Tag Archives: TheBahamasWeekly.com

Green Embassy of Australia highlights B.C. First Nation’s plight with Kinder Morgan

Australian designer Kuvan- Mills with the great-grandchildren of Chief Dan George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, BC, Canada. (Photo left by Arun Nevader / photo right by Dustin Photography)

Vancouver, B.C. — World Water Week has just concluded and although many events took place around the world close to rivers, oceans and streams, the fashion runway may be one of the last places on people’s minds when it comes to water and conservation.  Enter Zuhal Kuvan-Mills from Australia and her Green Embassy ‘ Empty Oceans’ collection…

Environmental activist, fashion designer and artist Kuvan-Mills believes art and fashion impact our emotions and can move us to value our blue planet. Currently supporting the world’s leading direct action ocean conservation organization, Sea Shepherd (Australia) she said she was compelled to return to west-coast Canada for Vancouver Fashion Week after hearing about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and its threat to local waters.  This is the Perth designer’s fourth time down the runway of Vancouver Fashion Week, and her Empty Ocean’s collection is in perfect sync with water conservation, and she wanted to share that with the Vancouver audience.

Zuhal Kuvan-Mills wears a Sea Shepherd Australia t-shirt with her models at Vancouver Fashion Week on March 26, 2017 (Photo: Dustin Photography)


“Vancouver has such a rich and beautiful coastline that should be protected for generations to come. I know that the First Peoples of its territory are as connected to their land and water,”  said Kuvan-Mills who connected with Charlene Aleck of Tsleil-Waututh First Nation during her stay.  Aleck’s daughter Ocean and granddaughter Maya, ad her niece Jasmine were asked to walk the runway.  The three, are the great (and great-great) grandchildren of a the late native leader, Chief Dan George.  The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a Coast Salish band whose Indian reserve is located on Burrard Inlet in the southeast area of the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Green Embassy runway show opened with a poignant video by Conservation International which reminded us of the beauty of the ocean, and why we need her. As the video closed,  the First Nation youth walked together down the runway in their traditional regalia covered by one large fishing net.

Maya, Ocean, and Jasmine of Tsleil-Waututh Nation on the runway for Green Embassy’s “Empty Oceans” collection at Vancouver Fashion Week (Photo: Arun Nevader)

“I am grateful to the work of Zuhal Kuvan-Mills,” said Charlee Aleck, who is an elected Councillor for her nation after the runway show, “‘Empty Oceans’ brings awareness to how we are treating/polluting our oceans, and the state of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. She shares our concern and the imminent threats to our salmon bearing rivers and Salish Sea from the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. ‘What will we leave our children?’ Empty nets?” continued Aleck. “I feel truly blessed to have met this beautiful soul, the passion Zuhal has put into this very important message – water is life!”

“I aim to support and help indigenous communities across the world,” says Zuhal. “The children under the fishing net represents the future of the First Nations, they are being destroyed by all types of abuse and destruction to oceans,” said Kuvan-Mills. “Black coloured fish net was selected to represent death and destruction to the natural environment (coastal waters) for First Nations. It was also over the children like a black cloud as now they are under great danger of losing their coastal waters to pollution with yet another Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

(Photos: Dustin Photography)


It is her hope to create a collaborative event between the First Peoples of both Canada and Australia whereupon dance, music, fashion and the arts can be shared.

Models graced the runway to a mix of sounds of First Nation drumbeats and Aboriginal didgeridoo. Fabrics were soft and flowing like water, in blues and ocean colours, or light and creamy like the sand and sea. Bow-ties, bows, sashes or sleeves were made from re-purposed fishing net remnants. Some dresses were made of recycled polyester sourced from trash, plastic bottles, ad drift / ghost fishing nets. There was the lightest of silk pieces that whispered down the runway, while the woven items were strong and edgy like the ocean’s coral and shells, or soft and warm like the sun’s reflection on the shoreline.

