Nassau Guardian Stories

Maria strengthen to Cat 5

September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria has strengthened to Category 5 strength and is poised to hit Dominica.
With maximum sustained winds already at 160 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 8 p.m. advisory that Maria could strengthen.
Based on the NHC model, the eye of the powerful storm will travel over Dominica tonight. Maria is projected to be in the vicinity of the southern Bahamas by Friday.
In a statement today, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said it is monitoring Maria.
Many of the countries Maria is expected to affect were just hit by Hurricane Irma. That storm killed at least 34 people in the Caribbean.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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Former Post Office worker charged with defrauding govt.

September 18, 2017

Former Post Office employee Darnell Kemp Lightbourne and businessman Quinton Ewing were arraigned in a magistrate's court today with defrauding the government of more than $80,000 over a six-month period.Lightbourne, 47, and Ewing, 49, were both charged with seven counts of fraud. Police believe Lightbourne and Ewing carried out the crimes between September 2016 and March 2017.Lightbourne was also charged with seven counts of falsification of accounts. She was an accounting officer at the Post Office. It is alleged that she falsified payment records in relation to ABC Security Company, which is owned by Ewing.

Lighbourne and Ewing pleaded not guilty to the charges.They were remanded to prison.The trial date is set for November 9.

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Giving back with the gift of reading

September 18, 2017

When a teacher from Stephen Dillet Primary School sent out an SOS via Facebook, pleading for books for her class, Laurenne McDonald, 34, answered the call.
This was the birth of the Volunteer Reading Project, a new movement that aims to provide students with reading books and reading sessions to help develop their literacy skills.
On September 14, 2016, Dezree Taylor posted, "Looking for story books to help. Old. New. Anything. We don't have any story books at school. I refuse to allow these children to remain here. May you help me. Will pick up."
The post garnered attention as expected, but when McDonald saw it, she said she was immediately shocked and knew she had to act.
"I thought she was exaggerating because you would just expect a school to have a library and books," McDonald said.
"...

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Bahamian educators attend Character Day workshops

September 18, 2017

Educators came together recently to attend workshops on several Bahamian islands to participate in the country's second annual Character Day Training Workshops.
The workshops, which took place on New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama, were geared toward informing educators about the importance of the development and improvement of character for both themselves and their students.
Character Day is an international project introduced four years ago by San Francisco-based film studio Let It Ripple. The PACE Foundation, the Bahamas AIDS Foundation, the Lyford Cay Foundation's FOCUS program, the Sandals Foundation, Commonwealth Bank and the FTBL Charitable Foundation all partnered to kick off this year's event.
Sonia Brown, the woman at the core of Character Day in The Bahamas, explained just ...

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If you can't sing, whistle

September 18, 2017

I know that some people when they hear a really catchy, popular tune, like to sing along with it; however, if they don't have a very good voice perhaps they're a bit ashamed to sing if there are others present. Well then, as the title of this article puts it 'If You Can't Sing, Whistle'. So D. Paul let's get this straight, is this article going to be dealing with how to be a whistler or performer on stage? No it's not. So why the title 'If You Can't Sing, Whistle' you may query?
Well it's an analogy for what actually happens or should happen in life relative to one's occupation, one's career. Sometimes we may get jealous of a Brother, Sister, or Friend who is pursuing a particular career, Doctor, Engineer, etc. for which we do not seem to have the talents nor inclination to pursue. S...

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IMF projects 1.75 growth in 2017, 2.5 in 2018

September 18, 2017

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected in its Article IV consultation with The Bahamas that this country's real GDP (gross domestic product) growth will pick up to 1.75 percent in 2017 and to 2.5 percent in 2018, driven in part by a strong U.S. economy, the phased opening of Baha Mar and related construction activity.
The IMF added that post-hurricane reconstruction following Hurricane Matthew last year and an uptick in foreign direct investment-financed projects, should also support The Bahamas' economic recovery. "However, medium-term growth would remain low, reflecting significant structural bottlenecks," the IMF executive board's opinion stated.
"Economic activity remained weak in 2016. Hurricane Matthew, which hit The Bahamas in October last year, signi...

