Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Columbus House Boys Jujitsu belt Promotion

Saturday 28th August,

Freeport, Grand Bahama- A group of young boys from the Columbus House For Boys, under the tutelage of Master Ivan Moss at the Jaguar school of Jujitsu  & Karate on Balao Road received their promotion from White belt to Yellow.
Master Moss and Master Missick first spoke to the boys about discipline and dedication and congratulated them for attending classes twice a week over the past year and that in Life they will witness trial and hardships but with foresight and patience they can achieve anything they put their minds to.

The ceremony was attended by James & Marina Sarles, visiting author & Photographer Christine Matthias. The Freeport news also came out to cover the event.

BFSB seeking top graduate

THE Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) is looking to recognise an outstanding 2010 graduate from within the School of Business, College of the Bahamas (COB).

This initiative is a joint venture of BFSB, COB and the Central Bank of the Bahamas, in collaboration with the Professional Industry Association Working Group (PIAWG) - a representative body for the various financial services industry-related associations in the Bahamas.

The criterion for initial selection is based on academic performance as demonstrated by GPA. Additional criteria include COB and community involvement, special interests, further education, and work/other experience.

The Selection Committee last week completed interviews with the finalists, who will be announced shortly. The final phase of the judging process includes the interviews and a written submission from each candidate.

The 2010 Student of the Year will be recognised at BFSB's Annual Industry Excellence Awards Ceremony on October 21. The Student Award programme is an integral component of BFSB's ongoing Financial Centre Focus (FCF) programme that addresses issues such as challenges impacting the sustained growth and development of the industry; improvements to the level of service; and attracting and maintaining qualified professionals.

This year, the sward is jointly sponsored by Societe Generale Private Banking (Bahamas). SG Private Banking has been a consistent co-sponsor of the student award since 2004. The Colina Group of Companies also supported the award as a co-sponsor in 2004 and 2005 under Colina Investment Advisors, and under CFAL as a cooperating partner in the ensuing years.

Grand Bahama Island rides cruise arrivals wave

By Clarence Rolle, MOT

 Freeport, Bahamas - Cruise ferry traffic to Grand Bahama Island is up 36 percent in the first seven months of 2010 compared to the same period of 2009, and a dramatic upswing in stopover visitors from the ferries has brought greater revenue to the island.

Much of this increase can be attributed to the decision by Bahamas Celebration to end its Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau itinerary in March in favor of calls to Freeport from West Palm Beach. In addition, Discovery Cruise Lines out of Ft. Lauderdale changed their product offering and ramped up their marketing activity, resulting in significant growth for them. Arrival numbers have been verified by the Ministry of Tourism up to the end of July and compared to the corresponding period for 2009.

David Johnson, deputy director general of the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, pointed out that the increase was realized throughout the cruise ferry industry in Grand Bahama.

“The numbers show that Discovery Cruise Lines over the same period registered a substantial growth even when we take away the April windfall because they hardly operated in April of 2009 due to severe mechanical difficulties,” Mr. Johnson said. “For May/June of this year, they attracted 39 percent more traffic.”

Substantial numbers of cruise passengers are staying overnight on Grand Bahama Island, contributing handsomely to the spending on the island, according to Ministry of Tourism & Aviation tallies. In a single sailing on a particular day, the Celebration registered over 700 stopover visitors out of 1,200 passengers, Mr. Johnson said.

In many ways, this is incremental revenue for the island’s principal resorts, he said.

For the year, Discovery Cruise Lines and Bahamas Celebration passengers have accounted for 69,123 room nights. The stopover visitors from the cruise ferries have generated well over $5million in revenue for Grand Bahama resorts.

Terrance Roberts, director for Business Development in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, said large and small business operators in Grand Bahama have been noticing increases in their revenue due to the upswing in cruise ferry traffic. Taxi drivers, water sports operators and various vendors are among the Bahamians who have been tapping into the increased business, he said.

This direct spending is in addition to the $20 per passenger departure tax paid to the government.

Michael Weber, general manager of the Radisson and Reef Village at Our Lucaya, said the increased numbers of cruise ferry passengers have made all the difference in business this year.

“They have made an impact this year versus last year without question,” he said. “We have increased on both sides – Discovery Cruise Lines and Bahamas Celebration. It’s been a double bang for us.”

Mr. Weber said Our Lucaya has been working with both cruise ferry operations. As a good partner, they have been involved with joint promotions that have helped to boost revenue.

