Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekend Events in Grand Bahama


Friday, October 30th, 5 - 6pm First Anniversary of the Re-Opening of the Garden Cocktail Reception for "Friends of the Garden". We would like to say "thank you" to you, our members, for your support throughout our first year of operation!

Saturday, October 31st, from 8am until 2pm. We will be conducting our monthly Plant Nursery Sale, a wonderful opportunity to purchase inexpensive, home-grown, healthy plants for your yard and garden. We have over hundred palm trees such as Washingtonia, Adonidia, Areca, Alexandra and Coconut. All are offsprings of those in the Garden where some have attained heights of 30 feet. You may select from hardwood trees like Horseflesh, West-Indian Almond, Guinep, Gumelemi, Java Plum and Tamarind. Or why not plant our National Flower, the Yellow Elder, as a showy bush or small tree in your garden? Our staff will point out those plants that are especially attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, like Firecracker, Lantana, Firebush and others. Drive right up to our plant nursery by following the sign off Midshipman.



We have tons of new and used goods just in time for Christmas!

- Woman’s & Men’s Clothing (New and used)
- Sunglasses, jewelry (Charms that fit Pandora bracelets)
- Great Christmas ornaments, bags, tins, wrapping etc
- - Makeup, designer inspired handbags

We are sure you will be able to find something for that
special someone at a price no one else will be able to
touch; come check us out in the Bonded Warehouses
off of Queens Hwy right down the way from Freeport Tires
in unit #9 or contact us via email at;

Please also note that we take orders for anything you
might want but cannot find in our store!

Bahamian mountaineer climbs the Himalayas


Tribune Freeport Reporter

Grand Bahama, Bahamas-
FREEPORT- Mountaineer Dave Mellor has again successfully planted the Bahamian flag atop one of the highest mountains in the world, braving intense cold and treacherous conditions in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. Mr Mellor was a member of the British/ Canadian expedition on September 28 that climbed Manaslu, which peaks at 26,781 feet - the eighth highest mountain in the world.

He left a large Bahamian flag, along with some Bahamian coins and a packet of sand from Lucayan Beach at the top of the mountain.

With the success at Manaslu added to his "bucket list," Mr Mellor has been invited for another attempt at Everest in the Spring of next year.

"I am thinking about it . . . the bucket list gets bigger," he said, on returning home to Grand Bahama after an arduous journey in the Himalayas.

The Manaslu expedition that Mr Mellor was apart of has broken four world records. It contained both the youngest climber at age 21 - Bonita Norris of England -and the oldest at age 68 - Dave Mellor.

Dr Guy Willett and Emma Jack are the first two people to actually climb the mountain and then ski all the way back to base camp.

After arriving in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, Mr Mellor and his team members journeyed for nearly nine days to base camp for their climb to Manaslu, which is located in the wild part of the Himalayas on the border with Tibet.

"A relatively comfortable four hour ride in a bus was followed by a really uncomfortable, bone jarring pounding for six more hours in a four-wheel drive Chinese truck on what must have been one of the worst roads in the world," Mr Mellor recalled.

The next morning, he said, the group walked from a tiny village about 200 feet above sea level along a series of beautiful river gorges.

"There was mile after mile of breathtaking high waterfalls crashing into the valley fuelled by the monsoon rains which were still very active. The monsoon season is similar to the hurricane season in the Bahamas, except that it is probably a lot wetter.

The expedition team encountered leeches during their hike along the trail and camped in tea houses, which were cramped and infested with parasites. They kept warm by dung fires.

At base camp, the British/ Canadian expedition joined other expeditions from China, Switzerland, Chile, and Slovakia, as well as a big international expedition.

Mr Mellor said the expeditions worked together to establish a safe route up the mountain.

According to Mr Mellor, Manaslu is beautiful, but the remote and high mountain has a serious reputation.

He noted that the fatality rate of climbers was one in four until just a couple of years ago.

The intense cold, 100 mph winds, massive avalanches and treacherous glaciers riddled with hidden crevasses, accounted for most of the deaths, but falls, exhaustion, and illness also took their toll.

In preparation for the climb, the six expeditions stocked four additional camps and waited for the weather to settle. After receiving a four day forecast of good conditions, they moved quickly to the top camp, where they rested for a couple of hours. They made their attempt at 2am on September 28, which was supposed to be final day of good weather.

"It was a long, hard slog. The oxygen level at 26,000 feet is only a third of what it is at sea level, so it compares to running flat out on a treadmill ... breathing through a straw!

"We had to use head torches to light our way over the difficult terrain until the day began to dawn at 6am. Fortunately, there were no complications and by 10am we were all on the summit on a glorious sunny day.