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Building code one of the most 'structurally sound and robust' in region, says Sands

September 18, 2017

President of the Bahamian Contractors' Association (BCA) Leonard Sands asserted that The Bahamas' building code is one of the most "structurally sound and robust" codes in the Caribbean.
His comments came after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis asked Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister to fully review The Bahamas' building code, lamenting that many homes as well as government buildings have not been built to code.
Minnis, in the wake of widespread destruction by Hurricane Irma in the southern Bahamas, has decided to tighten the country's building code if need be, in order to ensure buildings will be able to withstand the destructive forces of Category 5 hurricanes.
Speaking with Guardian Business recently, Sands insisted that the country's building code is "rigid" and also set the st...

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IMF recommends lower wage bill, self-sustaining public corporations

September 18, 2017

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board, in its consultation with The Bahamas, recommended the country, as a top priority, restore fiscal sustainability by cutting current expenditures. The government's wage bill was a top focus for the organization, as well as making public corporations self-sustaining, which has been a continuing issue for the government of The Bahamas.
The IMF, in a summary paper released last week, lauded the government's move to tighten up on government spending and waste. In its latest executive board paper, the IMF encouraged the government to "adhere to their fiscal consolidation plan to reduce the public debt burden and strengthen external buffers".
It also underscored that "reforming the National Insurance Board and the civil servants' pension syste...

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Moree: Need to rationalize current tax regime before new tax

September 18, 2017

Senior Partner at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes Brian Moree indicated that there is still a lot of work to be done with The Bahamas' current tax regime before considering a new tax such as an income tax.
Moree's comments were in response to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) suggestion that The Bahamas implement a low rate income tax in an effort to "strengthen revenue". The IMF suggested that The Bahamas implement the system while reducing import duties.
Speaking with Guardian Business yesterday, Moree said he thinks it would be "premature" for the government to contemplate the introduction of a new major tax "on the backs of the Bahamian people".
Moree pointed out that value-added tax (VAT) was introduced in 2015, and there is still a significant regime of import duties and other indi...

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BTC launches national text-to-donate campaign

September 18, 2017

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) will launch a national text-to-donate campaign drive, allowing all Bahamians to participate in fundraising efforts to assist those most affected by Hurricane Irma.
The campaign, themed "Each One, Reach One", will allow customers to make a donation to the relief efforts. The process is simple, and customers can give $1.00 by texting the word "DONATE" to the number "5115". Customers can donate as many times as they wish.
Proceeds will go to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Interim CEO Dexter Cartwright said, "BTC is known to be a big brother in the community, and we are always willing to help wherever we can. Starting tomorrow, our entire customer base will be able to make a donation to assist those in need. BTC will match every dollar...

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Climatic design in homes

September 18, 2017

Houses in The Bahamas must respond to a hot sun, cool breezes and hurricanes. In the "old days" they were designed using elements that made living in them easier than it is today. They were cooler inside, and therefore more comfortable, and they could be prepared to respond to an oncoming hurricane quickly and easily, unlike today's "modern" Bahamian houses. Is there a reason houses must be less accommodating today? Why are the houses designed today so much hotter and less comfortable?
The answer, of course, is that we have forgotten how to "read" the climate. For most new homeowners, the design process does not even include a discussion about climate. Questions about shade, orientation and hurricane protection are more often left to the addition of accessories, rather than the basic desig...

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Evans in lead role with the Longhorns

September 18, 2017

Although the University of Texas Longhorns women's swimming and diving team lost one of its best swimmers in Madison Cox to graduation this summer, the team is still a top 10 ranked team in the 2017 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) preseason polls, and Joanna Evans is one of the key reasons why. The Longhorns are ranked No. 5 nationally.
Cox was one of the top individual performers at the 2017 NCAA Championships in March, racking up 45 points for the Longhorns. She also was a key contributor in the relays, helping Texas to score in four of the women's relays. Now that she's gone, a lot of the scoring load will now fall on Evans' shoulders. Although they did not compete in the same events, Evans will be counted on to score a lot of individual points while also helping out wit...

