Opinion

Don't leave your gifts unused

August 02, 2017

Now I guess, that when some people read the title of today's article 'Don't Leave Your Gifts Unused' they may be a bit puzzled saying to themselves or perhaps another "All the gifts I get at Christmas or on my birthday I always use right away". Well My Friend, you should know by now, that I'm dealing here today on a much deeper level. I'm not referring to any earthly, material gifts you may have been given on special occasions, but I'm referring to about something much more important and that is your Heavenly Gifts, for want of a better word, which you were given, free of charge by your Creator at birth.
That's right, I'm talking about the Unique, Very Special Talents which were given to you at birth by The Creator, which once discovered, developed and refined over time can take you anywhere you want to go in life ....literally! It's very sad to observe a whole lot of people who have these special gifts, these unique talents but which are lying dormant and just not being used.
Now why is this do you think, why is it that a whole lot of people worldwide are just not using their God-given gifts, their talents to assist them in reaching The Promised Land? The answer is quite simple. They have not been made aware of them and if you literally don't know what you've got; well then, obviously you don't use it. That to me is a tragedy of monumental proportions and needs to be rectified A.S.A.P.
So today's article is a very important message to all Parents, Guardians and Teachers. It's your job to make the Children in your temporary care fully aware of how talented they really are, and then to assist them in developing, refining and using their gifts, their God-given talents in the service of Humanity. Yes indeed, please make sure that the young people in your care are fully aware of and use their God-given gifts, their talents.

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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Should it matter who pays for Caribbean development

August 01, 2017

By any measure, the Caribbean's infrastructure requirements are substantial. If the region is to be able to increase its competitiveness and give citizens the quality of life they desire, its transformation has become a matter of urgency.
In 2014, Dr. Warren Smith, the then new president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), indicated that to achieve this, the region would need US$30 billion in the coming decade. It would need this, he said, if it was to be able to modernize its power, transportation, telecommunications, water and wastewater infrastructure. Since then it has become apparent that if the region is also to become resilient to climate change it will require an even greater resource.
Unfortunately, investment in infrastructure is now beyond the reach of almost all national capital budgets, requiring governments either to take on more debt, reach deals with external private sector entities, engage with governments outside the region, or to access the increasingly limited support offered by the international development agencies.
Notwithstanding, there are signs that in some capitals the source of funding for Caribbean infrastructure is becoming less about development and more about ideology; with pressure being placed on Caribbean governments to reject proposals from China and others, on the basis that such offers of long-term finance on soft terms are intended to create political influence, strategic advantage or even dependency.
The reality is that every nation in the region is struggling to find alternative ways to finance the renewal, expansion, modernization or construction of hard infrastructure for schools, hospitals, roads, ports, airports, telecommunications, power plants, utilities distributions systems, and universal high-speed internet. All also face domestic political pressure to upgrade and make sustainable soft infrastructure - the delivery of healthcare, education, and justice for example - in ways that better meet the needs of their societies.
Nations have responded in diverse ways.
Cuba, for example, has a considered long-term infrastructure development strategy. Although economically constrained when it comes to major expenditure, its central planning process has established clear objectives.
Among the many projects now moving forward are major investments to offset severe water shortages in parts of the country; programs to diversify the country's power generating capacity, making greater use of renewables; a probable EUR1 billion (US$1,054 million) project with Russia to completely upgrade the country's failing railway network; extensive port and airport developments; and debt rescheduling arrangements that are expected to result in credits in a number of productive sectors.
Others in the Anglophone and Hispanic Caribbean have taken a different approach, and have variously sought funding from bond issues, pension funds, public-private partnerships, or in the case of several recent major infrastructure projects, such as Jamaica's Highway 2000, through Chinese involvement.
At the other end of the spectrum, soon-to-be oil-rich Guyana is on the cusp of an explosion of infrastructure development. In its case, the infrastructure investment mix will likely be U.S. private sector finance, alongside Chinese and possibly Brazilian, Islamic Development Bank and the Gulf states funding for infrastructure programs that will open the country to its neighbors and the wider world.
At a regional level, other options are emerging through the CDB, which in the last few years has begun to play a far more significant role in working with its non-regional and extra-regional members to find ways to develop new sources of funding.
This has led, for example, earlier this month to it hosting a regional conference in Barbados to consider the multiple opportunities that now exist to use the Chinese renminbi for financing in the Caribbean, and signing in its margins an agreement with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China to explore the prospects for co-financing projects in infrastructure; human resource development; agriculture; and renewable energy and energy efficiency.
More generally, in 2015 the United Nations recognized in agreeing sustainable development goals (SDGs) for the period up to 2030, that investment in infrastructure and innovation will be the crucial drivers of national and global economic growth and development.
Despite this, the issue of China, Venezuela and others becoming more deeply engaged in projects in the region, is being politicized without any alternative being on offer.
While some countries like the United Kingdom continue to make funds available on a non-conditional grant basis for infrastructure in eligible Caribbean nations, the U.S. seems not to recognize that its slow withdrawal from the region is removing its ability to engage or influence, at a time when China and others see mutual benefit in co-operation.
Irrespective of what has been said in the U.S. Congress about U.S. security, newer development partners are largely not perceived in the region as threatening sovereignty or independence of action. Rather their engagement with the Caribbean reflects the way the world is changing, and enables the region to consider alternative, often empathetic views, at a time when the U.S. president seems intent on casting his country's global role and values into darkness.
China is no different from any other nation in wanting a dialogue on matters of concern, to which the region no doubt responds with understanding, mindful no doubt of Beijing's supportive position on climate change and other issues on which there is a convergence of thinking.
Washington should think more carefully, and recognize that Caribbean development must be sustainable and is not a zero-sum game in which U.S. interests must always be paramount.
In a commentary published recently in China Daily, Chen Weihua, the chief Washington correspondent of China Daily, observed that "seeing China's every move as geopolitics, is just dead wrong".
"Latin America is big enough to accommodate China and the U.S. The region will benefit if both countries increase their trade and direct investment in the region," he wrote.
Or, to put it another way - as my friend Sir Ronald Sanders observed in a recent column - "If Washington is truly concerned about any undue influence on the Caribbean from China it should match the level of China's bilateral investments in these countries on the same terms of soft loans and without conditionalities of a non-economic nature."

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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Painful, plantar warts

August 01, 2017

Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which infects the skin through small cuts and abrasions.
Plantar warts are warts on the bottom of the feet. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. Warts are generally raised and fleshier when they appear on the top of the foot or on the toes. Plantar warts are often gray or brown (but the color may vary). Black dots can sometimes be seen in a wart. These are actually blood vessels that have grown rapidly and irregularly into the wart and have clotted off.
Plantar warts are often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or ground where the virus is lurking. The Human Papilloma Virus lives in warm, moist environments making infection a common occurrence in public showers, and other wet surfaces such as around pools.
Plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. The wart may also bleed and spread that way. Left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of several warts called mosaic warts. When plantar warts develop on the weight-bearing areas of the feet under the ball of the foot or the heel they can cause sharp, burning pain especially when walking or standing.
Contrary to popular belief, warts do not have "roots". They only grow in the top layer of skin, the epidermis and do not grow into the dermis. The underside of a wart is actually smooth.
People of all ages can get warts, but they are most commonly seen in children, teens and young adults. They spread by direct contact. Your immune system determines your susceptibility to getting warts and the length of time it takes for them to go away.

