Nassau Guardian Stories

Developing leaders one student at a time

July 17, 2017

St. Thomas More Primary School sixth grade student Jordan Gibson was awarded the Top Leadership Award at the recent Kiwanis Club's annual K-Kids and Builders Club awards reception. Gibson's school garnered three awards -- the most won by any school in the K-Kids category -- and was given the Club Overall Achievement Award.
Latia Spence, a fifth grade teacher at St. Thomas More, was awarded the K-Kids Top Faculty Advisor Award.
Gibson said being a part of K-Kids is about service to the community and helping to make it a better place.
"I think leadership lives in everyone, no matter their age. Children need support to recognize their potential and become great leaders," said Gibson.
Pamela White-Gaitor, Kiwanis K-Kids advisor, said St. Thomas More Primary School was awarded the Club Overall Achievement Award as a result of the many community service projects they participated in.
"They participated in every competition on the K-Kids calendar, showing up in full force. I look forward to working with them next school year as a new administrative team begins their leadership journey through service with Kiwanis K-Kids."
Leadership is often mistakenly viewed as a solitary task. Many people perceive that there can only be one or a small group of persons who take action and initiate change. In reality, change is community-driven and involves a myriad of people working together and tapping into their individual leadership skills to achieve positive growth and development for all.
Kiwanis Club is a local organization doing its part to provide young people with opportunities to build character, develop leadership and give back to their communities. K-Kids and Builders Clubs are junior branches of the Kiwanis Club. Through these clubs, Kiwanis Club members help young people develop leadership and people skills.
The Kiwanis Club of New Providence sponsors six K-Kids school programs -- Claridge Primary School, Xavier's Lower School, Albury Sayle Primary School, St. Thomas More Primary School, Cleveland Eneas Primary School and George Town Primary School (Exuma). The K-Kids program involves students in grades four through six. Students assume full responsibility for the running of their clubs. Assisted by their teachers and Kiwanis advisors, students conduct weekly meetings during which they plan community service projects. K-Kids projects have included assisting the Salvation Army, promoting healthy eating in schools and visiting the Nazareth Centre.
Builders Club is designed to enhance the skills that students learn at the primary school level (K-Kids). The program is geared toward students in grades seven through nine. The Kiwanis Club of New Providence sponsors seven Builders Clubs -- L.W. Young Junior School, S.C. McPherson Junior School, H.O. Nash Junior School, Jordan Prince William Baptist School, St. Anne's Anglican School, A.F. Adderley Junior School and Anatol Rodgers Junior School.
Research has shown that youth leadership is an important part of youth development. A whitepaper entitled "Youth Development and Leadership" published by The U.S. Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, purports that persons who are given the opportunity to develop leadership skills at a young age are better equipped to make good decisions, set goals and achieve their dreams.
"K-Kids and Builders Clubs are vital to our communities because they help students, at a very young age, to develop skills in service, character education and academic achievement," said White-Gaitor.

2017 K-Kids and Builders Awards recipients
K-Kids Awards
Single Service Award
First place - Xavier's Lower School
Second place - Claridge Primary School
Third place - Progress Academy
Speech Competition
First place - Garvin Tynes Primary School
Second place - Cleveland Eneas Primary School
Third place - Progress Academy
Leadership Award
Jordan Gibson, St. Thomas More Primary School
Top Faculty Advisor Award
Latia Spence, St. Thomas More Primary School
Club Overall Achievement Award
St. Thomas More Primary School
Builders Club Awards
Single Service Award
Jordan Prince Williams Baptist School
Achievement Award
H.O. Nash Secondary School
Speech Competition
First place - H.O. Nash Secondary School
Second place - Jordan Prince Williams Baptist School
Third place - Jordan Prince Williams Baptist School

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BTVI to expand its IT program offerings

July 17, 2017

Following a curriculum review, the information technology (IT) department of The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) will now offer a set of new and optimized programs for fall 2017.
The new programs include associate of applied science degrees in network engineering, software engineering and a redesigned information technology management degree. This is in addition to an IT support specialist diploma and an IT entry level certificate program; the latter will also be available online.
The IT entry level certificate can be completed in 40 weeks online, or within a semester on campus. It offers the essentials for a student with at least three Bahamas Junior Certificates (BJCs) to jumpstart a career in information technology. Further, it is a springboard into the institution's diploma and associate's degree programs.
Anthony Ramtulla, chair of BTVI's IT program, said offering the online program is proof that the institute is changing with technology.
"Every single piece of this program you will be able to do in the cloud. We're on the 'bleeding edge' -- not even on the cutting edge -- when it comes to our education," said Ramtulla.
"A lot of the things we do at BTVI require that students be in the lab learning by experience. However, some of our programs, especially at the early stages, are more cognitive, and we have technology where we can simulate the labs in the cloud, so you don't have to leave home," he said.
As IT programs are in demand, Ramtulla said BTVI allows for students to also acquire international certifications from Microsoft, CompTIA or Cisco.
Software engineering program students will sit exams for the Oracle Certified Associate and Oracle Certified Professional certificates. Network engineering students seek their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certifications, while IT management students leave with their CompTIA Project+, A+, Network+, Linux+ and Security+ certifications.
"It is proof our courses are industry validated," boasted Ramtulla.
The chair of BTVI's IT program said its IT degree students will soon be on a path to a bachelor's degree in just three years, which will be made possible through an agreement with the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), Rhode Island, USA.
"Our IT program has been optimized to allow for easier transition to universities and colleges abroad. With our agreement with New England Tech, once you are in our IT associate's degree program, you can do one year here and two years there to complete your bachelor's degree; or two years here and one year there and complete your bachelor's degree in three years," said Ramtulla.
"One of the reasons we can do that is because of the quality of our IT programs. Our students, when they go to Fanshawe College in Canada, for example, they are A students. They are not just the average students. They perform well."
IT student Dion Mackey is presently at Fanshawe College in Canada as an
exchange student on an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarship. Following his two-semester stint, he is expected to return to BTVI to complete his degree. He lauded BTVI's IT program as the way forward.
"Information technology is always evolving. It's not stagnant. There is always something to learn. It is such a diverse field," he said. "I [got] so much from the IT program at BTVI. The certifications opens doors and prepares you for jobs in the IT field."
BTVI 2016 graduate Gerrard Russell had the same opportunity to study abroad at Fanshawe College. He returned to Canada in August 2016 and is now studying toward completing a bachelor's degree. Gerrard spoke highly of Ramtulla, whom he said inspired him to go beyond the ordinary.
"He kicked me into gear. He motivated me to be better than average. I have never met anyone like him. At BTVI, it's not the old desk and book system. It's more of an exploration of learning," he said.
Ramtulla said that BTVI's IT department is simply fulfilling the institute's mandate to help build the workforce for The Bahamas and noted that several graduates are presently employed in the IT industry.