The healthy rise in business is obvious with just a quick walk through the Our Lucaya property, Mr. Weber said. He said the bustling activity has put resort employees on a more steady economic footing than in the previous year. Many resort staff were working only one or two days per week last year while this year they are enjoying four and five day work weeks.

Mr. Weber said vendors and other business operators on Grand Bahama should be thankful for the improved financial position.

“If they look back and compare, they should be very grateful and appreciate what we have,” he said. “This place is hopping.”

Nako Brice, a taxi driver and tour operator, has also taken notice of the increased business from the cruise port. Now that more visitors are coming in, Mr. Brice said the island must work to develop more activities and attractions to occupy them.

In addition to the increased traffic from Discovery Cruise Lines and the Celebration, Mr. Brice has seen a jump in the number of passengers arriving aboard Carnival Cruise Lines as well. Between January and July, Carnival moved from 163,299 passenger arrivals to 263,071 – an increase of 61 percent.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Broadway Baby in concert with Dalia Feldman & Friends, September 25th

To celebrate her album’s release, a special concert will be held on Saturday evening, September 25, 2010 at 8 p.m. at The Regency Theatre. Dalia Feldman will perform songs from the new CD, including classic tunes from Cats, The King and I, Phantom of The Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie, My Fair Lady, and other popular long-running Broadway shows. Proceeds are to benefit the Grand Bahama Performing Arts Society. Photo: Lyndah Wells

 By Paula Boyd-Farrington

Freeport, Bahamas - Born into a family that loved the performing arts, Dalia Feldman grew up just a short bus ride from the bright lights of Broadway, and celebrated countless childhood birthdays with trips to shows in Manhattan—gifts from her generous older brother.

John Bull store reopens in Grand Bahama

photo: Derek Carroll


It is a pleasure for me to participate in this event that contributes to the further enhancement of product offerings at the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

Since its establishment in 1929, John Bull has built a solid reputation within The Bahamas’ business sector and internationally. Its product line has grown from its earlier days as a tobacco and toy shop, to the marketing and sale of a wide variety of designer goods to Bahamians and visitors alike. Since its earlier days, its number of store locations has also grown. In addition to its flagship store on Bay Street and its boutique stores in Nassau and Paradise Island; John Bull has established stores in Harbour Island, Abaco, Bimini, Exuma as well as this store in Grand Bahama.

Ladies and Gentlemen: In reflecting on the history of this store, it is interesting to note that its founders as well as its current management team have both confronted the challenges of an unfavorable economy with remarkable courage and entrepreneurial spirit. At the time of John Bull’s establishment in 1929, The Bahamas’ economy was experiencing the effects of the depression. Today, as The Bahamas’ economy weathers the current global downturn, John Bull has expanded this store in Grand Bahama, which boasts an even greater selection of products than its previous location.
We are grateful for this demonstration of confidence in the strength of our country’s economy and the contribution that it brings to the Grand Bahama community as a whole. I am told that this larger store now employs six (6) persons, with the possibility of this number of employees increasing in the future. It is also evident that the ‘new look’ of this store brings much delight to shoppers, as John Bull builds further on its reputation for meeting the needs of its customers.

 photo: Derek Carroll

Ladies and Gentlemen: On this occasion, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Principals of John Bull Ltd., on the expansion of this store, which is a substantial investment. It is my hope that the John Bull Group of Companies will continue to maintain its position as the ‘shopping mecca of the Caribbean,’ and it now gives me great pleasure to declare this store officially open!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Woman in Action: Robust Robbin

The popular bi-weekly newspaper of The Bahamas, The Punch did a feature on me today for their "Woman in Action" column. I'd like to share it with you. I would like to thank them for their interest. Here is what they wrote:

(The Punch, August 26, 2010) Robbin Whachell ls the editor, administrator, and co-founder of TheBahamasWeekly.com, an online news, community, events, sports, arts, culture, entertainment and Information source about The Bahamas which also provides a weekly email to Its subscribers. When asked why she choose this career path she notes:" My career chose me. I moved to Grand Bahama Island during the time when everyone was getting computers and painfully learning about viruses and email etiquette. I felt compelled to share information with my friends on my email address list. As I shared information my list grew.”

A short time later Robbin teamed up with David Mackey of Mackey Media and re-launched a website he used to run with photographer Tim Aylen. She notes, "This gave all my information a permanent home. Our desire to share information on things happening throughout The Bahamas. and not just Grand Bahama sparked us to launch TheBahamasWeekly.com. and there has been no turning back." Today TheBahamasWeekly is in the top five leading news sites featuring content on The Bahamas.


