Nassau Guardian Stories
January 11, 2017
The Bahamas Maritime Authority's (BMA) revenue rose by 6.26 percent in the financial year 2015/2016 due to an increase in receipts of annual fees, new registrations, seaman's licenses and wreck removal certifications.
According to the BMA's financial statement, a total of 29 port state control detentions were recorded as of June 2016, representing a decrease from 48 detentions as of June 2015.
The BMA was established to register vessels, enforce ship safety requirements and constantly monitor and improve standards.
The authority also represents The Bahamas at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other international bodies, such as the European Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard.
IMO subscriptions totaled an estimated $1.84 million as of June 2016, compared to $1.85 million in June 2015.
The statement also shows that operating costs for the financial year were $9.71 million, a decrease of 10. 3 percent. In the previous financial year, the operating cost was $10.63 million.
The report stated that the decrease was mainly due to BMA making a "conscious effort" to cut travel costs, utilize available technology for training and meetings and lower staff turnover.
BMA also lowered its level of bad debt, as it usually requires a deposit or full payment prior to any commencement of service provision, according to the financial report.
"A large amount of the outstanding debt has been collected through the hard work of the finance department, and plans are being put in place to ensure the debtor's level does not rise to previous amounts," the report states.
It continued, " The amount and timing of remittances to the Bahamas government reflect past cash flows and future budgetary requirements, including capital expenditure, as submitted by the board to the Minister of Transport and& Aviation."
The report also points out that 2,080 "wreck removal insurance certificates" were issued from September 2015 to June 2016, of which 15 were for non-Bahamian ships.
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January 11, 2017
Stellar Energy could be ready to deliver 75 megawatts of power to New Providence within two years and save consumers up to 28 percent on their electricity bills, if it can finalize a deal to take over the New Providence landfill, the company's chief operating officer said yesterday.
Speaking to Guardian Business at his offices, J.P. Michielsen said some complex issues held back Stellar's bid to begin creating energy through the refuge derived fuel (RDF) waste-to-energy process, but he insisted the company has the financial and technical capacity to immediately begin to utilize the country's trash to create renewable energy.
"If we had started when we wanted to start, it would have been up and running," said Michielsen,
"We have a dump, not a landfill. We would mine whatever is sitting there now. Some of it we put in the mix."
He insisted that the current, capped site would also be turned into a site for a solar farm that could create another 10 to 15 megawatts of power for the island.
These additions to New Providence's power grid could mean the end of blackouts for Bahamas Power and Light consumers, given the power needs of the island during the peak summer season.
However, Michielsen lamented the state of BPL's aging power grid, saying it will cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade New Providence's grid in order to efficiently deliver uninterrupted electricity.
"The infrastructure was never sized properly to handle the demand," he said.
"We're faced with a grid system that doesn't make sense, and it will take hundreds of millions of dollars to get it right. They put a Band-Aid on something that needs surgery."
Michielsen said that in the years after Stellar's failed bid to use the landfill as a waste-to-energy site, the company has grown and expanded, with offices in South Africa, China and London, and with further expansion expected in the near future.
In a recent press release Stellar said, "It is our intention, once approvals are granted, to mine that site and build a fully functional waste-to-energy plant. As part of our plan, the entire dumpsite would be remediated and sanitized, putting an end to obnoxious fumes from burning trash."
Michielsen said part of the company's plan for the landfill is to capture methane built up under the site and safely burn it off, which could alleviate fires at the dumpsite.
Guardian Business attempted to contact Minister of the Environment Kenred Dorsett for comments on this matter and other
environmental issues with no success up to press time. Last year Dorsett was appointed council chairman of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The government has moved swiftly to liberalize the energy production sector. This month BPL will begin grid-tying homes with solar units so that they can benefit from net metering by essentially selling excess power back to the BPL.
Michielsen said while it was admirable that the government and BPL were taking this groundbreaking step, the average homeowner will likely not be able to afford systems large enough to fully benefit from net metering.
He said large-scale power generation, like Stellar's landfill project, will present the island with beneficial savings for consumers.
"It doesn't cost us anything to generate that power, which could translate to a 28 percent savings to the consumer," Michielsen said.
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January 11, 2017
Princess Cays, a private port of call at the southern end of Eleuthera, was added to the itineraries of six Carnival Cruise Line ships beginning in May 2017.
The cruise line giant is expected to make 40 calls to Princess Cays in 2017 and 98 the following year, according to a press statement released yesterday.
The 40-acre cruise port is owned and operated by Carnival's sister company, Princess Cruises.
President of Carnival Cruise Line Christine Duffy said, "At Carnival, we're always looking for new and exciting destinations for our guests, and Princess Cays is a beautiful island paradise with gorgeous beaches and an array of 'fun-in-the-sun' activities that our guests will really enjoy experiencing on their vacation."
Carnival also has operations at Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos), Puerta Maya (Cozumel), Mahogany Bay (Roatan) and Amber Cove (Dominican Republic).
According to the statement, "Princess Cays will be featured on the following Carnival itineraries in 2017: select seven-day cruises aboard Carnival Pride from Baltimore; five-day voyages aboard Carnival Ecstasy from Charleston, S.C.; eight-day sailings on Carnival Conquest from Fort Lauderdale; five-day voyages on Carnival Elation from Jacksonville, Florida; four-day voyages aboard Carnival Liberty from Port Canaveral, Florida; and four-day cruises aboard Carnival Sensation from Miami.
The facility has bars, restaurants and retail shops with local crafts, souvenirs and artwork.
"Princess Cays is connected by a series of paved paths that lead to palm tree-dotted beaches where clamshells and private bungalows are available for rent. A variety of shore excursions - from dune buggy adventures and glass bottom boat tours to paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking - are also available," the statement states.
