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csjreport

Friday, January 21, 2022

csjreport

Dubai Is the Place to Be. 5 Reasons So Many People Want to Go There

Dubai, the United Emirates has become a topic of discussion in the Bahamas, ever since Prime Minister Philip Davis and nearly 160 delegates left the country for the oil-rich middle eastern city.

Though the Bahamas is a country based on Christian beliefs, many Bahamians have taken a keen interest in the city where Islam is the official religion.

Here are the reasons why so many people wish to visit Dubai:

1. Its reputation of wealth has become the envy of the world.

Dubai is known for its ultra-rich residents, but most of the wealthy residents have migrated there. Only 15 percent are natives of Dubai.

A report shows that more than 2,000 wealthy people moved there in the first six months of 2021.

 

2. Mega malls have become great entertainment.

Dubai is known for mega malls and is home to the ‘Dubai Mall’ dubbed the biggest shopping center in the world. It has 1200 shops. People travel from all around the world indulge in the city’s shopping centers.

Dubai holds a month-long shopping festival in January with concerts and giveaways where shoppers win cars and gold.

 

3. It has a thriving food scene.

There are a variety of foods available—at, Arab, Persian, Indian, Pakistani, Filipino, French, Japanese, Chinese, British, and American restaurants from low-end to high-end. Pop-up eateries are common.

 

4. It’s the modern art and design capital of the Middle East.

Art districts are littered throughout Dubai and some have sprouted up in the industrial Al Quoz area. Dubai has a diverse art scene. Art and design festivals like Art Dubai and Design Days are always taking place.

5. The Desert Safari experience is on most people’s bucket list.

The famous Liwa Desert is just miles and miles of red sand stretching endlessly into the horizon. A Liwa Desert Safari takes you deep into the true Arabian Desert, miles away from civilization and toward the Saudi border.

 

Choir of Press Secretary Replaces National Youth Choir in Dubai

Former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Iram Lewis criticized the government, demanding an account of a culture trip to Dubai, where nearly 160 delegates, including Prime Minister Philip Davis traveled for the World Expo 2020.

Lewis asked the government to reveal a list of expenditures, how many people were a part of the delegation, and the criteria to determine which artist made up the delegation.

He says the government is “careless” and “negligent” in its decision since the pandemic has adversely affected the economy and health of the country.

Lewis believes the delegation should have been smaller “to participate in a more targetted way for a more desired impact.”

Shaback Choir, a religious group directed by Press Secretary Clint Watson was also a part of the contigent.

Some people have questioned why the country’s national youth choir was not invited to attend the expo. Instead, Shaback seemed to take that place as it is seen singing the Bahamian cultural songs on the stage while dressed in island-style fabric.

A delegate of Bahamians to Dubai at the World Expo 2020 has spurred public debate, as some argue that the contingent was too big and the cost was too high.

Director of Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister Latrae Rahming when pressed by reporters last week said the government spent $1 million for the trip, while the government of Dubai contributed $3 million for the Bahamas’ representation at the World Expo.

He justified the spending by stating that the event was planned about five years in advance and the former administration intended to spend more but the Davis administration cut back on spending.

The trip is meant to be a cultural event comprising Bahamian bands, musicians, and cultural artisans. Among those who traveled were the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, a Junkanoo Group and the Bahamas All-Stars Band.

A local performer, The Mighty Pencil, was not invited to the event but took to social media to voice his displeasure and questioned why others were not asked to attend.

Many of the delegates when they arrived in Dubai took to social media to show off their living arrangements and share their experiences in the mega city located in the middle east.

Seen in many of the pictures and videos are Watson’s cousin also known as a local sensation, Dynamite Daisy, who dramatizes an intoxicated woman with ugly makeup, disheveled hair, and shabby clothing. Some questioned whether or not her act would meaningfully contribute to the expo since it may not translate to people in that part of the world.

One Bahamian living in Dubai, Aaronp Moss asked, “What is she coming to do? Public intoxication is a jailable offense in this country.  No one will understand her…”

 

Watson’s sister Nicole Watson and another cousin Pastor Trent Davis, are also seen on the trip,  Their role has not been explained.

 

Davis Surrenders to Omicron as Cases Explode. His Speech Falls Short of a Plan to Contain It and Treat Bahamians

As COVID-19 cases rise to threatening levels, Prime Minister Philip Davis acknowledged that the country is entering a new phase in the pandemic.

