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Family Island News
Next phase of construction moves forward at Resorts World Bimini
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Friday, 16 May 2014 07:40

BIMINI, Bahamas -- A significant boost to the economy of Bimini is one step closer today, with Resort World Bimini announcing that it has officially commenced with the next phase of construction at the port of its top-flight destination resort.

With the beginning of the fully permitted dredging process, Resorts World Bimini (RWB) is moving towards completing the construction of the Port at Resorts World Bimini -- a key component of RWB’s plans for the island -- which will result in multiple benefits, including:

  • multiple business opportunities;
  • increased visitor spending;
  • a year-round tourism season;
  • easier transportation options for the island’s residents to visit loved ones from Miami;
  • the availability of daily cargo service, and more.

“With all the necessary approvals in hand, we have been given the green light to proceed with our development plans,” said RWB President Dana Leibovitz. “We anticipate a smooth process as we move one step closer to transforming Bimini’s economy for the better.”

With more than four decades as a world leader in designing, developing and operating casinos and integrated resorts that span the globe, the Genting group has been steadily transforming Bimini into one of the most sought after destinations in the Caribbean through its multi-million dollar investment in the island. The South Bimini airport - where night flights were introduced to the island for the first time several weeks ago - is undergoing a major upgrade and expansion.

Guy Harvey Outpost Beach Bash Bonfire and Tournament comes to Bimini Sands Resort & Marina June 26 - June 29
Submitted by Elizabeth Moss   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 15:58

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Bimini Sands Resort & Marina, the newest member of the Guy Harvey Outpost Expedition Collection, announced today it will play host to the Guy Harvey Outpost Beach Bash, Bonfire and Tournament at its South Bimini, Bahamas, property on June 26-29, 2014. The event will feature an exciting fishing competition, scuba diving, family entertainment and much more, headlined by world-renowned marine artist and conservation advocate Guy Harvey and Florida fishing authority Capt. Bouncer Smith. For the event’s signature bonfire celebrations, 30-foot tall Blue Marlin wire sculptures by artist Bobby Little will be lit on fire Friday and Saturday night.  

“This is the first event to come out of our new strategic alliance with Guy Harvey Outpost, and it will give participants the chance to enjoy everything Bimini has to offer,” said Bimini Sands President & CEO Frank Cooney. “We want to welcome Guy Harvey back to Bimini with a big-time bash.”

Guy Harvey Outposts celebrates its return to Bimini after two years of growth throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean. “Bimini is cast in the light of colorful stories of legendary fishing and revelry,” explained Outpost Resort President Mark Ellert. “We’re back to help carry the torch that keeps Bimini’s history and Out-Island character alive. This party is sure to write some colorful South Bimini stories and keep the flame burning.”

In a unique opportunity for event guests, four fishing charters with Captain Bouncer will be offered by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts in an on-line auction opening May 10th benefiting the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and IGFA to benefit conservation efforts in Bimini and its surrounding waters.

Bahamas Diving Association president labels planned Bimini cruise ship pier dredging ‘pending catastrophic event’
Submitted by DP&A   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:15

Bahamas Diving Association President and world record holder for underwater depth and distance Neal Watson pictured diving with marine scientist and artist Dr. Guy Harvey on one of the famed coral reefs off Bimini. Watson said today that a pending dredging operation to create a channel and 1,000-foot pier for a cruise ship would do more damage in 30 days than the degradation of 30 years. Increasing public pressure is being brought to stop the dredging or produce all the permits granted despite warnings from an Environmental Impact Assessment as a case filed by concerned citizens, Bimini Blue Coalition, is scheduled for another hearing Wednesday.      BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Nearly 40 years after he first began sharing the beauty of Bimini’s coral reefs luring divers from around the world to the tiny island in the northern Bahamas, one of the most respected names in the world of undersea adventure today issued a warning that Bimini was on the verge of a ‘pending catastrophic event.’

