Nassau Guardian Stories

Bahamian student sings anthem at Boston Red Sox game

May 30, 2017

Before an estimated crowd of 30,000, Corei Moxey, a standout Bahamian student at Northeastern University, sang the national anthem of the United States at a recent Boston Red Sox game held at Fenway Park.
Corei, a Chemical Engineering student, was selected for this honor based on his performance background while attending Northeastern. The proud graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy in Freeport, Grand Bahama, went on to serve as an Executive Board member of the National Society of Black Engineers in Boston and recently completed an international engineering and project management work assignment in Singapore.
After his stellar performance at the Boston Red Sox game, Corei plans to complete his Master's in Engineering Management at Northeastern. This promising pupil and performer is the son of Michelle and Cliff Moxey and grandson of Nelson and Calouise Moxey of Freeport, and Patrick and Jeanie Gomez of Nassau.

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PM said despite murders there is sense of calm

May 29, 2017

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said today there has been a "sense of calmness" over the nation since his administration took office.His statement comes one day after the country recorded the 58th murder for the year.Responding to questions from the media over the recent killings, Minnis said, "I am sure you can detect there is a sense of calmness over our shores, unlike yesterday.

"A sense of calmness from many respects, especially after the government has changed."Minnis spoke to reporters following a tour of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).There have been five murders since May 10. Three of the killings took place between last Thursday and Sunday. This time last year there were 49 murders.

Minnis said Minister of National Security Marvin Dames is working resolutely and "aggressively" to roll out the government's crime plan.

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Overtime payment process begins for police officers

May 29, 2017

Hundreds of police officers who worked extended shifts in 2013 and 2014 filed into the Police Training College today to collect their long awaited overtime pay.

With their checks in hand, some officers screamed happily while others smiled as they left.

In the face of high levels of crime, officers were placed on 12-hour shifts on September 6, 2013 until December 2013. The shifts resumed in February 2014.

In July 2015, Supreme Court Justice Milton Evans ruled that the government either pay outstanding overtime to officers who worked 12-hour shifts or give them equivalent in days off.

Last year, the Court of Appeal upheld the Supreme Court ruling.

Before the general election, then Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that officers would be paid in two tranches: the first payment to be made today and the second following the next budget cycle.

The Free National Movement (FNM) also pledged to pay officers.

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) welcomes the payment of officers.

"The PLP has left the instructions in place to pay it and the FNM has now carried out our commitment," Davis said in a statement.

Check collection began at 9 a.m. and will continue until 4 p.m. The process will extend until Wednesday during the same hours

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Nine Bahamians qualify for NCAAs

May 29, 2017

Several of The Bahamas' premier collegiate track and field athletes are moving on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, given their performances at their respective regional preliminary meets this past weekend.
The NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field semi-finals and finals will be held June 7-10 at storied Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
Leading the way this past weekend was East Tennessee State University (ETSU) senior Katrina Seymour, who set a new 400 meters (m) hurdles national record and school record of 56.32 seconds. She finished third in her quarter-final heat, and was fourth overall at the east preliminaries in Lexington, Kentucky, on Thursday.
"Katrina never ceases to amaze me, with an outstanding performance today," ETSU Track and Field/Cross Country Director George Watts said. "We had no idea whether she could run following her injury at the conference meet, then to run a school record, personal best and Bahamian national record is mind-boggling."
The first semi-final of the women's 400m hurdles will take place on Thursday June 8 at 9:30 p.m.
Also in the east, Southeastern Louisiana senior Andre Colebrook broke his own school record in the 400m hurdles.
Colebrook finished second in the first heat in 50.14 seconds on Friday, shattering his record of 50.60 seconds, which he set two weeks ago at the Southland Conference Championships. It was the fifth-fastest time overall in the prelims.
"Andre had a monster PR (personal record) today," Southeastern Louisiana Head Coach Sean Brady said. "He is certainly in a good spot physically and mentally. We expected him to get through and he did."
He ran 51.74 seconds in the quarters, and qualified eighth overall.
Purdue's redshirt junior Devynne Charlton earned a spot in the women's 100m hurdles semi-finals, winning her quarter-final heat in a personal best run and school record of 12.87 seconds. Her teammate Carmiesha Cox was a part of the Purdue women's 4x400m relay team that set a new school record on their way to qualifying for Eugene. The team of Cox, Symone Black, Chloe Abbott and Brionna Thomas won their heat in 3:30.70, the second fastest time overall. Both she and Charlton are a part of the women's 4x100m relay team that also qualified for the NCAA Championships. They qualified eighth overall in 43.70 seconds.
Teray Smith and Jenae Ambrose, from Auburn, also punched their tickets to Eugene.
Smith ran a personal best and world championship qualifying time of 20.25 seconds in the men's 200m. He finished tied for seventh overall.
Smith was also a member of Auburn's 4x100m men's relay team that qualified for the semis, finishing first overall in 38.74 seconds.
As for Ambrose, she too ran a personal best and world championship qualifying time. She qualified 11th overall in the women's 200m in 23.05 seconds. Ambrose was also a part of Auburn women's 4x100m relay team that qualified in 43.36 seconds.
Smith and Ambrose became the latest Bahamians to qualify for the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Championships, set for August 4-13, in London, England.
Shaquania Dorsett, from Florida State, set a new personal best of 52.13 seconds in the women's 400m. She finished with the eighth-fastest time overall and qualified for the NCAAs.
Over in the field, Dannielle Gibson, from Penn State, qualified in the women's triple jump with a leap of 13.23m (43' 5").
Serena Brown, from Texas A&M, was the sole Bahamian qualifier at the west preliminaries. Brown finished ninth overall in the women's discus with a toss of 54.95m (180' 3").
A number of other Bahamians competed in the regionals this past weekend, but they failed to qualify for the NCAA Championships in less than two weeks' time. Delano Davis, Kirk Lewis, Keianna Albury, Kinard Rolle, Henri Delauze, Ashley Riley, Cliff Resias and Kaiwan Culmer all competed for their respective schools.