Various operational enhancements are currently underway.
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January 11, 2017
Under the theme "The excitement is building", The Mall at Marathon, home to over 100 of Nassau's finest stores, will continue the multimillion-dollar upgrade of its facilities.
Mall officials announced yesterday that the next phase of the mall's multi-year initiative will commence this month, with the renovation and remodeling of the wing that extends from Center Court to Kelly's House and Home, as well as the entrances located at BEC/BPL and QBC/BTC.
Mall officials noted the continuation of its capital improvement project as part of its multi-phased renovation and enhancement program that started in spring 2015. Last year, the mall remodeled its main entrance and a section of the mall corridor. It also added over 150 new parking spaces and reconfigured two parking lots and drive lanes, which has led to a major improvement in traffic flow, according to Bob Stevenson, the mall's general manager. Stevenson reported that additional road improvements will take place throughout 2017.
Ian Fleming, architect at Bruce LaFleur & Associates, said "We are all very pleased to appoint Cavalier Construction as the general contractor to undertake the remodel of this wing of the mall."
Fleming reported that the retail enhancements will bring modern updates to this mall. Additional focus will be placed on the retail stores within the construction zone to undertake the installation of new storefronts that will complement the overall ambience of the mall.
Parts of Cavalier Construction's work will be done around the clock in order to keep all mall stores in the construction zone open. Cavalier has pledged that construction will be performed in such a way as to minimize interference during operating hours.
"Although the mall will be undergoing major changes during the renovation, all stores in the construction zone will remain open for business", said Carla Moss-Fitzgerald, marketing coordinator at the mall. "The ongoing capital improvements are just another way that we continue to deliver on our commitment to provide a quality shopping experience to our shoppers", she added.
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January 11, 2017
Although the presidency of the Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF) will remain the same, there were some new faces elected to the federation's administrative board this past weekend.
The membership body voted the newly elected officers in on Saturday during the BSF's Annual General Meeting (AGM) and election of officers.
Incumbent president Algernon Cargill ran unopposed, and will lead the executive team inclusive of John Bradley as the first vice president, William Russell as the second vice president and Steve Thompson as the third vice president, for the next four years. Olympian Nicholas Reese will serve as treasurer, with Erald Thompson as assistant treasurer; and Alexis Wells and Rochelle Bastian will serve as secretary and assistant secretary respectively.
"I am excited that we have a slate of officers who are all industry professionals, who will collectively contribute to the success of the federation moving forward," said Cargill about the new slate of officers. "In this election, I thought that all of the candidates running were excellent, and were more than capable of doing the jobs they sought after. Of course I was disappointed that some people who I know well weren't successful, but in situations like this, you have to just accept the results and move forward. Although the learning curve may be steep early on, I am confident that their (elected members) business and professional acumens, along with their love for the sport and with the guidance of seasoned executives, we will keep our federation running smoothly."
The BSF has a lot on its plate this year in terms of hosting events, as both the CARIFTA Swimming and Water Polo Championships, along with the swimming portion of the Commonwealth Youth Games, will be staged in New Providence at the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Aquatics Center. The water polo championships will be held April 7-9, and the swimming championships are set for April 15-18. The Commonwealth Youth Games will be held from July 19-23.
"I am excited to begin planning for the future with this executive team, but for right now our immediate plans are to prepare the team for the upcoming CARIFTA championships and Commonwealth Youth Games," Cargill said. "We just barely missed winning CARIFTA last year in Martinique, but this year, we have a team that's capable of returning to the top."
Along with returning as BSF President, Cargill will also begin a four-year stint on the FINA (International Swimming Federation) Bureau this year as well. His term will begin during the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships, which will be held in Budapest, Hungary, from July 14-30. The bureau is made up of 22 members from around the world.
"I'm excited about this opportunity and will certainly use it to promote aquatic sports in our region, and of course, highlight the excellent achievements we are making here in The Bahamas," said Cargill. "During my time in both positions, I want to change the false perception that swimming is an elitist sport. Our athletes are always unjustly stereotyped, and I feel that it is wrong on many levels, and because of this, I feel we don't receive the support we deserve from Corporate Bahamas. The federation is truly grateful for some of the long term sponsors we do have like the Royal Bank of Canada, BTC, Subway Bahamas, CIBC FirstCaribbean International, Morley Realty, Sun Oil (Shell), and Cable Bahamas, who help our federation to continue to strengthen and grow."
Cargill was elected to represent the region on the executive body of the Union Americana de Natacion (UANA), translated to Swimming Union of the Americas, at the 2015 Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Congress that was held in Bridgetown, Barbados.
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January 11, 2017
GREAT EXUMA, The Bahamas -- Nicholas Thompson battled through 32 holes to take the clubhouse lead by one over Dan McCarthy at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay when play was suspended late Monday evening. Thompson started the day at 1-over-par and finished his first round at 3-over before managing to tie the best round of the tournament with a second-round 67 that included seven birdies and two bogeys.
"I played nicely in the first round but I just didn't quite get the putts going. I got off to a nice hot start on the back nine in the second round though," Thompson said. "I played the back nine back-to-back times and that's dicey to begin with, but I got off to a good start."
Beginning on No. 10, the second most difficult hole on the course, Thompson curled in a long birdie to open the second round and then nearly holed his approach into the par-3 11th for back-to-back birdies. A three-putt bogey at the par-4 12th slowed him down briefly, but he bounced back with birdies at Nos. 14 and 15, and then chipped in for par at the 18th to turn in a 3-under 33.
"After going for it in two on 18, I put myself in a bad spot and then put myself in a worse spot," Thompson said. "Then I got it up right next to the green, and I hit a beautiful chip that rolled right in and it kept the momentum going because then I turned and birdied No. 1."
