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.

Job Opportunities for Grand Bahama!

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

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! 

The announcement by the Prime Minister Philip Davis led Government of the Bahamas, on Wednesday, that the Electra America Hospitality Group had purchased the Grand Lucaya properties in Grand Bahama for $100 million, heralded the great opportunities for gainful employment residents have been wishing, hoping for.

Based in Florida, Electra certainly came to the table with a bundle of credentials. Its marketing promo follows: “Electra America Hospitality Group (EAHG) is a unique joint venture between Electra America, a leading real estate operator and capital provider, and AKA, a leading provider of long-short term luxury accommodations. The partnership is designed to capitalize on dislocation in the hotel industry. Marrying Electra’s expertise in value-add investing and repositioning with AKA’s unique, design-driven philosophy and loyal customer base, EAHG generates premium returns for investors through the acquisition, renovation and management of well-located hotel resorts with upside potential in major U.S. markets.”

The Grand Lucayan properties certainly fit the bill, and all of The Bahamas, from a business perspective, is considered an extension of the U.S. market.
Moving about Grand Bahama in the days following the announcement, the name Philip Davis was heard spoken of highly by all and sundry. Frankly, although he is the maestro of the governing political party, the signing by Electra transcended politics.  Folks view the development as something joyful for all; and PM Davis and his associates in the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Grand Bahama are accordingly complimented. 
As for the Prime Minister, he continues to overachieve, when one considers how he was perceived during the early years after he ascended to the helm of the Progressive Liberal Party and when the most recent general elections campaign began. His transformation to what he is today, has been nothing short of magnificent. There is no doubt that, as the head coach, he makes the jobs of his Cabinet Ministers so much easier.

The PM has orchestrated a comfort zone in this country not experienced throughout the entirety of the Free National Movement Dr. Hubert Minnis’ governance or during the latter portion of the Perry Christie administration’s second term. In less than a year, Davis has gone to a lofty height, whereby he can legitimately be talked positively about in the same FNM-Hubert Ingraham and PLP-Perry Christie conversation.  It was Ingraham who was the catalyst behind the emergence of Atlantis, that great resort empire on Paradise Island; and likewise Christie is to be thanked for the Baha Mar grand hospitality facility in New Providence.  In both cases, the day was saved for the country financially, as Atlantis and Baha Mar ushered in climates for economic security through thousands of steady, part-time and sourced out jobs.  For Grand Bahama, finally, there is the substantive sign of economic revitalization. Prime Minister Davis, is indeed charting his own course, but functioning similar to a phrase coined by Ingraham: “I say what I mean and mean what I say.”  Just a couple of months into his prime ministership, right in Grand Bahama during a press conference, Davis said it’s time for there to be much more than just talk about what needs to and will happen with Grand Bahama economically.  Well, his government is placing substantive action alongside the talk.

Grand Bahama is better off with his leadership.

Minnis Falls Far Short of Other Major Parties’ Official Leaders

QUALITY NATIONAL LEADERS

SHAPING UP WELL

A POLITICAL PARIAH?

Hubert A. Minnis

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

Dr. Hubert Minnis is considered to be a political pariah. He certainly fits the description of an outcast, much more so than any other leader in Bahamian political history, I submit.  This man has been rejected by the national voters in great numbers, and within the party he hangs on to, the Free National Movement (FNM), it is understood that the great majority wish he would just go away, resign, and get totally out of the picture.  Killarney could very well do with another representative. 

The fall from political grace that, in my view, is the largest aspect of his legacy, puts Dr. Minnis in the ignominious category of one. Given what happened under his watch; the questionable contracts, the inflated budgets, the attitude etc., I know of no other major party leader who bore as much or more public disgrace or shame.  