Robbin adds, “If someone was to tell me that one dav l`d be writing for a website which supports The Bahamas and that l'd be featured in videos online and on TV interviewing celebrities, I would not have believed them, yet as a child, I loved acting, meeting people, and writing. I always wanted lo help the underdog, and l have always been a good story teller.”


Robbin believes that the internet is a gift. She notes. “Anyone today can make a difference on the planet by what they do, and what they share online. The web is the ultimate sharing tool. Many times during my own career struggles I felt like giving up. It was at those times I' get an email out of the blue; someone either asking me to help their non-profit group, or to help them find a loved one, or someone thanking me for showcasing their cause; and it was those emails, which could come in from any comer of the world, that made me realize that what I was doing had great purpose and was worthwhile, and gave to not only the Bahamian community, but the global community as well.

My advice to anyone getting into any business is to give back. When you give you get, and I've based much of what do by being of service to community, and it‘s never steered me wrong. Support the non-profit groups, the youth groups, sports groups, as they are the pillars of our community."


When asked to describe herself Robbin notes, “I believe most people would think I am Bahamian, but I am not." She was actually born in the province of Manitoba, Canada. She notes, “I have a Bahamian friend that always says, 'Robbin loves The Bahamas more than Bahamians do'. I feel it may be true! l am not a Bahamian but I certainly appreciate all the aspects of what makes The Bahamas a shining jewel on the globe, and I am passionate about sharing all that it has to offer through our website.

She adds, “One of my personal missions is to assist Bahamian youth in any positive activity they may be interested in.” When she first moved here Robbin got involved in the sport of soccer, and is still involved today. She used to coach in the YMCA league, and she helped start the Grand Bahama Girls Soccer Development programme with Donnie and Mary Knowles, and continues to coach each year.

Super Woman

Truly a multidimensional woman, Robbin is passionate about "love, life, my children, The Bahamas, the world, humanity the sun, my native heritage, and making a difference. She notes, “I have learned a lot through studying the simple yet profound beliefs of the American Indians, such things as no man owns the land, respect for the earth and nature. l find it fascinating that The Bahamas was first occupied by the Lucaya Indians. Parenting is one of the most important things we can ever do. I have a quote on my refrigerator that reads, 'Motherhood is not for wimps'."

When asked what would you leave as your legacy to be, this fascinating lady comments, “When l think of legacies, I think of my children, of which I have four, and I hope that when my life has ended I would have inspired my children to feel empowered to be uniquely who they are, to feel safe ln any country of this wonderful world they may choose to live in, and to know that they are capable of anything (good or bad), and that they can effect change in their own lives and in the lives of others by reaching out and by being of service."

(Photo: Tohni Blower)

Giving pilots a 'bird's eye' view of Grand Bahama


Freeport News Reporter
Freeport, Grand Bahama- The Ministry of Tourism welcomed 40 members of the Florida aviation industry to Grand Bahama yesterday as part of its eighth annual Familiarization Tour.

The goal of the trip was to educate individuals on how easy it is for private pilots to fly their aircraft to and around the islands.

The group, comprised of pilots, fixed base operator (FBO) managers, customer service personnel, members of the media and flying clubs who participated in a round table discussion at the Our Lucaya Resort with Bahamas Customs and Immigration, Civil Aviation and local fixed base operators.

Greg Rolle, chief pilot and aviation specialist at the Ministry of Tourism's Florida office explained that the event was an important part of the ministry's efforts to drive tourists to The Bahamas.

"The indicators show us that a certain amount of our traffic comes from the United States and the majority of that, almost 65 percent of them come out of the state of Florida alone," he shared.

"So it just makes sense for us to cover all of those airports. A lot of these pilots do not even know about The Bahamas and all of the amenities that we have.

"We wanted to educate them, show them our product, show them what we have to offer in The Bahamas."

The visitors were shown a presentation about the airport by the director of commercial and business development for the Grand Bahama Airport Company, James Turner.

Turner said the company believes that it must make a greater effort to reach out to potential visitors.

"We've got to take a stronger posture in moving forward in determining how much traffic and what traffic comes through the airport," he said.

"It is incredible how people are flying over Grand Bahama going to Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma all of these other islands when we're so close and we have better facilities in most cases than many of the other places."