Prevention tips
Occasionally, warts can spontaneously disappear and, just as frequently, they can recur in the same location. The key to prevention is to not get infected.
o Avoid walking barefoot on solid surfaces where the virus can live.
o Keep feet clean and dry, change your shoes and socks daily.
o Check your children's feet for signs of warts especially before they go back to school.
o Avoid direct contact with warts from other persons or from other parts of your own body; they can spread.
o Do not ignore growths on, or changes in, your skin.
o Visit your podiatrist as part of your annual health checkup.
Tips for individuals with warts
o Avoid self-treatment with over-the-counter preparations.
o See a podiatrist for evaluation and treatment of your warts.
o Diabetics and other patients with circulatory, immunological, or neurological problems should be especially careful with the treatment of warts.
Remember, warts may spread and are catching so have them evaluated and treated to protect yourself and those close to you.
Self-treatment of warts is generally not advised, however, there are several over-the-counter preparations of acids or other chemicals that can be used to treat warts; self-treatment with such medications should never be used by people with diabetes or circulation problems. Also, never use them if an infection is present. To relieve pressure and pain in the area you can use a pumice stone or foot file to file down the wart after the foot has been soaked in water for 20 minutes to soften the wart. After filing the wart, wash the file carefully since you can spread the virus to other parts of your body if you use this contaminated file. It is best to use the disposable ones. After touching the wart remember to wash your hands carefully.
If the wart does not resolve spontaneously or with your home treatment, it's time to see a podiatrist. Your podiatrist may choose from several different techniques for removing plantar warts. One of the most common methods to burn warts off is with prescription strength acid applied topically to the wart. Several applications may be required over the course of several weeks to achieve this. Lasers have become a common and effective treatment to destroy the wart. The procedure is performed in the physician's office and is safe. Cryotherapy, freezing warts is also used and frequently successful without scaring. Having surgery to remove the wart can also be done based on the location of the wart. Immunotherapy and other treatment options are also available if the wart proves to be resistant to these more common treatment methods.

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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Peace, prosperity and progress

August 01, 2017

I believe that the three words in the title of today's article are all extremely important for anyone, or for that matter for any country which wishes to have its people live a contented, happy, satisfying and successful life and they are peace, prosperity and progress. So let's take each of these three words beginning with the letter "P" and examine them.
The first is peace which is so very important I know in my life, and I believe should be important in everyone's life. So how do we attain this peace? Well number one -- I believe we need to know and fully understand whom we are, a child of God filled to capacity with unique and special talents. Once we know and fully understand this truth about ourself, we should possess high self-esteem, and thus love and respect ourself. So that's of primary importance. Number two -- we need to have a definite purpose in life or ministry, as I referred to it in the last article; and number three, we need to spend periods of time each and every day in quiet meditation. This will assist us in maintaining a peaceful disposition.
The second word is prosperity. How do you become prosperous? Well firstly we need to pursue a career that we really like. As the composer, musician, producer David Foster put it, when you do what you love to do you will succeed and be prosperous. Secondly you need to be thrifty with the money you earn. Don't keep on spending all that you make. Always, always put something in a savings account and look into the possibility of investing some of your hard-earned money so that it can multiply.
The third word of course is progress. Now I honestly believe, that once you are at peace with yourself and have become reasonably prosperous, as long as you continue to work real hard you will of course continue to progress in life. It's also vitally important for you to always and at all times have a series of worthwhile goals which you are aggressively pursuing in order to continue to progress in life.

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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Occupational hearing loss

August 01, 2017

Occupational hearing loss, or hearing loss caused as a result of working in a noisy environment, is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show that those who work doing manual labor are more at risk for hearing loss than persons who work in an office environment. Although a noise-related hearing loss can happen suddenly -- for instance, when exposed to gunshot at close range, in most cases, occupational hearing loss happens gradually. So much so, that a person may not even realize they are having a hearing problem until their hearing loss reaches a critical state.
The ear is a very delicate system divided into three sections -- outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Each section plays a vital role in how precisely we hear sounds. Damage to any portion of the ear structure can result in hearing loss. When we expose ourselves to loud noises and music, damage occurs to the tiny hair cells of the inner ear. This damage is usually permanent and cannot be medically corrected, however, hearing aids or other hearing technology may greatly improve the person's ability to hear and communicate.

What level of noise is too loud?
Exposure to noises greater than 80 decibels (dB) puts our ears at risk for damage and permanent hearing loss. In some cases, as stated earlier, just one exposure to an impact noise, like a gunshot or fireworks, can result in immediate damage and sudden permanent hearing loss. In other cases, exposure to continuously loud noises over a period of time, results in damage to the auditory system that also causes a permanent hearing loss.

Jobs that may cause hearing loss
Outlined below are some of the occupations in which workers are exposed to loud noises that may result in damage to their hearing and permanent hearing loss. Continued exposure to these types of noises overtime will result in a permanent hearing loss, unless adequate noise protection is worn.
o Ambulance drivers: At 120 to 130dB, the siren of an ambulance is loud enough to cause ear pain and damage hearing.
o Airline workers: At 110 to 140dB, the roar of a jet engine at take-off is loud enough to rupture the eardrum and damage hearing.
o Bouncers and bartenders: May be exposed to loud noises and music up to 120dB that can damage hearing.
o Carpenters: 110 to 140dB of continuous noise exposure from drills, hammers, electric saws, and nail guns is a recipe for permanent hearing loss.
o Construction workers: Exposure of 85 to 100dB of continuous noises from jackhammers and other power tools can result in permanent hearing loss.
Dentists: At 115dB, the daily, ongoing exposure to the high-speed turbine drill, puts the dentist at risk for permanent hearing loss.
o Farmers: Up to 140dB of noise exposure from both heavy machinery and the noises of animals (pigs squeal at 130dB) can result in permanent hearing loss.
o Garbage truck workers: Daily exposure of 85 to 110dB of grinding truck noises as the garbage is made more compact can result in permanent hearing loss.
Heavy equipment operator: 80 to 120dB of ongoing loud noise exposure can result in permanent hearing loss.
o Lawncare workers: 85 to 120dB of noise exposure to power mowers and chainsaws will result in damage to the auditory system and permanent hearing loss.
o Musicians and rock concerts: Exposure of up to 140dB, especially during concerts, can result in permanent hearing loss. Standing next to speakers also puts you at risk for damage to hearing. Just 15 minutes of exposure to the loud music coming from speakers at a concert can result in damage to the auditory system. Those in churches who sit near speakers with loud music blaring from them are also at risk of damage to their hearing.
If you work in an environment where you must shout above the noise around you to be heard, then you are being exposed to damaging levels of noise that can result in you having a permanent hearing loss.

Protect your hearing
Protect your hearing whenever you are exposed to loud noises, even if you will only be exposed one time. Wear noise protectors or earmuffs whenever you are working around loud noises. Special custom-made noise protectors or musician's plugs can also be designed specifically for your ears. Most professional musicians wear musician's plug which protect their hearing by compressing damaging background noises while allowing them to hear their music at normal levels.
Employers of persons who work around damaging noises must also play a part in ensuring workers' hearing is being protected. Each employee should have an initial hearing screening at the time of hire to get a baseline of their hearing. They should then be provided with some form of noise protection -- earplugs or earmuffs, to wear when exposed to harmful noises. Guidelines for maximum daily length of exposure time to noise can also be obtained to ensure employees are not overexposed to the noises. A hearing screen should then become a standard part of the annual medical check-up for persons who work in noisy occupations so that any changes in hearing can be quickly identified and managed.

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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Expanding the tent

July 31, 2017

"Irrespective of any political party, I am a supporter of good people who want to do something for the society." - Kapil Dev

Since the May 2017 general election, there have been several momentous developments in the body politic. The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) witnessed Mr. Christie's resignation as party leader, marking the end of 20 years in that position, followed by the announcement of a new leader. We have mourned the untimely death of a former minister, long-time friend and veteran politician, and we have also observed the arrest of two former PLP politicians.
There are some who have prematurely announced the death of the PLP. There are, however, many others who are hoping for its radical transformation into an even stronger political force, reminiscent of its former glory years.
Therefore, this week, we would like to Consider this... Does the PLP have the capacity to expand its political tent to become more inclusive of a larger number of diverse persons from a wider constituency of the population?

A rich legacy
The PLP, which was formed in 1953, has a rich tradition and an even richer legacy of achievements on the journey of nation-building.
For most of its history, the country's oldest party was directed and driven primarily by a handful of leaders. However, in both the Pindling and Christie administrations, the party was largely influenced by its leaders, who were always considered first among equals.
There are some who maintain that one of the primary reasons for the split that occurred in the PLP after the early days of Majority Rule was the transformation of Sir Lynden Pindling into what some of his colleagues considered to be a maximum leader. The split initially led to the formation of the Free PLP, which morphed into the Free National Movement (FNM) in 1971, just four after years after Majority Rule.