"I left my usual calling card, a Bahamian flag, a set of Bahamian coins, and a packet of sand from Lucayan Beach," he said.

Mr Mellor's expedition team made it safely down the mountain, missing a storm by a few hours. However, he said the journey down the mountain for the Slovenian expedition resulted in the death of one climber, who was killed by falling ice.

The expedition travelled back to the first village just as the weather changed and climbing season was closed for the winter. Mr Mellor noted that four feet of snow had already fallen up where their base camp had been.

The team were very fortunate to get a ride back to Kathmandu in a Nepalese Army helicopter, a huge Russian M17 Troop Carrier.

"The nine days that it took us to walk in were reduced to just 45 minutes on the way out," he said.

Mr Mellor, who has been a resident of the Bahamas for the past 45 years, has been called a true ambassador - taking the Bahamian flag to the highest peaks in the world.
Read The Original Article

Full House for Bahamian Film RAIN

By Keen i Media Ltd

Grand Bahama Children’s Home executive committee members Carron Smith (far left) and Sarah Kirkby (far right) pose with organiser Daphne Ormerod (second from left), ‘RAIN’ producer, writer and director Maria Govan (centre), and the actor in the title role, newcomer Renel Brown (second from right). (Photo: Brent Bethel / Keen i Media Ltd)

‘RAIN’ producer, writer and director Maria Govan (right) responds to questions from the audience, (Photo: Brent Bethel / Keen i Media Ltd)

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA, OCTOBER 25, 2009 – Hundreds turned out to Regency Theatre in Freeport Friday evening to the gala showing of the Bahamian film ‘RAIN’, an event organised to raise much-needed funds for Grand Bahama Children’s Home.

The crowd was treated to ‘RAIN’, the compelling drama on film written, produced and directed by Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan, who was present for the event. The audience cheered as the film’s credits rolled, thrilled to see such a high quality film created in the Bahamas.

The actor in the title role, Renel Brown, also made a special guest appearance at the theatre. Director Govan and actor Brown took questions from the audience following the film and then joined the crowds in the theatre’s newly-renovated lobby for photographs and to enjoy fine wine, chocolates and hors d’oeuvres. One of the first indigenous feature films to come out of the Bahamas, ‘RAIN’ steers away from the simplistic perception of a postcard paradise, instead going “over the hill” in the Bahamas’ capital city, Nassau, and into the challenged life of a young local girl determined to get to know the mother who abandoned her as a young child.

L-R: Renee Brown, mother of Renel Brown; Renel Brown, the actor in the title role of 'RAIN'; writer, producer and director of 'RAIN' Maria Govan; event organiser Daphne Ormerod; enthusiastic supporter Maitland Cates; and mother of Maria Govan, Irene Govan. (Photo: Brent Bethel / Keen i Media Ltd)

Renel Brown, the actor who made her acting debut in the title role of the Bahamian film 'RAIN' poses with Bahamian fellow-actor and employee at the Grand Bahama Children's Home.

The audience was moved by the gripping story and gritty realism of the production. Many of those in attendance spoke of the high production values and depth of the storyline. Of particular note was the excellent portrayal given by Renel Brown in her first film role. More than six thousand dollars were raised to support the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, which provides a safe and compassionate refuge for dozens of local children in need.

The audience attending the showing of the Bahamian film 'RAIN' were thrilled with the story, performances and quality of the production. Many of those shared their views with the Keen i Media production who was on hand shooting a news story for Grand Bahama TV ( Keen i Media handled all marketing, public relations and technical production for the event. Shown here: Erik RUssell, president of Keen i Media, interviews S.L. Sheppard (centre), Bahamian director and playwright (whose play, 'Trapped in Marriage' recently ran at Regency Theatre), and Rico Thompson (right), camera operator and production coordinator at Keen i Media. (Photo: Brent Bethel / Keen i Media Ltd)

In addition to the support of those in attendance, the event was sponsored by many local businesses, including: FOCOL, Grand Bahama Port Authority, Grand Bahama Power Co, Kelly's Home Centre, Star General Insurance, ColinaImperial Insurance, Mechanical Engineering Ltd, Waugh Construction, Pisces Seafood Restaurant, Neptune's Cocktail Lounge, Dolly Madison Home Centre, Paint Fair, SMITTY'S of George Town Exuma, Keen i Media Ltd, Barefoot Marketing, Grand Bahama TV, Grand Bahama Info, Seventeen Shop, Island Java, Zorba’s Greek Restaurant, Wide World Travel, La Belle Beauty Salon, Cool 96FM and Love 97FM.

