Opinion

Five seeds we should sow for a stronger Bahamian economy

August 09, 2017

I will not cease to herald it: we need a stronger Bahamian economy, a much stronger one. So much rests on it, not least of which is the need for our young people to want to continue to live in this country because it can, among other things, finance their hopes, dreams and aspirations. There are Bahamians in the thousands right now, young and old, in need of jobs. There are thousands more who need increases in pay. There are others who just need to believe that things can be better for them. All of these people need a better, stronger, Bahamian economy to make this happen. We can have that economy, and there are at least five seeds that we must sow in order to get it.
A stronger Bahamian economy will not happen tomorrow. It will not happen over the next week, or in a few months. It will take time to get our economy rolling; it may take years. However, like seeds, grow it will, if we sow the right seeds and do so in the right environment. With enough time and the right effort, the Bahamian economy will take off. What are these five seeds we need to sow?
First, we must sow the seed of excellence. We have got to dedicate ourselves to doing the very best we can with all we have at all times. This is excellence. We must abandon mediocrity. At work, at school, at church, in government and civil society, we must strive ever more to do things in such a way that God himself would commend us for doing such a fantastic job. This we do, not for pay but for pride. In the end, the pay will come.
Second, we must sow the seed of productivity. We have to get more out of an hour's work. In fact, we must get as much out of that hour as we can get. Wherever we work, whatever we find ourselves doing, we must produce as much as we can, so that any cost associated with it is, at the very least, worth it, or at best, seems cheap in light of it. As a high cost jurisdiction, we would serve ourselves well to ensure that significant value results from our efforts. In other words, if we want Rolls Royce pay, we have to deliver Rolls Royce service, so that considering the price is not even an issue.
Third, we must sow the seed of functionality. We must be rid of high levels of dysfunction within both our private and public sectors. Through better planning, organizing and executing, we must demonstrate a capacity to make things work as they ought. As we move about our nation, we can see dysfunction at work too often. Whether it be pubic infrastructure, private sector delivery of goods and services or organization of civic functions, we perform clumsily and shabbily too often. This will not do in our quest for a robust economy. We must be on our game, and deliver what we say, in the way we said we would. We must be functional.
Fourth, we must sow the seed of professionalism. Professionalism suggests that we are prepared to make our best showing every time. Courtesy, punctuality, teamwork, integrity, honesty and smarts must be our display consistently. Any failure to demonstrate these must be met with self-rebuke or rebuff by others who observe us. We must not be slack, sluggard, selfish or sour in our doings. In dress, presentation, presence or purpose, we must be professional.
Fifth, we must sow the seed of continuous improvement. Even at our best, we must seek to do better. The world is dynamic, and competitors are always pressing to move ahead. If we have no one else to compete against, we must compete against our own mark, standard or achievements. We must keep looking to do things better, faster, nicer and more profitably. We must rise each day with a determination to improve our craft.
Sow these seeds and we will, in due course, reap the fruits of growth, development and prosperity in our economy. We will put our people to work, raise wages to new levels, improve consumer confidence, build investment capital and rev up our economy to new heights of performance. We will once again feel wealthy, successful, proud and animated. If we continue doing what got us there, we will continue feeling how we feel when we are there. Nothing less will do.

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

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Humble yourself

August 09, 2017

I write a lot in these articles about how to become successful. Now the fact of the matter is, that when a whole lot of people actually make it in life, particularly those who make it 'Big Time' they are inclined to get, what we so often refer to as 'Swelled Headed' or another expression we use is 'Too Big For Their Boots'. Well My Friend, believe me this is unfortunately a real concern for many people who let their 'Ego' get out of control and then rule the day, so to speak. So, to anyone who feels that they are indeed getting a little swelled headed, the command issued in the title of today's article should be taken seriously.
I remember well Dr. Waitley Author of many bestselling books on High Performance, on Winning including, 'The Psychology of Winning', 'The Winners Edge' and 'Being Your Best' to name a few, saying in a video presentation "Only those with high self-esteem can afford to be humble". He further stated when dealing with this subject "Those who are shouting for attention are really looking for attention."....oh how true that is.
So My Friend, when you achieve a certain level of success or ascend to a position of importance in an organization and become arrogant; well then, you're actually broadcasting to the world that you do in fact have low self-esteem in spite of your apparent success so far, for as Dr. Waitley so correctly put it "Only those with high self-esteem can afford to be humble." So in effect, when you, as we say, start to throw your weight around and become pompous and arrogant as you perform your duties you are in fact broadcasting loud and clear to everyone, that deep down inside you don't feel too good about yourself.
Yes indeed, a humble person is broadcasting to the whole world, that he or she has in fact got high self-esteem and is thus comfortable within himself or herself. True humility I believe, is actually a Spiritual Quality which denotes that you fully realize, that the talents which assisted you in becoming successful actually were given to you at birth by your Creator. So instead of being arrogant, be thankful.

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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Children's feet should not be treated like adults

August 08, 2017

We often think of and treat children like little adults. This is not recommended, so that we recognize the uniqueness of every child. Just as children cannot be treated as little adults, neither should their feet -- as every child is special, so are their feet.
Children's feet are different from adults because they are not yet fully formed. At birth and in early childhood, the feet are fat, round and floppy and will eventually grow and change into the shape we recognize as normal feet. At six months of age the child's foot is still mostly cartilage and some of the final bones do not start to form until age three. A child's foot will double in size by the age of one and is approximately half their adult length by 18 months. By age 18 years most bones in the body are fully formed.
During this period of development, a child's foot is flexible and is at risk of injury and deformity due to abnormal pressures from ill-fitting footwear. Care should be taken when choosing shoe types and shoe fitting for children.
Nearly all children appear to have flat feet when they first start walking. This is partly due to posture and fatty deposits in the foot. When babies walk, they have to balance a relatively large head and torso so they walk with the knees bent, legs wide apart and the feet turned outwards. Parents are often anxious about when their child will walk, but they must know their baby will walk when they are ready to walk. The average age to begin walking is 10 to 15 months. When your child first begins to walk, shoes are not necessary indoors, however, when walking outside or on rough surfaces the baby's feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials. On average, children's feet grow two sizes per year in the first four years of life, and one size per year thereafter until growth is complete, around age 14. This is not written in stone, however, and sometimes a child's foot may not grow for a considerable period of time and then grow several sizes quickly.
Many of the problems with children's feet are associated with growth, overuse, weight gain and postural changes. Genetics also play a crucial role in the development of your child's feet. Some children walk with their toes pointing inwards (in-toeing) and some outwards (out-toeing), and others even walk on their toes (toe-walking). It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of children have flat feet. Most children grow out of in-toeing, out-toeing and toe-walking by 24 months of age. If the child's feet are causing pain, discomfort or affecting mobility this is not normal, and all children with foot pain and any persistent foot complaint should be seen by a podiatrist.