Three birdies and a bogey followed on the front nine, allowing Thompson, who has one Web.com Tour win to his credit (2007 HSBC New Zealand PGA), to take the clubhouse lead by one with the entire afternoon wave still on the golf course when the horn blew.
"I played a lot of proper shots," Thompson said. "Whether if I played the proper shot for me that went with the wind and sent it out in the bushes and let it come back, or if I hit one in the green and held it against the wind, I made a lot of good club decisions today."
After winning four times on the Mackenzie Tour - PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) TOUR Canada a year ago, McCarthy is in a prime position to potentially bring those winning ways up to the Web.com Tour. The 2016 Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit winner is just one back of Thompson after rounds of 72-71 to open. The 32-year-old is from upstate New York but resides in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, these days and said the seaside gusts blowing through Exuma were all too familiar.
"It's very, very windy [in West Palm Beach]," McCarthy said. "I've got a lot of experience in wind and pretty well practiced in keeping the ball down and out of the wind, so I've just been doing a very good job of keeping it in front of me and keeping it under control."
Another advantage McCarthy said was just a month ago he played on the Mackenzie Tour's team at the Aruba Cup. Although his team wasn't victorious, the late season tune-up had him ready to handle the 35 miles per hour gusts that blew out of the northeast throughout his round Friday.
"The Aruba Cup just a couple weeks ago was extremely windy," McCarthy said. "(It was) very similar miles per hour and stuff like that but the landing areas were a bit more generous down there so that wasn't quite as stressful down there, but it was extremely windy, so I've seen a lot of wind lately."
After opening with a 7-over 79, Kent Bulle tied Thompson for the round of the tournament with a second-round 67 to get into a share of third after the most impressive four-hole stretch of the tournament, playing the last four holes in 6-under-par. The Kentucky native entered the par-5 15th at 8-over for the tournament, just a couple shots inside the cut line, but reeled off an eagle at the 15th, a birdie at the par-4 16th, another birdie at the par-4 17th and then another eagle at the par-5 18th.
Two-time PGA TOUR winner D.J. Trahan is tied with Bulle in third after rounds of 78-68. The second round of the unprecedented Sunday-Wednesday format was scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, with the third round set to tee off between 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
The event is being held at the Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course at Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma. The total purse of the tournament is $600,000, with $108,000 going to the champion.
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January 11, 2017
The 2017 sailing calendar started off with the 15th Annual Bul' Reg Regatta in George Town, Exuma, The Bahamas.
A total of 11 'C' Class and four 'E' Class (junior sailors) sloops sailed competitively in Elizabeth's Harbour. Founder of the regatta Leslie "Buzzy" Rolle and his team, namely Chairman Cecil Smith, Vice Chairman Kendal "Iceman" McPhee, Commodore Reginald McKenzie, Vice Commodore Reginald Smith, Treasurer Don Rolle and committee member Perry Rolle worked hard to ensure that this year's regatta was a great success.
This year, the regatta was held in honor of the late Frank Hanna, and one of the races was named the Vernon Curtis Cup race. Both Hanna and Curtis contributed tremendously to the regatta and sailing in The Bahamas.
The Lady Eunice of Black Point, Exuma, skippered by Chucky Smith and Nabby Black, competed for the first time in the regatta and won the overall title.
In attendance at the regatta were Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources with responsibility for regattas V. Alfred Gray. Member of Parliament for the Exumas and Ragged Island Anthony Moss, Administrator Neil Campbell, Administrator Donald Rolle, Chief Councillor Clifford Brian Strachan, sailing consultant in the ministry Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BAF Global Group Ltd. Chester Cooper and retired administrator Everette Hart.
Minister Gray congratulated the Bul' Reg committee for a job well done and encouraged them to continue promoting the great sportsmanship and camaraderie among sailors, natives and visitors. He commended the junior sailors for winning the Bul' Reg Cup race and admonished them to carry on the great sailing legacy that was left for them.
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January 11, 2017
In conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace is pleased to introduce a junior boys/girls and senior boys/girls national bowling league.
Mario's expressed passion about a national high school bowling league for several reasons, one of which is because there is more than $6 million worth of scholarships offered each year by universities, bowling associations, councils, certified tournaments and proprietors throughout the United States of America.
"Bowling is an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) certified sport, and we are pleased to introduce the benefits to the youth of The Bahamas and pave the way for them to become 'educated' pro bowlers," said Yasmine Miller, from Mario's. Bowling is the decade's fastest-growing high school sport in this region, as nearly 5,000 schools in the United States offer a boys and girls bowling program. There are 43 member NCAA schools that offer division one or division two bowling.
"We want Bahamians to have access to bowling scholarships that are available. Universities have made contact with management at Mario's Bowling over the past years, and have made requests for students interested in the sport of bowling; as bowling has become the fastest-growing high school sport. It was heart-breaking that we did not have one student for them to recruit.
"We realize that bowling scholarships are obtainable, and we want Bahamians to be able to embrace every scholarship opportunity available. Our goal is provide opportunities for coaching and instruction, fun and friendly competition, fair play, team work and leadership skills through the development of a junior and senior national bowling league" said Leslia Miller-Brice, from Mario's.
Mario's Bowling will make a valuable contribution by allowing the students and coaches from the various schools interested in participating, complimentary bowling time.
"This is our way of giving back. Mario's Bowling will have bowling coaches on staff to educate and train the students in the sport of bowling," said Miller-Brice. "We will also award the winning teams with medals, trophies and a VIP bowling party to the top three schools in our Sir Sidney Poitier Suite. We invite Corporate Bahamas to be a part of this growing industry and adopt a school to be a part of the junior and senior teams in the Bahamas National Bowling League."