Learn more about ‘RAIN’
Learn more about Grand Bahama Children’s Home
Learn more about Regency Theatre

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grand Bahama Chamber announces nominees for its Excellence Awards

The Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) has released the names of the nominees for its upcoming Excellence Awards, which will take place on November 14, 2009 at the Regency Theatre.

The aim of the awards is to recognize businesses and business persons who have demonstrated commitment to community building.

For the Company of the Year Award for businesses with 50 employees or less, the nominees are Barefoot Marketing; Flamingo Air; BWA (Freeport) Ltd.; Freeport Gases Ltd.; Cool Breezes Restaurant; Freeport Jewellers; Island Bedding; Frank's Ice Cream; Bahama Buy & Sell; Professional Brokers; Magnolia's Restaurant and GT Brokers.

The nominees for the same award for businesses with more than 50 employees include The Garden of the Groves; Sawyers; Furniture Plus; Cable Bahamas; Bahamian Brewery and Freeport Restaurant (Kentucky Fried Chicken).

Vying for the Businessperson of the Year Award will be Jeffrey B. Butler Sr., Butlers Group of Companies; Jeremy Cafferata, Freeport Ship Services Ltd.; Donald Dean, The Architect Incorp.; Frank Outten, Frank's Ice Cream and Donald Roberts, Dolly Madison Furniture.

The competitors for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award are Derick & Reannah Singh, Cruzin Café; Ruthann Newton-Lightbourn, 1.9.6; Noel and Britton Clarke, Agave Restaurant and Debbie Borsetto, Now That's A Party.

The Philanthropic Business-person of the Year Award nominees are Frank Outten; Eddie Whan and Shuffel Hepburn.

Businesspersons are not the only ones who will be honoured, as student nominees will also be competing for the Business Student of the Year Award, which earns the winner a scholarship.

The nominees in that category are Dreshon Rolle, Jack Hayward High School; Vonette Malakius, St. Georges High School and Carissa Gaitor of Tabernacle Baptist Academy.

The winner of each category will be determined by the age of the business, the nature of the business, business achievements, contributions to the Bahamian economy, management and em-ployee relations, training, conduct and contributions made to the community or charity.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges appointed by the Chamber's board of directors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conchman Triathlon November 7th on Grand Bahama

Emma Davis - 2008 Winner in Womens Category
 image from

IN just under two weeks, the Bahamas' premier multi-faceted sporting event is slated to begin in the nation's second city, Grand Bahama, featuring swimmers, bikers and runners from around the world.

The 23rd annual Conchman Triathlon to be staged in Lucaya, Grand Bahama, is scheduled for November 7 amidst wide boulevard streets and crystal waters in a tropical setting.

Possiple competitors can register online at

The adult race features a 1K swim, 25K bike, and a 5K run, beginning 8am at Taino Beach.

The Iron Kids, which begins at noon, features a 200m swim, a two-mile bike ride and a half-mile run.

Groups for Iron Kids competition begin at six and under, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13 and over.

"The event is free courtesy of the sponsors -- Fred Smith and Sun Alliance Insurance. The first 100 to finish will receive T-shirts, medals and awards," Smith said in a release.

And presentations will be made to the first three finishers in each group (boys and girls). "All primary and secondary school students are eligible to participate," he said.

The Conchman Triathlon has been a staple of sports tourism since its inception almost 23 years ago.

In 1986, the principal organisers and founders, Ambrose Gouthro, Bert Bell and Craig Stewart, saw the potential of having a Bahamian triathlon and decided to launch it after seeing the success of the Iron Man triathlons in Hawaii and Bermuda.

"Mr Gouthro and Mr Stewart, then presidents of the Rotary Club of Lucaya and Rotary Club of Freeport, respectively, aimed to create a positive community event that would contribute to charitable organisations, which still stands in effect today," according to the event's website.

Organisers feel the Conchman provides an activity where Grand Bahama residents and visitors could come together to compete, build and maintain a healthy body and raise funds for Grand Bahama Rotary Club projects, BASRA and Freeport Aquatics Club.

At the time, Mr Gouthro says the proceeds of the event also went to the Polio Plus Organisation, which was, and still is, dedicated to eradicating polio in the world.

The first race was held at Xanadu Beach and consisted of the present distances, 1000 metre (half a mile) swim, 25km (15 miles) bike ride and a 5km (3 miles) run.

According to Mr Stewart, 166 persons participated with a fair number of entries from North America and Canada. There were 30 individual entries and 44 team entries that participated but of course only one winner in each category.