When to see a podiatrist
Besides foot structure, the main cause of foot problems and possible deformities is ill-fitting footwear. If you notice any problems with your children's feet they should be seen by a podiatrist; foot problems may include foot, leg or heel pain, swelling, limping, flat feet, foot deformities, skin rashes, hard skin, lumps, bumps on the feet, nail complaints, tripping or stumbling, child not wanting to walk and asking to be carried instead. It is best to make an appointment to see your podiatrist if you have any of these concerns, other concerns, or questions about your child's feet. The podiatrist can help your child by providing a comprehensive examination, diagnosis of any foot problems, and then either managing the condition or referring to an appropriate consultant. Treatment may take the form of footwear prescription or advice, assessing how the foot functions, orthoses (special insoles) to be worn in the shoes, special shoes, bracing, etc. Researchers have found that giving correctional foot support to children with insoles or orthotics between the ages of two and five years of age can significantly improve foot development and functioning later in life. After age five, correctional support can help, but there can be no more changes to the basic foot structure.

Feet care tips
Always have your child's feet measured for length and width before buying shoes. Always fit shoes with the child standing, because the foot spreads on weight-bearing.
o Check the size of their socks and shoes regularly for fit, condition and wear. Check shoe sizes every one to three months up to age three, every four months to age five, every six months from five years onwards.
o If possible, do not put your child in the same shoes every day. Alternate the child's shoes to allow them to dry out, especially if the feet are sweaty.
o Be especially careful and check the feet after wearing new shoes, they can cause blisters and sores if they don't fit properly.
o Inspect feet regularly for inflamed nails, red pressure areas on the top of the toes, below the ankle bones and at the back of the heel.
o Good foot hygiene is vital. Wash their feet daily with simple soap and water and dry well, particularly between the toes. After drying, a small amount of talcum powder or moisturizer can be used. Some children have naturally sweaty feet, but smelly feet may be an indication of poor hygiene or an infection.
o Toenails should be inspected regularly and trimmed as required. Cut the nails straight across and never cut down into the corners or cut them too short.

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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Change is from the inside out

August 08, 2017

I guess that some people may be a bit puzzled by the title of this particular article, change is from the inside out, saying perhaps, "What exactly do you mean by that D. Paul?" Well, what I mean is this. I guess we've all watched these so-called makeover shows on T.V. where they take, usually, a female who looks out of shape and not too attractive, and then do a so-called makeover on this person by getting them some nice, new clothes, giving them a new hairstyle and new makeup. Now let's face it, after the exterior makeup, has the person really changed other than from an exterior perspective? I guess the honest answer to that question is no.
In other words, if the person was inclined to be a rather negative person before the so-called makeover, they'll still be negative after the makeover. Oh sure, they'll smile for the T.V. camera and say they feel great -- however, take all of the new clothes off and the makeup, and that person will still be the same miserable person they were before the so-called makeover.
And so we get to the important message for this particular article, change is from the inside out. You see, if you really want to change someone permanently you have to change the mental attitude, the thinking on the inside, and then the exterior behavior will change for the better and it will be long-term, not just a flash in the pan.
Yes my friend, as I first learnt from my mentor Earl Nightingale, all change is from the inside out. In other words, when one changes their mental attitude from negative to positive, then, and only then, will the actual behavior patterns of the individual change, thereby bringing about a complete transformation in their whole personality. This is a real, lasting change.

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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Visitor arrivals numbers are not the whole story

August 08, 2017

When it comes to valuing tourism's economic contribution, most Caribbean governments share publicly only arrivals numbers and the country of origin of their visitors. Then, usually at budget time, they produce generalized figures that indicate overall spend and contribution to GDP.
Few provide the detailed analysis that would determine how profitable their industry is or, for example, the demographic profile of visitors, average hotel occupancy rates, or seek to separate arrivals which are not tourism related. Moreover, there is an unfortunate absence of viable, in-depth Caribbean-generated information on what is happening in specific markets, or details on how many visitors are now staying in non-hotel accommodation.
Some governments also confound analysis by leaving unclear the extent to which their total arrivals numbers include lower spending cruise ship visitors, and few say anything at all about annual or seasonal profitability; seeming unwilling to reveal metrics such as revenue per available room (RevPar), which is used by hoteliers to measure occupancy and revenue to facilitate real-time decision making.
When it comes to statistics and understanding a country's tourism performance, the most challenging example is Cuba, which continues to indicate surging visitor arrivals: so far up by 23.2 percent in the first half of 2017, with 4.2 million travellers in total forecast for the year. Its government provides virtually no accompanying detail other than country of origin. This means that it is impossible to discover, for instance, how well the country is doing in relation to occupancy outside Havana, or the level of the country's repeat business, or whether there is visitor satisfaction.
This has become especially important as the overall increase in regional arrivals figures are to a significant extent now being influenced by the runaway success of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and a statistically much more open Jamaica.
In this overall context, it was therefore pleasing to see a recent comment on the subject by Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the principal partner in Bedford Baker Group, and one of the few industry professionals whose analytical and thought-provoking approach recognizes that tourism's complex, multi-dimensional nature requires rigorous examination.
Speaking in St Maarten, with the experience of having been a former tourism minister in The Bahamas, and CEO of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), he described as "flawed" the method by which the countries of the region determine the economic impact of tourism.
"What we have been doing for a long time is counting heads in terms of how many people are coming to the country, which is not a good measurement of the economic impact of people," he said
Observing that this represented a form of mismanagement of tourism, he told conference participants at the 2017 'Caribbean Aviation Meetup' that the industry needs to use the economic tools it now has available to measure and capture transactions, so that it can guide the private sector and governments to maximize the economic benefits.
It is of course understandable that governments want to be able to demonstrate to electorates that visitor numbers are increasing, but this is only a small part of the story. Tourism has become the region's most significant industry and as such requires all in government, business and civil society to understand how the sector is performing if it is to remain globally competitive and sustainable.
A more realistic approach would be to broaden the base of national and, by extension, regional reporting and forecasting on tourism. Such information might include the amount retained by individual nations through taxes; the value and origin of the inputs and services the industry uses; reporting on average product pricing, and where not commercially sensitive, recognized metrics that indicate profitability. It would also be helpful for there to be a franker discussion about the implications of changes in the economic strength of the region's source markets for visitors.
There is also a need to better differentiate or explain the reason for changes in arrivals numbers. For example, there is evidence that some of the 'tourism' recorded in the Dutch Antilles, Trinidad and other parts of the region is fictitious, in the sense that it reflects Venezuelans coming to buy basic necessities, collect foreign currency, or as refugees.
There is also a problem when it comes to recording Chinese visitors. Although their arrival numbers have been increasing, the probability is that given the absence of same-plane air services from China to anywhere in the region other than Cuba, these visitors are not tourists, but those who are developing or working on the huge projects that China is now engaged in around the region.
Hopefully some of this will change soon.
According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and its private sector counterpart, the Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association (CHTA), several proposals advanced by the two organizations were considered during a joint presentation made to the July Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting in Grenada.
Although the most significant outcome was a recommendation that barriers to inter-regional travel be reduced through the creation of a single CARICOM domestic space and security regime, for approval in February 2018, a proposal to 'advance research to better assess tourism's economic impact and the region's competitiveness' was also endorsed.
How the latter idea will be taken forward or funded is not clear. However, it makes the point that the provision of independent, in-depth, reliable information is essential if rational medium and long-term political and economic decisions are to be taken about how best to position and manage the challenges the industry faces at both a national and regional level.
This is not to be critical of the largely positive news about increasing arrivals in what may by a record year for Caribbean tourism, but to suggest that there is a strong case for the more comprehensive provision of tourism statistics and analysis to assist decision-making, debate and, it must be said, more thoughtful media questioning.
While it is possible to find some of this information through the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the privately funded World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the region itself ought to be providing such information on a timely, consistent and accurate basis.
To understand the Caribbean tourism economy requires time and a willingness to explore what lies behind the commentaries and headline statistics. Politicians, the industry and the media need to be clear: visitor arrivals numbers are not the whole story.

