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Family Island News
Houston couple win dream wedding in Acklins
Submitted by Earnestine Moxyz   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:23

PLANTATION, Florida - It was a chance meeting at a gas station in Houston, Texas that LaShaundra Coleman saw her soul mate Roderick Dowell, owner of a transportation company, for the second time.  

LaShaundra said that “when she first saw this “very attractive” man, she was in a relationship and decided not to speak to him at that time”.  

Months later, the then-single LaShaundra, who was hanging out with some of her friends, stopped at a gas station across town in Houston. She looked to her right and in amazement there he was again, this time sitting in a car right next to her.  

She yelled out to him, “Hey boy come over here, and sure enough, he walked over and that night was the beginning of our 14-year relationship,” she said.  

“If you let him tell you the story, he would say it was fate that brought us together,” says LaShaundra, an accountant and finance officer. 

On LaShaundra’s 21st birthday, Roderick proposed. The Texas natives who had never travelled outside of their state decided on having a destination wedding.  

“After hearing such great reviews from family and friends about The Bahamas’ beautiful beaches, friendly people and amazing food,” we decided on The Bahamas,” she said.  

Resorts World Bimini, AMMC & Ministry of Tourism preserving Bimini’s history with Heritage Trail
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:13

BIMINI, The Bahamas – Resorts World Bimini (RWB) is working closely with the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC) and the Ministry of Tourism to establish a Heritage Trail on the twin islands of Bimini. The trail, which is being conceptualized by Caribbean Heritage Concepts (CHC), will be the first step in the development of a comprehensive plan for the promotion of the islands historical offerings.

Work has been ongoing for several weeks, beginning with on-site evaluation and reconnaissance of the heritage opportunities on the island. CHC with the direction and assistance of AMMC developed interpretive signage for 13 locations in North Bimini, drafted text, located assets in the form of photographs or artwork, and provided a design template for the signage and framing systems. A Nassau-based graphics and printing company will fabricate the signage and framing systems, based on the design templates created by CHC, which are to be installed by the end of October 2014.

Says RWB General Manager Ray Valentino, the establishment of the Heritage Trail will present new opportunities for Biminites to showcase their island, while providing additional revenue streams.

“There are many opportunities to bring the rich culture and history of Bimini to life with this new signage,” he said. “Once this Heritage Trail is established, guided tours can be developed to include the stops where the signage will be installed, and there can also be self-guided tours using an accompanying brochure. Resorts World Bimini is proud to support the effort of providing heritage tourism to Bimini.”

Subjects to be covered by the signage are The Fountain of Youth; Rum Running; Ernest Hemingway; Lerner Marine Laboratory; Lost landmarks (Bimini Bay Rod & Gun Club and the Compleat Angler); Bimini Museum; Lucayans; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Adam Clayton Powell; Myth & Mystery (Bermuda Triangle; Bimini Road – lost city of Atlantis); Our Lady’s & St. Stephen’s Anglican Church; Bimini through Time; and Boat Building. Once installed, visitors and locals will be able to read the interpretive signage as they learn more about the island’s colorful history.

Out Island arrival numbers improve
Submitted by Kendea Smith   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 08:49

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Foreign air and sea arrivals to the Out Islands have improved by 10 per cent between January and July 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, according to the latest data from the Research Statistics and Scanning Units in the Ministry of Tourism.  

The statistics, which were released recently, shows that foreign air arrivals to the Out Islands increased by one per cent.  

However, in 2014, air and sea arrivals increased every month except March, which saw a decrease of 7.5 per cent compared to 2013.  

“Air arrivals increased to Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Cay, Exuma, Inagua, Long island and San Salvador between January to July 2014 compared to the same period of 2013,” officials said. 

According to officials, stopover visitor arrivals to the Out Islands between January to May 2014 were better than when the financial meltdown occurred in 2008.  

“Stopovers arrivals to the Out Islands grew by nine per cent between January to May 2014. In May YTD 2014, stopover visitor arrivals were up from the United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, Africa and the Middle East,” officials said.  

Defence Force apprehends Cuban migrants
Submitted by BIS   
Monday, 20 October 2014 08:28

CORAL HARBOUR BASE, New Providence -- Acting on intelligence, members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s Bimini Detachment and local Police assisted Immigration Department personnel with the apprehension of nineteen (19) Cuban migrants early Sunday morning.

The Cuban Migrants were intercepted on Cat Cay after their 35-foot Bayliner motor vessel ran aground on south Cat Cay in the Bimini chain where the vessel was abandoned. A search of the immediate area resulted in the apprehension of undocumented Cuban nationals consisting of thirteen (13) males, four (4) females and two (2) children.

The migrants were subsequently taken into custody and handed over to immigration authorities at North Bimini, who organized their flight to Nassau where they will be detained for further processing.

Acklins wins Taste Our Bahamas competition
Submitted by Kendea Smith   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:16

NASSAU, Bahamas -- After a two-weekend tantalizing culinary competition involving several islands, Acklins has emerged the winner of the Ministry of Tourism’s Taste Our Bahamas Competition.  The event was held at Fort Charlotte on October 4th and 11th.

In the first weekend, Acklins took home the majority of the categories.  Andros came a close second.

