Opinion

The importance of television blackout periods

June 29, 2017

As you can tell, this subject about indiscriminate television viewing is really a pet peeve of mine, because I have realized over the many years how dangerous it can be to human relationships, the brain and personal development.
It is amazing how so many people have the television on for six or more hours nonstop, absorbing whatever is being shown. Ironically, many channels only have six hours of television programming that is repeated throughout the day. Many watch the repeats and do not realize it. Too much television viewing desensitizes us to the stupidity that goes on in society --crime, violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, political and corporate corruption, etc. Unfortunately, many do not even realize we are being desensitized.
Once again, I am taking the time to remind readers of the importance of having periods in your life when not watching television is best for you. As far back as 1995 I began sharing some of these times with you and have received many testimonies from people who were thankful for the information. The four blackouts include marriage blackout, childhood blackout, crisis blackout and scheduled blackout.

Marriage blackout
During the first year of marriage, it is ideal if a couple does not own a television. They should spend time interacting, bonding, spending time together and growing as friends and lovers. Television has a subtle way of distracting us from valuable functions and events in our lives. Sometimes we find excuses to watch a show because it is so educational or meaningful, but in reality, does not add anything to the healthy development of a young marriage. A solid foundation must be laid early in the marriage for intimacy, friendship and sharing. The couple must enjoy spending time together before they spend time in front of the television. I strongly recommend that, if couples insist they must have television during their first year of marriage, it is not in the bedroom. Have it installed in the living room or another general living area.

Childhood blackout
It is important for parents to understand the powerful effects of television on the minds of their developing children. Within the past five years I have shared the results of considerable research on the negative impact of television viewing on the development of the human brain.
Parents, do not place your young infants in front of the television alone while you do something else. Ideally, it would be best to avoid having a television in the home. Because of the addictive, luring and tempting nature of television, I suggest that parents with young children do not have televisions in the home during the first six to 10 years of the children's lives. Children need to learn how to play and interact, communicate and develop self-government. Great harm is done when, from birth, television becomes a normal part of a child's life. It does not matter how educational the television program is, whether it is "Sesame Street" or "Barney". Parental involvement cannot be compared to any information or knowledge gained from television watching. If you insist that you need the television, then make sure your child watches no more than one hour of television a day (assuming the child is two years old or older.) Also, do not have the television in your child's bedroom, but instead in a general area where anybody can monitor. Also know what your child is watching. Do not allow him or her to randomly select shows.

Crisis blackout
Often a parent may need to take away the privilege of television viewing because of disobedience or poor academic performance. Sometimes families would find it most helpful when there are serious family conflicts and crises to keep the television off. Often the television is used as "coverall" -- it gives one the feeling that the pain is over, but when the television is turned off, the pain surfaces. Keeping the television off forces the family to deal with the situation. I know this might be difficult for many parents. The reason is many parents think that parenting is easy or a pushover. Parenting calls for personal discipline and creativity more than the administration of punishment.
Scheduled blackout
As the family begins to grow, parents may want to purchase a television. This is fine. However, the television should not be treated like the refrigerator. It is only useful when it is on. Television viewing in The Bahamas has increased in the last decade. Thirty-five years ago, children in The Bahamas watched an average of 2.3 hours of television a day. Today, this has tripled to about six to eight hours a day, and for many, 12 to 15 hours a day. Many children eat breakfast, lunch and supper around the television every day of the week. It is imperative that parents take the bull by the horns and begin scheduling when and what their children will watch on television. This diet of television viewing has caused and continues to cause a malignant tumor of indifference, illiteracy and violence to metastasize from the home to the neighborhood.
In a previous article, I quoted from research on the impact of television on children and how much they should watch. The research encouraged limiting television to 10 hours per week. A nice way to do this is to allot a TV allowance just as a child might receive a monetary allowance each week. Try making paper slips with the phrase "1/2 hour TV time" written on them. A child might receive 20 such slips every Sunday night, and "pay" one slip for each show or half hour of video games they play. This way the total TV exposure is limited, and you do not have to haggle over each show. It is recommended that children under three do not watch any TV, and that between ages three and five, they watch no more than half an hour of good quality programming a day, going up to an hour for five to 12-year-olds and an hour-and-a-half for teenagers. Tough isn't it? Parents, take charge of your television, especially this summer.

o Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002.

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The Gambier House bubble and syndrome

June 29, 2017

Following its humiliating election defeat, shell-shocked PLP mandarins and officials gathered at the party's Gambier House headquarters to hear from Chairman Bradley Roberts and outgoing leader and deposed Prime Minister Perry Christie.
The wan expression chiseled on the face of former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson captured the gloomy mood and evening.
Former Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, who giddily danced on Nomination Day following the unseemly revelation of begging for contracts from former Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian, was also in attendance for what was a wake for a number of political careers.
These former ministers, who contributed appreciably to the PLP's defeat, listened as Roberts tried to rally the troops and to defend the PLP's record.
While some clapped as Roberts attempted to plaster a brave face on a disastrous event for the party, many sat stunned, immobilized, weary.
It was clear, despite the magnitude of the defeat, that many of the party's faithful were still living in the Gambier House bubble and suffering from the Gambier House syndrome.
The bubble and syndrome constitute a mindset still on spectacular display by the majority of the PLP's parliamentary caucus, who are extremely defensive, petulant, bitter and angry, much of which is a residue of their defeat.
What fuels the syndrome is the sense of entitlement by a party which believes that it is the natural party of government and that the FNM will always be an interloper in government.
When the PLP returned to office in 2012, many who were granted contracts or consultancies by the FNM resigned or were asked to leave.
This has been a normal practice.
Now that the FNM has returned to office, some PLPs are attempting to label a regular practice as "victimization".
It is the sort of double standard regularly employed by many PLPs with a sense of entitlement, which bred corruption and conflicts of interest among former PLP Cabinet ministers.
The revelation that public funds intended for marketing in Grand Bahama were directed toward monitoring talk shows and editorials is alarming.
It is reminiscent of regimes conducting surveillance in an inappropriate and highly irregular manner on the public and the press.

Syndrome
Despite this and other revelations of PLP misconduct and potential misfeasance, the Gambier House bubble and syndrome are manifest in Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis and other PLP leaders.
The symptoms of the syndrome include a grandiose sense of entitlement; an inability to admit wrongdoing and to ask for pardon because of a woeful pride; and the PLP's empty boast that it is the more progressive party, and the true party of the poor and grassroots in the country.
In his frenzied defense of just about everything PLP, Davis looks clownish and unserious. He is morphing into "Brave the clown".
Davis is further damaging an already poor public image. A former senior PLP advised a few weeks ago that the public should take a new look at Davis. Bahamians are taking a new look at Davis. They do not like what they see.
Davis, who held up signs touting crime statistics during the 2012 election and who misled the House of Assembly on a matter related to BAMSI, had the gall during the recent budget debate to suggest that the FNM won the recent election because of lies and spin. Really?!
While the FNM ran a good campaign, the PLP lost the election because of the arrogance and behavior of Christie, Davis, Maynard-Gibson, Shane Gibson, Fitzgerald and a host of other PLPs.
Until Davis can publicly admit this, his defensiveness is laughable and he should be seen as a jokester. He may be incapable of expressing the "sincere and humble apology and repentance" that colleague MP Chester Cooper believes the PLP should offer the country. He should stop acting like a defense attorney for a client with a long rap sheet.
In relentlessly defending the PLP's misdeeds and hubris, Davis is demonstrating the degree to which he is affected by the Gambier House syndrome. He remains in a bubble.
The more he defends the previous administration, the more he angers Bahamians. It is an extraordinary irony that, after becoming estranged from his former prime minister, Davis is left defending the man who would not demit office so that he could secure his ambition to become prime minister.

