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CULTURE CLASH: If the system is wrong then we need to change it

We have a systems problem. Systems are not just machines or procedures for high-level tasks, but include the timing of traffic lights, the passport renewal application process and the dissemination of information.

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CULTURE CLASH: Thank God for those unafraid to say ‘no’

The Arawaks were a peace-loving people, they say. Our history books place the Arawaks in direct opposition to Caribs who, we were taught, were violent. Some books even say they were cannibals.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Everyone has their say - then the back-pedalling begins

The Government of The Bahamas faced review by the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee during the 71st session at the United Nations in Geneva. The review followed the submission of the State’s report on progress made since the last submission, tabling of shadow reports by three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — one of which is publicly available — and oral statements and a private meeting with NGOs.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Under the microscope - how will we do?

The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), commonly known as women’s bill of rights, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979.

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ALICIA WALLACE: And still we dream – of a proper bus system

Safe, reliable public transportation is not often a national discussion. We do, however, talk about it among ourselves, especially if we depend on it to any degree. Those who use public transportation regularly are both well aware of the challenges of the system (if we can call it a system) and skilled in making it work anyway.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Time for a different tune than our brand of one-note tourism

We watched another one bite the dust on Monday, over and over again. It instantly became a where-were-you-when moment. The videos and pictures seem endless and I imagine people return to them to experience the thrill, again, of what was once Crystal Palace crumbling before their eyes. It is not often we see demolitions in The Bahamas, so this was quite the spectacle. As the dust settles, many people are sharing memories of Crystal Palace, from teenage sleepovers to working night shifts. The demolition, as some have said, was the end of an era.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Living in the minefield of how women are expected to behave

After being found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years yesterday. Prosecutors and defence attorneys agreed to merge the three counts to one sentence. Cosby’s attorney had asked for house arrest given his age and legal blindness.

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FACE TO FACE: Green shoots of political reform - but will they be allowed to grow?

Political and electoral reform has been a hot topic for years. It is one of the few things we all agree is needed in The Bahamas. Here I am referring to changes to the system of governance, elections and representation at the government level as well as within political parties.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Why should Serena be held to a higher standard?

When I became aware of Venus and Serena Williams, my interest in tennis increased exponentially. Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf were fine to watch, but it was exciting to see, not only girls, but black girls on the courts. They played tennis and they did it well.

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ALICIA WALLACE: The ‘now’ generation? More like later, if ever

Home ownership is not easy. It is no walk in the park to look for, purchase, build, or maintain a house. Anyone who has gone through the process, or even attempted it, knows this and has anecdotes to share. There is nothing simple about it.

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ALICIA WALLACE: What must a woman do to convince people of her worth?

The BPL debacle has been interesting to watch. Every day, another layer is peeled back, exposing not only what has transpired behind the scenes, but the motivations of individuals.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Service second to none? More like second rate

We all need service and we want it to be fast and inexpensive. Some of us want it to be friendly too and responsive to our every need. For any given service in The Bahamas - and in Nassau in particular - we would be fortunate to get two out of four.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Time after time all Grand Bahama has received is neglect

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis confirmed on Monday the government intends to buy the Grand Lucayan hotel properties — Memories, Breaker’s Cay, and Lighthouse Pointe — which closed for repairs following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Close to 1,000 people lost their jobs and Lighthouse Pointe was the only property to reopen, now employing approximately 320 people. The decision to purchase, of course, has drawn mixed reviews from the Bahamian people. The announcement comes at an odd time, following the 60 percent increase in Value Added Tax and the $90,000 cut in school uniform assistance.

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ALICIA WALLACE: We should applaud our judges for defending everyone’s rights

Following the holiday weekend the country is abuzz with news of the injunction granted by Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson. The injunction pauses utility disconnections and evictions by the government until there is a judicial review of the government’s plan to bulldoze shanty towns.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Super Value made a mistake but they can still put it right

Last week, Super Value president Rupert Roberts said the company will no longer provide enhanced maternity costs. The company practices a form of self-insurance, setting money aside to cover medical costs rather than engaging an insurance company which could cost more money. It has decided to discontinue maternity payments it makes which are on top of the statutory requirement in order to have more money available for catastrophic illness and life-saving treatment.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Facing up to the fact that time catches up with us all

We spend a fair amount of time in preparation. We set goals, plan our futures and work toward becoming the versions of ourselves we imagine.