Gregory Wilkinson from Mario's said: "Let us work together to give our young athletes another chance of furthering their education."
The cost per team is $1,000 for the 11-week tournament, including team T-shirts with branding. Each team will consist of 10 players.
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January 11, 2017
Educator Tameka Cameron Walker was flabbergasted when she was faced with students who weren't making the necessary grade point average (GPA), but who could listen to a song, memorize it and understand it. She could not understand why those same principles weren't being applied to schoolwork and comprehension.
Walker said, if students are reading and not grasping the meaning, they are just calling words. Comprehension is vital, she said. It is not how fast a student can read, but how they take the information off the page and put it into their cognitive scheme and understand it.
With her interest in the idea piqued, Walker, a tourism studies teacher, pursued a master's degree in 2015 to learn about the strategies related to reading comprehension and better help her students. She has been seeing success stories that she and reading specialist, Lakell Johnson, whom she assists, can be proud of at Anatol Rodgers Secondary School.
"There are so many stories I could relay, but my grade 12 class that just graduated, I had students in that class that took the BGCSE [Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education exam] in 11th grade, and one person in particular got a D grade. That student took the exam over and they got a B grade. And there's a little boy who is in seventh grade who is in my reading intervention program, I just looked at his report card and I'm seeing improvement in his English language grade," said Walker during the school's report card day on Monday.
"I have seen where students have improved, and some have moved up a letter grade, and I'm seeing improvement, even though it's marginal for some students, but I see where they're working."
Walker says a reading specialist is like a reading coach. Working with Johnson they look at children who are working below the required 2.00 GPA. If the student is in high school and reading at a primary school level, they pull the student out of their regular language classes twice a week and work with them on comprehension strategies to help them with reading. Both teachers' efforts are needed, the children are receptive and want the help.
Walker and Johnson work in a system with a 1,200-strong student population.
Endowing students with reading comprehension and writing skills are communal goals within every educational system, according to the educator of 17 years. She says students at all grade levels should engage in daily leisure reading in an effort to improve comprehension and writing skills.
"Reading has to be an everyday thing and a way of life. In the primary school, where they might be given a text to read, and given a week or two to complete a text, in the high school, students do not get text to read as a literature text unless they're in the literature class. But if students even stop to buy the newspaper to read, just to be current with information, it will help them in their academic development, but it has to be a daily effort. And when you read daily, you will be able to write better because reading and writing go hand-in-hand."
She encourages parents to purchase newspapers and books for their children to read daily. She said students' afterschool timetable should have a half-hour mapped out for reading.
And while most children are into electronics, she believes they should use technology for more than just fun and games, but to actually do research.
"The challenge we're having is that children like technology, but they're not trying to learn the technology and use it for research. They're just using it for games and fun stuff. Parents also have to look for books that children like," she said.
According to Walker, an active development of comprehensive tips for reading informational texts might prove beneficial for candidates enrolled in school-based as well as national or international examinations.
"Paying close attention to text structure might aid in strengthening reading comprehension among emergent, struggling and exceptional learners," said the tourism studies and reading intervention teacher.
As the text structure is the organization of the text, the structure can be viewed both externally and internally, and teachers should assist students with reading comprehension by reiterating the importance of understanding text structure. This knowledge can assist with students' comprehension of the written material, which may be in the form of fiction/literature and non-fiction materials (leaflets, books, excerpts, research papers, publications, passages, manuals and articles.)
"When a reader has an appreciation for text structure, he is able to read at a glance and gain meaning from what he has read. Also, when a reader understands the purpose of structure in a text, he will always read his external text structure such as the table of contents, chapters title, headings, sub-headings, underlined words, bold, italics, illustrations and definitions in an effort to decipher pertinent information," said Walker.
"For example, the table of contents provide a list of information within the text and bold words suggest important terms that the reader should be able to define. Internal text structure on the other hand focuses on the body of the text and how it is organized. Internal text structure includes sequence order, description, cause and effect, proposition and problem/solution. Internal text structure differs based on the subject area and the topic being communicated, therefore, students should be taught how to sight internal text structure from the get-go. Students' ability to identify text structure will add greater value to their reading comprehension."
Internal text structures
o Sequential order: This involves words such as "during", "next", "first", "following" and "immediately".
o Compare and contrast texts: These have words such as "although", "otherwise", "similarly" and "on the other hand".
o Descriptive texts: These will have words such as "between", "across", "below" and "appear to be".
o Cause and effect texts would have words such as "accordingly", "for this reason", "in order", "is caused by".
Walker said people should be cognizant of the fact that there are texts that might also have a combination of text structures.
"Based on my years of teaching experience, it has been evident that exceptional students observe that there is a difference in the organizational pattern of poetries, plays, stories and novel when compared with the organizational pattern of a language, social studies or science text.
"Many exceptional readers are already acquainted with this strategy of using text structure, however; the emergent reader who might fall in different age groups along the reading spectrum might get turned off from reading if they are not trained to use text structure. However, with practice they, too, will be able to improve their reading comprehension skills," she said.
Walker encourages her students to pay attention to text structure when they read, and said this is advice she would give to everyone.
"By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to garner relevant information from the material, and strengthen your analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, all of which are important in understanding informational text," she said.
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January 11, 2017
The LJM Maritime Academy (LJMMA) and the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) have established a significant affiliation agreement to partner in areas of mutual interest in the education and training of students enrolled in maritime programs at their respective institutions. The agreement, signed by President of LJMMA Dr. Brendamae Cleare and Executive Director of CMI Dr. Fritz Pinnock, is for an initial period of five years, with renewal possibilities.