Placeholder
The sad news for Davis is that while he is the placeholder leader of the PLP, he will likely never become prime minister because of the legacy of the last Christie government.
Many institutions and groups evolve into seemingly impenetrable bubbles, isolating themselves from painful realities.
The bubble mentality has affected institutions from the Vatican to the John F. Kennedy administration during the Bay of Pigs crisis, to corporate giants like IBM and blue chip firms reluctant to adapt to change.
Potential change agents like former PLP Chairman Raynard Rigby and Cooper, the Exuma and Ragged Island MP, are trying to bring change to the PLP.
Given the Gambier House bubble and syndrome, the prospects for reform may be dim.
This is unfortunate, because the country needs a strong and viable opposition. The PLP has a proud history and legacy. It can be revitalized under better leadership.
But the oligarchs and mandarins have a stranglehold on a formerly progressive party that was once dedicated to liberalism in its broader sense, particularly in terms of liberty and equality.
A party that used public funds to monitor talk shows and editorials; that failed to free the broadcast media; that opposed the first gender equality referendum; that often failed to abide by basic norms of transparency and accountability; and that failed to have Parliament authorize an intelligence agency, is not committed to liberalism.
Instead, it is a hidebound organization interested in power only for the sake of power!
Chester Cooper has issued a warning to the PLP about reform.
He recently noted at a PLP event: "We were not accountable enough and not transparent enough. And we ignored scandals - protecting the interest of offending individuals and condoned things we should not have by our silence ...
"We hid behind a message of majority rule, without updating it for new generations who feel little connection to it but rather seek economic empowerment. The millennials told us that they were over all that, and we ignored the youth to our peril."
Cooper advised: "We have to show The Bahamas we have learned from our mistakes. We must show The Bahamas that we are ready and able to serve. We must show them that we are willing to listen to them more than we are willing to talk about ourselves. We must reform. We must transform."
Cooper cautioned: "We must move immediately towards the reform, rebranding and re-energizing of our party, inclusive of a thoughtful analysis and updating of the party's constitution and governance, including the structure and protocols of appointing stalwart councillors as well as the election of a new slate of party officers that signals that the party is ready to regain the trust to be repositioned into a lean, mean winning machine."
The Exuma and Ragged Island MP is pushing for reform in a party in which many of his seniors are still in the Gambier House bubble and affected by a syndrome that will be exceedingly difficult to arrest.
But given the business, financial and political mindset and needs of the PLP oligarchs and his parliamentary colleagues, change will not come easily to the PLP.
The reformers in the PLP are in for a hell of a fight with those with vested interests, who will have to be defeated if the party is to move forward and become more viable.

o frontporchguardian@gmail.com, www.bahamapundit.com.

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Learning is a lifelong project

June 28, 2017

As most of My Valued Readers know, I've been around on Planet Earth for quite a while; after all I've lived through World War II as a young boy growing up in Birmingham, England and remember well spending many a night in bomb shelters as the German planes dropped their lethal bombs. Thank God I lived through it all completely unscathed. So yes I'm now in my, what we call 'Senior Years'.
However, as that well known saying puts it "You're never too old to learn"...no you're not for as the title of today's article so correctly states it 'Learning Is A Lifelong Project'....yes it is, at least it should be, and don't let me hear the phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" because it's wrong, for you can indeed teach anyone who is willing to learn, just about anything.
As an example of The Truth contained in today's title, I was watching the program 'Undercover Boss' on MSNBC last evening and The Boss who went undercover in this particular episode of the show was the President of Orkin the largest Pest Control Organization in the U.S. As he was out on a call getting rid of a nest of bees from someone's back garden, I learned that insects wear their skeletons on the outside unlike humans and animals who have their skeletons on the inside.
Yes My Friend, you're never too old to learn something new and beneficial for as the title of today's article simply and succinctly puts it 'Learning Is A Lifelong Project'....yes it is! Of course to learn something new each and every day, a person needs a completely 'Open Mind'. Yes indeed, in the end, just like everything else, it all gets back to Attitude.

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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The Freeport crisis

June 28, 2017

It's no exaggeration that Freeport faces an economic crisis. It's also true that this crisis spans several years and government administrations. Many businesses in the city, with perhaps the exception of those in the industrial sector like The Freeport Container Port, The Grand Bahama Shipyard, BORCO-Buckeye, etc. are experiencing reduced or declining revenue and low to no profitability. Unemployment on Grand Bahama is extremely high, probably now about 15 percent. But, as senior Freeport attorney Terrence Gape pointed out on a recent, "Z Live-Off the Record" segment, this number is likely suppressed by the fact that thousands of Grand Bahamians have relocated to other islands looking for work. This is further compounded by the many Grand Bahamians who are so discouraged that they don't bother to look for work in Grand Bahama, and therefore are not counted among the unemployed by the Department of Statistics. Like much of the country, wages in Freeport/Grand Bahama have been stifled now for almost two decades, which is tragic considering that the prices of food and other consumables have gone up significantly over the years.
Little to no direct investment is occurring in Freeport, As Mr. Gape also noted, and despite having thousands of acres of prime land, much of which is beautiful waterfront, unlike Abaco and parts of New Providence, there is little real estate development taking place. Even the partnership of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the giant corporation, Hutcheson Whampoa, have produced little to no meaningful progress in development in the city within the last 15 years or so. Imagine that - a major investor like Hutcheson Whampoa, a Fortune Global 500 company, in partnership with 'the' regulatory power in the city of Freeport with all its infrastructural development, cannot, or will not, cause growth to occur in the city where it has at least $1 billion in direct investment. Hutcheson owns 50 percent of the land development company in Freeport and 50 percent of the air and sea ports. However, since the construction of Our Lucaya hotel and container port, nothing significant has happened in Freeport. This is inexplicable, unless one considers that the partnership between the Port and Hutcheson is simply dysfunctional, made so by - as Gape alluded - an early indication by the port that it was unwilling to put more financial skin in the game of developing the airport, and perhaps other necessary infrastructure in the city. This is sad for the city indeed.
On top of the abysmal commercial life in Freeport, the regulatory environment is also stifling. Take, for example, what a poor taxi driver has to go through to apply for or renew a taxi license. They put an application into the Ministry of Finance office in Freeport and then have to wait weeks on an approval from Nassau. Really! What is so pathetic about this is that when I was minister of state for finance, I removed the necessity for this happening, by ensuring that the Ministry of Finance's office in Freeport had the bulletproof windows and computer technology necessary to process these applications right in Freeport, which could be done within days. It seems that under the former administration this was changed. A taxi driver under these circumstances cannot be on the road working because he has to have his license in order to work; and now this takes weeks. This is but one of Freeport's regulatory struggles. From pension benefits to police problems, going to Nassau is often the only way to get things done in government, and it adds to the city's lagging circumstances.
Grand Bahama now has the most powerful of government officials; a deputy prime minister, who is the minister of finance; a minister of youth, who is a dynamic individual; a minister for Grand Bahama, who is in the Office of the Prime Minister; a parliamentary secretary, who is in the prime minister's office; and a reverend member of Parliament who is unafraid to buck with power. If that combination of people cannot improve how the government functions in Freeport and Grand Bahama, it will confirm what some people believe - that our politicians are simply useless. Maybe the government needs help to get the economy of Grand Bahama going, but they don't need anyone to fix what its agencies are doing wrong on the island. Make things work faster and easier for Grand Bahamians when it comes to government operations. Focus on that. Move the impediments and make things work faster. Make sure that all government payments are timely; this will help the economy. Make sure that all approvals are faster and easier; this will encourage commerce. Make sure government programs are more efficient and effective; this will nurture trust. Yes - pursue government debts, but if you choke what's left of the business sector with inflexible compliance, you will soon have nothing to collect. A sub-Cabinet on the island has to be impactful. The one that I belonged to did some things, but even we were not as impactful as we could have been, or as we needed to be. This new group has an opportunity, and given Freeport's crisis, we pray they do not fail.
Freeport is in crisis, and if the government is successful in partnering with the GBPA and others to make the island's economy grow, it will take some time to do so - at least two to three years. In the meantime, if it has any sense or strategic focus, it will use the fiscal machinery of government to bridge the gap, pushing everything and anything out of Grand Bahama's way to support and boost the economy. The opportunities include conferences, meetings, contracts, government programs, investment promotions, sports meets, national celebrations, cultural events, business exemptions, work programs, etc. Freeport needs affirmative action, and a sound rationale can be provided for it to have it, above even other areas of the country. In times of better, strategic focus is important; in times of crisis, it is crucial. A word to the wise is sufficient.

o Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.