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Miller-Uibo finishes second breaks own national record in women's 200m

May 29, 2017

Shaunae Miller-Uibo is in a class by herself in Bahamian sprinting history and is on an unbelievable pace worldwide.
She lowered her national record in the women's 200 meters (m) by more than a tenth of a second over the weekend and, in so doing, joined Allyson Felix as the only two runners today who have run under 50 seconds in the women's 400m, and under 22 seconds in the women's 200m. Just 13 women have ever done it in the history of world track and field.
It was the latter which gained the spotlight at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, USA, this past weekend, as the race featured Miller-Uibo and Felix as well as the three medalists from last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, of Jamaica; Olympic silver medalist and reigning world champion Dafne Schippers, of the Netherlands; and Olympic 200m bronze medalist and 100m silver medalist Tori Bowie, of the United States, were all in the field.
Shockingly, it would be Miller-Uibo's training partner Bowie who would gallop to victory. She won in a personal best time of 21.77 seconds. Miller-Uibo lowered her national record to 21.91 seconds for second, and Thompson had to settle for third in 21.98. Schippers was fourth in 22.30 seconds. Felix was a disappointing fifth in 22.33 seconds.
Miller-Uibo was the only Bahamian to compete at the Prefontaine Classic, the year's third International
Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Diamond League Meet, this past weekend.
Miller-Uibo's run on Saturday represented the third time that she set a national mark in the women's 200m, and she's now more than two tenths of a second faster than any other Bahamian female in the history of that event. Miller-Uibo's previous national mark was 22.05 seconds which she ran to win the women's 200m at the JN Racers Grand Prix Meet in Kingston, Jamaica, last year.
She's now at number 21 on the all-time list for the women's 200m and is at number 32 for the women's 400m.
Miller-Uibo has already declared that she intends on running both the 200m and 400m at the London world championships this year, as the schedule permits for it to be done. The 16th IAAF World Championships is set for August 4-13, in London, England.

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Dan Marino and Friends Bahamas Weekend deemed a success

May 29, 2017

Local football fans got an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names to ever suit up for the Miami Dolphins this past weekend, as National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino and other former Dolphin players returned to New Providence to host the annual Dan Marino and Friends Bahamas Weekend.
Some of the notable Dolphins alumni who attended this year included Marino, Dick Anderson, Ronnie Brown, Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, Oronde Gadsden, Jim Jensen, OJ McDuffie, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose, Pat Surtain, Jason Taylor and Shawn Wooden.
The three-day event included a charity golf game at the One & Only Ocean Club's Golf Course, a football and cheerleading clinic for kids ages six to 17 at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, and a flag football game between the Dolphins legends and a team called "The Bahamas Legends".
"It's always better in The Bahamas," Marino said. "I look forward to this weekend each year, getting together with my former teammates and really enjoying the great hospitality of the Bahamian people while giving back."
Marino said that the kids camp was one of the events he and the other legends enjoyed the most this past weekend.
"We come out and take pictures and run through drills with the young players, and that's the one thing we wanted to do that we said we would do," said Marino.
According to senior marketing director for sports tourism in the Ministry of Tourism Virginia Kelly, the Dan Marino and Friends Weekend remains one of the marquee events on the sports tourism calendar because of the impact it has on the nation's youth, and also for the exposure it provides The Bahamas each year.
"The partnership with the Dolphins organization is a very important one for us here in the islands of The Bahamas," she said. "We know that the technical football and cheerleader training and invaluable lifelong lessons the alumni shared with our youth will resonate in their hearts and minds for years to come."
Proceeds from the Dan Marino and Friends Bahamas Weekend, for the first time, will benefit The Bahamas' Resources and Education for Autism and Related Challenges (REACH), a non-profit organization that aims to provide parents with comprehensive knowledge and tools in all areas of this neurobiological disorder.
"REACH is really happy to receive this donation. We try and help a lot of kids along the spectrum in The Bahamas. We're hoping that the funds will go a long way," REACH Chairman Dwayne Gibson said.
Proceeds from the event will also benefit the Miami Dolphins Alumni Player Assistance Fund, which provides financial support to assist former players in need.

