Nassau Guardian Stories

New shopping concept for BTC's small business customers

April 21, 2017

"BTC Sip & Shop" is the new shopping craze that was officially launched recently with the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) and Velvet Hanger.
"BTC Sip & Shop" is a brand new concept introduced by the company's small business team. BTC works along with its small business clients to promote their efforts. The kick-off event took place at Velvet Hanger. BTC's Manager for small businesses Najah Finlayson said, "Small businesses represent almost 50 percent of our customer base. Over the last year, we have worked on several strategies to improve our connections with them. We started out by forming a business unit to meet the needs of our small business customers."
Over one hundred patrons flocked to the store and enjoyed wine and treats as they browsed through the bright and beautiful colors and styles just in time for Easter.
Velvet Hanger's proprietor Marion Dean expressed her appreciation, stating, "We were happy to have BTC at our side as we introduced our new spring line. It feels great to have BTC as a partner and we look forward to many other opportunities in the future."
All customers attending the event received in-store discounts on items from Velvet Hanger and top-of-the-line BTC devices. Additionally, every customer making a purchase with Velvet Hanger and also with BTC were entered to win a special $250.00 shopping spree courtesy of Velvet Hanger and BTC.
BTC is the first quad play provider in The Bahamas. The company offers a full suite of landline, internet, mobile and television services allowing customers to stay connected throughout The Bahamas.

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Nomination Day

April 20, 2017

Candidates in the upcoming general election are nominating around the country today.

Among those nominating are Perry Christie, Centerville and Dr Hubert Minnis, Killarney.

The general election is set for Wednesday May 10th.

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Poll shows FNM ahead

April 20, 2017

A recent national survey on the political climate in The Bahamas commissioned by the Free National Movement (FNM), shows the FNM has a much higher favorability rating than the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), but 32 percent of participants were undecided.
The survey, which reflects a snapshot of the electorate, was conducted by Ragnar Research Partners, a public opinion research group based in the United States.
Three hundred registered voters were interviewed on April 11 and 12, 2017.
The results show that 56 percent of participants held a favorable opinion of the FNM, compared to 16 percent, who had an unfavorable opinion of the party.
This resulted in a net favorability rating of 40 percentage points.
The unfavorability ratings of both the PLP and DNA were approximately double that of the FNM.
Only 36 percent of participants held a favorable opinion of the PLP.
Thirty-seven percent of participants said they had an unfavorable opinion of the governing party, leaving the PLP with a net favorability of negative one percentage point.
A similar percentage of participants had a favorable and unfavorable view of the DNA -- 34 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable.
The DNA came away with a net favorability score of three percentage points.
As it relates to leaders vying to become prime minister, FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minis had the highest net favorability with 25 percentage points, based on the 44 percent of participants that had a favorable opinion of him, compared to the 19 percent of participants that held an unfavorable opinion of him.
Minnis' score was five times higher than that of Prime Minister Perry Christie.
According to the survey, 39 percent of participants had a favorable opinion of the prime minister, but nearly an equal percentage of participants -- 34 percent -- held an unfavorable opinion of him, resulting in a net favorability of five percentage points.
Twenty-nine percent of participants reflected a favorable opinion of DNA Leader Branville McCartney, but 25 percent of participants had an unfavorable opinion of him.
His net favorability score was four percentage points.
According to the poll, the margin of error is plus or minus 5.9 percent.
The survey may have implications for the attractiveness of the three parties in the minds of voters.
A memorandum from Chris Perkins, a partner at Ragnar Research Partners, to the FNM leadership, said, "This is very good data for us.
"The voters view the FNM and Dr. Minnis [in] a favorable light, meaning our positive messaging has been effective.
"Along the same lines, the PLP and Christie had statistically the same favorable and unfavorable percentages.
"This is not good for the majority party, especially when comparing the image of the opposition party (FNM).
"The voters are clearly looking for an alternative.
"The significant advantage of the FNM's image translates to the ballot among those that have formed an opinion of both the FNM and PLP -- 50 percent of all voters.
"It's likely that when voters do cast their ballot, they will have formed an opinion of both parties and both leaders of each party.
"While there is still significant undecided percentage, the trajectory bodes well for us. Going forward, if our image stays strong and the PLP's remains even, we are well positioned for victory."

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Man fined for receiving stolen BPL fuel

April 20, 2017

A man was yesterday fined for receiving 110 gallons of stolen diesel from Bahamas Power and Light over the weekend.
Jarius Bowleg, 48, was one of four men arrested after the fuel theft was uncovered by a worker on April 15.
However, only Bowleg and Phillip Curry, 50, of Butler Street, Nassau Village, were charged.
Bowleg and Curry were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans on charges of stealing and the alternative charge of receiving.
Initially, they both pleaded not guilty, but Bowleg changed his plea after learning that he would be remanded to prison until he could get bail from the Supreme Court.
He pleaded guilty to receiving and the stealing charge was withdrawn.
Vogt-Evans gave Bowleg the option of paying a $1,000 fine or spending one year in prison.
As for Curry, he maintained his not guilty pleas and will be tried on June 14.
Sergeant Claudette McKenzie prosecuted.

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12 mil. mini-hospital opened in Abaco

April 20, 2017

There were many tears and wide smiles in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, yesterday as Prime Minister Perry Christie cut the ribbons tied around the main entrance of the new Marsh Harbour Healthcare Centre.
While speaking to an emotional crowd in Abaco, Christie said the renovations at the facility, which are valued at "roughly $12 million", were a part of the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) plan to prepare the country for the full rollout of National Health Insurance (NHI) by creating and renovating infrastructure and providing more resources.
"In recent years, my government has spearheaded an intensive effort to reform our national health platform in an effort to realize the essential values of a modern public health system and that is access, quality, equity, affordability and sustainability," said Christie.
"Following a long period of evaluation, examination, consultation and public discussion, my government has determined that the implementation of universal coverage through a phased National Health Insurance program is, in fact, the best and the most sustainable path towards the improvement of healthcare delivery in our nation.
"The initial rollout of our NHI program, as you would have heard, will focus on the delivery of primary care services through a network of public and private primary care centers.
"This has demanded a significant investment in resources in the renovation, refurbishment and upgrading of public health clinics all across our country.
"These improvements have been undertaken in order to ensure that these facilities meet the standard of the NHI program."
Christie said a big part of effective healthcare is trying to prevent illnesses and diseases rather than simply treating or curing them. He said it is important for people of all ages to live and lead healthy lives.
Adamant that he was "not trying to be political", the prime minister said whoever wins the upcoming general election ought to take the health of its citizens more seriously because our nation has too many cases of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, among other ailments.
In the event that he is re-elected as prime minister, he said he plans to build two similar facilities in Exuma and Eleuthera.
"In our country, it is important that if we are going to maintain the cost of NHI, for us to be more disciplined and committed to heathy lifestyles.
"As a part of the NHI offering, we indicated we would begin a fund of $24 million which could be $30 million because we wanted to recognize it would be catastrophic illnesses and that we would have the means to make interventions...to save people's lives.
"So we are going to start with the capacity that could be $30 million a year to do the right thing.
"The government is committed to recognizing that we are now opening this facility in Abaco, to say to the people of Exuma, yes you are partially opened but we are in the process of taking all of the necessary steps to put you, in the shortest possible time, in the same position that we are in, in Abaco.
"So Exuma, we are [coming to] you.
"Now [Former Prime Minister] Hubert Ingraham took care of Abaco and he threw Exuma in.
"My mom came from Eleuthera so I just asked the Ministry of Finance to dedicate money [for the foundation] for the new hospital that will be in Palmetto Point in Eleuthera."