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The eardrum

June 27, 2017

The ear is a very delicate system divided into three sections -- outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Each section plays an important role in how precisely we hear sounds. The outer ear and middle ear are separated by a thin, cone-shaped skin or membrane, less than half an inch wide, known as the tympanic membrane, or more commonly called the eardrum. The eardrum is the only sensory portion of the ear and, though rigid, it is extremely sensitive to even the most minute air pressure fluctuations. Both sides of the eardrum are exposed to air from the atmosphere. Air from the environment enters the outer ear hitting the eardrum on one side, while air from the mouth travels up the eustachian tube hitting it from the other side. This forces equal amounts of air pressure to build up on both sides of the eardrum, allowing it to be gently moved back and forth.

Main functions of the eardrum
o Changes sound waves from the atmosphere into sound vibrations that can be picked up by the bones of the middle ear.
The eardrum is attached to a very tiny muscle called the tensor tympani muscle. It is this little muscle that keeps the eardrum taut so that it will vibrate back and forth no matter how slight the sound waves, or which part of it is hit by the sound waves. As the sound waves entering the ear canal hits the eardrum it responds like the diaphragm of a microphone with contractions and rarefactions of each sound wave, eliciting a different response to the various types of sounds. High-pitched sounds cause it to move more quickly, while sounds that are louder force the eardrum to move much further.
o Protects the inner ear from prolonged exposure to loud, low-pitched noises.
The eardrum is also a protector of our hearing. To protect the inner ear from prolonged exposure to loud, low-pitched noises, the tensor tympani muscle, along with the stapedius reflex muscle, contracts immediately as soon as the brain perceives the presence of the damaging noise. This contraction results in the eardrum being pulled in one direction and the bones of the middle ear being pulled in the opposite direction, forcing the eardrum to become even more rigid and thereby dampening the effects of the harmful noise to our hearing.
oAssists understanding of conversational speech when background noise is present.
Another amazing thing about the eardrum is that the reflex also masks loud, low-pitched background noises, allowing us to focus our hearing and thereby improving our ability to hear softer, high-pitched conversational speech sounds when loud, low-pitched background noise is present.
o Helps monitor the loudness level of our voice.
To ensure that when we speak, the sound of our own voice does not overwhelm or drown out the other sounds around us, the reflex is once again activated. This allows us to hear our voice at a comfortable level as we speak, while simultaneously enjoying the other sounds around us.
The eardrum is a part of our amazing hearing system and is essential in our ability to hear precisely.

o For further information on any hearing-related disorder, please contact Dr. Deborah Nubirth, doctor of audiology, in New Providence at Comprehensive Family Medical Clinic, Poinciana Drive at 356-2276 or 677-6627 or 351-7902 in Grand Bahama; or email dnubirth@yahoo.com.

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Eczema of the foot

June 27, 2017

Eczema is a general term that includes many conditions that cause inflammation of the skin. It is more common in children and infants, where about 10 to 20 percent have some form of eczema. The symptoms of eczema vary, but they generally appear as dry, red and extremely itchy patches of skin. Small blisters may also form. Eczema can occur on any part of the body, including the foot. It can occur in anyone -- children or adults -- and is not contagious. You cannot catch it from someone. There is no known cause for eczema, but it often affects people with a family history of allergies and is very manageable.
Dyshidrotic (dis-hi-drah- tic) eczema (DE) is a type of eczema in which the skin cannot protect itself, resulting in itchy, dry skin. People with DE can develop small, deep blisters, usually on their hands and feet. The blisters are very itchy and painful and will go away in two or three weeks, leaving the skin red, dry, cracked and scaly. The exact cause of DE is not known, and there is no cure, so people can have episodes that come and go known as flares. For many people, the DE flares when they are under a lot of stress, temperatures rise (such as in the hot summer), or if their hands or feet stay wet for long periods of time. Exposure to metal salts, such as cobalt, chromium, and nickel can also lead to a flare. DE flares can be mild or very bad. A severe flare on the feet can make walking very difficult and painful.
Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema
Fluid filled blisters form on your fingers, toes, hands, or feet, especially on the edges. They can be painful, very itchy and may come together to form into larger blisters. The blisters may last up to three weeks before they begin to dry. As they dry up, they'll turn into cracks in the skin and become dry and scaly and painful. If you scratch the area, it may become thicker or feel spongy.
Diagnosis of dyshidrotic eczema
In many cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose dyshidrotic eczema from the symptoms and by examining your skin. They may choose to run more tests, like a skin biopsy, or test to look for a fungal infection or allergies.
Dyshidrotic eczema treatment
The treatment is based on the severity of the flare and the symptoms. To avoid making your pain and itching worse, do not scratch or break your blisters. Although it's important to wash your hands regularly, you may want to avoid extensive contact with water, such as frequent handwashing. You should also avoid using products that can irritate your skin, such as perfumed lotions and dishwashing soap.
Medications that may be helpful
Corticosteroid cream or ointment may be applied directly to the skin for mild outbreaks or, for more severe outbreaks, you may be prescribed a corticosteroid injection or pill that will help to reduce inflammation and clear the blisters.
Other medical treatments that can be used are UV (ultra violet) light treatments, draining large blisters, antihistamines, various anti-itch creams, or immune-suppressing ointments. If your skin becomes infected, you may also be treated with an antibiotic or antifungal medication. These are important to reduce scratching, because scratching will make DE worse. Medicine to treat an infection may be needed. Sometimes the DE site may get infected by bacteria or fungus and will need to be treated based on the type of infection.
Things you can do to help with DE flares
Wet, cold compresses or short soaks can help reduce the discomfort from dry, itchy skin. Soaks or cool compresses can be done or applied two to four times a day. Apply for 15 minutes at a time and apply a medicated cream or ointment such as corticosteroid afterwards. A moisturizer may also help with the dryness and therefore reduce some itching as well. Using moisturizers such as petroleum jelly, Vaseline, heavy creams such as Lubriderm or Eucerin, mineral oil, or soaking with witch hazel may also be helpful for a short time.
Changing your diet can also help to delay and treat flare-ups. Since it is believed that a nickel or cobalt allergy can cause eczema, removing foods that contain these may help. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed junk food is recommended. Supplementing with vitamin A has also helped. But check with your doctor before starting this.
What can be expectedin the long-term
Most times dyshidrotic eczema will usually disappear in a few weeks without any complications, especially if you don't scratch the skin. It may not leave any noticeable marks or scars. If you do scratch the area, you may experience more discomfort, some scaring or your flare may take longer to heal.
Although your outbreak of dyshidrotic eczema may heal completely, it can also reoccur. Because the cause of dyshidrotic eczema isn't known, doctors have found effective ways to prevent, or cure the condition. The best advice is to protect and help strengthen your skin by applying moisturizers daily, avoiding triggers such as perfumed soaps or harsh cleansers, and staying cool and hydrated.

o For more information email foothealth242@gmail.com or visit www.apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996, or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820, or Lucayan Medical Centre on East Sunrise Highway, Freeport, Grand Bahama, telephone 373-7400.

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Dirt begets dirt!

