GBPA Continues Efforts to Boost Downtown Business Community

By Fred Sturrup |GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is consistent with a strong focus on an organization it fostered years ago.  According to a recent release sent out from the GBPA, The Downtown Freeport Business Association, following recent elections, is headed by Antoine Brooks.

With the GBPA as the ongoing catalyst entity linked to the group of business owners, it is expected that as the Ministry of Grand Bahama, through the Government of The Bahamas, zeroes in major investments and capital projects in Grand Bahama, the GBPA will drive the initiative to revitalize the business sector of Freeport.

The GBPA and other participants who are striving for an economic bounce for the business places in downtown Freeport, are surely cognizant of how important their efforts are toward reviving the entire island financially. Freeport anchors the economy of Grand Bahama. 

It is for this reason, the GBPA has made the business association such a high priority. This is a challenging time for business houses, and many of those in the downtown sector have been struggling to keep doors open.

Downtown business owners are to be saluted for their determination. A greater connection to the buying public is imperative. Somehow the GBPA must help the business association to become more relevant, by guiding owners to concentrate on attractive marketing programs, in general, prices that will lure the local buyers.

There should be full recognition that the long-time habit of many, to simply board a ship, and go to Florida for shopping, is entrenched.  Be minded, downtown business owners.  Coming together to devise a formula to compete against the Florida market, is a necessity.

Best wishes.

“Round The Corner” Lounge presents Freeport’s Latest Social Environment

By Fred Sturrup |GB News Editor |sturrup1504@gmail.com

Leave it to Janet Russell !

The veteran hospitality host/personality has embarked upon a venture, which, judging from the response on opening day, Sunday, October 30, will certainly bring a touch of magic back to Freeport.  Her lounge, located on Yellow Pine Road at the exact location where Radio Station Cool 96 FM once operated, is called “Round The Corner.” On Sunday past, a quality mixture of patrons turned up for the grand opening and there was host/manager/owner Janet beaming with joy, welcoming the first gathering from what is expected to be a long clientele list.

The venue focuses on rhythmic/pulsating music and sporting events.  Accordingly, some patrons were able to interact, and enjoy the music, while sipping their brand of beverage and savoring souse and finger food. Others watched their favorite NFL teams play. Later, NBA games were optional.

If the culture experienced at the opening remains, the Round The Corner lounge will become the new popular spot in Freeport, and be a superb attraction for a long time. 

Janet and her two assistants/bartenders Sandra Remy and Sherice McPhee are prime hosts, all with an exquisite hospitable touch and persona.

Well done, Janet and staff!

JEMIMA’S PLAYHOUSE LAUNCHES NEW “BAHAMAMAN” BOOK & SONG AND MUSIC VIDEO!

(GB News Editor Fred Sturrup’s note: The Bahamaman joint project is indeed unique.  It’s an exciting delivery from Jemima’s Playhouse. Of course the backdrop is a family from which creative juices flow. The Sawyers, in particular, Tyrone Sr. and older brother Rudy, set a high standard with their writing. Dr. Tyrone Sawyer II and Dr. Jemima Sawyer are establishing their very own brand. Best wishes)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —

“He’s flying in the air, it’s BahamaMan! Look over there, it’s BahamaMan! He can even lift planes! It’s BahamaMan! I stand for justice! It’s BahamaMan!” 

These are some of the lyrics to the chorus of the groundbreaking song, BahamaMan, which plays every day to the delight of students in pre-school through primary school across the United States, and to the absolute delight of their parents and caregivers.  The song is such a hit that the character, BahamaMan, has become a hero to so many!  And a staple character for Jemima’s Playhouse – a much beloved entertainment and educational company.

Jemima’s Playhouse is the brainchild of Dr. Tyrone Sawyer II and his wife, Dr. Jemima Sawyer.  From its humble beginnings ten years ago at their kitchen table in Atlanta, Georgia, Jemima’s Playhouse has come very far.  The company which takes its name from Dr. Jemima has since expanded its reach from its humble beginnings in Georgia to include, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas.   And Jemima’s Playhouse is just taking off!