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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Hearing milestones for preschoolers

August 08, 2017

With the new school year fast approaching, parents of all grade levels are now in the process of ensuring that all last-minute preparations are taken care of for their school-aged children. Likewise, parents of preschoolers are also bustling around ensuring that their little ones are ready to begin the new school year.
Good hearing is critical to good speech and language development, excellence in communication, and success in learning. A child who suffers from listening difficulties due to untreated hearing loss or auditory processing problems, often will continue to experience the ill effects of hearing loss and auditory processing problems throughout his/her lifetime. These include:
o A delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills.
o A language deficit that results in learning delays, causing reduced academic achievement throughout the child's school years.
o A communication deficiency that often leads to social isolation and poor self-esteem.
o A reduction in the vocational choices available to the child following the completion of high school.
The earlier in a child's life the hearing loss occurs, the more serious the effects on his/her development. Likewise, the sooner the hearing deficit is identified and a management and intervention plan begun, the less serious the ultimate impact of the hearing loss on the child.
The following is a checklist that may help you determine if your child is having difficulty hearing.
Children ages two to three years of age should be able to:
o Speak about 40 to 50 words by age two
o Speak in two to three-word phrases
o Speak so that he can be understood by family members most of the time
o Correctly use spatial concepts like in and on
o Use pronouns like me, I, her and you
o Use words that describe like small, pretty, happy
o Answer simple questions
o Use inflections to ask a question (example, my toy?)
o Use plurals like toys, cars, jumped
o Follow simple instructions -- (example, go in the closet and bring your shoes)
o Tell the difference between come, go, in, out, up and down
Children ages three to four years old should be able to:
o Talk about activities that happened at school or during the day
o Converse using four to five sentences at a time
o Speak so that people outside the family understand what he/she is saying
o Answer simple questions like, who, what, where
o Ask questions using when and how
o Say rhyming words, like hat-cat
o Use pronouns, like I, you, me, we, and they
o Use some plural words, like toys, birds, and buses
o Speak using sentences with four or more words
o Hear when you call from another room
o Hear the television at the same loudness level as other family members
o Understand words for colors, like red, blue, and green
o Understand words for shapes, like circle and square
o Understand words for family, like brother, grandmother, and aunt
Children ages four to five should be able to:
o Say almost all, if not all, speech sounds in words
o Respond to, what did you say?
o Speak without repeating sounds or words most of the time
o Name and identify letters and numbers
o Use sentences with more than one action word, like jump, play, and get
o Tell a short story
o Carry on a conversation
o Understand word order, like first, next, and last
o Understand words for time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
o Follow longer directions, like put your shoes on, brush your hair, then pick out a book
o Follow basic classroom instructions, like draw a circle on your paper around something you eat
o Hear and understand most of what is said at home and in school

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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Whatever we want has already happened

August 04, 2017

We have not yet realized it. Neither are we conscious of it. But we need to know that everything we have always wanted, want now, or in the future, has already happened. Already come to pass. Whatever we want, we can give birth to it. Cause it to unfold. To believe that we want something to happen, is to make it happen, because beliefs become facts. They practically manifest our thoughts.
And thoughts are real, objective things. Messages informing us that something is in the works for us, pushing us to take action to give it form and substance. So whatever we want is already here. Present. But we have to give it life. The ball is in our court.
Poets, musicians, writers and artists have always said that ideas come to them about what their next piece of work is. They do not sit and think, and then put things together. They are inspired. Have an inspiration to get up and get to work at something already prepared for them, which has already happened. They then bring what has happened into existence on their own strength using their spiritual energy.
What we want is here, not there. But we have to do our part to bring it forward. At times it takes a little while, because we are not on board with it. Think it's too good to be true. But when we become the process to bring it forward, then it simply happens. We bring it into being.
To accomplish this, we have to believe in ourselves and in our capacity to engineer what we want to happen to manifest what has already happened. Self-belief is our ability to believe strongly in ourselves and use our assets to propel our objectives on the course we have charted to see ourselves through.
We then develop the consciousness and recognize that what has already happened is what we wanted, and we now have to seize the moment and claim it for ourselves. Since it is what we divined to serve our greater purpose.
With self-belief comes self-awareness and an independent spirit, along with psychic liberation and a reverence for our handiwork. And with this comes a sense of peace and calm, enabling us to see more clearly what lies ahead.
With all this comes our ability to trust ourselves and our judgment. We must trust ourselves to know that whatever we want has already happened. Doubt removes what is real further away from us. To benefit from what is involves active trust in its possibilities. Trust means jettisoning from our minds social myths about what is, and using our own intuition to interpret and validate what we know to be true.
We must rise above the incomplete knowledge of the culture to accommodate what we internally know to be the case. We need to learn to trust how we feel, and doing this uncovers what has always been.
When we trust ourselves and are convinced that whatever we want has already happened, we then prepare ourselves to receive it with joy. Our faith activates us to be sure of the things we hope for, and be certain that what we cannot now see has already happened and is here.
Whatever we want becomes ours, since we are meant to have whatever we desire. We have power over everything we interact with and the will to make things happen for us. Self-trust is the magic that pulls towards us what was always ours, and what has already happened for us.
Calling into being spiritually what has already happened for us brings it to fruition. We are then able to claim it. When something is called into being, it comes into our possession from that place it patiently awaited its moment to deliver itself. We call something into being because we psychologically require it, and for the difference it makes to our lives. Kind forces made it available to us, because they are protective, understanding and know of our need for it.
For example, before we retire in the evening, we offer prayers for the protection of our family. We believe we will receive it. Trust ourselves it will come. And also participate in our protection. Before we write articles, we ask a higher force, assertively, for wisdom and its intervention in the process too. And we believe our call will be answered positively.
Because we call this assistance into being, we experience it, and our situation changes, proving whatever we want has already happened.
As strange as it may seem, when we suspend thinking, it becomes clearer to us that whatever we want has already happened. When we dispense with thinking, all the narratives of the culture which are limiting disappear. Our mind is renewed, and we open to knowledge and opportunities we could not previously ascertain. Real knowledge and possibilities. It is then we become aware that whatever we want has already happened, waiting to be retrieved and utilized.
Thinking clogs our ability to see real things. When we dispense with it, things happen more quickly. Our natural self emerges, and we are exposed to a new kind of world where nothing is impossible. Where we co-create whatever happens. And we become more aware of our enhanced spiritual vision.
It is through these dynamics that we become aware that whatever we want has already happened. And the onus is on us to possess what is ours. Any request should now be converted into an active calling into being, or summoning what has already happened, since we co-created it.