Representatives of the airport company recently made sales calls to several FBOs in south Florida and presented the attributes of Grand Bahama, he explained.

"Many of them hadn't been here in many years and had some less than honourable tastes in their mouths about what they experienced the last time they were here, so we extended an invitation for them to consider doing a familiarization trip."

Turner said he intended to speak with the group about some of the previous impediments to their use of the airport, and announced some of the things the company plans to introduce in the near future, such as the presentation of a new FBO facility at the airport.

Following the round table discussion, the group was hosted to a welcome reception and dinner, sponsored by the Grand Bahama Airport Company, the Ministry of Tourism's Grand Bahama office and the Grand Bahama Promotion Board.

The group will leave Grand Bahama today and travel to Green Turtle Cay, Abaco and then to George Town, Exuma.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FirstCaribbean gains honour

FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) has been awarded the Best Bank in the Bahamas honour at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2010.

Acknowledged as one of the most prestigious in the banking industry, The Awards of Excellence were unveiled at a gala dinner in London, attended by more than 400 bankers from across the globe.

FirstCaribbean's Chief Executive, John D. Orr, said the award acknowledges the bank's solid performance in a challenging economic environment.

"Enhancing shareholder and client value by providing innovative products and services is our key business priority. This supports our strategic focus of building long-lasting client relationships," he added.

Since 1992, Euromoney, the world's leading financial markets magazine, has singled out outstanding institutions in finance. The Awards for Excellence now incorporate 25 global awards for banking and capital markets; and awards for the best banks and securities houses in almost 100 countries around the world.

(Photos) Results of the 40th Annual Bernie Butler BASRA Swim Marathon

All photos by Derek Caroll

By The Bahamas Weekly News Team

Grand Bahama Island - The 40th Annual Bernie Butler BASRA Swim Marathon and Beach Party took place on August 21st at Coral Beach in Freeport. Each summer the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association organizes this family favourite to raise funds. This year was deemed by those in attendance, and from organizers, as the best ever!

Maya Albury of Freeport came out 1st overall for the women, and Dustin Tynes, also of Freeport came out 1st overall for the men.
This year the Tent Decorating Contest theme was The 70's. This year's winners were Lena Chandler, Laura Bethel, Renee Slone, Amber De Gregory, and Brad Bethel with their tent called Kapunkle.
View the related Facebook Event Page.

The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (Grand Bahama) is a dedicated non-profit voluntary organization committed to saving the lives of distressed seamen or airmen in the Bahamas. They are supported only by private donations and therefore require your support through their fundraising projects. Aside from the costs of their daily operations and rescue efforts, they are seeking to purchase modern lifesaving equipment like defibrillators. In addition, they are looking to the future where they can have a permanent waterfront base of operations with their own building, on Grand Bahama.

The Swim Marathon is two miles long and encourages fitness enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to come out and swim from Our Lucaya to Coral Beach. The kids get involved with a one mile and half mile swim. This is always an exciting event, with the fastest swimmers taking thirty minutes to finish, to the last hardy competitors completing in about two hours. Right after this epic event is the famous beach party on Coral Beach. The general public is invited to attend and take part in the biggest beach party of the season. There is food, games, beverages, and it’s fun to meet up with people you haven’t seen in a while. Of course, since it’s a beach party, it’s also the place for the girls to show off their figures in the latest styles of bikinis.

Here are the official OVERALL results for 2010 (see BOTTOM for BY AGE results):

Grand Bahama Health Services to RELOCATE Out Patients Specialty Clinics

By Gea Pierre

 Freeport, Bahamas - The Public is advised that effective Monday, August 30, 2010 the following Out Patients Specialty Clinics will no longer be located at the Rand Memorial Hospital and will be relocated to the Pearce Plaza on Coral Road:

Antenatal Clinic; Medical Clinic; Postnatal Clinic; Surgical Clinic; Paediatrics Clinic; Gynaecology Clinic; and Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Clinic.

The Pearce Building is the pink and white two-storey building on Coral Road, south of Food World, located between Angela’s Beauty Complex and N.B. & C. Plaza.

