Friday, July 27, 2018

242NewsBahamas - I am a Bahamian, but I am a foreigner too and (& Weekly News Highlights)

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I am a Bahamian, but I am a foreigner too.  

Dear Readers,

My family came to The Bahamas when I was a baby, and they made it their home.  I am a naturalized Bahamian with Bahamian children; but I am white. Being a white Bahamian, with an American accent, I often get confused as a tourist or outrightly called a 'foreigner'. Quite frankly, I'm not often bothered when it happens to me. Maybe I've just gotten used to it, but I do find it troubling when I see others, like me, who love this island, and want to be here, discriminated against for no reason except that they are 'foreign'.

As a nation, we have built our brand as a tropical paradise, one that welcomes and accepts people from all walks of life, all colors, creeds, and from all countries across the globe. And as a result, we have attracted millions who have come to our shores, many of whom have set up businesses and have made invaluable contributions to the Bahamian way of life. And while we accept them on the surface, there continues to be a sort of US vs. THEM mentality which prevails, and is one which I believe is most sinister.

With over 700 beautiful islands, rocks, and cays, all of which need to be maintained, protected, and policed, the price tag for living in paradise can be high.  Unlike other Caribbean countries, the Bahamas does not have a thriving commercial agricultural sector, and outside of the fisheries industry - which, though under attack from poachers - continues to sustain many family island communities, we have few little to no access or control over the natural resources, that can sustain us. So instead, we sell who we are, where we are (our ideal geographical location) and of course, the holy trinity: Sun, Sand and Sea. That model, for better or worse has served our country for decades, but in the absence of a new plan, it should go without saying that The Bahamas must find a way to attract "foreign money". We need investment. We need people to come to The Bahamas, fall in love with our country and our people, and we need those persons to invest and to HELP us make our country even better than it already is.

Now I'm not so naive as to believe that some non-Bahamians may have ill intentions or may be looking to make a quick buck off the backs of Bahamians; but that's where our laws come into play. Our legislation is filled with built-in protections, which reserve certain businesses and industries for Bahamians only. There is a legal framework designed to manage the issuance of work permits and other labour related matters. The issue is that far too often, we, Bahamians do not allow the laws of the land to properly take effect. Yes, those laws must be strengthened and enforced across the board but we as a people must do our part by not allowing potentially unscrupulous businessmen and women to sidestep the systems in place simply because they are able to pay an "under the table premium".

I recently became aware of situation where a non-Bahamian who is investing millions into a new business had multiple issues in moving his plans forward simply because he is perceived as 'foreign'. Not only is this individual invested in The Bahamas, but he has chosen to engage Bahamians over foreign labour, and ensures that they are paid on time. Yet a recent event has delayed his progress and it was suggested that it happened because they are 'foreign'? WHY?  Why would someone want to delay a business opening that would employ local workers (estimated at 15), and improve an island's facilities? Why would a Bahamian purposefully stop progression? As they say 'they cut off their nose to spite their face', and this is what our people are doing.

We are condemning all 'foreigners' by presuming they mean to steal our jobs, take our homes, not pay us right or, my favourite: steal our women.  But they do not see the positives which can mean, more jobs, better pay, different work options, which leads to an improved economy; and then better supermarkets, better family life and homes, and happier people.

While some among us have been quick to Hate or Blame 'the foreigner' for our faults, I'd like to point out that its not the foreigner who over spent our money and put us in debt - so now we pay more vat.  It's not the foreigner who does not pay their National Insurance, land fees, business licensees. In fact, our laws are very strict in that regard, and impose harsh penalties on them if they do.

Stop demeaning folks and start seeing what 'foreign' can do for us. They might not all be perfect but some, as we all know  - have helped our little country fly!