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Education minister: Stop disrespecting technical and vocational training

May 29, 2017

New Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd did not mince words regarding his views on technical vocational education and training (TVET), which he said serves as the core discipline in the efficiency of any society.
"Stop disrespecting technical and vocational education and training," said Lloyd at the recent Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute's (BTVI) recent commencement exercise held at the Melia Nassau Beach resort.
"One ambition of mine is to help us raise the esteem that technical vocational education and training has in our society. There is genius in every vocation," he stated.
Lloyd, who himself completed a certificate in carpentry at the institution, said he has the utmost respect for BTVI. He said any society would come to a halt without a copious cohort of technicians, and that it is the intention of the government to increase investment in TVET.
BTVI's New Providence campus graduated 210 students from various trades, including auto mechanics, carpentry, electrical installation, fashion, business office technology and heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
The education minister said that as the economy further develops, the labor market is becoming even more specialized, and, as a result, there is an increased demand for employees with specific skills training.
"Many of you graduates will soon be called upon to fill some of these needs and I am sure that your training at BTVI has provided you with confidence, expertise and overall preparedness," said Lloyd.
With that, Lloyd said it is the government's intention to increase investment in TVET in high schools in the near future.
"When that comes into existence, it is my hope that eventually students entering BTVI would already possess enough of the basics in their technical areas from the high school and middle school, so by the time they come to BTVI, they come to master those skills," said Lloyd.
BTVI President Dr. Robert W. Robertson said during his address that the institution is preparing the next generation of innovators.
"This falls in line with the thrust to bolster human capital outcomes. A skilled workforce supports economic growth and a better quality of life for our people. Hence, BTVI is key to providing skilled labor. Class of 2017, your skills are critical to the development of the Bahamian economy," said Dr. Robertson.
Fulbright scholar and entrepreneur Dr. James (Jim) Dever from Florida State University lauded BTVI for experiential learning, which he said is the purest form of education.
Dr. Dever encouraged the graduates to fine-tune their skill sets by making learning a lifelong pursuit and to consider opening their own businesses.
"Set yourselves apart, and please use your talents. You have proven you have the brains. Find your competitive edge, but never chase money. With success comes money," he said.
The New Providence and Grand Bahama commencement ceremonies were powered by Aliv. Aliv recently entered into a three-year, $30,000 partnership with BTVI that will assist with the school's commencement exercises into 2019.
Aliv provided $10,000 for this month's graduation exercises on New Providence and Grand Bahama, as well as graduate of excellence cash awards for the top students on both islands. The awardee for New Providence was fashion student Dellrene Thompson and on Grand Bahama, office assistant student Katushka McIntosh, both of whom were awarded $500.
The Faculty Excellence Award went to Anthony Ramtulla.

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SAC tops CFAL Junior Investor Competition

May 29, 2017

An all-female team from St. Augustine's College (SAC) won the 2016-2017 CFAL Junior Investor Competition, taking home a $2,500 prize and summer internships.
SAC's coach and the company's manager of brokerage and trading, Jeanelle Francis, said the team put in the effort to secure the win, and remained focused on the core principles of the competition -- gaining insight on local markets, regulators and personal investing.
R.M. Bailey High School's team was second, walking away with $1,500; St. Paul's Methodist College's squad won third place, and took home $1,000.
Richard Pinder, chairman of the Junior Investor Program, said the quality of the 20 teams of approximately 200 students in this year's competition was impressive. He said the participants were excited for the opportunity to learn more about investing.
"The commitment from the students and teachers alike continues to indicate the importance and value of a financial literacy program in the education system," said Pinder.
He said the success of the program is strongly driven by the involvement of the high school teachers and principals, and that he was also grateful for the support from CFAL coaches and the Securities Commission of The Bahamas for its ongoing partnership and cooperation.
The Junior Investor Program is designed to expose students to the various dynamics of The Bahamas' financial industry. CFAL donates the time of its professionals to facilitate coaching in the finer points of analyzing the Bahamian securities market and the global investment climate. The program began in 2002 with four schools, and its expansion 15 years later provides the students with the tools to not only understand the financial services industry, but to also manage their personal finances in the future.