The party organization
The hierarchy of the PLP, in recent years, has remained stagnant, lacking a progressive vision and mired in the cult of personality of the party leader. Because the PLP blatantly ignored its constitutionally mandated directive to hold annual national conventions, none were held between 2009 and 2017. Therefore, the same officers who were elected in 2009 remained in place until the convention that was held earlier this year.
This resulted in stagnant leadership by the party leader and chairman, neither of whom demonstrated the visionary insight that was urgently needed to replenish and reinvent the party's archaic ideas and practices during the eight years when neither person was challenged in a convention. We believe that this violation of the party's constitution resulted in stagnation and that shortage of fresh, new ideas enormously contributed to the PLP's devastating defeat at the polls on May 10.

It's time for a change
On the heels of its decisive rejection at the polls on May 10, the party leader did the right thing by resigning his office. The chairman, who we maintain was equally responsible for the PLP's rejection, should have followed the party leader by also resigning.
But, like so many who refuse to understand when it is time to go, the party chairman has held onto his position. He refuses to do the honorable thing by handing over that office to another person. Besides sending a signal to the Bahamian electorate that he, too, accepts responsibility for the party's defeat, this would demonstrate that the party wants to make room for new leadership, new ideas and a new vision.
The chairman simply does not get it. He refuses to appreciate that the electorate also rejected his brand of leadership and that the party cannot begin the process of rebuilding, renewal and rejuvenation as long as he remains in place.
In response to calls for his resignation, the party chairman has reverted to his typically belligerent ad hominem response, insinuating that those who have suggested that it is time for a change are either outdated or inactive in the party's activities and are agents who seek to harm the party. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Reform, renewal and rejuvenation
There is an urgent need for the PLP to immediately renew and rejuvenate itself if it intends to attract new persons and to re-energize its base that has been discouraged by the devastating defeat. There are several specific actions that the party can take to accomplish these objectives.
First, the party must complete its scientific assessment of why it lost the last election by encouraging the consultant who has been commissioned to complete this exercise. It is important for the report to be made public and for the party to honestly discuss and debate its findings.
Secondly, the party must undertake an honest assessment of what is required to reorganize itself and return to a vibrant institution. While this might be painful to some, it is necessary.
Third, the party must reevaluate its vision for a 21st century Bahamas. It must revisit its core values and determine how to modernize those values to make them relevant for a modern Bahamas.
Fourth, the party must reach out to the young voters, who it has generally ignored over the past five years, with a view to embracing and incorporating their ideas, insights and perspectives.
Fifth, the party must be willing to accept constructive criticism from anyone who is prepared to offer it, especially about how the party should be reorganized by critically assessing its personnel at every level of the organization.
Sixth, the party must reinforce its commitment to weeding out corruption, misfeasance and malfeasance at all levels of its organization, but particularly it must commit to scrupulous vetting of the candidates who will run in the next election.
Seventh, the arty must reestablish, re-energize and reinvigorate its constituency branches throughout the country.
Eighth, the party must organize itself into a robust, modern political organization that is dedicated to understanding the changing needs of the electorate and providing solutions as to how those challenges will be confronted and resolved.
Ninth, the party must review its constitution with a view to limiting the power of the party's leader, particularly regarding the appointment of stalwart councilors. This will insure that never again will the party be mired in the cult of personality of a leader who could lead the entire organization in a disastrously destructive direction.
Tenth, the party must encourage a culture of openness and accountability. It should establish an effective communications directorate that will regularly report to the public regarding the changes that it is making to overcome its deficiencies.
Finally, the party should make it patently clear that it not only welcomes but also has a significant place for all Bahamians, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

Conclusion
The Progressive Liberal Party began as a progressive, liberal political organization. It started as a party that embodied the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the neglected, the downtrodden and the underprivileged. It was a party that believed in uplifting a people so all could have an equal opportunity for advancement in our society. It must return to those former glory days.
The PLP must convince the people that it does not and will not tolerate corruption on the part of anyone associated with it.
Finally, the PLP must radically change the view that it is a party that encourages inequity and exclusion. It must become and be seen as a party that is prepared to invite and include all Bahamians from all sectors of our society in its ranks.
In so doing, the PLP will once again be able to offer itself as a political organization with an expansive tent where all are welcome. In so doing, once again the PLP will regain the strength that comes only from having the talents, knowledge and contributions of a membership as diverse and varied as the population of our country. In so doing, the PLP will become relevant to those who rejected it as they see how dynamic a force it can be, once again, for the good of our nation.

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 your ministry

July 31, 2017

I guess that when some people read the title of today's article they may say to themselves D. Paul is obviously not addressing his remarks to me, as I'm not an ordained minister. Now please wait a minute before you tune me out. You don't have to be an ordained minister in order to have a ministry. You see, when I talk about a ministry, I'm referring more or less to your calling. I personally believe that each and every one of us was given specific, unique talents to be used in our "ministry" to make a specific contribution to the world and its people.
Yes indeed, I honestly believe, that everyone has a ministry, a specific purpose, a cause if you will which they're supposed to be pursuing. In other words, contrary to what many think, the whole purpose of life is not just all about you and how well you do -- on the contrary, I believe the whole purpose of life on planet Earth is about service to our brothers and sisters in God's universal family. Only when we engage in this service to our fellow human beings can we hope to succeed, prosper and live a contented, meaningful and really successful life.
So when choosing a career, it should not be about how much money can I make out of it, but how can I use my God-given talents in the service of humanity to the best advantage. Of course when I do this, and do it well, I will also make money, whilst enjoying what I daily do for a living.
So I ask you in all sincerity the question once again posed by the title of today's article, what is your ministry? Once you answer that, then and only then will you be on your way to a happy, contented, satisfying and successful life. So why not spend some quiet time this week thinking seriously about what I have suggested here today, for I believe it will eventually bring you the happiness and success you seek.

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 awesome task of being a window

July 31, 2017

When a design client discusses the selection of a window type, there are usually only two considerations. They want to know that it fits the style of the house and how it will react to hurricanes. This is a good beginning of the conversation, but it is only the beginning. To choose a window design, one must first be aware of the awesome job the window is called to do if the building is to function well. In fact, the window must be the busiest element in the functioning of the building.

Light and air
While we may take it for granted, the window's role as the hole in the wall that lets in light and air is its primary function. The size, shape and extent of the opening are strong determinants of the character of the interior of the building. Further, light, fresh air and ventilation are all needed for physical and psychological comfort conditions and to reduce the reliance on technology.

Views
Views are important for several reasons. First, there is a need for the eye to focus on the distance to relax, otherwise fatigue is a problem. Secondly, the sense of security is enhanced by being able to see outside. Thirdly, pleasant views enhance the experience of the building's occupants and users.

Intrusion
The window must be designed so that burglars, insects and other unwanted visitors are kept out.

Shade
It may seem contradictory, but the window, having invited the sun's light in, must protect the building's interior from direct sunlight. It must, therefore, provide shade. While sunlight has many benefits, direct exposure to the sun increases heat levels on the interior, making occupants uncomfortable. In our zone, this is worst in the afternoon and early evening, as the sun gets low above an already-heated landscape, making the west and south exposures most vulnerable, and increasing the load for fans and air conditioners.

Bad weather
The window, in normal times, must keep light rain out, especially during the "rainy season". During storm weather, it must also be able to keep wind-driven rain and debris out, as well as the wind itself, which might destroy the building from the interior or help lift the roof to expose the building interior. During hurricanes, the window must be able to withstand the storm's ability to suck it out of its opening, as the fast-moving wind creates a vacuum at the surface.

Aesthetics
Finally, the window must perform all of these functions while looking good. It must find ways to be stylish as styles change, while still being good at what it must do. New materials, colors and methods of operation help the designer create innovative window designs.
As you can see, being a window is an awesome task, and one most often not appreciated. Unfortunately, the penalty for ignoring or not being aware of the many jobs a window does is extremely high. It results in the high cost of power to provide air conditioning to cool and ventilate the building, the high cost of window dressings to provide shade (after the heat is already inside), the high cost of security systems to dissuade intruders and the high cost of hurricane protection. So from now on, when you speak of windows, speak with great respect. They are there to serve you, and they work really hard at it.