BahamaMan has become one of the favorite characters in Jemima’s Playhouse’s constellation of characters.  And for good reason!  He teaches students the importance of social responsibility.  With a smile and a sprinkling of adventure. As a Bahamian ambassador, BahamaMan never neglects to invite each student to visit the place of his birth – the iconic and mysterious Glass Window Bridge, on Eleuthera, Bahamas, where the roaring deep-blue Atlantic Ocean meets the tranquil blue-green Bahamian Sea.

Jemima’s Playhouse is a children’s entertainment company which continues to grow and evolve.  It now visits over 2 million students every year in Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas.

The company’s creative and interactive entertainment approach to children incorporates animated stories, creative dramatics, original songs, and characters which help children between the ages of 2 and 8 years old develop their imagination and communication skills.  Now, students and parents could download the BahamaMan book, song, and music video from the Jemima’s Playhouse website so that they could be inspired by his legacy of love, peace and goodwill. 

Said Dr. Tyrone, “The growth of Jemima’s Playhouse – and the growth of BahamaMan – have been simply incredible!  Dr. Jemima and I are merely along for the ride.  Our only goal is to entertain students between the ages of two and twelve, while seamlessly educating them.”  

Contact: Dr. Tyrone Sawyer II (info@jemimasplayhouse.com) (770) 462-2499

Retired Boxing Hall of Fame Rescheduled

PRESS RELEASE – The Retired Boxers Association Inaugural Hall of Fame Awards program originally scheduled for Sunday, September 18th has been postponed and will now take place at a date to be announced in late October.

A spokesman for the organization said that the event was put off because of circumstances beyond the control of the organizers.  However, plans are being made to hold the event in late October at the same venue – JCN Broadcast Centre on University Drive.

The Association will induct Oswald ‘Elisha Obed’ Ferguson, Gomeo Brennen, William ‘Yama Bahama’ Butler Jr., Ray Minus Sr., Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Knowles, Garry Davis, Charlie Major Sr., Kirkwood ‘Baby Boy’ Rolle, Leonard ‘Boston Blackie’ Miller, Bertram ‘Bert Perry’ Perigord, Wilfred Coakley Jr., Wilfred ‘Battling’ Douglas and Andre Seymour into the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 and recognize Taureano Johnson, Ray Minus Sr., George ‘Boo’ Wilmore, Everette Jackson, L. Garth Wright, Gladstone Thurston, Chris Malakius, Kirkwood ‘Baby Boy’ Rolle, Roger Kelty, Charlie Major Sr. , Wilfred Coakley Jr., Frederick Sturrup and Valentino Knowles for their outstanding contribution to amateur and professional boxing.

GB Christian Council, GBPA, and Government in joint Hurricane Dorian Memorial

By Fred Sturrup |GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

The theme at the well-attended Hurricane Dorian Memorial Service on Sunday, September 2, at St. John’s Jubilee Cathedral in Freeport, Grand Bahama was, “Prayer.” Indeed, the male and female ministers of the gospel were fully, and deservedly recognized for being prayer warriors while Grand Bahamians and those in the neighboring island of Abaco, were riding out the monster category 5 Hurricane Dorian during the very last days of August, and early September in 2019.

One podium visitor, understanding the value of prayer always, but especially in times of crisis, urged the audience to pray even more. Other than the ministers who head various congregations, present for the occasion were representatives of the Government of The Bahamas, headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Chester Cooper. In place also was the Official Opposition Leader Hon. Michael Pintard.

GB Christian Council President, Rev. Kenneth Lewis was most inspirational while giving remarks of comfort. He extolled the collective role of the praying ministers, and also made particular mention of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, that entity always on the leading edge of restoration after disasters in Grand Bahama. Although functioning a bit under the radar sometimes, as government officials grab the headlines, the GBPA has been valiant through the years in bringing some semblance of order to Grand Bahamian lives, following disastrous circumstances. On Sunday, GBPA President Ian Rolle represented Chairman Sarah St. George, and offered words of encouragement to the family members and friends who lost loved ones, 32 of them, to the horrific storm; and emphasized the continued commitment of the organization to Grand Bahama and its people.