Let’s go through the list of political leaders in the modern Bahamas. For the now-governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the leaders include Henry Milton Taylor, Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, Perry Gladstone Christie and Phillip “Brave” Davis.   The first government of the country, the United Bahamian Party (UBP), had Sir Roland Symonette and Godfrey Johnstone.  The Free PLP/FNM’s list is longer, inclusive of short-term leaders. The prominent chiefs were, of course, founding-leader Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Sir Kendal Isaacs and Hubert Ingraham. Then, there were Cyril Fountain, Cyril Tynes, Henry Bostwick, Tommy Turnquest and Michael Pintard (currently in charge).  All of them, their faults noted, were thought to be honourable men.

What about Dr. Hubert Minnis?  The truth be told, there is the view that he sours the FNM.  And, he won’t go away.

In an earlier commentary in GB News, it was predicted that Dr. Minnis would be a great obstacle to Pintard’s leadership. He seems determined to undermine the younger politician who has been widely accepted by FNMs across the length and breadth of this nation. Pintard is certainly more dignified.  The antics of Dr. Minnis are disgusting.  He lost the election of 2021 and the FNM opted to change him and go with another at the helm. That was the logical conclusion. His decisions in leadership, for the most part, were not sound ones at all.  

Think about it for a moment.  Dr. Minnis could still be the executive leader of this country. His Cabinet Ministers could still be moving about in the political style befitting their portfolios. In particular, they could still be earning their salaries. Cabinet Ministers each lost more than $60,000 because of the decision made by Dr. Minnis to call an early election, September 16, of last year.  He dealt serious blows to his party and the pockets of ministers, other parliamentarians and supporters with lucrative contracts.

Yet he sticks around, seemingly making every effort to upstage the sitting FNM Leader Pintard. In that earlier commentary, I warned Pintard about what he was likely to face in Dr. Minnis. It is not a pretty scene for the FNM. On the one hand there is Leader Pintard, trying valiantly to make his party relevant with the voters once again.  On the other hand, Dr. Minnis appears to be disdainful of Pintard and his status in the country as Her Majesty’s Loyal Official Opposition Leader. 

The time has come for those who care deeply for the FNM to take a strong stand alongside Pintard, and insist that Dr. Minnis moves on. If not, a fractured party will be the result and the FNM will not be able to go to the people for voting support as a unified body.

Minister Munroe Ought Not Put PM in Position of Dismissing Him

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

National Security Minister Wayne Munroe is deemed by many to be out of order for comments made regarding a plea agreement which enabled a man recently convicted of having intercourse with a minor to receive a prison term of just four years.
He was quoted:”If I was advising the accused and someone gets seven years for raping somebody, I wouldn’t be advising my client to agree to four years for unlawful intercourse. I would say that if we go to court, you would say to the judge, “He didn’t rape her. She consented.” A release from the Ministry of National Security claimed that Minister Munroe was regretful that his comments “caused concern.” His defense continued with the following: “When I provide my analysis of a legal matter, as I have done in recent interviews, I do draw upon decades of experience practicing law.”  
Indeed, Munroe is a noted attorney; but in his capacity as Minister of National Security, he does not have the luxury to act or think, only, as a lawyer. Protocol dictates that he functions, in particular while in public, in the interest of his ministry. He seems, based on his comments, sympathetic to the convicted individual, and not very much concerned that a child under the age of 16 has been interfered with sexually, her innocence violated. Quite frankly, at that age, she is unable to give legal consent.
From throughout this country and the wider Caribbean Region, reportedly the outcry against Munroe has been great. He thus sits, it is submitted, as a cancer in the Cabinet of the Most Honourable Prime Minister Philip Davis. Cancer should be removed.
PM Davis is batting on a really fine wicket. His detractors are hard pressed to criticize him with any sense of logic. His cabinet ministers can be his downfall though. Voters have long memories.  I suggest that the prime minister takes his mind back to the 2002-2007 first Progressive Liberal Party governance term of Perry Gladstone Christie. The economy was booming, things were going well in the nation; but Christie lost respect when he failed to handle properly, in the view held here, the BAIC (Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation) debacle and several other national matters of great concern.
The same can happen to Davis four and a half years down the road.
PM Davis, I urge you to remember how Sir Lynden Pindling functioned as prime minister, especially during those early years of a quarter of a century of leadership.  I mention for emphasis the names of Simeon Bowe and Ervin Knowles. There was the case of the PVC pipes. It was a huge controversy, although Bowe was not thought to be personally involved. Bowe was a dear friend of the then prime minister and one of the heroes of the eastern district. He stepped down from his ministry post, however, so the government could move forward without that baggage.
In the case of Knowles, a matter regarding a contract for BAIC was his downfall. Just like Bowe, he was very close to Sir Lynden, and not known to have been the culprit. However, it was on his watch and convention dictated the honourable path. Knowles took it.
This controversy Munroe is now involved in, is highly sensitive and he is in a quandary of his own doing. The matter won’t die.