The fabric of many of the coats, jackets, hats and vests were collected, hand spun, processed and dyed by Kuvan-Mills herself on her farm in Perth where she raises alpacas, a domesticated species of South American camelid, similar to the llama. Her dyes are made from vegetation, like flowers, leaves, or vegetables, finding inspiration within the textile crafting traditions of ancient times.

(Photos by Arun Nevader)


Green Embassy is Australia’s first internationally recognized organic fashion label who base their work on the protection of nature, and natural resources, while focusing on bringing public attention and education to environmental issues.

In November 2017, Kuvan-Mills will launch the inaugural Australia Eco Fashion Week in Perth. During her stay in Vancouver she explained her methods at Kwantlen University and Blanche Macdonald, and met with many designers, to inspire them to turn toward ‘slow fashion’ and join her for the event.

Green Embassy has been seen on the runway in Paris, London, Beijing and Vancouver, and with more and more concern being placed on fast fashion and the environment, Kuvan-Mills is quickly becoming a sought after guest speaker, and has been interviewed for television on SBS World News and national radio on ABC, Australia. In 2016, the Empty Oceans collection caught the attention of Pamela Anderson, who has her own foundation to help environmental causes.

Real people – non models wear Green Embassy at Vancouver Fashion Week. (Photos by Arun Nevader)


Kuvan-Mills’ commitment to sustainability, organic agriculture, art and slow fashion is expressed in each extraordinary textile piece as a labour of love.

I am so very proud to be connected to this show and that my daughters were able to walk for this amazing designer who has so much heart, passion and vision… I look forward to visiting her  in Australia.

(Photos by Arun Nevader)


Listen to a short clip of the designer talking about her dying process at a Vancouver media event.

Watch video of part of the finale walk on the runway at VFW.

Me wearing Green Embassy at Vancouver Fashion Week. The show was on my birthday on March 26! In the photo taken by Victoria Clements I am holding a Harl Taylor BAG made from natural fibres from The Bahamas. The photo on right is the same vest for a photo I included in my article “Am I Anti-Pipeline” written on my blog about my thoughts around pipelines. It was taken on Burrard Inlet where I dragon boat and where the Kinder Morgan station is.

Read  Am I Anti-Pipeline?


Connect with Green Embassy:

greenembassy.com.au/

facebook.com/greenembassyfashion

twitter.com/greenembassyau

Merry Christmas from Robbin and Co.

The tree is decorated, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped; now all that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas!

I took this photo above in our front room on one of our rare snowy and chilly nights just days ago.  It looks like Christmas perfection, and luckily my head elf / youngest daughter got us moving towards Christmas this year by picking out the perfect tree, decorating, and even doing a lot of the shopping and wrapping for us!

I’ve been reexamining Christmas and what it means to me, in particular as our world changes so rapidly around us. Although I was raised Catholic, on the surface Christmas appears to be a day we work towards, to come together and share gifts we’ve purchased or made, and eat, drink and be merry. The time together is the real gift however, and it’s should be done more often. I am grateful that Christmas gets us all together, but I am becoming more of the mindset to just leave all the present shopping for birthdays!

Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni's house... (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)
Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni’s house… (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)

My children are all young adults now, and it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Christmas Letter.  This year marks over 5 years that I have been back in Canada after life in The Bahamas, and no regrets. I love being home and I love my country.

My mother Corae has been living with us since September 2015 and all is going well. She turns 83 on December 23rd. For those that do not use Facebook, mom’s become quite the star as I share stories about her under the hashtag #ParentingOurParents.  They are tiny little excerpts of my life as I grapple with trying to be a good daughter, while what seems to be, ‘parenting’ my aging parent.

This year The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, and I took my ex husband Brian into my home! For those not aware, Brian has Parkinsons, and his health spiraled downhill rather rapidly this summer. He’s been back in Canada since October and although glad to be home, and with family, he has a long road ahead. I’ve been helping him transition back to the real world as he awaits his new healthcare assessments. He’s improved a lot just by being here.

