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  • MINISTER LAUDS BAHAMAS BOOK EXCHANGE WITH CORNELL UNIVERSITY

    Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard applauded the exchange of about 20 books by Bahamian authors with New York State's Cornell University and called the initiative “powerful.” “To the extent that we can have more Bahamian publications placed in libraries around the world, it would increase the appreciation that persons have for The Bahamas – that we are more than sand, sun and sea,” Minister Pintard said at the Official Ceremony marking the exchange, held at the National Art Gallery, August 16, 2017. According to a release by the Ministry, Dr. Carole Boyce-Davies, distinguished professor of African Studies and English at the African Studies Research Center at Cornell University presented and donated an Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora to Dr. Rita Pratt of The Bahamas Heritage Cultural Institute & African Bahamian Museum/Research Centre at the ceremony held that day. In exchange the Department of Culture, in conjunction with Dr. Rita Pratt, donated 20 books by Bahamian authors to the Cornell University Library of African Studies and Research Center.

    Dr. Rita Pratt has been doing cultural research in The Bahamas for more than 30 years and has a museum located off Kemp Road, the release stated. “Dr. Pratt is a gem,” Minister Pintard said. “Her selfless spirit is something that the country needs to look more closely at – what she is doing – and certainly I, as Minister, will be taking a keener interest in what she is doing and find ways we could contribute to her efforts.” “The Department of Culture is pleased to organize this exchange of books which will greatly benefit the cultural research capabilities of persons in The Bahamas and Cornell University and provide students from The Bahamas in particular and others interested in the field with a nice range of materials with which they can do further research,” Assistant Director of Culture Dereka Deleveaux-Grant said. “The donation of the Bahamian books will mark the first opportunity for Bahamian authors to be at the Cornell University library and provides the opportunity for millions of persons to research and learn more about The Bahamas.”

    Among the exchanged books were works by Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel, Obediah Michael Smith, Sir Randol Fawkes, Rev. Dr. Philip Rahming, as well as a number of publications from the National Art Gallery on artists such as Max Taylor, Amos Ferguson, R. Brent Malone and Kendal Hanna. “We are a people with a powerful cultural history and heritage, and, of course, an intellectual heritage; so this is a very important step forward and we are appreciative of the contribution that Dr. Davis is making – her attachment to the region in general; but to The Bahamas in particular,” Minister Pintard added.

    “We are appreciative of it and we are going to build on those relationships.”

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  • SEVERE WEATHER WARNING FOR NEW PROVIDENCE

    A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR NEW PROVIDENCE AND ITS ADJACENT WATERS.

    AT 5:25PM OBSERVATION, LIGHTNING DETECTOR, RADAR AND SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOW A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS MOVING WESTWARD TOWARD THE WARNING AREA ASSOCIATED WITH A LOW LEVEL TROUGH.

    SOME OF THESE THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE SEVERE AT TIMES CAUSING STRONG GUSTY WINDS, DANGEROUS LIGHTNING, HEAVY DOWNPOURS, HAIL AND POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT OR TORNADIC ACTIVITY.

    BOATERS IN THE WARNING AREA SHOULD SEEK SAFE HARBOUR AND RESIDENTS IN THE WARNING AREA SHOULD STAY INDOORS AND AWAY FROM WINDOWS WHEN CONDITIONS WORSEN. RESIDENTS SHOULD NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER TREES OR IN WATER AS THESE CAN BECOME LIGHTNING CONDUCTORS.

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  • B.U.T PRESIDENT ON STEPHEN DILLET SCHOOL REPAIRS

    President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, Belinda Wilson, says, she's been watching closely the rennovations underway at Stephen Dillet Primary School. She joined government officials on tour at that site yesterday, saying she too is pleased with the level of work taking place.

    The B.U.T President, says she and her team intend to work in conjunction with Ministry of Education officials in the best interest of all involved. Wilson says "if we do a walk about or we do an inspection of a school and we realize that work is not going on or it is not moving in a timeline that we expect, then we are to keep him in the loop. So based on the work that I've seen done, I must say that the contractor has really done an enormous job because it's a lot of work that's really been done here. I'm so happy, that Stephen Dillet, one of the schools that has been in perrenial problems every year. You can guarantee that this will be one of the schools that we are gonna come to with issues. Now they are going to have contained classrooms, that's definitely a plus, and we look forward to Uriah McPhee Primary School having the same renovations we hope in the near future.