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Enrique Pyfrom claims Most Distinguished Achiever title

May 29, 2017

St. Anne's School's Enrique Pyfrom walked away with the title of Most Distinguished Achiever during Junior Achievement Bahamas' 38th annual awards ceremony. He took home an $8,000 scholarship from Cable Bahamas.
Malachi Munroe, a graduating Queen's College senior and president of JA company KPMG Key$, was second. Tying for third place were Kingsway Academy graduating senior Makayla Hanna, also of Bahamas First Anchors, and Patria Symonette, a Queen's College graduating senior and president of JA company Commonwealth FEVER. They all received scholarships.
Bahamas First Anchors was named 2017 JA Company of the Year.
Outstanding accomplishments of achievers, volunteers and counseling firms for the 2016-2017 year were honored at the ceremony, which was held under the theme "Solving Tomorrow's Problems Today".
Raymond Winder, JA Bahamas chairman, said the theme spoke directly to the way of the 21st century.
"No doubt we are living in some very unique and challenging times. The world continues to change at the speed of thought, advancing at a rate that requires as much preparation as it does information. Notwithstanding challenges that we face, after 38 years in existence, JA Bahamas remains the number one youth program in the country. The success of the program is measured directly by the impact it has had on tens of thousands of alumni [and supporters], many of whom are now distinguished in their careers and businesses."
Approximately six months were spent fostering youth innovation, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, college preparedness and work readiness in the students.
Key events and activities of the program included job shadow day, college and career fair, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) summit, speech competition and BahamaJAC. The culmination of all of the events and the work and commitment of participants was the awards ceremony.
Cable Bahamas donated $8,000 toward the scholarships meted out.
"As a non-profit organization, Junior Achievement Bahamas has the task of fundraising so that it can ,continue its efforts in youth development. In order to meet the mission and provide services for the community, they rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses like Cable Bahamas. Without the assistance and support of community-minded organizations, we cannot contribute to the youth advancement of our country," said Tammy Lecky, JA Bahamas program manager.
JA company counseling firms included Bahamas First, BTC, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, KPMG, the National Insurance Board, Scotiabank and Sunshine Finance.
"JA New Providence congratulates all award recipients for displaying leadership, entrepreneurial drive and creativity, throughout the 25-week collaborative environment of the company program. JA Bahamas continues to be grateful for the commitment shown by our corporate sponsors and volunteers, who recognize the importance of promoting financial literacy for our future business leaders and entrepreneurs who will undoubtedly shape and enrich the economic future of The Bahamas," said Lecky.
JA Bahamas' mission is to promote economic literacy and understanding of business and competitive free enterprise among young Bahamians, the future leaders of The Bahamas. Currently the program facilitates students from K5 through grade 12 and has proven to help students understand the importance of financial literacy and how it plays a role in every community. Programs have been operated on various islands across the country, including Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, the Berry Islands, Cat Island, Grand Bahama, New Providence and Mayaguana.

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24 earn Youth Environment Ambassador certification

May 29, 2017

Zhyir Miranda, 12, knew even as a youngster that littering was wrong. But it wasn't until she signed up for Youth Environmental Ambassadors (YEA) and saw the damage it could do to marine life that she fully understood littering isn't just ugly, but dangerous.
"Littering does not just look bad; littering can kill the turtles in the sea. It can kill the animals that live in the mangroves and depend on mangroves for their survival, especially when they are young," said the pre-teen, who rattled off characteristics of red, black and white mangroves as if she were reciting words to a favorite song.
Zhyir, a seventh grade Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy student, was one of 24 young people recently pinned for their passion and rewarded for their enthusiasm, who received her YEA certification. The YEA program is sponsored and operated by environmental advocacy organization Save The Bays.
For four months, junior school students like Zhyir spent every second Saturday trekking through bushes, cleaning beaches, learning about wetlands and studying the impact of plastic on the oxygen supply of salt or fresh water marine life. All activities, both in the classroom and at the YMCA in Freeport and in the field, were geared toward making participants future leaders in environmental stewardship.
"This was the fourth year Save The Bays has offered Youth Environmental Ambassadors to youth in Grand Bahama," said Rashema Ingraham, who oversees the program that normally draws twice as many applicants as it can accommodate.
More than 200 have graduated from the YEA program. The last session, Ingraham said, differed from former versions of the program.
"In the past, we spent a lot of time visiting sites, learning about how industrial waste is managed, or power generated, or what it takes to produce solar energy. But this time we focused on research, which we shared with organizations abroad," said Ingraham.
"Participants gathered data about shoreline erosion, indigenous vegetation and wetlands. Some of the work involved fine details. There were sections of beach that, when we did a beach cleanup, we separated the trash and garbage to identify how much plastic or glass or metal or other debris we found. The most discouraging part was that the majority of the debris we collected had not floated ashore from passing ships. Based on bottles and labels of products, most of the litter we found was the result of local activity, reflecting environmental neglect and disrespect," she said.
The litter disappoints Zhyir, but now she is more likely to speak up when she sees someone toss something from a car window, even if the offender is much older or bigger.
"It is bad for the ocean and it kills things in the sea. It kills turtles. When I joined Save The Bays (YEA), I learned a lot more about our environment, and I learned that there are 80 species of mangroves. I learned so much, and now I want to stand up for the environment. Did you know that viviparous, they're like plants that give birth to live plants, grow up in salt water and breathe oxygen from above the water? I found that cool."
Finishing in the top three of the class, Zhyir said the course, which included leadership and teamwork played out through team drumming exercises, helped reaffirm her passion to care for pets as a veterinarian.
As graduates received their pins and began their roles as youth ambassadors, the schools they came from were also rewarded. Save The Bays provided financial support for all six schools whose students participated in the YEA program. Participating schools were Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School, Eight Mile Rock High School, Sunland Baptist Academy, Bishop Michael Eldon School, Jack Hayward Junior High School and Mary Star of the Sea.