Over the next few years, the Conchman moved from Xanadu Beach to the former Holiday Inn, now Our Lucaya and then to its present location at Taino Beach, where it has garnered a lot of support and participation.

The upcoming Conchman promises to be an exciting, challenging and fun race for persons of all ages to enjoy. With the "potential to be bigger and better", the Conchman has come a long way in becoming one of The Bahamas' most respected and well-liked sports, hopefully for many years to come.

Grand Bahama set for new air services from Canada, US


Tribune Freeport Reporter

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - Tourist arrivals on Grand Bahama are expected to get a much-needed boost this quarter with the introduction of new air services from Canada and the United States.

David Johnson, senior deputy director-general of Tourism, told The Tribune that new services from Canada should begin as early as next week.

He also reported that new services from New York are expected to start by December.

Mr Johnson said the Ministry of Tourism and the Grand Bahama Airport Company have made much progress in the last 12 months in terms of lowering turnaround costs for airlines flying to Grand Bahama International Airport.

High airport fees and taxes have been a major deterrent in recent years for many airlines wishing to fly to Grand Bahama.

In an effort to attract more airlines to the island, Ministry of Tourism officials have been working with airport officials to lower the fees.

Mr Johnson said the Ministry of Tourism is pleased with the progress that has been made so far.

"We stepped up our marketing and as a result we have been able to attract new services, and we will see services coming from Canada as early as next week, from New York by December, and additional air services from Florida.

"We are not where we want to be, but we made a big dent in the right direction of bringing some relief to the airlines and passengers. We are committed to getting our cost lower, but of course more volume will help get there as well," said Mr Johnson.

The airline West Jet will begin services from Canada to Grand Bahama on November 2.

The low-cost carrier will provide two weekly non-stop flights from Toronto on a 737 aircraft. This is expected to bring 12,000 visitors to the island this winter.

Grand Bahama was the number one destination for Canadian visitors 35 years ago, and tourism officials are trying to win back that market. They feel the island's close proximity to the eastern seaboard of Canada was one of the main reasons behind the earlier popularity.

Tourism Minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace believes that Grand Bahama's proximity to the biggest market in the world should be reflected in how much it costs to get to Freeport.

"We cannot sit here and believe it is fine every single day that it is more expensive to come to Grand Bahama than to our competing destination," said Mr Vanderpool-Wallace in July.

The minister said it is important that all partners in Grand Bahama work together with the Ministry of Tourism to exploit the island's proximity advantage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Brother Kayak Nature Tour

Fun was had by all, image courtesy of James Sarles

Recieving safety instructions

By James Sarles

This weekend thanks to the generosity of Erika Gates and team at Kayak Nature Tour I took 10 boys from Columbus House out East to the Mangrove Creek system near the National Park for the Kayak Nature Tour.

Every Saturday myself and volunteers as part of The Rotary Club of GB Sunrise Big Brother Program spend time with the Columbus House 1 and 2 Boys. This weekend Shelly Kavanagh and Marina Sarles helped us with this exciting expedition.

We drove out East to the National Park where we were met by the friendly, knowledgeable Kayak Nature Tour guide Tony who gave the boys quick Kayak paddle instructions and helped us launch the Kayaks into the Mangrove Creek. This was the first time for most of the boys to learn to Kayak.

The tour was a fantastic team building exercise as two boys in every Kayak had to work as a team to maneuver through the winding Mangrove Creek. The scenery was beautiful and and felt like we were far far away from Grand Bahama in another world. The Kayak trip through the Mangroves was about an hour and a half and a great time was had by all.

Jamie with Columbus House boys

This is a wonderful Eco Tour experience for tourists and locals.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

GBPA is the official 'Gold Sponsor' of International Sailing Championships

The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) and Group of Companies, recently donated $12,000 to the Grand Bahama Sailing Club, becoming official gold sponsors of the upcoming 29er and 49er World Championships. For the first time, the International 49er and 29er Classes are bringing their World Championships to The Bahamas. The 2010 international sailing championships will be held in Grand Bahama, out of the Viva Wyndam Fortuna Resort, January 2 - 9.

Making the presentation on behalf of the Port Group of Companies was Hannes Babak, Chairman of GBPA. "The hosting of this event is a landmark achievement not only for the island of Grand Bahama but the entire Bahamas.

"Once again, our beautiful shores, facilities and people, will be broadcast to the world. Therefore, GBPA is more than happy to assist by providing funding for the hosting of such an event of this magnitude," Babak said.

The world-class event will be sailed under the auspices of The Bahamas Sailing Association and hosted by the Grand Bahama Sailing Club. About 150 boats are expected to participate with some 350 sailors.