    Now having met with the Education Minister, Wilson, says the Union, is on-board with the govenment's vision for improving the education system in the country. Wilson, says if the Minister of Education, continues on the path that he has begun, she predicts the Union and Ministry should enjoy a good relationship.

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  • YOUTH LEADERS CERTIFICATION

    Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture The Hon. Michael Pintard issued an important charge to Youth Leaders Wednesday, calling on them to dedicate themselves to the effort of uplifting the nations youth, because we are a country that is in crisis due to the amount of crime and violence the country experiences as a small nation. He was asddressing a group of 53 new youth leader's who graduated the 14-week-long youth leaders' certification programme Thursday, during a cermony held at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel. The minister applauded the group for staying the course, and taking the initiative to acquire the skills to handle the issues that face the nation's youth.

    He says there services are valuable as 65 percent of the population are under 25. He says the work they have undertaken is a calling. Director of Youth Darron Turnquest also addressed the newly certified group and spoke to the significance of the pilot training programme, to youth work. The Youth Minister further charged the leaders to go into the community and find people who have similar traits as themselves to produce another group of leaders to transform the country. He says policy makers are just one stakeholder that help to develop the country, and urged youth leaders to walk in their calling.

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  • B.P.L CHAIRMAN ON FORENSIC AUDIT

    B.P.L Chairman Darnell Osbourne has confirmed that the board received the forensic audit of the missing funds yesterday; that audit was conducted by Ernst and Young. Osbourne says the audit was intiated by the previous board who placed several employees on adminstrative leave. She said following a thorough investigation and the receipt of the audit report several employees were found culpable. The matter according to Osbourne has been handed over to the Royal Bahamas Police Force and all guilty persons will be held accountable for their actions.

    The B.P.L Chairman apologizes to vendors and the general public for any inconveniences caused during the investigation. She said it was necessary for the matter to be dealth with in a responsible and thorough manner.

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  • THE SENTENCING OF LAMAR ALBURY

    Murder convict 27-year-old Lamar Albury learned his fate when he appeared before Senior Justice Vera Watkins for sentencing. It was back in March, that Albury was convicted for manslaughter by provocation for his part in killing popular Banker and Volleyball Coach Devince Smith. Smith was found dead in his St. Albans Drive home back in December of 2015 after family members became concerned when they did not hear from him. Evidence revealed that the incident occurred after the deceased showed Albury porn and then made a sexual pass at him.

    Senior Justice Watkins in her decision told Smith who was standing in the prisoner's dock that she considered the evidence in the trial presented by the prosecution and the defence as well as the plea in mitigation, along with the probation and psychiatric reports. With those in mind she sentenced Albury to serve 20 years at the Bahamas Department of Corrections. Further, she said, a year and three months would be removed from the sentence for time spent in custody. Prosecutors had appealed to the court for a 25 to 30 sentence for the brutal nature of the crime, while Albury's Attorney Michael Hanna asked for a sentence of fifteen to eighteen years.

    Albury had no reaction to the sentence; in the probation report the father of one expressed remorse for Mr. Smith and his family and stated that he regrets the situation.

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  • “I MAY NOT BE AS RICH AS MY FRIENDS… BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT I DESERVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES.” – ARIEL KIRLEW, 2017 NATIONAL BURSARY SCHOLAR

    “Your country has invested in you. You now invest in your country,” Minister of Education the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd told nearly 400 scholarship winners of the National Bursary Scholarship to the University of The Bahamas (UB) at a ceremony on Wednesday, evening, August 16, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Boyd Road. The National Bursary Scholarship to the University of The Bahamas is awarded for receiving either five or more Bahamas General Certificates of Secondary Education (BGCSE) inclusive of Mathematics and English Language, or maintaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for a minimum of one year at UB. Among them, 288 Scholars received the National Bursary Award which covers tuition and fees up to a maximum of $2,500, and 101 scholars received a limited scholarship in the amount of $1,875 per semester for one year. A total of 27 high school seniors who had taken BGCSE’s in grade 10 and 11 and had obtained the necessary passes also prequalified. To maintain the scholarship, students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be eligible to keep the award. The Minister indicated that the Ministry of Education has afforded over 1,000 grants and scholarships to students this year of which 60 percent was afforded to students from government schools.