My eldest Loryn (26 years) is now a married working woman, and is speeding through life not only on the snowboarding slopes, but she’s progressing very quickly in her career as a banker. Go see her at HSBC if you are looking to invest.  She and Lorraine (a nurse) have purchased their first home, as well as their first car. The girls live conveniently just down the road from us.

Tohni (now 24 yrs) has been enjoying life in the fast lane and lives in East Vancouver. She’s in a great relationship with Patrick and has been co-managing a fun restaurant called The General Public on Main Street in Vancouver. Do stop in to see her, she’ll give you a super discount. This year Tohni worked her butt off so she could take in as many music festivals as she could over the summer, and traveled a couple times to the USA.

Nathen (22-yrs-old) is studying now at Simon Fraser University and is working at Vision Electronics. Go see him, he’ll also give you a good deal!  While taking on a full course load, he managed to move out last month, so his life is full of responsibility.  He lives just up the hill from us. His present goal is to become a chiropractor like his father, but he said he’ll see how things progress.

Jackie (20-yrs) is the last egg in the nest and has been a huge support around the house with helping take care of her grandmother and father. She’s been working at Dynamite women’s clothing at Coquitlam Centre and is still keeping up as the voice of the ‘community calendar’ on 98.7 FM. She can be heard every hour, on the hour at ckpmfm.com.

As for me, life is full on! I’m still working TheBahamasWeekly.com and this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary. I had hoped to get back for a celebration but the hurricane took care of that.  I’ve taken on several other clients that I do writing or social media work for.

Some 2016 highlights
Some 2016 highlights

This  year I was elected president of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society which manages a salmon enhancement program in the woods near my house. I love my volunteer work there, and have been furthering the HSWS public relations by building and managing a new website, Youtube and social media accounts. Check us out at hoyscottcreeks.org.

I’ve just completed my first year of dragon boating with the 50+ Nothin’ Dragon Masters, and loved every minute of it.  I raced with the team in 4 or 5 festivals this year, which was very exciting. Our oldest teammate is 80. I’ve also been playing soccer with my daughter Loryn on a Div. 3 team once a week, and it’s special time with her and my favourite game. I took my love for the Coquitlam Crunch, a hiking mountain in our city, to new heights by co-chairing the annual event, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge, and was featured in the city’s promo video. In fall of this year I joined Ultra Throw, a brand new local club of 20+ athletes training and competing in javelin, shot put, discus, hammer, and weight throwing. In 2017 I will start competing. I am excited (and scared) of this, as competing in sport ‘solo’ is brand new to me.

As for my love life, when a girlfriend from the Bahamas asked if I was dating, I said, “I’m open to it, but any group I join, or people I meet, the guys are either gay, already in relationship or married.” Another girlfriend suggested I join the dating group, “Events and Adventures,” to which I chuckled and replied, “My life is already an event and adventure! I don’t need to pay for it, and I don’t have the time in my schedule.”  Another girlfriend suggested I try online dating. I tried that once – went on one date, and although it was fine (meah), I’ve resolved to waiting to see what life doles out. So yes, I am happy and single.

In 2017 I look forward to keeping my life afloat, and also have some long-range writing goals I hope to get started on if I can find the time!

Below is my interview with Tri-Cities Community TV featured on Shaw TV where I talked about #ParentingOurParents, my salmon work, The Bahamas Weekly, and dragon boating. Click the image to view or HERE.

My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV
My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV

Whether I’ve seen you this year, or not; whether we only communicate now and again, or via social media; thank you for being in my life.  Have a wonderful holiday season!

B.C. brides-to-be encouraged to enter Bahamas 16 Weddings contest

 

With The Bahamas laying off the east coast of the United States, it’s often not the destination of choice for Canadians living in the western provinces of Canada.

But, The Bahamas has come out with a contest that I am hoping will excite and chance all that.   This November, sixteen (16) Canadian couples will say ‘I Do’ in paradise, as The Bahamas is giving away 16 wedding packages valued at $12,000 (Cdn) each!

