Five Free Things To Do In Nassau

mahogany house
Standard

There’s nothing quite like some R&R and free time to explore, leaving your worries and cares behind.

However, the reality is that everything comes at a price. Well, almost everything. Travelling to Nassau doesn’t have to break the bank and these five suggestions will show you how to enjoy what the island has to offer while saving money for things that are important, like Bahamian-made rum!

Disclaimer: While these activities are all free, there are costs involved while at the location and getting to the location.

1. John Watlings Rum Tour: What’s a Bahamas trip without the best part, alcohol? Very little is known about the pirate, John Watlings, but  on the tour, they’ll tell you all that is. There are periodic rum tastings,  but don’t leave without trying a Rum Dum (this you will have to pay for), there’s nothing quite like it.

John Watlings
2. Versailles Garden: There’s a rumour that The Bahamas is only sun, sand and sea but I’m here to tell you we’re so much more than that. Escape the crowded beaches and routine and visit these gardens for a little “me time”. The Versailles Gardens were once the centrepiece of Huntington Hartford’s private estate, before being purchased by the One & Only Club. This place is breathtaking and depending on what time you go, you may have the gardens all to yourself.

Versailles
3. Fishing on the Canal: You’ll always find a variety of fish in the canal if you have a little patience. A personal favourite is the canal, located in Coral Harbour. It’s peaceful, serene, and has a fantastic view. Simply throw out a line and wait for a bite but take entertainment.

Canal-Coral harbour
4. Wine Tastings: It’s always wine time. Free wine tastings are held at Mahogany House twice a month – wine lovers flock here to try all of the best wine, hand-picked by the experts at Mahogany House. If you fall in love with any, there’s a 10% discount off all tasting wines. Hint: The next tasting is in April.

mahogany house
5. Kayaking – Of course the equipment to kayak is not provided by us but we will direct you to Bonefish Pond where you will have the best experience kayaking, granted you find the equipment. Located on the south-central coast of New Providence, this is one of Nassau’s best-kept secrets and when you arrive you’ll discover why. Note: Kayaking isn’t the only thing you can do here, go for a swim or snorkel at your own risk. If you live a little on the slow side, there’s a great boardwalk.

DSC_0248

 

This post originally appeared on Bahamas.com

 

 

Media: Thank you for raising our kids

Standard

The world would think that Leonardo is a regular teenager, but what the world doesn’t know is regular is an adjective that cannot be applied to Leonardo.

Leonardo is 18 and still struggling to find a place that he can call home. His mother passed away when he was 13, leaving him and two other siblings to fend for themselves in an unforgiving world.

He wasn’t alone, in fact he had a grandmother who loved him and his siblings dearly but she had her own way of raising children; one that he wasn’t accustomed to, coming from a single parent home. He fought her at every turn and when she finally gave up, he still wasn’t satisfied.

Considered an outsider by his own family he began to look elsewhere for a sense of family. What better place than the streets? After all, he had two siblings that looked up to him and he needed them to respect him.

The streets, a place that we tell our children that there’s no place for them, is the only place that he found comfort, the only place he considered home. The streets took him in and gave him the feeling that he belonged.  For once he felt as if he had a family. But everything comes at a price, does it not?

He had no idea how much of a price until he ended up behind bars. Unlike living at home, accepting the streets as your family often came at a high price. Leonardo is no longer a person, but a number in a society that treats prisoners like animals.

Essentially, Leonardo was raised by everything else other than his guardians. His story is different because he had a choice, he simply preferred to do what his peers were doing.  Without someone to rightfully guide him, he began to draw from the media on how to live life, how to dress and how to fit in an unforgiving society.

The only problem with the media raising him, was he wasn’t taught right from wrong, he was taught that everything belonged to him and if it didn’t, he was entitled to it. A train of thought that belongs to generation Z.

Generation Z are the children typically born around 1995 to the present year. To everyone they’re out of touch, lazy and uninterested. But unbeknownst to us, they’re more in touch due to the technological advances of the world, currently. What goes by unnoticed however, is their sense of entitlement. Their simple disregard for human lives, their ruthlessness and their extreme apathy.