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It takes courage not to be discouraged

July 17, 2017

I was watching the show "Watters' World" on TV a while back, a show that incidentally I find hilarious, and he was interviewing Fabio who has just become a U.S. citizen and who lives in California. Now during the interview, that covered a whole range of subjects including sanctuary cities, Fabio uttered the phrase that is the title of this article. Fabio said, "It takes courage not to be discouraged." Yes indeed it does. I mean ... I'm quite sure that all of us at one time or another have had some very negative things happen to us in relation to one specific area of our lives. Believe me, this can cause a person to be extremely discouraged. Now when one gets discouraged about any aspect of one's life, it is indeed very difficult, to put it mildly, to get out of that discouraged state of mind; however, it is essential that we do so, that is, not be discouraged, and as Fabio so correctly stated, it takes courage and a whole lot of it. In a nutshell, if you wish to succeed in the end, in spite of all the discouraging defeats you will experience along the way as you pursue your goals and objectives, you've got to be very strong and thus be able to deal effectively with the occasional defeats that we will experience from time to time.
Yes indeed, as I wrote about some time back, life ain't easy. No it's not! However, it's the tough times when we're inclined to get discouraged, which in the end, provided we don't quit, mold us into the true winners we are.
Yes my friend, if you really want to be successful, across the board, you've got to be a tough cookie to use a well-known, appropriate phrase. Yes indeed, as Fabio put it when he was interviewed on T.V. by Jesse Watters on the program "Watters' World", it takes courage not to be discouraged, yes it does. So stay strong -- don't give up and you'll win big time, believe me.

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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BahamaHost sees significant increase in graduates, trains unemployed youth

July 17, 2017

An additional 700 Bahamians are now BahamaHost Certified after successfully completing the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation's signature training program.
BahamaHost saw its largest number of graduates to date, and Ian Ferguson, director of industry training at the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, said his department went above and beyond to ensure that the program made an even bigger impact this year.
"I gave the mandate to increase our graduating numbers by no less than 20 percent. We have exceeded that number by at least 10 percent. If we continue to merely touch the surface of professionals in the industry then the small rippling waves that we create really fall short of the tsunami effect that we really need. We are well on our way," said Ferguson.
Participants from the BahamaHost's Community program were also among the graduates. The program included the Centreville, Englerston, Bains and Grants Town, Pinewood Gardens and Fox Hill communities.
"Last year, the industry training department launched the first ever Community BahamaHost program, which targeted unemployed youth in the inner-city communities with an aim to empowering them. We partnered with various public and private agencies to provide relevant training, including first aid certification, Microsoft Office training, health and wellness, financial empowerment, entrepreneurship, our usual tourism related topics, of course, and many other modules."
The Family Islands were not left out. Ferguson said that dozens of Bahamians throughout The Islands of The Bahamas are benefitting from the program this year.
"Our Family Islands team has been diligent in covering the islands of The Bahamas with training programs: six sessions on the island of Eleuthera alone, one on Exuma, two sessions on Abaco and more planned for the remainder of the islands. We're committed to ensuring that service levels remain high on all our Family Islands."
The Grand Bahama team celebrated 414 graduates on July 13, as it successfully completed 16 general sessions on that island.
"Additionally, they have completed a total of four recertification sessions, with nearly 80 industry professionals refreshing their service skills," he said.
During the graduation ceremony held at The William Thompson Auditorium, Travis Robinson, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, reminded the graduates of the integral role they play in the tourism industry.
"The tourism industry is dependent on every single one of you. This country is dependent on every single one of you. We can celebrate our tourism numbers thanks to you, but one thing you would have learned is that there is room for improvement, and that improvement starts with every single one of us. You represent The Bahamas' brand. You represent a trademark," said Robinson.
Sheryl Gaitor, a BahamaHost graduate, said she went into the program thinking it was simply a refresher course on what she learned many years ago, but she said it exceeded her expectations.
"It was a transformative experience. When I got in the class, I learned so much more and it developed a hunger for me to learn more about my country. It also drove me to push and encourage others, because sitting in those classes, it opens your eyes and gives you a greater appreciation for the contribution you make as a citizen to your country in the development of your country," she said.
As an entrepreneur in the tourism industry, graduate Brent Ferguson was mandated to do the course; he said he had no expectations.
"I did it because it was a requirement to open a franchise. I got a wealth of information. Some of it was taught during high school, but not as much Bahamian history or diversifying the Bahamian product, skills needed to market oneself. I got a wealth of information from doing this course. I will definitely recommend and do it again," he said.
The BahamaHost program is a certified course designed to establish a culture of service excellence and professionalism which ultimately results in delightful guest experiences, repeat business and global recognition. This program is a training initiative designed to improve the efficiency of organizations and service professionals in the tourism sector.