Deputy PM Cooper who is also the Minister for Tourism and Aviation, expressed on behalf of Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis, the government’s ongoing efforts at the full restoration of Grand Bahma and a meaningful economic recovery. He said information on future plans of the government for Grand Bahama will come later.

The second most influential person in the present Davis Administration, Cooper also paid a compliment to Opposition Leader Pintard, who, while at the podium, reached out a hand to the leading political party to join together in helping with the recovery process in Grand Bahama. 

It was Rev. Lewis who connected most profoundly with all within his hearing, however, his primary message being that “Jesus” watches over us at all times, as He continues to prepare a place for each of us (who do His bidding) in the house of His Father, God.

In all, a jolly good celebration time, prompted by moderator Minister Mary Russell was had by the congregation. 

Words of warmth, wisdom and encouragement came also from Bishop Godfrey Williams who extended the welcome to Jubilee Cathedral; and Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey; among others. Terri Johnson, the music teacher at Sunland Baptist Academy; the singing pastor of Canaan Zion Baptist, Apostle Washington Williams; and Rev. Rudolph Roberts, pastor of the Wholeman Christian Center; were spiritually stunning as they sang.

Three years after Dorian, though, there is much, much, more to be done for the displaced citizens, and for sure, the healing continues.

Leadership challenges faced by Pintard historically infamous

               

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

Recently during a high level meeting arranged by the Official Opposition in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Free National Movement, reportedly there was contention. The situation boiled over into an embarrassing, brutal physical altercation that left a noted party supporter seriously injured. Eye witnesses informed that he was savagely put upon by a fellow strong FNM proponent, who has differing views regarding Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis who led the party to defeat last September.

The Hon. Michael Pintard is the sitting leader of the FNM. He attained such status in a democratic fashion, decisively. Dr. Minnis is the seemingly bitter former leader, who did not offer himself for the role when Pintard disposed of several others through the “in order” convention voting process.

As I pointed out in an earlier opinion piece it doesn’t appear that Dr. Minnis is going away. The view here is that he continues to grandstand, is not really respectful of Leader Pintard, and there is, accordingly,  this emotional spillover to his supporters. Thus the FNM party is in deep crisis. Pintard’s leadership is being assailed.

This is unfair and unprecedented in Bahamian politics.

This atrocious scenario never came about before because politicians and their followers of the past, though many of them were strong-minded, their characters did not lend themselves to violence against each other. 

The country’s first political party, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) saw the leadership pass from Henry Milton Taylor to Lynden Oscar Pindling. Taylor and a few others were bitter about the new kids on the block taking over, but there was not much of a thought of challenging the new order.

After Pindling’s 30-plus years of leadership, Perry Gladstone Christie emerged as leader. There was the expected resentment and disappointment felt by those who preferred Dr. Bernard Nottage, but the party moved on handsomely. Christie delayed his time in PLP leadership, by failing to live up to his own reported time table to demit office. However, present PLP Leader and Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis bided his time, and look where he is today!

The second political party in the country which produced the first government, the United Bahamian Party, had a very smooth transition from the longtime leader Sir Roland Symonette  era to Sir Jeffery Johnstone.

The FNM itself,  went through many changes, in true democratic fashion, never burdened by anything such as inside troublemakers, apparently trying feverishly/violently to frustrate the leadership of one Michael Pintard.

This is not right. Let the man do his job in peace. 

From Sir Cecil Wallace to Sir Kendal Isaacs and back to Sir Cecil; to the three-time prime minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham; to Dr. Minnis; with interim leaders in place such as John Henry Bostwick, Cyril Tynes, and Tommy Turnquest; the FNM never faced anything even close to the present debacle.

It is therefore incumbent upon Pintard and the others within the FNM who have rationale, to immediately put the house in order. 