State of the art

Construction for the healthcare center began under the Free National Movement (FNM) in April of 2012. It began nearly 25 years after the first community clinic was built in Marsh Harbour in 1988.
The 33,000 square foot facility has three wings. It is equipped with five doctor exam rooms, an eight bed unit and a state of the art laboratory.
The trauma room has three beds.
The adminstration wing has a staff cafeteria and a state of the art pharmacy.
There is also a morgue where autopsies will be performed.
Community Health Administrator Charlene Bain said there are currently about 20 people working in the healthcare center.
That number is expected to increase to 70 by September inclusive of 16 nurses, five doctors, three pharmacists and two lab technicians.
Christie reiterated his government's commitment to see to the advancement of healthcare throughout all islands.
"...My government has continued to prioritize the development and reform of healthcare in our country because the old adage still rings true, 'The health of the nation is the wealth of the nation,'" Christie said.
"Within these hallowed halls that we now dedicate to the service of the Bahamian people, doctors, nurses and support staff will dispense the highest quality care with professionalism and compassion.
"In the event of medical emergency, the facility is equipped to stabilize patients prior to referral to a tertiary facility such as the Princess Margaret Hospital or the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama.
"Dental care, maternal and child health services, ambulatory care and other primary care services based out of this healthcare center will be upgraded as a new emphasis on patient-centered care is applied at every point of contact between healthcare providers and patients.
"The Marsh Harbour Healthcare Centre has also been designed to respond to the most challenging public health issues of our day.
"Globalization and advances in modern transportation has brought the world to our doorstep.
"The Bahamas, like other nations around the world, is forced to consider the impact of pandemic and trans-national infections.
"This facility not only allows for surveillance of select communicable diseases, but also for rapid response and containment of serious infectious diseases, increasing the capacities of public health services on the island."

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Kenred Dorsett suspects arson in latest landfill fire

April 20, 2017

Less than two months after a fire broke out at the New Providence Landfill, threatening homes in nearby Jubilee Gardens, another blaze started at the site late Tuesday night, and although fire department officials had yet to determine the cause, Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett suspects it was arson.
The fire continued to burn yesterday.
Dorsett said it started in the northern quadrant of the landfill, which was being used as a temporary tipping floor.
"From all indications and from what they have reported to me, we believe it to be sabotage," Dorsett said.
"The fire is in a straight line, right along the ridge, which is not something that is standard if it were as a result of combustion and so forth.
"Clearly from what we have seen it is sabotage, it is arson, and it is wrong and needs to be condemned."
Dorsett said the fire is not subsurface, but above ground and should be put out relatively quickly.
"I have told the team that I expect the fire to be out before nomination day tomorrow and certainly before Baha Mar opens on Friday," he said.
Speaking to the security on the landfill, Dorsett said despite having 24-hour security at the site in the aftermath of the last fire, "the prime minister has indicated to us in our discussions this morning that if we need to bring defense force officers out here to contain and shut down this site, that will in fact happen.
"So I am going to have additional discussions with the prime minister later on this afternoon with respect to additional security on this site, because human intervention is now not only causing a major cost to the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to put this out, but it's the public health that we have to be concerned about."
Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, who has been vocal on the impact the landfill fires have had on his constituents, said he believes the fire could be politically motivated.
"I guess this is political season so you do what you have to do to try to cause havoc in the minds of Bahamian people," he said.
"Tomorrow is when we nominate, so hopefully we don't be smelling smoke while we [are] nominating.
"These things now have to stop.
"...I hope that no one could stoop to that level that you have to light a fire to try to get yourself some publicity or try to get sympathy from voters, because I don't see the sense in it, because you are affecting people's lives in a very negative way.
"So let's hope that is not the case."
Miller said based on how the fire looked, "one can only assume it was intentionally done, again".
Asked whether the fire was the work of an arsonist, Superintendent Walter Evans, who heads police fire services, said, "We cannot say conclusively, not at this point."
When asked whether there was any evidence of a fire accelerant present, he said, "Any number of variables could have been used, but we are not in a position to [say] because we are really right now in a state where we really need to ensure that this fire is extinguished.
"I can tell you what we met when we got here.
"We met the fire on the landfill and we met a very, very large area (on fire), and we are not in a position, not at this stage, to say exactly how the fire started.
"Whether an accelerant was used or not, we are not in a position to say that."
Evans indicated that "around 3 o'clock in that general facility we received a call of a fire on the landfill, and when officers...arrived here they met a large area burning which would have included household waste items.
"We dispatched several units here and as a result of that...the fire is now contained and we are now making progress toward extinguishing this fire."
He said firefighters were initially concerned about the multi-reuse facility (MRF) machine.
"Initially the fire services implemented a strategy to prevent the spread of this fire, where we had some very, very serious concerns, particularly regarding the fire moving towards the MRF, which is a heavy piece of equipment which is valued at several hundred thousand dollars, maybe even in the early millions, and we have implemented that strategy and we fared very well in that regard," Evans said.
The government has officially launched the request for proposals (RFP) process in an effort to facilitate the remediation and operation of the landfill.
The deadline for applications is April 26, 2017 and an opening of proposals will take place at the Ministry of Finance the following day.
Dorsett said earlier this month that the preliminary cost of remediation at the landfill is about $20 million to $30 million, but that amount is expected to increase.