In the finale, the judges had the daunting task of judging seven delicious categories including best crab and dough, best alcoholic beverages, best rice, best conch salad, best crab dish, best native candy and best lobster dish.

In the best bread and crab and dough category, Tiffany Newton of Andros was the overall winner.

For alcoholic beverages, Preston Jones of Abaco was the overall winner.

Winning best rice was Christopher and Kelly Thurston of Acklins, best crab dish went to Cleo Cash of Andros, best native candy went to Naturally Bahamians of Acklins and Charles Stewart of Abaco won best lobster dish.

Bimini SuperFast begins Ft. Lauderdale service
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:01

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- The inaugural Bimini SuperFast cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida arrived to the Port at Resorts World Bimini on Tuesday October 14, bringing more than 800 visitors to the island. The influx of hundreds of visitors during what is traditionally the “slow” tourism season for the island was welcomed by business owners in the hospitality sector who had been eagerly anticipating the start of the weekday cruises.

“Business is great, it feels like a weekend,” said water sports entrepreneur Edward Reckley. “When you look at the hundreds of people here today, I know this is the beginning of a great thing for the island. A lot of these people are in the media, so word is going to travel quickly and we will see a lot of repeat business. Biminites have been waiting to see this kind of thing for a long time and we are ready to welcome them with open arms.”

With the new service, Bimini SuperFast is now sailing three days a week from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and three days a week from Miami on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Service from Miami will be increased to four days a week by Thanksgiving, providing daily cruise ferry service to Bimini from South Florida.

The daily service will dramatically improve the quality of life for all Biminites as for the first time, fresh produce will arrive on a daily basis and the cost of transporting goods to Bimini will be significantly reduced. However, as RWB Executive Dana Leibovitz points out, it is the economic impact to the island’s economy that will be most notable.

“Resorts World Bimini injects millions of dollars directly into the local economy, however the money spent in town by visitors who come to Bimini aboard the SuperFast is providing a substantial indirect impact,” he said. “When the island succeeds, we succeed, and we are pleased that the people of Bimini are benefitting from our cruise service on so many levels.”

BTC celebrates opening of Harbour Island store
Submitted by Serena Williams   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:27

Ribbon Cutting for the new BTC Harbour Island store: L to R: Jolton Johnson, Sr. Administrator-N. Eleuthera, BTC CEO Leon Williams, Eleanor Cleare retired BTC employee, Berthenia Knowles Acting Sr. Manager Eleuthera & Cat Island BTC, Theo Neilly, MP N Eleuthera, Patricia Walters BTC Sr. VP Customer Operations, LeShawn Cartwright Associate BTC.HARBOUR ISLAND, Eleuthera -- Underlining their commitment to open sixty-one BTC retail stores throughout the islands of The Bahamas before 2016, residents of Harbour Island and neighbouring settlements celebrated the opening of the twenty-eighth BTC ‘Best In Class’ Experience store on the North Eleuthera island. CEO Leon Williams, local Member of Parliament Theo Neilly, Senior Administrator for Harbour Island, Jolton Johnson and Patricia Walters, BTC Senior Vice President, Customer Services each brought remarks.

Mr. Williams said that as a Bahamian company, he was dedicated to making sure that BTC benefits the local economy and the peoples of The Bahamas.

“I’m interested in how BTC can benefit Bahamians in this country. I’m interested in how BTC in the economy of Harbour Island can cause this economy to grow, how BTC can change the level of income, how they can participate in the wider community.  I’m interested in ensuring the Bahamian student in Inagua has the same access to the internet at the same high speeds as the students in Nassau.  I am the CEO of BTC Bahamas not BTC Nassau and as an island boy from Grand Bahama I appreciate the need to treat each island just as importantly as the next.”

Mr. Williams outlined the immediate plans for BTC to make the company competition reliant and customer service centric.

“Over the next two months we will further improve the network and start IP TV testing for television services. It is expected that initial testing will start in the Family Islands and hopefully, by mid-2015 we’ll have BTC IP TV in many parts of the country.”

New charter air service to fly to five Bahamas destinations
Submitted by John Bell   
Monday, 13 October 2014 15:18

Bahamas Tourism Office officials join with flight crew from Meregrass, Inc and IJet executives at Sheltair at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International for test flight to Marsh Harbour for the new Saab 2000 premium class scheduled charter service.FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — In introducing its new Saab 2000 aircraft at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) today, Texas-based Meregrass, Inc. announced plans to offer scheduled charter service to five Bahamas destinations from Fort Lauderdale and one from New York.  

Jim Swieter, founder of IJet Charters, which is providing marketing and reservations for the scheduled charter, said the 30-passenger service will be unique to the market offering all premium class seating and high-speed travel.  

“Pricing will be competitive,” said Swieter of the scheduled charter service, which is soon to be filed with the Department of Transportation (DOT). Swieter said all flights must be filed with DOT and all advance tickets purchased go into bonded DOT escrow accounts.  

“Our plans are to fly direct scheduled flights—April through August— from Fort Lauderdale to Marsh Harbour, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Georgetown and North Eleuthera. “We also are looking to schedule a non-stop from New York to Marsh Harbour during that same high season.”  

Swieter said 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.  

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