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Team Graham Thompson takes moot competition

July 17, 2017

Christina Davis, Megan Curry, Jatequa Bain, Robert Adams, Leif Farquharson and John Minns comprised the team that represented Graham Thompson and won the recent Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Bahamas Branch and the Commercial and Financial Services Clinic of the Eugene Dupuch Law School (CFS Clinic) moot involving issues related to the law of trusts and estate planning.
Davis, an associate and advocate; Curry, a law student and student advocate; Jatequa Bain, a law student and research assistant; Adams, partner, Farquharson, partner; and Minns, partner, tackled issues that were derived from a moot question prepared by Sean McWeeney, QC, partner of Graham Thompson, which involved a dispute between three parties with competing claims to assets held in a bank account over which the settlor had declared a trust for his wife and children for him to distribute to any or all of them, on his discretion, during his lifetime.
The moot was an amalgamation of the annual STEP Moot and the International Commercial and Financial Services Law Moot of the CFS Clinic. The moot celebrated and highlighted the local young legal talent which represent the vibrant future of the financial services industry and also exposed the participating CFS Clinic students to training by experts in the industry and provided them with an invaluable mentorship experience.
The Higgs & Johnson team was a close second, followed by the McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes team. Theo Burrows, associate and advocate; Fania Joseph, law student and student advocate; and Jayel Gibson, law student and research assistant, represented Higgs & Johnson.
Krysta Moxey, associate and advocate; Erin Turnquest, associate and research assistant; and Berchel Wilson, law student and student advocate, represented McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes.
Each team comprised junior attorneys (under seven years of call) from the participating firms, and Eugene Dupuch Law School students enrolled in the CFS Clinic.
Three of the major law firms in The Bahamas represented the parties -- Higgs & Johnson, STEP 2012 Moot winner; Graham Thompson; and McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes, STEP 2010 Moot winner.
Justice Ganpatsingh, consultant, Lennox Paton; Justice K, Neville Adderley, justice of the Court of Appeal of the Turks and Caicos Islands and retired Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; and Thomas Evans, QC, partner, Evans & Co. comprised the judging panel.

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Burger King feeds children at RBPF Summer Youth Camp

July 17, 2017

The staff of Burger King (Carmichael Road) prepared more than 200 meals for the kids of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Southwestern Division Summer Youth Camp, held at Garvin Tynes Primary School. The camp provides youth with meaningful lessons and experiences through fostering a positive relationship with local law enforcement. The camp also teaches campers how to resist the influences of pressing societal issues, such as violence, youth crime and more, over the course of six weeks during the summer season.
As a cornerstone of helping to create a more positive future for the youth of The Bahamas, the team at the Burger King Carmichael Road location was happy to support the Royal Bahamas Police Force and contribute to its efforts to create positive avenues for the country's youth in the Carmichael Road community.
"It took a small request and our team was happy to render support to the Royal Bahamas Police Force, as it was an immediate way to help our community," said Mario Cash, director of operations at Burger King Nassau. "The Burger King brand is not only keen on providing great tasting food and service, but also the positive role we play in the community we serve. We salute law enforcement for this great endeavor and we're happy to have had the opportunity to give back to the kids in our community."
Burger King Nassau looks to continue to invest itself in the local community through initiatives that provide positivity and support, and which uplift those in need in a number of areas, including nonprofits, education, youth development and more.
"As always, we continue to stay focused on our local community and partner with those who strive with programs and initiatives that positively and directly impact the quality of life for those we serve throughout Nassau," said Cash.

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Miller ends World U18s with PB for The Bahamas

July 17, 2017

Shaun Miller Jr. turned in a career-best performance in the boys high jump event over the weekend to close out Team Bahamas' performance at the 10th and final International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Under-18 (U18) Championships. The global meet concluded on Sunday at the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
On Saturday afternoon, Miller finished fifth overall with a leap of 2.11 meters (m) (6' 11"). Miller was able to get over the height on his third attempt. He also tried for 2.14m (7' 0-1/4"), but was unable to clear that height. Miller came into the meet with a personal best jump of 2.06m (6' 9").
Breyton Poole, from the Republic of South Africa, took the gold medal in the event, clearing an under-18 world-leading height of 2.24m (7' 4-1/4"). Poole also attempted 2.27m (7' 5-1/4") but hit the bar down on all three attempts.
Chima Ihenetu, from Germany, took silver in the event, clearing a personal best height of 2.14m, and Vladyslav Lavsky, from the Ukraine, was third. Lavsky also topped out at 2.11m, but he cleared it on his first attempt. Fourth place finisher, Piotr Sztandur, of Poland, also finished with a best height of 2.11m, but finished ahead of Miller based on number of knockdowns.
The top six finishers in the boys high jump cleared personal best heights at the competition.
Team Bahamas finished in a four-way tie for 23rd overall with 13 total points. Along with Miller, several athletes turned in personal best performances in their events.
Doneisha Anderson clocked a personal best of 53.59 in the final of the girls 400m. Her 54.37 seconds time in the semis was the fastest time of the semi-final round.
In the opening heats of the boys 110m hurdles, Denvaughn Whymns posted a personal best time of 13.56 seconds, finishing second in the race. Sprinter Joel Johnson also logged a personal best, running 10.68 seconds in the semi-final round of the boys 100m dash.
Germany finished first in total points at the meet with 131. They had three gold medals, five silver and five bronze. Host country Kenya was second with 124 total points. They captured four gold, seven silver and four bronze. The People's Republic of China rounded out the top three with 116 points, collecting five gold, two silver and four bronze.
Most of the athletes who competed in Kenya will have a short turnaround, as a lot of them will compete this week in New Providence in the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG). The athletics portion of the games begins on Thursday at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