The Grand Bahama Health Services, an institution of the Public Hospitals Authority, is

“ Working Together For Best Quality Healthcare!” “You are the reason we are here!”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Featured Listing!! 16 Fortune Cay Club, 5,577 sq. ft. 3 Bed, 3 bath USD 819,000 Listing ID5586

  • #16 Fortune Cay Club
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Freeport, Grand Bahama- Island style living awaits you in this beautifully appointed three bedroom three bath home in Gated Fortune Cay Club. This open floor plan home allows for the ease of entertaining while a wrap around patio allows the outdoors in. Amenities include a pool and tennis court with oceanviews and access to the beach. This home is offered to you fully furnished.

Featured Listing!! Arden Forest Tract, 2.86 Acres Great Location! USD 400,000 Listing ID5542

  • Arden Forest Tract
  • 2.86 Acres
  • Great Location!
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This multi-family lot offers AWESOME value!!! With 2.86 acres of land, the property is ideal for the development of a mega apartment complex.
Located on Midshipman Road and Balao Road, this lot is situated about 1 mile from Port Lucaya Market Place and the Our Lucaya Resorts. Public transportation, convenience store and beautiful beach are all within walking distance.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Boats rescue 6 from plane that crashed off Bahamas


By The Bahamas Weekly News Team

The Bahamas - After experiencing engine trouble on a charter flight between Walker's Cay and Grand Bahama Island today, August 23rd, 2010, captain Fritz Cambridge made an emergency water landing into the shallows in the vicinity of Water Cay. 6 persons were on board including the skilled captain. BASRA, the defense force and local police were called in to assist..

BASRA's Colin Rose speaks to the police after the successful transport of the 6 passengers to Dover Sound, Grand Bahama. Photo: Derek Carroll

After the successful landing, some of the passengers stood out on the plane's wings until they were rescued some two and a half hours later. They were transported to Dover Sound where they were met by an emergency team and ambulance from the Rand Hospital and and were transferred there for examination. Mrs. Jennifer Bullard, who is pregnant and was accompanied by her three children Tamacio, Terranique, and Tania, suffered a gash on her head and was the only one hurt. A Mrs. Gibson was the only other passenger besides the pilot and the Bullard family.

Shipyard to bring in new batch of apprentices

The Grand Bahama Shipyard will soon welcome a new batch of participants in its Apprenticeship Training Program, and has introduced some new components to the curriculum.

The program has been running since 2004 and has resulted in the training of scores of young Bahamians who are now full-time employees at the company.

Director of Workforce Development at the Shipyard Joseph Darville explained that there were approximately 140 applicants for the training program this year.

Of that number, 35 were interviewed and eight – seven males and one female – were selected.

With the addition of the new participants, there will be a total of 41 students in the program.

The company will welcome the new participants and celebrate the graduation of the outgoing class during a special ceremony on Friday, September 24 at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Outten Convention Centre.

Pointing out that maritime industry and, consequently, the need for a skilled local workforce at the shipyard, is growing rapidly, Darville said the company remains committed to training young Bahamians.

"We are investing a tremendous amount of money in the Apprenticeship Training Program, adding a definite academic component to that so in addition to the regular five trades that they will normally do, they will continue beyond the high school level, to the college level in math, English, physics and technical drawing," said Darville.

The Apprenticeship program is a four year program, which exposes apprentices to both theory and practical elements, both at the company site and at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute.

In the first year of the program, the apprentices learn five major trades – pipe fitting, welding, electrical installation, mechanical installation and fabrication – and also take classes like workplace communication and drafting at BTVI.

The next three years of their training takes place at the Shipyard, where they are placed in a specific department to fine-tune their skills.

Discovery Sun to suspend GB ferry services


Tribune Freeport Reporter

FREEPORT - The Discovery Sun will suspend ferry services to Grand Bahama on September 8 - 15 when the vessel will be on dry dock.

Discovery Cruise Line announced that the vessel will return to service on September 16 with a new departure and arrival schedule.

According to a press release issued by VIP Services Ltd, the vessel will make its last sail from Freeport to Port Everglades on Tuesday, September 7.

When service is resumed from Port Everglades to Freeport on Thursday, September 16, the new departure time will be at 9.30am, with terminal door closure at 8am. The ship will arrive in Freeport at 1.30pm.

Departure from Freeport will be at 5.15pm and the terminal door closes at 4pm sharp. Arrival at Port Everglades is at 10.30pm.

Discovery Cruise Line wants to remind the public that the luggage policy will be in full effect with conventional luggage weight not to exceed 70 pounds.

Full details can be obtained at all travel agencies. Larger size shipments can be accommodated at Discovery Express.

Discovery Cruise Line wishes to apologise for any inconvenience that this temporary break in schedule may cause and thanked the public for its continued support.