Wilson providing quality service at Salty Crab on Junkanoo Beach

SALTY CRAB  PROPRIETOR WARREN WILSON, LEFT, AND GB NEWS EDITOR FRED STURRUP

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

Situated among a number of similar hospitality facilities on the famed Junkanoo Beach (formerly Long Wharf area) of West Bay Street in New Providence, is the Salty Crab establishment. Proprietor Warren Wilson has carved out quite a special niche which provides delectable cuisine, and extremely friendly treatment, enhanced by a spectacular view of Nassau Harbour.
Others might try to emulate, but the Salty Crab is indeed one of a kind.Wilson’s hands-on approach, connects him very positively to patrons, local and foreign, on a daily basis. It’s an aspect that endears him to repeat customers and cements Salty Crab  as a prime tourism product.
“It’s about pleasing my customers, always. My presence is important, not particularly to watch over my staffers, but more importantly to ensure that the attachment to all who come for service is solidified.
“I take very seriously the role I play with my staffers, for tourism,” said Wilson recently.
For sure he wants to maintain a profit, but he is passionate as well, about interacting with guests to make their stay in his country rewarding in all the ways that Salty Crab can deliver. The menu lists the local favorites, such as conch fritters, cracked conch, cracked shrimp,  cracked lobster, fish steak to chicken quesadilla.
The Ministry of Tourism would do well to embrace places such as Salty Crab, for them to be included in the national marketing/advertising programs.
Salty Crab certainly continues to make a difference!

GBPA Chairman Sarah St. George Lauds Freetown Housing Initiative

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

A “truly magnificent initiative” was how Grand Bahama Port Authority Chairman Sarah St. George described the $50,000 housing ministry project highlighted during a ceremony Sunday, March 13 in Freetown, Grand Bahama. The venerable patriarch of Freetown, Rev. Rufus Cooper and his wife were presented with the new home. On the invitation of St. Cleveland Baptist Church’s Pastor Preston Cooper, St. George was among the dignitaries and christian leaders in attendance. 
“This initiative will continue. I know Pastor Cooper will see to that. This is just wonderful, and may I call you Uncle, Rev. Rufus? I am very happy for you and your lovely wife, Uncle Rufus. I applaud this housing ministry established by St. Cleveland Church. These are the sorts of efforts that restore communities devastated by natural disasters” said St. George.
She spoke passionately to the residents in Freetown, about the pleasure she felt, being among them. “There is the commitment that I adhere fully to, doing more of this, moving through the communities, interacting with really fine people like yourselves. Congratulations to the Coopers and best wishes to you all,” she concluded her remarks.
Housing Ministry head, Pastor Preston Cooper said the residence handed over, was simply the “beginning”. “We are not going to wait for any government administration or any NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Our Housing Ministry will move forward, reaching out for assistance to relocate residents who lost their homes during Hurricane Dorian, to get back to Freetown,” said the St. Cleveland pastor.
Also present were: East Grand Bahama Member of Parliament, Kwasi Thompson; Grand Bahama Christian Council President, Rev. Ken Lewis; Administrator, Gregory Knowles; Chief Councillor, Rev. Marcus Cooper; and Pastor Edwin Pinder. The event was moderated by Ms. Vivian McIntosh.

