Nassau Guardian Stories
July 18, 2017
A former prison guard was yesterday ordered to pay $2,600 in fines to avoid spending a year in prison.
Demetrius Maycock, 25, was arrested at his home in Sunset Park on July 14 after police found a little over two ounces of marijuana in the residence and discovered that he had failed to renew the license for his shotgun.
Maycock pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession and charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition at his arraignment before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Barrington Miller said that police met Maycock flushing marijuana down the toilet after they forced their way inside his home.
The officers searched Maycock's room and found more drugs inside a gun safe.
Police also discovered that the shotgun's license had expired in 2015.
Alluding to the recent arrests of other prison guards, Maycock's lawyer, Jomo Campbell, said that his client's arrest differed as he did not try to bring the drugs onto the prison compound.
Campbell said that Maycock had stopped smoking marijuana years ago and claimed that the seized drugs were more than two years old.
Campbell said that Maycock was now unemployed and would have to seek another job.
As for the firearm, Campbell said that Maycock's only failure was not renewing the license.
Forbes fined Maycock $300 on each drug charge, which if not paid will result in a six-month prison term.
Maycock was fined $1,000 each for the firearm and ammunition charges or one year in prison.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
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July 18, 2017
In order to facilitate the ease of doing operations at Princess Margaret Hospital, the government is considering removing the Rand Morgue to another location and creating a national blood bank, said Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday.
While on the Guardian Radio talk show "Morning Blend" with host Dwight Strachan, Sands spoke about the government's "major plan" to creating one healthcare system, instead of one where everything is in silos.
"All of these things need to be addressed," he said.
"We are even looking at removing the morgue from the confines of the Princess Margaret Hospital.
"We are looking at creating a national blood bank so that the blood banking needs for The Bahamas are provided in an environment where we are able to send teams to Acklins and Crooked Island, to Mayaguana, to Long Island, and so on.
"So that we can bring up the supplies of blood, so that when somebody has cancer, when somebody has a traumatic injury, that we have blood and blood products available."
Sands did not give a timeline on when these moves will take place.
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July 18, 2017
Police yesterday charged two men with unrelated killings that took place four years apart.
A 23-year-old was charged with non-capital murder in connection with the shooting death of a man on Independence Day.
And a second man, age 33, was also charged with non-capital murder in the shooting death of a man in 2013.
Both suspects appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt and were not required to enter pleas to the charges.
Dino Smith, 23, of Windsor Lane, is accused of the July 10 murder of Levardo Sherman Deveaux, who was shot while socializing with friends on Fowler Street, off East Street.
Smith, who was represented by Ian Cargill, makes his next court appearance on August 25, when it is expected that the case will be transferred to the Supreme Court by a voluntary bill of indictment.
Jamal Wallace, 33, of Union Village, is charged with the August 5, 2013 shooting death of Remo Fox, who was gunned down following a fight at a club on Ida Street.
Attorney Murrio Ducille, who represented Wallace, said the accused was on medication that he needed at the prison.
Wallace also returns to court on August 25.
Both men were remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services and were advised of their right to seek bail in the Supreme Court.
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July 18, 2017
Banks and historical development
The stage provides great entertainment, except when we are a part of it and we are the ones being laughed, jeered at, or at the receiving end of rotten tomato throwing. As the country sits poised to lose its self-proclaimed status as a banking centre, given the exodus of the offshore, onshore or commercial banks, and the real shift from off-shore banking to wealth or asset management, the country needs to sit up and start to seriously reconsider its position. Lies continue to be taken as truths and pipe dreams reign. Sadly, the populous and the government both seem unwilling or unable to pull back the veil of the story they have created. We have bought into a lie about a healthy GDP for years, even while we have faced the obvious non-truth of this story. Radio talk show hosts continue to promote the country as a high GDP country when, in reality, The Bahamas has a serious problem as inequality deepens and worsens; the GDP means little except for those outliers who take the GDP up to its high point. There are a few people who own a great deal of money in the country, but that money does not usually reside in the country, for the most part. Further, many of the corrupt officials who have benefited from this lie of financial prosperity move their dollars offshore to places untouched by Bahamian law enforcement. These same few benefit at the expense of the population.