Can GB marry tourism and industrial zones?

all images © 2010 Lyndah Wells


Freeport News Reporter

As Grand Bahama struggles to maintain its status as a tourist destination and an industrial zone, the Grand Bahama Cham-ber of Commerce's (GBCC) economic plan hopes to marry the two for the future development of the island.

The plan which is intended to shape the business strategy of Grand Bahama, will seek input from community leaders, business persons and other stakeholders to ensure viability and sustainabilty.

GBCC president, Peter Turnquest said that Grand Bahama is large enough for the two to co-exist as a tourist destination and as the country's industrial capital, but it will not work without keen interest and funding.

"We can facilitate both," he said. "If you talk about trying to put a hotel in an industrial zone obviously it is not going to work. However we do have a beautiful west Grand Bahama that is largely untapped, beautiful locations in the East that are untapped and even in the Freeport area there are areas for development that are untouched."

Turnquest added that the beauty of the island is that it has been expertly compartmentalized creating opportunities to promote all of these areas as engines of economic development.

"I am one that believes that our future probably leans more toward the industrial side and maritime affairs in particular. However there have been ideas from a touristic point of view that could change the landscape of our tourism product."

The GBCC's plan he said will look at securing funding which would require a lot of effort from all different sectors of leadership, both government and private.

"I absolutely think that the plan can work toward making the two work and I think that there is no doubt that we can do both because Grand Bahama island is beautifully set up for this."

Turnquest expects for the plan to be completed by next summer with the second phase, which involves reaching a consensus on how to resolve the critical issues that stifle the island's economic growth, to be completed by the end of this year.

"We know that there are several plans that have been done in the past. The GBPA has done plans with a particular focus on their needs, obviously, and the Flemming Group also created a plan when they were entertaining the idea of coming to Grand Bahama. We intend to take advantage of those studies that have been done, but we also want to be sure that we cover the areas from an indigenous point of view," Turnquest said.

"Our primary goal is to provide wealth creation for Bahamians. Inasmuch as we are looking toward foreign direct investment to help the primary focus that is going to strengthen entrepreneurship and strengthen local businesses. That is what is going to take us through the kinds of ups and downs that we had in the past, and help us to ride out the kind of recessions that we are going through now."

He maintained that the plan will not be restricted to the Freeport area, but include input from the entire island, and the Chamber is expanding its committee to ensure that there is representation from all areas.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Call for Screenplays for the BIFF Filmmakers Residency Program

By Bahamas International Film Festival


Nassau, Bahamas - The Screenplay Filmmaker Residency Program aims to support filmmakers by providing a chance to present their project to established producers, directors, writers. Should your Screenplay be selected, you will be invited to have a series of one-on-one meetings for four days during 7th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival, December 2 – 5. This inten sive program is designed to establish lasting collaborations within the film industry.

The emphasis will be on critical feedback, practical advice, and a clear direction in the filmmaking process. The outstanding screenplays will be selected to participate in the residency program. The program is open to the new and experienced filmmakers.

2009 Winners were:
Vashti Anderson
Miguel Drayton
Ithalia Johnson



Submit to BIFF Office - programming@bintlfilmfest.com

Submission Information

Submission Fee:

- $100.00


-The Screenplay must take place in the Bahamas or the Caribbean
-Biography of screenwriter and/or director
-Film synopsis (no longer than 1 page) - Film treatment (no longer than 3 pages)
-1-page character description / breakdown of central characters.
-Copy of previous work if applicable, e.g. short or feature film
-Script Please send three (3)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rand broke ground for new $6 million surgery suites


Freeport News Reporter

Freeport, Grnd Bhama- The 10-month-long renovation and expansion project of the operation theatre at the Rand Memorial Hospital began yesterday with a groundbreaking ceremony with Health Minister, Hubert Minnis in attendance.

The expansion project that is contracted to Albacore Construction Company will add two new operating suites to the facility and include an endoscopic room.

It is part of a $6 million renovation project that is currently going on at the Rand Memorial Hospital.

Minnis said that the new upgrades at the Rand will expedite the surgery process.

The addition of the endoscopic room will also make it possible to conduct more outpatient surgeries.

"Less patients will be referred to New Providence away from their family, thus saving time, money and energy and keeping the family together," Minnis said.

Elaborating about the new and improved facilities Minnis added that the new theatre would include an in-built camera system to allow medical students and junior doctors undergoing training to observe surgical procedures from conference rooms.