Oliver Mills is a former lecturer in education at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus. He holds an M.Ed degree. from Dalhousie University in Canada, an MA from the University of London and a post-graduate diploma in HRM and Training, University of Leicester. He is a past Permanent Secretary in Education with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.

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Passenger tax - a tax on all their dreams

August 04, 2017

What the Caribbean region needs is so simple: rapid, reliable mobility at reasonable rates. What makes it so difficult? It is almost as short and simple to explain. There are two players: the aviation industry and the governments. The aviation industry is not really the problem. They have the equipment and the crews. They have fixed costs and calculate what is needed to make a profit. One could argue about how cost-effective they are and what is considered a reasonable profit margin. And that's it. Yet, one should also consider the entrepreneurial risks they are taking.
On the other side, you have the governments. For one, they have no risks in the aviation operation. Just benefits. Yet, they want a random tax contribution per passenger, of no particular calculation. Mind that landing fees are different than taxes, and they do have a particular justification. So, what justifies the passenger tax? Inter-island or international, it doesn't make a difference.
Major airlines are polite to governments. They listen politely when representatives of tourism or airport authorities are courting or flirting, and trying to convince them to come on over. However, the operators don't tell governments where to go; they just don't put the destination on their schedule. Except for one airline, or rather one airline boss, who is well-known for telling anyone where to go, or in clear text expressing that 'they can shove it'.
Ryanair decided in October last year that it would drop 16 routes and 600 jobs after an Italian government's tax hike. It would also result in 800,000 client losses according to their calculations. Their explanation: "Ryanair had no choice but to close two of its 15 Italian bases, and move its aircraft, pilots and crews to countries that have lower tourism costs. The tax increase will seriously damage Italian tourism, and it would hand a golden opportunity for growth to destinations in Spain, Portugal and Greece that have lower tourism costs."
Governments love low cost carriers (LCC) because they lure tourists with low fares. Exactly for that reason, they believe that the LCC will bring the oh-so-desired passengers by the masses. Yet, then they slam the air passenger duty on top of the fares, to the extent that those are nearly double. Does that make sense? So, before the passengers don't show up and seats remain empty, the airline doesn't open a route or terminates it. That does make entrepreneurial sense!
A quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci goes: "Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." Anyone who is less than a genius may tell you that when the taste of flight fare turns from sweet to bitter, he will not turn his eyes skyward in all directions anymore.
Governments can argue until they turn blue or green why a passenger tax is needed or why they believe it is justified. They may even feel proud when they believe that they won the argument. However, the tourists have the last word in determining what price is acceptable for their vacation budget. This is money that they had to work and save for a whole year, to make their dream retreat come true.
Taxes are not a dream incentive; they are a repellent. For tourists, there are plenty of options near and far in the geography, where the temperatures are warm, the platinum beaches are lined with palm trees, and where they are received with open arms. Governments can try to have it their way; but tourists for sure will find it their way... somewhere else.

o Cdr. Bud Slabbaert is the organizer of the annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference. He has a extensive background in aviation and business development, as well as in related journalism.

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Underdeveloped minds

August 04, 2017

The human mind is the world's greatest, creative center. The potential for greatness lies within each and every human mind. It is within the human mind that dreams of great things to come are hatched and then the method of obtaining one's dreams are brought to fruition to assist the person step by step in achieving one's dreams.
Of course just like the human body, the human mind needs to be nurtured and fully developed if it is to grow and expand in knowledge and wisdom thus assisting its owner to fly as high as they want. To me, the sad thing to observe is that there are far too many young people who have as the title of today's article puts it, underdeveloped minds, simply because they are not exposed to the right kinds of knowledge, arts and music which will assist in the development and refinement of their minds.
Yes indeed, just like the human body, the human mind needs to be nurtured and fed with positive, uplifting, nourishing thoughts, concepts and ideas. In other words, young people need to be exposed to uplifting ideas, thoughts, literature, art and music. Alas this is not happening with far too many young people throughout our world. On the contrary they are not being developed at all as they are starved of the very exposure that could develop their young minds into something truly magnificent. Through the Internet and all of the means of mass communication available today at the beginning of the 21st Century, far too many are having their young, fertile mind poisoned by a whole lot of mental garbage.
Yes my friend, if you're a parent or guardian, you need to pay attention to, not only nurturing their body by feeding it properly with nutritious food, but you also need to concentrate on feeding their young, fertile minds with the right, uplifting thoughts, concepts and ideas. Be careful not to allow them to be exposed to mental garbage and filth. Instead, expose them to uplifting ideas and principles and they will thrive, succeed and prosper.

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 art of public and political communication

August 03, 2017

New York businessman Anthony Scaramucci was brought into Donald Trump's dysfunctional and shambolic White House to serve as communications chief. He lasted less than a fortnight, the briefest tenure ever of anyone in that position.
In the 10 days that he unofficially served as Trump's communications impresario, Scaramucci proved a rollicking disaster and something of a communications nightmare.
In a telephone conversation with a reporter, he let loose a vulgar, profanity-laced and unprofessional tirade against West Wing opponents, one of whom he labeled a "paranoid schizophrenic".
Scaramucci broke one of the cardinal rules of a subordinate hired by a principal to offer communications services: "Don't become the story", a variation of "Do no harm!" Scaramucci's tirade dominated the news cycle, embarrassing Trump and making his White House seem even more like a disaster zone.
So incensed was incoming Chief of Staff John Kelly about Scaramucci's sophomoric and destabilizing conduct that one of his first acts after being sworn in was to eject the 10-day-old communications advisor from the White House.
In the event, it was Trump who was at fault for bringing in as his chief communications advisor someone with little experience in public communications, and someone who did not know well the ways and political heartbeat of Washington D.C.
There is a false notion that just about anyone can grasp or master the world of politics. Professionals in myriad fields and academics often think that because politics is ubiquitous, that its ways and means are fairly easily grasped. Many think likewise about political communication and rhetoric.
Such notions are wrongheaded. Politics and political communication require a sense of history, some understanding of human psychology and sociology, and experience. Just as some are more artistically inclined, some people are more inclined to the political arts.