The sailors, their families, support crews and race officials will be guests of the Viva Wyndam Fortuna Resort during the week of the races.

Accepting the donation was Joe Thompson, Com-modore, Grand Bahama Sailing Club, who expressed gratitude to GBPA for their support. "We have heard from competitors who are shipping their boats in from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Argentina, to name a few. Some crews are arriving up to a month before the event to train," Thompson added.

According to Grand Bahama Sailing Club officials, The Bahamas expects to field entrants in the 2010 29er World Championship, including International Sailing Federation Youth World participant, Donico Brown.

It is hoped that through sponsorship donations, a number of boats will be able to remain in The Bahamas after the regatta to become part of a strong sailing tradition in the country and to train future Olympic sailing athletes.

Current Entrants

Boat Name
Yacht Club
John Pink
Skandia Team GBR
Hill Head, Fareham

Tobias Schadewaldt
Knackiges Vergnügen
Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein

Santiago Silveira

Montevideo, Montevideo

Lauri Lehtinen
Team Fazerin Sininen
Espoo, Espoo

Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth
Sissi, Hobas, BMW, Tiwag
Innsbruck, Tirol

Will Phillips
Wooden Boat Shop
AUS 15
Sorrento, VIC

Francisco Piccini
Capital Federal, Buenos Aires

Ryan Seaton
wee gem
carrickfergus, Co.Antrim

Allan Noergaard
Team 49er
Christiansfeld, Jylland

Leopold Fricke

Rimsting, Bavaria

Dyen Emmanuel

Stevie Morrison
Stevie Morrison
Exmouth, Devon


Andrew Chapman

Sydney, NSW

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jazz singer Pam Woods, to perform Grand Bahama

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Jazz singer and pianist, Pam Woods, returns to Grand Bahama to perform for one night only, November 13th, at the beautiful Regency Theatre.

For years, Pam entertained and taught on Grand Bahama with her energetic talent. This dynamic vocalist, pianist and songwriter has been described as warm, personable and charming. Her talents have taken her all over the world, including Russia, Dubai, Canada, the United States Europe and the Caribbean.

Pam is thrilled to return to her beloved Grand Bahama and, along with some talented friends, will treat us all to an evening to remember.

Guest artists will include, The Lois Seiler Dancers, Leo Jones, Leonardo Jones and other artists from the Grand Bahama Community.

Tickets are $35 each and include an afterglow reception, and are available at Island Java, the Seventeen Shop and Italian Specialty Imports.

This program is brought to you by the GB Performing Arts Society. All proceeds will benefit performing Arts students on Grand Bahama.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Foxwoods' Our Lucaya deal 'comes alive again'

Image- Raddison Our Lucaya : © 2009 Lyndah Wells


Tribune Business Editor

The Government will know "in the next 24-48 hours" whether its preferred choice for Foxwoods Development Company to take over the Our Lucaya Resort's management/operations, as well as its casino, is back on track, Tribune Business was told yesterday.

The Tribune speculates that the deal, which has involved three-way negotiations between the Government, Foxwoods and Our Lucaya's owner, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, has "come alive again" after previously hitting the proverbial 'brick wall' over the issue of who would manage/operate the hotel component.

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, minister of tourism and aviation, confirmed to Tribune Business that the Government had been in contact with both Hutchison Whampoa and Foxwoods within the last 24 hours as it moves rapidly to revive a deal it sees as key to placing Grand Bahama back on the resort/casino/tourism map.

Tribune Business had contacted Mr Vanderpool-Wallace after being told by numerous sources familiar with the situation that the Government's preferred solution for Our Lucaya, namely for Foxwoods to take over management and operations at the hotel as well as the casino, had died a death.

"No, it's not dead," Mr Vanderpool-Wallace replied. "We have been in contact with them [Foxwoods] this morning, and Hutchison last night in Hong Kong. The answer is that it's not dead."

The minister added that the Government did "not yet" know the precise nature of any agreement that might be worked out between itself, Foxwoods and Hutchison Whampoa, "but we'll get a good sense of that in the next 24-48 hours".

Confirming that any deal would not involve "a purchase agreement", where Foxwoods would acquire Our Lucaya from Hutchison Whampoa outright, Mr Vanderpool-Wallace told Tribune Business: "These things are complex. You never know what form it will take."

However, other sources familiar with the situation told Tribune Business that the main sticking point to any successful agreement involving Foxwoods was who would run/manage the hotel component at Our Lucaya.

"The Government's preferred choice is Foxwoods, because not only will they take over the casino but brand the hotel," one source confirmed. "But they [Hutchison] would prefer to lease the casino and keep their staff in place. Foxwoods would come in and brand it with their own management.