Historically, Bahamians were resilient people who, because they were not allowed to own bank accounts in commercial banks such as the Royal Bank of Canada, had an entire system of lending and financial working that depended on local people who ran asues. These asues were usually run by women and worked well to keep citizens alive. Much like burial societies and friendly societies that derived form the African heritage, these empowered the blacks. Sadly, the government saw this as a bad way of saving and chose to make it illegal. All that came from Africa was painted with a tar brush as being bad and working against national development. Desegregation allowed poor, black Bahamians to open bank accounts, but it also encouraged them to pull out of the traditional and very functional asue system. Today, while asues continue to service parts of the population, they have been undermined by the government's distrust of an unregulated banking system, but the number houses have full-government support. The latter represent a serious risk to the stability of the country, in part because some operate illegal banking systems that are not regulated as the Canadian banks are, which also causes the Canadian banks to resist remaining in the local economy. A story two years ago or so in The New York Times about Scotiabank in the Caribbean put the writing on the wall, however, many people chose to ignore it. Now, the MPs are laying the failure of this first world status so many of them boasted about at the feet of the government; it is a pipe dream as banks close branches and downsize staff. Some islands have been left without any banks or are told to go to the next branch that is on another island. How is this development? We are reaching first world status real fast.
In The Bahamas in the 21st century, in order to seek medical attention, most people must buy a plane ticket and fly to the capital where the lame-duck hospital, that has really only been partially updated, continues to function as if it were servicing a population of a small town, not a country of over 370,000 people. It was already outdated and too small and too downtrodden in the 1970s into the 1980s. Those who buy tickets to fly in must also pay to stay somewhere and seek assistance with transportation. Often, they land for scheduled surgical procedures only to be told that their surgery has been cancelled and a new date will be given to them soon. How much does this cost the user? How do the framers of National Health Insurance foresee overcoming these problems, especially in a country that is so far down the black financial hole that it can hardly see the light from the sun? We speedin' down the first world road.
Now we are telling people that they must buy a plane ticket to fly to the bank! How is this national development? It seems that the national only now focuses on New Providence. Although, please do not be surprised when yet more bank closures in the capital will negatively influence the already hours-long bank queues and refusals to give poor, hard-working black people mortgages, though they will give them loans for cars. This begins an incredible debt cycle as many people are told that their bank will become fully automated rather than a branch that one can go into to speak to a flesh and blood human. We should understand that to mean that unemployment will increase, money in the local economy will decrease, and poverty will rise. The fewer jobs around, the more poverty increases. This is not rocket science. Yet government remains moot on this, or claims that unemployment is falling. When banks pull out of towns, they leave gaping holes like wounds that will either fester and puss, or cause eventual death. The number houses cannot operate as banks unless government chooses to allows this, which then means that our international relationships will be threatened by controls placed on capital flows and transparency. Having come out of the offshore banking system, it is clear that the country has done nothing to develop to keep up with a rapidly changing global village. How is this development? This is the new economy understanding of first-worldness.
Selling land was an excellent way to make money, once. International landowners are a godsend, but an economy cannot be pegged to that done-sailed ship. It is the most unsustainable and short-term way to 'develop' a country. Further, when we sell off all immovable assets to people who can pay top dollar, the land prices are pushed up incredibly. Realtors and other agents like this because they earn large commissions (and that is a good thing), but everyone else loses out because it becomes impossible to buy land in the home country. Again, this is not to say we do not want foreign direct investment, we want investors, but this cannot be the sole source of national income.
Changing government is good, but where is the plan?