Health officials reported 818 new cases on Friday and 291 new cases on Saturday.

With COVID-19 cases spreading like wildfire, Bahamians expected much from Davis’ speech on Sunday but many were left disappointed as he announced nothing new. He reiterated his government’s plan to implement widespread testing using the Rapid Antigen Tests and issue medical-grade masks to the public, which was a promise made on the campaign trail.

He seemed to have surrendered to the virus, telling Bahamians that “all of us will be affected…We will see high counts.”

He asked, “How ready will your body be to fight off the virus?”

Davis said a vast majority of Bahamians will become infected by the virus as the Delta and Omicron strains roam.

While a large portion of the Bahamian population remains unvaccinated, Davis warned that they will be ‘hit hardest’ in the new phase of the infectious virus.

Experts have described Omicron as more transmissible than Delta but less severe.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organisation warned that “while the new strain appears to be less severe when compared to Delta, in people vaccinated, it should be not be categorized as ‘mild.’

“Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalizing people and it is killing people,” Ghebreyesus stressed.

Davis said Bahamians should double masks until his government can issue the medical-grade masks, and limit time spent indoors.

“We’re in the hardest days of it.

“We can weather the storm together,” Davis summed up.

Sidney Poitier: 10 Things to Know About the Legendary Bahamian-American Actor

Sidney Poitier, a Bahamian-American actor died on Friday at the age of 94.  He was a trailblazer in film and is remembered for paving the way for black actors.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said Poitier’s “light will continue to shine brightly for generations to come.”

Davis said Poitier’s “colossal achievements,” will be remembered including “his strength of character; his willingness to stand up and be counted; and the way he plotted and navigated his life’s journey.”

What to Know About Sir Sidney Poitier

  1. He made history in 1964, becoming the first black man to win a best actor Oscar award for Lilies of the Field. He went on to perform in other films, winning acclaim for Mr Tibbs, Porgy and Bess, A Patch of Blue and A Raisin in the Sun.
  2. He was a diplomat for the Bahamas, serving in Japan between 1997 and 2007 and the UNESCO between 2002 and 2007.
  3. He was born in Miami to Bahamian tomato farmers Reginald and Evelyn Poitier in 1927 . Poitier grew up in Cat Island in the Bahamas. His family later moved to Nassau and he was sent to live with relatives in Miami at age 14.
  4. Poitier admitted to lying about his age in his book, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography. He said he pleaded insanity to be discharged from the army after 9 months
  5. He held dual Bahamian-US citizenship.
  6. President Barak Obama gave him the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. In 2009, Obama awarded Poitier the highest civilian honor for his achievements in art and humanitarianism.
  7. The Bahamas’ bridge that connects Nassau to Paradise Island was renamed in his honor in 2012.
  8. He imitated radio announcers and read newspapers to improve his reading skills after a heavy Bahamian accent and limited reading skills cost him his acting job at Harlem’s American Negro Theater.
  9. In recent years, Oprah Winfrey,  chose his 2000 memoir The Measure of a Man for her book club, introducing him to a new and younger generation.
  10. Poitier married actress Joanna Shimkus, his second wife, in the mid-1970s. He had six daughters with his two wives and wrote three books – This Life (1980), The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2000) and Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter (2008).

 

 

Daxon Makes U-Turn and Apologizes in Wooden Pew Theft Allegation Saga

Attorney Maria Daxon, the representative for some pastors and members of Golden Gates World and Outreach Church made a quick turnaround in a recent church saga and apologized to Singing Bishop Lawrence Rolle after accusing him of stealing church benches.

Nearly 20 benches were gifted to Rolle by the Senior Pastor of the church Ross Davis while he is embroiled in a court battle with members of the church board.

Rolle showed in a video post, he and his members, throwing away his termite-infested benches and arranging the newly donated benches in his sanctuary.

Outspoken Daxon had taken to social media, demanding that Rolle return the benches to the Golden Gates church, but after backlash from posters on Facebook, she seemed to have reconsidered her previous position.

On Thursday, Daxon is seen in a video being led by the leader of the Coalition of Independents Lincoln Bain, of which she is a part of,  walking into the aisle of the church among the new benches, approaching Rolle solemnly and asking for forgiveness. She stands in tears as Rolle addresses her.