"The sticking point is the way in which the relationship would move forward with the running of the hotel."

In other words, Hutchison Whampoa would be happy with a situation somewhat resembling the status quo, where the casino was leased to a third-party operator and it was able to run and manage the hotel itself.

The Government, though, wants Foxwoods to take over the management of the entire complex, and use its brand and gaming marketing database to put Grand Bahama back on the tourism/casino map. It would thus seem that the key to any deal would be for Hutchison Whampoa to shift its position to one more in line with the Government's thinking.

One source emphasised to Tribune Business that Treasure Bay Casino and Resorts Inc, the previously announced replacement for Isle of Capri as the Our Lucaya casino's operator, was strictly a second or 'fall back' choice behind Foxwoods.

"The Government would prefer Foxwoods because they offer us a global brand," the source said. "The deal had reached an impasse, then there was nothing and the second choice, Treasure Bay, the Government was going to deal with them. Then it came alive again."

The Government's main concern is that the status of Grand Bahama's tourism and resort industries continues to decline, sources said, with Our Lucaya's brand or 'flag' quality having dropped from Westin/Sheraton to a Radisson. Foxwoods' presence is being viewed as a move to reverse this.

Foxwoods' interest in the Bahamas, and Grand Bahama in particular, came to the fore several years ago when it was unveiled as the casino brand operating partner for the Royal Oasis, following Harcourt Developments' acquisition of the property. However, the global credit crunch and subsequent recession stalled Harcourt's plans to redevelop the property.

And Foxwoods was also interested in the proposed multi-billion dollar Bahamas Golden Beach Development project which, earmarked initially for a site in eastern Grand Bahama, was then switched to a possible site in Freeport. No progress appears to have happened there either in recent times.

The Government would appear to have some leverage, potentially, through which it could encourage Hutchison Whampoa to come into line with its thinking on Our Lucaya and the Grand Bahamian tourism market generally.

That is the potential scenario being created for Hutchison Whampoa to acquire the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), provided a settlement can be worked out between the warring current owners - the Hayward Family Trust and the late Edward St George's estate.


As Tribune Business previously revealed, the Government has moved to create pressure for a settlement between the families by only renewing the work permit of GBPA chairman Hannes Babak until year-end - a move seemingly designed to sever what are perceived to be the links binding him to Sir Jack Hayward.

This, so the theory goes, is designed to nudge Sir Jack towards settling with the St George estate. Once this happens, the Government's hope is that the families would then sell the GBPA to Hutchison Whampoa, which has some $1 billion in equity invested in Freeport via its interests in Our Lucaya, the Freeport Container Port, Grand Bahama Development Company, Freeport Harbour Company and the Grand Bahama International Airport Company.

Such a solution would once not have been contemplated by the Government, but it is now willing to look at such a solution given the extraordinary economic times in which it finds itself.

Foxwoods, which was founded and is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in the US, would certainly fit the bill when it comes to placing Grand Bahama on the map. The company now has six casinos that collectively offer more than 6,200 slot machines and 380 tables for 17 different types of table games, including 100 for poker.

The company boasts of being the largest casino in North America, with 340,000 square feet of gaming space in a complex that covers 4.7 million square feet. More than 40,000 guests visit it each day.

Accommodations at its Connecticut resort total 1,416 guest rooms and suites, and Foxwoods features more than 55,000 square feet of meeting space and 25 conference rooms.

MGM Grand at Foxwoods has added nearly two million square feet of overall space, featuring significantly increased hotel, entertainment, restaurants and gaming venues as well as enhanced corporate retreat, meeting and convention resources.
Article SOURCE

Don't Miss the film premier, Rain, At Regency Theatre

By Erik J. Russell / Keen i Media Ltd

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA, OCTOBER 22, 2009 – Theatregoers, film enthusiasts and Grand Bahama residents in general will be treated to a rare opportunity this week when “RAIN”, the film by Bahamian writer and director Maria Govan, will be shown for one night only at Regency Theatre on Friday, October 23.

One of the first indigenous feature films to come out of the Bahamas, “RAIN”, featuring Renel Brown as the title character and in her first film role, steers us away from the simplistic perception of a postcard paradise, instead taking us “over the hill” into the challenged life of a young local girl determined to get to know the mother who abandoned her as a young child.

Shot in a style that combines gritty realism, a bold and unforgettable colour palette, soulful Bahamian music, and the use of local actors alongside seasoned pros, “RAIN” takes us on a journey into the heart of a child, into the pulse of a country and the spirit of its people.