Who could blame them? Being born in the digital age with everything at their fingertips due to technological equipment such as; iPads and iPhones, why shouldn’t everything else be theirs? Why should they care about having to earn anything or wait their turn, when the environment they were raised in, exposed them to otherwise?

With virtually anything they could ever want at their fingertips, a fierce underworld is unveiled. A world where they enact what they see from the media, unaware of the harsh consequences.  To mere observers, it can be described as children gone wild. However, to young men and women that dedicate their time and efforts to mentoring young people, this is an epidemic that is simply disheartening.

According to T’shera Gaitor, assistant district manager of the Youth Empowerment Program in the Bahamas, “Children are growing up in an age of technology where everything is accessible. They constantly see opinions, advertisements, stories which can force them to conform to a certain type of image of how they are supposed to be.”

You can listen to the full interview here:



Certainly because of what has been available to members of this generation, it is a cause for concern as to whether this in fact, forces the attitude of self-entitlement as apparent in the crime wave in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is a country that is made up of 700 island and cays. It is a known tourist destination, however lately it has resembled a bloody paradise.

I’ve provided examples of news headlines from various newspapers that show crimes perpetrated by members of generation Z. [View the story “The downward spiral of Generation Z” on Storify]



Living in a country where children do not act as children and there is a blatant disregard for human lives; the Bahamian public must find a way to reach out and mend the gap. However, faced with headlines that would rattle anyone, the question arises whether people are so desensitized to the situation, that they simply ignore it and carry on with life?

According to a survey, which gauged the reactions to horrific crimes; most Bahamians aren’t desensitized. Instead they are disturbed that crimes of this nature are taking place on an island where everyone knows everyone. An anonymous participant in the survey said, “The lengths to which young persons are going to acquire material things and cheap things is simply disturbing. Every shocking crime seems to be on the onset of a number of horrific crimes, there is never a time to adjust.”

See the results of the survey here

Results of the Survey

Although, most of the participants of this survey are disturbed, the way the public communicates with their peers often tells a story of how different age groups react to the criminal wave.
Source: Cecil Newry

 

Source Twitter @Sb_TrapMogul



The question remains, what measures can the public now take to properly raise their children, so that they are simply not a statistic in Generation Z? According to Arianne Richardson, community service chair for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc, “As the saying goes; it takes a village to raise a child, clearly nobody in this village cared enough to positively influence these young criminals.”

Listen to the interview: 

Yet the debate about viable solutions still continue, with the notion of change on the forefront but no feasible solutions available. As time continues to pass, decisions must be made to protect a generation that hasn’t been taught to protect itself.

Is One Sin Greater than the Next?

Standard

“As a Baptist minister, I don’t have the right to impose my views on anyone else. If committed gay and lesbian couples want to marry, that is their business, none of us should stand in their way.” Reverend Al Sharpton

  • Most of you will flip to the next page when you realize this is about same sex couples. FACT
  • Most of you will slam the author with close-minded derogatory comments. FACT
  • The truth is most people call themselves Christians, but haven’t grasped the ability to love people but reject their lifestyles. FACT
  • A large part of our society is intolerable to what is different. We accept cheating, “sweet hearting” and even a pastor abusing the trust of his followers. Yet we will not allow others who love differently from us to be happy. FACT.

Need I continue with the facts? We live in an intolerable society, which mimics, tortures, scorns and in some instances kills people that are different. We throw around the fact that the country was built on Christian principles, but we really have no definition of Christian values unless it suits us, of course. How scandalous.

In 2013, witnessing gay persons fight for their rights in an unforgiving world has been inspirational. Yet, I can’t help but wonder when will the people who hide who they love and who they­­ are in the Bahamas, be daring enough to fight for freedoms that were promised to us all years ago? Emancipation is not discriminatory.

Being a LGBT in the Bahamas or any Caribbean country must be very daunting. Our countries have mastered the art of protecting heterosexuals from any act of discrimination but making it clear that these same rights are not afforded to homosexuals. We have arrived at a place where we worship deceit and lies but scorn what we define as wrong. Most of us are fine with homosexuality as long as we don’t have to see it, but if the suggestion of legalizing same sex marriages were to arise we would grab our nearest Bible and start praying for the Bahamas.