“Bless you Maria,” Rolle said.

Daxon responds, “Bishop I come here to apologize to you. I never meant to hurt you. It was just to warn you, sir.

“I do apologize that I should have done it better. I should have called you first to warn you but I didn’t. And because of that, I’m here. I have to work with you because [you and I] have the same good intention, to help the Bahamian people.

“Everything that you do, I had supported it. I never criticized you…I come here to tell you I’m sorry.

“If I could have changed it, I would have called you, spoke to you, one to one and told you what the situation was all about. It wasn’t about attacking you sir, I want the Bahamian people to know…I want you to accept my apology’ and trust me, I learn my lesson from this because too [many] things going up on social media. It’s causing discord in this country. Me as a woman, as an activist, we needed to resolve this matter.”

Rolle said, “I am all about peace. The Bible said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers. They shall see God.’ The Bible also said to forgive 70 times seven.”

Rolle forgives Daxon and she soon makes her way out of the church.

It remains to be seen where she now stands with members of the board.

 

Virtual Junkanoo Flop Stirs Public Whiplash. Link Removed from Social Media

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture are bearing the brunt of public scrutiny after producing a virtual version of the country’s Junkanoo celebration on New Years Day.

Some people took to social media to air their frustrations describing the event as a low-budget production, prompting the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to remove the link to the Junkanoo event from social media.

Social media users who did not get a chance to view the virtual event lamented that they could not find the link.  When CSJ Report searched the ministry’s page and ZNS’s page on Facebook, the link could not be found.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg has since apologized for the poor production and made public the spending that accounted for the virtual event.

To abscond blame, he clarified the ministry’s dealings with the production, stating that it was a private contractor who won the bid to record and produce the event which was aired on ZNS and Facebook.

He stated that the total spending for New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Family Islands accounted for $300,000, adding that a $126,000 stipend was given to Junkanoo groups– $11,000 to seven Category A groups and $7,000 to seven Category B groups.

He said $24,000 was spent on production and advertising while $200 was spent on audio advertising.

The remaining balance of the $300,000 will be spent on the virtual parades for Grand Bahama and the Family Islands, the statement read.

The big story

For the second time, in-person Junkanoo which is held twice a year, has been canceled due to the pandemic. Last year, the ministry hosted a virtual recording of the parades. There were no cash prize awards, but winners were announced.

Valley Boys won the virtual event; Saxons Superstar took 2nd place; One Family came third and Roots was fourth place.

13 Suspects Dead in Police Involved Shootings. Are There More Attempts to Shoot Officers?

Another suspect attempted to shoot at police in Grand Bahama resulting in the suspect being shot in the arm, before running in bushes where he was found injured by a police firearm.

Police Commissioner revealed that the suspect shot at officers, shooting out the police vehicle’s windshield. Officers later found a 7.62 AK-47 assault rifle in the vehicle of the suspects.

This accounts for a recent spate of police-involved shootings that saw 21 incidents recorded for the year.

Though this latest incident did not end in a fatality, 13 police shootings ended in deaths, while 8 were non-fatal.

“Thirteen idiots crazy enough to pull gun on my officers. Officers will not sit by and let someone shoot at them,” he said.

In recent days, some in the public raised concerns about the recent increases in police-involved shootings, but Rolle assured that he will reveal the facts and is transparent in his dealings.

“Whatever the information is, we will make it public. I will not cover [anything]. The pressure is on me.”

He acknowledged specific concerns for 5 of the cases which are being investigated by an internal committee based on concerns raised by the public.

He said after the internal review, he will make recommendations to the coroner.

What did PM Davis say?

Prime Minister Philip Davis addressed the issue of police-involved shootings before Rolle came to the podium. Davis said he is talking to Rolle and is concerned that the incidents can affect the public’s confidence in the organization.

State of Play

In 2020, twenty police-involved shootings were recorded and 11 suspects died; and for 2019, thirteen cases are on record and 8 suspects died.

The Coroner’s Office has been slow in adjudicating these cases. There remains only one coroner.

 

 

 

The Killing of Leon Griffin: Why Was He Murdered and Where Is the Suspect? Armed Robbery Ruled Out

Police appear to be closer to solving the murder of Leon Griffin, former president of the Bahamas Cab Union and husband of former Cabinet Minister Melanie Griffin, and are ruling out armed robbery as a possible motive for the murder.