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The Bahamas ends Centrobasket with a win over Guatemala

July 17, 2017

The Bahamas' senior women's national basketball team closed out its time at the 2017 International Basketball Federation's (FIBA) Centrobasket Championship on a high note yesterday, scoring a 68-65 come-from-behind victory over Guatemala in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. It was their final game of round-robin play. The women's team was on the verge of going winless through five games before putting out an extraordinary effort in the fourth quarter against Guatemala.
Leashja Grant led the way for Team Bahamas with a double-double of 14 points and 21 rebounds. Valerie Nesbitt scored 12 points and handed out five assists in the win, and Sha-Londa Neely scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds.
It was the first time that The Bahamas had three players score in double figures at the same time in the tournament.
Neely came up huge for The Bahamas in the closing seconds of the game. She hit a lay-up with 1:10 left to play to put The Bahamas ahead 66-65. On the following possession, Angelica Cardenas pulled up for a mid-range jumper but it rimmed out. Phylicia Kelly grabbed the rebound and passed to Nesbitt who made her way to the rim but missed the shot. Neely was able to fight for the offensive rebound and converted on the second chance tip in to put The Bahamas ahead 68-65 with 30 seconds remaining. In the last 20 seconds of play, both Alma Lopez and Sonia Vasquez had chances to cut into the lead, but neither was able to convert on her shot attempts for Guatemala.
Team Bahamas trailed by as much as seven points in the third quarter. They outscored Guatemala 26-19 in the fourth.
On Saturday, the women's team suffered its largest defeat of the tournament, a 69-42 rout at the hands of Puerto Rico, the highest ranked team in the tournament.
Leashja Grant led the team once again in that game. She scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss. Both Kelly and Neely added 11 points apiece.
After they took a 32-19 lead in the first half, Puerto Rico outscored Team Bahamas 37-23 in the second half to secure the wire-to-wire win. On Friday night, The Bahamas fell 63-56 to the host country, the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Kelly led The Bahamas with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in that game. Natalie Day had 22 points in the win for the Virgin Islands.
Grant led The Bahamas in scoring and rebounds at Centrobasket this year. She averaged 15.6 points and 10.6 rebounds through five games.
The Bahamas' other two games included a 64-48 loss to Jamaica and a 61-56 loss to Mexico.

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Miller-Uibo wins easily in Morocco

July 17, 2017

While her baby brother was at the IAAF World U18s in Nairobi, Kenya, setting new heights, Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo was in another African nation over the weekend, flying to victory in her specialty, the women's 400 meters (m).
Miller-Uibo won easily at the Meeting International Mohammed VI d'Athletisme, the 10th stop of the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Diamond League, in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday. She took the tape in a meet record of 49.80 seconds, just off her season's best time of 49.77. She has run under 50 seconds in all three of her 400m races this season.
American Natasha Hastings finished second in 50.86 seconds, just ahead of U.S. national champion Quanera Hayes, who was third in 51.08 seconds.
Younger brother Shaun Miller Jr. was fifth in the boys high jump at the world U18s, clearing a personal best of 2.11m (6' 11").
As for Miller-Uibo, The Bahamas' Olympic champion from a year ago, she said that she used the race as a tune-up going into the London World Championships, which is less than three weeks away. She won by more than a second over second place finisher Hastings.
"This was actually a training race for me," Miller-Uibo said on the IAAF's website. "The time is good, but that's not very important for me now. What counts is the world championships."
The 16th IAAF World Championships is set for August 4-13 in London, England.
Also in the race was Rio de Janeiro Olympics 800m Champion Caster Semenya, of South Africa, who has been completely dominant in the longer race in the past two years. The face-off between the two never materialized, though, as Semenya was never really in the race. She finished seventh in 51.53 seconds.
Miller-Uibo was smooth throughout the race, taking an early lead, and coasting to victory. By the 200m mark, she was the clear leader. Miller-Uibo came off the final bend with a three to four-meter lead, and seemed to pull away from the competition on the home stretch. She still trails defending World Champion Allyson Felix, of the United States, and Hayes, on the IAAF's Top Performance List this season, but Miller-Uibo said that her main focus right now is to remain healthy and to be running well heading into the London World Championships.
She has already stated her intention of going after the double (running both the 200 and 400m) at the world championships. Miller-Uibo is undefeated in her three 400m races this season.
The other Bahamian competing in Rabat yesterday was high jumper Donald Thomas. The 2007 World Champion had a best jump of 2.27m (7' 5-1/4") to finish sixth. Andriy Protsenko, of the Ukraine, won with a leap of 2.29m (7' 6"). The next five jumpers all cleared 2.27m, but Thomas was pushed down to sixth based on number of knockdowns. He cleared 2.15m (7' 0-1/2") on his second attempt, and had to take three attempts to clear both 2.23 (7' 3-3/4") and 2.27m.
Robert Grabarz, of Great Britain, and Tikhomir Ivanov, of Bulgaria, finished tied for second in the competition.