June 27, 2017

It appears to me, that when a house or apartment starts to get dirty with dust gathering all over the place, unless someone cleans the place up and does a thorough, good cleaning job, the place will continue to get dirtier and dirtier. Yes indeed, as today's title simply and succinctly puts it, dirt begets dirt! Yes it does. I guess that it's just another way of putting the old phrase 'like attracts like' in another slightly more dramatic way.
Some people as we know unfortunately have what we term a foul mouth. Now, by that we don't mean that there's a foul smell coming from that person's mouth -- we mean, or at least I mean, in the context of this particular article, that the language that emanates from your mouth is of a foul nature as they are mostly profane, curse words.
So once again, it logically follows that if this kind of profane, dirty language continues to pour forth from your mouth, over a period of time you'll continue to attract other foul-mouthed people toward you. As the law of attraction clearly states it, we attract toward us people, circumstances and events in accordance with our thinking, or like attracts like, or as today's title puts it, dirt begets dirt.
You know, it is beyond me why some people who are not brought up that way continue to use the foulest of language. I do believe it's to get attention and of course the reason a person feels the need to use these nasty four letter words so often just to get attention, is because they have low self-esteem.

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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Bahamas Congratulates Luxembours on its National Day
Bahamas Congratulates Luxembours on its National Day

June 26, 2017

The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent formal congratulations to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on the celebration of Friday 23rd June, 2017 as Luxembourg’s National Day...

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If not now -- when

June 26, 2017

So let me begin here today by asking you a simple question -- how many times have you asked someone something like this, "When do you intend to get serious about life, when are you going to stop your foolishness and start to strive to be successful?" The answer one so often gets is, 'Well one of these days, I suppose, I'll finally get serious about life." But my friend, I'd say to you, why put it off, as in reality life is real short and so the sooner one starts to carve out a career, the better.
Yes, some people are perpetual procrastinators. They are always going to do something tomorrow and somehow tomorrow never comes. These are the perpetual procrastinators of which, unfortunately, there are far too many. They'll continually say, well I'm not ready yet to get serious about life. To which I will simply answer with the phrase which is the title of this article, if not now -- when? That's right, surely if something is worth doing it's worth doing right now. Yes indeed, it surely is.
You see, if you keep on putting things off again and again, chances are you'll never really get anything worthwhile accomplished in life. Yes my friend, if it's worth doing it's worth doing now. Yes, right now. Young once said, "Procrastination is the thief of time." Yes indeed it is.
My friend, if you wish to be consistently successful you need to adopt the following very simple phrase -- do it now -- which I learned from W. Clement Stone many, many years ago. If something is worth doing, it's worth doing now. So please stop putting things off again and again and become a person of action, and you'll succeed beyond your wildest dreams -- yes you will.

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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Downtown Nassau and the role of tradition

June 26, 2017

In the first section of his book "A Living Tradition", a book about Bahamian architecture, Stephen Mouzon develops the case for the coding of the built environment and he quotes one of his previous books:
"The best measure of the greatness of architecture is the extent to which it touches the hearts, minds and spirits of the people who use it. Good work in architecture can move people, just as good work in music, art, writing or drama does."
He then proposes that the way we know when people have been moved by the built environment is that they enjoy using it and therefore incorporate it into their patterns of activity. Those places become, over time, what he calls "most-loved places". The rest of the book develops his theories about the role of tradition in the creation of most-loved places, and the spectrum of meanings "read" by users in a variety of different situations, from the vernacular to the classical.
While I have no conclusions to offer on his theories (I have not yet completed the book), I find them very valuable, in that they confirm three important things about the built environment.
First, they confirm that people do indeed "read" their environments. They look for and respond to clues that inform them about order, importance, use, ambition, origin and a dozen other useful aspects of our perceptual world.
Secondly, it confirms that the most-loved places are created over time, not instantly, using methods that have become "traditional" through common use and acceptance. Generally (although not always) those traditions arise out of the use of local or locally-available materials to respond to local climatic and geographic conditions, using skill sets prevalent in the local community. This explains why most places we enjoy are older and made from materials we are too ready to replace today with modern alternatives.
Thirdly, it confirms that the design skills needed to create those places are as varied as the context of the places themselves. While at the vernacular level (for example, on a farm on a Family Island), common practice is enough to guide builders as they expand their built environment, the need for a more meaning-packed environment in, say, the center of local government or commerce requires the skill and sensitivity of good designers. Here an understanding of scale, balance, proportion, rhythm, silhouette, texture, contrast and composition are the basic tools required.
This latter circumstance, the development of the meaning-charged city center, is at the crux of the concern for the development of downtown Nassau. There has been much talk about the functional redesign of downtown to respond to commercial opportunities, but practically none (at least not publicly) about the need to understand the ways in which downtown has meaning to today's Bahamian. There is no question, for example, that Rawson Square means the center of downtown and the seat of government. It also means the center of colonial administration, certainly an important part of our history. What, then, means that we have, for the past 44 years, been a nation of independent, innovative and extremely creative people? Not only is there no such reference, there is not even any conversation that suggests its importance.
The disrespect we have for tradition is evident in the way we allow those exceptional carriers of tradition to rot and disappear, whether downtown or otherwise. Because our bank accounts allow it, we replace buildings that responded well to the climate with buildings that are surprised to find themselves in a hurricane zone. We replace most-loved places with parking lots and meaningless lookalike gestures imported from elsewhere.
Downtown Nassau was once unique and special because it had become, over time, a place where the traditions that sprang from the Bahamian experience, the local and the imported, had been used to present the culture -- the history, the ceremonies and the peculiarities -- that had meaning for Bahamians. Whatever was done had local meaning and contributed to the making of a Nassau that was a most-loved place, a place those that visited once would wish to return to purely to be there. Places like Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, and Harbour Island and Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera, are still such places. Key West, Florida, is becoming such a place, using the architectural traditions of the Abacos.
It is, I believe, critical that the discussion of the development of downtown not remain a matter of commerce only. If it does, not only will that part of our island become less and less relevant to younger Bahamians (as it is already becoming) but we will soon lose any semblance of the most-loved place it could once boast of being.

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

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Why the FNM won the 2017 election, pt. 4

June 26, 2017

"Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."
- Euripides

The 2017 general election witnessed the unprecedented trouncing of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) by the Free National Movement (FNM) and will be studied for many years to come.
In part one of this series, we noted that many voters had completely lost faith in the Christie administration, including some of his ministers, who did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, without any kind of sanction whatsoever from their leader.
In part two, we examined how BAMSI, the interference of a minister in the judicial process, the ill-conceived Chinese fishing proposal and the RUBIS oil spill debacle contributed to the PLP's defeat.
Last week, in part three, we discussed how the public disclosure of private emails by a minister, the failed National Health Insurance scheme and the Baha Mar debacle disastrously damaged the PLP's re-election prospects.
In this fourth and final installment, we would like to continue to Consider this... Why did the FNM win the general election of 2017?

