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FRONT PORCH: What’s the actual plan for vaccine booster shots?

A FRIEND recalls a recent exchange with an employee of a utility company who came to read a meter at his home. Asked by the friend if he was vaccinated, the utility worker replied: “No, I don’t believe in that stuff.”

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FRONT PORCH: Why don’t the unvaccinated listen? More waves are coming and hundreds are going to die

After the punishing Delta wave and now with much lower case numbers and deaths, there is a lulling complacency setting in yet again throughout the country about the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Building a more functional democracy

Government-operated schools around the world, including in The Bahamas, tend to require certification and training for teachers from primary to high school. Such training seeks to ensure teachers are better prepared with learning methods to educate young people. Subject area competency is also required.

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FRONT PORCH: Islands in the cauldron of climate change

IN the closing days of August 2030, the ninth month of the year, a peak period for Atlantic hurricanes, the country nervously watched a gathering storm. It began as an unreported weather phenomenon off West Africa, travelling westerly and eventually funnelled toward The Bahamas as a tropical storm.

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FRONT PORCH – Climate Emergency: When a Cat 5 Strikes Nassau?

There is a deep ocean of rhetoric from countries producing the vast majority of carbon emissions heating our planet, with myriad pledges on reducing emissions, and promises cum pledges of funds for developing countries facing existential danger amidst rising sea levels, increasing inequality and natural disasters.

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FRONT PORCH: Prepare now for the next deadly wave

THE next COVID-19 surge is coming. Though it is not certain when the next wave will strike New Providence and Grand Bahama, or how severe it will be, another surge is certain. The country should begin preparing for the upcoming wave, now.

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FRONT PORCH: Vaccine mandates and requirements needed to save lives

A colleague cum friend becomes apoplectic when discussing those refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, putting others, including family members, colleagues and strangers at risk of getting gravely sick or dying.

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FRONT PORCH: ‘A hungry man is a angry man’

THE COVID-19 pandemic exposed and dramatically deepened food insecurity, hunger and undernutrition globally. According to the World Bank, the pandemic reversed years of development gains in numerous countries.

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FRONT PORCH: No hiding from the shameful vitriol directed at those who would risk everything for a better life

THERE is a regional and global context to the approximately 1,000 Haitian migrants who recently landed in Inagua. There may also be a domestic and political back story. We are experiencing national and global fractures from COVID-19 which are turning into deep economic, social and political fissures.

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FRONT PORCH: The style and essence of political debate

At the 2012 and 2017 general elections, certain excitable radio personalities and a certain pundit, breezily and erroneously opined that the Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement were offering few to no policy ideas in their respective election manifestos.

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FRONT PORCH: The liberating power of reading

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” - Frederick Douglass

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FRONT PORCH: Moultrie’s grand farce and the carnival of egotism

Parliament Square has been the site of extraordinary events in the nation’s political history. On April 27, 1965, in protest against the gerrymandered results of the Boundaries Report and the UBP’s intransigence on the Report, Leader of the Opposition Lynden Pindling famously threw out the Speaker’s Mace from an eastern window of the House of Assembly to an expectant crowd in the Square.

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FRONT PORCH: The balm and grace of mercy

WITH many more deaths, illness, fear and unrelenting heartbreak during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic we are bewildered, grief-stricken, angry, frustrated and embroiled in a range of emotions coursing through individual souls and the soul of the nation.

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FRONT PORCH: Many are finally waking up to the harsh reality of COVID and taking the vaccine

A SOLDIER heading to war or to a military engagement usually has a number of normal fears. Once on the battlefield or in a foxhole surrounded by enemies, mortar fire and other deadly instruments of death his fears morph, sometimes growing more intense.

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FRONT PORCH: A voice of reason against a choir of confused clerics

In response to recent restrictions on public gatherings, including the duration and numbers at religious services due to the increase in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd counselled cooperation. He touted the Church’s promotion of personal responsibility and the common good.

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FRONT PORCH: A season of sadness, dying and regret

“Infodemic: An excessive amount of information about a problem that is typically unreliable, spreads rapidly, and makes a solution more difficult to achieve.”