The Administration of PM Philip Davis

PM HON. PHILIP “BRAVE” DAVIS

By Fred Sturrup | GB Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

The present administration that governs the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is that of Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. There is an unusual development that is most disrespectful, I think, to the nation’s chief executive.

I have noted that certain governing politicians are getting into the custom of mouthing these words: “The Davis/Cooper administration” in reference to the present government, headed by one man. That man is the one who carried the Progressive Liberal Party to a resounding victory over the Hubert Alexander Minnis’ FNM administration. That is Philip “Brave” Davis.

Those who have referred to the government of Philip “Brave” Davis in that manner ought to cease forthwith. Now, let it be understood. I do not wish to accuse the parliamentarians who have disrespected their PM, perhaps innocently, of being devious or seeking to achieve a goal in an underhanded manner.  No, not in the least. 

However, it is appropriate to bring this lack of protocol to the attention of those parliamentarians and others.

I have been observing politics closely from the days of the United Bahamian Party (UBP) governance era.  Although Sir Stafford Sands was known to be quite influential, the UBP Government was Sir Roland Symonette’s administration. Then came the Pindling (Sir Lynden) administration (acknowledged as such despite his deputy being the great freedom fighter Arthur Hanna); the Ingraham (Hubert Alexander) administration; followed by the Christie (Perry Gladstone) administration; and the other Hubert (Alexander Minnis) administration.

The administration today is headed by one person; the one who appoints all of the Cabinet ministers, and who can also fire each of them.

In the USA, presently it is the Biden (President Joe) administration.  The Andrew Michael Holness administration runs the government in Jamaica. Horace Anthony Chang is the Deputy Prime Minister. It’s the Holness administration in that country, not the Holness/Chang administration.

Prime Minister Davis ought not have to speak to this local “political administration” matter at all. Deputy Prime Minister Cooper should personally take responsibility to ensure that this trend is stopped.  He knows that he works for the People of the Bahamas in the administration of Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, the man who appointed him to high office. He knows that the leadership is not a shared one and that he works at the behest of Davis.

There is one chief, not two.

So, Cooper should politely speak to those parliamentarians who talk about a Davis/Cooper administration. Yes, he should have a private conversation with them.

The view held here is that there is no such thing as a joint administration leadership.

Indeed, there is one chief, not two!

Women’s Basketball Team to Spend Thanksgiving Week at the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship

(Rebels to Face off against Dayton and Utah in the Bahamas)

NASSAU, Bahamas – Head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin is set to take her Rebels back to her native Bahamas, as Ole Miss will take on Dayton and Utah in the 2022 Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championships, Nov. 21 and 23.

“With so many new faces on our team, playing in the Bahamas against strong NCAA tournament tested programs like Dayton and Utah will be invaluable for our team as we prepare for Southeastern Conference play,” said McPhee-McCuin. “One of the hallmarks of our program is providing great experiences for our student-athletes and having the opportunity to take a trip like this is going to make for lasting memories for our program and fans.”

This is Ole Miss’ first trip to the Bahamas since the 2006 Junkanoo Jam, where the Rebels split their two contests going 1-1 on the island. For the second time in program history, the Rebels match up with the Dayton Flyers after last meeting in 1994 with a victory over UD. A tough test follows in Utah, as the Utes are coming off of a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels hold the all-time advantage in the series 3-0, with the squads last meeting in 2014 at the Nugget Classic.

Both games will be broadcast on FloHoops with times for each contest from the Baha Mar Convention Center to be announced at a later date.

A native of Freeport and the first Bahamian woman to sign a Division I letter of intent as a player and the first Bahamian woman to coach at a Division I school, McPhee-McCuin relishes the opportunity to bring her team back to her home country.

“I’ve always wanted to bring my team home to the Bahamas. I love my country and I think it’s great that many will be able to enjoy the beautiful island! It is my hope that my fellow Bahamians come out and not only support Ole Miss but all of the teams in this event.”