The crooks usually slink off through the wings stage left as government changes and the dust settles. As Moody's threatens to once again downgrade the country, where is the government plan to fight this? What are the action points they plan to implement? Where are the policy changes? The only policy mentioned so far has been increasing taxation, insisting that people pay their taxes, but those other people who live above, outside, to the left of, or to the right of the law continue to evade taxation. How do you plan to get them to pay their taxes? Instead, it seems that the plan is to punish the middle class who are already heavily taxed. Please shut the front door on those who say how low the tax rate is here for locals. If you pay a dollar for something in the U.S. by the time it lands in your house it costs $10, depending on how many times it is VATed and taxed and marked up, yet we do not see this heavy taxation. At the same time, the state has signed onto the WTO and has not implemented the policies, nor has it changed the tax structures and duty structures that are required by the WTO. Where to next? Small Bahamian business are dying under the weight of onerous taxes and fees, and the reality that large international corporations can operate in the local economy more effectively than small, local businesses. We are throttling through our barrier to first-worldness.
Moving onto the smart island
How can we move into this coveted place when the infrastructure is still dumb? Not sure that there is another way to write it. The state and the nation have allowed the state to do this, have refused to update, upgrade, make sustainable, improve, stabilize the energy grid, or even the public service infrastructure. Without reliable energy, not energy that pollutes and goes off three, four, five times, browns out, or stays off for days and at the same time loses $7 million, the smart island dream is just that, a dream. It is sad when the lies become so believable that we go to bed and wake up with them, and start to wear them as second skins. How can we sit so close to Florida, have an American company provide us with energy, and have the most expensive energy in this hemisphere? Is it the hemisphere? Computer and internet router blow when de dam lights dip de las time. On de islan is worser. Yet, what do we do? We complain but do nothing. This is first-worldness?
We so often talk about foreign being better than Bahamian and that they must be paid more than locals, so we are now right back to the pre-Burma Road days, but no one does anything proactive about the obvious cases of discrimination. How do we claim to be about Bahamianization when Bahamians are usually earning somewhere around $8,000-$10,000 annually? International persons make more than that. Take note, this is not to challenge internationalization of the country or the economy, but rather to point out that Bahamians continue to be treated like second-class citizens in their own country, and many Bahamian women are treated like third-class citizens, and anyone who is perceived as 'Haitian' even though they have been here for one, two, three or four generations, are treated like fourth-class citizens. Discrimination? We see it when Bahamians are asked not to be on hotel property and when fences are erected to protect private beaches, easements wiped out. The joys of the first world, ain no body got time to worry bout beach.
We soon reach
We are in a national travesty or tragicomedy along the lines of Shakespeare or Marlow and Doctor Faustus or the Duchess of Malfi, where people can be daggered to death in public and souls can be sold to the devil, yet nothing is done and most actors don't know their lines because they can't read or count. Education is so poor that the smart island must be driven by the few who actually graduate. What is smart about an island that refuses to accept the reality of where it is and how low it sits in the rising water, with the most biased structure that is against most of the population? Yet, when Dr. Fuastus is tempted should he not go to Lucifer when there are no other viable options? As the Moody's reality sinks in, what will government do? The mess that has been made from a 55 percent debt-to-GDP ratio 2012-2013, to a 72 percent debt-to-GDP ratio in 2016/2017, (Moody's) says that we are in for a rough stage life. If no one is going to jail for the murderous corruption and the strangle-hold control of national development by a few Lucifers, lets stop the mud-slinging and really start to work towards improving life. What is going to be done about the departing banks, the rising costs of buying a home, the inability for most people to survive, that is not just words and sweet talk while sipping a sweet tropical drink with an umbrella in it while floating on a clear blue pool, not the sea because it too salty? This stage is so termite-eaten and un-kept, unmaintained like most government buildings and services (so the potential down-rating of postal service would be no shock to anyone, except the state), we will soon fall through. Such is life in promised first-worldness.
o Ian Bethell-Bennett is a professor at the University of The Bahamas.
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July 18, 2017
Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said the new board of Bahamas Power Light (BPL) has been appointed and is focusing on keeping Bahamians' power on and getting electricity bills reduced.
Bannister said Bahamians are tired of power cuts.
"They want to know why when they come home from work in the afternoon the power is off," he said recently.
"That is a legitimate question for all Bahamians to ask.
"Those who are in governance may try to explain the process of getting it back on and getting it to work, but Bahamians really want to know why they can't be comfortable at night and why it's hot and miserable, and why they have to suffer through that.