Masterful
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is a natural-born politician. Clinton had both a superior intellect and a masterful political instinct. The two traits are not synonymous in the least.
There are many with high IQs and high academic pedigree who are amateurs at politics and who are gaffe-prone when it comes to political and public communication.
This includes a number of politicians in The Bahamas, current and past, who deemed themselves politically savvy because they excelled in some other professional field.
Quite a number of lawyers trained in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, especially those who earned their BTE (Been To England to study), thought themselves intellectually superior and politically more capable than politicians who studied in other fields or who were self-taught.
A number of those with the BTEs were often surprised and bested by those who had less formal training, but who were naturally better politicians. Character and political intelligence and sophistication are not synonymous with academic achievement.
The late Jamaican Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante was not a highly educated man, nor was he eloquent. But he was a brilliant politician who knew how to communicate effectively to the hearts and minds of the average Jamaican, who adored him.
"Buster", as he was affectionately nicknamed, was a labor leader and anti-colonialist. He was an effective newspaper letter writer, who used his pen to champion the cause of independence and worker's rights. He served as Jamaica's first prime minister from 1962 to 1967.
Bustamante, like former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, had an instinct for the art of political communication, which goes beyond words to gesture and symbols.
At the funeral of a prominent Jamaican, Simpson Miller, then opposition leader, got up to give her seat to a family member of the deceased, while then Prime Minister Bruce Golding remained seated.
Clinton grew famously frustrated with his vice president, Al Gore, during the 2000 presidential contest in the U.S. Clinton could not understand how someone like Gore, who had risen so high in elected politics, could often be ineffective as a public and political communicator.
Clinton enjoyed the ability to summarize and articulate the most complex issues into language easily understood by the mass of Americans. He spoke in a direct manner, which conveyed empathy to just about every audience he spoke to. He is a natural empath.
But one does not need to be as empathetic as Clinton to communicate effectively. One key to better communication is learning when to speak, especially in our political context in a government of collective responsibility.
A rookie mistake often made by newly minted Cabinet ministers is to speak off the cuff when posed questions one is uncertain how to answer. It is typically best to refer such questions to the appropriate minister or official.
Politics and service as a Cabinet minister require a learning curve. New ministers should take their time and learn the ropes. They should seek mentors. And some ministers should learn to restrain their egos and stop talking just about every time a recorder is placed in front of them.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has wisely decided on an orientation and training program for ministers and parliamentarians.

Intoxicated
It is best to speak judiciously and not defensively when asked a question. The rarefied environment of the Cabinet room can often leave one intoxicated and believing that one is more of an expert on a matter than one is.
Reporters know how to play to the ego of certain ministers who enjoy the limelight and coverage in the press. One is prone to gaffes when one's ego is stroked.
A minister should not generally opine on a detailed matter outside of one's portfolio. It is the prime minister who has the wider brief to speak on a range of topics on behalf of the government of the day.
Nor should a minister foolishly say that the government needs to address such and such a matter going forward, or that one's ministry should do so and so. Now that one is in the government, bring up the matter at the Cabinet table or in one's respective ministry.
In both the House of Assembly and in his other public and political communications, Works Minister Desmond Bannister is disciplined and deliberate in his public comments.
His recent budget presentation was well crafted. He did not give in to unnecessary asides, even when provoked by the opposition. Like Minnis in his wrap-up to the 2017/2018 budget debate, Bannister was able to back up his claims with the appropriate documents.
When he speaks to the press, Bannister is informed and careful. He is not prone to rambling commentary. Bannister is tempered and measured in both substance and tone.
Some individuals are naturally better politicians than others. Still, one can become better at the arts of politics and public communication by realizing one's limitations and by learning from those in history who have mastered the political arts.

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

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God comes first

August 03, 2017

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then, in his joy, went and sold all he had and bought that field.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."
-- Matthew 13: 44-46

It is amazing how a simple incident can take our lives in a totally different direction. A telephone call changed my life's plans and sent me in a different direction.
I had planned to retire at age 55, take my pension, the lump sum payment due me, and return to Abaco. There I would live out the rest of my life in comfort. My life was all planned out. I had it worked out.
However, that was not to be. Eight years before I was to take advantage of early retirement, I received a telephone call that posed a question: "Sam, what are you going to do?"
That question was a follow-up to a letter I received from one of our seminaries. I tried to dance around the answer, because I already had my life planned. The answer I gave changed my life forever. The new plan for my life was much better than my plan.
In the above text, Jesus posed a question to the people: "What is the kingdom of heaven like unto?" Then he used parables to answer his own questions.
The first parable deals with a man who found a treasure hidden in a field. This story is not unlike what happened in Palestine during Jesus' time. Many a time poor farmers may have, in fact, found treasures buried in fields. The person who placed it there might have done so to hide it from those who were chasing him.
The owner of that treasure m have died before getting around to reclaiming it. Consequently the poor farmer found it. He was so overjoyed, he went out and sold all of his possessions, everything that he owned, so that he could buy that field.
Is Jesus really talking about fields and treasures? That story was good to get those people's attention. He was really talking about the kingdom of heaven. He wanted to give them a comparison of what it is like to find the treasure of God.
The treasure in the field was hidden. It was not very easy to find. The treasure that Jesus speaks about is even more precious than all the treasures in this whole world. The field where this treasure is located is the gospel of Jesus. He is a treasure. We are poor, sinful beings who need this treasure.
Jesus can give us more peace and joy than any treasure that we can locate on the face of this earth. When we have Jesus in our lives, we have riches beyond comparison. The treasure of Jesus is a treasure that we can take with us when we leave this world. The riches of this world are good only for living in this world
Therefore, we need Jesus. It is unfortunate that humans do so much for earthly treasures that cannot go beyond the grave. The treasure found in Jesus is much more precious than our earthly treasures.
The second parable is similar to the first; however, this time a merchant finds a pearl. This merchant finds a most beautiful pearl. What does he do? He goes out and disposes of all of his wealth just to get this pearl.
When you find the pearl of God, what are you prepared to do for it? Jesus is saying here that you should be prepared to give up everything for the kingdom of heaven. Nothing in this world should keep you from the kingdom -- not money, not family, not friends, not work, nothing. God comes first.
St. Paul in Romans 8:36-39, tells us about this treasure. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depths, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Only we can separate ourselves from God. 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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Cyber junkie

August 03, 2017

Recently I watched a very interesting and quite frightening feature on the program 20/20 on ABC Television titled "Digital Dependency" which was all about young people and some not so young people who were hooked on digital games on their computers and cell phones. One of the people who contributed to the program was Kevin Roberts, author of the book by the same name as this article cyber junkie, that incidentally has the following subtitle escape the gaming and Internet trap.
This addiction to computers, tablets and I-phones is very real, believe me I've witnessed it first hand and indeed wrote an article dealing with this self-same subject a short while ago titled technology addiction.
I mean when you go into a doctor's waiting room today, instead of the pleasant interaction one used to have with the other patients, no one says a word, they just sit there with their cell phone in their hand and never look upward or endeavor to speak to anyone. These people are what Kevin Roberts referred to, and it is a really serious problem that needs to be dealt with.
I have personally seen people in their homes who don't speak to each other as they're constantly, and I do mean constantly on their cell phones ... I mean it never leaves their hand. Why it's as if it's a permanent attachment to their hand that they were born with.
Now the thing is here today, we're not joking about this cyber addiction, as it's becoming a very serious problem. Parents, you should not allow your children to spend too much time on their computer, I-pad or cell phone, for it can indeed become a serious addiction which according to the experts, causes damage to the brain.