The agreement will honor the parties' intentions in areas such as program/curricula development, joint program offerings, student and faculty exchanges, shared certification through accreditations, sharing of relevant facilities, joint seminars, workshops and webinars. It also fosters collaborative research and grant-seeking initiatives.
Pinnock said the partnership is momentous, as it signifies the strengthening of maritime training and education in the shipping industry through the joint forces of two premier maritime institutions in the Caribbean.
"This partnership will revolutionize the way training is provided throughout the Caribbean region and will become a key example of the success of joint efforts and fused initiatives," said Pinnock.
Dr. Cleare was pleased to able to partner with the established regional institution, and excited about the numerous possibilities, which she said would result for both offshore and land-based maritime services.
"Partnering with CMI is historic and is taking maritime education in the region to another level. The synergy is strong, and our combined efforts will ensure that the education and training in the maritime arena will be paramount to meeting the increasing demands of seafarers globally. Additionally, as a team, the institutions will be able to effectively deal with challenges and explore all possibilities of training required in the Caribbean region, whether they be land-based or offshore."
Dr. Cleare said the timeliness of the partnership with the academy presently planning a maritime conference for October 2017, meant that CMI could collaborate in the planning of the venture in a number of ways.
LJMMA, an accredited tertiary-level maritime training institution was established in December 2011, and is located at Maritime Cay, New Providence. CMI was established under the Caribbean Maritime Institute Act 1992, amended in 2001, with registered offices situate at Palisadoes Park, Norman Manley Highway, Kingston, Jamaica. CMI is the region's center of excellence for the provision of tertiary maritime education, training, research and consultancy.
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January 11, 2017
Education ministers from the Organization of American States (OAS) will come together in The Bahamas next month to discuss the education agenda of the 34 member countries, and by extension, the Latin American and Caribbean region at the ninth Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education (9IAMME).
In addition to education ministers, local and international senior education officials, school administrators and teachers are expected to attend the conference.
For the first time in the meeting's history, a trade exhibition will feature innovative educational products from approximately 20 local and international exhibitors, who will also display good practices in education.
The theme for 9IAMME is "An Inter-American education agenda: Building alliances towards achieving the sustainable development goals".
The meeting will be held February 9-10 at the Atlantis resort, Paradise Island. Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald is conference chairman.
The conference is organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; the OAS; the Inter-American Council for Integral Development; and the Inter-American Committee on Education.
During 8IAMME in Panama City, Panama, in 2015, three working groups were established to compile ideas, good practices and challenges relating to three common concerns to member states. They included Working Group 1: Quality and equitable education; Working Group 2: Strengthening of the teaching profession; and Working Group 3: Early childhood care.
At the 2017 forum, ministers will draw on the findings and recommendations of the working groups to devise policies for their respective countries. The working group outcomes will also be the impetus for collaboration between member states to benefit from each other's expertise and good practices.
Fitzgerald said The Bahamas has made significant progress in education.
"The Bahamas has been at the helm of the global education discussion. We have made significant strides in education and have garnered international attention," he said.
The Bahamas Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has responsibility for more than 50,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students, in approximately 170 educational institutions in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, which are dispersed over 14 districts in the major islands.
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January 11, 2017
Yes indeed, as today's title puts it, what's inside shows on the outside, yes it does. Excuse me D. Paul, would you please explain exactly what you mean by the title of today's article because I'm just not getting it, you may query? Why certainly, I'd be delighted to. A phrase I heard from, I do believe it was Earl Nightingale goes like this, "Everything is from the inside out and not from the outside in." D. Paul you still have me somewhat puzzled. Okay, have you ever heard someone say true beauty is within? Now I'm quite sure you've heard that phrase used on many, many occasions. But once again D. Paul what does it mean? Well it simply means this.
Everything in life first commences in the mind as a thought, so a person could be extremely beautiful or handsome-looking and yet, because of their ugly, negative, destructive thoughts, they will not be very attractive at all to others who will indeed observe their unpleasant disposition. So as today's title puts it quite clearly, what's inside shows on the outside, yes it does. So you need to, not only check your exterior when you get up in the morning but also check your inner thoughts, your mental attitude to make sure that it's as it should be.
So in conclusion, it's not just enough to spend a whole lot of time working on your exterior appearance, unless you also spend a whole lot of time working on your inner thoughts too. That's right, in the end, it's all about one's attitude -- that is if you really wish to appeal to a whole lot of people and thus succeed.
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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January 11, 2017
The Public Hospitals Authority's (PHA) latest audited financial statements reveal that the corporation had an accumulated deficit of over $80 million as of June 2014, and it would not be able to continue as a financially viable entity without government subsidization.
The reports raise concerns over the financial position of the public healthcare sector that is currently in preparation, along with its private sector counterparts, for National Health Insurance (NHI).
The PHA is comprised of its corporate headquarters, the Department of Public Health, Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Grand Bahama Health Services and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage tabled the authority's audited financial statements for the years ending June 2012, 2013 and 2014 in the House of Assembly on Monday.
For the year ending June 2014, the authority's deficit stood at $83.24 million; it stood at $73.18 million as of June 2013, and $73.04 million as of June 2012.
The independent auditors, Grant Thornton Bahamas and Baker Tilly Gomez, expressed their concerns over the authority's ability to continue as a "going concern".
A "going concern" qualification is a red flag because it is an indicator that a company cannot meet its debt obligations.
The auditors concluded that PHA's financial position "indicates material uncertainty", which "may cast significant doubt" on the corporation's ability to continue as a "going concern" without financial support from the government.
The reports note that PHA "continues to operate at a deficit, and financial support from the government is essential for the continued operations of the authority".
"It is the intention of the government to continue to financially support the authority as a going concern due to its role in the management of the government-owned hospitals and delivery of healthcare."