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ALICIA WALLACE: What are the real reasons behind the Minnis shuffle?

NO matter how low we set our expectations, there seems to be surprise, embarrassment, and frustration at every turn. There has not been much to celebrate in recent weeks, the increase in Value Added Tax bringing a muddy tinge to our reality. It puts

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ALICIA WALLACE: How you can prepare for the arrival of VAT

VALUE Added Tax will be increased to twelve percent in a matter of days, and many of us are still trying to figure out how to make it work. Adjustments have to be made, some on a daily basis, but this does not mean we have to be uncomfortable. It mea

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ALICIA WALLACE: The lessons we can learn from the Budget

THE world of partisan politics is never dull. The Budget Communication certainly makes for a lively few weeks, full of debate, pontification, and a range of emotions. It is probably the time we are most attentive to the government and political manoe

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ALICIA WALLACE: Facing up to mental health challenges

I KNOW people with mental health challenges, some of whom are getting professional help and others who cannot afford it, do not want anyone else to know what they are going through, or do not think it would help. I have received phone calls and in-pe

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ALICIA WALLACE: Why VAT rise hits hardest for the people who can least afford it

Bahamians tuned in to the Budget Communication in Parliament last Wednesday with great interest. After laying out a number of supposed benefits to the Bahamian people, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest showed the price tag. The FNM administration intends to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by 60 percent, taking it up from 7.5 percent to 12 percent on July 1. It expects this tax hike to increase revenue by $400m in the next fiscal year.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Mottley cruises to electoral wipeout

On May 24, 2018, Barbados elected its first female prime minister. Mia Amor Mottley led the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to victory, winning over 74 percent of the votes. This election brought an end to ten years of governance by the Democratic Labour Party (DPL) led by Freundel Stuart since 2010. The BLP won all 30 seats in the House of Assembly—a first in the country’s history. Political parties in The Bahamas should look at the BLP’s campaign and collateral as there is a great deal that can be learned and practiced.

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CULTURE CLASH: Celebrate Meghan’s marriage but it may not be all we hope for

Of all the movies in theatres, plays on stage and weddings all over the world, none drew attention to match that of the royal wedding on Saturday. People set alarms and woke up early to spot celebrities, critique the wedding dress, give meaning to Queen Elizabeth II’s expressions and see the way Prince Harry and Meghan Markle looked at each other during the ceremony in St George’s Chapel.

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CULTURE CLASH: We need to take time for ourselves

We are supposed to be strong; there for everyone at any time.

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FACE TO FACE: Women without apology, without inhibition - the whole world should celebrate her

We are not short on opinions about Bahamas Carnival. From the announcement four years ago, it was a point of division. Between the Junkanoo vs Carnival debate and the desperate appeals from the church, the event has always been controversial and polarising.

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CULTURE CLASH: Don’t be blind to Cosby - the criminal

Most of us know Bill Cosby as Heathcliff Huxtable. He is a doctor married to lawyer Clair Huxtable and father of five children. He is a funny, playful character with endearing eccentricity. Everyone loves Cliff, and wishes he could be their father. The Cosby family was aspirational, and The Cosby Show gave us somewhere to be when our own lives, homes and families did not quite manage to bring us joy.

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CULTURE CLASH: Corruption is not just in high office, it’s all around us

At the G20-OECD conference, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov said: “Corruption is a global threat. It is a serious roadblock to economic development. Corruption aggravates inequity and injustice and undermines stability, especially in the world’s most vulnerable regions.”

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CULTURE CLASH: We play follow the leader and God forbid anyone who doesn’t play by the rules

When we talk about leadership, we usually point to government as an example. The Prime Minister is seen as the ultimate leader. There is no one with more control. No one with greater power. No one with more responsibility. No one in a more important position. No one more unquestionable or beyond reproach. No one more silencing, domineering or undoubtedly correct. The prime minister is synonymous with leadership.

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FACE TO FACE: Let’s agree - we need to disagree better

Physical violence is an undeniable issue in The Bahamas.