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FRONT PORCH: People will die and the pandemic rage on unless people wake up and take the vaccine

Last week Friday, the highly-regarded US Centre for Disease Control Director Dr Rochelle Walensky offered: “There is a clear message that is coming through: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated”, which is becoming a term of art in the medical field.

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FRONT PORCH: Ours is a story which goes beyond a mere 48 years - and is still being written

MANY Bahamians enjoy Priscilla Rollins’ song, “Independence Morning, It’s like a Baby Borning”, a catchy tune which has delighted audiences since 1973. Ms Rollins captures much of the enthusiasm and excitement of a new day for the country. But the Bahamian nation is much older than 48 years. We are centuries older.

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FRONT PORCH: Curiosity and discernship in leadership

AMERICAN journalist and author David Simon, better known as a writer and producer of The Wire, captures the role of curiosity in human endeavour: “The why is what makes journalism an adult game. The why is what makes policy coherent and useful.

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FRONT PORCH: So much to gain by playing the long game

IT is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent. – Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s long-term partner in Berkshire Hathaway).

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FRONT PORCH: States and citizens playing Russian Roulette with COVID

The Bahamas is making progress in the uptake of SARS-COV-2 vaccines by Bahamians. The uptake is consistent and steady. Yet, it is not as good as it can be nor as good as other jurisdictions where citizens are taking vaccinations at a quicker and eager pace.

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FRONT PORCH: Mercy is a gift from God which we should not be afraid to give

We boast of ourselves as being a deeply Christian society, a people of faith in a God who sets captives free, whether a people in slavery or a fellow prisoner on the cross being crucified through the penalty of death.

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FRONT PORCH: Remembering the legacy of those who really fought for our future

In the last election, the Free National Movement (FNM) presented a slate of many new candidates and got most of them elected, negating the specious argument that new political parties are needed to get new blood in Parliament.

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FRONT PORCH: The Speaker has gotten it terribly wrong

IN an interview with the press following Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis’s Communication to the House of Assembly on the 2021/2022 National Budget, Speaker House Halson Moultrie publicly criticized the Budget.

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FRONT PORCH: The Rev Dr Colin Archer: Finding God in All Things

Last week, the Rev Dr Colin Archer offered a grace-filled sermon entitled, “A Christian Scientific Approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, capturing the attention of the nation in a video that expressed the essence of his spirituality.

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FRONT PORCH: The pandemic, responsible freedom and the common good

FREEDOM is often narrowly defined, especially notions of personal freedom and autonomy. Communitarian cultures and nations enjoy a more expansive appreciation and articulation of freedom.

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FRONT PORCH: Seasons of new growth & new life

THE royal poincianas are blooming. Some of the tall umbrella-like trees with their extended canopies and smooth grey barks are nearly fully inflamed, commemorated meticulously in the brushstrokes of Bahamian artist Chan Pratt.

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FRONT PORCH: We need more local AND international talent

Comparing nations and jurisdictions on various socio-economic and developmental metrics is sometimes quite useful. But such comparisons often require caveats, nuances and an appreciation of context. Even as there are apt analogies there are also areas that are disanalogous.

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FRONT PORCH: COVID conspiracies, confusion and contradictions

A friend in her early 70s is exhausted by COVID-19. No, she has not experienced the physical debilitation or devastation of the disease as have many Bahamians and many millions globally.

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FRONT PORCH: The British Monarchy is an anachronism for sovereign, independent countries like ours

One does not have to be a monarchist or a fan of the late Prince Philip to admire the simplicity and beauty of the Order of Service at his brief funeral held at St. George’s Chapel on the Lower Ward at Windsor Castle.

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FRONT PORCH: America the Violent

A concatenation of recent brutal events in America are knottily stitched together in a star-spangled and blood-soaked banner of racial and gun violence that stretches from the inception of America to the present day.