“RAIN” features a wonderful mix of fresh faces and veteran actors. Aside from Brown, there is Nicki Micheaux (who plays Rain’s mother, Glory); Micheaux has appeared in HBO’s Six Feet Under, Soul Food and Lincoln Heights. She has also taken roles in major American television shows, including The West Wing, NYPD Blue, ER, The Practice, City of Angels, and Desperate Housewives.

Veteran actor Irma P. Hall, in the role of Rain’s grandmother Rosalie

Irma P. Hall, in the role of Rain’s grandmother Rosalie, has an acting career spanning more than 35 years, working with such notable talents as Ron Howard, Tom Hanks and James Woods. She has appeared in a countless number of motion pictures including Beloved, Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil and 2004’s The Ladykillers.

CCH Pounder

CCH Pounder (Ms. Adams in “RAIN”) has appeared in over twenty feature films including Prizzi’s Honor, Postcards from the Edge, Face/Off, Robocop 3, and End of Days. Her television credits include The Shield, The X-Files, and she portrayed Winnie Mandela in FX’s original movie Redemption, for which she received Best Supporting Actress, TV from the 2005 FAAAF/Black Reel Awards.

“RAIN” has been recognised for its outstanding quality at film festivals including the Bahamas International Film Festival (Audience Award 2008), the Toronto Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Proceeds raised from the event will go towards the needs of those at the children’s home in Freeport.

The film will show at 8:00 p.m., with the question and answer session with the director and lead actor immediately following the showing in the theatre. That will be followed by a reception, with wine, fine chocolate and hors d’oeuvres.

Tickets are $20 and available at Seventeen Shop, Zorba’s Greek Restaurant, Wide World Travel and La Belle Beauty Salon.

Read Original Post HERE

Reviving Downtown


Freeport News Reporter

Preparing to move into phase two of the "Downtown Turnaround" initiative undertaken by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), officials say that once all phases are completed, businesses in the area would be better positioned to benefit for better times. GBPA En-vironmental Manager Nikira Wilchcombe said phase two is expected to begin as early as February of next year, moving into the core of the downtown area – City Market parking lot, Churchill Square and Bank Lane.

Before the project began, Wilchcombe explained that a survey was conducted on some of the things that the stakeholders would have liked to see in the area in terms of improvement to the general aesthetics.

She said the project seeks to bring about a transformation making downtown more appealing to the community. Since the project began back in April, Wilchcombe said they have already conducted a vagrancy study with the College of the Bahamas to find out the contributing factors of vagrancy in the area.

They have also paved Woodstock Road and placed handicap accessible sidewalks on Explorer's Way.

"We will continue to add some curbing and trees," she said. "Then we also had some building owners commit to painting their buildings before the end of the year."

By December 2010, Wilchcombe said it is hoped that the area can be opened for entertainment purposes to make it more festive and appealing for people, where residents would want to come to the city's centre.

"We hope that at the end of the day you can see increased commerce and productivity in the downtown area and a level of compensation that this is someplace that you want to be," Wilchcombe said.
Read the full ARTICLE HERE

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GB residents advised: now is the time to invest in land


Freeport News Asst. Editor

With land in Grand Bahama still considered cheaper than most Family Islands, Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) President William Wong advises all residents to see the unique potential of this northern island and invest in its natural resources.

Addressing members of the Rotary Club of Lucaya during their weekly meeting on Tuesday, Wong said the island is a beautiful place to invest in and that if it was possible to pull it closer to New Providence, it would be sold overnight. However, he does not understand why the rest of the country is not taking advantage of the attractive prices that exist here for land.

"I understand why a lot of people are not coming here right now because the economy is not that great, but more Bahamians should know how reasonable and downright inexpensive it is to buy land here," Wong said. "I think that the Government needs to provide some more economic packages to Grand Bahama to get those people from Nassau over here. I think that Government needs to bring some of its major ministries over here. To me, Governments just don't seem to have a plan."

Wong said Grand Bahama has so much potential. He said it has the infrastructure, and believes that there is no reason why half of the Bahamian population should not move here.

Taking an opportunity to express how she views such land matters, Rotarian Christine VanderLinde also noted that she saw no reason why residents should not take advantage of the appealing property sales in Grand Bahama.

She indicated that to purchase land at unbelievably cheap prices is a privilege. Furthermore, residents with a desire to own land can do so very easily by putting down a small amount on a piece of property and then make payments on it within a few short years. Yet, she does not understand why so many young people, especially those who are working, are not taking advantage of this valuable chance.

