January 2000 Table
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
JANUARY 1999 started for many on Green Turtle Cay for the annual New Year Junkanoo celebrations, which were adjudged to be the best yet. Talk around the island included the news of an oil strike in Coopers Town by Joseph Russell. Event of the month was the Abaco Arts Festival at Abaco Beach resort, attended by Minister of Tourism C A Smith. Abaco lost a dear friend and concerned citizen with the passing of Eugene Schneider of Marsh Harbour. The needless death of new-born Quenzin Bastian caused outrage and concern not only on Abaco but in Nassau. The final Silver Jubilee celebrations took place in Murphy Town with presentations to 40 notable Abaconians. Abaco Markets began a series of 1999 acquisitions with the friendly takeover of Freeport's Thompson Wholesale.
FEBRUARY The coroner's inquest into the death of Jeannie Sands returned a verdict of manslaughter against her husband, Andrew Pinder. Abaco Central High School Science teacher Huel Moss became Abaco's Teacher of the Year at a luncheon at Spinnaker Restaurant, Treasure Cay. Part of his prize was a summer Caribbean cruise with his wife. His Grace The Most Reverend Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies, and Bishop of Nassau and The Bahamas, Including the Turks and Caicos Islands, performed the dedication and consecration of St Simon By The Sea in Treasure Cay with His Excellency Sir Orville Turnquest and Lady Turnquest in attendance. The people of Green Turtle Cay said final farewells to Uncle Charlie Lowe, 90, who passed away after a brief illness.
MARCH The national championships of the Bahamas Darts Association were held in Marsh Harbour under the sponsorship of Pinewood Nursery. Colina Financial Services opened their Abaco office in Marsh Harbour with their ribbon cutter being Beatrice Moxey, Colina's longest serving patron on the island. Brendal's Dive Shop and Nettie Symonette's Different of Abaco were the subject of a CNN Travel Guide TV feature filmed during March. The Abaco Scholarship Fund presented an Evening in Paradise for $200 per person which included an auction to raise funds for qualifying Bahamians to further their education. Popular Dundas Town restaurateur Nehemiah 'Uncle Dad' Hepburn passed away at the age of 70.
APRIL Easter celebrations in Treasure Cay conducted by the Sand Bank Yacht Club included a golf cart Easter Parade and brunch. Previous to this, a Welcome To Treasure Cay sign had been painted by Doreen Barth for the Yacht Club and erected at the approaches to the resort. Carefully prepared to last for years, it lasted until Hurricane Floyd. A concert featuring local and US artists was held in Abaco Beach Pavilion under the auspices of the Abaco Tourist Office and Heart of Gold Productions to raise funds for Abaco's wild horses. Maitland Lowe reclaimed his title as Abaco's top fisherman by catching 21 bonefish for a total of 47 points, ten clear of the competition. Abaco Markets Ltd announced an agreement to purchase the Domino's Pizza franchise in The Bahamas.
MAY A rare event - hail fell upon Casuarina Point. Students writing the BGCSE examinations had to stop and re-take many examination a month later due to a security leak in Nassau. Out Island Inter.Net opened for business as Abaco's firt internet provider. Little did they know at the time that oii.net would become a major link to the outside world in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd. Abaco Markets Ltd split their shares on a two-for-one basis as the shares passed $10, almost doubling in value since November 1997. Mary Thompson, wife of Capt Leonard Thompson of Marsh Harbour, died after a long illness.
JUNE The Royal Bahamas Defence Force band entertained a large crowd as Goombay Summer Festival 1999 kicked off in fine style. The Abaco Market store in Marsh Harbour burned down and was totally destroyed. 95 boats took part in the 4th leg of the Bahamas Billfish Championship, held at Abaco Beach Resort. The winning vessel was Shamrock with two blue marlins, one weighing 749 lbs. Henry 'Buck' Autrey fishing on Bet-a-Buc won the 16th Annual Treasure Cay International Billfish Tournament with a total of 1,200 points. Local government elections were held throughout the island.
JULY Abaco's Patricia Curry won three gold medals and one bronze in the 10-11 age group at the Youth Central American and Caribbean Championships held in Grenada. Her golds came in the High Jump, Long Jump and 800m, her bronze in the 60m dash. Marsh Harbour builder Leslie Pinder died after a long illness. July was Regatta Time In Abaco, which brought hundreds of visitors in to participate in the fun events and parties. The Bahamas Development Bank opened a branch at Garnett Archer Plaza in Marsh Harbour.
AUGUST The US Ambassador, His Excellency Arthur Schecter, toured the island. At the World Championships in Seville, The Bahamas won the 4 x100m ladies' relay. Our Olympic Silver Girls became our Golden Girls: Abaco's Sevatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Debbie Ferguson. This was the month of Dennis, the hurricane we all would be talking about if it was not for Floyd. Although small compared to what Floyd wrought, the damage was extensive. Fox Town was cut off for a while and docks suffered considerable damage. Trees and electricity poles were brought down in winds measured at 115 mph.
SEPTEMBER The 6th Annual Great Abaco Triathlon took place early in the month and had the same winners as the previous competition: Dave Picciano for the men and Linda Neary for the women. Kids had gone back to school and all was right with the world until...
OCTOBER ... along came Floyd. Every settlement on Abaco suffered damage, the worst hit probably being Mores Island, Sandy Point, Crossing Rocks and the northern settlements of Coopers Town and Fox Town. Property loss at Treasure Cay and Elbow Cay was immense. Some people estimated the winds during Floyd to exceed 200 mph. Certainly there were gusts well in excess of the official 140 mph Category 4 sustained winds. Despite the conditions, the All-Abaco Regatta went ahead, though no boats turned up.
NOVEMBER Ever hear of a busy ghost town? That was what Abaco was like in November with an enormous amount of construction and rehabilitation going on and most hotels and restaurants closed. Hurricane Irene passed near and spawned tornadoes that did damage in Marsh Harbour and killed a woman in Bahama Palm Shores. Fire in Man-O-War Cay killed two woman and a girl: grandmother, mother and child. Another fire destroyed the home of Karl and Heidi Capelle in Treasure Cay. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham visited Abaco so often in October and early November that it almost seemed he was resident. Township efforts in Murphy Town and Dundas Town brought out volunteers to clear and repeir the detritus and damage. Hurricane relief supplies were distributed through Township leaders with the assistance of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. There were plenty of grumbles, however, and it is obvious that relief efforts must go on for a long time. The Marsh Harbour dock area looked like a vast campsite of trailers and it is reported that the Port of West Palm Beach is swamped with freight awaiting onshipment to Abaco. Construction started on the Central Abaco Pines sub-division off Forest Drive in Marsh Harbour.
DECEMBER Christmas was the time to try and put Floyd behind us. Presents were more in the order of appliances and furniture than toys and jewellery. It seemed that half the cars running around the island had FOR SALE signs on them, but it's a caveat emptor market. Many cars were affected by salt water during Floyd. The annual Boat Parade in Marsh Harbour went ahead on 19th December. The Pilot Club and Anchor Club of Abaco held a Toys for Tots drive on 11th so children could receive gifts from Santa despite the circumstances. The Scurvy Few Motorcycle Club also held their annual parade on 19th December and distributed toys to needy children. Abaco has been discombobulated by hurricanes but its heart is still in the right place. Oh yes, and in December Abaco Markets announced they have signed agreements to acquire Nassau's two largest warehouse clubs, Solomon's Club Nassau Ltd and Cost Rite Ltd, as well as Solomon's Club Freeport Ltd.
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