PHA's financial statements also reveal that staffing costs was the largest expense, followed by drugs and vaccines.
Staffing expenses totaled $126.86 million in the year ending June 2011 and increased to $138.07 million by June 2014.
Total expenses rose from $204.53 million in the year ending June 2011, to $221.30 million in the year ending June 2014.
Each report also showed that PHA is not in a financial position to meet its short-term debt obligations.
The financial statement for the year ending June 2014 reveals that PHA's current liabilities exceeded its current assets by $23.10 million.
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January 11, 2017
A new economic impact assessment on the delay of Baha Mar shows the extent to which the government has forfeited hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, and the grim outlook on the country and resort's reputation due to the handling of the receivership of the property and its recent sale.
The report, sent to Guardian Business by sources associated with the resort but who wish to remain anonymous, posits a $2.5 billion gross domestic product (GDP) loss for the country due to the two-year delay in opening the resort and $410 million loss in tax revenues levied from value-added tax (VAT), import duties, gaming taxes, departure taxes and National Insurance Board contributions.
"It now looks like the provisional liquidation process initiated by the Bahamas government, putting the fate of the Baha Mar project in the hands of its secured creditor, CEXIM Bank and its court-approved receivers and managers, Deloitte, will result in a two-year delay," the report states.
"The settling of certain obligations to Bahamian employees and vendors, and the announcement of a new buyer, mean that the government will make further investments in terms of concessions and deal costs to get the project opened. The lost economic benefits with this delay are staggering."
The report also spoke of "qualitative impacts" in the form of slow development of the product, reputation damage from the delay and handling of the Baha Mar liquidation and sale, lost marketing spend on promoting the destination and a protracted period of slow growth, which could contribute to social challenges.
It added that the country stalled on creating 9,000 full-time jobs from direct and indirect sources associated with the project over the two-year delay period.
Its assessment also outlined $600 million in lost income over two years and the forfeiture of 1.1 million stopover visitors. "Each visitor was expected to spend $576 per day," the assessment said.
These were likely the kinds of statistics credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) took into account when it made the decision to downgrade The Bahamas' sovereign credit rating to junk status. Standard and Poor's gave the country a stable outlook, however, due partly to the optimism surrounding the Baha Mar project.
"The country's largest tourism project, Baha Mar, is set to open in phases beginning in 2017. We believe that it will take time before the resort is able to operate at full capacity," S&P said in its December report on The Bahamas.
"The stable outlook balances the government's recently worsened fiscal profile, increased debt burden and already elevated external risks with the benefits of the opening of Baha Mar, along with smaller tourism projects, that will sustain long-term economic growth."
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January 11, 2017
Chairman of the Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) Emmanuel Komolafe pointed out that the recent reduction in the prime rate from 4.75 percent to 4.25 percent could penalize investors and savers while favoring new and existing borrowers.
Komolafe explained that, due to the exchange control regime, companies operating from within The Bahamas, and in particular local companies, are restricted in their ability to invest outside of the country.
"These entities are therefore heavily invested in government securities and bonds with flexible interest rates tied to the prime rate. It follows that the recent reduction of the prime rate would negatively impact their returns/yields and may not compensate for the risk associated with the investment in question," Komolafe told Guardian Business.
He questioned what percentage of total loans in The Bahamas is expected to be impacted by the prime rate reduction, and what The Central Bank of The Bahamas has (CBOB) determined will be the overall impact on the economy.
"As an example, it has been estimated that mortgage loans account for only $455 million of the $843 million of non-performing loans in the banking sector," Komolafe noted.
"Will the anticipated spending and economic activity brought about by the prime rate reduction compensate for the hit taken by pensioners, pension funds, long-term policyholders, savers and investors?.
"It appears that the goal is to encourage more spending and either intentionally or inadvertently discourage savings and investments.
"If this is not the goal, what is the overall objective or end game? In the final analysis, a multi-faceted approach which involves the use of fiscal and monetary policy measures, as well as targeted reforms is required to turn the economy around," said Komolafe.
The move to reduce the prime rate also comes amid a high amount of excess liquidity in the banking sector.
However, Komolafe contended that "the excess liquidity cannot be separated from the underlying micro debt and high non-performing loan crisis, high unemployment and underemployment, the perceived or actual risk averse nature of lending institutions and the resulting small pool of qualified or eligible borrowers".
He added that in the absence of a functional credit reporting system and credit bureau, "we also run the risk of worsening the existing debt crisis without proper monitoring".
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January 11, 2017
The Bahamas financial services sector, while still healthy and attractive, will have a tough time removing its stigma as a tax haven, especially as regulations from countries that enforce Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards become more stringent, a financial services professional told Guardian Business recently.
CEO of the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute Paul Smith, said The Bahamas' recent downgrade by credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's will only serve to make the environment that much more complex. However, while it is "bad news" it can be a call to action for the government, businesses and the general public.
"If it helps change the regulatory environment, the support that the government has for the financial services industry, if it makes businesses think more clearly about what they're doing, if it makes people in the workforce think more clearly about what they need to contribute and what they need to put in rather than take out, well then all these things are extremely beneficial," he said.
According to Smith, the general public typically has a lack of understanding in how the role of government finances work. He said chartered financial analysts can and should assist the country's population better understand these kinds of processes.
Smith added that he has been extremely impressed by this country's regulators.
"I think The Bahamas has had historical challenges and those still linger," he said. "Reputation takes a lifetime to build and a second to lose.
"The Bahamas is a clean and well run jurisdiction. I'm impressed with the regulators I've met and I'm very highly impressed with the industry practitioners I've met. However, it takes forever to lose that stigma.