Arrogance and a profound sense of entitlement
Throughout the entire Christie administration, there were reports of ministers and some PLP members of Parliament (MP) who exhibited a profound sense of arrogance and entitlement.
We recall one case of an MP who also served as chairman of a public corporation. He had scheduled a meeting with ordinary citizens to see if the corporation could assist them. All the parties had assembled in the meeting room at the corporation, except for the chairman, who wanted everyone to be present before making his grand entrance. As he entered the room, one of the chairman's minions, who was also the designated scribe for the meeting, announced: "Please be upstanding for the honorable chairman." What utter nonsense! What arrogance!
We have adopted a ridiculous practice of standing when the prime minister enters the room. That practice has no basis in official protocol. In our system, as in most around the world, it is appropriate to stand when the head of state enters the room. In our case this is the governor general. Where the head of state is the president, it is appropriate to stand for the president. But certainly not a minister and absolutely not, in any circumstances whatsoever, for a chairman of a public corporation.
Courtesies are normally extended to dignitaries regarding their seating places at public events. We vividly recall several instances when certain dignitaries felt that they should have been given a "higher place of honor", considering their status in the pecking order. Such persons were furious when they were not "recognized" for their stations in life.
Then there were instances where MPs or other "dignitaries" were not recognized by someone assisting them. When the "dignitary" was not treated with the deference that he or she believed should be afforded, the person rendering the service to the dignitary was often accosted with the interrogative: "Do you know who I am?"
These were a few instances of blatant arrogance and a profound sense of entitlement. There are many other examples of this type of behavior that could be characterized as a form of madness that consumes persons who do not understand they are not entitled to any special attention or obeisance because they have been successful at the polls or elevated to their stations by appointment.
People observe the behavior of persons in the public square and are often disappointed by the profound arrogance and sense of entitlement that such VIPs exhibit. In the final analysis, those observing such behavior form negative opinions of such "public servants", ultimately telling their friends and families, who also then form negative opinions of the "entitled lot".
In the last administration, this behavior, attitude and persona by some sitting MPs contributed to their disconnection from their constituents. Anyone who serves in public life should be careful that they do not become victims of such behavior. It will not and, in very many cases, did not end well for them.

Corruption and conflicts of interest
It appears that corruption and conflicts of interest by some politicians while in office have become a new normal for our political culture. These phenomena are a blight on our body politic and, like a malignant cancer, aggressive measures must be taken to eradicate them.
There is a considered view that politics is a dirty game and a perverted system. We do not agree. It is the people in it who pervert the system. Involvement in the political arena in any society can be a noble vocation.
What is urgently needed are (1) persons with immense integrity, informed consciences and highly calibrated moral compasses to engage in the affairs of the state; (2) a resolute public that will not tolerate corruption and conflicts of interest in any form; (3) strong laws, an incorruptible integrity commission, or similar organ, to monitor, investigate and refer offenders to be prosecuted for violating them; and (4) aggressive enforcement of those laws, just as we would with average citizens.
There is absolutely no doubt that the claims and charges of corruption and conflicts of interest by highly placed Cabinet ministers, political cronies and party sycophants significantly contributed to the ousting of the PLP on May 10, 2017.

PLP's pre-election convention
In January 2017, the PLP held a national convention, the first since 2009, although the party's constitution mandates that it must be held every year in October or November. There was clearly an attempt by the party leaders to defer the convention as long as possible because it was unlikely that the party would change its leader too close to an election.
This strategy worked in the short-term, because the then-leader, Perry Christie, was reelected to that office, with a view that he would lead the party into the general election that was only months away.
Two major observations can be made of that late-date convention. The first is that Christie did not like being challenged for the role of leader, a position that he had held for the past 20 years. He felt that he was entitled to take the party into the next election, which leads to the second observation.
To ensure his victory at the convention, Christie pulled out all the stops and resorted to every possible tactic. After choreographing several highly favorable amendments to the party constitution, Christie appointed hundreds of stalwart councilors (who would vote for him) on the eve of the convention.
In addition, he and his surrogates sought to intimidate many who supported Alfred Sears, his only opponent in the contest for leader of the PLP. However, although Christie won the battle at the convention, he was obliterated in the war (the general election). We will have much more to say about that at another time.
Bahamians did not like these pre-election convention tactics and had grown weary of an ambitious man whose sense of entitlement was that of an imperial prime minister, something Bahamians wanted no part of.

Conclusion
In these four installments, we attempted to provide an objective assessment of some of the reasons why the FNM so impressively won the 2017 general election. We do not suggest that this is an exhaustive exposition, but highlights of the primary reasons for the FNM's success.
The PLP must neither underestimate nor understate how extremely angry and utterly dissatisfied the voters were with their leader and their government. The party's defeat was its worst in its 64-year history. Its poll performance was the worst it ever experienced on New Providence. Never had a sitting prime minister lost his seat. This was a complete rejection of Christie and his band.
There are many teachable moments that the PLP can glean from its trouncing on May 10. The real question is, what is next for the PLP in order to survive and to resurrect itself from the ashes of its obliteration?
Next week, we will examine what is required, and whether the PLP will have the courage to take the bold steps needed to recapture the imagination and regain the trust of a nation that has so decisively and so incontrovertibly brought the party and its former leader to their knees.

o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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What is best for Bahamian society

June 23, 2017

As many would know, as of May 10, 2017, The Bahamas has a new government. As some would also be aware, I was a candidate for a third party, the Democratic National Alliance, in the 2017 general election for the constituency of Garden Hills. The party gained no seats in parliament. Actually, it lost ground as it had more votes the first time it stood candidates for the election in 2012.
However, what we gained was the attention of observers who willingly understood that we had the best format, best mix of people and the best plan for developing our country moving forward. What we did not have was a win, which is quite unfortunate but we move on. In fact, the massive loss was satisfactory as both major parties had to step up their game just a little to ensure they got a win. Sometimes in loss you can get more than in a victory that blinds you from the nature of things!
But upon reflection after the general election, and it was not based merely on the defeat of the DNA, or the failure to get any seats in Parliament, I was humbled by the discourse that took place during the election. Humbled in a very calm and serious way. As a result, I got to thinking: What in the world are we all doing out here? Seems like a simple question, but a very difficult one to many.
I have listened to many persons over the last few years about politics over many different issues. Some of it interesting, some of it just annoying to be truthful. But what I found from the two major parties is that the conversation is hardly ever about ideals, but slogans, and at the height of it, who is holier-than-thou. All of that, smattered in with superficial condemnations that make you wonder if we are in a school playground, or are we talking about nation building and what's best for our society?
When we boil it all down, what's best for The Bahamas is truly what matters. It's not about who can make up the most fake scandals on the other, or who has a better theme, which team can make the best deals for themselves when they win government, or who has more eye-catching candidates -- even though some of these things matter a great deal to a great many people -- because some of it rightly shows fitness and readiness with regard to tackling the nation's issues.
What I have seen in this election and in elections of the past, is that politics has become such a game of win or lose that what's best for the society does not factor into the discussion at all. In fact, winning is primary, as it is the only way a political party can be assured that it can do what's best for the society. However, when that becomes all of what politics is about, we end up with a term of nothingness as more focus is geared on winning rather than what's best for the society.
It has come to the point, and I am not afraid to admit it, that I do not even bother to listen to some people, even if it is at the expense of my losing valuable information. As they say, a broken clock can be right at least once a day, but I prefer to be filled in later when some people offer up their opinions on what they feel is important, especially if they have been shown to have a particular trait of foolery. Honestly, as I get older, the simpler course seems better than getting fancy.
With that being said, what is in fact best for our society? I'm sure we have some broad strokes as to what that means or entails: good education for our people, reductions in crime, good jobs, decent wages, clean environment and a government that works with us and not against us. The issue is, however, how does one go about these things for the betterment of society?
I am not ashamed to say that I believe anything that works is best. That is just the simple fact, and may be why all political parties sound the same today and will continue to sound more and more of the same during elections, even if their rhetoric prior to a victory never matches up with what they do after they win office.
Does that mean ideologies, for example, left vs. right, socialist vs. capitalist, democracy vs. socialism, and things of that nature, are meaningless in the grand scheme of things? I hope not. Because I for one am from a school where the causes of things matter, and the root in the ground determines the fruit of the tree. Some things in some situations bring forth a certain end result. That's what nature intended. What makes politicians and their political messaging special and successful, is how does one sell that which is an ideology as a necessary, practical solution to the problems of today, and not have it lost in a conversation of deplorable badness but virtuous wholesomeness?
If I had the answer to some of these questions I would be in Parliament. I will also be very direct in saying that from what I see from political parties in The Bahamas, there is not that much thought put into it that would suggest they know either. While I do see some semblance of science being brought to the table, we are still in a smash-mouth political style that is slowly, but surely, maturing.
All in all, we hope that what is best for our society gets mentioned again. In earnest. Because as it stands now, a healthy dose of that type of conversation is needed from those on the public platform. Truly!
Youri Aramin Kemp was the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate for Garden Hills in The Bahamas and the party's spokesperson for finance and the economy. Published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.