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AG nolles lawyer's libel case

April 20, 2017

One week after attorney Maria Daxon challenged the constitutionality of the criminal libel laws, the attorney general yesterday discontinued the case against her.
Daxon, who was fired from the Royal Bahamas Police Force in 2015, had been accused of publishing defamatory statements about the police commissioner and a now retired assistant commissioner.
Daxon, 50, of Pinewood Gardens, was charged with two counts of intentional libel.
Prosecutors alleged that Daxon on August 26 and August 30, 2016 published writings about both Commissioner Ellison Greenslade and Assistant Commissioner Leon Bethell that would expose them to general hatred, contempt or ridicule.
Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson directed the prosecution be discontinued and, as a result, Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes discharged the case.
The discharge does not serve as an acquittal and the case could be refiled, though it is unlikely.
Daxon's constitutional challenge sought a declaration that the charge of intentional libel is "void, illegal and of no effect" as it represents a breach of her constitutional right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 23(1) of the Bahamian constitution, the country's supreme law.
It also requested that the Supreme Court order that Forbes either quash or dismiss the proceedings against Daxon, and declare that Section 315 (2) of the Penal Code, which provides for the offense of criminal intentional libel, is unconstitutional, which would lead to the removal of the offense from the country's statute books.
The filing also calls for the commissioner of police to pay Daxon's legal costs in connection with the case, and to also pay damages for bringing an unconstitutional challenge against her in the first place.
In recent years, criminal libel laws have come under serious challenge around the world, with a number of countries declaring them unconstitutional. Over the past two decades alone, several Commonwealth countries have abolished these laws, including Britain, Jamaica, Grenada, New Zealand, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Sri Lanka.

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All things considered

April 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
Considering all that has been said and done under a PLP administration, we are looking at the possible consolidation of an enslaved state.
Over five years, the government has reigned over worsening economic conditions, and contributed to an unfriendly business environment and growing unemployment.
In response, the government has been hiring Bahamians wholesale, after years of allowing massive foreign employment for eg, construction sites. The rate of Government hiring has increased lately in a somewhat transparent move to improve its chances at the polls. (transparency at last!)
Here we have it: government economic mismanagement followed by government hiring the unemployed in an attempt to make them "their very own."
Unfortunately, as an economic model this does not have long term viability. Unlike colonial plantation economies, the modern state as the major employer does not produce a profit and cannot provide sustainable employment.
Mexico tried this model in the 1980's. Over 50% of the workforce in 1984 was employed by the Mexican Government or state owned companies. This, together with Mexico's excessive borrowing, culminated in the financial crash of 1984. The Mexican peso declined from 23 pesos / US$1.00 to 2,000 pesos /US$1. Inflation soared. The Mexican middle class diminished and poorer classes suffered -- and increased.
Greece is a current example of the results of excessive borrowing and economic fall-out. In the past few years, thousands, including school teachers, have lost their civil service jobs or had their salaries and benefits reduced. Former civil servants or their widows have had their pensions slashed. And they use the remaining portion of that pension to help their now unemployed adult children.
In Greece over 1000 schools have closed, forcing students into overcrowded conditions. Hospitals and clinics are downsized or closed, and over 4,000 doctors have emigrated. But the number of tax offices have increased and taxes have diminished disposable income.
If the Bahamas government becomes a major employer, it needs sponsors in an attempt to avoid a Mexican or Greek type fall-out. And there is no guarantee that attempt will be successful. Sponsors could be numbers men, foreign fashion designers or friendly foreign countries.
Friendly foreign countries have the deepest pockets. Thus our much vaunted national sovereignty, patriotically saved from the Delaware courts, may be genuflecting to a country that holds a place in Amnesty International's list of "The 10 worst attacks on human rights in 2016".
It's another iteration of the golden rule: He who has the gold, rules.
Bahamians can still alter this course of events simply by voting this government out of power, no matter where we are employed.
The future we save will be our own.

- Leandra Esfakis

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Welcome to the 21st century Loftus Roker

April 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
Former PLP cabinet minister Loftus Roker (he who gave us the cheeky moniker "Rokerpure" for brackish drinking water), recently expressed his disdain over the fact that outside observers were coming to invigilate our election next month.
He chided our leaders for having no confidence in Bahamians and wondered if so-called first world countries like the UK and the U.S. (among others) would allow these observers to monitor their elections. His implication was that they would not.
I wish to set him straight about at least two instances: the last election cycles in Britain and the U.S., our next door neighbour. Candidate Donald Trump barked to the world that he was expecting a rigged election and so it came as no surprise that outside observers were welcomed.
The publication U.S. News and World Report published an article last year confirming that indeed the U.S. election was monitored by two separate outside groups and not a whisper was heard from anyone.
Officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have been observing U.S. elections since 2002, and last year, for the first time, a delegation was sent from the Organization of American States (OAS) to witness the presidential election.
The OSCE has an Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights through which it observes elections to assess the extent to which electoral processes respect fundamental freedoms and are characterized by equality, universality, political pluralism, confidence, transparency and accountability.
In their 2015 general elections, Britain accepted the OSCE along with 170 other foreign observers. The British Electoral Commission, which approved their presence there, said that it was to ensure that the vote is carried out in accordance with international standards.
Oversight isn't always about catching fraud. Sometimes it's about improving best practices and, just as important, ensuring an atmosphere of transparency. And if you want enforcement of election laws, who better to do so than outsiders, who supposedly don't have a horse in the race.
We could have done with an OSCE mission here to monitor the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall, whose shenanigans about what some women wore when they registered to vote was surely an infringement of their basic human rights as citizens of The Bahamas.
So, my good friend Loftus Roker should stand corrected, and I wish to advise him to re-boot his thinking to the 21st century.

- The Graduate

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Politics to solve problems politicians to serve people

April 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
It is very important that this election, on May 10 2017, the political parties present to the Bahamian people the best ideas, solutions and visions to address the problems facing The Bahamas and the Bahamian people. It is also very important that the politicians all must remember that they are elected to Parliament to serve and represent the Bahamian people. It is my sincere hope that a better future will be decided by the Bahamian people for themselves, their kids and grandkids. The voice of the people will be heard on May 10 2017. May God bless The Bahamas and the Bahamian people.
- Pedro Smith