"The regulatory environment at the moment coming out of the major economies, whether it's Europe or the United States, makes it a very difficult backdrop for The Bahamas to make much headway in at the moment."
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January 11, 2017
With Prime Minister Perry Christie headlining, the 26th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook is scheduled to be held January 23, 2017 at Melia Nassau Beach resort on Cable Beach.
In addition to Christie, presenters will include Gowon N.G. Bowe, chief financial officer, Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) and chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers' Confederation, and Graeme Davis, president, Baha Mar, representing the Bahamas subsidiary of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited (CTFE), the new owner of the resort. Also participating will be Dr. Linda Davis, provost, University of The Bahamas; Tanya McCartney, CEO and executive director, Bahamas Financial Services Board, and Marcellus Taylor, deputy director of education, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, with responsibility for planning and development. Forming an entrepreneurs panel will be Terrinique Pennerman, founder & CEO of Kurlee Belle, a line of natural hair care products; Doyle Roberts, a fishing consultant and businessman; and artisan Meralee Rose, who creates products from traditional materials.
Making the announcement was Joan Albury, president, TCL Group and founder and chief organizer of the seven-island Business Outlook Series.
"This new year is one of great significance to the future of The Bahamas. It is an election year when Bahamians will be called upon to choose who will lead the country for the next five years. No doubt, decisions will be influenced in no small measure by voters' understanding of and concerns about the major social and economic issues. Access to reliable information and expert opinions is vital in these circumstances," Mrs. Albury said.
"Each year in January, Business Outlook plays a major role in opening a window on the business and developmental climate in this country for the rest of the year. Based on the numbers that attend annually, the outlook is valued by many as a source of insight into the progress and potential of key sectors of the economy. As usual, we have assembled a slate of presenters who are best suited by reason of their positions and/or experience to inform on the subjects on the Outlook agenda.
"In this regard, I'm grateful to Prime Minister Christie for accepting our invitation to deliver the keynote. It is important for people to hear from the government leader at this time. Expectations are especially high for the input of new Baha Mar President Graeme Davis.
"I thank the presenters representing business, the financial services industry and education, who will bring important pieces of the national picture to the forum in their professional or creative capacity. In the latter regard, the entrepreneurs panel should prove very exciting." Mrs. Albury added.
Persons wishing to register or learn more about Bahamas Business Outlook 2017 may contact Margaret Albury at The Counsellors Ltd. at e-mail: email@example.com via telephone (242) 322-7505 or visit www.tclevents.com.
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January 11, 2017
Anglican Archdeacon James Palacious said yesterday black people are "recycling poverty" by having too many children they cannot afford.
While speaking to hundreds of people at the Southern Recreation Grounds after the 50th Majority Rule Day march, Palacious said "black people breed too much" and rely too much on the government to do things that "we should be doing ourselves".
"We live in a society where the rich get richer and the poor get children," he said.
"What I mean is this, unless we can control our reproductive process, we will always be recycling poverty. We're recycling poverty. That's what we're doing.
"My MP in Montagu, Richard Lightbourn, made some most unfortunate remarks at the FNM convention.
"He later apologized for it, and that is important.
"When you make a mistake you apologize for it. Don't let somebody else apologize for you. You apologize for yourself.
"Now having said that, the principle of what he was trying to say, I agree totally.
"Black people breed too much."
At the FNM convention in July, Lightbourn said the state should consider tying the tubes of unwed mothers who depend on the state to raise their children.
Lightbourn said it is necessary "for us as a nation to consider adopting the lead of several countries in the world which results in an unwed mother having her tubes tied after having more than two children, which would in the end result in fewer children being born".
He said, "The state should not have the burden of paying for the upbringing of children.
"By adopting such measures, there would be [fewer] classrooms needed in the future and [fewer] persons coming out of school every year seeking employment and would also result in the mother of these children being able to live a better life not having to bring up so many children."
Palacious did not say how Bahamians should control reproducing, but he asked women who cannot afford to have numerous children to "give themselves a break".
"We get too many children we can't afford, and as a result of that, we just [dig] ourselves more and more into poverty," Palacious said.
"If we can't see that, then something is radically wrong with us.
"You have children on the lunch program right now, mothers, and you're going to go have some more?
"Come on. Give me a break. Give yourself a break.
"God didn't put you here as any baby machine. He put you here to be a productive citizen of this country.
"That's what we need. That's one of the struggles that continues, despite the great gains that we've had.
"We talk about how Princess Margaret Hospital is doing, but how are we treating our own bodies?
"How are we looking after our own health?
"You are your own primary health caregiver.
"You are your own hospital right in your house.
"When are we going to accept personal responsibility for where we are right now?
"Stop blaming somebody else."
Palacious asked Bahamians to make majority rule more meaningful. While he noted the progression of the country over the years, Palacious said "the struggle goes on".
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January 11, 2017
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of majority rule, but for the hundreds of Bahamians who participated in the second We March Bahamas event in Downtown Nassau, there was little, if anything, to be jubilant about.
Participants used the event to highlight various issues they say are keeping The Bahamas from progressing, including low educational attainment, widespread crime, a government many view as unaccountable and an economy that is not growing.
They also used the march to send a message to those in power that they are not happy with the state of affairs.
The march attracted Bahamians from various socio-economic backgrounds. Labor leaders, religious leaders, business people, educators and many others were in the crowd.
Wearing black T-shirts with a pumped fist emblazoned on the front, they chanted, "The power of the people is greater than the people in power", and "We want our country back".
They sang the national anthem and other patriotic hymns like "This Land is Our Land".
And they carried Bahamian flags and placards which called for transparency and accountability in government, and which highlighted their worries over their future and those of their children.