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The UN SDG 14: Will the Caribbean benefit in the blue economy

June 23, 2017

Broadly understood, the 'Blue Economy' is an economic activity that is in balance with the long-term capacity of ocean and coastal ecosystems to support this activity and remain healthy and resilient. This being the case, how then can the 'Blue Economy' offer an immediate life line for the more than 40 million people that now lie in peril from the ravages of climate change in the Caribbean?
Although small developing island states are paying interest to the areas that depend on marine environment in the 'Blue Economy', it must also be noted that the devastating effects of climate change and ocean acidification in the Caribbean are rapidly changing the relationship between people and their environment. Coral reefs in the Caribbean are experiencing severe bleaching. Loss of mangrove vegetation along coastlines, beach erosion, and the destruction of marine life are making this 'Blue Economy' theory nonexistent.
Environmental experts further determine that rising sea levels and surge from more intense storms are expected to dramatically transform shorelines in the Caribbean, bringing enormous economic and social costs.
According to statistics, 70 percent of Caribbean populations living in coastal settlements will in time be devoured by rising sea levels, increasing hurricane intensity, and disrupting lives, property and livelihood. The rising of ocean water levels also increases the salinity of coastal aquifers, reducing the availability of fresh water through wells and springs and limiting the supply of fresh water.
Moreover, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre further stresses that the projected costs to the region due to increased hurricane damage, loss of revenue to the tourism sector and damage to infrastructure, could be US$10 billion by 2025 and US$22 billion by 2050.
On that basis, it is estimated that the adverse effects of climate change could cost Caribbean countries up to 75% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100.
Thus the brilliant opportunity for the Caribbean to evolve on its policy position in this 'Blue Economy' through the United Nations high level Ocean summit is of paramount importance. Not only does it readily ascertain that the health of a people, communities and the ecosystems are under serious threat, but it presents many unanswered questions.
The real question is whether CARICOM states are

resolved on categorizing the "red line" issue of this 'Blue Economy' at this United Nations high level Ocean conference.
Are CARICOM negotiators

providing new ideas for policies and approaches in dealing with disaster risks and vulnerabilities, as well as providing commendations that will apprise policies, campaigns, and programs for building resilience to the events related to climate change in the Caribbean?
Or, alternatively, will international organizations, multinational companies, and NGOs and governments

take immediate actions against rising sea levels, and the destabilization of climate patterns that undermine the dependable agricultural cycles that are rapidly leading to food scarcity in the Caribbean?
Notwithstanding the fact that the Caribbean island of Grenada remains the only

Caribbean island to develop a vision for an economy based on blue growth, it cannot be denied that when it comes to the subject of the 'Blue Economy' in the Caribbean, innovative financing options and international support are urgently needed.
On this, "United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is supporting Grenada to identify new and innovative financing options, including developing the world's first 'blue' social impact bond, and is looking at how aid providers can make their financing more 'catalytic' and responsive to national development priorities. UNDP is also providing technical support to leverage different sources of development finance, including climate finance."
But here again, if the 'Blue Economy' is to take precedence in other Caribbean states, then there must be a re-visitation of the political obligation of the Paris Climate change agreement.

The new emerging challenges of climate change in the Caribbean must be addressed if the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 is to make an impact towards the 2030 target. The need to ascertain an economic recovery and divergence plan for the Caribbean's upcoming hurricane season requires urgent attention at this UN high level ocean summit if the Caribbean is to fit well into this 'Blue Economy'.
Indisputably, Caribbean small island developing states are among the most profoundly indebted states in the world. This means that completing the task of

the 'Blue Economy' for Caribbean states requires

funding and access to new technologies. Mitigation actions are urgently needed

to adjust to the hostile bearings of climate change in the Caribbean.
Given all that, ocean acidification continues to have shocking long-term impact on the growth and development of Caribbean states. Climate change positions a significant danger on the socio-economic settings and on the physical resources of Caribbean states. Climate change is now confirmed in every fragment of the Caribbean economy. The damage from climate change is not an isolated threat, but a lived and present reality in the Caribbean.
Consequently, if Caribbean states are to use the 'Blue Economy' approach to expand their

economy, then the efforts to promote ocean sustainability through the high level United Nations summit

must also guarantee new methods whereby ocean development can increase economic productivity, generate jobs and decrease poverty.
The prospects for 'blue growth' development in the Caribbean should be concentrated in areas such as fisheries and aquaculture, blue biotechnology, renewable energy, research and innovation.

o Rebecca Theodore is an op-ed columnist based in Washington, DC. She writes on national security and political issues. Follow her on twitter @rebethd or email at rebethd@aol.com. Published with the permission of Caribbean news Now.

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He came to rescue us

June 22, 2017

"Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned -- for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" - Romans 5:9-15

We live in the computer age. Many of us cannot live without our computer. However, in this computer age we are plagued by something called a virus.
A virus can be deadly to computers. It comes as a simple welcoming message, usually in an e-mail. As soon as the receiver clicks on to that message to open it, the virus contained therein moves with lightening speed to millions of computers around the world, creating a deadly affect.
At the genesis of creation, God warned our foreparents about Satan's virus. However, they ignored God's warning and clicked onto Stan's simple message. Immediately the deadly virus of sin was born.
Since the fall, all humans are affected by the sin virus, which brings death to us all. This virus is a part of our DNA. We inherit it at birth. We cannot escape it.
Even though sin does affect us all, we have a way out of our dilemma. The God of love, our heavenly Father, did not abandon us and leave us to fend for ourselves.
He could have turned His back on us humans when we rebelled against Him. But He did not.
Instead, He came to rescue us from ourselves and the devil.
Out of pure love for His creation He made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself. Through His son, the Christ, we can all find a way back to God. In baptism, we are baptized into Christ's death and resurrection and are sealed with God's spiritual indelible mark.
God, in the person of His son Jesus the Christ, came into the world and lived among us. During His time on earth, He taught us how to love God and to live with our fellow men.
The apostle Paul gives us reassurance in Romans 5:7-8, "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Who would die for an enemy? No one! Yet God did for us.
He demonstrated His love for us, sinners, His enemies, by sending His son to take our sin upon Himself and bear the burden of our punishment. God vent His wrath upon Jesus, our Lord and Savior, on Calvary's cross so that we would be spared His wrath.
Satan continues to come after us with his deadly virus in a simple message. We do not have to click on it. Instead, let us cling to Christ our Savior. He is our way out of the maize of deadly sin. He is our way back to God. The apostle John tells us in John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them." Amen.

o Reverend Samuel Boodle, pastor of the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr., P. O. Box N4794, New Providence, Bahamas, or telephone 426-9084.

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Good judgment is vital

June 22, 2017

There's no doubt about it whatsoever, if you wish to succeed in all aspects of your overall life, you quite definitely need to be able to make the correct judgments more often than you make bad ones. Yes indeed, as today's title simply and succinctly puts it, good judgment is vital. Yes it is, in all facets of your life.
I mean when you're choosing a mate whom hopefully you'll spend the rest of your life with, judgment most definitely comes in to play. After all, as we all unfortunately know only too well, the divorce rate worldwide is extremely high, and mores the pity. A whole lot of this is due to people not making good judgments when choosing a mate.
Then, of course, when one chooses a career, one needs to be sure to choose one which number one lends itself to your particular skills, and number two, one which you feel you'll enjoy doing for the rest of your life. Then when picking an institution of higher learning which will give you the knowledge and skills which will assist you to succeed at your chosen profession, once again good judgment is vital so that you get the best tuition possible to enable you to graduate with the highest honors, and are thus very qualified to take on a job which will hopefully lead to a long and successful career which you will both excel at and really enjoy.
Of course, as I have emphasized over and over again, the spiritual part of one's life is so very important. So be sure that you once again use good judgment when choosing your particular spiritual belief system so that you grow in spiritual wisdom. Yes indeed, if you wish to succeed, across the board, you need to realize that good judgment is vital. Yes it is.