I want as many people out west to know about this contest so that  we can have at least one winner from this region.

All you have to do is enter at Bahamas16Weddings.com

and you could get married on one of the following Bahamian islands:  Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Grand Bahama, New Providence, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Exuma, Long Island, San Salvador, Paradise Island, Crooked Island, and Inagua.

As editor of thebahamasweekly.com, I’ve been witness to this exciting promotion as it ran first with winners from the UK, and then a second promotion in the United States.  Now it’s Canada’s turn!

But hurry! you only have until May 16th to get your entry in. Enter today!

From left to right: Paul Strachan, Director, Bahamas Tourist Office, Canada; and Anita Johnson-Patty, General Manager, Communications, Bahamas Tourism for Canada; Robbin Whachell, Editor/Cofounder TheBahamasWeekly.com; and Graeme Franklin, Director of Sales, Western Canada, Sunwing Vacations (Photo: TheBahamasWeekly.com)
From left to right: Paul Strachan, Director, Bahamas Tourist Office, Canada; and Anita Johnson-Patty, General Manager, Communications, Bahamas Tourism for Canada; Robbin Whachell, Editor/Cofounder TheBahamasWeekly.com; and Graeme Franklin, Director of Sales, Western Canada, Sunwing Vacations (Photo: TheBahamasWeekly.com)

No purchase required. Contest begins January 8, 2016 at 12:00:01 a.m. EST and ends June 10, 2016 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. Entry deadline: May 16, 2016 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. Voting deadline: June 10, 2016 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. There are a total of 16 prizes available to be won, each consisting of a round trip for two to The Bahamas, 6 days/5 nights accommodation and includes a wedding package provided by the Sponsor. Open to legal residents of Canada, excluding Quebec, who are age of majority in the province or territory of residence at time of entry. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received before entry deadline, entrants’ creativity and popularity of finalists’ entries. Limit one entry per couple. Limit of one vote per person/Facebook account. Entrant information may be used for promotional purposes. Not sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook. For rules and entry details click here

BridalSwap2016-343
My mother and I at BridalSwap.com (Photo: Cliff Ma Photography)

Bahamian delegates visited with CKPM FM radio in the Tri-Cities to help launch the contest.  Listen here:

Robbin Whachell and the History of The Bahamas Weekly

The following I wrote in 2011 for my website, TheBahamasWeekly.com, when I decided to leave The Bahamas and return to Canada. I wrote it to explain to my readers (and those in Bahamian government) why I was leaving, ,   and prove my place with the website:

Perhaps we are all naive when we move to a new country. I know I was excited! The chance for a new life, the unknown, creating a new reality in a foreign land, seems as real as our forefathers who may have discovered new shores across long stretches of water.

This was how my family felt (with our four children, 2, 4, 6, and 9 years) when we moved to Grand Bahama Island.

Raised in a large family and from a mother that was always involved in community, whether it was assisting at her church or our schools, teaching catechism, or dressing up as Santa and driving on a skidoo over snow on her own to deliver gifts to poor children, I come from a background of giving back to those in need.

I was not on the island long before I found different activities to make me feel purposeful.  I joined a small group who volunteered to give healing touch to visiting and local cancer patients, joined soccer with my daughter and began coaching at the YMCA, and also helped form the first girls’ soccer league on the island with Donnie and Mary Knowles, of which I am still involved today.

Aside from these activities I felt there was so much good happening on the island that I wanted to share anything I felt was ‘golden’ or ‘helpful’ to the community around me. I started sending out emails to friends and acquaintances in 2003. I shared events I heard about, community needs I may have overheard, etc, and offered brief commentary on thinking positive, or provided inspiring quotes. I do not remember why I began doing this. I was simply compelled … and felt of service to assist others. My email list grew like wildfire, as I guess I was filling a need, and people appreciated knowing what was going on.