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Etienne looking forward to Pan Am U20 Championships

July 17, 2017

The Bahamas will send an eight-member team to the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships, scheduled for July 21-23 in Trujillo, Peru.
The eight members of the team are: Females -- Brianne Bethel (100/200 meters), Daejha Moss (long jump/high jump), Serena Brown (discus/shot put), Laquell Harris (discus/shot put); and males -- Holland Martin (200 meters/long jump), Jyles Etienne (high jump), Kyle Alcine (high jump/long jump), and Tamar Greene (long jump/triple jump).
Bethel and Martin are from Grand Bahama, and the others hail from New Providence.
The Manager of the team is Laura Pratt-Charlton, the Head Coach is Patrick Adderley, the Assistant Coach/Chaperone is Ann Thompson, and the Medical Doctor is Dr. Charles Clarke.
Today, The Nassau Guardian sports section features high jumper Jyles Etienne. Here's his story:

'My story, my journey'
I started high jumping three years ago as a sophomore at The Stony Brook School in New York. From my very first meet, I knew that I would have a future in this event. My personal best improved over a foot -- from 1.88 meters (m)/6' 2" to 2.20m/7' 2-1/2" in May of this year, and gave me a ranking of number nine in the world in the under-20 category. It was also the best indoor jump by a high school athlete in the United States of America (USA) this year. In 2016, I made my first track and field national team when I went to the CARIFTA Games in St. George's, Grenada, and I won the gold medal in the under-18 boys high jump. I qualified for the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships at my first full meet of 2017, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) CARIFTA Trials. There I would jump 2.18m/7' 1-3/4" along with my CARIFTA and Pan Am U20 teammate Kyle Alcine. I had made the CARIFTA team a second time and came back with a bronze medal in the elevated under-20 (U20) division with a jump of 2.16m/7' 1".
After competing at CARIFTA, I feel that it showed me what I needed to work on in order to perform at the best of my abilities. I realized that it would be the small things that had the biggest impact on my performance level going forward -- whether it be staying focused and hydrated, or making sure I did my exercises and stretches that had helped me in the past.
This year was very tough mentally, as I slightly injured my left heel while jumping my personal best 2.20m/7' 2-1/2" on May 6 in New York. It was because of a very hard indoor track and the extreme pressure that is put on the heel when jumping that caused the bruised heel. Of course, this was a major setback because I jump with my left foot and subsequently every time I exerted pressure on it, the action would cause immense pain. This injury stopped me from defending my New York state title my senior year, and I missed out on almost a third of my season. The realization that I could not compete at the level that I knew I was capable of, and would miss out on meets that I knew I could win, would take a toll on me mentally, but my season ended on a positive note. My performance had caught the attention of Sports Illustrated and I was featured in the June 7, 2017, edition for my achievements in high school basketball and the high jump.
With the help of my coach, James Rolle, I discovered that my injury was caused mostly because of my take-off position being too low. I needed to be positioned in a more standing and upright position in order for the pressure to be distributed more equally across my foot. The recovery process included many things like icing daily, physical therapy, rest and foot reflexology treatment. Apart from treatment, I worked daily with my coach, learning how to take off properly in order to prevent something like that from happening again. I had to keep faith in God in order to recover and trust that God has a plan for me, and that everything happens for a reason.
Now I feel ready to take on the challenge of more competition on the world stage in Peru. This meet will prepare me for even bigger stages, such as the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Junior Championships and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships next year, when I compete as an athlete for the Indiana Hoosiers. I see the Pan Am U20 Championships as a necessary stepping stone to get me ready for where I want to go and what I want to accomplish.
My goal for Pan Am U20 is to jump at least 2.22m/7' 3-1/4" and win in the process. The reason I chose that height is to break the New York state record of 2.21m/7' 3" and to also put me in a good position to try to break the junior national record of 2.28m/7' 5-3/4", which is held by Ryan Ingraham. Lastly, I would like to congratulate and extend my best wishes to the rest of the team, as I believe, God willing, all of us will come back with medals around our necks.