OLE MISS SPORTS NEWS – June 30, 2022

Grand Bahama Port Authority on the Ball!

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

Recent months of ongoing road works have indicated that the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is on the ball in Freeport.

Paving of roundabout sectors and residential areas have given rise to a new and refreshing feeling about Freeport. Residents of those communities which have been on the front line of the infrastructural upgrade are appreciative. Drivers throughout Freeport are enjoying the smooth approaches to roundabouts and recognizing a look that was once commonplace in the city which the GBPA, through the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, has municipal authority over. 

GBPA Chairman Sarah St. George and President Ian Rolle are leading an initiative which coincides with the encouraging outlook the Government of The Bahamas has for the entire island of Grand Bahama, and the investment prospects.

For years, roadways in need of repair had added to the dismal economic cloud over Freeport and the rest of the island.  Now, the millions of dollars the GBPA has invested in road restoration demonstrates, I think, a great recovery interest and a desire to begin the process of recapturing the glow of the Magic City. It is, for sure, a tall order to make Freeport magical again; but the approach of the GBPA, presently, is fostering enthusiasm among many, such as Bahamasair’s Airport Assistant Manager Harold Williams.  

“Hurricane Dorian caused a lot of damage to the roadways and I think what the Port is doing is necessary. It falls right in line with potential developments we have heard of. I certainly give the Port Authority kudos for what is being done,” said Williams.  The airport executive echoes the sentiments of a lot of Grand Bahamians.

So much is on the plate of the GBPA. There are still quite a number of derelict buildings in Freeport. The old International Bazaar is a huge eyesore. In some residential areas, individuals are still piling old, discarded furniture along the streets where they actually live.

It’s time for a culture change indeed. 

Hopefully, residents will read appropriately into what the GBPA is doing and begin thinking accordingly. 

The view here is that St. George, Rolle and their GBPA associates are up to the task. 

Let’s see what the future holds.

For now, though, congratulations to the GBPA!

City of Miami Commission Names Area ‘Little Bahamas’

BY FRED STURRUP | GB News Editor | sturrup1504@gmail.com

There is an area in Florida now entitled, officially, “Little Bahamas.”

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and portions of the 1930s and 1960s, The Bahamas and the United States engaged in a joint project which enabled Bahamian men (mostly) and women to travel to the latter country for the purpose of farm work.
Historically, the program has been referred to as the “Contract” or the “Project.”  Because most of the Bahamian farm workers were provided jobs by owners in Florida, there was a great blending of humanity and cultures in that state.

Many of the men, and some of the women, were part of the farming project for decades, and ended up establishing families.Thus, South Florida, in particular, became heavily Bahamian-influenced.  The Coconut Grove area is one of the hotbeds of the Bahamian connection.  Recently, the City Commision of the City of Miami recognized the significant Bahamian contribution to the development of South Florida.

The City Commission proclaimed that: Whereas, the area in the South East portion of the City of Miami, is the cultural heart for the Bahamian Community; and Whereas the historically Bahamian Community has enriched Miami-Dade County’s multi-ethnic character as a whole; andWhereas Little Havana and Little Haiti have been recognized for their cultural heritage and importance to the community; andWhereas, other historic areas within the City of Miami have been identified for their importance to their respective communities; and Whereas, the Miami City Commission wishes to designate the area described in Exhibit “A,” and incorporated as “Little Bahamas of Coconut Grove”, in recognition of the historical and cultural importance of the area;Now, therefore, be it (so) resolved by the Commission of the City of Miami, Florida.

This development, a special honor bestowed on our country, comes on the heels of another major historical interaction between entities of the two countries, namely Grand Bahama and Florida.  Two weeks ago, the Hon. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism and Aviation in The Bahamas, announced the purchase of the Grand Lucayan Properties in Grand Bahama by the Electra America Hospitality Group for $100 million. Electra is a Florida-based company. The Bahamas-Florida connection is indeed ongoing and vibrant.  Accordingly, this is yet another plank from which Minister Cooper can advance aspects of our tourism industry.