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CULTURE CLASH: What really lies underneath this dress code for schools

What are you concerned about today? What is at the top of your list of qualms, battles to fight and issues to raise? It is always interesting to see what demands attention, riles us up and pushes us to take action. For so long we have been taking what has been dished out, finding ways to work around disadvantageous systems, and complaining in small circles.

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CULTURE CLASH: Missed the bus but not a day of joy and wonder

Transforming Spaces — an annual art bus tour in Nassau, Bahamas — was last weekend, and I took too long to purchase a ticket. It sold out quickly and so I was left to either sulk, or make my own way from gallery to gallery to see the work of Bahamian artists.

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CULTURE CLASH: In The Bahamas, marriage does not seem to be a good idea for women

It is rare for a news item to bring concerned pause. Our positions are usually clear; we care or we don’t care, and then we choose a side.

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CULTURE CLASH: Ask yourself - what are the women in your life really worth?

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Press for Progress. The annual year-long campaign inspires people all over the world to consider the issues women face year-round, think about solutions and bring people together to take action for change.

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CULTURE CLASH: Justice for all - it takes work

Social justice is, at the moment, an imagined future where wealth and opportunities are justly distributed. It is a world free of oppression and barriers due to gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality, or all other identity markers.

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CULTURE CLASH: Black Lives Matter - in The Bahamas too

It’s open season, but don’t worry. They’ll only kill the people they recognise, and only if they’re afraid. The Royal Bahamas Police Force is on a mission and no one cares to intervene.

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CULTURE CLASH: Sexual violence - there is no grey area

I’ve seen and heard about people lamenting the ongoing discussion about women’s human rights specific to our bodies.

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CULTURE CLASH: We don’t always have to be afraid

The US has been a major influence on The Bahamas for a long time. Proximity and tourism are not the only reasons.

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CULTURE CLASH: When leaders fail to lead

We often talk about leadership. It is a hot topic on the radio, at church, within civic groups, in politics, in schools and at conferences and training sessions. Everyone has wisdom to impart on the subject. We are not likely to ever come to a consensus on whether leaders are born or made, but can all see there are skills every leader needs to have and hone.

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ALICIA WALLACE: Time to take things with a pinch of salt

Coming out of a year of sitting around, watching and questioning, 2018 has to be a year of collective action.

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CULTURE CLASH: Time to ask ourselves - what do we truly believe in?

At this time of year, before looking forward and making plans for a better, more productive and successful year, it is wise to review the previous 12 months.

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CULTURE CLASH: Eight years on the same debate with the same answer - rape is rape

We need to talk about consent. Most of us understand it to mean permission. Parents and guardians signing forms to allow children to participate in extracurricular activities probably comes to mind. We don’t think about consent as a way of controlling and protecting our own bodies. Instead, we view the bodies of women and girls as public property.

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CULTURE CLASH: Time we talked to a wider audience

As the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence continues, most people working in the fields of gender and violence prevention are attending events ranging from special assemblies at high schools to conferences. At these events, we see and engage, for the most part, the same people. We sit through presentations on the same material, listen to the same comments and have the same sidebars with the people we talk to every time we meet in these spaces.

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CULTURE CLASH: Violence cannot be tolerated - in whatever form it comes

Gender-based violence is a pervasive issue that often goes unrecognised and unchecked. We all know it exists, but our understanding of it can be quite limited in scope and type.

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CULTURE CLASH: Stifling the press won’t get the job done, Dr Minnis

We have a media and communications problem in The Bahamas. Some would have us believe this is a reflection of the competence and work ethic of journalists, avoiding their own responsibility.

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CULTURE CLASH: MPs, prove your worth before even thinking about a pay rise

We, the Bahamian people, are frequent victims of the bait and switch. Parties in opposition agree with us, promise to represent our positions, then forget about us once they have consent to govern on our behalf.

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CULTURE CLASH: Where next for legislation on gender equality?

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced last week the current administration will amend legislation in order to allow Bahamian women to automatically transfer citizenship to their children at birth in the same way Bahamian men already do.

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CULTURE CLASH: A twerking schoolgirl - where’s the real problem?

ONCE again a video of high school students has made its rounds on social media.