Within a few months people started sending me information to share with my list. When the hurricanes of 2004 hit, it was a very useful vehicle as I was able to disseminate important information coming in from various service groups. My list grew and grew. It grew so much that one email per topic was becoming too frequent for many. This I never heard first-hand, as no one ever emailed me to say so, or did they ask to be taken off my list. I heard this via the grapevine.  I decided then to move to a ‘weekly’ announcement, so people would not be bombarded with too many emails.

This worked beautifully, and it mushroomed the growth of my email list. ‘Freeport Announcements’ came once a week filled with information on what was going on, sports scores, charity events, small business openings, leaving the island sales, and a community calendar, and more.

I must reiterate, the sole intention of my sending these emails was that I felt compelled to. While even my children were coming home and telling me that the word was, ‘their mother was strange’ for sending out these announcements, still not a single person had asked me to stop sending them. I would never open-carbon anyone. I in fact had the opposite reaction; people were requesting their friends, family, and even entire groups they belonged to, to be added to my list; and were forwarding my emails on to their contacts as well. I had people that lived in the USA, Canada or UK. They were either snow birds, or had relatives here and simply wanted to receive the information.

Robbin-Whachell-11
Bahamas life suited us. I home schooled my four children for four years, and contributed to the island’s soccer programs as a coach and player. My youngest was only 2 when we moved there, and lived in the Bahamas until 15 years of age. “I don’t know how to be a Canadian” she said before we left.

Please note that I was not sitting around all day working on what had become Grand Bahama Island’s first email newsletter, it simply unfolded each week. I was a very busy mother of four young children and led a very active life in the community. I was in the midst of homeschooling our children, something i did for four years, which was very successful. One can imagine the demand of doing four different school years at the same time, however it ended up being one of the most rewarding things we ever did as a family.

The next big challenge that presented itself during this process was that my weekly newsletters were becoming too large for email servers to receive. People then did take the time to email me and let me know that it took way too long to download my ‘weekly’ as its size had become at least 25 times the starting point.

Hard times hit next as my marriage broke up. The love I felt for this country, and with my children now so involved in their new ‘home’, I could not think of leaving. The children’s father is presently the island’s only chiropractor.   I did not want to take them away from their new life, or their father’s presence and positive influence.  We all suffered through a very difficult divorce that is still not complete, but I continued to maintain the growth of my newsletter during those years.

With the demise of my marriage and the severe financial strain I was in, it was at this time I knew that I must find work to survive.  I never received payment for anything I posted in my newsletter – I actually never even thought of it, I was simply enjoying what I felt compelled to do. No one was doing email marketing at that time… there was only one other newsletter I later found out about called B2B from Nassau, but most on Grand Bahama knew nothing about it.

With my background in film, I was hired by Paul Quigley to assist with the new Bahamas Film Studios.  I know this threw many locals off, as up until then I was seen with my kids, and in sports, and of course known for my newsletter.   My permit was approved, but within weeks I was told my application was being red flagged, and it had something to do with … (and this is only hearsay and what Quigley told me) “that I was seen to be taking Bahamian men away from their women…”!?!  Quigley was advised to let me go. Ironically another local non-Bahamian resident was hired in my place a couple months later and continued on until the demise of the studios.  I felt betrayed by Quigley for not standing up for me, but he did what he felt was right I suppose.

In 2005 I was able (and in the end ‘unlucky’) to become the only local person hired with Pirates of the Caribbean who required a work permit.  After two months of Disney’s persistence with immigration I was approved and hired.  I helped run their administration office as a production secretary along with Gail Woon – something we both worked very hard at as it was the initial setup of the over 500 person operation.  I continued my newsletter during those busy months working with Disney, which were often 16 hour days during production.  Ironically I never got my name mentioned in the credits along with those that I helped select and hire on jobs for their various departments, or persons I supervised – another immigration situation where Disney refused to pay the permit after they had internal management changes. I would think the new boss overseeing local production thought, “Why should we pay for a permit when ALL of us can come in for free? (a deal Disney made with the government) …and since I’d already helped set up all the local stuff, they could easily dump me as the production was well into running smoothly.  Such is life, and in the end I was forced to cover the immigration fees that should have been paid for me.