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Fairell signs with ADA Blois Basket 41 of French Pro B League

September 18, 2017

After spending last season with SPO Rouen Basket of the French Pro B League, Bahamian professional basketball player Jonathan Fairell has elected to take his talents to ADA Blois Basket 41, also of the French Pro B League. Fairell signed a deal with the team this summer, and as per usual, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The French Pro B League is the second-highest professional division in France, and this season marks Blois' second year in the league.
Duran International represents Fairell, who averaged a team-high 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game last season in 34 games for Rouen.
Despite his efforts, Rouen finished the season 11th overall in the league standings with a 16-17 win/loss record and missed out on making it to the league playoffs. ADA B...

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Sears presents right reforms for PLP

September 18, 2017

When Alfred Sears challenged Perry Christie for the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) months before the general election, his colleagues thought him a fool. How could he challenge the "great leader"? He had no seat in the House of Assembly. It was too close to the general election.
These were the thoughts of the "wise" PLPs. They in their brilliance followed "Captain Christie" full steam ahead onto a massive reef. Few PLPs survived the May 10 crash. Christie too was a casualty.
Sears would have been a better leader. The party still would have lost the election, but not by as much if he were in charge. Bahamians had contempt for Christie. They wanted him gone and gone for good.
A PLP leadership contest is scheduled for next month to find the party's third leader. Philip Brav...

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I'm not mad at the IMF

September 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

So the IMF has suggested an income tax to solve our fiscal woes.
Instead of looking at their proposed remedy, I suggest we look at the cause of the fiscal problems.
Simply put, it has been fiscal imprudence by successive governments that has caused this. Yep - spending more than they take in while singing the praises of yet another great budget expansion without taxation to pay for it.
Instead of raising taxes, governments, since independence, have borrowed until the country has hit a threshold that is bringing costs the taxpayer doesn't like.
But wait, the government can just blame the IMF for "forcing" it to implement harsh measures like more taxation; the government would never do anything to hurt Bahamians.
And to top it off, the new government is proposing bringing a so-...

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A job well done

September 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

I have many differences with the Minnis-led administration, but he and his crew are to be congratulated on a job well done with the recent Hurricane Irma. Never before in this era has the central government ever seen fit to actually evacuate many of the Family Islands that historically have borne the brunt of any hurricane. Thousands of grateful Bahamians were brought to New Providence for safety, at the expense of the public, as it should have been.
We are waiting to see the same sort of bold and preemptory leadership by the doctor with the economy, healthcare, education and, of course, unemployment. Minnis is able to do it if he has the political will power needed.
I am not a supporter of the FNM but I like Minnis as an individual and believe that he means all of us well. I...

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Police in our schools

September 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

Call 911! That's right, call the police. What's the matter? Well, I'll tell you - there's a fight going on in one of our schools.
Remember the good old days? A fight was just that - a fight with fists and legs flailing about. There were no guns or knives; it was just a good old rumble. Nowadays that is not the case. These children today are getting out of hand. These fights are so dangerous now that it is not enough to call a security guard to break up the fight. The school authorities have to call the police to deal with the matter. The previous PLP administration saw fit to station the police at our schools. There was no need to call Central. An officer should have already been there. I would pray to God that, that police officer was well armed, or else he/she would have...

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Cooper: Govt wasted money

September 18, 2017

Shadow Minister of Finance Chester Cooper claims the government made an "egregious and expensive error" when it decided to renew the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) policy the former administration dropped.
Cooper said because the government will only receive a payout of $234,000 after paying an annual premium of $2.6 million, The Bahamas will lose out.
"I am intimately familiar with the insurance industry, and it is a ridiculous notion that you will renegotiate a policy that has already taken effect with a potentially significant claim pending," Cooper said.
He was responding to comments Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest made last week that the government wants to renegotiate the way payouts from the Caribbean disaster insurance facility ...

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Murders up 40

September 18, 2017

The murder count for 2017 reached triple digits over the weekend after a gunman shot a 17-year-old boy while he was walking with another individual on Johnson Road shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday.
According to reports, two men in a gray vehicle pulled up alongside the teenager and shot him before speeding off.
He died in hospital. The other person was unharmed.
There have been 100 murders for the year, according to The Nassau Guardian's records.
This represents a more than 40 percent increase in murders, compared to the same period in 2016.
As of September 16, 2016, there were 72 murders.
There were 111 murders last year, down 23 percent, compared to the previous year.
The murder count for 2017 is on par with the record set in 2015.
That year, there were 146 murders.
Up to September 16, 2...

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