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Abaco News
Florida couple ecstatic about winning dream wedding in Abaco
Submitted by Earnestine Moxyz   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:14

PLANTATION, Florida -- “Super thrilled and beyond belief” are the sentiments shared by Pierre Alex Demonsthene, a legal aide, when he found out that he and his fiancé, WanJira Banfield, a travel writer and fitness instructor had won a complimentary dream wedding in Abaco, The Bahamas.

The couple who refers to each other as ‘Mayor’ (because of Pierre’s diplomatic disposition) and ‘Majesty’ (the regal-style treatment WanJira administers to others) are one of 16 couples from throughout the United States of America (USA) who recently won the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT) unique social media “16 Weddings 16 Islands, One Priceless Day” contest.

Launched on February 14, 2014 to US residents, the contest resulted in more than three thousand entries. Sixteen lucky, newly engaged couples won a complimentary dream wedding on any of 16 islands in The Bahamas’, 700 islands chain. All 16 weddings are scheduled to take place on 16 Bahama Islands at 16:00 hours on January 16, 2015.

The contest also showcased The Islands of The Bahamas as the premier destination for romance, weddings and honeymoons and highlighted the diversity, beauty, charm, characters, flavors and cultures of each of the 16 Bahama Islands.

Originally from Haiti, and a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Pierre said he met WanJira, the ‘light of his life’ in 2012, through a mutual friend, who had given him her telephone number. The two spoke on the telephone daily for two weeks without even seeing or meeting each other. “When we met, the chemistry was incredible. Her charm, beauty, quick wit and personality “bamboozled” me, and I knew immediately, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. We have been together ever since,” he said.

Abaco excited about new luxury charter air service
Submitted by Jeannie Gibson   
Friday, 17 October 2014 10:22

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida --- Wynsome Davis, Manager of The Bahamas Tourist Office, Abaco, recently expressed high praise for IJet Charters who has announced plans to offer scheduled charter service to Abaco Island and four other Bahamas destinations from Fort Lauderdale as well as flights to Abaco from New York, Spring of 2015.

Davis was one of many of the key influencers, media and other government officials in Abaco who toured the airline on Tuesday to view the state of the art aircraft, that was in Marsh Harbour on its introductory trip to the Island – the actual flights to Abaco and the other Bahamas Out Islands, are scheduled to begin in April of 2015.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Abaco, Davis said.   Affordable and adequate airlift has been a challenge for sometime for us so this new service is a plus for the destination.  This is in fact a huge plus for Abaco especially with our new terminal,” the tourism official said.

Jim Swieter, founder of IJet Charters, which is providing marketing and reservations for the scheduled charter, advised that the company’s plans are to fly direct scheduled flights, April through August, from Fort Lauderdale to Marsh Harbour, Abaco; Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bimini;  Georgetown, Exuma and North Eleuthera.  He said that the scheduled charters will fly out of Sheltair at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL), which will streamline the check-in process. Some return flights will arrive at FLL Terminal 4.

“This definitely will be the top-of –the-line service choice for all airlift currently servicing the Bahamas,” said Swieter, who added that all flights will offer complimentary beverages,  all premium class seating and high-speed travel. He also disclosed that the company is looking to schedule a non-stop from New York to Marsh Harbour during the high season.

U.S. Embassy’s Abaco Youth Ambassadors host community dialogue on social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities
Submitted by the US Embassy Nassau   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 12:20

U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Neda Brown (center) with Kimberly Rahming, Catalina Albury, Berthony McDermott and Kandise Kelly. (Not pictured – Conrad Cornish).MARSH HARBOUR, Abaco -- On September 24, the U.S. Embassy’s Youth Ambassadors representing the island of Abaco held an engaging community dialogue to promote social inclusion of Bahamians living with intellectual disabilities during a one-day forum at the Office of the Prime Minister in Marsh Harbour, Abaco. The community service project coordinated by the youth ambassadors was a direct follow-up to their participation in an international youth leadership exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department in February of this year.  