Guinness world record holder, movie and TV celebrity and president of the Bahamas Diving Association Neal Watson expressed grave concerns about the future of Bimini’s waters as the 450-foot long cutter suction dredger, the Niccolo Machiavelli, hovered, waiting for a legal case to make its way through the courts, possibly clearing the way to dredge a channel to accommodate a cruise ship delivering passengers to a resort and casino. That dredging, say opponents, would wipe out some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the undersea world.   

Malaysian-based Genting, which owns Resorts World Bimini, has said it needs to dredge the channel and build the pier to deliver up to 500,000 guests a year to the casino and hotel on the island that is now home to about 1,500 residents.

Concerned citizens who formed Bimini Blue Coalition and initiated the legal action said they are worried about everything from destruction of their way of life to management of human waste, from lack of direct economic benefit to destruction of the reefs. Six of the world’s best, experts have said, lie in the path of the planned channel. They also worry that the dredging will stir up so much silt and cause so much turbidity it will kill off Bimini’s rich fishing grounds that were immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream.

“Having started the first recreational dive operation in Bimini in 1975 and still involved in promoting diving in Bimini, I am devastated by the pending catastrophic event about to occur in this diver’s paradise,” said Watson.

Bimini locals remain wary over resort’s lack of transparency
Submitted by DP&A   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 07:48

Coalition delighted by pledge not to dredge without handing over permits; still concerned about secrecy, failure to consult with the community

CAUSE FOR CONCERN - The Niccolo Machiavelli dredger anchored off Bimini’s pristine and ecologically significant reef system. The 450-foot vessel is to be used as part of the controversial construction of a 1,000 foot pier and ferry terminal by Resorts World Bimini. The developers have agreed, at the urging of a judge, not to start dredging without delivering copies of all the necessary permits and approvals to concerned citizens.BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Concerned citizens who oppose the Resorts World Bimini mega-resort are cautiously celebrating after the developers agreed, at the urging of a judge, not to begin dredging without handing over all the necessary permits.

The Bimini Blue Coalition, which initiated a judicial review challenge of the project citing the potential for extensive environmental damage foreshadowed in the company’s own Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), claims if any permits or approvals do exist, they have been granted by the government in secret, despite numerous requests for information.  

“We are delighted to know that Resorts World intends to abide by Bahamian law and commend the legal team that has represented us so well,” said the coalition in a statement. “But at the same time, given the lack of transparency thus far on this issue, where the government and the developer are concerned, we are still very wary.

“We have requested that we be notified before any permits or approvals might be granted and given an opportunity to present very valid reasons why permits shouldn't be granted.

“This resort will be a game changer for Bimini. One can't walk back the cat. We don't want to awaken one morning to find permits have been granted, work is beginning and the people of Bimini have never had any input whatsoever.”

Family Guardian supports Berry Islands’ General Maintenance course
Submitted by Hadassah Hall   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 07:34

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Family Guardian Insurance Company has stepped in with a $500 cheque to assist The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) with a 16-week General Maintenance course underway on the Berry Islands.

A group of 20 young men, including ninth through 12th graders of the R. N. Gomez All Age School , along with one adult, are being exposed to the fundamentals of carpentry, plumbing, tiling and electrical installation. The course is conducted each Friday evening and Saturday, spanning a 10-hour period per weekend.

Principal, Brian Williams recognized a dearth of technical subjects at the school and thought it important to work in conjunction with BTVI. BTVI previously conducted the same course in Harbour Island, Cat Island, Andros and Exuma.  

Shown here are BTVI’s Dean of Construction Trades, Alexander Darville (l) and Family Guardian’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Lyrone Burrows.

BTC donates to build Mayaguana firefighting fleet
Submitted by Chauntez Wilson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 07:29

BTC Presents The Mayaguana Fire Equipment Development Committee with funds towards the purchase of firefighting equipment for the island. (L-R): Jerome Sawyer, Senior Manager of Public Relations, BTC; Elton Williamson, Chairman, Mayaguana Fire Equipment Development Committee: Monica Butler, Committee Member; Laketah Charlton, Committee Member; Basil McIntosh Committee Member.    NEW PROVIDENCE, The Bahamas – In a show of community support, BTC has pledged assistance to a committee aiming to increase the firefighting capabilities on the island of Mayaguana. The Mayaguana Fire Equipment Development Committee received a $3,000 donation from BTC to assist in acquiring new portable firefighting systems for each of the islands three settlements.