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Central Bank: Gasoline prices up 14.6 during first quarter

July 17, 2017

The Central Bank of The Bahamas revealed that gasoline prices experienced a 14.6 percent hike during the first quarter of this year when compared to the same period last year.
In its Quarterly Economic Review (QER) report for March, the regulator said domestic energy prices went up during the period as a result of heightened international oil prices.
"Specifically, the average prices of both diesel and gasoline rose by 6.4 percent and 6.3 percent to $3.84 and $4.23 per gallon during the three-month period, and in comparison to the same period of 2016, prices firmed by 15.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively," the report states.
The regulator also provided data on domestic consumer prices on daily services and goods, such as clothing, recreation and hospitality for the first nine months of the previous fiscal year.
The Central Bank showed that domestic consumer price inflation, which is measured by the changes in the Retail Price Index for The Bahamas, increased to 2.2 percent by the end of March 2017.
In terms of domestic inflation for the first 12 months to March, there was a decline to 0.5 percent from 1.1 percent in the comparative 2016 period.
The report states that
average cost increases "decelerated sharply" for health by 13.1 percentage points.
Alcohol beverages, tobacco and narcotics also experienced a decrease by 6.4 percentage points to 1.5 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
"Inflation rates also slowed for clothing and footwear and furnishing, and household equipment and routine household maintenance, by 3.0 and 2.7 percentage points, to 0.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively," the report states.
The report also shows that average prices declined for recreation and culture, restaurant and hotels, and food and non-alcoholic beverages, by 0.8 percent, 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
"In contrast, average costs for housing, water, gas electricity and other fuels firmed by 0.9 percent, compared to the year earlier contraction of 2.6 percent, while the decline in transportation costs slowed by 4.8 percentage points to 0.7 percent," the report notes.

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Tourism sector output weak in first quarter, says Central Bank

July 17, 2017

Cuba's Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero announced recently that Cuba's tourist arrivals from the U.S. have grown by 150 percent, despite travel restrictions, and its market from Canada has rebounded from 2016. Meantime, The Bahamas is struggling to play catch up in the region, with a first quarter decline this year, according to The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB).
It has been reiterated time and again that The Bahamas' tourism sector has been stagnant for some time, and its growth, some argue, is being threatened by the heightened interest in this country's next-door neighbor.
While Grand Bahama hotels attempt to sputter to life with whispers of investment, Cuba is seeking development to accommodate its growing number of tourists, which Marrero said is on target to beat projections by half a million, according to an article on the website Caribbean News Now.
On the home front, "Indications are that output in the tourism sector was relatively weak during the first quarter, reflecting in part weather-related factors, which resulted in delays and the cancellation of several travel itineraries in the final month of the period," according to CBOB's Quarterly Economic Review for March.
"Moreover, the loss of significant hotel room capacity in Grand Bahama -- the country's second largest market -- in the final quarter of 2016 following the passage of Hurricane Mathew, continued to negatively impact the sector," the report states.
While former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe shrugged off Cuba's growing success,
newly-appointed Tourism Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar said the country should be concerned.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said recently that the key to his government's success is the turnaround of Grand Bahama's economy, which is said to have "hit rock bottom".
Data from the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), shows that visitor departures decreased by 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017, "in contrast to a four percent gain a year earlier".
And on the heels of those grim stats came an announcement by NAD that it would be increasing its fees, which will affect the cost of travel to The Bahamas.
"Similarly, the non-U.S. visitor segment contracted by 3.9 percent, a reversal from a 3.4 percent increase a year earlier," the CBOB report states.
For Cuba, "other markets also showed increases, including Spain, France, Italy and Germany", the Caribbean News Now story noted.

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Financing cost for commercial mortgages up to 10.8

July 17, 2017

The average cost of financing for commercial mortgages rose to 10.8 percent by the end of the first quarter in 2017, The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) revealed in its Quarterly Economic Review for March.
"With regard to interest rates, the average financing cost of commercial mortgages rose by 2.3 percentage points to 10.8 percent, reflecting a rate hike by one institution, while the average rate on the residential side narrowed by ten basis points to 7.9 percent," the report states.
In addition, total mortgage commitments for new buildings and repairs declined in number by almost half to 77. In terms of value, mortgage commitments fell by 11.6 percent, representing $11.4 million.
"The outturn reflected solely a decrease in the residential segment, as there were no new commercial commitments during the review quarter," the report states.
The report went on to review mortgage disbursements for the period, with data coming in from commercial banks, insurance companies and the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation.
Total mortgage disbursements for new construction and repairs fell by 16.1 percent, which represented a decline of $4.9 million to $25.4 million. In contrast, disbursements last year expanded by 43.2 percent.
"Underlying this outturn, the dominant residential segment contracted by 15.7 percent to $24.8 million, reversing 2016's 41.0 percent growth," the report states.
"Similarly, the commercial component decreased by 29 percent ($0.3 million) to $0.6 million, in contrast to an almost three-fold increase to $0.9 million in the previous year."
In addition, the report points out that construction activity in the private sector remained "subdued" for the period in review.
However, it did note that construction activity during the first quarter was "underpinned by several ongoing foreign investment projects in both New Providence and the Family Islands".

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Island insights: San Salvador

July 17, 2017

Unlike neighboring islands, San Salvador's greatest assets lie beneath the surface of its waters, offering world-class sports fishing and scuba diving opportunities. However, greater competition and entrepreneurial spirit are needed to energize the local economy and help this island reach its full potential.

Sports fishing
While many Family Islands offer deep-sea fishing opportunities and excursions, San Salvador distinguishes itself through unrivaled wahoo fishing, backed up by exceptional billfish and tuna fishing. Although San Salvador's fishing industry is not as well-known or commercially developed as those of Family Islands like Bimini or Abaco, San Salvador has long attracted avid sports fishermen throughout The Bahamas and the United States (U.S.) with the promise of secluded waters and wahoo exceeding 100 lbs. As such, San Salvador is ripe with potential for young Bahamian fishermen interested in providing charter services for visitors to the island.
However, San Salvador's fishing industry depends on more than just charter fishing entrepreneurs to reach its full potential. The island currently has only a single commercial marina available to yachters outside of Club Med, despite the quality of San Salvador's deep-sea fishing, marking a key investment opportunity for those interested in constructing and managing a marina.