This Week's 242 News
Prime Minister Minnis: Government Moving to Ban the Use of Plastics and Styrofoam
The Government has embarked upon a programme to ban the use of plastics and Styrofoam which are proving detrimental to the country's eco and marine system.
Towards this end, the first in a series of town hall meetings on Single-use Plastics & Styrofoam Ban was held at the New Providence Community Church on Blake Road on Monday, July 23, 2018. Read More
Eva Hilton Primary undergoes $4 mil renovation
Students can look forward to a new Eva Hilton Primary School (formerly Oakes Field Primary School) when classes resume in September. The school, located in Oakes Field, is presently undergoing $4 million in renovations.
"We are proposing complete renovations of the Eva Hilton Primary School," said Lateria Lightbourne, Architect with the Ministry of Public Works. "Four contractors are on sight and trying to complete the project in time for school. We have been working since March 23."  Read More
Letter To Editor: SHOW US THE MONEY
 Hello again my Bahamian citizens, another year has gone by, and it baffles me that there is still not one word being said in any quarters about our thirty million, plus, dollars ($30,000,000+) that was spent, wasted or pocketed on the so-called Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. I am still waiting on the forensic report to be tabled in the House Of Assembly concerning their fiasco of a 'carnival' for the past three years of 2015, 2016 and 2017.  Read More
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In its continued effort to ensure that sufficient numbers of Bahamians are trained to fill the varied healthcare positions throughout the country, the Doctors Hospital Dr Meyer Rassin Foundation presented more than 40 young Bahamians with scholarships to assist with next year's tuition and associated expenses.
The students, who include those just headed off to college to begin their studies as well as students wrapping up their course work, are enrolled at colleges and universities throughout the Caribbean and North America and are pursuing degrees and careers in a wide variety of healthcare fields. 
Read More
 The Kevin Johnson Basketball Summer Camp is paving a path to higher education for young Bahamians by teaching them about life, the rewards of a good education, and sometimes even helping them to score a college scholarship, all while improving their skills at the game.  Read More
Bahamas Feeding Network Steak-out Raises Funds and Awareness
The flame of 10 grills seared the steaks and chicken while volunteers stood ready, assembly line style, to mount sides of potatoes, corn and rolls into plates during the Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) steak-out recently held at the Network's Moseff House headquarters in Fox Hill.
The fundraiser, the first of its kind for the organization that partners with more than 120 churches, soup kitchens and feeding centres providing more than 3,000 hot meals weekly along with distributing nearly 400 bags of groceries, sought to sell 3,200 dinners at $12 per plate with all funds going directly to feeding the hungry. Read More
Click Below for this week's weather in The Bahamas:

To the Praise of His Glory
Ephesians 3:3-14

This morning I am going to start something new. One of the pastors I respect most, a scholar, pastor, teacher and author, once said that he got his best vision of the church and his place in it when he worked through the Book of Ephesians.
I have read Ephesians, and I have preached from Ephesians, but I have never studied and preached through the book as a whole. So that's what I am going to do that's new. Starting this morning, I will begin a series that will last several weeks, maybe even a couple of months, as we look at Paul's letter to "the saints in Ephesus."
Before I get into the passage we just read, I want to say a few things about this letter as a whole. It is unique among Paul's letters for a couple of reasons, and I think they are worth mentioning.  Read More
Upcoming Calendar
New Providence
  • July 16th - August 3rd, 2018 
    • The NAGB Mixed Media Art Summer Camp 
  • July 7th - August 4th, 2018
    • Junkanoo Summer Festival 2018 1:00pm at Arawak Cay  
  • July 7th - August 4th, 2018
    • SUNDAY JAZZ 5:00pm - 8:00pm at Coral Harbour Beach House & Villas
  • July 27th, 2018
    • Friday Night Live! 6:00pm - 10:00pm at National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
  • July 29th, 2018
    • NAGB presents:"We Suffer to Remain" Finissage - A True & Exact History: A Reading 4:00pm - 5:30pm at National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
  • August 10th, 2018
    • The Central Bank of The Bahamas presents:
      "Intimacy" - A Solo Exhibition by Jodi Minnis 6:00pm - 9:00pm at The Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Gallery
Grand Bahama
  • July 29th, 2018
    • Freeport Players Guild Telethon by Aliv (raise funds for auditorium ac units) 
  • August 2nd, 2018
    • Bahamas Federation of Performing Arts 7:00pm at 
      Mackey street Media on Retail Street 
  • August 6th, 2018
    • 11th Annual High Rock Sea Fest 10:00am at 
      Homecoming Cultural Festival
  • August 11th, 2018
    • Humane Society Pub Quiz at 6:00pm at Garden of the Groves
  • August 18th, 2018
    • BASRA Swim Race & Beach Party at Coral Beach 
Family Islands
  • July 29th, 2018 
    • Goombay Summer Festival - San Salvador
  • July 29th, 2018 
    • Bannerman Town Festival at Public Park, Bannerman Town (Eleuthera)
  • August 1st, 2018 
    • Walk for a Cure-Tarpum Bay at Tarpum Bay
  • August 1st, 2018 
    • Bimini Native Fishing Tournament at Alice Town
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