Committee member Basil McIntosh said that last year’s tragedy at the Mayaguana Airport highlighted the need for better fire equipment and protocol.

“Because of that tragic incident, we realized we must be better prepared for accidents and the unforeseen,” said McIntosh. “Right now, Inagua is the only island in MICAL constituency with firefighting equipment so M.P. V. Alfred Gray commissioned us to develop a fleet of easy-to-manage, portable tank and pump systems for Mayaguana. That is why we are so thankful now for this BTC donation.”

BTC’s Senior Manager of Public Relations, Jerome Sawyer said the gift is a reiteration of BTC’s commitment to assisting development in the Family Islands.

“As soon as we heard of the initiative we knew that we wanted to lend our support to this great cause; the committee is addressing a serious matter, a lack of fire-fighting equipment,” said Sawyer. “BTC has an office in Mayaguana as we do in many of the Family Islands so we are ready to do our part to advance the communities that we serve and will continue to do so throughout the Family Islands.” ##

Photo: BTC Presents The Mayaguana Fire Equipment Development Committee with funds towards the purchase of firefighting equipment for the island. (L-R): Jerome Sawyer, Senior Manager of Public Relations, BTC; Elton Williamson, Chairman, Mayaguana Fire Equipment Development Committee: Monica Butler, Committee Member; Laketah Charlton, Committee Member; Basil McIntosh Committee Member.
Family Island student receives financial aid from Lowe’s for BTVI training
Submitted by Hadassah Hall   
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 09:25

CHEQUE PRESENTATION - Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agencies Ltd Brands Manager, Gloria Brown, presented BTVI cosmetology student, Vontianise Deal with a cheque to further her studies.  NASSAU, Bahamas -- A tearful Vontianise Deal recently accepted much-needed financial aid from Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agencies Ltd to assist with her study of cosmetology at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).

“I feel blessed. I am very excited and grateful to have this opportunity. It’s amazing help. I felt as though I was held back because of finances. Being a Family Island student, it’s kind of rough getting all of the things I need,” said the native of Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera.

The cheque presentation of $750 was made by Lowe’s Brands Manager, Gloria Brown, who is also a member of BTVI’s Beauty Trades’ Program Advisory Committee. On hand to receive it, along with Vontianise was BTVI’s Fund Development Assistant, Ushieka King.

The 20-year-old lauded Lowe’s efforts, encouraging other businesses to become corporate sponsors. “Some people have a lot of potential but can’t show their full capabilities because they’re stuck. They don’t have the resources and that’s the position I found myself in. I tried really hard to get my cosmetology supplies for school, but sometimes I was late,” said the first-year BTVI student.

Ms. Brown stated how important it is for her company to play a role in helping young people like Vontianise.

Historic ‘Take Me 2 New York’ expedition lands in The Bahamas
Submitted by Lynette McInnes   
Saturday, 03 May 2014 06:35

South African adventurers row, row, row their boat from Africa to The Bahamas, where they receive a warm, unforgettable welcome.  

Dock me please!SAN SALVADOR, The Bahamas -- Riaan Manser, serial adventurer, author and public speaker, and his girlfriend of 14 years, Vasti Geldenhuys, set out from Morocco, North Africa December 30th, 2013 in a 20-foot rowing boat and singlehandedly rowed 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in The Bahamas.  

This first touch of land after 74 days at sea is a highlight in their journey as Riaan and Vasti attempt to be the first in history to row from mainland Africa to New York, USA.  

The adventure is called, "Take Me 2 New York". This is the story about their warm welcome and experience in The Bahamas, as told by Riaan, himself.  

In Riaan Manser’s words:

“It still hasn't sunk in. We have hit land, had beer, ice cream and chocolate. And rowed across the entire North Atlantic Ocean. But it still doesn't feel real.  

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