"Those of us who are charged with the responsibility have to ensure that it stops. That is a very important part of the process."
Bannister made his comments on the Guardian Radio talk show "The Political Review" with host Quincy Parker on Sunday.
As for the new board, Bannister would not name any of the members, but said a "highly capable" board was appointed.
"That board has two outstanding engineers on it, two exceptional accountants, a lawyer who I call a bulldog of a lawyer, and a fraud manager," he said.
"This is an amazing board. They are going to ensure, and I have told them, there will be no political interference from me. I just want the best job that they can do.
"These people have had tremendous success in our society and they are highly respected. They are going to ensure that we have electrical power and that it costs less."
The Nassau Guardian previously reported that former Bahamas Institute of Charted Accountants President Darnell Osborne was appointed chairman of BPL's board.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas' (CBOB) monthly economic report for May revealed an increase in household energy costs, with an almost 50 percent increase in BPL's fuel charge year-on-year.
CBOB said BPL's fuel charge increased by 8.3 percent to 13.7 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) on a monthly basis, and by 49.7 percent when compared to May 2016.
BPL has said that the increase in the fuel charge is a result of the use of its units at the Blue Hills Power Station.
The company recently advised its customers in Abaco that it was "working constantly" to resolve issues responsible for the recent periods of supply interruption throughout the island and several cays.
Last month, power on New Providence was off for nearly four hours.
Power supply throughout the island went out shortly before 3 p.m.
BPL said a "failure in a main transmission cable between the Blue Hills Power Station and the Big Pond Substation initiated the outage".
At 7:30 p.m., BPL said power had been fully restored.
Bannister said the government has to ensure that BPL's machinery is up to date and that the "power stays on".
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July 18, 2017
Pointing to several outstanding issues plaguing clinics throughout the country, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday suggested that the government is unable to facilitate much-needed repairs to public health facilities, or even pay its health services vendors.
"When I go to the Coconut Grove Clinic today the roof is leaking buckets and the people are working in that environment, and we can't find $70,000 to fix the roof," said Sands while on the Guardian Radio talk show "Morning Blend" with Dwight Strachan.
"The Princess Margaret Hospital has 67 beds taken out of commission because there was no money to finish the contracted works.
"Vendors are threatening to pull medication and vaccine supplies to the Public Hospitals Authority because bills haven't been paid and here we are balling, sending contract to this one and contract to that one, it doesn't make sense."
Sands insisted that the government has to be careful of its spending and once again pointed to the millions of dollars in contracts the Christie administration spent on clinics in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador.
"While we have to be mindful of how we spend the precious few pennies that we have, it becomes extremely important that we do not waste and that is why the discussion has arisen over the peculiar commitment to spend $10 million for clinics in Cat Island," he said.
"When we look at the utilization of healthcare facilities by Bahamians, the average Nassuvian goes to the doctor one time per year, on average, some go more, some go less.
"The average family islander goes three times per year.
"Now people in Cat Island for some reason go 5.6 times per year.
"Despite that, when you look at the number of clinics proposed, we would have a $6.5 million facility which would see, on average, six patients a day.
"...Even if you were to say that we were having five and a half visits per patient, per year, and you are considering visitors and so on and so forth, when you are looking at those clinics now, including the one for $6 million, and you add security and landscaping and janitorial services, those clinics would be seeing, on average, one patient per hour.
"There is no way that we can say that, that is justifiable now or later."
Sands said that when plans for the Cat Island clinics were being drawn up, the technical department of the public health team, "vigorously protested" with the Christie administration that they did not believe it was needed, because they could provide adequate, excellent healthcare with better home care and better transportation.
He added, "So even if you build two out of the three or one out of the three, and you provide adequate transportation, you can achieve the same thing but without exposing the Bahamian people to added debt."
Sands said because of budget constraints the government is looking at the clinic contracts to see if it is fair or reasonable to follow through with the projects.