The participants, Kandise Kelly and Catalina Albury, both students at Forest Heights Academy, Berthony McDermott of S.C. Bootle High School and Conrad Cornish of Abaco Central High School, were accompanied by Kimberly Rahming of the Ministry of Education who served as the group’s chaperone.  During the three-week exchange in the U.S., the youth leaders joined students from throughout the Caribbean in Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C. to participate in hands-on community based activities.   

Upon their return to Abaco, the youth ambassadors chose to champion the cause of disability awareness in the various communities throughout the island in a community dialogue.  The U.S. Embassy’s Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Neda Brown was on hand for the event along with educators, religious leaders and representatives from special needs schools and various governmental departments including Social Services and the Department of Housing.

The highlight of the program was the screening of a short film produced by the youth ambassadors titled, “People with Possibilities,” which addressed everyday challenges faced by the disabled. The film included interviews with educators, parents and disabled youth on Abaco.  During the discussion, Lynn Major, principal of Every Child Counts School, which provides an alternative education to children with learning, developmental and physical disabilities on Abaco, stressed the need for inclusion of the disabled primarily among Bahamian youth.  Members of the religious community also raised a call to action in an effort to address concerns of the disabled among them.  

Albury's Ferry Service donates $10,400 to Abaco Pathfinders
Submitted by AbacoBuzz   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 10:34

ABACO, The Bahamas -- Abaco Pathfinders ( was formed in 2001 and has generously awarded many Bahamian youths with a college education. Abaco Pathfinders‘ goal is to provide funds to enable deserving students from the Abaco islands to continue their education after high school.

Albury’s Ferry Service is donating $10,400 to Abaco Pathfinders.

Ferries go where people go … “The young adults represent the future of our island; they are our most valuable asset,” states Denis Knowles, manager of Albury’s Ferry Service." we are proud to be part of a community which recognises the heartbeat of our talented young people.”

Abaco Pathfinders is a beneficial organisation not only for students, but as a positive impact on the community. Businesses such as Albury’s Ferry Service are vital to the program’s success.

Jim Blumberg founded Abaco Pathfinders in 2001 and his legacy is evident today — over 149 students have fulfilled their dream for higher education. With the support of sponsors, community and businesses, Pathfinders has been able to facilitate a path for those in need of help to attain their goals for higher education.

“Our sponsors and donors are our best resource. We thank Albury’s Ferry, and deeply appreciate their support. They go over and above to help us and we are grateful,” said Leazona Bethell, Abaco Pathfinders Organisation.

Treasure Cay plans still a mystery to local community
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Sunday, 14 September 2014 12:32

TREASURE CAY, Abaco --- With no concrete plans announced but work continuing, the Abaco Defenders group remains concerned about the expansion of the Treasure Sands resort in Treasure Cay, Abaco.  

According to the newly formed NGO, after the initial unpermitted dredging was stopped with a cease and desist order from the BEST Commission, Treasure Sands received permission for three temporary structures on their property across the road from the resort. They believe none of these should be on the reclaimed property that resulted from the dredging, property whose ownership is still in question according to Abaco Defenders.  

The NGO appealed this approval at local government level as they were concerned that the decisions were made without knowledge of what the larger plans for the development are. “There are also serious concerns about the fate of historical artifacts,” said Fiona Bootle, President of Abaco Defenders. “These have been that were found on the property this summer.”  

Recently the Director of the Bahamas Antiquities Monuments and Museum, Dr. Keith Tinker, toured the site with members of the NGO and the manager of Treasure Sands, Tim Blakely. "There is sufficient evidence for the area to be considered a significant Heritage site,” said Tinker who also called for construction to cease pending further investigation. (Tough Call: Cultural Heritage at Heart of Concerns at Abaco Site, Larry Smith)  

Despite not receiving any response from North Abaco Administrator Neil Campbell, on their appeal the Abaco Defenders spent an afternoon kayaking in the sand banks creeks with members of Save The Bays to assess the damage done by the dredging.  