SEVENTH ANNUAL JONATHAN GOUTHRO MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT

The seventh annual Jonathan Gouthro memorial golf tournament was held on Saturday march 5th, 2022 at the Lucayan reef golf course. The event was conducted by the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise with assistance from the Gouthro family. All proceeds from the tournament are placed in a scholarship fund under the same name, to be used for the education of Bahamians interested in an accountancy or business career.
Forty-six golfers teed it up for a shotgun start and the weather cooperated to provide excellent conditions for the event.
Brian O’Connell was the winner of the putting and closest to the pin contest (hole #17), Kirk Bowe had the most accurate drive on hole #12. However, there was no hole-in-one on #4 and no winner of the floating target contest, so garmin (obs marine) kept the prizes for next year. Matt Hynes rounded out the pin prizes taking the longest drive on hole #13.
The tournament was conducted under the “pinehurst format’, a combination of best ball and alternate shots in teams of two. The winners were the top three placing two person teams based on net (handicaps) and gross (true) scores.

The winners were as follows:
NET
FIRST- (66) SUE URBAN / MIMI LODS
SECOND – (66) CRAIG O’BRIEN / RUPERT SEARLES
THIRD – (68) MARCUS GOUTHRO / SPENCER GRAHAM
GROSS
FIRST- (75) LYNFORD MILLER / KIRK BOWE
SECOND – (83) JOHN LANE / BRAD CULMER
THIRD – (84) VIC SKINNER / MARTIN BRENT

Wayne Russell of the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise thanked the sponsors at the awards presentation at Oceans Blue restaurant in the Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort and along with Jamie Sarles thanked the golfers for their participation, especially, Lynford Miller, president of the Bahamas Golf Federation who travelled from Nassau to support the tournament and Allan Gardner who did all the scoring. The event was deemed a success and planning has already begun for next year’s tournament.

UB North Campus Set to Revitalize Freeport

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

One of the great decisions made by Prime Minister Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis and the rest of the hierarchy of the Progressive Liberal Party Government of The Bahamas, was the intense focus on concluding negotiations for buying the Kipling Building, downtown Freeport, Grand Bahama, to relocate the University of Bahamas North Campus.
By all indications, the UB North Campus, ideally situated between Kipling Lane and West Mall Drive in the very heart of downtown Freeport, will revitalize the economy of Freeport. In a short period of time, Freeport could be transformed into a vibrant college town, such as those found in the United States, Canada, and in many other countries throughout the world. The existing surrounding businesses, especially the eateries and other operations, are set to thrive because of the economic energy which figures to result from the campus.
The atmosphere created by the presence of UB North Campus, indeed, will no doubt encourage new ventures in the area. The campus will be a windfall for vendors of a variety of products.
In 2010 when the UB Campus was officially opened in East Grand Bahama, that was historic; but the destruction of the institution, inclusive of the dormitory building by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, gives merit to the notion that good things sometimes come from bad situations. The view here is that the transformation to Freeport, and in particular, downtown, will be magnificent.
The UB Board is headed by a proven deliverer of successes, Chairman Allyson Maynard-Gibson. She sits in the top chair of the board, well qualified, with a background of general excellence, comparable to any other, and on a higher level than most.  She has hit the ground running with a multitude of meetings and a hands-on approach to reshaping, for the better, the UB North Campus.
It’s a safe bet that the campus will now become synonymous with Freeport and the wider island of Grand Bahama like never before. It is anticipated that going forward, through a vigorous public relations program, the UB North Campus and all of its attributes, will become common knowledge in Grand Bahama, the rest of he country and, certainly the region.
It surely is a new day for the University of Bahamas Northern Campus.