Paul Quigley and I remained friends over this time, and I even wrote a press release on him after his suspicious death in 2008 at the British Colonial Hilton during the court case over the Film Studios at Gold Rock Creek.

After I left Pirates of the Caribbean I went back to being a full-time mom and working the newsletter in between life. My eldest daughter was going through a drastic time after the divorce and a death of her friend. We were dealing with her drug dependency, in which she was able to tackle thank God, after many months.

It was during this time when a solution to my ever growing weekly newsletter presented itself. I had been showcasing a website called Mackey Media in the newsletter as David Mackey was audio-interviewing local prominent people on his website, and I loved the use of technology and the interviews. In my newsletter I was linking to his website so people could enjoy them also. Dave, being a web guy understood my problem.  I ran into him one day and he offered a solution, which was the revival of a website called, GBWeekly.com that he’s previously operated as a community source with photographer Tim Aylen. They were likely ahead of their time when they operated it as many did not yet have computers as a household item, and in any event Tim had moved to Nassau, so it was shelved.

Dave told me that his website could house all the information I was gathering and the ‘weekly’ could simply give summaries and links to full page articles.  Never did we discuss business or profit. We were filling a need, and I being a foreigner, never even thought of where this endeavour could go – I simply wanted to keep the initiative alive for my readers.

When Dave and I launched GBweekly.com, the only negative words we heard about what we were doing were from two people who were now also running a weekly newsletter.  Most of their references were to the affect that I was not a Bahamian.  I did not understand their point as I was simply putting information now onto a website, just as today anyone can put information on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook or any social media. I could have been blogging for all anyone cared. What I did was free for all to view. The female counterpart of our competition retorted that she would not stop until she got me “off the island”. Note that this same person used to send me information to disseminate, and one day asked me to show her how I was doing what I was doing, of which I agreed to, but she never followed up with me. Also note that if you went to GBweekly.com… it redirected to a competitor’s website. Please note that these people, who were opposed to what I was doing, were not born Bahamians themselves, but were naturalized.

Dave and I happened to meet one day with the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce president, and he expressed that he felt I was an ambassador for the country with all the good I was doing and said he would try and help me in getting a work permit. He was in the immigration consulting business. With his assistance I was successful in getting approved two years in a row and began then, and only then, making a small income from the website, which supplemented my child support payments. Over this time we quickly transitioned into TheBahamasWeekly.com feeling it beneficial for all to include the entire country.  An archipelago of islands is already segregated enough.

I worked for Pirates of the Caribbean II and III as production secretary for 13 months. I was the only non-Bahamian 'resident' permit granted.  Second Mate Productions kept stalling to pay for my work permit after it was approved. I would think because they got to bring nearly 500 crew in for $25 each, and they wanted 4 figures for me. When management changed, and since things were already set up and running smoothly, I got dumped because of that outstanding fee. After all the work I put in, no name in the film credits...
I worked for Pirates of the Caribbean II and III as production secretary for 13 months. I was the only non-Bahamian ‘resident’ permit granted. Second Mate Productions kept stalling to pay for my work permit after it was approved. I would think because they got to bring nearly 500 crew in for $25 each, and they wanted 4 figures for me. When management changed, and since things were already set up and running smoothly, I got dumped because of that outstanding fee. After all the work I put in, no name in the film credits…

The rest I will shorten, but in 2009 during re-application I was denied. Our consultant informed us that our competition had infiltrated immigration camp so heavily, that he could no longer assist us, and expressed we get a lawyer involved and deal directly with the head of immigration.  I was very upset, and my life in The Bahamas came crashing down. I was told that I had to pack up and leave within 30 days. I felt as if I was being treated as a criminal.   A lawyer came to my aid, that being Fred Smith.  We ended up getting my approval within a couple weeks but at a fee (payable to immigration) that was almost 3 times the original. It was quite a struggle to pay $9000 a year for our small business, but we made it work. Those were some of the toughest days of my life.

