Church.
In all of the tributes Mr. Butler was referred to as an ?agitator? for the people, a ?modest? gentleman, a ?giant of a man?, and an outstanding ?fair-minded? man who loved his church and family.
Rev. Dr. Moultrie encouraged those present to use the special memories of Mr. Butler to sustain them. He described Mr. Butler as one who had ?immense power?, ?gentleness?, ?unbending courage?, ?deep compassion? and ?great intellect?.
Mr. Butler, the third son and sixth child of the late Sir Milo B. Butler Sr., and Lady Caroline Butler, was born on 30th November, 1936 in the City of Nassau, New Providence.
He made his first bid for Parliament as a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate during the 1967 general elections for the City of Nassau. He served as Chairman of the PLP in 1969. He was a Senator from 1969 to 1974, and served as Vice President of the Senate from 1972 to 1974.
In August 1974 Mr. Butler became the first Bahamian Consul-General, serving in Miami, Florida, from 1974 through 1977.
In 1977 he successfully contested the seat for the Pinedale Constituency which he represented continuously until 1992. During his tenure in Parliament, Mr. Butler served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly from 1987 to 1991 and as Speaker of the House of Assembly from 1991 until the General Election of 1992.
Mr. Butler was a faithful member of St. Matthew?s Anglican Church and served as a member of the Vestry, the Bishop?s Council, the Synod and the Provincial Synod.
Mr. Butler is survived by his sons, Milo III, Godwin and Jevon; daughters, Angela and Bernadette; former wives, Winfred, and Comfort Baker; brothers, Raleigh Sr., Elder Basil and Matthew, sister, Juanita; 3 grandsons, 4 granddaughters, 4 sisters-in-law, 3 aunts, 20 nephews, and 16 nieces including the Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner. Following a funeral procession led by the combined choirs of Matthew?s Church, Parliamentary pallbearers, members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Mr. Butler?s body was interred in the Eastern Cemetery, Dowdeswell Street.