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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Davis, Hanna-Martin and most senior PLPs still don't get it

June 22, 2017

The gain and loss of power both require restraint. Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham would likely rewrite the manner and tone in which he addressed the nation the evening of the FNM's 2012 election loss.
With the crush of emotions descending on him following the PLP's recent electoral decimation, including his bitter loss of the Centreville constituency he held for four decades, it may have been best that former Prime Minister Perry Christie did not appear the night of his party's staggering defeat.
Unfortunately, as was often the case while he was in government, defeated Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell demonstrated no restraint in his bizarre and ballistic bombast after the loss.
The words and tone he offered suggested someone in meltdown, with no sense of humility, restraint or self-reflection. Rage and the lust for power typically limit one's capacity for self-awareness, prudence and good judgement.
There was a telling line in Mitchell's wild-eyed rant which summarized his mindset and further offended a populace that overwhelmingly rejected the PLP: "Politics is not a crying game. It is a competition for power. Power is the only fact. They have it, we want it and need it to govern and protect the poor in this country."
Most of the poor and most Bahamians do not believe that the PLP desired power in order to serve the poor. Most believe that Mitchell and other senior PLPs lusted for power to serve their own self-absorbed needs and to protect their interests.
Since the election, a number of PLP parliamentarians have spoken of their undying concern for the poor. But in office, the PLP's corruption, waste and luxury living and travel at taxpayer expense was an affront to poorer Bahamians, whom the PLP often used as props. The PLP victimized the country with its reckless governance.
Most of the poor, much like the hard-working, laboring and middle classes, did not feel that the Christie-led PLP government was serving their interests. Rather, they believed that many senior PLPs were busy padding their pockets and those of their close associates, family and friends.
The people of Centreville and other traditional PLP seats grew tired of the PLP taking them for granted and treating them as supposed fools at election time, offering handouts and other inducements to secure votes. The rum and entertainment strategy of the PLP failed spectacularly.

Grassroots
Most of the poor abandoned the PLP after the PLP abandoned them over the past five years. Hence the wipeout of PLP MPs in grassroots areas.
If they govern well and offer uplifting policies and programs for the inner city areas of New Providence, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and the FNM may be able to rewrite the political geography and the political voting patterns of these areas.
Because of his background and biography, Minnis has the opportunity to shatter the PLP's supposed lock on certain constituencies, in both senses of the word. The FNM should be aggressive and unyielding in these efforts.
While it clearly has a superior progressive record than the two Christie administrations, the FNM, because of Hubert Ingraham and now Hubert Minnis, is on track to being seen as the more progressive political force in the country.
Correspondingly, the PLP's historic narrative and mythology is being upended. The problem within the PLP is that they are far from figuring out how to respond to this challenge. And they are uncertain as to how to attract a younger generation of voters no longer wed to the shibboleths of a PLP that no longer exists.
When Bahamians from all walks of life compare Brave Davis and Hubert Minnis, there is no doubt that most view the latter as the greater champion of the poor and grassroots.
While the PLP gushed about its supposed love for the poor during the recent budget debate, Minnis offered specific proposals for grassroots Bahamians, including the possibility of free Wi-Fi in certain areas, a pilot program for computers for children in government-operated preschools, and other proposals.
At the last election, the PLP base shattered. Thousands of PLPs could no longer bring themselves to vote for the party of their youth, or, in other cases, the party of their parents and grandparents.
The PLP is run by an oligarchy. It is mostly a business with a political arm. When Christie secured the leadership of the PLP, he boasted that he would reform the party. It was an empty boast intended for an external audience.

Wipeout
Within the PLP Christie governed mostly on behalf of the oligarchs, the PLP high command and a consortium of cronies. The wipeout on May 10 has done nothing to diminish the power or control of these groups. It may take another electoral defeat to displace the political barnacles, who will continue to weigh down the PLP ship.
The nearly wholesale rejection of the PLP and the revelations of misconduct, abuse of power and all manner of cronyism by the PLP, revealed by the Minnis administration, have not brought on a hint of humility or remorse from PLP parliamentarians.
They do not even have the ability, for political purposes, to fake humility or remorse. One reason is that they are still playing mostly to the PLP gallery and not the wider public, who are disgusted by their performance since May 10.
The PLP defense team seems to think that Bahamians are stupid -- that most are buying their defense in response to alleged misfeasance of PLP Cabinet ministers and their rationalizations of the poor conduct of the Christie administration.
Because they all seem to be jockeying for position within the PLP, they are unable to admit error, to express remorse, to say, "We messed up" or "Sorry, we often took you for granted".
Such expressions of contrition are not signs of weaknesses. They are a necessary condition for most Bahamians to even begin to look again at the PLP.
Given his temperament and pattern of political engagement, Mitchell is likely to continue to be belligerent in his new role in the Senate. While this will appeal to the hardest of the PLP base, it will also turn off many PLPs and most voters.
The FNM should utilize political jujitsu, using the weight of the PLP's petulance, belligerence and defensiveness in Parliament to knock down the weakness of its opponents and further unmask their shameful record over the past five years.
The remnants of the PLP in the House of Assembly may believe that they are mounting a valiant defense of their party's legacy in government. But what may have been accomplished in the early years of PLP-led government, in the early years of majority rule and of young nationhood, has long ago been tarnished.
It was tarnished because of the PLP's accommodation of money launderers, drug traffickers and other sordid individuals who connived to destroy our social fabric, weaken families and undermine social norms during the latter part of the 1970s into the 1980s.
The legacy of the more recent PLP-led administrations between 2002 and 2007 and 2012 and 2017 is one of mismanagement, corruption and conflicts of interest. Instead of reforming the PLP, Christie, with the complicity of others, did more harm than good to the legacy and lifeblood of the party.
The PLP is incapable of change given its current leader and most of its parliamentary group. As Mitchell indicated in his enraged post-election screed, the PLP really only knows and respects power.
Perhaps the PLP will only reform after being denied power for a substantial period of time. Even then, the jury will remain out on such a prospect.

o frontporchguardian@gmail.com, www.bahamapundit.com.

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Ignorance is not bliss

June 21, 2017

I can remember as a kid growing up in England and Ireland, there was a popular saying 'Ignorance is Bliss'; in fact, I do believe there was a radio program with the same name. But My Friend, today at the beginning of the 21st Century anyone who believes that 'Ignorance is Bliss' is a complete fool, without a lot of knowledge you will not be very happy ....that's for sure!
Yes My Friend, in today's world, it's absolutely important that we all acquire as much knowledge as we can, that is of course if we wish to succeed in today's competitive world. Yes if you wish to get ahead in life it's most important for you to get a good education, whilst learning a particular skill if you wish to be able to compete in the job market and thus get a good start in life. No 'Ignorance Is Not Bliss', and if you remain ignorant in today's world you will not have a chance in Hell, as that well known saying so bluntly proclaims, of initially getting a decent paying job and ultimately being able to ascend up the Ladder of Success to earn a decent wage.
Of course, as we all know, today our education does not, or at least should not end when we leave high school. As a matter of fact learning should be a lifelong process for all would be achievers
Yes My Friend, the days when they used to say, incorrectly of course, that 'Ignorance is Bliss' are over for as today's title proclaims it 'Ignorance Is Not Bliss' for without a good education you will get left behind in today's competitive world. So please enroll in a course of higher education today, and you'll benefit beyond your wildest dreams.