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CULTURE CLASH: Time for a fair deal for the fairer sex

ACCORDING to tabloid reports, a Progressive Liberal Party stalwart councillor said at a leadership candidacy event that Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin needed to know her place was in the kitchen. Perhaps more unfortunate than the statement was the

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CULTURE CLASH: Sexual harassment is an act of violence

#MeToo — a campaign started by actor Alyssa Milano encouraging women to let people know they have experienced sexual harassment or assault has populated social media with evidence of the pervasiveness of sexual violence.

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CULTURE CLASH: We need leaders we can trust and who share what we want

Everyone is talking about leadership. While people battle for top positions in households, corporations, and countries we redefine and re-conceptualize leadership in response to community needs, mindset changes and shifts in power dynamics.

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CULTURE CLASH: Violence breeds violence and it begins in the home

Crime is never off our minds for very long. News reports, stories from friends, social media evidence and personal experiences guarantee our awareness and vigilance.

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CULTURE CLASH: The intelligence needed to care

WHAT makes you think you’re so smart? Maybe you got a few As and Bs on your national exams, maintained a decent GPA, got into your first choice university, landed a great job with a fancy title, or get a lot of likes on your lengthy Facebook posts.

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CULTURE CLASH: The climate change threat we cannot afford to ignore

WHEN we talk about climate change, it is often in limited, abstract ways. Climate change is not just about the temperature, land mass, or sea levels. The effects of climate change include economic loss, changes in atmospheric concentration, and cult

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CULTURE CLASH: Nationalism and collective energy

THE past week has been hectic and panic-filled as the country prepared for Hurricane Irma which we expected to impact more islands and people than it did. We rushed to stores to buy food, water, ice, plywood, and all of the other supplies demanded b

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CULTURE CLASH: D-average students aren't the problem - it's us who are failing them

EVERY year around this time, the entire country is frustrated by the BJC and BGCSE results. The “national average” becomes a measure of our worth and indicator of success, both present and future. For the past decade, this “national average” based o

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CULTURE CLASH: Time for the Church to act, not just preach

The Bahamas Christian Council has long been a source of frustration due to its intentional influence on congregations, lack of citizen-centred action, and the subsequent power it holds over governments (once again affirmed in the Prime Minister’s national address and the promise of Crown Land). It is a body of religious leaders representing various denominations that only seem to make an appearance when convenient for the egos of its membership. It does not have a consistent social or political presence, even as the country faces pressing issues.

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CULTURE CLASH: Raising questions over the future of democracy

The results of the 2017 general election left The Bahamas in good spirits. Many of us have been in celebration mode for months, and insistent that we all temper our demands with patience and manage our expectations of the new FNM-led administration.

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CULTURE CLASH: Tackling the abuse of online harassment

“Talkin’ to people bad” is the Bahamian way. That’s what they want us to believe. We play into the narrative that to be Bahamian is to be abrasive, rude, and condescending without second thought, apology, or recompense. We imagine that adulthood give

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CULTURE CLASH: The Flexibility of Activism

AS social justice issues become more mainstream, the number of activists, advocates, and allies is steadily increasing. People are more involved in conversations about gender, race, class, migration, and a variety of other issues with social media as

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CULTURE CLASH: Our votes are not the only way we can use our voices

THE past few years in The Bahamas have given us many things to think about. Our dissatisfaction mounting, too many of us found ourselves unable to act. Members of Parliament did not disclose, and we were outraged. We made the time and effort to vote

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CULTURE CLASH: A time to believe in our fellow Bahamians

It’s the people’s time. Believe in Bahamians. Forward, upward, onward, together.

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Culture Clash: A matter of policy - how the parties compare

With the general election one week away, the last debate organised by University of The Bahamas’ School of Social Sciences held last night and all plans of the three major parties published on their websites, it’s decision time.

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CULTURE CLASH: Our attitude to cyber crime is alarming

Everyone wants to be entertained.

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CULTURE CLASH: Last call to sign up and use your vote

According to reports from the Parliamentary Registration Department, 141,698 people had registered to vote as at March 20 for the 2017 general election .

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CULTURE CLASH: People power and the true functions of democracy

As the general election of 2017 - date still unknown - draws near, conversations about democracy are being ignited, but largely limited to one of its functions.

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CULTURE CLASH - Women be bold: seize the moment as election looms

TODAY is International Women’s Day, a day for global recognition of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call to action for gender equality.

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