Whether students are in Grand Bahama or New Providence they will be able to observe the surgeries, Minnis said.

"If you're doing an advanced surgical procedure that's unique and that's being done here for the first time then the students in Nassau will be able to observe that surgical procedure while sitting in Nassau," he said.

He added that the new technology is a welcome change because medical students will no longer have to crowd around a patient in the operating room while attempting to look in on a surgery.

Reflecting on his time as a surgeon, he added that he had attempted to introduce something similar when he was still practicing surgery.

Minnis noted that he forgot he had a microphone attached to his coat and when he ran into difficulty during the surgery he got loose with his words.

"As I started to experience the stress and ran into difficulty, words started to fly left, right and centre and as I remembered I had the mic, I had to tear the mic off," he said.

Minnis added that he looks forward to returning next June for the official opening of the operating suites and advised the contractors to be just as diligent in their work on the government run facility as they were on private projects.

"I don't want you to feel that this is government so bam, slam, thank you ma'am, good day. Give us an excellent job too," he advised.

Hospital Administrator Sharon Williams noted that the responsibility of the Public Hospital Authority and Grand Bahama Health Services extends beyond merely training and staffing.

"It speaks to the timely planning and investment of scarce resources by our government and our Minister of Health to facilitate state of the art facilities that take into consideration present and future technology and the advancements in medical practices," she said.

She added, "Today we will till the soil and plant the seed of hope with great anticipation that 10 months from now our Minister of Health will again grace us with his presence to open the door to our new facility."

Communications Officer at the Public Hospitals Authority Valeria Burrows explained that the Rand has been in desperate need of the additional surgical suites.

"We'll have additional space to accommodate those one day patients rather than having to absorb all of that space on the surgical ward," Burrows said.

She said the organization is excited about the coming changes and it will mean better accommodations for patients in the northern region and improved operating facilities for theatre staff.

All ON-BOARD: Every pharmacy now signed on to NPDP, say Health Minister


Freeport News Reporter

While there may have been an initial reluctance on the part of some pharmacy operators, particularly in Grand Bahama to get on-board with the National Prescription Drug Plan, the Ministry of Health has now overcome that particular hurdle.

Health Minister Hubert Minnis informed The Freeport News that all pharmacies in The Bahamas have signed on for the plan as of last week.

Minnis noted that he believes pharmacy operators discussed the benefits of the plan among themselves and were able to realize the value of it.

"They too, like us are more interested, not necessarily in money, but they are more interested in ensuring that the public gets excellent health care," Minnis said.

He added that it is the responsibility of the government and persons involved in the medical field to ensure that the public has access to good medical care.

"Our job is to make health (care) accessible and affordable to all," Minnis said.

Jointly, pharmacists and the Ministry of Health, he said want to take health care to the next level.

The National Prescription Drug Plan at its first phase is expected to benefit some 35,000 Bahamians.

Ace Cards were first distributed earlier in the month which will allow benefactors to walk into participating pharmacies and receive medication for chronic diseases free of charge.

Benefactors of the plan include persons 65 and older, Bahamians who are pensioners with the National Insurance Board, persons receiving invalidity benefits from the National Insurance Board and full-time students up to age 25.

Minnis added that the response to the National Prescription Drug Plan so far has been extremely positive and the public loves it.

"I thinks it's great for individuals," he said. "They need not wait in lines at the Rand or Princess Margaret Hosp-ital or any other clinic. They can go into their private pharmacy and receive their medication."

The Minister added that what he likes most about the plan is that people will be able to travel to various islands and get their medication from different pharmacies without any hassle.

He also added that the way the program is set up prevents people from stocking up on medication.

"It's all interconnected so there are no duplications. You can't go back repeatedly so that you can hoard medication. That won't happen," Minnis clarified.

L.M.R. Drugs Company Limited was the first pharmacy on the island to join in on the drug plan and although the plan has not officially gone into effect yet, general manager Kim Simmons says the company has a positive outlook.

"I think it is good for the community," she said. "It is definitely good for the senior citizens that the government is going to help out in that manner."

The Prescription Drug Plan is expected to go into effect at the end of the month.

In its second phase it is expected to include the rest of the population and make it possible for those persons to visit private pharmacies and receive their prescription at a reduced price.

The National Prescription Drug Plan is considered to be the country's first step toward adopting the Compre-hensive Health Insurance Plan.