At a press conference on Thursday, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle said the police was talking to a “young man who is giving us information” on the matter.

Rolle was reluctant to say if the person was a suspect in the matter only to say based on the information received, the act does not appear to be armed robbery, as suggested in the preliminary reports to the media.

When pressed by media on whether or not Griffin was targetted, Rolle again stopped short to say, “I’ll leave my answer right there. It doesn’t appear to be armed robbery. I don’t want to speculate because at the end of the day we have to solve it and put it before the court.”

The big story

Griffin was killed two days before Christmas in the driveway of his home after arriving home in his taxi vehicle around eight o’clock at night.

He was the owner of Parklane Lux, a jewelry store located on Bay Street, and was reported to be in a bitter dispute with a foreign jewelry store owner Satish Daryanani, who placed him before the Bahamas court for $34 million worth of jewelry he alleged to have supplied to Griffin, but without returns.

State of Play

119 killings were reported for the year–103 murders in New Providence; 13 in Grand Bahama; and 3 in the Family Islands.

 

4th Wave of COVID-19 Keeps Students Out of the Classroom

As COVID-19 rage across the globe and health officials worry that Omicron could be in the country, the Ministry of Health announced that the reopening of private and public schools will be delayed another two weeks after the Christmas break.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Health and Wellness Minister Michael Darville said though schools were expected to reopen fully on January 11, officials deferred the face-to-face learning.

“In our view, it is not a good thing to reopen schools in the middle of a pandemic. We will wait and act with a degree of caution. When we open, we will open to stay open,” he said.

Big story

The reopening of schools sparked a public debate during the pandemic.  Schools in the country have been shut to face-to-face learning for nearly two years as the country battled the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health implemented a hybrid learning format to accommodate students’ learning. However, some students were being left behind and not logging onto the virtual platform.

Why it matters

The country is in the fourth wave of the pandemic, battling a spur of daily, new cases. Officials believe the Omicron virus is the country though not confirmed. They are awaiting lab results from Panama.

They have ruled New Providence as the epicenter of the virus and the crux of the sharp increase in cases is in the capital.

Christmas day, a record, breaking number of 330 cases were reported, which was a combination of cases over a few days.  85 cases were recorded on December 26; 159 cases on December 27; 65 cases on December 28;

What Minister of Education Glenny’s Hanna Martin says

Newly-appointed Minister of Education Glennys Hanna-Martin said her ministry accelerated works to quickly reopen schools, but the pandemic halted its plans.

She said the ministry will act on the advice of health officials.

“We will monitor it, come back to the table, assess where we are. That’s where we are at this moment.”

State of Play

All schools including preschools and daycares will continue virtual learning after the Christmas break.

 

 

 

 

 

Davis Spends Christmas in COVID Isolation After Close Contact with Family Who Contracted the Virus

Prime Minister Philip Davis is in COVID isolation following close contact with a family member who tested positive for the infectious disease.

In a COVID-19 Ministry of Health press briefing, Davis spoke from his home while in quarantine, stating that he was exposed to COVID-19 by visiting family members from the United States.

Though he tested negative after multiple testings, he is quarantined to ensure he is not ill and to prevent passing the virus on to others.

His wife, Marie Davis, and other family members tested positive for the virus, he said, though they were fully vaccinated.

The big picture

COVID 19 cases in the country are climbing after months of a lull.  Twenty-six cases were reported on Monday, 73 reported on Tuesday; and 140 cases on Wednesday. Though the new variant, Omicron has not been found in the Bahamas, health officials said they are monitoring the situation closely and have sent samples to Panama for testing.

Why it matters

Health officials around the world have described the Omicron as milder than the Delta variant but more transmissible.  In fact, It has overtaken Delta as the dominant strain in the USA and the UK.

Officials fear that the Christmas holidays will cause an explosion of new cases, resulting in overwhelmed hospitals, and deaths among people who are immunocompromised.

What Prime Minister Davis says

Davis said the country should expect difficult weeks ahead, as health officials gauge the increase of infections in the country and in Florida.  He said his government will operate as if the virus is already here and is preparing to distribute medical-grade masks; introduce new measures at the border– Bahamians and visitors will have to test negative within 3 days instead of 5; restrict indoor gatherings to 20 people and outdoor gatherings to 30 people; extend the vaccination program to the inner-city communities.