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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Relationships with a big age difference

August 03, 2017

Is it okay to marry someone who is much older or younger than you are? My answer to this question is not to condemn or condone, but to cause one to think objectively. Truthfully, the actual number of years older or younger might be the concern. Then, it does not matter who is older -- the man or the woman. It all depends on your outlook on life, personal needs and philosophies. However, we are learning, through research, that great disparity in age may not be wise. Also, when it comes to great age difference, the age at the time when one gets married might also be important.
For example, if one partner is 20 years old and the other partner 35 years old, or 20 to 30 years older, this may not be wise. Both are at different maturity levels and will most likely view life differently. This can cause serious hiccups in the marriage. The younger one wants to get out and have fun with his or her energetic friends and the old one wants to settle down and stay at home or do more serious, non-energetic things.
Let me pause here and share my own view of age differences in marriage. First, it is my view that it does not matter who is older -- the man or the woman. The older women trend has been around for centuries. Second, it is my view that the age difference should not go beyond seven years to 10 years (male or female). Beyond that difference in age we get into generational differences and perhaps health and lifestyle differences and even life experiences that can be difficult to understand or explain to the younger one. Third, it is my view that couples should go through the lifestyle changes and adjustments together--menopause, andropause, retirement, fading energy, etc. Usually, a seven to 10-year age difference is not really that noticeable and even sometimes the older one can look younger and has more energy. This is with the understanding that, at the age of marriage, neither partner is an emerging adult--under the age of 25. As stated earlier, if one partner can be viewed chronologically a minor (18 to 25) although legally an adult, and the older one is 10 or 20 years older, this might be a great mistake. However, with the same age difference, but getting married at an older age, it may be less of a concern.
I encourage individuals who are falling in love with someone who is much older or younger to consider these points by psychologist Zawn Villines.
o "Love can be fickle, and we don't always fall for the right people. Sometimes a significant age gap makes a relationship impossible. If you get married to someone who is very young it might cause legal issues."
Don't be mesmerized by the beauty, sexiness or intelligence of the partner. Be real. Be objective in understanding that the great age difference is too large and might be harmful.
o "Before you begin a relationship with someone much younger or older than you, it's important to make a careful assessment of your motivations. Love knows no age, but if you date only people who are members of a different generation, it might reveal something about your approach to relationships. While people who date only people much younger or older than them owe no one an explanation, it may be helpful to consider underlying reasoning. Some who date only much older people may be seeking a parental figure more than a romantic partner. They may be insecure about finances and thus want to be with someone established in his or her career. If you have a history of dating people who are significantly younger than you, maybe you like feeling like your partner admires your experience, or perhaps you're just not physically attracted to other people your age."
If you insist to marrying someone who is much older or younger than you are, Villines wants you to consider the following:
o "No matter how understanding you are, it's likely that you're going to bump up against some generational differences. You might have different political views, find each other's music obnoxious, or have no understanding of historical events that profoundly influenced your partner's life. Bridge this difference by probing deeper and making a concerted effort to understand your partner's viewpoint. A big age difference provides you with valuable opportunities to learn about alternative perspectives and experiences."
o "Although age differences can create some challenges in your relationship, focusing too much on age can backfire. While you need to be understanding of generational differences, attributing every disagreement to your partner's age can leave you both feeling self-conscious and misunderstood. If you frequently tell your partner his or her age doesn't matter, your partner might end up feeling like age is a significant issue, or even that you're in the relationship specifically because of the age difference."
If you find yourself having to explain to others the age difference between you and your partner, or you often feel embarrassed about the age difference, then it would be foolish of you to get married to each other. That would be a built-in recipe for disaster.
A July 2016 Glamour Magazine article by Ashley Ross states, "Couples with a big age difference need to think things through or risk finding themselves at conflicting stages in their relationship."
Don't let the need for sex urge you into getting married, or the fear of getting too old lure you into a trap of making a poor decision. Take your time. Think clearly.

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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Work together for the common good

August 03, 2017

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." -- Isaiah 42:16

Tune into any of the television networks or go online at anytime, and a headline or breaking news story will tell you of crisis, political turmoil and dissatisfaction -- and one way or the other the blame is placed on leadership.
We have just come shy of three months of sweeping changes in the political landscape of our country, and already the cry is 'woulda, coulda, shoulda leadership'. Indeed, these are perilous times of which Jesus told us would come as a result of end times. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will occur across the United States of America. It will be the first time since 1918 that a solar eclipse has crossed the country from coast-to-coast.
Wow, God willing, I want to experience this!
When it comes to leadership, there will always be opposition. The question was asked about Jesus: "What evil hath he done?" None really, we just want to see him crucified. And this is what leadership is all about. You will never, ever satisfy everyone, so why groan, whine and sigh?
Sometime ago, I was given a copy of "Singapore's Four Principles of Governance" by Lee Hsien Loong. It is an edited extract of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long's address to the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management Biennial Conference in Singapore, October 24, 2004. As the late P. Anthony White said, "for what it's worth", I share it with you:

According to the Singaporean PM, successful governance must have at its core a set of principles or values that are enduring and relevant to the people living in that society. Strategies and tactics may change, but principles are anchors that give governments a firm footing even in uncertain or turbulent times.
Key leadership: "In Singapore's case, we have, over time, evolved our own principles of governance, which include both universal and unique elements. One way they can be expressed is as four principles, which summarize our experience and values.
"First, we believe that leadership is key. We are a small country. If other countries are like big oil tankers, Singapore is only a speedboat. We are more vulnerable at sea, but also more agile and better able to avoid hazards. We therefore must have able leaders to steer our speedboat. Whether in the political arena or in public administration, we need leaders who can articulate a compelling vision that will inspire Singaporeans and mobilize them to achieve their best for the country. We need leaders who will do what is right, and not necessarily what is popular. They must have the moral courage and integrity to acknowledge and correct past mistakes, and recognize when an existing policy has outlived its usefulness and must be discarded or changed. This is why we have done our utmost to ensure that our public sector continues to attract its fair share of the nation's talent. This imperative drives our systems of recruitment, career development and remuneration."

Anticipating change: "Another universal principle is to anticipate change and stay relevant. Given the pace and scale of change facing all countries, no public service can afford to be passive and reactive, following established rules and administering existing systems. We need to be open to new ideas, and to keep questioning old assumptions, and never be trapped in the past. This is easier said than done.
"In Singapore, we recently carried out an exercise to rethink the role of our civil service. We reached a few conclusions. The civil service should take more risks, instead of always sticking to the tried and tested. It needs to be more familiar with businesses and markets, and be a facilitator instead of just a regulator of business. And it needs to function in a more networked fashion, to cope with new issues that are complex and multifaceted."