    An atmosphere of immense gratitude was created when 2017 Bursary Scholar from St. Augustine’s College, Ariel Kirlew humbly expressed, “I may not be as rich as my friends, classmates, or neighbors but I do believe that I deserve the same opportunities…. I am truly grateful for this Bursary Award.” She will be pursuing a Bachelor’s in Accounting. A 2017 Outstanding Bursary Scholar from Nassau Christian Academy, Christina Small also expressed how necessary the Bursary Scholarship is to her, saying “The word scholarship was slipped into almost every conversation involving college.” She will be pursuing a career in Medicine. Both scholars thanked the Ministry of Education and their parents for such great support and the opportunity afforded for their hard work. Representing the parents, who were also very grateful for the assistance of the Bursary Scholarship, Cedric Moss, father of Bursary Scholar Abigail Moss, thanked the Ministry of Education and UB for their “wise investment” and reminded the scholars that “It is easy to fall behind but hard to catch up” in regards to maintaining their scholarships.

    Dr. Rodney Smith, President of UB, contributed many wise words of encouragement to the audience. He connected with the “First Fall class admitted to UB” in letting them know he was also a recipient of the Bursary Scholarship. His father had passed away when he was six years old and he was raised by a single mother of four who worked as a waitress to support them all. The scholarship allowed him to be the first in his family to attend college and allowed him to become what he is today. He said this to show the scholars how important it is to “work hard because you don’t know what you are destined to be… you are the future builders and owners of the UB.” The President also gave wonderful insight into what UB has to offer in its upcoming semester, such as new 2-5 bedroom suites along University Commons in Nassau and Grand Bahama, along with many other improvements that he hopes will make UB “the most beautiful campus in the entire world.” This concept is especially significant because UB is said to be “the only university that considers the entire country to be its campus.”

    The University is also working on study abroad programs so that “By the end of their Junior year, all students will be afforded the opportunity to study abroad.” He also announced his “Thursday open-door policy from 3-5 p.m. for both students and parents.” The award ceremony was moderated by Bursary Scholar Graduates Kendra Ingraham and John Darville.

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  • ‘REFORMATION’ OF STEPHEN DILLET TO BE COMPLETED IN 'RECORD TIME'

    The “wholesale reformation” of the Stephen Dillet Primary School will be completed in record time, Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd said Wednesday. Minister Lloyd said the end result of the transformation will be the provision of more efficient delivery of education at the facility. “What would have ordinarily taken six-and-a-half to seven months to complete, will be completed in less than four months,” Minister Lloyd said following a tour of the facility. Minister Lloyd accompanied Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis on the tour. “The fact of the matter is that you cannot do this kind of work until school is closed. Therefore, we had to wait until the students and the faculty essentially left the premises (which occurred in early June) before the contractors could get in and begin the wholesale reformation here. They have done a substantive amount of work in a matter of two months, having completed 80 per cent of the work in that period of time,” Minister Lloyd added. The Education Minister said the transformation includes the construction of 29 new classroom spaces in addition to Administrative Offices, library spaces, resource centres, multi-media and media rooms and additional bathroom spaces.

    Two preschool classrooms have been added and will accommodate 40 students. The new preschool spaces will be 100 per cent WiFi “so that we will be able to facilitate the government’s intention of introducing IPADS to preschool school students which will be facilitated here.” An expanded lunch pavilion and a new Tuck Shop area for students have also been included in the “wholesale restoration” of Stephen Dillet. Total cost for the transformation is pegged at $4 million. Minister Lloyd said while he has been advised by lead contractor, Mr. Jack Andrews, that there might be a delay of one week for the students to arrive, the building will be completed on time: “That will occur, not because the school itself will not be finished in terms of construction, but rather because there is new furniture supplies and equipment that will also be installed to supplement some of the older equipment that will be removed,” he said. “So we expect that the teachers are going return on September 4 when school ordinarily would be opened and then the students would come the following week, September 11.” Minister Lloyd said the successful transformation of the Stephen Dillet facility is the result of the collaborative efforts of the contractor and officials at the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Education. “And that is a great credit to Mr. Jack Andrews and his excellent team of construction workers. I also want to point out that Mr. Coleman Andrews (Deputy Permanent Secretary of Physical Plant for the Ministry of Education) has worked very closely with Mr. Livingstone Forbes and the team at the Ministry of Works in order to make this happen today. “We are happy that a Bahamian is the main contractor and that a great deal of Bahamian sub-contractors have been employed and are going to finish this project in record time.”