After approval Dave and I got back to work, and our website has continually grown each and every month, and every year. This year (2011) we will celebrate our 5th anniversary.

We also took some bad online commentary by another competing site from people based in Nassau. We ignored it, simply taking it as jealousy because we weren’t doing anything wrong, and kept striving to do our best to help those around us and put out the best information we could find or share, which included doing much video production with me as the on-mic commentator for streaming video productions.

Through this and our close work with the forward-thinking Ministry of Tourism on Grand Bahama, we put out a Tourism TV channel based on Grand Bahama tourism activities. This was aired via Cable Bahamas and was on the TV for 2 years thanks to a wonderful technician there. Channel 56 offered suggestions on all you could do on Grand Bahama, messages from the GB Ministry of Tourism, a ticker tape on upcoming events on the island including welcome messages to foreign groups visiting the island, etc, etc. and running an already busy website, we were only getting started with the TV channel. There was soooo much potential there. We were beginning to feature music videos of Bahamian artists, and most of the videos done by The Bahamas a Weekly or Mackey Media were featured on the TV Channel. Rave reviews were coming in based on the content, variety, and the quality. Visiting celebrities like Johnny Depp, Sir Sean Connery, Ving Rhames and others were featured along with top sporting events within The Bahamas.  To my sadness, the TV channel was taken down after a transition at Cable Bahamas without any reason offered. We tried to meet with their upper management, but emails, phone calls, etc were never returned. We were simply told they were too busy. So during a time when Grand Bahama tourism needed all the help it could get, it was removed. Cable Bahamas, a company that makes money off of use of American channels could have easily kept us going with all the new digital channels available to them, (as it cost them nothing and was 100% Bahamian content) but I guess they did not care, not even enough to simply meet with us. And the worst part is they were the ones that advised us on the thousands of dollars of equipment Mackey Media purchased to set it up and keep it running.  So much for that!

The Bahamas Weekly today has become a far cry from the little emails I was sending around Grand Bahama Island all those years ago, and our competitors have followed us every step of the way. We have definitely pioneered in this field.

We donate much of our time each year to support large events that promote the country or assist the youth and the arts – we do this for free and even travel to events to cover them, out of pocket. We want to make The Bahamas look good.

We do not have a corporate office; we are not a huge entity with phones ringing and people walking in and out. We are a sign of the times – VIRTUAL;  feeding a web entity with information by submissions or gleaned off the internet; and via intense networking by email, social media, and most importantly a constant desire to find information and put the word out about things going on around us, in the country, or around the world related to The Bahamas. We are able to do this by sitting in front of our computers or laptops (in our pajamas if we want) and are not restricted or constricted by normal ‘work hours’, traffic, etc., etc. We can travel and not miss a beat… the website keeps on moving, digesting and growing.

My decision now, to leave the Bahamas after 13 years, is also based on my role as a mother, and daughter.  Even though my competition has been relentless on trying to see me out of this country, and that constant pressure (almost 5 years) has not been easy to take, my annual battle to get ‘one more year’ of life in this country has also taken its toll. I was told again this year I would not be approved. We fought again with Fred Smith’s help, and we were again granted approval, BUT the new increased fee they’ve attached to it is almost $4000 more than a doctor, and double that of a hotel manager… it made no sense. ADD to that, I was told I could not have a work permit after December of this year – I was told not to re-apply in bold lettering.

My fees had increased over the years with immigration giving me arbitrary ‘career designations’… reclassified later as an editor (only a part of my full role with The Bahamas Weekly) which incurred hefty fee increases, I was not only pigeon-holed into a fee structure of pay-for publications (newspapers), but I was also then seen as doing more than my title, i.e. taking photos or being on camera. This year I was re-classified again to a Vice President, however we have no formal ‘company’, and along with that my fees where raised again.