The hardest deed for a gay person is admitting to themselves and everyone around them that they are in fact gay. I imagine it is even harder being gay and being in love with someone that you ultimately cannot marry in your country. All you can do is pretend you are best friends and enjoy their company in the comfort of your homes. How long are you willing to pretend? But your fear is not limited to your cowardice; it is also the fault of Bahamians who are intolerant of people that are different.  Truth is, you are afraid and it is okay to be afraid but unacceptable to live in denial of who you are.

As a straight woman and a Christian, I’ve taken the unpopular stance of acceptance and tolerance. Being gay according to the Bible is a sin, but so is fornication and adultery; are we going to play God and judge someone just because they sin differently?  When will everyone be given the freedom to marry under a constitution that should be protecting every individual under the law?

It is always amusing to see traditional Christians use the Bible to fuel their hate and discrimination. People will quickly quote verses from Leviticus and Romans to encourage you to believe that the Bible deems homosexuality as unnatural. Yet they won’t mention that the verses in Leviticus and Romans that are used to spur hate were written by Moses and Paul respectively. How does it feel to know that the verses we speak about frequently aren’t the words of God but two Christian men?  In addition how can we leave out verses such as Matthew 19:12, which is believed to be direct quotes of Jesus that accepts the very same thing that was condemned in the other verses?

Ultimately Bahamians do not want homosexuality displayed in their faces which means they will reject anything that allows homosexuals to partake in any parts of society that classifies them as equal. However, most will say that they are okay with common-law marriages. In other words, we are okay with them acting as if they are married; as long as the same privileges of marriages are not afforded to them. A rose by any other name, will still smell as sweet.

The truth is when a constitution fails to protect against discrimination for its entire people, it is doing an injustice to us. If we’re okay with disregarding people that are different from us, then we should really start to redefine the Christian nation we brag about when convenient. Christianity isn’t selective; we cannot apply it to some issues while neglecting to apply it to all. Isn’t Christianity about loving people and not judging others? Too many of us are willing to play God here on earth and judge others while failing to remember that we too will be judged.

The Bahamas as many Caribbean countries have a long way to go in accepting different lifestyles. However, a person’s lifestyle can still be rejected yet protected under the Constitution.  When will we rise up and protect all Bahamians for the sake of One Bahamas?

Written for the Nationalist Magazine July Edition. The Nationalist can be found at http://www.nationalistmagazine.com

Let’s Talk Ankle Monitoring Bracelets

Standard

In the last few weeks, I must admit I am guilty of thinking that the ankle monitoring bracelets aren’t what we think they are.

I’ve evaluated the thought that maybe we haven’t fully taken advantage of how we can use the monitoring bracelets to improve our crime situation. I’ve even considered the fact that they may be decorative speaking bracelets.

With that being said, it seems I am not the only one that is suspicious of these bracelets. According to the Tribune the government is also concerned about the bracelets and their capabilities . However, whilst the government is concerned about the restrictions placed on these people, the government should also think of programs these people can participate in whilst being monitored as rehabilitation doesn’t stop at restrictions.

Although many of my concerns encompass stricter restrictions, many are geared towards protecting the public. Being awarded a bracelet doesn’t mean you are free to go and do what you please, it means the system believes you need monitoring and with that comes restrictions. For example; there should be a greater concern placed on where you are allowed to go. If a community is known for it’s gang activities, you should be restricted from going there. You should only be allowed to travel to areas where you have been assigned to attend programs or where you’ve found a job, verified by the judicial system.

In addition to location, if you are being monitored, your life should also come into focus. Should you be allowed to keep company with gang members, other people that are being monitored or common criminals?  I believe if a person is truly being monitored that the government must place restrictions on that person to ensure that they stay clear of trouble. After all why are you being monitored if you’re going to cause more of the same problems?

Another idea is adopting the idea of “parole” but using it where it’s applicable. Currently, the Bahamas doesn’t offer parole options to prisoners, but for the idea of monitoring prisoners let’s introduce “monitoring officers”. These should be trained officers that keep up with their clients whereabouts even when they aren’t reported. These people should be in constant contact with the persons with these bracelets, so that at any time, if asked a full report can be given.

If and when a person violates the rules placed before him, there should be stringent penalties and we have to be committed to carrying out these penalties.  An ankle monitoring bracelet is not a “terrorize the country free” card and people who are committed to creating disarray should be prosecuted in the full extent of the law.

