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Family Island News
American ex-pats raise money to rebuild the Exuma Straw Market
Written by BIS   
Friday, 24 April 2015 09:02

Adam Stenftenagel, Exuma resident talks about how the ex-pat community has been raising donations after the fire to build a straw market building like the one in New Providence (BIS Photo/Gena Gibbs)GEORGE TOWN, Exuma -- American ex-pats residing in the Elizabeth Harbour community garnered support from friends and family back home in the United States to raise thousands of dollars to rebuild the Exuma Straw Market that was burnt down to the ground on April 16.   

A Town Meeting was held at the Kettel Centre of the Exuma Foundation, George Town, on Monday, April 20, attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works the Hon. Philip Davis, at which Exuma residents discussed last week’s straw market fire in George Town, and the next steps.

At the meeting Adam Stenftenagel of Boulder, Colorado, an Exuma resident, said so far, Exumian Ex-Pats have already raised about $20,000, which will go to building a facility similar to the Straw Market in New Providence, equipped with appropriate common amenities, particularly indoor public bathrooms.   

He said: “I’ve been coming here for 15 years and I absolutely love it here!  I was there when we saw the first flames coming out of the Straw Market right at the very beginning.  We tried to do what we could to put it out with garden hoses from the two T’s (Two Turtles Hotel and Bar) and I came down with Dan, who is one of the managers at the Two T’s and worked hard to try to put it out, but that didn’t work.

“So anyway, it was a crazy night, and after we kind of watched everything get put out at the end of the night, I went back home and was like what do we do? What do we do? After talking to some friends back home, I was like ‘Oh, well why don’t I set up a donation page?  It’s really easy to do and I put it together that night and we got our first donations early that morning.  And within a day, we had $10,000 raised in less than 24 hours.  It was pretty spectacular.”

Phase One of Hilton at Resorts World Bimini opens April 20th
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 08:55
MIAMI and McLEAN, Va –– Resorts World Bimini is pleased to announce today’s opening of Phase One of the new Hilton at Resorts World Bimini. The guestrooms are now complete and are bookable on with a special introductory rate from $139 per night, which includes a round trip cruise transfer from Port Miami via the resort’s dedicated cruise ship, Bimini SuperFast. Kids aged 17 and under sail and stay free*. Guests may also begin earning and redeeming Hilton HHonors® points.  

“We are proudly welcoming guests to the new Hilton at Resorts World Bimini, in advance of our busy summer season,” said Ed Farrell, president, Resorts World Bimini. “Bimini is a popular destination for families and individuals alike – the proximity to Miami and convenient travel by Bimini SuperFast makes for a convenient and quick getaway for a weekend or even a longer vacation experience.”  

Resorts World Bimini is an expansive resort that extends far beyond the walls of Hilton at Resorts World Bimini. Located on North Bimini Island in the Bahamas, it is just 50 miles off of the South Florida coast. The resort’s dedicated cruise ship, Bimini SuperFast, offers round-trip cruises from Port Miami three days a week. Passengers have a choice of staying in cabins onboard Bimini SuperFast, in the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini or in one- or two-bedroom condos on the resort property.  

Guests at the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini can enjoy multiple restaurants and bars, trendy boutiques, water sports and a world class casino – the first in the world with water and marina views. The 10,000-square-foot casino features live-action table gaming such as roulette, craps, blackjack and baccarat, as well as the latest slots and a full service sports book. The property also boasts the largest marina complex in the Bahamas with two marinas – Fisherman’s Village Marina (136 slips) and the Mega Yacht Marina (94 slips) – conveniently located at the center of the resort.   Phase Two of Hilton at Resorts World Bimini is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2015 and will include an expansive lobby level space with several food and beverage outlets, lounge seating and a piano bar, a rooftop entertainment and amenity area with a stunning pool servicing a private VIP Lounge, a state-of-the art spa and fitness center as well as conference and meeting space.

NEMA conducts Surface Water Rescue Course in Eleuthera
Submitted by BIS   
Sunday, 19 April 2015 13:46
(Group) The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, held a water rescue-training course on Eleuthera, March 9-13, 2015. Pictured among the participants are Jeffrey Smith, United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM); Captain Joseph Hughart, United States Department of Health and Human Services; and Captain John Holland, United States Department of Health and Human Services.   (Photo/NEMA)ELEUTHERA, Bahamas -- The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, in partnership with the United States Northern Command recently conducted a Surface Water Rescue Course, Level I & II for residents on this island, home of the world famous ‘Glass Window Bridge.’

The course was conducted March 9 -13, 2015 at the District Chief Council Building, Cupid’s Cay, Governor’s Harbour for 12 participants inclusive comprising six Royal Bahamas Police Force Officers, five community members and one NEMA personnel.

The purpose of the training was to provide techniques and skills to members of the community in conducting Surface Water Rescues and Rescue Tasks. The objectives were to enhance execution of tasks, enhance communication between rescuers and provide a guide for ongoing training.

Upon completion, participants were presented with certificates in technical, operational and awareness skills.

Trained were Byron Brown, Clyde Pedican, Gustavis Roker, Katlyn Cooper, Michael Roberts, Darvado Simmons, Dominic Turnquest, Ricardo Pinder, Thomas Gibson, Lionel Fernander, Frederick Decosta, and Chrystal Glinton.

Government promises relief to Exuma straw vendors
Submitted by BIS   
Sunday, 19 April 2015 13:28
The smoldering remains of the site that used to be the straw market located near regatta site in the heart of the city center of Georgetown, Exuma. A electrical malfunction is the suspected cause, but on Wednesday evening, literally days ahead of the regatta – the biggest economic and cultural event on the Exuma calendar, the George Town Straw Market was destroyed by fire and taking with it thousands of dollars in merchandise and at least seventeen local businesses.

Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis led a delegation to Exuma on Thursday, 16th April to assess the fire damage, convey the sentiments of the Prime Minister and his government and to assure the vendors that they were not alone in the hour of loss but help is on the way.  

“The government, the Prime Minister has expressed their concern hence I was dispatched this morning to assess what is going on, have a chat with the vendors and let them know that we care about what has happened - we are concerned about what was happening and we are hoping to bring relief to them as quickly as possible.”  

Also weighing in on the tragedy was Prime Minister Christie who expressed regret at the great loss and promised that his government would be reviewing this situation and taking the necessary steps to assist the vendors in resuming their business operations as soon as is practically possible.

“I am personally aware of that market and of its impact in Georgetown, Exuma. Whenever I am in the area at a regatta or some occasion, I would go in there and talk to the people so I am personally aware of the extent to which that represents a major investment on the part of families down there and so it is a great loss for them and it comes at a time, (one) week before the annual regatta  which is the regatta of all regattas where I am sure they are have stocked up and shot up their supplies for sale to the thousands who would come into Exuma for the regatta. So it’s really a tremendous loss to them. The government will cause an immediate review to take place on that and discussions with the vendors themselves with the view to seeing what assistance we can render and what steps we can take to put them in a position as this matter is being investigated – put them in a position to resume their business as soon as possible.”  

Schools in Central Andros welcome the Governor General
Submitted by BIS   
Thursday, 16 April 2015 11:43
Warm welcome to Governor General Dame Marguerite by school students. (BIS Photos/Letisha Henderson)CENTRAL ANDROS, The Bahamas -- Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General, received a warm welcome from students and faculty of schools in Central Andros on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.  She was entertained with songs, drama and dance performed by young people from primary through the high school.

His Excellency Picewell Forbes, Bahamas Ambassador to CARICOM and Member of Parliament for Mangrove Cay and South Andros, brought remarks. He told the students about the dreams the late Sir Lynden Pindling, first Prime Minister, had for Andros and his vision in building schools to educate Bahamians all across The Bahamas.

Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling reminded the students that "Education is Knowledge and Knowledge is Power" – words, she said, spoken by her parents, like they have been by parents all through our islands

Photo: Warm welcome to Governor General Dame Marguerite by school students. (BIS Photos/Letisha Henderson)

Romora Bay names new operations manager, focuses on making Harbour Island home base for cruisers
Submitted by DP&A   
Monday, 06 April 2015 07:29

HARBOUR ISLAND, The Bahamas -- The iconic Harbour Island landmark Romora Bay Resort & Marina has announced the appointment of Joseph Dargavage as operations manager. Mr. Dargavage is a former president of the Marina Operators of The Bahamas and served as chairman of the Berry Islands Tourism Advisory Board.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Joe Dargavage, a man who fully understands how valuable and important the yachting business is in The Bahamas, especially to Family Islands like Harbour Island,” said John Davidson, of Bonachella Investments, the Miami-based company which purchased the property in 2005 and added a 40-slip, eco-friendly marina with nesting areas and educational components.  

Dargavage, who took up the post in March, wasted no time zeroing in on marina activities and promotion and said today that response to Romora Bay’s presence at the Palm Beach Boat Show last week was “nothing short of phenomenal.

“We are going after a different type of boater, not just the sportsfish that comes in for a few days, but also the luxury yacht that can stay for the better part of a season or use a single port for a home base while they visit other part of The Bahamas,” said Dargavage. “A marina is like anything in the hospitality industry – you have to make the guest feel welcome and wanted. That’s something that comes naturally in The Family Islands and we want to perfect it in Harbour Island where we already have so much going for us in terms of being a friendly destination. I see boaters who feel like they are coming home when they dock here and that’s the way we want it to be.”   

Bahamas dubbed ‘Official Home of the Swimming Pigs’
Submitted by Kendea Smith   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 09:11

EXUMA, The Bahamas -- The Bahamas is the ‘Official Home of the Swimming Pigs’. Visitors to the islands are happily embracing the unique and special experience of swimming with the pigs on the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay, which is home to these special creatures and affectionately called “Pig Beach”. The swimming pigs join the vast selection of aquatic activities already popular with visitors to The Bahamas, from snorkelling with tropical fish and sea turtles to shark and eel sightings to scuba diving.

The family of pigs, dubbed ‘adorable’ by tourists, locals and media alike, have become incredibly popular. They live freely on the sandy beaches, and after basking in the sun for hours, they swim in the surf. The pigs, though feral, are exceptionally friendly, running from under the shade of the almond trees to greet visitors that bring them treats. They are also fed by the crews of passing yachts and vessels. The swimming pigs are truly a sight to behold and have become so popular that they have inspired a children’s book, “The Secret of Pig’s Island,” by Jennifer R. Nolan, and a song by children’s author Sandra Boynton.

It is unknown how the pigs originally came to live on Big Major Cay, as they aren’t native and the island itself is uninhabited. Popular lore suggests that the pigs were dropped off by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them, or that there was a nearby shipwreck and the pigs swam to safety. However it was that they came to be, there are now approximately 20 pigs and piglets surviving easily on Big Major Cay, partly because the island is blessed with three freshwater springs, and partly due to the generosity of visiting Bahamians and tourists.

Governor General Dame Marguerite visits Bimini
Written by BIS   
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 07:10

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling visited Bimini on Friday, March 27, after a short visit to the Berry Islands.  In Bimini, Governor General Dame Marguerite and Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe met students and faculty of Louise McDonald High School and Gateway Christian Academy.

Her Excellency Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling received a warm welcome to Bimini. Keri Bowleg, a student of Gateway Christian Academy, presented her with a floral arrangement during her Official Visit to Bimini on Friday, March 27,2015.  

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