• Michael Johnson wins JA New Providence and Toastmasters International’s annual speech competition
    Michael Johnson wins JA New Providence and Toastmasters International’s annual speech competition
  • 'Wearable Art meets Wall Art' shows off unique styles at event opening
    'Wearable Art meets Wall Art' shows off unique styles at event opening
  • Bahamians show a love for sculling at St. Valentine's Regatta
    Bahamians show a love for sculling at St. Valentine's Regatta
  • Fishermen's bounty enjoyed at Romora Bay
    Fishermen's bounty enjoyed at Romora Bay
  • Art for the Parks spotlights Bahamian beauty
    Art for the Parks spotlights Bahamian beauty
  • Young scientists receive awards
    Young scientists receive awards
  • Registration opens for Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend 2014 events March 21-23 at Treasure Cay
    Registration opens for Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend 2014 events March 21-23 at Treasure Cay
  • 50th Annual Heart Ball a great success
    50th Annual Heart Ball a great success
  • Small Island Developing States conference calls for greater sustainability
    Small Island Developing States conference calls for greater sustainability
  • U.S. Coast Guard Cutter VIGOROUS Officers and RBDF Marines team up to inspire Woodcock Primary students
    U.S. Coast Guard Cutter VIGOROUS Officers and RBDF Marines team up to inspire Woodcock Primary students

Local chapter of AKA Sorority launches anti-human trafficking campaign for 2014
Submitted by Phylicia Laramore   

NASSAU, Bahamas -- January 10th 2014, The Bahamas celebrated its first Majority Rule Day. A day that speaks to the empowerment of Bahamian people to address inequalities, discrimination and social ills within our nation.  For the ladies of the Eta Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), this day was best suited to launch its 2014 Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign. As a prelude to Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day (January 11th 2014) the members of the sorority paused to discuss this growing issue, alarming statistics and the chapter's commitment to awareness, advocacy and action.

In an effort to bring awareness to the international issue of human trafficking with special attention to women and children victims, the chapter launched its Denim and Pearls initiative. Led by the Social Justice & Human Rights and Connections committees the members posed in their denim and pearls with signs calling attention to raising international statistics. Denim was chosen to represent 'navy blue,' which is the official color for human trafficking awareness.

The chapter is committed to its international mandate to address gender equality issues including: human trafficking and domestic violence, services for children with incarcerated parents, youth aging out of foster care and children in homeless shelters. In addition, voter empowerment; access to technology; training of parents as advocates for educational and health care needs of children and support of the arts are emphasized as sorority initiatives.

For 2014, the Eta Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. looks forward to meeting with respective Ministers of National Security, Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Social Services and with the Attorney General to discuss the role of civil society and nonprofit organizations in the fight against human trafficking and other relative issues. Through social media, articles and other communication avenues the chapter will bring about awareness and advocate for supportive programs for victims.

GB Chamber instruct lawyers to defend the Hawksbill Creek Agreement
Written by Leigh Termath   

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- After months of discussions and meetings, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce licensees have made a decision to go forward with a Judicial Review and instructed their legal council to prepare final submissions on whether the new Budget fees and regulations implemented under the Customs Managements Act, which came into effect July 1, 2103, were lawful under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement (HCA).

After having exhausted all other means, the Chamber has been left with no option but to defend itself, its members and the GBPA licensees from the enormous costs that the new 2013 fee/tax structures have created on doing business. “We had hoped that initial reports and based on previous comments by the Prime Minister, that these fees would be reversed, but they have not come to fruition,” said President of the Chamber Barry Malcolm. “We need to defend the constraints of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement that we live under, and our members are demanding action to protect the business model set up in Freeport.”

After much consultation with the businesses in Freeport, it was determined that the 3,500 licensees in the city are mainly concerned about the one per cent Customs administrative processing fee which, given Freeport’s industrial economy and volume of container imports/exports, dramatically increases companies’ costs. “It’s not only the industrial companies that are feeling the pinch, it’s the everyday ‘mom and pop’ stores that are struggling to compete and stay open with these extra costs,” Mr. Malcolm said.

The action will be led by Fred Smith, QC and Callenders & Co., and the Grand Bahama Chamber has secured substantial financial support to proceed. They are still asking for as many businesses and GBPA licensees as possible to join those who have already finicallycommitted and been named in the action.