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A rally that matters

April 20, 2017

We are certain that the majority of Bahamians are against Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). These five years of governance have been the worst in the country's history since majority rule.
The PLP's only hope at retaining power is the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). The DNA took 8.5 percent of the vote in 2012 -- its first and only election. Branville McCartney formed the party out of the belief that Bahamians were tired of Christie and then Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Hubert Ingraham. He pledged to be the change agent. His message failed.
McCartney's party is back and trying again. It can't win but it can help the PLP. If the anti-PLP vote splits significantly between the DNA and FNM, the PLP will win. As the third party does not have the support to win government or seats in the House of Assembly, a vote for the DNA is really a vote for the PLP to remain in power.
FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has one task at hand: He must convince the vast number of Bahamians who are sick and tired of Christie that they should vote FNM and not be persuaded to waste their votes with the DNA. If Minnis can do that, if he and his team can bring the overwhelming majority that want change to their side, Christie will be sent home for good.
The first mass rallies of election season are tonight. The PLP will be at Arawak Cay; the FNM at R.M. Bailey Park. The PLP's base will come out in full force. They fear losing and want to show they are still in control. PLPs think they have a divine right to govern The Bahamas -- that they are the natural ruling party.
For Minnis and the FNM it's a different situation. The divisions between he and Loretta Butler-Turner, the former FNM deputy leader, led to a major split in the party. Dissident MPs removed Minnis as leader of the opposition.
Since then Minnis has done well to help bring the party back to fighting shape. He must now show at a major rally that his party still has thousands of enthusiastic supporters.
If the FNM can fill R.M. Bailey Park, just as the PLP will fill its venue, those undecideds who lean anti-government will see a party that looks strong again, a party they can vote for.
Rally crowds mean something for superficial voters. Some just go with momentum rather than being persuaded by policy or something more substantive.
FNMs must help Minnis in this show of force tonight. Get up. Attend. Encourage other FNMs to come out too. The option in this election is simple: Either you want another term of Christie or you will vote him out with the FNM. That's it.
If Minnis is to win he has to structure his argument as such. It's more Christie, or the FNM.
It will be a spirited three weeks. It is good that a record number of Bahamians registered. Our government should be chosen by a proper cross section of the electorate.
Right now it appears as if the mood of change is in the air. Bahamians seem ready to end the career of a man who never quite lived up to his potential. We may just be in the final three weeks of Christie's career as our prime minister.

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Perry Christie's desperation and abandonment of Centreville

April 20, 2017

Two days after the date of the general election was announced, an embattled and desperate Perry Christie went to Windsor Park for the handout of 1,000 Urban Renewal food parcels to residents of his Centreville constituency.
What an extraordinary coincidence was the timing of the event, held specifically in the prime minister's constituency, about 48 hours after the general election was announced.
Christie desperately sought to spin the blatantly political event: "I am so happy, because I made a decision that I did not want to make this a political program."
Why did he have to make such a decision? Were there attempts or thoughts of making it political?
Christie then blithely bellowed balderdash: "I did not want to have people confused about whether they're FNM or whether they're PLP or whether they're DNA or whatever they are."
How good of our fair-minded prime minister to help residents of his constituency to discern their political affiliation.
What good and noble representation from the self-proclaimed democrat, who arrogantly ignored the will of the people in the gambling referendum, and whose government failed to bring legislation to create the National Intelligence Agency.
Christie thumped at the Urban Renewal event: "And, I don't mind how many of you are in here and what they say; the one thing all of you would know, I don't need to play politics to win Centreville."
He said this exactly as he was playing politics. It's a well-known political shuffle by the great shuffler and dancer of Bahamian politics. With Christie, it is typically best to believe the opposite of what he says. See for example his many proclamations about Baha Mar.
Christie is the exemplar of that brilliant Dr. Maya Angelou insight which she offered with her sonorous voice, matter of fact wisdom, and broad smile, punctuated by her iconic diastema: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time." At the very beginning of his public career Christie talked but did very little. Nothing has changed.
Meanwhile, thank God Christie was not playing politics with taxpayer funds to help residents in his constituency. Perry Christie would never countenance something like that.

Marvelled
A few weeks ago Christie went to Fox Hill for the opening of a new community center which boasts various amenities, including a swimming pool. Christie marvelled at the center. He wistfully said he wished that Centreville could enjoy such a facility.
It was a sad and telling admission by Christie. It was sad for the people of Centreville. It was a telling indictment of Christie as the member of Parliament for the area.
He has represented Centreville for four decades. A child who was in vitro when Christie first represented the constituency is about 40 today with children of their own. While they have seen many life changes, little has changed to improve Centreville.
During his four-decade representation Christie has done little to materially transform Centreville. Much of the constituency is in worse shape today. Over four decades Christie could have built one of the best community centers in the country.
He could have built a state-of-the-art center for seniors. A recent video seen on WhatsApp showed the neglect and poverty in Centreville. Over four decades Christie could have dramatically improved housing in his constituency.
Christie is said to have fallen out with some of his supporters in Centreville because they believed he had little time for constituents. A number of residents are claiming that he is back on the ground campaigning because he is desperate. Many see him as arrogant and removed.
Christie's neglect of Centreville is such that his political headquarters in the constituency were badly rundown and in need of considerable repair. Christie simply did not care enough over the past five years to maintain his headquarters. It was telling of his neglect and indifference.
In his representation of Centreville in the House of Assembly, Christie followed the path of his mentor Sir Lynden Pindling instead of that of his friend Hubert Ingraham.

Strategy
Sir Lynden's strategy for representing a constituency was broadcast in 1987 at Windsor Park, the same venue for the Urban Renewal handout for residents of the prime minister's constituency.
After returning from his Kemp's Bay constituency after the 1987 general election, which many observers believe the PLP won fraudulently, Sir Lynden, in a fit of anger after nearly losing office, vehemently announced that he would abandon the middle class.
Sir Lynden expressed the view that as Bahamians entered the middle class they were less likely to vote PLP and less likely to remain dependent. The PLP has thrived with their dependency minds.
That the PLP represents some of the more deprived communities in New Providence is not coincidental. It is not because of great regard for poorer Bahamians. It is a political strategy that Christie has mastered.
The FNM has a much more progressive record under Hubert Ingraham than the PLP has under Christie. But because politics is often not about logic, facts and reason, many still emotionally believe that the PLP has a stronger progressive record in the last few decades.
He famously neglected his Kemp's Bay constituency. An iconic story is Sir Lynden having lamp poles sent to South Andros in 1982, a general election year, with the promise of more electricity.
The poles remained on the ground until the 1987 general election when they were erected. But it was not until the 1992 general election that the poles were strung.
In the early days of the PLP government Sir Lynden would also tell his colleagues not to do too much in a given term because they had to leave things to do for the next term.
Some of them, like Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, had a different view. They believed they should accomplish as much as possible now as there would always be plenty to do in the future.
Ingraham's Abaco representation is different, from Cooper's Town and North Abaco and throughout Abaco, Hubert Ingraham transformed the island of his youth, which has seen many millions in capital development and infrastructure.