Sister City agreement finalized between Hope Town and Stuart, FL
Submitted by BIS   
Friday, 05 September 2014 06:30

Pictured from left to right following a business meeting on Saturday, August 30, 2014, to finalize the Sister City Agreement between Stuart, Florida, and Hope Town, Abaco, are: Jeremy Sweeting, Hope Town Chief Councilor; Don Cash, Hope Town District Council Member; Stuart Mayor Troy McDonald; Janie Vallery, President of Armstrong Nautical Products; Bahamas Consul General to Miami Ricardo Treco; and Arthur Eldon, Hope Town District Council Member.STUART, Florida -- Bahamas Consul General to Miami Ricardo Treco attended a business meeting at the Stuart City Hall on Saturday, August 30, 2014, during which the Sister City agreement between Stuart, Florida, and Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas, was finalized.  

The Hon. Troy McDonald, Mayor of Stuart, welcomed Consul General Treco; Mr. Jeremy Sweeting, Hope Town Chief Councilor; Mr. Arthur Eldon, Hope Town Deputy Chief Councilor; Mr. Donald Cash, Hope Town Councilor; and visiting residents of the Hope Town community.  

The special meeting was convened by the Stuart City Commission and discussions centered on the benefits of establishing a Hope Town and Stuart Sister City Relationship. During the meeting Mayor McDonald shared the importance of Identifying common interests and similarities between the two cities through business, tourism initiatives, including Eco, Religious and medical tourism, boating and fishing residents, and economic development.  

Consul General Treco stated that establishing the Sister City Relationship is consistent with The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s desire to create and develop relationships, which will be mutually beneficial for cultural exchange, humanitarian efforts, and educational exposure. It was noted that the agreement will cultivate good economic and sustainability programs and an investment agenda that will benefit both cities.  

As a sign of good foreign relations and friendship, the Administrative Council of Hope Town Abaco presented Mayor McDonald the Key to the City of Hope Town.  In return, Mayor McDonald presented Chief Councilor Sweeting the key to the City of Stuart.  

Top Bahamas Realtor Neil Aberle living the Hope Town lifestyle
HG Christie blog   
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:27

From the HG Christie blog

In the first of a series of Agents In The Spotlight, the HG Christie blog speaks with Neil Aberle from the Hope Town Office, living the life on beautiful Elbow Cay, Abaco:

Neil and his wife Rachel with their daily Green Smoothies.How did you get into Real Estate with HG Christie? What’s your background?

Well…I’m Bahamian born but went to school in the UK to Eton and Oxford, worked in London for a Management Consultant (Bain & Company) for a year and a half or so before moving back to The Bahamas. Here, I started my own publishing company called Aberland Publications and launched a monthly tabloid style newspaper called What’s On, which is a where-to-go, what-to-do, where-to-eat tabloid style newspaper.

After 10 years, I felt that it was time to sell my share in the publishing company (which still exists to this day) and moved onto to something new. So in 2002 I moved to Eleuthera with my wife Rachael to establish an adventure tour company called Bahamas Out Island Adventures. We offered day and overnight adventure tours, taking people kayaking, snorkelling, surfing, exploring caves and beaches with great picnic luncheons, barbecues and bonfires.

We managed Bahamas Out-Island Adventures for three years and it was during that time, actually living in Harbour Island that we were approached by HG Christie who was looking to establish a presence on the island. It was a pretty good fit because we were already meeting a lot of visitors through the adventure tour company, so I got my license that year and set up the first HG Christie Office on Harbour Island.

In 2005, our children were getting a bit older so we decided to make the move to Hope Town, Abaco, which is a similarly picturesque island with a really great school and where we also had family. So I sold Bahamas Out-Island Adventures (which is still doing well to this day) and became a full time Real Estate Agent in Hope Town.

Photo: Neil and his wife Rachel with their daily Green Smoothies.

Click HERE to read more from the HG Christie blog.

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