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The extra mile

May 29, 2017

I overheard someone at a business establishment state the following, "I'm not going to knock myself out for these people," -- referring of course to his employers. "They don't pay me enough." When I heard him say that I shuddered in disbelief. Firstly, with that kind of attitude, believe me, a person can never hope to succeed. Well why should I knock myself out D. Paul, after all these people for whom I work don't pay me very much you may say with an extremely negative, annoyed look on your countenance.
Well my friend, I can guarantee you that those people who succeed in life are those who not only do the work they're paid for, but they also, as today's title puts it, go the extra mile. I'm quite sure you've heard business advertisements stating that they go above and beyond what is required of them to ensure that their customers are treated well. This, of course, makes sense for any business that wants to build its customer base and have them return again and again to that business to buy products and/or services.
Yes my friend, the individuals and businesses that do not understand the philosophy of going the "extra mile" will not get too far in life, believe me. This of course applies across the board, in family relationships, with one's spouse or significant other, and the children. It applies in sports, as those who succeed in this field, no matter what the particular sport may be, also go the "extra mile".
So my friend, as you begin your day today, no matter what you'll be doing -- going to work, staying at home, going to school -- whatever it is you'll be involved with today, I suggest that you make a determined effort to go the "extra mile" with everything you undertake, and believe me, you'll have an ultra-successful day. I guarantee it.

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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Traven Cargill, UB leader for life

May 29, 2017

Speak with Traven Cargill on any occasion and he will enthusiastically share his rich and diverse experiences as a student of the University of The Bahamas (UB), telling stories of leadership, volunteerism, sacrifice and camaraderie.
A candidate for graduation in UB's inaugural spring 2017 commencement class, Cargill is one of the leaders for life that the institution has been helping to cultivate over its four-decade history, ever since it was the College of The Bahamas (COB). He will soon join the ranks of over 17,000 alumni.
Cargill enrolled at COB in the fall of 2013 after graduating as head boy of Queen's College (QC). As an active member of the Student Government Association (SGA) at UB, he serves as senator for the chemistry, environmental and life sciences academic unit as well as deputy senate speaker. He has also represented the institution as a student ambassador in multiple fora as a proud champion for UB. He was a spokesperson for the institution on radio and television and has also served as event moderator for several of the university's signature events.
"I must admit, things didn't go very smoothly during my first semester, but it ended up working out in my favor," said Cargill. "The unfavorable experiences helped me grow, because it helped me to realize that things will not always go as planned and you have to learn to adapt."
His love of the sciences is "in full bloom" and he always knew that he wanted to be a science teacher, but was often discouraged. Initially, he considered becoming a high school teacher, but was often told he should become a doctor. When he became a student of UB, he solidified his consuming passion for teaching and decided that he wanted to teach at the tertiary level. The seminal moment came once he took BIO223 -- a microbiology class dedicated to the study of organisms that contribute to illnesses.
"I took microbiology and fell in love with it. That's when I realized that I wanted to teach again, but now at the university level."
He credits his former professor, Dr. Kenya Ward, for inspiring him and hopes to have that same level of influence in his future career as a university professor.
"I hope to inspire students the same way she inspired and positively influenced me. She opened my mind to the world of possibilities and provided exposure I never imagined existed," he said.
Chartered on November 10 at the zenith of its transition from the College of The Bahamas, UB conferred more than 700 degrees, diplomas and certificates during its inaugural commencement ceremony on May 25 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Cargill was there to witness the historical charter ceremony held last November, and he will be on the front lines of another historical period for the institution later this month.
"It was a great feeling," he said, of witnessing the charter ceremony. "It took me back to the day in QC when the (COB) recruitment team visited my high school and one of their pitches was that we would be graduating from the University of The Bahamas. To know that assertion was becoming a reality was life-changing," he notes with pride.
So, what's next for Cargill? He hopes to spend the next year working to gain experience and take a break from school. Eventually, he hopes to complete his master's degree in microbiology and a doctorate in either immunology or infectious diseases.
Proud of the impeccable quality of instruction he has received at UB and his many educational experiences, Cargill is looking forward to the day when he returns to his alma mater to contribute to its growth and development and the country that he loves so dearly.