Rewarding work: "The third principle is reward for work and work for reward. This principle reflects Singapore's political values. It has evolved overtime and has become a basic part of the outlook of our people. Singaporeans understand that no one owes us a living, and given our set of circumstances -- small, without natural resources and highly dependent on the outside world -- we can earn a living and safeguard our future only through our efforts and wits.
"While self-reliance is a fundamental and unchanging spirit amongst our people, its actual implementation has to be continually calibrated and fine-tuned. If we depend entirely on individual responsibility and leave the weaker members of society to fend for themselves, we undermine the bonds that hold our society together. But if we provide too generous a safety net, it will eventually sap the self-motivation of the population and the country will stagnate. Every government has to strike this balance, which will vary from country to country. But in Singapore, the concept of working for reward, and rewarding those who work is deeply ingrained amongst workers and employers."

Opportunities for stakeholders: "The fourth principle of governance is to create a stake for everyone, opportunities for all. The end goal of any governance system is not institutional strength, or even economic wellbeing, but nation building. It is about creating an inclusive society where citizens not only enjoy economic wealth, but feel a sense of ownership and belonging.
"Our goal is to make Singapore a land of opportunity, a home we love, a community we belong to, and a country we are proud to call our own. This requires careful balancing among competing forces. We need to promote a sense of collective responsibility in an age of individual empowerment. We need to build emotional stakes in our society even as globetrotting is an everyday occurrence. And we need to preserve our core values as a nation amid a sea of competing ideas and influences.
"Principles are empty words unless public officers believe in them, share them across agencies, and translate them into policies and practices. It is less important that public officers are able to recite the principles forward and backward, than that they intuitively understand and apply them in the course of their daily work.
"Principles are also not panacea for all issues of governance. Ours reflect Singapore's unique history and circumstances. They have served us well but we also have had our share of mistakes and misses. We have to continue to seek answers to difficult issues, like all other countries. But these principles have helped by creating a common basis from which we can tackle and solve the main difficult issues that arise in governing a country."
The beauty of God's word is the power of relevancy -- as it was then, is now and evermore shall be. Since by creation we were made male and female, and shaped in iniquity, it holds true that there will be errors and flaws in our lives, but we overcome and excel by the power of God's word. I believe in my heart that Bahamians are a unique and blessed group of people.
The time has come for us when we must not be divided by political dogmas and on our way to becoming a hate state, but work together, all of us for the common good of country, knowing that we only are doing this for the good of generations yet unborn.

o Email 241haystreet@gmail.com, rubyanndarling@yahoo.com, or Facebook Ruby Ann Darling with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's blessings!

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Our politics remains too juvenile

August 02, 2017

Every day I see signs of our political immaturity, and it is disturbing. We seem really clueless at times about the basic tenets of democracy. Well, I for one have no intention of giving comfort to such. It is in the national interest of The Bahamas for all who were in politics, who are in politics and who would like to be in politics, to grow up. This growing up requires a genuine display of at least three things.
First, growing up means displaying the ability to properly cope with dissent. The nature of democracy is to admit to the existence of competing or opposing views between parties and within parties. It is absolutely stupid for the man or woman who puts himself or herself forward for leader to be angry that someone else might do the same. How is it ok for me to think that I am good enough to lead, but think it is odd for someone else to believe that they can lead? Absolute nonsense. How sensible might it be for me to think that I should be persistent in my effort to become leader, but think that someone else who exercises the same persistence in seeking to become leader is ridiculous? What glorious absurdity of ignominy could lead me to think that way? It is asinine to hold a colleague as a traitor who exercises the beauty of contest in a contest-demanding system like democracy, and to go on seeking to shun such a soul because they have contested! Lord help us from this base foolishness that makes us look like less than a banana republic, but rather, a plantain plantation. Unless you are God; perfect in every way; expect dissent; it is part and parcel of a world filled with diverse people and thoughts. In fact, even God expects dissent and allows for it.
Second, growing up means not seeing enemies in your critics. What is it that makes you, a mere man, politician above examination and criticism? How can any man or woman on this planet, subject as we are to error and failure, find detestable the fact that someone would dare call into question their thoughts, words or deeds? Really! And what does it matter that such criticism comes from your friends or foe? Ought a friend to leave you to flail or flounder? Really! Would such a person still be a friend? "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend," says the Book of Wisdom. When a so-called leader regards his or her critics as an enemy simply because of their criticism, they show a level of maturity akin to that of a school-aged child. In this 21st century Bahamas, we need leaders who welcome criticism, acknowledging that it hurts, but assessing it for whether or not there is truth to be found in the same. At the very least, a leader has to know that hating your critic or making him or her out to be your enemy will do nothing to stop their criticism, and may in fact only escalate it.
Third, growing up means admitting that you need help. It is the fool who believes that he or she alone has all the answers. We all need help. There are no self-made men or women. Such a thought is an absurdity. Whether parents, guardians, family, friends, neighbours or stranger, we all have come to achieve what we have with the help of others. Rising to power does not immunize anyone from the need for help; in fact, it makes such a soul more in need of that help. There are no experts in national leadership, and all who have come to it are merely "practicing" the craft; doing more or less well depending upon their personal faculties, team competence and available resources. It is the wise leader who surrounds himself or herself with as many capable helpers as possible. That man who pretends he needs no one will surely fail in front of everyone.
Our task in The Bahamas is weighty. It truly requires a noble effort on our part. If we are mature, we will work together to get it done. If we are not, we will not. National development is not a game; and it is not an ego trip. It is a serious business, the success or failure of which will have enormous consequences for us all. It is a complex task that requires considerable mental and intellectual application, which no one person or small group of persons has. Good sense, innovation and helpfulness are not partisan devices; they can emerge from souls of any political persuasion. It is the mature political leader who recognizes this, and attempts to harness it for the common good. Sycophantic followers might be beautiful for the stroking of the ego, but they are ugly for the leading of the people. It is time to grow up and get to work in the most masterful way. The election is over; the winners and losers of seats are settled; there is now only the nation, its citizens and its cause. Let's grow up, put our shoulders to the plough and get to work! Enough already!

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

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The PLP's reality

August 02, 2017

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."
- Henry Ford

"Honesty is the first step to wisdom and truth."