Cultural and historical tourism
San Salvador has long been accepted as the site where Christopher Columbus first made landfall in the Americas, yet the island has not capitalized on its unique historical significance. Today, a simple cross marks the reported spot of Columbus' arrival in the New World, with few resources available to interested visitors or local history buffs. Specialized tours and perhaps a cultural heritage village would complement San Salvador's existing tourism businesses, and provide fresh and worthwhile excursions for those visitors looking for authentic Bahamian experiences beyond the familiar appeal of an all-inclusive resort.
San Salvador is also home to several well-preserved plantations, including The Bahamas' only preserved records of daily life on a Bahamian plantation, while the Dixon Hill Lighthouse is one of the few remaining manually operated lighthouses still in operation in the world, and one of only three of its kind in The Bahamas. Yet these historical sites remain chronically undeveloped. Greater local buy-in and government commitment to refurbish San Salvador's historical sites, particularly the site of Columbus' arrival, could re-brand San Salvador as a historical treasure.

Diving
In addition to its stunning deep-sea fishing potential, San Salvador also boasts world-renowned wall diving within extremely close range of its coast, featuring rare marine wildlife, including a range of shark species highly sought by divers. Resting in its own carbonate platform, San Salvador offers divers an unrivaled wall diving experience that has led to the island being previously ranked within the top three dive spots in the world by publications such as Dive Magazine and Scuba Magazine. And though the island has long attracted divers from across the world through its current dive excursion options, there is always room for expansion, be it through new dive companies or smaller villa accommodations for visitors.

Challenges
San Salvador has a modest yet sustained population of roughly 1,200, with the bulk of the working population employed by either the government or the Club Med Columbus Isle resort. While this dynamic has instilled a degree of job security in the community, some believe that it has hindered competition and growth.
The lack of meaningful competition in most tourism and service industries is arguably one of the greatest impediments to San Salvador's growth. For decades, the Club Med Columbus Isle resort has dominated San Salvador's tourism sector, offering guests an attractive all-inclusive package. While Club Med, the island's largest private employer, has proved an invaluable driver of the local economy in the past, there exist growing concerns that the all-inclusive business model has stifled growth in other branches of the tourism industry.
Aside from Club Med, there exists only a handful of smaller hotels and lodgings, such as the Riding Rock Inn Resort and Marina, which has long served as the only viable marina for yachters. For a bit of context, the island currently only has five accommodations and a mere two restaurants listed on travel site Tripadvisor, despite the fact that the island has experienced steady visitor growth in recent years (with the notable exception of the 2015-2016 season after Hurricane Joaquin) and features an international airport -- something that many other Family Islands crave. Excursions and activities beyond those offered at Club Med are similarly limited.

Moving forward
San Salvador currently occupies a unique position amongst developing Family Islands. It has a small but dedicated visitor base that returns to San Salvador largely due to the strength of the island's diving industry and the international brand appeal of Club Med, with clear room for growth. Yet there are critically few small businesses to support the existing number of annual visitors, while the island's service sector remains underdeveloped. New small, boutique hotels could attract new and returning visitors while also creating demand for new restaurants and excursions.
Islands such as the Exumas have already enjoyed the benefits brought about by regular international airlift, and Cat Island will likely experience a surge in interest from developers and potential visitors, should the government make good on its long overdue promise to upgrade the facilities at New Bight Airport.

o Roderick A. Simms II is a director of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers' Confederation and chairman of its Family Island division. To respond to this article, email rasii@me.com.

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Easy Car Sales supports St. John's College in Solar Car Challenge

July 17, 2017

Easy Car Sales, the first and only provider of 100 percent electric vehicles (EVs) in The Bahamas, featured the solar-ready Nissan LEAF in this year's St. John's College Mardi Gras Fair, alongside another innovative car.
The high school students from St. John's College displayed an eco-friendly, solar powered car they designed and built to compete in the Solar Car Challenge, a project-based STEM initiative ranked highly in the U.S., which helps to motivate students in science, engineering and alternative energy. The school's team, the Green Lightning Solar Crew, will take on American high school teams in a race at the Texas Speedway in July 2017.
According to Pia Farmer, director at Easy Car Sales, the company is actively supporting the efforts of Fr. Shazz Turnquest and his Green Lightning Solar Car Crew to reach their fundraising goals.
"St. John's College is the only school from this region invited to participate in the Solar Car Challenge. Easy Car Sales is proud to support our best and brightest students to take up the renewable energy challenge. It's time to change how we think about transportation and move to cleaner, cheaper and stress-free transportation for The Bahamas," said Farmer. "Electric cars are here to stay and can be powered by solar energy today. I have been driving my 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf for almost three years and I charge it from solar panels at home."
Father Turnquest has a vision for the future. "Imagine solar powered vehicles designed and built by Bahamians! We owe it to our young people to help them to realize their potential by introducing the technology of the future. Please help us to raise funds to make this journey to Texas and beyond," he said.
For more information visit www.greenlightningsolarcar.org; to donate please go to www.gofundme.com/greenlightningsolarcar.