Amenities
On a visit to Abaco, former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur marvelled at what Ingraham did in Abaco, noting that the island enjoyed some amenities various states in CARICOM did not enjoy.
Urban Renewal fits in with a certain philosophy of Christie. The program has done outreach and a number of good things. But it has not been the sort of development and empowerment program it could have been.
Christie and the PLP have used it more as a dependency program and for partisan political purpose to take care of many of their people. It was never designed or intended to be a transformational program.
It was more of a community service effort than an economic and social development program. It has been less about renewal and more about charitable outreach, which is important, but not sufficient.
Urban Renewal 2.0, which has been an abysmal failure in stemming crime as the PLP promised, has been widely successful as a PLP boondoggle. It is also a jobs program for certain PLP bigwigs and supporters.
A Tribune editorial observed: "It would appear that Urban Renewal 2.0 is a disaster under the direction of the PLP-appointed... former party assistant secretary-general on Grand Bahama and school caterer, whose self-proclaimed claim to fame is that she is qualified for her present position because she 'comes from urban'".
Urban Renewal has been dogged by questions of financial irregularities and has been investigated by the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly.
The sad and tragic tale of Perry Christie's abysmal representation in Centreville is one thing. If he cares enough he will have to live with the record of his neglect.
But it is the people of the area who have lived, and will live the rest of their lives, having been neglected by someone who had the power, including that of his great office, to improve their lives and ease their burdens but who did not do so over the course of more than a generation.
It is a tragic story all around and one of the greatest failures of Perry Christie.

o frontporchguardian@gmail.com, www.bahamapundit.com.

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Lord Coe excited, makes stop in The Bahamas

April 20, 2017

With less than two days to go before the start of the third edition of the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relays, IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe paid a visit to New Providence yesterday, to ensure that all the bases are covered and all of the pageantry is in place for the global event. The IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 is set for this Saturday and Sunday at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, here in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Lord Coe, in the presence of the relays Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rosamunde Carey and local organizing committee (LOC) Chairman Keith Parker, said that he's excited to see how this year's event plays out, and that although he won't be in attendance, he trusts that the best people are in the right places to ensure that this year's world relays goes off without a hitch.
Unfortunately, Coe will have to miss this year's event due to a funeral that he has to attend this weekend.
"Honestly, the BAAA (Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations) and the LOC have become friends, not only to the IAAF, but also to me personally as well," said Coe. "I first came to this beautiful island about 30 years ago, and it didn't take me long to realize that this is a community that appreciates track and field. I am delighted to be here, because this is becoming a favorite part of the international family of events. This is the third time that The Bahamas has so graciously hosted all of us. I am delighted, also because this event has now become a big event on the calendar."
Lord Coe might be on the other side of the world, but his administrative team in the IAAF will remain here for the world relays.
Once again, the world relays will be pivotal as the finalists in the men and women's 4x100 meters (m) and 4x400m relay events will automatically qualify for the London World Championships. The 16th IAAF World Championships is set for August 4-13 in London, England.
"Anytime there is a chance to qualify for the world championships, athletes always give a little extra on the track, which should make for some exciting races," said Coe.
Coe said that one of the races he is looking forward to the most is the mixed 4x400m relay, which is set to make its debut on the world relays program.
"I feel really good about this race," he said. "Although the world relays isn't the only event that will feature the race, it's good to get a feel for it. I think the fans will enjoy it as well. I like it because it is innovative, and that's what we have to keep doing. We have to keep coming up with new ideas to keep making these events more interesting."
Along with the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, and the mixed relay, the men and women's 4x200m and 4x800m events will be held.
The Bahamas is the first and only country to host the IAAF World Relays. It became the host country of the world relays under former IAAF President Lamine Diack. The Bahamas is set to host the 2019 IAAF World Relays as well.
The total prize purse of the relays is USD $1.26 million.

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Ayton expected to be used as a 'stretch four' next season

April 20, 2017

Although Bahamian DeAndre Ayton, who is considered the top high school basketball player in the 2017 recruiting class, built his reputation on being a tough post player, he expects his game to change drastically within the next few months, as he was recently told that University of Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller plans to use him as a 'stretch four', rather than as a traditional power forward that plays closer to the rim.
Over the last few years the sport of basketball has changed. In the past, a player with Ayton's size would be asked to stay on the low block and dominate undersized players. The idea of him playing away from the basketball and taking long three-point shot attempts would have been frowned on in the past, however, that's no longer the case.
Former Arizona Wildcats center Lauri Markkanen, who stands at 7'0" and weighs 230 pounds, shot 163 three pointers last season on 42 percent shooting. Like Markkanen, Ayton says he plans to take a lot of three's next season.
"They said I'll be a 'stretch four'," Ayton said. "I could see myself playing the four, the 'stretch four', just staying out there on the perimeter and shooting three pointers, and down low as well."
This season, with Hillcrest Academy, Ayton shot 46 percent from behind the three-point line.
"I took the most three pointers on my team, so I will probably be walking in Markkanen's footsteps," he said.
Along with moving him to the perimeter, Ayton said that Arizona also wants him to get out and run in transition after he rebounds the ball.
Ayton, 19, said that he only plans to spend one year in college. He hopes that he can lead the Wildcats to a national championship in that one year.
"We're trying to make history," he said. "Every school has a coach that won a national championship. Sean Miller has never gone to a final four. I want to make history there, and that's what caught my eye."
As it stands right now, Ayton is projected to be the No. 3 pick in the 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft.
Last week, Ayton dominated the Jordan Brand Classic, which features some of the top high school basketball players in the United States. Ayton poured in 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the West's 124-116 win over the East.
He scored six of his 19 points down the stretch to help them close out the win.
Ayton was also named a McDonalds All-American last month. In the annual McDonalds All-American game, he finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.

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Carl Lewis in town for IAAF World Relays