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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Caribbean nations turn to renewable energy

July 28, 2017

The Caribbean faces several challenges to its energy sector, which harm the region's people and potential for economic growth. The Caribbean power generation sector receives 87 percent of its energy production from imported fossil fuels, despite the availability of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass resources that could serve as a substitute for this fossil fuel dependence.
Trinidad and Tobago is the only net exporter of fossil fuels, while all other Caribbean countries are net oil importers. Overall, more than half of the energy capacity of 10 of 13 Caribbean nations comes from diesel or oil; only Belize (hydro-electric), Suriname (hydro-electric), and Trinidad and Tobago (natural gas) generate a majority of their capacity from other sources.
Caribbean electricity costs are four times higher than those of the United States, and with petroleum by far the most expensive resource for electric energy production, the Caribbean's imported-oil dependence places a heavy burden on governments and citizens. Overall, renewable energy in the Caribbean would not only be better for the environment, but fiscally responsible as well.
The Caribbean's oil dependence leaves it vulnerable to shifts in oil prices. Oil price shocks contribute to an average of seven percent of real GDP growth variation in the region, with Dominica affected the most at 15 percent. Thus, a ten percent increase in real oil prices reduces real GDP growth by 0.5 percent over five years in tourism-based economies; commodity producers are affected significantly less, while Trinidad and Tobago, as a net oil exporter, actually sees an 0.8 percent rise in real GDP.
Furthermore, by increasing the rate of real, effective exchange rate appreciation (meaning an increase in the weighted average value of a currency relative to an index of other major currencies), the same ten percent increase in oil prices would decrease competitiveness by 2.8 percent over five years in tourism-based economies and 3.8 percent in commodity producers.
In addition to cost, the Caribbean faces supply deficits and inefficiencies that affect the power market's ability to supply electricity to consumers. Although Caribbean countries average 90 percent electrification rates, much of this number comes from off-grid self-generation due to frequent power outages and low reliability. Sectoral concerns, including limited generation capacity, outdated systems, and a lack of technical expertise, have driven domestic tariffs above 30 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for most countries, more than double those of the United States.
Finally, lack of diversification and vertical integration of electric firms leaves consumers without access to energy because of the inability to finance generation capacity and national grids, while the absence of national regulatory agencies leaves a legislative gap in the sector.
These obstacles must be overcome quickly, as energy demand is projected to rise 3.7 percent per year, doubling by 2028. A number of Caribbean nations have already set renewable energy and renewable electricity targets for the near future. These goals range from those of Trinidad and Tobago who want five percent of peak electricity demand to be renewable by 2020, to those of Dominica, Grenada, and Guyana who have slated 90 percent renewable power by 2030.
Additionally, many nations have set energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and emissions reductions targets. However, despite these goals, policy implementation is lacking. On average, six of 15 countries have enacted regulatory renewable energy support policies, and five of 15 have enacted fiscal incentives and public financing. Only three of 15 countries have enacted energy efficiency support policies and sustainable transportation policies.
It is not for lack of potential that the Caribbean has not begun a policy shift towards renewable energy. Annual solar irradiation (the power received from the sun in a certain area) ranges from 1700 to 2300 kWh/m2 and wind velocity averages five to nine m/s, meaning any nation can tangibly take advantage of wind and solar energy technology.
Larger islands with high mountains have the potential for hydro-electric power generation, and geothermal power is possible on the region's volcanic islands, which include Grenada, St Vincent, or Dominica. Finally, biomass (organic matter used as fuel) can be used on islands with large agricultural sectors.
Instead, a number of technological, economic, political, and social barriers have hindered Caribbean adoption of renewable energy. A survey of 30 participants from the private sector, utilities, international organizations, and governmental and academic institutions identified the most important barriers to this adoption. The most important barriers were economic and political, with lack of regulatory framework, gap between policy targets and implementation, and high initial investments being cited as the most critical.
Fortunately, there are a number of policy initiatives that can be enacted to combat these barriers. National regulatory agencies should be implemented on a nationwide level to increase the ability of energy firms to enter the market. This would increase competition, drive down costs and incentivize consistency and the accommodation of consumers. At the same time, a stronger regulatory framework within the Caribbean community would increase coordinated efforts among Caribbean nations and assist the meeting of regional goals.
This regional regulatory framework could serve as an expansion of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP), which was established in 1998 to overcome policy, finance, capacity, and awareness barriers to renewable energy in the region.
Regarding the gap between policy targets and implementation, oftentimes energy goals imply the need for changes in infrastructure and other investment, but do not quantify the scope and cost of these investments. Therefore, a long-term investment strategy is needed when proposing national and regional energy goals.
Policy creators would do well to be specific in their proposals, define implementable plans, and point to the expected benefits of renewable energy projects to close the gap between target, expectation, and implementation. It is necessary for lawmakers to show a strong commitment to achieving these goals. By creating clearer implementation plans it is more likely renewable energy will garner lawmaker support. Finally, the transition to renewable energy will more than offset initial installation costs.
Three case studies show the ability for Caribbean nations to enact change when these barriers are overcome. Since 2011, Dominica has been a leader in geothermal energy with the potential for 500 megawatts (MW) of power to come from this energy source. The nation has formed the Dominica Geothermal Development Company to develop a small geothermal power plant, which outputs around five to seven MW at the Wotten Waven-Laudat hot spring.
The project has the potential for 120 MW, which would allow it to export power to Guadeloupe and Martinique. The World Bank has pledged $50 million for the plant and has brought in a number of other partners such as the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the government of New Zealand, the Clean Technology Fund, and the Small Island Developing States DOCK Support program.
Should a large-scale geothermal power plant be implemented, it would serve as a model for other countries such as St Lucia, St Vincent, and St Kitts and Nevis by kick-starting the regional geothermal industry.
In addition to efforts in Dominica, the solar water heater industry has operated in Barbados since the 1970s, and more than 50,000 units have been installed on the island. The systems have reduced energy use, emissions, and fuel import bills. Barbadian solar water heaters have saved approximately 200 million kWh per year, resulting in lowered emissions by over 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide per system per year, a reduction of 5.5 percent of national carbon emissions.
Finally, Jamaica has seen a surge of wind power infrastructure in recent years, headed by two commercial-scale wind farms. Wigton Wind Farm has a capacity of 38.7 MW, and has been implemented in two phases. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica has plans to add another 24 MW of capacity, bringing the total to 62.5 MW. A guaranteed energy price of 13-14 US cents per kWh could spur significant wind energy development.
These case studies demonstrate the Caribbean's ability to have positive developments in the renewable energy sector and eventually meet their energy goals.
Meeting Caribbean targets in energy efficiency and renewable electricity would have large effects on oil imports, national electricity costs, and long-term GDP. Meeting energy efficiency goals, for nations with a
target higher than ten percent, would decrease oil imports by between ten and 20 percent, reduce electricity costs by one to 13 percent, and increase GDP by up to six percent.
Jamaica, committed to increasing energy efficiency by 71 percent, would see a 69 percent reduction in imports, a 31 percent reduction in electricity costs, and a 14 percent GDP increase. Renewable electric targets would have a greater reduction in oil imports (between five and 49 percent for countries targeting 20 percent renewable electricity), a slightly higher reduction in electricity costs (between four and 31 percent), and a lower effect on GDP (between zero and three percent).
In addition to economic and energy benefits, the Caribbean would accrue social benefits from the transition to renewable energy. Chief among these are avoiding climate change damages, reducing particulate emissions, increasing fossil fuel exports and import substitution, and increasing the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) causing job growth in the energy sector.
Overall, the aggregated value of the social benefits brought on by the switch to renewable energy would outweigh the cost to produce this energy. Overall, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, "even when only partially and conservatively estimated, the societal benefits of [non-traditional renewable energy technologies] in [Latin America and the Caribbean] are sufficiently large enough to justify the eventual wholesale entry of these technologies."
Renewable energy initiatives in the Caribbean come with a number of region-specific concerns, however. International cooperation is critical for the Caribbean's ability to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement. Under the Obama administration, climate change was a major area for international cooperation.
President Obama committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, designed to help developing countries combat and adapt to climate change. However, the Trump administration has not only pulled out of the Paris Agreement, but has pledged to end support for the Global Climate Change Initiative and funding for United Nations climate change programs.
Additionally, renewable energy initiatives are themselves vulnerable to climate change. For example, when climate change affects patterns of droughts, dry spells and increased forest fires create haze which inhibits the power generation of solar cells. This impact will only increase as temperatures rise as a result of climate change.
Additionally, increased flooding risk endangers hydro-electric dam reservoirs, threatening overflowing and structural failures, while droughts may prevent them from generating power altogether. Thirdly, hurricanes threaten the destruction of wind turbines and other infrastructure; climate change has dramatically increased the destructiveness of hurricanes in recent years.
Should these challenges be met, conditions in the Caribbean can be seen as ripe for a transition to renewable energy. High oil dependence has contributed to rising energy costs and economic vulnerability as most Caribbean nations' economies are tethered to oil prices and can be unhinged by supply or demand shocks.
Additionally, the Caribbean has massive potential for renewable energy in several forms: hydro-electric, geothermal, solar and wind, and Caribbean governments have committed to strong renewable energy targets for the near future. These governments should make strong efforts to dismantle current barriers to renewable energy adoption and enact policies to make these goals a reality.