They again bemoaned spending on carnival, decried any move to allow foreigners to fish in Bahamian waters and demanded that the government say where the value-added tax revenue is going.
Many of the participants insisted that the country needs saving.
Among those participating in the march -- which took a different route from the march organized by the government -- were former President of the Court of Appeal Dame Joan Sawyer, whose voice was prominent in the lead up to the failed gender equality referendum last year.
For those who advocated a 'no' vote, Dame Joan emerged as a hero.
Former Cabinet Minister Janet Bostwick, the first woman to serve in the House of Assembly in The Bahamas, was also on the frontline of the march, along with iconic Bahamian entertainer Ronnie Butler, who was pushed in a wheelchair along the route, which started at Arawak Cay and ended at Pompey Square.
When the march ended, Butler was wheeled to the stage, where his hit song "Burma Road" was played. The song evokes memories of the 1942 Burma Road Riot, which was triggered over unequal pay for Bahamians employed at wartime air bases.
The riot was the beginning of social upheaval that intensified in the years before the attainment of majority rule in The Bahamas.
Butler believes Bahamians still have much to fight for.
"This is serious business," he said. "Ain't nothing jokey about this. Now I went down Burma Road 50 years ago. I [am] going back again. I [am] going back with all my Bahamian people."
Butler said there are so many people in The Bahamas suffering.
Bostwick, meanwhile, said 50 years ago when majority rule was achieved, she stood at the center of Rawson and Parliament squares and celebrated because she felt the shackles of oppression were broken.
"We were fighting against inequality; we fought for justice and equal opportunity," Bostwick said.
"Fifty years later, these are the things for which we still aspire.
"I have been feeling extremely burdened, because The Bahamas that I am leaving for my children and grandchildren is not The Bahamas I envisioned that I would be leaving at this time.
"Too many of the things which we fought for are still not attended to, and it is imperative we fight but it is also imperative that we fight together.
"Crime is still rampant; fortunately inequality is not there, and there are not sufficient opportunities available."
Bostwick said she marched yesterday and 50 years ago for the good of the people.
"I marched against a D average; we cannot accept that in education," she said.
"I marched against the misuse of our hard earned taxes.
"I marched against the unaccountability; you need to be accountable... and that's I why I marched.
"I am so glad to see that this We March movement was not separated by economic class, by color, by age or anything, and I think in it is an answer for the future of The Bahamas."
Dame Joan told the crowd that she cannot be jubilant "when people in my country cannot eat".
She said she marched for her grandchildren and for the next generation.
"It's not about me," she said. "I'm on my way out. I am here for them and those middle-aged people."
She praised the decision by Ranard Henfield, the main organizer of We March, to decline the prime minister's invitation for a meeting to discuss the group's concerns.
"This was all done in public. Why do you want to go behind closed doors?" she asked.
At the group's first march on November 25, Henfield said he would not meet with Prime Minister Perry Christie at his office, despite Christie's invitation for the march's organizers to engage in dialogue aimed at "improving the quality of life of all our citizens".
Dame Joan said, "We need to change our approach. We need to stop being cowered by those who claim to have power."
When he addressed the crowd, Henfield said the end game isn't to march.
"The end game is to put forth the people's manifesto and by that you are able to say to any candidate, this is what is in the best interest of the people, the best interest of the majority, not in the best interest of whoever owns Baha Mar."
He insisted that the We March movement transcends politics, socio-economic status and religion.
"I can assure you today that plenty people that are a part of We March are PLP, FNM, DNA, Baptist, Catholic, Anglican, rich, black, white, poor," Henfield said.
"You know what we have in common? We are Bahamians. Every administration wants power. Me and you don't care about power. We want to do more than survive. We want to do more than pay our bills and cry.
"We want to have savings. We want to have something to leave for our children. We want to enjoy life."
Henfield also encouraged Bahamians to register to vote.
"We have to stand. We have to advocate. We have to keep pushing, but you have to register," he said.
"It makes no sense if you march if you don't get informed. You have to be informed."
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January 11, 2017
Amid calls for his resignation from numerous politicians and community figures, Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that he would "pass the baton" when the time is right.
While speaking at the Southern Recreation Grounds after the 50th Majority Rule Day march, the prime minister thanked the country's forefathers for allowing him and others to "stand on their shoulders".
Though he did not give details, Christie responded to the frequent calls for his resignation.
"As one generation goes out, a new generation comes in," Christie said.
"(Former Prime Minister) Hubert Ingraham, I thank you for all you've been able to do for the cause of this country.
"To those of you who aspire, we recognize that just as Sir Lynden Pindling passed the baton to Hubert Ingraham and then it was eventually passed to myself, the baton will be passed.
"The only thing I can tell you is, at the right time."
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate for Fort Charlotte Alfred Sears intends to run for the leadership position at the party's convention at the end of this month.
Sears is the only person to announce that he will challenge Christie for the leadership.
Christie has been leader of the PLP since 1997 and has vowed to lead the party into the next general election.
Butler-Turner on the 'wrong side'
Christie also spoke of the Leader of the Official Opposition Loretta Butler-Turner during his speech.
He said in a recent conversation with Butler-Turner, he told her that she is on the "wrong side" of the political fence.
"I said to Loretta Butler, 'child, you are on the wrong side'," he said.
"I said I just looked at the statistics and I see your daddy, your grandaddy from 1938 was running, your uncle or granduncle Joe was running, your daddy, your other uncle Milo Butler Jr. was running.
"They're the Butlers.
"Milo and his sons all made this enduring commitment of courage and so families like that, today I salute them all."
As he concluded, Christie saluted the country for its advancement over the last 50 years.
"May this country endure peacefully, progressively and very successfully when it comes to the ease of living of our people."
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