April 20, 2017

One of the most iconic stars in the history of track and field is back in The Bahamas after many years, and is ready to embrace the thrill and excitement of the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017.
American Carl Lewis, a nine-time Olympic Champion who has amassed over 20 gold medals at major meets and broken a number of records, took time out of his busy schedule to entertain local media yesterday, just three days before the start of the world relays. The third International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays is set for this Saturday and Sunday at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, right here in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Lewis is not here in an official capacity for the world relays, but one of his athletes, Leshon Collins, is representing the United States at the global event this weekend. Lewis serves as an assistant coach, alongside Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, at the University of Houston, and runs his Perfect Method program which is geared to further developing and preparing young athletes. Another one of Lewis' athletes, Bajan Mario Burke, will also take part in the world relays this weekend -- competing for Barbados.
Now that he is into coaching full-time, Lewis said that he is committed to re-establishing the American brand as the greatest track and field sprinting power in the world.
"Everyone who is an American can understand the frustration, especially someone like myself who has been around for a while," said Lewis. "We have not won a major relay for about 10 years in the men's 4x100 meters. I have been asked to come in and advise in any way that I can, and I'm accepting that role. Let's work together. I look at Houston, and Houston might be the best city in the world for high school track and field. I really believe that, and that is what excites me. Just seeing the fast times that I see there in high school is special. Something like the world relays is a great event for them to aspire to compete in. I'm just glad that they have put these kind of events together, because the fans really love the relays and it is an opportunity for young athletes to compete in another event."
Lewis retired from competitive track and field in 1997. He took some time away from the sport before venturing into coaching. After the 2012 Olympics, he said that he felt the time was right to offer his assistance to young track and field athletes.
"The 2012 Olympics was the worst in history for the U.S. men's track and field team," said Lewis. "I sat there and I was like what is going on. We have all of these great colleges, and all of these sprint programs, and we're not producing. I felt like if I got back in the sport, I would get back in with the objective of building Olympic Champions. I went and volunteered for a year, and then Coach Leroy Burrell asked me to come on as a sprint coach. I said that I would do it under the auspices of us building Olympic Champions. That's my goal."
For now, Lewis said that it feels great to be back in The Bahamas -- a place that he frequented quite a bit.
"I've had a great relationship with The Bahamas for a long time -- visiting here and vacationing here," said Lewis. "Frank Rutherford (Bahamian Olympian) and I have had a relationship for a very long time. We've known each other for over 30 years, and now we're coaching together in Houston. There is a close relationship going on with Houston and Bahamians. Myself, I'm back here, and I'm adopting it. Then we have Brianne Bethel (Bahamian sprinter) who is on the track team. One of the 'Golden Girls', Debbie Ferguson, is a coach on the track team. Also, Frank Rutherford is a coach in Houston and the school record holder. So, we have a real connection, and we have a new signee coming in as well."
Lewis' Perfect Method program aims to give young athletes and coaches everything they need in order to compete at the highest level, whether it be technical running skills, seasonal conditioning, optimized nutrition, mental preparation or discipline.
"Our university program is a training base for the Olympic Games. One of my goals is to see the young athletes get their degrees then they move on to Team Perfect Method. It's the long-term vision of creating an Olympic base program, and using the college experience."
Everything this weekend is geared toward the world relays. A total of USD$1.26 million is up for grabs in prize money.
"I think we need to work harder for it to be more. It should be $1.2 million per event," said Lewis. "The NFL (National Football League) is a nine billion dollar annual business -- millions of dollars per minute. That is what we should aspire to. We should push for more, and see how the athletes could work with federations and organizers to get the prize money up. What is missing is the middle class. We need middle class events for the athletes, so that these young athletes could have the off meets that they could go to until they get to the big meets. Let's get down in the trenches and make it happen. We'll get those numbers up by having a lot of little meets."
Lewis said that the IAAF should work toward staging more ancillary meets around the big meets.
"Europe used to be full of meets, and now a lot of them are gone," he said. "If an athlete could earn $50,000 per year in track and field, they don't have to work, and that would be ideal. Now, it's either you don't make anything, or you make $100,000. To me, I think that's what we should focus on. I think the IAAF should spend more time developing meets and creating new meets with new promoters and sponsors."
Lewis is the only athlete in history to win long jump gold at four successive Olympics. He is a former world record holder in the men's 100 meters (m), and was a part of world record setting 4x100m and 4x200m relay teams.
The track and field legend is looking forward to the world relays this weekend.

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Praise, prayer and intercession

April 20, 2017

Everyone needs to know that God will truly make a way out of their situations, but it's important to pray -- and people must learn to pray together. That was the lesson organizers of the recent prayer gathering staged by God's Women Unite Fellowship of Churches hoped people would take away.
"In spite of all you may be going through, God will truly make a way," said Joy Wells, event chairperson. "And of course He would make a way through tough times, so it's important for us to pray, and we really wanted that to hit home."
Prayer is said to be pivotal and essential, and it was with this in mind that a group of women from several religious denominations and civic groups joined forces to host the night of prayer, praise and intercession for families on Thursday, April 13 at the R.M. Bailey Park.
"When God's people pray together Heaven opens," said Wells. "We wanted people to understand the importance of praise and worship in our lives today and that God hasn't forgotten us. It's important for us to come together ... unite in prayer, because we know that one can change 1,000; two can change 10,000 -- but if all of us come together, we can indeed make a difference in our homes, in our communities and our nation."
The chairperson said that in these perilous times, with the enemy of souls increasing his tactics to destroy personal lives, homes, communities, churches and the nation, people need to simply pray.
"We're on the brink of a general election, and we wanted to pray for that. We see so many families being impacted negatively in our country. We have broken homes, the result of divorces, we have single-parent families, and all of this is just compiled on persons by many other problems. People are heartbroken due to the various things happening in their families, so we thought it would be so fitting to unite in prayer, and let each other know that they're not alone, and that God has other people out there to support them. And on the brink of an election, it's important to come together as a nation and pray and seek God's face, because we want God to do so many things in our country, but it will only come through our willingness to pray and believe together."
The prayer gathering, the first held by God's Women Unite Fellowship of Churches, was the first for the organization, and Wells said she was humbled that it came together, and relieved that they were able to carry out the call of God. She said she believes the prayer gathering was what He wanted them to do.
"Obedience is better than sacrifice, so we were blessed to have the persons come and I felt very satisfied that we indeed carried out what God wanted us to do," she said.
"Everyone needs to know that truly God will make a way in their situations, but of course it's important to pray. And we have to learn to pray together. Prayer gatherings like these -- in the open air -- are very important, so that persons who do not attend church can feel welcome to come in and pray."
Wells said God's people have to arise and be concerted in their efforts to combat the onslaught of the enemy through prayer, fasting and evangelism.
Prayer, it is said, is meant to line God's people up in His will and with His empowerment. And being faithful in prayer is the essential mechanism for reaching others with faith.

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We are called to spread the good news of salvation