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Removing the strip on asphalt shingles

July 17, 2017

Especially during the hurricane season, when high winds cause damage to roofs, owners, builders and building supplies executives are drawn into an argument. It begins when someone picks up a shingle that has been blown from the roof, notices the cellophane strip on the underside and comments, "I see, the strip wasn't taken off. That's why the shingle flew off." Before you can say "roofing cement", the argument has begun.
Who started this argument in the first place? The reason for the discussion, as noted above, is that after storms, after shingles are blown from roofs during high winds, people notice the shiny strip on the shingle -- a strip they think should have been removed to allow the shingle to stick to the one below. But, in fact, the cellophane strip (or in some products a plastic or wax-coated paper strip) found on the bottom of individual asphalt roof shingles and located just over the glue strip that bonds shingles together while in the package, is factory-installed only to prevent the shingles from sticking together while they are still in the bundle, in storage or in transit.
On the other hand, there is a glue strip on top of the asphalt shingle which is intended to create a bond to the shingles nailed atop when the roof is later warmed by sunlight. That is the key to the performance of an asphalt shingle roof. The success with which asphalt shingles bond together as the glue strip is heated by exposure to the sun is a factor in keeping the shingles in place during high winds and preventing wind damage. That is why people are concerned about the removal of the strip. They think it is part of that process, but it is not. The glue strip on top of the shingle, in fact, bonds with the three tabs of the shingle above.
In The Bahamas, exposure to even a few weeks of normal sunlight will cause the glue tabs on the under-side of asphalt roof shingles to soften and adhere to the surface below, protecting the roof against high winds.

Why not still remove it just before nailing?
Certainly, if you want to remove the protective cellophane strip when the shingle is about to be nailed, taking it off might not hurt. But the fact is that it is not aligned with the actual glue tabs or glue strip of the shingle course below. Therefore, removing the cellophane strip will do nothing to speed the adhesion between shingles. It has no effect at all on the performance of the asphalt shingles. In fact, there have been instances when the removal of the strip damaged the underside of the shingles and some manufacturers recommend NOT removing it.

Then leave the strip alone
In answer to the common question then, not normally: according to roofing manufacturers, it is not required to remove the cellophane strip on the back of roof shingles before they are nailed.
In short, the people who make the shingles tell us to leave the plastic or cellophane sealant protection strip in place, explaining that when the shingles are nailed in place the strip on the successive shingle course will no longer be in contact with the adhesive sealant strip on the upper surface of the lower or previous shingle course. We take that as good advice and hope that ends the debate.

o Patrick Rahming & Associates is a full service design firm providing architectural, planning and design services throughout The Bahamas and the northern Caribbean. Visit its website at www.pradesigns.com and like its Facebook page. The firm's mission is to help its clients turn their design problems into completed projects through a process of guided decision-making, responsible environmental advice and expert project administration.

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BAMSI cost over 80 mil.

July 17, 2017

The Christie administration spent at least $80 million on the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Renward Wells revealed yesterday.

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Bannister: There must be consequences

July 17, 2017

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday that the Minnis administration is not interested in blaming members of the Christie administration for every ill facing the country, but said "there must be consequences" for wrongdoing.
"We are not interested in the blame game, but there must be consequences," he said.
"The Bahamian people want to see consequences for actions. If something has happened that is wrong, it is important, first of all, for us to share it with the people. They want to know.
"They want to know if somebody was sitting in elected office for years and accepting kickbacks.
"They want to know that.
"If someone was sitting in office and doing something that was wrong, they want to know that.
"Then the second step comes in: they want to know what are we going to do about that."
Bannister appeared as a guest on the Guardian Talk Radio show "Q&A" with host Quincy Parker.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said last week that the PLP is "not a corrupt party".
"We do not support corruption in any form," he said in a message to PLP supporters.
"The events now before us are designed to sap the will of the PLP and to destroy the party. I urge you to stand strong, and with God's help, we will prevail."
His comments were made in light of former PLP minister Kenred Dorsett being arrested and subsequently charged with bribery and extortion. Dorsett has denied the allegations.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has promised to "brutally confront" corruption in The Bahamas.
During the Free National Movement's (FNM) campaign, a key theme centered on the blatant abuse of trust among some in power, cases of conflicts of interest and a failure to account for hundreds of millions of tax dollars.
Since taking office, the government has announced that forensic audits will be conducted on the Urban Renewal Department, Bank of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI).

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Murders up 17 percent

July 17, 2017

A gunman shot and killed a man on Saturday around 9 p.m. as he exited his vehicle after parking at a home on Johnson Terrace, off Braynen Road, according to authorities.
Police made their usual appeal for anyone with information to contact them.
Police have not released the identity of the victim.
The shooting pushed the murder count up to 74 for the year, representing a 17 percent increase in murders, compared to the same period in 2016.
This time last year, the murder count for the country was 63.
There were no murders recorded in July 2016.
There have been 21 murders since the Free National Movement (FNM) assumed office on May 10.
As of May 10, there were 53 murders.
There were 111 murders in 2016, and 146 murders in 2015, the highest in recorded Bahamian history.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said recently that while his ministry is working assiduously to roll out its policies to begin transforming them into operations, he suggested there should be no expectation for crime to subside overnight.
"That is not going to happen in a few days or even in a few hours, so we are not saying here today that because the FNM is the government that murders will go away. But what we are saying is that we will begin to work closely with all of the law enforcement agencies and all of the stakeholders in government to move as quickly as possible so that Bahamians can begin to see a relief from crime," he said.
Dames said there are certain things the government can do in the short term.
During the recent budget debate, the minister indicated that his ministry intends to maximize the use of its law enforcement resources to yield greater efficiency in the fight against crime.

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