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ORG chairman: Rethink VAT breaks

May 29, 2017

Adding a value-added tax (VAT) concession on certain items will make the already complicated tax an even greater burden on the private sector, the chairman of the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) told Guardian Business yesterday.
Robert Myers said making certain breadbasket items VAT exempt will only make the tax "difficult to manage". Myers said the tax is already a "beast" to manage, and added that eliminating VAT from some items could possibly cause the costs of others to go up.
He said the United Kingdom has been battling with the error of enforcing a similar concession on certain items.
According to the ORG chairman, the government has other options for lessening the burden on low-to-no income families than to strip away VAT across the board on everyday items they may not be able to afford.
Part of Myers' argument is that some higher income individuals do not need the tax break on breadbasket items, creating an unfair tax break for those who can afford to pay the levy.
He added that stripping the tax from certain imported items will essentially be directing lower income families to only certain food types and food groups.
"You're going to decide, by way of a tax break, on specific products what that person is going to eat," Myers said.
"What it's on is all those things that aren't that healthy for you. What gives you the right to decide what the needy and lower income [person] wants to eat?"
Myers suggested the government consider increasing social services payouts to those in need, raising to the rate to compensate for VAT, instead of removing VAT from items.
Apart from the accounting nightmare removing VAT would cause businesses and importers, it would also allow low income individuals the freedom to choose what they want to purchase with the money given to them by government, without being steered by low cost items made VAT-free by government, Myers argued.
"It makes much more sense to subsidize the lower income people with social benefits," he said. "The wealthy or the higher income earners, they aren't worried about that stuff."
The Free National Movement government promised in its Speech from the Throne to reduce VAT on breadbasket items.
Myers said government has to begin to move to an era where its decisions are "far more concensus driven, where you use the total intellect of a society".
He insisted that removing VAT from items will create a huge burden on the private sector and will not properly serve those government hopes will benefit most form the move.
"Before you know it, you've got this beast that you're trying to manage, and it's such a nightmare," he said.
"Provide those incentives where you need to through different vehicles."

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Atlantis to introduce locally owned and operated Bahamian restaurants to Marina Village

May 29, 2017

Atlantis is preparing to introduce at least two new authentically Bahamian restaurants to its Marina Village offering, Guardian Business can confirm.
Sources close to both the restaurants and Atlantis explained that the country's largest private employer is set to introduce locally owned and operated restaurants to its thousands of yearly guests at Marina Village.
The move is likely part of the hotel's recent endeavor to project a more local ambience and market itself as supplying a more authentically local experience for its guests, which includes food.
The resort introduced an event called "Art Walk" to its Marina Village offerings recently. The event features local crafts and music by Bahamian artists every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
Soon, those local artists will be joined by local restauranteurs. Guardian Business understands one or two of those restaurants may already have their roots at the famous Fish Fry at Arawak Cay.
Atlantis recently launched a "Come to Life" campaign, aimed at using the resort's international reach to take The Bahamas' art and culture to the world.
According to a statement from Atlantis, the world-renowned resort is "turning its own marketing into a storytelling opportunity to celebrate Bahamian artists and groups".
The largest private employer in The Bahamas has taken the decision to focus its marketing on Bahamian photographers, musicians and artists, "who represent the talented community of their native land".
"Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas, announces a first-of-its-kind shared mission coalition to nurture the Bahamian creative and entrepreneurial community," Atlantis said in its statement.
"The resort has partnered with shared mission creative agency, Enso, to develop an impact platform for the people and culture of The Bahamas.
"Kicking off a commitment to storytelling, preserving the oral and visual history of the country and creating a platform for Bahamian makers to share their works with the world, 'Come to Life', the shared mission, storytelling platform and the first dispatch of the cultural movement, launches today."

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VAT exemption on breadbasket items could have negative fiscal implications

May 29, 2017

The Free National Movement (FNM) government's move to reduce value-added tax (VAT) on breadbasket items may have a bittersweet impact on the nation's fiscal deficit under the condition that spending remains excessive, according to economist Rupert Pinder.
Among other financial pledges, the Minnis administration said it would effect a reduction, and in some instances a repeal, of VAT on breadbasket items, and implement tax-free economic zones for Over-the-Hill communities.
Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said more details would be provided in the upcoming budget presentation on those changes.
Speaking with Guardian Business over the weekend, Pinder explained that, by reducing VAT on breadbasket items, a shortfall in revenue would be created, and some form of compensation must be made to mitigate those losses.
The government would have to cut back on spending to help facilitate granting any additional concessions and reductions in government revenue, according to Pinder.
"One of the things that we have to be very careful of is the overall sort of impact, and how we meet any potential shortfall; because, bearing in my mind, we still have to cover a significant fiscal deficit," he said.
For the first half of the current budget period, the fiscal deficit increased to $314.2 million, despite $761.9 million in taxes being generated during the same period.
"So, while it is good to look in terms of some exemptions, we have to look at how we meet this overall shortfall," said Pinder.
The economist pointed out that any form of fiscal reform must "facilitate growth in the economy", adding that economic growth is "paramount".
The Bahamas has a negative growth rate of an estimated 1.7 percent as of 2015.
Pinder said that if granting concessions helps to create economic growth, then there is an overall net benefit. But in order to create a net benefit, cutbacks on spending have to be made.
Pinder outlined a three-pronged approach that would help to curb spending.
He said that government has to look at areas where there may perhaps be some potential duplication of resources.
"I am still not clear, to date, in terms of where the line of demarcation should be drawn between Urban Renewal and Social Services programs," he said.
He also urged the government to look at the divestment of some state-owned assets.
"Spending should not be looked at independently of some divestment strategy because I think they are some state assets that the government really should look at seriously in terms of divesting," said Pinder.
"I think Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) should be a part of the divestment strategy.
"Similarly, the question is whether or not there are some routes that are being serviced by Bahamasair are being best placed in terms of the hands of the private sector."
Pinder concluded that a closer look should be taken to see whether or not debt is being properly captured in special purpose vehicles (SPVs).
A SPV that remains in question in terms of management is Bahamas Resolve Ltd, which was created by the former Christie administration in October 2014 to take $100 million in bad commercial debt off the books of BOB.