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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Hofstede's six dimensions of national culture

June 21, 2017

Professor Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist, conducted comprehensive studies of the way in which culture influences values in the workplace. Hofstede and his research team identified six dimensions of national culture, and by national culture it is meant "the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another". Hofstede's six dimensions of national culture include:
1. Power distance;
2. Individualism;
3. Masculinity;
4. Uncertainty avoidance;
5. Long-term orientation; and
6. Indulgence.
Power distance has to do with how less powerful members of a country accept and expect the unequal distribution of power.
Individualism, as opposed to collectivism, describes how people accept in their social setting in a loose social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate family.
Masculinity, as opposed to femininity, refers to the preference by a community for achievement, heroism, assertiveness, material rewards and competitiveness, as opposed to cooperation, modesty, caring and the like.
Uncertainty avoidance refers to the discomfort the members of the community feel about not knowing facts or ambiguity.
Long term orientation refers to communities that tend to honor long standing traditions and norms and look suspiciously on change.
Indulgence versus restraint refers to a community's preference for letting members live free to gratify themselves and have fun.
Based upon these dimensions, Hofstede and his team were able to compare countries to each other, and proffer that the differences between countries might explain how workplace values might differ in each. For Hofstede, the idea is not to say which culture is better than the other but to simply explain how culture might shape behavior, and tendencies leading to certain outcomes in everyday life.
The Bahamas, at least in so far as any search I did is concerned, does not seem to have been examined against Hofstede's six dimensions of culture. Jamaica has, scoring a power distance of 45/100, individualism of 39/100, masculinity of 68/100 and uncertainty avoidance of 13/100. In other words, Jamaica's culture tends toward assertiveness and achievement, less so toward expecting equality of power between leaders and followers; even less so toward a "do it on your own" mind-set; and almost not at all toward tolerating uncertainty and ambiguity. Sounds about right to me.
I believe that a professional assessment of our culture might be useful and go a long way to provide insights into why some of our political, economic and social systems work as they do. If I had to guess at it, I would guess that our scores would make us a culture that largely expects unequal power distribution between leaders and followers (65/100); splits our preference for masculinity over femininity (50/100); leans in favor of individualism (60/100); marginally tolerates uncertainty and ambiguity (55/100); tends to adhere to longstanding traditions and customs while slow to embrace chance (55/100); and is a marginally non-indulgent group (45/100). If my guess is correct, it might explain why strong leaders have been able to take hold in the country for such a long time, but why now that type of leadership is experiencing to pushback; it might explain why we tend to be so laidback in our approach to tackling problems and why high achievement is not a high priority in our society at large; it might explain why, for so long, we were content to live with whatever information the powerful and the rich pushed out, without challenging the same or demanding more; and it might explain why we tend toward religious conservatism but, within our closest friends, tend toward moral liberalism.
Do not be mistaken, what is true of our culture as a whole need not be true of any individual or set of individuals within it. Put another way, any number of us might deviate from what might be described as the norms for us as a culture, but the general observation of our collective behavior might well be observed. To the extent that this is so, it could offer leaders of organizations in the nation, public and private, insights that might help them to improve outcomes in ways unheard of. This much is true, the haddock approach often now taken to addressing organizational and national issues seems woefully inadequate, and might be better informed by good research and study. Perhaps in this new era of national governance, this is what we might get.

o Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.

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Britain, Brexit and an uncertain future

June 20, 2017

A little over a week ago, the British people went to the polls. Although the snap general election was supposed to strengthen the government's negotiating hand in leaving the European Union, the outcome had the opposite effect, casting uncertainty over the nature of Brexit, and with it the country's future political and economic stability.
It was an election that in its outcome signalled that Britain had become two nations; one committed, as it were, to 'make Britain great again' and restoring an imagined past, and another, led by the young, the better educated, those living in liberal cosmopolitan cities and in Scotland, who saw a very different future, with new domestic and international priorities.
In seeking a much bigger parliamentary majority, Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, sought the vote of 'just about managing' voters, but provided few specifics during a remote, presidential style campaign that many political commentators described as having been the worst in the UK in decades.
In contrast, the country's Labour Party encouraged the young, often voting for the first time, those in the public sector, the marginalized, and those who wanted a softer form of Brexit, to vote for a more optimistic and less material view of society. They proposed greater social equity, a better funded social welfare system, and an end to huge student debt at a time of rapidly increasing rents and the unaffordability of housing.
While Labour caught the popular mood through social media and music, wrapped around an unlikely socialist leader, similar in many respects to the U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the Conservative Party remained brittle, often aloof, seeming to demonstrate little, if any, understanding of how to relate to young people.
In the end, Mrs May lost her gamble, ending up without a parliamentary majority in a hung parliament, with the prospect of significant internal divisions within her own party.
None of this is intended to be partisan, but to suggest that the region takes note, if it has not already, that Britain is changing profoundly, traditional ideological boundaries have become fluid, and the electorate has become volatile and unpredictable.
Strikingly, since the election, Prime Minister May has seemed unwilling to accept the message of a divided nation, appearing intent on proceeding to govern as planned with the support of a socially conservative party from Northern Ireland, with the likely consequence that divisions over Brexit, austerity and the Union will be exacerbated.
Two events in the coming weeks -- the opening of Brexit negotiations with the EU on June 19, and the delayed Queen's speech on June 21, which will set out the government's priorities -- will demonstrate how Mrs. May intends to proceed. They will indicate whether the moderating voices of Conservative elder statesmen and some Cabinet ministers, who want a more coherent and realistic strategy on Brexit, have been taken notice of.
If, as Mrs May and Downing Street suggest, it remains her intention to signal on June 19 that Britain will leave the EU and the single market and end free movement, there is a substantial body of opinion in political circles and the civil service that believes that when it comes to presenting the detailed bills to Parliament for Brexit implementation, she may find it hard to achieve a majority.
In response, and to preserve stability and avoid a rapid collapse in negotiations, a view is emerging that the government should now seek a cross-party consensus on alternative approaches to leaving the EU.
In this context, one suggestion that has gained traction since the election is that the UK might leave the EU but try to remain a member of its customs union, while negotiating new arrangements on free movement, and continuing to make a financial contribution.
Such an approach, its proponents argue, would have the effect of ensuring that the UK would have continuing frictionless trade access to the EU, retain jobs, keep in place existing trade agreements such as the EU-CARIFORUM EPA, while enabling the UK to accede to all future EU trade agreements. While it would not allow the UK to negotiate new third country trade in goods arrangements, Britain could, in theory, negotiate new services agreements. Whether this offers a long-term solution or might ever be acceptable to the EU is, however, far from clear.
All of this is happening as the EU27 is changing. The eurozone economy is recovering rapidly, and is now accelerating at a faster pace than in either the UK or the U.S.
France has a new young President, Emmanuel Macron, who is likely this weekend to upend French politics by having 'En Marche!', his one-year-old political party, take the majority of seats in France's National Assembly.
He has already demonstrated that he will exercise his authority in a style intended to restore France's self-confidence, optimism, and place in the world. He appears willing to act as a buttress against Donald Trump and to reshape the future of the EU27. With Germany's principled Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is likely to be returned in Federal elections in November, he is expected to ensure that the EU, despite its many divisions, remains a continuing force in the world.
As for the UK, if it cannot rapidly create a viable economic construct based on a new national consensus on Brexit, the likelihood is that it will be economically diminished for a decade or more; becoming an estranged relative of the EU, increasingly at odds with the U.S. president over all but security co-operation, and in endless trade negotiations with others, including the Commonwealth, that expect such relationships to be reciprocal and mutually beneficial.
From a Caribbean perspective, this means that it will be increasingly difficult to forecast reliably what will happen in its relationship with Britain.
While the UK is not going to walk away from the region, Caribbean concerns, other than climate change and security, look set to become even less of a priority, as all parts of the British establishment become totally engrossed in Brexit, its implications and trying to stabilize the economy; knowing that at any moment another election might take place.
o David Jessop is a consultant to the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at david.jessop@caribbean-council.org. Previous columns can be found at www.caribbean-council.org. Published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.

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