o Liam Timmons is a research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Additional editorial support provided by Kirwin Shaffer, senior research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Emma Tyrou, extramural contributor at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, and Sharri K Hall and Alexia Rauen, research associates at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being "one of the nation's most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers". For more information, visit www.coha.org or email coha@coha.org. Published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.

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Beware of your 'news diet'

July 28, 2017

I guess that the title of today's article, beware of your "news diet'' may indeed be a bit puzzling to many, and understandably so. Well let me explain it like this -- I had the good fortune over the years to be associated with and learn from many great teachers, authors and specialists in their field. One of these mentors was Dr. Denis Waitley, author of many bestselling books and world-renowned authority on winning and high performance. Among his bestselling books were "The Psychology of Winning", "The Winner's Edge" and "Being Your Best" to name a few.
In his first book 'The Psychology of Winning' he obviously spoke a whole lot about developing a positive mental attitude (PMA) as W. Clement Stone would refer to it. Now in order to maintain a positive, a winning attitude, we have to be extremely conscious of our environment, the people we mix with and what we watch on T.V. and listen to on radio to make sure we're getting a mental diet of positivity as opposed to negativity.
Dr. Waitley emphasized that the news is basically a long list of what went wrong in the world during the last 24-hour news cycle. He further emphasized that by listening to all of that negativity. It can indeed have a detrimental, a negative effect on our individual thinking thus tending to get us to focus too much on what is wrong in the world. So he warned everyone who watched the news to as the title of today's article puts it, beware of your "news diet".
Yes my friend, to win in life you need to have and maintain a positive attitude as much as possible. So please limit yourself to the amount of negativity you subject yourself to on a daily basis. Don't keep on listening to a long list of what's wrong with the world as this can and indeed will eventually drag you down mentally and will not help you to be a winner.

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 rule of law in a democracy

July 27, 2017

Four of the fundamental features of a strong democracy are free and fair elections, the protection of basic rights and freedoms, an independent judiciary and the rule of law.
Emerging democracies often enjoy free and fair elections yet are less robust or weak when it comes to the rule of law and an independent judiciary, both of which take time to develop and generations to sustain.
While free elections bring a party to government, every government must be held accountable to the rule of law. Elections are only a part of the democratic story.
The rights of citizens are protected by the judiciary, which also checks against the abuse of power by the executive and legislative branches. The judiciary interprets the constitution on a given matter.
The notion espoused by some foreign policy thinkers in the U.S. that democracy can be externally imposed is naive about the length of time it takes for democracy to take root in a country. Case in point: Iraq.
Democracy requires practice and vigilance. It must be renewed in each generation. The heated discussion on charges brought on former Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett and former Public Hospital Authority Chair Frank Smith revolve around the rule of law.
It is a matter of the rule of law for the police to charge a citizen on a given matter if the evidence warrants a charge. The rule of law also dictates that a citizen has his case properly adjudicated in court and that there is an appellate process.
There should be no rush to judgment. An individual must be assumed to be innocent unless proven otherwise. The matters of the two recent are before the court and should not be politicized.
It is inexcusable whenever the paperwork to charge someone is late, as was the case with Smith. No one should have to endure such a needless and painful delay.
The suggestion by Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis that the PLP will offer retribution in payback to the FNM for the recent arrests harms the principle of the rule of law. Is Davis suggesting that the police are abusing their power and not abiding by the rule of law?
In the United States, Australia, Israel and other countries, politicians, even at the highest level, are regularly tried on various charges of corruption. This is standard for countries which abide by the rule of law and have an independent judiciary.
The rule of law must constantly be protected. The recent attempt to subvert the independence of the judiciary in Poland was blocked because of widespread backlash among the public, many of whom took to the streets in protest in Warsaw and across the country.
The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party passed in both houses of parliament legislation that would have forced current Supreme Court justices to retire early.

Sweeping
The legislation would also have allowed new judges to be appointed through a more politicized process by the Justice Ministry and would have given the government sweeping powers over the courts.
Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoed the two bills that would have weakened judicial independence, stating: "This law would not strengthen the sense of justice."
Bahamians have long complained that they believe that there were two standards of justice in the country, and that the rich and powerful often seemed to be above the law. If the rule of law is to be sustained and more deeply entrenched, citizens must believe the law is being applied fairly and equally.
The adage, "Where there is no justice there is no peace,", can be seen in Venezuela, where many democratic norms have collapsed under the dictatorial assault of President Nicolas Maduro, who, though elected to office, has acted as an autocrat. Maduro and his government have trampled basic rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
In the U.S. President Donald Trump has attacked the judiciary, including on rulings on immigration bans his administration sought to enforce. The courts have blocked his administration on several occasions.
The democratic crisis now facing America is how Trump may attempt to stop an independent investigation by the Justice Department's Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether there was collusion between his general election campaign and any of its associates with the Russian government.
Given the many elements of democratic liberalism Trump has transgressed, one can imagine Trump laying waste to longstanding democratic norms. Writing in The Atlantic Peter Beinart observes: "Why do Donald Trump and his advisors keep floating the possibility of firing Robert Mueller, an act that would spark the greatest constitutional crisis since Watergate, perhaps the greatest in modern American history?
"Partly, it's simple rage. Mueller threatens Trump. And when Trump sees someone as a threat, he tries to discredit and destroy them - conventional norms of propriety, decency and legality be damned.
"But there's another, more calculated, reason. Trump and his advisors may genuinely believe that firing Mueller is a smart move. And if you put morality aside, and see the question in nakedly political terms, they may be right.
"The chances that Mueller will uncover something damning seem very high. Trump has already admitted to firing former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation.
"Donald Trump Jr. has already admitted to welcoming the opportunity to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from people he believed were representatives of the Russian government. Even if Mueller doesn't accuse anyone of a crime, he's likely to paint a brutal picture. And that's just on the question of election collusion and obstruction of justice.
"If Mueller uses Russia to segue into Trump's business dealings, who knows what he might find. An all-star team of legal and financial sleuths, with unlimited time and money, and the ability to subpoena documents and people, have been let loose on the affairs of a man whose own autobiographer called him a 'sociopath.' No wonder Trump is scared."
The rule of law is designed to guard against the abuse of power and to ensure treatment of all citizens before the law. We undermine the rule of law when we fail to apply it equally to all citizens. No one should be above or beyond the law, and all citizens should have their rights protected by the law.