April 20, 2017

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." - Colossians 3:1-4

Many of us live as if this world is our home. The things that we do suggest that we are in control and that we will never die. We try to perpetuate our existence by building monuments to ourselves.
Our achievements in this life become our singular goal. The transient material possessions of this world become our gods. Consequently we shut out everything and everyone who do not fit into our plan.
We place our hope in things, which will pass away. They can only serve us in this world. When we die they come to naught and all of our hopes and dreams are buried with us in the grave.
However, there is a lasting hope that never crumbles nor dissipates. Such hope lies in the resurrected Christ.
Paul makes this point in the above epistle, which he addressed to the church at Colossae, a city of Phrygia, in Asia Minor. He reminded the ancient church, and to us who make up the church today, that Jesus is all we need.
Therefore, we should focus our attention on heavenly things. We who are in the world today are no different from the Colossians. Like the Colossians, we too are bombarded by numerous false doctrines, which are being propagated around us.
These spurious Christians groups try to convince us that we will spend eternity here on earth. They give a persuasive argument in favor of us heaping up treasures here on earth. But let no one fool you, Heaven is our destination, not earth.
We are only passing through the earth on our journey to heaven. Therefore, let us immerse ourselves in the new life in Christ. We should look to the risen Christ and set our hearts on things that are above.
Easter reminds us of Christ's redemptive work on the cross of Calvary, over 2,000 years ago. Aware of this truth, we give praise and thanks to a loving God for His gift of salvation to us in Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus' death and resurrection from the grave gives us hope and a new life. That new life comes to us in our baptism and faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In our baptism we have been raised with Christ. He recreates us and gives us a new life.
This new life that we have in Christ is a mystery. It is a mystery because we do not understand how God transforms us and then transfuses us with cleansing re-creating power.
But even though we cannot understand it, we can experience it. We don't have to wait until we die to live this new life that Christ has won for us. It begins when we are baptized into His death and resurrection.
Having been liberated from the anxiety of dying, we are emancipated to live bodily as Christ's emissaries now. As His emissaries here on earth, we are called to spread the good news of salvation by words and deeds of love.
As emissaries of Christ, let us display the life of Christ through our living. Like the apostle, we are witnesses of everything our Lord and Savior did. Therefore, we should promulgate the good news of the gospel until our Lord returns to gather His church. 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: lutheranchurch@coralwave.com.

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Tears or cheers -- cry or celebrate

April 20, 2017

I personally stopped going to funerals many years ago for several reasons. I do believe the last one I went to was out of respect for my wife who passed on several years ago. Now the main reason why I don't go to funerals is because my personal belief is in reincarnation. So believing that, I know that the person who we consider to be dead is still alive in another place. For that person, the real person, the spirit within has simply departed his or her earthly body which it has left behind.
So rather than shed tears for them, I go along with the Hindu tradition of having a great big party as they cremate the body which has been left behind whilst cheering for the actual life and accomplishments of the so-called dead person; the person whose spirit has already moved to another higher realm where their journey continues.
Instead of crying when someone makes their transition into the next phase of everlasting life, the Hindus and many others who believe in reincarnation actually have a great big party as they celebrate the earthly life and accomplishments of the person who has passed on to greater things. This to me makes a whole lot of sense. Yes indeed, it occurs to me that Eastern philosophy is far ahead of us in the West as they know and understand that only the body is dead, however, the spirit lives on forever.
I don't know about you, but I have already instructed my daughter to have my remains cremated and then scattered in the clear, aquamarine waters of The Bahamas. I want them to celebrate my life and the good I did through my teachings and remember me as I was, realizing of course, that the real me, the spirit within, is in fact alive and well in another place.

o Think about it!
Visit my website at: www.dpaulreilly.com.
Listen to "Time to Think" the radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.

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Christians and politics part 6: Important issues and evaluation from a Kingdom perspective

April 20, 2017

Election season has been officially launched in The Bahamas, and in light of the election date announcement I would like to highlight some of the items that I believe are important from a Kingdom perspective. I am also introducing a tool that I believe can be used to evaluate candidates and parties. Please feel free to use this tool to evaluate candidates and parties and get their official position on them.
Leadership: Visionary -- do they have clearly outlined plans and a written vision? Are they decisive in decision-making and consistent in their positions on issues, or do they flip flop or bow to public opinion or pressure by special interests? Does their position line up with Kingdom principles -- righteousness, justice, peace? Do they have positions that contradict or oppose clearly stated positions from the Bible, especially the New Testament?
Energy: The Bahamas is one of the countries in the world that has lots of sunshine. Does the party have a plan for individual, corporate and country access to solar, LP, waste to energy? Are incentives being provided for persons to take advantage of alternative green energy? Will there be a grid tie system that allows persons to sell excess power into the system, thereby creating economic activity for everyday Bahamians who invest in solar, and become entrepreneurs by selling power back to the grid?
Environment: We have been entrusted with one earth. Our environment should be protected and preserved as much as possible unless it is at the cost of human life. Humans are created above animals and human survival holds a primary position, but key to human survival is adequate care and management of the environment. Do their policies stipulate adequate protection of the environment and natural resources?
Family values: Preservation of traditional marriage and family (respecting others who differ but not acquiescing to the destruction, diminishing or alteration of the original family unit). Is preeminence being given to the promotion and success of the traditional family unit? Marriage should be enshrined in our constitution as between a man and a woman.
National Health Insurance: What are the detailed plans and budget for its implementation and is it satisfactory? On this issue the most important aspect is catastrophic coverage and major medical expenses rather than primary care. If catastrophic care is not included there is no significant benefit to most citizens and the primary issue that National Insurance was to solve remains unsolved. What is the plan and timetable for introduction of this care, and what is the budget and how will it be funded?
Gambling: This is considered a vice and is a non-productive activity. Gaming houses are now legal so they have a right to legally operate. Bahamians gambling in casinos is not allowed and any further expansion on gambling should not be encouraged. Gambling in hotel casinos has the potential of diverting foreign currency that would otherwise remain in the local economy (per opinion of former Central Bank Governor James Smith). God's system is based upon productivity over chance. Gambling has addictive properties and potential for harm to families as people recklessly spend earned income in hopes of achieving a big payout. There are winners, but the ultimate winner is the "house" and the losers inevitably outnumber the winners. I do not believe expansion of gambling lines up with a Kingdom perspective.
Carnival: Considering our current national issues, is this worthy of being a priority for Bahamians? One of the meanings of the word carnival is "festival of flesh" and as such is a glorification of flesh. Most carnivals focus on exposing flesh and sexual gyrations, which goes against the biblical admonition of modesty and decency. Cultural expressions are important, but with an existing culture that is underdeveloped, has this introduced a new and controversial cultural expression that was first put forth as a generator of foreign currency but has not met this objective? This item appears to be far from a priority in a nation with so many challenges, and has possibly directed needed resources away from more productive use. If it continues it should be privatized so that no public funds are used.
Immigration: Protection of borders and the interests of Bahamians is primary and must be ensured. No one has a right to enter a country illegally. Illegals should be humanely detained and deported whenever found in contravention of our laws, however, a humane and practical immigration policy should include regularization of immigrant children born in The Bahamas who have no status and are essentially stateless. Will this be addressed?
Fiscal reform: The Bahamas has been given downgrades and punitive lending practices because of recurring fiscal deficits. VAT was one of the mechanisms put in place to reduce the deficit. There must be a clear indication of planned fiscal discipline and reform to prevent further erosion of the Bahamian economy. VAT income should be placed in a separate fund and a report available to the Bahamian people on its specific uses. What is the plan for fiscal reform on both the income and expenditure sides?
Crime: What new or innovative steps can and will be taken to further combat crime? The plan has to include law enforcement, strengthening of families, community building, church involvement, and moral and spiritual training. Is such a plan available for review prior to the upcoming election?
Prison reform: With a longstanding deplorable facility to house inmates, concrete plans should be put forth to improve living conditions (toilets, running water) with new and more modern, livable cells for inmates. Comprehensive educational and rehabilitation programs that involve achievement of degrees, diplomas and trade skills should be outlined.
Economic expansion and diversity: What new steps will be taken to cause an expanded and more diverse economy (e.g. oil drilling, solar and alternative energies, small business development, agriculture and fisheries, international Internet-based businesses)? What are the new economic ideas? The economy is clearly an issue of concern. I believe the Kingdom perspective is based upon distribution and not hoarding. Capitalism needs to be balanced with ensuring that basic needs are met for everyone and that everyone is productive. I believe there should be an expansion of assistance to the poor, but whoever receives aid and is able to, should be required to do some form of work or service to prevent idleness and lack of productivity.
Term limits: Term limits for prime ministers (maximum of two terms).
Social programs: Work requirements for able-bodied recipients to encourage productivity and engagement.

o Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email me your comments whether you agree or disagree at pastordaveburrows@ hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialog. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.

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Take time to love

April 19, 2017

Far too often I meet couples that are getting married without having sufficient time to know each other or to develop a meaningful relationship before marriage. They feel they love each other and that's all they need. Is love enough?
The reality is they are sexually involved, and sex is always sweet, even if the hearts are not sweet. It's difficult to distinguish the difference if you are moving too fast and sexually involved. Rushing into marriage is a recipe for disaster.
There are some people who get married quickly because they do not want to have sex before marriage, but they are so sexually hot they rush into marriage just to have "legal" sex. The problem is sex does not prove you love each other or that love will last. It only proves one thing -- your sex organs are working. However, it does not prove they will continue to work after marriage. That's serious. Both of these extremes are dangerous -- rushing because you are involved or rushing to avoid prematurely being involved. This is why you must make friends with time. Time is a most important ingredient in a healthy, budding relationship.
How much time does a couple really need before getting married? Ten years ago I shared that from the time a couple can say they are seriously in love to the time of marriage, it should be at least one year. It is even better when courtship lasts for about two to three years, which includes an engagement period of about six months to a year. Why do I say at least a year? Both individuals in a romantic relationship need to know about each other's personal values, family traditions and rituals along with cultural differences. I have observed that the best way for this to happen is to allow at least one year for the relationship. This would permit individuals to know each other's expectations and practices during birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, summer and winter vacations, etc. One can be as smart as Voltaire or talkative as Jerry Lewis, but unless these events and rituals are experienced together before marriage, an unwise decision might be made. You might discover irreconcilable differences too late.
In addition, this time would test disappointment, tension, arguments, opposition, sadness and joy, forgiveness, unconditional love and the onset of uncontrollable desires. Do not cut yourself short on the joys of courtship. Enjoy the thrills of loving someone before you say, "I do". In other words, one would want some fundamental questions answered before that final decision is made. Questions like: What are some of the social activities my friend likes to do to entertain himself/herself? Do they seriously conflict with my own views and practices of social entertainment? What does my friend's family expect of me? Am I expected to attend every Christmas dinner, every birthday party, every Thanksgiving dinner, no matter what? There are many more questions about finances, family size, etc. I could present, but space would not allow it. Some of these you can only talk about, but there are others you must have the time to experience together.

Living together too soon
A very common thing couples do is live together long before there is any understanding about each other or the relationship. This is a big mistake. After meeting each other on Tuesday, by Monday of the next week or at the end of the month, they are living together. They start living like a married couple but they are not married. It is a very confusing situation. Research tells us that co-habiting before marriage is not really an advantage and can often be unhealthy. More so, living together too soon in the unmarried relationship distorts the possibility of making an objective decision about the relationship. Sometimes females view the relationship differently than the men and get jealous when he talks to other women. Still, there are some women who would be having sex for the first time thinking it will be a long or permanent relationship. When things go terrible in the relationship she is depressed and troubled because she does not want to have sex with another person. Her dreams are shattered. On the other hand, he does not understand what the problem is all about.
I wish more of our single young and older persons would take time in developing relationships. You have nothing to lose. I like what writer Paul Hudson says in his article "In Defense Of Taking It Slow: Why You Shouldn't Rush Into Love" -- "It's not a race. I know that this person is the only thing that you want; he/she is all you think about and yearn for. That's a good sign, but take it slow. If you treat love like a race, you're treating it like something that can be won -- and owned. If you treat love like a race, then there must be a finish line. And then what? You're onto the next race? Love is something that needs to be maintained and constantly recreated. A race always has a winner and a loser. Love is different. In love, you win and lose together. Love shouldn't be rushed because it's not about an end goal. Love is not a game. It's not a race. It's not a collectible. Love is life. It's not meant to be kept in your pocket; it's meant to be lived. Don't rush; just do."

Reasons to slow down
Here are a few good reasons not to rush into a relationship by eHarmony writer Fran Creffield:
o It may be lust rather than love: "The two can feel very similar in the early stages, resulting in a single-minded obsession with the object of your desire. The main difference between them is that lust is often fleeting and can move from one person to another very quickly."
o Is it a reaction to the past?: "Some people rush into a new relationship in an attempt to get over an old one. It's like they have a hole in their life that they're desperate to fill. Rebound relationships rarely stand the test of time because until your heart has healed from the past there isn't room for someone new to come in."
o You may be being swept along: "If a match seems completely besotted with you from the outset it's very flattering. We all want to hear that we're wonderful and bring happiness and joy to another person's life. The romantic dream of love at first sight is enticing, but in reality if you've only been seeing someone for a few weeks the chances are that they don't know you well enough to know that they love you. Often, very early professions of love reveal a desperate need to be loved in the other person. Believing you could be 'the one' that they have been waiting for all their life may seduce you into saying you feel the same even if you don't. Be true to yourself rather than mirroring the other person's feelings, that way you will stay grounded and safe."
o You may burn bridges: "It's common for a new love interest to become all-consuming and many people let other parts of their life slide as they devote all their time and attention to their new relationship. This is a really bad strategy. Dates may come and go but your family and friends are the ones who are there for the long haul and you need to treat them well."
o You may end up giving too much too soon: "If there's always biscuits in the biscuit tin most people will eventually go off biscuits. The same is true with relationships that go straight into daily contact and 24/7 availability. Hold something back and leave your date wanting more of you rather than less. Avoid spending whole weekends together, jumping into bed too quickly or being constantly online 24/7."
Remember, take time to love. Time is your best friend.

o Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002.

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