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FRONT PORCH: US Republicans are facing an existential threat

Lights, camera and an admixture of antebellum and Jim Crow action as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law sweeping voting restrictions designed to suppress minority voters in the state after it voted last November for Joe Biden as President and both a black and a Jewish man as federal senators.

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FRONT PORCH: ‘Taking the vaccine may be an act of love, a gift to one’s community’

“While modern society places more importance on one’s own interests regardless of or even to the detriment of others … [true Christians] ban individualism in order to encourage sharing and solidarity.” - Pope Francis, General Audience, June 26, 2019

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FRONT PORCH: If you can, take the vaccine, because this crisis is far from over

The COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the most significant discrete global event since World War II, with just about every country affected, over 2.7 million dead and the death toll rising even as vaccine scepticism and anti-vaccine mindsets have taken hold among many millions globally. The economic devastation is widespread, though there are hopeful signs for recovery in some countries.

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FRONT PORCH: Vaccinate? It’s your choice but the decision affects us all

A recent article in The Atlantic observed: “When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration… ‘Polio routed!’ newspaper headlines exclaimed. ‘An historic victory,’ ‘monumental,’ ‘sensational,’ newscasters declared...

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FRONT PORCH: Time we threw off the last shackles of colonialism and unleash our real potential

ONE of the jarring realities the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed here at home is the degree to which the relationship of The Bahamas to the 21st century is tenuous.

FRONT PORCH: From Norman’s Cay to Nygard Cay

The sordid and dark chapters in Bahamian history linking Norman’s Cay, Exuma, to Nygard Cay, New Providence, are deeply woven into the political narrative and entrenched culture of corruption of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

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FRONT PORCH: Keep your world big and open!

A beloved late mentor often advised and enthused: “Keep you world big!” He was referring to cultivating one’s mind and heart and having an expansive and open consciousness and spirit.

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FRONT PORCH: Wise owl or preening peacock? I know what my view is

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. - Proverbs 17:28

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FRONT PORCH: The conceits and decline of US Republican Party

It still surprises the number of Bahamians who little understand American society or politics but who, hook, line and sinker, have been caught and netted by the country’s mythologies, which continue to be unmasked, demystified and demythologised by the march of facts and history.

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FRONT PORCH – Joe Biden: repairer of the breach

At 78, with his wizened face and white mane grown long at the back, President Joe Biden somewhat resembles Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Like the JRR Tolkien wizard, in countenance and character, Biden is the archetype of the wise man.

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FRONT PORCH: Just look around us - if you think this is over, forget it

Over the course of a year plus of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there is still much that scientists and governments do not understand about the virus.

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FRONT PORCH: Trump skulked away but America’s difficult days remain

Yesterday’s inauguration of Joseph Biden Jr was welcomed by millions in America and around the world relieved and gladdened at the departure of the most vicious and divisive President in modern America, who incited, fuelled and epitomised the forces of white Christian nationalism, the great original stain and sin of the American Republic.

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FRONT PORCH: Dark religious and political forces in America

THERE is a disturbingly iconic image from last week Wednesday’s violent invasion of the US Capitol Building of a man clad in black abseiling from the public gallery to the floor of the United States Senate.

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FRONT PORCH: Standing on the shoulders of a nation builder

SIR William Allen was a man of dedicated public service who enjoyed and cultivated the life of the mind. During an exemplary public career he employed his prodigious intellect, reflective nature and good judgement in the service of a sovereign Bahamas.

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FRONT PORCH: PERSON OF THE YEAR – Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis’s spirit of courage and fortitude

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, O.D., does not suffer fools or viruses gladly. When COVID-19, the worst global public health pandemic in approximately 100 years struck and rapidly spread around the world, the Bahamas needed expert, clear and steady leadership to combat the deadly and highly infectious contagion.

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FRONT PORCH: The light and splendour of Christmas

Because of a global pandemic that began about a year ago, 2020 has been one of the most punishing and painful years in the lives of most of humanity. Many have died. Many are dying. Many more will die and millions have become ill, some with dire and long-term physical and psychological ailments.