I can only feel that I am not wanted in this country. It makes no matter of my intention here, that my children grew up here, or what I have done to assist others…I came… created something…contributed… and because a few can complain and lament about my existence…well, I guess the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease!

So I am choosing to leave The Bahamas. I will still remain editor and co-founder and the money I fed into the Grand Bahama economy will now go into Canada’s economy.

I am not a quitter, but I am one that has to look at what the universe is presenting to me and make good decisions based not only on what’s best for me, but also for my children. I had to consider and add to all this, that all my children have to leave the country to attend secondary school or work. And my parents are in their sunset years and I want to spend time with them.  I can certainly give my children and Canada a few years of my time.

I helped birth The Bahamas Weekly and provide or seek out much of its content. It is not an entity that hired me, as I helped create it. I am not just its ‘editor,’ but one that has the same vested interest as a parent to a child, or an inventor to a patent; and I feel this creation flows through my veins. It has been my labour of love.

I will continue on as long as I have internet access. With things like Vonage, Skype, Facebook, Twitter I am connected to my contacts, the world, and The Bahamas.  And no one can take that away from me… I am not going anywhere, but Vancouver… and I will be RIGHT HERE online… as close as this for most of you reading this now.

Full speed ahead on the virtual highway of life!  The world is my home, and I am safe upon it.

(July 12, 2011 based off an original letter to Bahamas Immigration on May 11, 2011)

PKN-3
Now I live in Canada and my head is in The Bahamas for most of my day… My heart will always be in both places.

 

Join American para-triathlete, Hector Picard for a Triathlon in Grand Bahama

Interview with Hector Picard in 2010 (Grand Bahama)

Are you a triathlon junkie? Why not take in your next one in the beautiful Bahamas!?   Join American para-triathlete and motivational speaker  Hector Picard, the first and only  “Double Arm Amputee” 3x IRONMAN will be visiting Grand Bahama Island March 24th – March 31st. This will be a return visit for Mr. Picard who visited Grand Bahama Island in 2010 to compete at the Conchman Triathlon. While there, Mr. Picard spoke at  and was inspired by the children and staff at The Beacon School.

I was fortunate enough to connect with Hector via Facebook prior to that visit and our news team (The Bahamas Weekly) met up with him and conducted an interview before and during the race.

“I visited the Beacon School of Grand Bahama Island in 2010.  I was  invited by Coach Bert Bell to speak to the students in the hopes of  inspiring them.  The students ended up inspiring me.  Their smiles and  questions made for an emotional experience,” said Picard.  “The Beacon School provides  an education for these special needs children.  As a double arm amputee,  swimming, cycling and even running are difficult but are nothing  compared to what these children will face in life.  My goals for the  “Triathlon for The Beacon School” (group) IRONMAN distance event on  March 29th are to raise funds and awareness for the school as well as show the children that Anything is Possible!”

Triathlon for The Beacon School will be a one day event starting on Saturday,  March 29th at Taino Beach at 7am.  Bahamian residents and tourists are invited to join Mr. Picard as   he swims 2.4 miles, cycles 112 miles, and runs 26.2 miles throughout  beautiful Grand Bahama Island. This event will raise funds and awareness  for the children of The Beacon School. Athletes of all levels can join  Mr. Picard throughout the course and be a part of this inspiring event.  Finish line festivities are being planned with times and locations to be  announced shortly.

There is an event Facebook page, “Triathlon for the  Beacon School” for further information and Mr. Picard wishes to thank  TheBahamasWeekly.com who stepped in with media support.

Grand Bahama is a short half hour flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’d suggest the boutique hotel, The Pelican Bay, or the Grand Lucayan, both located in the central hub of the city for tourists and entertainment and only a short 10 minute cab ride from the location of the Triathlon.  The Bahamas uses the American dollar at par and interchangeably with Bahamian money.  You will need your passport.

More information on the race can be obtained here:  dontstoplivingpr@yahoo.com or visit www.DontStopLiving.org

On March 29, 2014 Let’s  show the children of The Beacon School that Anything is Possible!