He suggested that it may make more sense to provide staff in Cat Island "a couple of jeeps or ambulances" to drive some of the people up and down throughout Cat Island to get them to the clinic.
"There has to be a process because you don't want to make arbitrary, capricious decisions," he said.
"You want to make decisions based on the evidence.
"Because, as you can remember, the member for San Salvador, Rum Cay and Cat Island [Philip Brave Davis] is going to cry bloody murder, as he has done already.
"This is not about politics, this is about protecting Bahamian people."
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July 18, 2017
The Lowell J. Mortimer Maritime Academy (LJMM) plans to prepare over 5,000 people for jobs in the future, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, who yesterday said that he was impressed with the institution.
"What we see is an institution that is moving forward in the world," Minnis said on Tuesday after touring the institute.
"That is a great market and it is a new frontier.
"We have tourism at number one, financial sector [at number two], but we have not tapped into the shipping industry.
"All the facilities are here for training.
"The students, after completing, are well-qualified and can perform on any of the ships that are registered or ships that travel throughout the world.
"The projection here --they're hoping and they're moving aggressively in that direction -- is that they (the ships) will be able to hire well in excess of 5,000 individuals.
"Most significant, a lot of the students come from the inner city and areas that we have not basically concentrated on.
"This is a great opportunity and the students do not have a problem after completing living abroad, or on these vessels with coming back.
"And when you look at the type of income they make, great resources and income can be repatriated back to The Bahamas and that will help to grow our economy, and they will also be exposed while traveling the world on the various, different vessels.
"They're exposed to other individuals and they themselves become ambassadors of The Bahamas."
However, the owner of the institute said it is in need of more funding.
One thing it is in dire need of is a dormitory to house students from Family Islands and abroad.
"I cannot give a time on this because we need to get more income facilities on the island," said Lowell Mortimer, founder of the academy, when asked for a timeline on the dorms.
"For instance, if we can get the museum going or if we can get a restaurant as our former Prime Minister (Perry Christie) suggested, that would be an income stream.
"Then we can start considering having a dormitory facility because it's a very expensive thing to put up and maintain."
The academy's President, Dr. Brendamae Cleare, said there are also many international students who have shown interest in the institute who cannot attend because there are no living arrangements.
When asked if he believes the institute is losing money in this regard, Mortimer said, "Yes, but I think the expense of the dormitory would be more than the money we would lose.
"We would lose much more if we did build a dormitory and projected it badly.
"We would lose money if the students cannot fulfill or afford it.
"That would be another problem."
Minnis said the government will do what it can to assist the institution.
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July 17, 2017
A man who was shot on Sunday night, died in hospital this morning, police said.
The victim was walking on Third Street, off Robinson Road, shortly after 10 p.m. when he was attacked, police said.
The shooter fled on foot.
Police said the victim was taken to hospital in serious condition.
He died a few hours later.
Police did not identify the shooter but said an island-wide manhunt has been launched.
The murder count stands at 75 for the year. This time last year, the count was 63, according to The Nassau Guardian's records.
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July 17, 2017
The solar car has been built, and St. John's College's (SJC) students are making ready to put their vehicle to the test this week among the 181 high schools scheduled to participate in the 2017 Solar Car Challenge.
The Green Giant's team will be among teams from 36 states, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, driving for four days at the world famous Texas Motor Speedway, which will begin on Wednesday, July 19 at the track in Fort Worth, Texas and ends Saturday, July 22. This year's race will feature a new racing division -- the Electric-Solar Powered Car -- a division that will feature a two-passenger electric car powered by permanent charging stations, bringing "realism" to solar car racing.
The Solar Car Challenge is an educational program designed to help motivate students in science, engineering and alternative energy. Students are taught how to plan, design, engineer, build, race and evaluate roadworthy solar cars.
Teams began their participation in the year-long project during educational workshops in September 2016. Additional workshops, on-site visits, mentor opportunities and camps, helped propel the project to success. After qualifying, teams get the opportunity to drive their solar cars at the speedway.