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Oxford study finds Bahamian food producers lack 'competitive advantage' to scale exports

May 29, 2017

A recent study by Oxford Economics found that producers in The Bahamas lack a competitive advantage that would make export a feasible economic opportunity, and it added that imports from other Caribbean producers have been more successful in penetrating the Bahamian market for basic food items.
The study was prepared in conjunction with the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG), and examined the country's current export situation.
The economic assessment found that both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors are declining in The Bahamas.
"This adds impetus to a drive to build them (the sectors) up, but also suggests that fundamentally different business conditions might need to be cultivated to reverse these trends," the study stated.
"Specifically, real value added in manufacturing declined 10 percent, and real value added in agriculture dropped 31 percent between 2011 and 2015."
It was pointed out that The Bahamas does not currently export agricultural or manufactured products in any significant quantity.
"The Bahamas' 2015 domestic export of goods (i.e. excluding both tourism and service exports and re-exports) totaled $224 million, of which 60 percent were chemicals, 28 percent were food and live animals (mostly lobster, crab, conch and coral), and 11 percent were crude minerals," the report cited.
The authors of the study sought to identify a range of constraints that have stopped the agriculture and manufacturing sectors from thriving. To do so, they interviewed business leaders in the respective sectors.
"These (constraints) include the small size of The Bahamas domestic market, high labor costs, high energy costs, high capital costs and difficulty obtaining work permits for foreign workers," the authors found.
"Many of these problems will resonate outside of these two sectors as well, but here we explore them with a focus on how agriculture and manufacturing might become growth industries of the future in The Bahamas."
But, the study noted that not all local exporters are faced with the same challenges as it relates to exporting outside of the jurisdiction.
"Several successful exporters to the United States were interviewed during this study. For example, Abaco Neem, of Marsh Harbour, is a small exporter of natural healthcare products," the report stated.
"Likewise, the Symonette Group reported recent expansion of agricultural exports to the U.S. These examples demonstrate that a few companies (often with a specialized situation) do find exporting to the United States a feasible strategy."
The study added that, "More typically, it was found that producers in The Bahamas lacked a clear competitive advantage or scale to make export feasible.
"In fact, it was often the case that basic food imports--even from other Caribbean nations--have successfully penetrated The Bahamas market."

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Grammy's ol' house

May 29, 2017

"Time marches on. The young get old, and the old get cold, time marches on." - (Bahamian song)

It's amazing how we think that, because we live in a high-tech world, all those things that worked "back in the day" don't work anymore. But they do. And some of them just might be the key to making houses built today more comfortable and less costly.
Think about this. When you visited your grammy in Exuma or Eleuthera or Grant's Town or Sear's Addition, what did you find? You found a house that was cool to be in, easy to live in and fun to play around. You thought the way your grammy and her neighbors lived was way more friendly and neighborly than you see today with all the technology for keeping in touch. You noticed that it didn't matter whether it was your grammy's house or your friend's grammy's house, even when they looked different, they were all cool and fun and neighborly. How come?
Well, there were two things the old people knew that we don't seem to know today: You have to keep the sun out of the house, and you have to let the breeze in.
Keeping the sun out meant never letting the sun hit any of the doors or windows directly. The two ways they did that were with the porch and the push-out shutter. The porch was the most incredible invention. You might call it the first "multi-purpose space". While keeping the sun away from the doors and windows, it was a place for small children to play, older children to listen to "old stories", young adults to court and Grammy to watch the children play, talk to the neighbors and wait for Grampy to come around the corner from work. The porch was not only shade, but it was the greatest social invention of our time.
The push-out shutter also did double or triple duty. It kept the sun away from the window while allowing the window to stay open during bad weather, so the house could remain cool, so you could smell that sweet, fresh air. It also made it easy to prepare for the inevitable storm and to shut the building down when there was a need for security, like going away. Between these two devices, the sun was effectively banned from the house.
Letting the breeze in was a little trickier. The way it was done was called "cross-ventilation". The idea was that you let the breeze in on one side of the house, and out on the other, letting it take with it any stale or foul air, smoke from the kerosene stove and the lingering smell of too much "body water", while cooling the inside of the house. To make this happen, you had to have windows on opposite sides of the house and a path that allowed the air to get across. In some cases, this meant the inside walls did not go to the roof and there was no ceiling. In other cases, there were grilles or louvres built into the space above door heads. In many cases, the buildings were designed to be only one or two rooms deep. Old builders knew how to do this, so whether it was a tiny or a huge house, you could expect to feel a breeze most of the time.
For those times when the breeze was too "light", most people had their fans. Larger or wealthier houses had ceiling fans. Others had the more mobile table fans. But these were the back-up to cross-ventilation.
Today, because we think of those houses as old, we have forgotten the lessons they taught us. And we pay for it in high power bills, isolation from one another and houses that are just not fun to live in. Houses may get old, but the lessons they teach us should not be allowed to get cold. The price is way too high.