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

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The Lord is the righteous judge

July 27, 2017

"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" - Matthew 13:27-30

We Christians represent the visible church here on earth. Christ is the head of that church. He died for her and claimed her through His sacrificial blood.
However, while we are here on earth, there are many hypocrites in the church who call themselves Christians but are not. Even though this is so, it is not for us to make judgment calls and determine who are, and who are not, Christians. When someone says that he or she is a Christian we have to believe that individual.
Notwithstanding this, if that individual's public life is contrary to the Christian life we can infer that, that person is not living like a Christian. In such a circumstance, it is incumbent upon us in the Christian church to guide him or her back to the right path.
In the above text Jesus tells a parable about a farmer who planted wheat in his field, but later his servants informed him that someone had planted weed among the wheat. The servants wanted to go out and uproot the weed. However, the farmer discouraged them from doing so. He was concerned that would accidently uproot the wheat also. Newly sprouted wheat and weed look alike.
Jesus, in comparing the wheat and the weed, is referring to Christians and non-Christians in the church. Like the evil person who planted weed in the farmer's field, the devil has his agents working in the church.
Only God knows who they are. God knows the heart of mankind. Therefore, He alone has the power to judge mankind.
It is not for us to decide. We were not called to be inquisitors. We are called to proclaim the Gospel. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
There are many wolves in sheep's clothing in the church and they will be here until the Lord comes to gather His church. We don't know them and we cannot find them. That is why the Lord says leave them alone.
Publicly, a person might appear pious and have all the outward traits of a Christian. Yet inwardly, that person can be an gent of the devil. We don't know that because we cannot see the heart. God knows the heart of man and only He will judge the righteous and the unrighteous.
The Lord will take care of the imposters in His own time. He is the righteous judge and He will expose the devil's agents in the final judgment. We are to worship alongside them until then.
One day God will send His holy angels to make the separation. Like the farmer who knows the difference between His wheat and the weed, the Lord knows the good and the evil ones.
He will give instructions on how to deal with them. During that day of the great separation, God, who knows the heart of man, will determine the difference. Amen.

o Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas or telephone 323-4107; E-mail: lutheranchurch@coralwave.com.

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Are you a puppet on a string

July 27, 2017

I'm quite sure that just about all of my valued readers have, at one time or another, probably when they were young children, gone to a puppet show -- possibly a "Punch and Judy Show". So you are aware of the fact that someone, a human being, was pulling the strings up top of Punch and Judy, the performers, the puppets in the show. So now that we have set the tone, so to speak, for this article, let me ask each one of you the simple question posed by the title of this particular article, are you a puppet on a string? Well are you?
Now some may indeed look a little puzzled by this question, saying understandably, "What do you mean D. Paul, am I a puppet on a string?" Answering in the same breath of course, "I'm not a puppet on a string, I'm a real live human being." Well my friend, I didn't mean that question to be taken literally, I meant for it to be taken figuratively.
You see, this is what I really mean, which I'm sure a whole lot of you have figured out by now. Is someone directing your every move in life, or do you actually make your own decisions relative to the major facets of your overall life? Now some will understand immediately exactly what I mean, as they sheepishly say with a stupid grin on their face, "Well my wife's the boss you know. She holds the purse strings, she runs the family, so in a way I guess you could say she pulls the strings."
The simple question, of course, is are you personally in control of your life, or does someone direct your every move? Or, as the title of this article puts it, are you a puppet on a string? This is a question that we all need to ask ourselves on the road of life if we wish to reach success city -- we need to control our own destiny.

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 ideal ambassador is spiritually tuned in and physically aware

July 27, 2017

To understand the role of an ambassador we must understand how the title came to be. In years past, before there was email, facsimile, airplanes and highways, if one king wanted to communicate with another king he would have to physically travel on horseback or by boat to the other kingdom. If he had to communicate with several other kings he would have to physically travel. This of course meant that when he left he would not have immediate contact with his kingdom, and if there were potential threats he would not know until it was too late. When he left he did not know if he would be king upon his return, so the position of ambassador was created whereby the king would appoint one of his subjects to act on his behalf. He gave him the title of ambassador with "plenipotentiary powers" -- meaning he had full authority to act on behalf of the king and communicate or deliver any message the king needed delivered in another kingdom.
Upon arrival in the new kingdom the ambassador would be greeted as "your excellency" when in fact he was not, because the king is the actual "excellency" but the ambassador, being deputized to act on the king's behalf, was afforded the same courtesies as if the king were present himself. The ambassador's powers were contingent on him only representing the king's views or message without input or alteration. If he voiced his own opinion it could disqualify him as an ambassador because his express purpose was to act for the king, delivering his message in the king's words and not his own. Alterations or adjustments would mean the king's message would become perverted and could result in major calamity, including war.
Ambassadors are diplomats of the highest rank, formally representing the head of state with plenipotentiary powers (e.g. full authority to represent the government). In modern usage, most ambassadors on foreign postings as head of mission carry the full title of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary.
An ambassador's role involves several things. First of all, an ambassador represents his government in a foreign land. Secondly, an ambassador is trained to understand and relate to the culture of his assigned country while retaining his own culture. The ability to speak multiple languages is an asset, because the ambassador needs to be able to communicate with and to any number of officials and locals in their environment. This language can include the street language of the assigned country in addition to the official or formal language.
In the Kingdom of God we are all ambassadors in the broad sense, but we are not all equal in our assignment. There are levels of assignment and duties. Our assignment is a dual assignment, both physical and spiritual. We are admonished to focus on spiritual things while existing in the physical environment. Jesus actually stated that those who want to relate to God must do so in spirit because God is spirit. So our role is to communicate with God in the spirit realm and communicate what we receive in the physical realm. The ideal ambassador is spiritually tuned in and physically aware.
Our mission is such that we can be defined as goodwill ambassadors. We are all goodwill and peace ambassadors. We promote peace wherever we go under the instructions of the King. A goodwill ambassador is a person who advocates for a specific cause (e.g. -- a country or an organization) on the basis of their notability. Goodwill ambassadors generally deliver goodwill or promote ideals from one entity to another, or to a population.
Ambassadors are first of all diplomats and diplomats come in several varieties depending on their assignment. Here are some of the roles of diplomats -- envoys (dispatched for a purpose), attaches (assigned to an ambassador or embassy), high commissioners (intra-kingdom ambassadors), charge d' affairs (senior diplomat, acting for the ambassador until he arrives for his appointment), and resident minister (assigned to a location for a temporary mission).
So we are essentially diplomats who have been given specific instructions to speak on behalf of our government, prepared and trained to represent our government in a foreign land. We become versed in the language, culture and customs of the land of our assignment without becoming engrossed in our environment to the point of losing our true identity. This is a very important point, because an ambassador loses their effectiveness when they cross the line and become too closely identified with their physical environment. Jesus provided the perfect example in that He could be found with all types of people but He never adopted their behavior or philosophy. He caused others to follow Him and continually stated, "I am not from here!" He also made statements like, "I must be about My Father's business," not referring to His earthly father but His heavenly father. He pointed everyone in His local environment to heaven and the Kingdom of God.

o Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.

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Two things more intimate than sex