While a number of sponsors stepped up to help SJC build their Green Lightning entry, in the weeks leading up to the team's departure, Pia Farmer, director at Easy Car Sales, the provider of 100 percent electric vehicles (EVs) in The Bahamas, said her company actively supports the efforts of Fr. Shazz Turnquest, the project lead and physics teacher.
At the school's annual Mardi Gras fair, Easy Car Sales featured the solar-ready Nissan LEAF alongside another innovative car -- SJC displayed the eco-friendly, solar powered car they designed and built to compete 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 envisions a Bahamian future in which solar powered vehicles are designed and built by Bahamians.
"We owe it to our young people to help them to realize their potential by introducing them to the technology of the future," said the physics teacher.
His students built a full-sized solar powered car that incorporates the latest technology and design specifications for the race.
The solar car that the SJC team will put into the competition is only allowed to have 250 pounds worth of batteries, which would require a delicate balancing act between the electric motor drawing down from the battery and the solar panel trickle charging the battery. The output the car gets would depend on how the student drives the car. The minimum speed they have to run is 20 to 25 miles per hour.
The students were responsible for designing and building the car from the ground up. They were able to take direction and guidance from their teachers and industry leaders, and are required to market their vehicle to show proficiency in their design methodologies.
The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based initiative will have numerous benefits for the students participating in the building of the solar powered car, according to Father Turnquest, the project lead and physics teacher.
"In education today, especially in The Bahamas, everything is book-driven. We're trying to embrace a lot of technology in the classrooms, a lot of whiteboards and computers, but there are so many talented children who are falling through the cracks who are excellent with their hands -- they can build things, they can draw things, they create things -- and the curriculum has to be modified to allow for them to also engage ... for them to shine, and for them to feel good about their learning," said Turnquest.
Through the building of their solar powered car Turnquest is hoping the process will teach the students logistics, how to plan a project, how to execute a project, how to work as a team, how to think, and how to problem solve -- things he said that are best learnt by project-based initiatives such as their solar powered car project.
"The program is really beneficial for them because what it does is exposes them to students from all over the United States. It helps them to develop their resumes and opens doors to scholarships for them. College and university scholarship boards are looking for diversity and innovation in the academic career of children -- it's not just academics. They have to be well-rounded."
The students involved in the project include 12th grade Justin Sweeting, the school's head boy, who is also the team leader, and who came up with the design for the car's drag train; as well as Marcinko Arthur, Munir Gharbaran, Richard Hamma and Ralph Sealy.
Eleventh grade team members include two females: Deniel Rolle, who designed the logo for the team's memorabilia and Dwayna Archer, both of whom Turnquest described as "brilliant students". Rounding out the team are Darren Butler, Kevaughn Pratt, Giovannie Embleton, Cephas Pinder, Khyree Rolle, Delton Rolle and Aaron Springer.
"The team is made up of 11th and 12th grade students ... physics and mathematics students who want to be able to have a hands-on experience of physics, and not just a bunch of equations and a bunch of math. They want to be able to actually do something," he said.
The idea of the students building the car with a view to racing in the challenge started with school principal Dr. Nevillene Evans, who Turnquest said shared the vision for St. John's to embrace renewable energy and wanting to find ways for students to work on solar car models.
In 1993, the Winston Solar Car Team launched an education program to provide curriculum materials, on-site visits and workshop opportunities for high schools across the United States. The program, originally a part of The Winston School (Dallas, TX), was designed to motivate students in the sciences, engineering and technology. The end product of each two-year education cycle is the Solar Car Challenge: a closed-track event at the Texas Motor Speedway, or a cross-country race designed to give students an opportunity to display their work. The Winston Solar Education Program has been shared with more than 900 schools in 20 countries.
The first challenge in 1995 attracted 90 schools, leading to nine schools actually building cars for the 1995 race. Three cars qualified to run. The 1997 challenge grew to over 350 schools in five countries. Eight cars qualified to run the 1997 race, a 600-mile cross-country event from Dallas to San Antonio. The 1999 race, a 1,600-mile event from Dallas to Los Angeles, saw eight teams enjoy the fun of high school solar car racing. The 2001 race started in Round Rock, TX at Dell Computers and traveled 1,400-miles to Columbus, Indiana. In 2003, 10 challengers endeavored to race from Round Rock, TX to the Florida Solar Energy Center, Cocoa, FL. The challenge has grown to host 18 solar car teams in 2014 with more teams starting to build cars each year.