Events planned for Heart Month
Submitted by Ingrid Sears   

NASSAU, Bahamas -- 25% of all deaths in the Bahamas were directly related to heart disease, according to The Department of Statistics in 2009.  Today, heart disease remains the major cause of death in The Bahamas. It is also the main cause of death around the world.

February is celebrated annually as Heart Month. The year 2014 marks the anniversary of the 50th Heart Ball. The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and The Bahamas Heart Association want you to get involved, help to save a life, and to keep your heart healthy.

The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation is a non-profit entity, established in 1961 by Evelyn, Lady Sassoon, that helps to repair the hearts of children in The Bahamas. The Heart Ball Committee is the fundraising arm of The Heart Foundation; it consists of a group of dedicated volunteers who help to raise funds to repair children’s hearts. The Heart Ball Committee has hosted the Annual Heart Ball from 1965, as the main fundraiser to aid the Heart Foundation. To date, over 4,000 people have benefitted from the generosity of The Heart Foundation.

The Heart Foundation works along with The Bahamas Heart Association to educate and inform the public about living heart healthy lifestyles. The Bahamas Heart Association comprises of volunteers who provide their time and services to the following goals:

  • Assist the children in need, in our community with the cost of heart investigations and surgery.
  • Advises the public through the media of all aspects of heart disease, risk factors and preventative care. Speakers and educational material are available to schools, youth groups, service clubs and other public meetings.

The Bahamas Heart Association, The Heart Foundation, with the aid of the Heart Ball Committee and sponsors, have jointly scheduled several events during heart month to create awareness of heart disease, to help persons live heart healthy lifestyles and to help raise funds to repair children’s hearts.  The public is invited to attend these events.

Wahoo Smackdown IV tournament on track to be best ever
Submitted by John Bell   

Team from Wahoo Smackdown III (Credit: Kent Krebeck)ALICE TOWN, Bimini -- With a record of $90,000 in cash and prizes at stake and an anticipated 40 teams angling for some of that total, Smackdown IV hosted by the historic Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina should make teams shout Wahoooooooo!!!

The tournament, scheduled for February 27th through March 1st, features $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $2,500 for third (a guarantee based on 35 boats participating). Teams can also claim prize monies for Biggest Fish, Heaviest Three Fish and Grand Total Heaviest Fish.

“Based on the growing popularity of this Wahoo tournament series, we are on pace for 40 teams,” said tournament director Captain Chase Camacho. “Wahoo are running strong here in Bimini so we should have lots of action.”

Last November, the third installment of the Wahoo Smackdown saw a record 32 boats and 175 anglers taking home more than $60,000 in cash and prizes. Team Brizzo Fishing from Coral Gables, Florida took home first place and largest fish honors.

Camacho said the entry fee for the Wahoo Smackdown IV (which includes four anglers per boat) is an affordable $1,250 ($100 for each additional angler).

Young Grand Bahamians participate in Chicago International Model United Nations

From left to right: Andrew Goodrum, Brittany Malcolm, Jessica McBrayer, Sophie Paine, Marlena Leonard, Chad Haddad.Written by Sophie Paine, IB1 student from Lucaya International School

On the 23rd of January, 2014, I travelled to Chicago, Illinois along with five other students and two teacher advisors from Grand Bahama’s Lucaya International School to attend the Chicago International Model United Nations (CIMUN) conference, coordinated by the Model United Nations Development Organization.

Model United Nations is essentially a simulation of the real United Nations and it aims to educate students at both high school and university level on the issues of diplomacy and international politics. Each club is assigned a different country to represent. In our case, we were allotted Switzerland. Teams then spend months familiarizing themselves with their respective countries and carry out research pertaining to the topics which will be debated at the conference.

CIMUN consisted of 20 UN committees, each dealing with different aspects of peace and international security. We made the decision to split our group up so that we could be present in three different committees. Andrew Goodrum, Brittany Malcolm and Chad Haddad attended the Present Day General Assembly Committee, Jessica McBrayer and Marlena Leonard were on the Disarmament and International Security Committee, and I was a part of the International Press Delegation, a body designed to report on the various topics being discussed at the conference.

There were approximately 1,200 students who attended CIMUN, altogether originating from seven different countries and three different continents. The conference commenced on Thursday evening with an opening banquet, and closed on Sunday afternoon with an awards ceremony.

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