GBUC Launches Smart Meter Upgrade Program

GRAND BAHAMA UTILITY COMPANY LIMITED- For Immediate Release –

February 21, 2022 – Freeport, GB, The Bahamas: – The Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC) Limited is excited to announce the launch of its smart meter upgrade program, which commenced Saturday, February 19, 2022, in West End and will work east to cover all customers across Grand Bahama.

Philcher Grant, Chief Operating Officer of GBUC & Public Affairs stated, “This is GBUC’s first step in the automation of our metering system.” She added that the completion of this project will improve the efficiency of operations and mitigate the need to estimate accounts, while providing a greater accuracy of metering. 

In addition to the smart meter upgrade program, GBUC has implemented an overall improvement strategy, which includes a leak detection program, preventative maintenance, and equipment modernization. Ms. Grant added, “As the company continues to progress and invest in building back stronger & better, all of these initiatives are a part of GBUC’s long-term asset management program to ensure we remain resilient against climate change and future storms.”

Anastasia Rahming, Utility Relations Supervisor noted that GBUC’s replacement of older meters with advanced technology smart metering, will enable the utility to address hard to access areas, as well as perform remote readings. “Our GBUC team encourages customers to assist us with the execution of this program by ensuring that crews can easily access the meters, by removing all debris from around the area of the meter and securing all dogs.”  She advised that there will be a brief interruption in service for 30-minute intervals while crews remove the current meter and replace it with the new smart meter. 

This past weekend the work in West End was completed and crews are scheduled to continue the program in the areas of Jones Town, Sea Grape, Pine Forest, and Holmes Rock on February 26 & 27, 2022.  Customers are encouraged to follow the Grand Bahama Utility Company Facebook page or visit www.grandbahamautility.com for the latest change-out area updates.

Sports Minister Bowleg Urges Boxing Revival

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

A few weeks ago, Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Hon. Mario Bowleg, met with Bahamas Boxing Commission Chairman Fred Sturrup and other commissioners for the first time.  The minister made it quite clear that he plans to fortify the commission, the government’s arm for the control of professional boxing, as best as is possible with the main objective being the full revival of the sport.  He requested that Sturrup lead an initiative that links all of the boxing programs in the collective interest of boosting the sport.  To that end, the commission has engaged with Vincent Strachan of the Bahamas Boxing Federation (Amateur arm of the sport); Meacher Major, the national director for the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization, which is headquartered in the Bahamas; and Patrick Strachan who just recently registered a veteran boxing body.  A conclave is scheduled for April in Grand Bahama, a day after the scheduled Boxing Reconstruction Invitational which is set to take place at the Castaways Hotel in conjunction with the YMCA of Grand Bahama.  The sport is on the move for sure. There is a great chance that this first joint effort by all of the leadership of boxing will bring about a revival nationally and bring back memories of the ring greats who once had boxing solidified as the most popular sport in the country.  The names Gomeo Brennan, Yama Bahama, Elisha Obed, Baby Boy Rolle, Sugar Cliff, Battling Douglas, Ray Minus Sr., Ray Minus Jr., Cassius Moss, Quincy “Thriller” Pratt, Ernie Barr, Freeman Barr, Nat Knowles, Gary Davis, Taureano Johnson, Jermain Mackey, Carl Hield, Wendell Newton, Rene Pinder, Boston Blackie, Tidal Wave Duncanson, Vogal Reckley, Roy Armbrister, Sammie Isaacs, and many others were once noted in households around the country.   It is the intent of the commission to coordinate and spearhead clinics throughout the land, the capital island of New Providence and the inhabited Family Islands.  The entire plan is to connect the country to boxing like never before and spawn champions and great athletes akin to the aforementioned.
No doubt, boxing development is a top agenda item for Minister Bowleg. The fistic fraternity is appreciative.