Patrick Rahming & Associates is a full service design firm providing architectural, planning and design services throughout The Bahamas and the northern Caribbean. Visit Pat Rahming & Associates online at www.pradesigns.com and like its Facebook page.

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GBPA encourages global best practices at innovation e-commerce bootcamp

May 29, 2017

As innovation continues to be the driver of business success, executives at the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), are encouraging licensees to embrace global best practices via its upcoming Business Innovation & e-Commerce Bootcamp, slated for Thursday, June 8 at the Grand Lucayan Resort.
According to Ian Rolle, GBPA president, the Business Innovation and e-Commerce Bootcamp will equip licensees with tools to compete both locally and globally. "Our bootcamp will showcase global presenters who will provide best practice insights as to how to effectively start and grow businesses through e-commerce. There will be an introduction to Shopify, which is a global platform used to promote and sell products, accept payments and help merchants grow their businesses while they sleep. Shopify is one of a few featured presenters, who will deliver an interactive experience, demonstrating practical tools to empower aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners," Rolle stated.
Rolle also added that in addition to e-commerce, the event will also be promoting diverse business concepts via a presentation by AeroFarms, global leaders in urban agriculture. "AeroFarms will demonstrate how their patented aeroponic products can grow greens without sunlight or soil. This, we believe, can be a transformational opportunity for the agribusiness sector on Grand Bahama," he continued.
The one-day event is said to focus on empowerment of licensees, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Business Services Manager for the IGBSBB LaShawn Dames notes that the bootcamp will showcase innovative exhibits from various local businesses.
"We have a highly interactive, brain churning event planned for the business community," expressed Dames. "Participants can expect excellent networking opportunities, the chance to explore powerful methods of customer engagement and satisfaction, as well as an environment for discovering new prospects for business growth and profitability.
"Attendees can expect a highly productive, results-driven event."
As GBPA continues to encourage licensees to take advantage of technology, the e-commerce bootcamp will be an ideal learning environment for participants. Derek Newbold, senior manager of business development at GBPA, stressed the importance of capitalizing on another value-added benefit of being a GBPA licensee. He noted, "Within our organization, we are constantly identifying innovative ways to support SMEs, especially our small business sector. This initiative will be another example of our commitment to enhancing business delivery and diversity here in Freeport."
Persons wishing to participate should register early, as space is limited. Information on registration can be found at GBPA.com, or by calling (242) 350-9000. The bootcamp is free to Port licensees and costs a nominal fee of $50 per person for non-licensees.

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Higgs Johnson a finalist for 2017 Lloyd's List Americas Law Firm of the Year Award

May 29, 2017

Full service corporate and commercial law firm Higgs & Johnson was celebrated as a finalist in the Law Firm of the Year category at the 2017 Lloyd's List Americas Awards held in New York City on May 25, 2017. The awards recognize the best in shipping in the North American region during the previous year. Attending the ceremony were Global Managing Partner Oscar Johnson and Partner Tara Archer-Glasgow, who were nominees for their legal work in landmark court actions which contributed to global admiralty law jurisprudence by clarifying the principle of freedom of contract to limit liability in commercial maritime agreements, and assisting international lenders to enforce their security globally.
According to organizers, "Judging the merits of so many nominations is never easy, as the standard of application is extremely high. The shortlisted nominees in each of these categories deserve to be proud of their accomplishments and recognition." Higgs & Johnson ranked alongside global law firm finalists including, among others, Blank Rome, Norton Rose Fulbright and Reed Smith Shipping Group, which ultimately won the category. The event was sponsored by Hutchison Ports, the Association of Ship Brokers & Agents (USA) Inc., Safesea Group, North American Maritime Ministry Association, the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) and other major maritime players.

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