    Minister Lloyd said while the original design of the Stephen Dillet did not allow for windows, space will be provided for the intrusion of natural light. “So while there will not be windows so that students can come in, or potentially go outside, or somebody enter from the outside, there will be means by which natural light will be infused into the building.” The Education Minister said the transformation of the Stephen Dillet Primary School is part of the Government’s intention of addressing and correcting “an old education infrastructure.”

    “We are at a place in the Ministry of Education where our infrastructure is failing, it’s old, needs to be replaced (and) will be replaced as soon as resources permit,” Minister Lloyd said. “This school has a complement of 821 students. That is slightly over the limit we would like for it to have, but our intention is to ameliorate that circumstance by just simply building more schools, building more classrooms, upgrading the facilities that we have and replacing those that need to be replaced, which we will do so as resources permit.”

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  • P.M & D.P.M LEAD VERIFICATION PROCESS FOR CABINET MINISTERS

    Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Kevin Peter Turnquest led the verification process for Members of Parliament prior to participating in the weekly Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday (August 15, 2017). Prime Minister Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest were two of 15 Cabinet Ministers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by officials from the Public Treasury Department who were on hand at the Cecil V. Wallace-Whitfield Centre to conduct the verification process for public service employees there. Other Cabinet Ministers undergoing the verification process included: the Hon. T. Brent Symonette, Senator, the Hon. Carl W. Bethel, the Hon. Desmond T. Bannister, the Hon. Jeffrey L. Lloyd, the Hon. Marvin H. Dames, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, the Hon. Dionisio J. D’Aguilar, the Hon. Michael C. Pintard, the Hon. Darren A. Henfield, Senator, the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes, Senator, the Hon. James Kwasi Thompson and the Hon. Elsworth N. Johnson.

    Cabinet Ministers, the Hon. Romauld S. Ferreira, the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle and the Hon. Brensil D. Rolle are off island. Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Duane E.L. Sands had already completed the verification process.

    The verification of the Cabinet Ministers/Members of Parliament is part of an ongoing national verification exercise for Government Monthly and Weekly Employees and Senators and Members of Parliament. Verification Centres were established at Ministry of Education schools in New Providence and at Government/Administrator’s Offices in Grand Bahama and the Family Islands since the process began on Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Verification ends Thursday, August 31, 2017. The five Verification Centres in New Providence -- H.O. Nash High School, T.A. Thompson Junior High School, C.C. Sweeting High School, C.R. Walker High School and Doris Johnson High School – will cease operations as of the close of business on Friday, August 18, 2017 in preparation for the upcoming school year. Operations will be relocated to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

    Treasury officials say Public Officers who are assigned to the Ministry of Foreign and the Ministry of Tourism overseas offices, are expected to verify at their respective locations, “following the procedures that have been forwarded directly to them by the Treasury Department.” Persons who fail to present themselves to be verified will have their salaries interrupted – not ceased -- beginning September, 2017, until such time as they comply with the verification and reinstatement process. Treasury officials further say the 2017 Verification Process is not new in Government, as “some form of the process has been undertaken by all serving Treasurers.” “The verification process actually protects the public service employee because in addition to ensuring that they are legitimate public service employees, it also ensures that we have the correct data on each employee.”

    Officials say not having up-to-date data can, for example, affect employees’ current and future National Insurance benefits and also their Treasury Pensions. Allowances have been made for public service employees on vacation within and outside of The Bahamas. Those traveling outside of the country whose return date will not allow them to return to The Bahamas ahead of the August 31 deadline, can verify at any Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO) or Foreign Affairs Mission abroad while those within The Bahamas can verify at the Administrator’s Office in any Family Island, along with the Public Treasury (Central Abaco and Freeport, Grand Bahama).

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  • NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

    Youth unemployment still remains considerably higher that any other age group declining by only 1 percentage point, to 24.1 percent. it's a common trend in the region but President and CEO of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation Edison Sumner says a National Youth Appreticeship Program is the answer. It's already a work in progress and is being funded by the Interamerican Development Bank with support from government and local partners.

    Sumner says "what the chamber is looking at is a three prong approach to post secondary education, that is when young people finish high school". The Chamber CEO says you can expect to see initiatives coming forward from the private sector to encourage young people to qualify themselves before getting into the world of works.

    But what are the contributing factors that lead to high unemployment? According to Sumner "the lack of skills and training to qualify for jobs". "Now a key link to training young people for these jobs is identifying what the market is in need of"...Sumner shared with us in his view the market The Bahamas should be capitalizing on that could prove quite lucrative and aid in significantly reducing levels of unemployment.

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