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FRONT PORCH – A nation for sale: Another generation of scandal

On Tuesday the United States Department of Justice charged 79-year-old Peter Nygard with racketeering offences and sex trafficking.

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FRONT PORCH: We need good ideas more than ever - and the PM knows that

NEAR the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis presciently convened a National Economic Recovery Committee (ERC). The ERC was charged with offering his administration recommendations to help the country’s recovery during and after the pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: COVID-19, lifeboat ethics and conspiracies

THERE is a well-known episode from the 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic involving the wealthy Scottish landowner Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff-Gordon (1862-1931).

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FRONT PORCH: Magical thinking won’t see us through this crisis, following a clear strategy will

Jodi Doering is an ER nurse in South Dakota who has nursed Covid-19 patients, some of whom have died. In a series of tweets and somber recollections, Doering described the deaths of some patients who “don’t want to believe that Covid is real”, aggressively denying the existence of the virus and the pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Magical thinking won’t see us through this crisis, following a clear strategy will

Jodi Doering is an ER nurse in South Dakota who has nursed Covid-19 patients, some of whom have died. In a series of tweets and somber recollections, Doering described the deaths of some patients who “don’t want to believe that Covid is real”, aggressively denying the existence of the virus and the pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Take a look around - our democracy is so precious we must all strive to protect it

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” - Winston Churchill

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FRONT PORCH: Guardians of decency and democracy - after four years of Trump you can’t be serious

A democracy is as strong or as parlous and unstable as its institutions and the willingness of leaders and citizens to accept and abide by democratic laws, norms, conventions and traditions.

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PETER YOUNG: Is America about to come back in from the cold?

In the midst of the hullabaloo and hysteria in the days following the US presidential election, the focus has been firmly on the drama rapidly unfolding and the mainstream media has given less attention to reactions elsewhere in the world.

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FRONT PORCH: Block out all the noise and nonsense and the truth is we are making progress

Approximately two and a half weeks ago, after Germany recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 infections (7,830) in a 24-hour period, a startling record since the pandemic began, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sounded the alarm.

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FRONT PORCH: Religious leaders would do well to remember what their real role is in our society

At the time of his death in 2013 at the age of 99, the American evangelist and Southern Baptist Minister Rev Billy Graham was a revered figure globally.

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FRONT PORCH: Pope Francis and the Gospel of Love

When Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as pope in 2013 at the age of 76 and took the name Francis in memory of St Francis of Assisi (1181 or 1182-1226), a beloved relative proclaimed: “Pope Francis is not just going back to St Francis. He is going all the way back to Jesus and the gospel of love and mercy.”

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FRONT PORCH: Trump is not an American anomaly

Around 1997, about 23 years ago during a trip to New York City for a social justice conference, this columnist first met a fellow participant who lived in the city.

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FRONT PORCH: The tragicomedy and farce of Trump’s America

The denouement of Donald Trump’s shambolic and dangerous presidency intensified with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting calamitous economic fallout, twin crises managed more adroitly and seriously by the Chinese rather than the American Government.

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FRONT PORCH: The Conceit and Danger of Blind Ambition

“To lose patience is to lose the battle.” – Mohandas Gandhi AFTER the results of the 1972 general election, Sir Randol Fawkes, honoured as the Father of Labour who helped to form the first Majority Rule government and became Minister of Labour and Commerce, was out of frontline politics and would never return as a Member of Parliament.

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FRONT PORCH: In politics you need more than blind ambition to lead - try humility and an ability to learn

Politics is about the long game, with even the most egotistical and self-possessed politicians requiring the capacity for growth, learning and humility to succeed and to realize their ambitions, including becoming Prime Minister in our system of government.

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FRONT PORCH: The whole world’s changed and we need a brave new playbook to survive

The late Monsignor Preston Moss sometimes admonished: “Just because you live in a small country, doesn’t mean that you have to have a small or narrow mind. Keep your world big.”