"I encourage all young people to pay down on a property. Pay down on it while they are young and by time they are about 27, they will be owners of land," she said. "We have so many young people who are buying cars and other material things, but they should concentrate on something that will give them long time value like a piece of land."

The sale of land has and continues to be a contentious issue for most local real estate firms in the country, with the main concern being the increasing number of American real estate agents who are being assisted with selling land in The Bahamas.

According to Wong, this issue has become their major focus and they will not stop until all persons engaging in this act are held accountable. He said in the midst of reduced tourism, reduced foreign investment, reduced employment and reduced Government revenue, it is necessary for his organization to underscore the point that only Bahamian realtors should really be selling land in the country.

"We are losing millions of dollars to persons from the United States selling property in The Bahamas and it is our Bahamian lawyers who are really facilitating this thing and this is wrong," he said.

BREA presently has a chapter in Grand Bahama and one of the things Wong said he wishes would happen for the chaper on the island is that the Grand Bahama Port Authority would recognise them as the only voice for real estate in the country. He revealed that he met with GBPA President Ian Rolle during a meeting that morning and is very encouraged by what was discussed.

The BREA President said Bahamian real estate agents cannot sell property in the United States, however, things have improved through a bilateral agreement with organizations such as NAR (National Association of Realtors) and FAR (Florida Association of Realtors) in that they will try and restrict their agents from coming to The Bahamas and selling properties.

"But no matter how you try, there will still be some dishonest realtors from the United States who will come and sell property in The Bahamas and that has to stop because they are taking bread from out of our mouths," he said.

Wong said he is impressed with how world leaders have finally worked together to ensure that everyone gets back on a prosperity track. He said the hope is that President Obama's plan and the trillion dollar injection into the world economy will lower mortgage rates, ease foreclosure rates, and that the optimism of a better economy will affect the stock market where investors will step from the sidelines to reinvest in the market, which Wong says could mean better business for The Bahamas.

"What we in The Bahamas always look forward to is a strong housing market worldwide because that is when prosperity in The Bahamas naturally gets stronger as well," he said. "The unique advantage that we have in The Bahamas is that we have never experienced the high rise and fall of prices. Based on the desire of a wonderful climate and a tax free environment, our prices have held well."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

SkyBahamas makes inaugural flight from Freeport to Turks and Caicos

Grand Bahama Island to Turks and Caicos in only 2 hours. Inaugural SkyBahamas flight on October 14th, 2009

Melissa M. Cartwright Marketing Assistant/ Charter & VIP Services Coordinator helps with a few raffles during the flight where SkyBahamas hats were given away for correctly answered trivia questions about the airline.

Grand Bahama Island - On October 14th SkyBahamas, The Bahamian regional airline took an inaugural flight to Turks and Caicos Islands. The Bahamas Weekly News Team and approximately 30 persons who are travel, business, and media partners were invited to join SkyBahamas management on a two-hour flight to sight-see on the beautiful city of Providenciales. Captains for the flight were Travis Stein and Blake Maura. On board offering first class SkyBahamas in-flight service was Jamal Evans.

While there, the group had lunch at Seven Stars resort where SkyBahamas’ CEO/President, Captain Randy Butler and Kevin Turnquest, Chairman of SkyBahamas had the opportunity to bring remarks on future plans to both the Turks and Caicos and Grand Bahama media about this initiative to commence non-stop flights from Grand Bahama Island to Turks and Caicos on a weekly basis.

CEO and Captain, Randy Butler helps pass out snacks to his guests.

SkyBahamas Team, l to r: Jessica Watkins, Marketing Director; Letera Pinder, Accounts Officer; and Melissa M. Cartwright Marketing Assistant/ Charter & VIP Services Coordinator at the SkyBahamas airport in Grand Bahama.

According to Chairman of the Board of Sky Bahamas, Mr. Peter Turnquest, with the pending launch of its scheduled service into Turks and Caicos and its continuous adherence to its core value of a culture of safety and passionate, quality service to its existing destinations, Sky Bahamas is prepared to take the commercial travel industry to a new altitude.

Flight guests were treated to a wonderful lunch at Seven Stars Resort in Provenciales, TCI.

CEO and Captain Randy Butler gives words to the Turks and Caicos press and those present at the lunch hosted by Seven Stars Resort in Provenciales, TCI.

“The Company is more than just about fancy words and well-crafted gimmicks. Those destinations who have come on board with us know very well that the proof is in the pudding, and we will continue to soar to new heights,” Mr. Turnquest said.

“Our plan is to no longer be just the regional airline of The Bahamas, but we at Sky are strategically positioning ourselves to be the industry leader of the Caribbean region.”
Original Article HERE