If we are going to fully take advantage of these bracelets that are typically used to reduce numbers in prison, we should use them to our full advantage. If someone needs monitoring there should be a list of activities this person “may” partake in, approved by the courts. There’s no reasonable explanation for a person with a bracelet to constantly add to the appalling crime situation; these are the people that should be monitored heavily.

Hopefully the government will do more than have concerns, as it is no secret that the majority of crimes are being committed by people wearing the anklet bracelets. This isn’t just an issue to have a concern with, this is an issue to act upon immediately. Ultimately, public safety should always come first.

Are social ills to blame?

Standard

In a country 21×7, many would say the Bahamas is engulfed in crime and I would have to agree with them. Living on an island where everyone knows everyone, crime unfortunately affects us all.

No longer are we able to say, “What you eat doesn’t make me sh*t” because in fact the crisis in our country is proving otherwise. Reckless criminal actions result in people living in fear and governments issuing travel warnings against the country. Everyone is in a panic yet no one is in action mode.

However, are we looking at the crime issue incorrectly? Most people blame the law, the sentencing and the lack of programs, which admittedly plays a role but there is unfortunately more to it. There comes a time that one must ask themselves whether or not they have done all they can in their role as a Bahamian person.

Looking back at the recent murders, people have been burned beyond recognition, elderly people have been shot and tourists are constantly robbed, it’s safe to say that criminals do not discriminate when it comes to committing criminal acts. This is clearly a cry for help. The patterns of crime exhibits incomprehensible anger.

There seems to be a dangerous cycle occurring in the Bahamas, the criminals are starting at younger ages and are more inexorable. What we are witnessing currently can very well be a reflection of social ills within society. Take for example, the rising rates of young mothers with children that they cannot afford to take care off. What do you think happens to a person that isn’t prepared to raise a child because she is still growing up? The child becomes a child of the streets and behold a criminal is born.

Not only is the mental state in the Bahamas on the decline but according to recent Psychology graduate Steve Thompson, there needs to be more interest in social work and awareness because if society crumbles, then everything will crumble.

“The idea of having a prayer meeting for the country is useless because the people in attendance aren’t the ones killing people,” he said.

Perhaps the ideas we have in this country for combating crime are a little mundane. We reach the law abiding citizens with our messages but the ones that need it can’t be reached in the same way.

“I think people need to realize how important social work is and how important the social workers are. People only see them as taking away kids, but that’s more than important because if you’re an unfit parent you will raise unfit children. These children will eventually act out and have unfit children of their own and they will be unfit members of society. The cycle has to be broken, we cannot have generations of criminals,” Mr. Thompson said.

Presently, the government would like more of a police presence everywhere on the island, but realistically that is impossible. Yet there are no programs geared towards the people who aren’t ready to have babies, but are having them anyway. Do we turn our heads and continue to allow them to contribute to a cycle of criminals? Advising people to abstain from sexual activities is as funny as placing a cake in front of an obese child and telling him not to eat it.

We attend baby showers for soon to be mothers knowing that the person isn’t capable to take care of another, but we drink the liquor and eat the food and we are content. Unknowingly we are contributing to the unfit cycle in this country. We like to boast of a Christian nation but forget some of the very same principles of Christianity such as being your brothers keeper. Or basic principles such as, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

With criminals determined to seize all that sustains the Bahamas, we need a plan and we need one quickly. Many criminals  are victims themselves, many of them have suffered at the hands of their parents or grandparents and are simply lashing out as a way of expression. It goes to show that people are hurting and this is a problem that we cannot fix unless we seek to understand why it is occurring.

“I would tell the public that if you’re taking care of a child be careful of how you care for that child. From about five years and older, a child is really impacted by their caretakers. It may seem minuscule but the way in which you care for a child can affect his adulthood and the lives of others if things manifest negatively,” said Mr. Thompson. He added that teachers as well must be careful as they too can impact a child psychologically.

Our crime statistics aren’t just a reflection of the criminals in our country but a reflection of Bahamians everywhere. Crime will never be eliminated completely, but if we work together in all areas we can break the cycle that is destined to destroy our little country.