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July 17, 2017
The traditional "chalk and talk" teaching method is no longer considered the norm in motivating students to learn. Instead, creative and innovative teaching tools and strategies are now considered the ideal in making lessons more appealing to students, particularly at the primary school level, and specifically in subjects such as mathematics and science.
Exploring fun ways to get students hooked on science and mathematics at early stages of development is critical to students' later development of love for science and math tasks, according to Dr. Patrice Pinder, an expert in research project development, grant writing and K-12 teacher training.
Dr. Pinder says game-based learning in Bahamian schools, particularly at the primary school level, can be employed as a teaching strategy in mathematics and science classrooms in order to improve students' performance in the subjects.
It is with these beliefs that Dr. Pinder created and designed two educational research projects to explore the effects/benefits of game-based learning on primary students' achievement in mathematics and science.
Her research, conducted in Trinidad (southern Caribbean); Atlanta, Georgia; and Baltimore, Maryland (United States), showed positive gains in students' achievement after introducing games into their learning process. There was positive feedback from teachers surveyed, with most educators holding the view that game-based learning can be highly effective in simplifying concepts for primary students, and that game-based learning is an effective strategy for assessing primary students' skills.
Dr. Pinder presented the results of her findings at the Eastern Educational Research Association Conference and the Trinidadian Ministry of Education's Brown Bag Research Session on game-based learning in primary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction. She has also published a book chapter and two international journal articles that currently inform K-12 educational practices in the United States, Trinidad and other regions.
Project one, entitled "Game-Based Learning in Primary STEM Instruction in Trinidad and Tobago", involved two components -- a teacher training component involved training teachers on effective ways to implement games into their lessons or curriculum content.
The teacher training sessions were held for primary and non-primary school teachers and about 70 school teachers from Trinidad's University Primary School and El Dorado West Secondary School. They were trained in the use of games as educational tools.
"The critical research component, which assessed the benefits or effects to students' achievement and teachers' teaching strategy of using science and math games in lessons/curriculum content, was the key part of the project," said Dr. Pinder.
"The mixed-methods, quantitative plus qualitative elements combined research component, utilized primary school teachers and students. To determine the effectiveness of the use of game-based learning tools and strategy, two evaluations occurred -- student evaluation, an assessment of students' science and math test scores before and after incorporation of games into lessons; and teacher evaluation -- teachers were allowed to complete a survey and to participate in interview sessions, which allowed their perceptions and views on the benefits of game-based learning to be given."
Project two, entitled "Utilizing Instructional Games as an Innovative Tool to Improve Science Learning among Elementary School Students", was conducted in the USA. Similar to the Trinidadian project, the American study also involved a research component, which assessed student level data from test scores and assessed teachers' views and perceptions of game-based learning.
Dr. Pinder said data findings from the American study were similar to that of the Trinidadian study, in that students were found to do better on their science tests after their teachers employed the game-based learning strategy. She also said teachers thought fondly of the use of games in their classes.
Beside her game-based learning research, Dr. Pinder is currently working on another research project that looks at and compares Afro-Caribbean and African immigrant students' performances in STEM in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. In conducting this research piece, she is currently posing questions to and revisiting Dr. John Ogbu's (former University of California at Berkeley professor) 20-year-old cultural-ecological theory with an eye on proposing her alternative -- "biological-cultural/genetic-hereditarian-cultural theoretical model" -- as a better theoretical model to effectively explain and account for why some African immigrants are outperforming their Afro-Caribbean peers in STEM disciplines in the UK.
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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
Single Service Award
First place - Xavier's Lower School
Second place - Claridge Primary School
Third place - Progress Academy
First place - Garvin Tynes Primary School
Second place - Cleveland Eneas Primary School
Third place - Progress Academy
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
H.O. Nash Secondary School
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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