The Bahamian people have spoken loudly and unambiguously. Their verdict was decisive, as was their rejection of the former government. Their voice thundered across the archipelago. Anyone who did not hear them is either deaf or in serious denial.
The PLP secured 37 percent of the vote, the lowest in the post-independence Bahamas. The FNM received 57 percent of the vote. However, there is good news for the PLP in the FNM results -- 54 percent of the persons who voted FNM did so to be rid of the former government. They want the PLP to return to its original core values and its commitment to ordinary Bahamians. They want the leaders of the party to show humility and to listen to them.
I have previously said that it is my firm belief that the PLP has always been a populist party and hence, the natural party to govern The Bahamas. For most of the last 64 years the PLP was at the heart of, and attuned to, the people's struggles, including the right for all Bahamians to vote, for majority rule, for independence, for workers' rights, for better health care, for educational opportunities, for the aged, for the infirmed and, most importantly, for the youth of our land.
The former government made many mistakes. They ignored sound advice from well-intended persons. They disregarded the views of Bahamian professionals over foreign consultants and they took the voter for granted.
To their credit, the former government achieved many laudable milestones. They advanced programs for economic growth, national health insurance and border security. They negotiated and facilitated the opening of Baha Mar and the transition of The College of The Bahamas to the University of The Bahamas. The control of Bahamian air space was negotiated by the former government and during its tenure, great progress was made in sports. All of these are noteworthy accomplishments.
Admittedly, the PLP's brand is injured and we all know why. The party is hurting, but it is not dead. It is down, but it is not out. A noble idea like the PLP, with its rich history and its incomparable legacy, must not be permitted to die. It must recover and continue to do many great things for the benefit of all Bahamians.
It is the responsibility of Philip Davis to take the lead in bringing us together, to heal the wounds, so that we can restructure the party. It falls to him to be the undisputed voice of the party, to articulate a visionary course and to craft a unifying agenda. He must reassure the party's base that the PLP remains viable and still represents the best hope to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of Bahamians who are too often left behind. He must reach out to those who voted for the FNM just to be rid of the former government.
Philip Davis is expected to restructure and reorganize the PLP to be responsive to diverse ideas, talents, energy and fully engage our young people.
Since it was a PLP government that established the University of The Bahamas, it would be farsighted to embrace the ideas of the brilliant minds at the university in formulating plans to realize the immense wealth that is contained in and under our 100,000 square miles of sea. I think of the expansion by Bahamians of our fishing industry, the development of the "aragonite" industry and the realization of the benefits of our oil deposits. It must be clearly understood that all Bahamians must be shareholders in the entity that owns the aragonite and oil industries.
The PLP very progressively proclaims a message of economic empowerment of the average citizen and clearly demonstrates how such empowerment will be achieved.
I encourage the leader and all PLPs to remain resolute and to stand firm. If we accomplish the work that is necessary, always seeking God's guidance, we will succeed.

o George Smith is a former MP and Cabinet minister.

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Stop the blame game

August 02, 2017

There has been a lot of agitation and blame about "foreigners" raping our marine and fisheries resources. In my view, this debate and blame game is misconceived and futile.
Simply blaming the "foreigner" and focusing on "foreign" depletion and exploitation, but continuing to allow the same unregulated exploitation and depletion only by Bahamians, is not the answer. It is a recipe for environmental disaster.
In my view, the challenges faced in The Bahamas by the rape, pillage, ruin and unsustainable depletion of our marine and fisheries resources, and the unrelenting destruction of our mangroves and coral reefs, requires rational, deliberate and careful attention.
It can perhaps be most effectively addressed by the new FNM government adopting a more enlightened and effective approach by meaningful consultation with those most knowledgeable and experienced in the field (particularly from the Family Islands) to review existing, and enacting modern, laws; and then investing in continuing education, regulatory resources, oversight, supervision and enforcement. This will have the added benefit, as always, in a green economy, of creating hundreds of new jobs in the private and public sectors in education, management and regulation.
If non-citizens have status, and in conjunction with Bahamians obtain necessary permits and engage in sustainable marine resource husbandry, they cannot be made scapegoats. If foreigners and Bahamians engage in illegal activities, then both should be prosecuted.
The "blame the foreigner" game does not cut it anymore. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that the answer is to restrict and prevent exploitation by Americans, Chinese, Dominicans, Cubans or other foreigners. Indeed, in properly and respectfully husbanding our marine environment, they may helpfully partner and share their resources and skills with Bahamians. We must not "fear the foreigner". If we build on a foundation of self-respect for our own environment, and we have our house in order, we could securely invite them in as respectful guests.
The Bahamas must develop an environmentally and economically sustainable marine and fisheries industry.
The real issue is to ensure that the bounty that we are blessed with in our marine and fisheries resources is not exploited to extinction by anybody, Bahamian or foreign.
It's easy, thoughtless and often politically expedient to pillory, attack and blame the foreigner; to make the foreigner the scapegoat or the evil ogre; to blame Bahamian women and marriages of convenience; or persons who have never fished investing in the fishing industry.
The reality is that they are merely a symptom of the dis-ease we face generally in The Bahamas of not passing sensible laws after sensible consultation with those most knowledgeable and most affected, and then not properly and effectively enforcing them against Bahamians and foreigners alike.
Just passing laws in Parliament doesn't convert the objective of the laws into reality if there isn't practical and effective enforcement. The visionary Planning and Subdivision Act is a perfect example of parliamentary legislative futility.
So I believe that investing in effective supervision, control and management of our marine resources, insofar as anybody is concerned, will help to ensure that we have an environmentally and economically sustainable fisheries industry in the future.
It is not possible, and it is not realistic to expect the FNM government to just simply wave a magic wand and fix decades of neglect and abuse.
It will take responsible citizenry involvement, time and dedication, and an open and willing ear by the FNM government to help to properly develop an environmentally and economically sustainable marine and fisheries industry, and to protect our mangroves and corals reefs.
The issue faced by our marine and fisheries industry is similar to that we face with anchor projects, birthed in the bosom of PLP corruption by secret heads of agreements. These white elephant anchor projects have spread like an economic AIDS virus throughout The Bahamas, infecting our body politic. They have resulted in colonial plantation slavery-style developments in the Family Islands where the foreigner exploits our land and coastal resources as in Bimini Bay and Baker's Bay in Guana Cay. They result in disrespect for local rights. They result in environmental, cultural and economic degradation and devaluation.
However, let me be clear once again. I am not anti-foreign nor anti-development. It's not the foreigner that is to blame.
The blame must be put squarely at the feet of our past Bahamian Cabinet ministers and politicians who have allowed, encouraged, and often corruptly profited, from foreign developers and unregulated developments. The PLP has encouraged "invaders not investors"!
Until we, the citizens of The Bahamas, take ownership and responsibility for our own future, learn to respect our own environment, our own culture, our own economy, our own patrimony, we cannot blame "foreigners" when they come in and are actively encouraged by Bahamian politicians to rape and pillage the limited resources of our homeland, our sweet Bahamaland.
The foreigner is not to blame; it is the corrupt and visionless politician and our citizenry that sits back and allows them to do that.
Now, "It's The People's Time", and as citizens of The Bahamas we must take responsibility for our homeland. We must vision the future that we want and in collaboration with the FNM government manifest it into reality.
Simply blaming the foreigner, demanding that more unenforced laws are passed, then blaming and being impatient with the government is not going to help.
This FNM government was swept into power by an incoming red tide of frustration and exasperation at a PLP government that was deaf to the loud demands of its citizenry. I am confident that this FNM government will react positively to the peoples' voices. Otherwise, the same tide will take them out; albeit the color may be different; perhaps green, but pray God, never gold again!

o Fred Smith is a Queen's Counsel.

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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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