July 27, 2017

During my 22 years as a marriage and family therapist, I've observed that for many there are two things more intimate than sex. These two things you might not think are intimate, but based on the behavior of individuals they are. These two things are money and dancing.
Here's how I came to this conclusion -- many spouses or partners can have the most erotic, passionate and explosive lovemaking, but they refuse to get close with their money. They can share all parts of their body, but their purse and wallets are out of bounds to their partners. Their bodies join together but not the money. Similarly, many couples can dance romantically together while holding each other in a pubic dance hall, banquet or ballroom, but they cannot hold each other that close while dancing at home when no one is watching. It seems as though it is easier to show off and pretend than to be real, hence, while at home, when no one is watching, they cannot pretend anymore. Dancing at home while no one is watching calls for real emotional intimacy and closeness. This cannot be faked. It has to be real. Showing off is easy, but there is no one to show off for at home, thus, there is no real motivation to hold each other so closely if the hearts are not truly bonded.
I am sure you see why I say that for many couples money and dancing are more intimate than sex. Healthy marriage involves the total participation of both partners in literally every aspect of his or her life -- physical, intellectual, emotional, financial, spiritual and social. It is a 100/100 percent relationship where both partners are giving, divulging, sharing, exposing, everything. It is not a 50/50 relationship.
I am amazed how so many couples do not operate as a financial unit. They do not have a common budget and they keep financial secrets. This is a disaster in relationships.
Several years ago I wrote: "A basic problem in many marriage relationships is that many couples have no idea of what it is to have a joint financial plan. Their financial plan is just agreeing on who will be responsible for which household bill. For example, in a typical Bahamian home, the couple will come to an agreement that the wife will buy the food and pay the telephone bill while the husband will pay the rent/mortgage, and the children's school fees. This is what they call working together. This type of financial planning has serious flaws for married couples. It is a recipe for disaster. If one bill is too high in a given month and is not paid by a spouse, an argument develops. The other spouse's response is usually like this: "I am not giving you any money to pay that bill, that's your responsibility." How could such an arrangement bring happiness and harmony in a home? It spells disaster. An even greater disaster is when one spouse alone controls the money, treating the other partner like a child by giving an allowance or spending money and refusing to include the partner in the decision-making process.
Psychologist Dr. David Olson in his book "Empowering Couples" states that, "Research shows that couples in which partners feel they have equal control over how money is spent are more satisfied with their relationships than couples in which one partner tends to control money matters. How does a couple gain control over and manage its money? The answer is in budgeting. Budgeting gives couples control over their money, rather than having their bills and spending control their lives."
I have observed that one reason many couples do not have a family budget is because they are too lazy. It is a lot of work to create and maintain a family budget, but its benefits are numerous and results in less stress.
For effective family financing couples must first accept that all household expenses are the full responsibility of both partners in the relationship. The couple must agree on what these expenses are. Generally, household expenses include food, all utilities, rent/mortgages, car gas, cooking gas, cable and Internet services, medical/dental/optical expenses, insurance, school fees, car repairs, home repairs, daycare, etc. When a man and woman agree to live together in holy matrimony they are in reality stating that they will take care of each other and be equally responsible for each other. This is whether or not both partners are working.
After agreeing that they are both responsible, the couple must now plan together. With paper and pen in hand, they will sit down and make up a budget that will include both incomes and all household expenses. The concept of a family budget is that household expenses will now be funded by the budget and not by a specific partner.
There are too many married partners who do not know how much their spouse is making. This is not partnership in marriage. Budgeting brings all the cards to the table. Couples must be honest and agree to share fully all assets and liabilities because they are really total, equal partners. Too many wives are not aware of what their husbands are actually making. Since a husband is paying all of the bills, the wife seems to feel she is taken care of and she is safe, but it is a false sense of security that can vanish during difficult times. Many wives are taught not to let their husbands know what their incomes are. Some feel threatened if they "expose" their financial assets to their spouses. The truth is that this practice of secrecy and of individual financial independence in marriage is not healthy, and certainly does not represent partnership in marriage.
The above principles are given to encourage couples to participate in the relationship as a team, rather than two separate individuals who focus mostly on what's best for themselves. Research tells us that couples who pool their finances are somewhat less likely to break up. Too many couples argue about my money and your money. Budgeting helps eliminate the pervasive sense of mine versus yours.
Marital expert Dr. Howard Markman states in his book "Fighting for Your Marriage", that attitude can fuel conflict and competition, since when there's no clear sense of being part of a team, deeper issues such as caring, recognition and control are easily triggered. We aren't suggesting that you merge your identity with that of your partner's. Rather, we are saying that it is healthy to have a clear sense of yourselves as two individuals coming together to form a team and that the team's goals are important. What a difference this will make in how you view life.

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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If the govt fixes Freeport, it will fix The Bahamas

July 26, 2017

The government has a unique opportunity to resurrect the phoenix of Freeport from the ashes of political red tape and recession. This will require political courage to adopt a paradigm shift in foreign investment policies in Freeport and Grand Bahama. References to Freeport include Grand Bahama. If the Freeport experiment works, then, with appropriate changes, the model can be applied to the rest of The Bahamas for success.
For Freeport to succeed, government should trust the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) to be the one-stop shop licensing authority for Bahamian and foreign investment under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement. References to GBPA include DEVCO.
History reveals that Freeport boomed between 1955 to 1968, when foreigners freely invested.
The post-1969 requirement for foreigners to be subjected to arbitrary, secretive, delayed and often duplicative (sometimes corrupt) approvals by politicians at the OPM, National Economic Council, Bahamas Investment Authority and the Investment Board has caused the economic constipation afflicting Freeport and The Bahamas generally.
It is futile to promote business abroad, yet when it arrives, to frustrate it.
The FNM government needs to ride the May 10 red tsunami on its red salami and not flounder in a quagmire of red tape.
It is good governance to respect the HCA. Less government focus on the minutiae of Freeport will free up Cabinet time and energy and hundreds of millions in taxes to be spent elsewhere in The Bahamas.
Thus far, illegal and over-centralized control has stifled growth; it has simply not worked. Thus, it is in the interests of government and the Bahamian taxpayer to do everything possible for the HCA to succeed.
Take as an example, the ease with which foreigners originally invested under the HCA and when land sales were the economic powerhouse of development.
I arrived in Freeport in 1976. GBPA and other developers promoted internationally. There were hundreds of sales agents. Charters from Europe brought thousands treated at the airport to drinks and glossy brochures; buses scooped them away with dozens of realtors salivating to sell as they were toured around the Magic Gardened City and then wined and dined and sold a dream. Before they departed days later, most prospects had entered into contracts; and some had resold for a quick profit. The Magic City's goose laid golden eggs. Combined sales were in the $30 million to $40 million range annually.
The late 1970s was a miraculous resurgence after a 10-year recessionary hiatus resulting from the first collapse of Freeport after Sir Lynden's catastrophic "Bend or Break" speech; the breach of the HCA with the 1968 Immigration Act, the illegal OPM licensing interference (for both foreign and Bahamian licensing approvals) and the 1973 Commission of Enquiry.
In the 1980s, Freeport's economy again collapsed because of wrongful exchange control interference imposed by the PLP under Arthur D. Hanna and the 1982 Immovable Property Act made property worthless. Sales dropped to derisory levels. The developers closed shop. The treasury lost millions in taxes and thousands drifted from Freeport again.
Under "Bahamianization" most foreign realtors, appraisers, lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. had been replaced by Bahamians. Ironically, these Bahamian professionals were thereby deprived of the opportunity of succeeding as the expats had.
Property sales financed development of infrastructure. The service charges financed Lucaya Service, GB Service, Tamarind and Princess Realty, etc. LUSCO alone had over 800 Bahamians maintaining the city. Before the constricting immigration and foreign investment laws and policies, agents made commissions; lawyers made fees; the treasury made stamp duty; GBPA made license fees; architects were busy; land surveyors were busy; contractors became busy, resulting in a mini-construction boom.
Save for a brief period after 1992, when the FNM government allowed greater autonomy to GBPA as the one-stop shop, and immigration and investment controls were relaxed, Freeport has remained in the economic doldrums since the late 1990s.
In my 'experienced' view, what is needed is respect for the model that has repeatedly worked. Let me spell it out: the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.

More control less growth
Less control more growth
When there was less control between 1955 and 1968, Freeport and Grand Bahama boomed.
After imposing abusive immigration controls in 1968, OPM licensing from 1969, "Bend or Break", exchange control and the Immovable Property Act, Freeport rapidly and steadily declined.
After 1992, when the FNM relaxed controls Freeport, had a mini-boom. From 2002, the PLP imposed strict controls and Freeport languished. In 2007, the world economy faltered and, despite the FNM slightly relaxing controls, Freeport declined.
In 2012 the PLP set out to destroy the HCA and wrest regulatory control from GBPA. Strict controls were imposed with the GB Incentives Act 2016, resulting in an exodus of business from Freeport and a ghost town.
The simple lesson is: More control less growth. Less control more growth.
The FNM should adopt policies that succeeded rather than failed.
What is critically needed is respect for the HCA and greater flexibility in immigration policies.
Allowing free market forces to root, along with the benefits of the HCA, the infrastructure and attractive environment will seduce foreigners to invest in Freeport. Thousands of Bahamians will gain opportunities for business and jobs
I am not suggesting a hands-off approach by government. Rather, I urge adherence to the HCA by government, GBPA and the licensees. The business of Freeport should be left to GBPA under the HCA. Government should deal with big picture items and hold GBPA accountable for its obligations under the HCA.
The government should ensure that GBPA promotes the hell out of Freeport! It's that simple. It will cost the government and taxpayers less. The expense of running a city will be that of GBPA. Opportunities for profit by all the licensees will be legion. The economy will boom.
Currently, GBPA does few, if any, promotions abroad, because when investors come, they are strangled in red tape. There is simply too much arbitrary political interference, uncertainty and difficulty in doing business in Freeport.
Likewise with the development companies. If unhindered property sales could happen again, Freeport would see a boom.
Currently, it is a waste of time and money to promote foreign investors. I have experienced this first-hand hundreds of times in smaller investments and a few times with some large, at times, billion-dollar investors.