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FRONT PORCH: Make no mistake - we’re all in this fight and have to work together

“We have to move from ‘they should’ to “we should’. We have to move from ‘they say’ to ‘we say’.” – Prime Minister Hubert Minnis

FRONT PORCH: We fight as hard as we can but there is no escaping the darker side of human nature

In The Netherlands, new daily coronavirus infections are currently back to “roughly half their level at the peak of the pandemic.” The French Prime Minister said he is trying to avoid another lockdown amid a “worrying increase” in cases.

FRONT PORCH: Chapters and narrative of COVID-19 still being written

The Italian humanist, scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca, whose anglicised surname is Petrarch, wrote these words at the height of the Plague, which was also known as the Black Death, the Great Mortality and the Pestilence.

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FRONT PORCH: The govt begged and pleaded but sadly there are those who only think of themselves

In his national address this past Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis warned the country:

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FRONT PORCH: From sea to shining sea the US has lost its lustre

America is sick. Some of its worse ills long ago metastasized and are so pervasive that they will only respond to dramatic change. White supremacy is an unyielding and entrenched power and bastion. Long-term demographic change will help to seriously address some of the worst features of white privilege.

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FRONT PORCH: PM has our safety at heart - nothing more sinister than that

In an impassioned communication in the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pleaded with Bahamians and residents to better appreciate and to take more seriously the current and potential long-term health consequences of COVID-19.

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FRONT PORCH: Don’t dare relax - behave like fools and we’ll pay a deadly price

In one of his most ominous warnings since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded with world leaders and the international community:

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FRONT PORCH: How privilege blinds us from seeking justice and equality

“The past is the present, isn’t it? It’s the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won’t let us.” - Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night

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FRONT PORCH: Why do black people have to keep explaining racism?

A young black Jesuit priest in the United States is depressed and frustrated. He lives in an overwhelmingly white religious community and works in overwhelmingly white institutions. He is exhausted with having to constantly explain to white colleagues and friends the legacy of racism he and other blacks endure day after day.

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FRONT PORCH: Seriously, where does this version of history come from?

Once again University of The Bahamas professor Dr Nicolette Bethel has me scratching my head wondering at her interpretation of our history and how confused our young students must be.

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FRONT PORCH: Wishful thinking won’t work in a crisis, we must deal with realities

The notion of magical thinking is employed by a number of disciplines including philosophy, anthropology and psychology, with some differences in how the term is applied in the different fields. A common thread in the various disciplines is the idea of fallacious or false reasoning.

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FRONT PORCH: Forget the naysayers, Lawrence Rolle’s spirit and joy delivers a message to uplift us all

The late Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature whose groundbreaking work in comparative religion and comparative mythology included the book and companion PBS series, The Power of Myth, recalled an exchange at an international conference in Japan.

FRONT PORCH: It’s hard to hear truth in an echo chamber of whining negativity

Last weekend, the video of a young lady who had just returned home and was in government-sponsored quarantine at Breezes Hotel quickly went viral as she whined and complained about everything including the snack she was given prior to the dinner she received later.

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FRONT PORCH: Collective responsibility & cabinet government

It is unfortunate many in the media as well as many academics do not understand the basic tenets of our system of government. Correspondingly, we often get our language and our thinking muddled and just plain wrong in constitutional matters.

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FRONT PORCH: We see the shallow critics carping from the sidelines - why don’t they serve?

US President Theodore Roosevelt  was a militarist and adventurist who used the bullying might of the American Colossus to advance his country’s imperialist stratagems in Latin and Central America.

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FRONT PORCH: Roar, refrain and echo of history

The uneven global response to COVID-19 means some countries will see less infections and deaths, while others will experience needless pain and suffering because of the recklessness, incompetence and magical thinking of some leaders.

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FRONT PORCH: Gratitude for Big Things and Small Things

During a call with an acquaintance who lost her job and who has not been paid for two months, she gave a somewhat surprising answer when asked how she was coping with the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting strain on her.

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FRONT PORCH SIMON: Real leadership in times of crisis - listen, learn and act

US presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has written extensively on public leadership and character. In Leadership in Turbulent Times, Mrs. Kearns Goodwin chronicles how Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) grew through personal adversity and performed through periods of national crisis.

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