Time for paradigm shift in foreign investment
With its promise to make Freeport succeed, government has the responsibility and opportunity to make a quantum shift in the investment policies.
If it courageously changed the investment environment, there would be a boom in sales; construction; restaurants; the services industry; tourism; industrial development and thousands of good jobs.
The government should stop restricting Bahamians and foreigners openly, transparently and easily doing business.
Exchange control and immigration will have to be dramatically relaxed. We will grow if we open our doors and welcome foreigners as permanent citizens of our economy. Until then we will remain a flaccid and anemic economy.
Restricting Bahamians and foreigners openly doing business together chokes free enterprise, and ironically restricts opportunities for Bahamians.
Doing the same old tired thing by having government operate the OPM in Freeport and still requiring exchange control, Investment Board, NEC, BIA, business licenses and secret heads of agreement approvals will continue to strangle business.
I urge the government to let the regulatory agencies do their jobs as set forth in the laws passed by Parliament. Resist the temptation to control and interfere at every minute level. Cabinet should focus on the bigger picture of good governance and planning, not whether or not Mr. Foreigner should get a permit to buy land in Freeport, build condominiums and a marina in a joint venture with a Bahamian. Let GBPA deal with that. That is its lawfully delegated area of expertise under the HCA. Why should the NEC, BIA, IB or BEST be involved?
GBPA has master planned Freeport. It has a building and planning department. As for the environment, GBPA has comprehensive environmental by-laws that are waiting for government approval. This can be done overnight.
Freeport would boom, because when investors come, they would be able to do business easily and quickly. The banks would also have to help to make doing business easier (it has become almost impossible there as well).
This would even attract businesses from Nassau to do joint ventures with existing Freeport licensees and investing foreigners.
The GB Incentives Act 2016 will be repealed. Negotiations will quickly ensue between government, GBPA and the licensees for very attractive tax incentives to do business in Freeport. I was very much involved in this process in 1992, which led to the Freeport 1993 Act resulting in an environment for the subsequent mini-boom.
This can be a ready-made success story if the foreign investment paradigm is dramatically changed.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
I urge the government to courageously take a dramatically different approach. After all, what can it lose?
My advice to the FNM government is to really incentivize Bahamians and foreigners to invest in Freeport and Grand Bahama. Make business sure and easy in Freeport, as was intended by the Hawksbill Creek Agreement. Work with GBPA, the licensees and the district councils (in GB) to promote the hell out of Freeport and Grand Bahama both domestically and internationally.

o Fred Smith is a Queen's Counsel.

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Is 'the truth' important

July 26, 2017

I know a whole lot of people who lie at the drop of a hat, so to speak....this is unfortunately true with far too many people .....yes it is! So let me commence today by asking you this simple straight forward question posed in today's title 'Is 'The Truth' Important?'. You know to a whole lot of people it is not as they'll do just about anything to make a buck, as the saying goes. These types of people appear to have no conscious whatsoever; actually they're no better than amateur crooks to put it mildly and could indeed possibly be the Local Drug Dealer. I guess they have no morals whatsoever and thus don't care what they do to make money, just as long as they make it. In all probability, these kinds of people are in and out of prison as a sort of way of life which they've adopted simply because they don't know any other lifestyle.
Years ago, when I had more time, I used to go into the local penal institution and facilitate seminars on Saturdays for those inmates who were about to be released back into Society again. Hopefully after participating in my seminar the inmates indeed once again were able to answer the simple question posed by the title of this article 'Is 'The Truth' Important?' with a resounding 'Yes'.
Yes indeed, if one wishes to be successful across the board, Truth needs to become very relevant in their life.

Truth should be at the forefront of their minds at all times for 'Truth & Honesty' are important in the life of all would-be achievers; that is of course if one wishes the success you seek continues for a lifetime.

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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Ankle fractures

July 25, 2017

A broken ankle, also known as an ankle "fracture", is when one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint are broken. They can range from a simple break in one bone, which may not stop you from walking, to several fractures, which forces your ankle out of place and on which you are not able to walk for months. The more bones that are broken, the more unstable the ankle becomes. There may be ligaments damaged as well. The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint together and in position.
Broken ankles affect people of all ages. During the past 30 to 40 years, doctors have noted an increase in the number and severity of broken ankles due to obesity, sports, increased activity and an active, older population.

Anatomy
Three bones make up the ankle joint: the Tibia - shinbone, Fibula - smaller bone of the lower leg, and Talus - a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the tibia and fibula. Ankle fractures are named according to the area of bone that is broken.
There are two joints in the ankle area that can be involved in ankle fractures - the ankle joint between the tibia, fibula, and talus and the ankle syndesmosis joint between the tibia and fibula, both of which are held together by ligaments. These ligaments help make the ankle joint stable and prevent injury.

Cause of ankle fractures
Ankle fractures are often caused by extreme force going through the ankle; twisting, rotating or rolling your ankle; tripping or falling; a crash from a car accident; or a major fall. It is also common when one's foot falls in a hole and is twisted.

Symptoms
Because a severe ankle sprain can feel like a broken ankle, every ankle injury should be evaluated by a doctor. Common symptoms for a broken ankle include: immediate and severe pain, swelling, bruising, tender to the touch, cannot bear any weight on the injured foot, and the joint is "out of place".

Diagnosis
At the doctor's office they will ask about your medical history, symptoms you are experiencing and how the injury occurred. Your doctor will also examine your ankle, foot and lower leg. If your doctor thinks you have an ankle fracture, he or she will order more tests to find out more information about your injury.
Imaging X-rays are the most common imaging technique used. X-rays can show if the bone is broken and whether they are out of place. They can also show how many pieces of broken bone there are. X -rays may be taken of the leg, ankle and foot to make sure nothing else is injured. Other tests, such as a stress test, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may also be ordered.

Treatment
Treatment of an ankle fracture is based on the type and severity of the fracture, where the bone is broken, how many bones are involved and if the bones are out of place. It can be treated with or without surgery.

Nonsurgical treatment
At first, the doctor will want you to follow the RICE protocol:
o Rest: Stay off the injured ankle. Walking may cause pain and more injury.
o Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 10 - 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes to an hour before icing again. Cold packs are effective for up to 48 hours.
o Compression: An elastic wrap or bandage can be used to control swelling and hold the foot together and in place.
o Elevation: The ankle should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
Additional treatment options include:
o Immobilization: Certain fractures are treated by protecting and restricting the ankle and foot in a cast or splint. This allows the bone to heal in the right position.
o Prescription medications: To help relieve the pain, the surgeon may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain medications.
Most simple fractures heal well with immobilization and non-weight-bearing; not walking on the ankle. You can expect most ankle fractures, depending on how severe they are, to take four to eight weeks for the bones to heal completely and up to several months to regain full use and range of motion of the joint. More severe fractures, especially those requiring surgical repair, may take longer to heal. Fractures of any type increase your likelihood of developing arthritis in the affected joint. The more severe the fracture, the higher the risk is.

When is surgery needed?
For some ankle fractures surgery is needed to fix the bone and other soft tissues like the ligaments, if present. The surgeon will select the procedure that is best to fix your injury. Whenever there is surgery there may be risk of infection, bleeding, pain and even blood clots in the leg. These are not common and are unlikely once you follow your surgeon's instructions after treatment and surgery.
Although most people return to normal daily activities, except for sports, within three to four months, studies have shown that people can still be recovering up to two years after their ankle fracture. It may take several months for you to stop limping while you walk and before you can return to sports at your old level. Most people return to driving within 9 to 12 weeks from the time they were injured.

o For more information visit www.apma.org or www.foothealth.org or http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

or email us at foothealth242@gmail.com. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street or call 325-2996 for an appointment or visit Bahamas Surgical Associates Center on Albury Lane or call 394-5820 for an appointment. To see a podiatrist in Grand Bahama visit Lucayan Medical Center on East Sunrise Highway or call 373-7400 for an appointment.

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