Comment of the week
When Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister, spoke at the United Nations, on 30th Sept he said that immigration was amongst the three important issues that he wished to bring to the world. He said that unchecked immigration would strike at the very heart of the country’s existence and identity. He said The Bahamas had seen what had happened in other countries when immigration was unchecked and that the civil strife that happened in those other countries, the Bahamas did not intend for it to happen here.
A week later on 4th October, Mr. Mitchell spoke at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Moss Town, Exuma. He said a couple more things. He warned national groups in The Bahamas not play the victim card. He also appealed for a calm response and said that we wanted to avoid civil strife. All of this is in pursuance of a new set of immigration rules which are designed to ensure that the people who are in this country have a right to be here.
The Bahamas government has been aggressively mashing down the shanty towns in New Providence and in Abaco to stop that encroachment as well. The authorities have been careful to try and avoid confrontation and have appealed for cooperation. This is not a matter targeted at any national group. This is about making sure that the people who are living in this country are documented to be here. Those who are not properly document should be regularized or excluded.
Now enter a man who described himself as a Haitian Bahamian. He was opposing on ZNS TV news on Friday 17th October the move to shut down the shanty town that he was living in. We have the clip and in it he says that there are more Haitian Bahamians than Haitians and that they (the Bahamians) don’t want to start anything they can be finish.
That went viral and incensed Bahamians, some of who were threatening to take him out.
Fred Mitchell Minister of Foreign Affairs told the press that the police and immigration had been called in to investigate the matter. He told people, that they must not take the law into their own hands and must not incite problems. But this is precisely what Mr. Mitchell was trying to avoid. One stupid comment can cause civil strife.
Our advice is that those people who want to be Bahamian in law as well as in fact should get with the programme and ensure that the newly announced immigration measures succeed.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 18th October 2014 up to midnight:404,056;
Number of hits for the month of October up to Saturday 18th October 2014 up to midnight:1,086,004;
Number of hits for the year 2014 up to Saturday 18th October 2014 up to midnight:9,961,219.
STATEMENT BY FRED MITCHELL MP
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS
19 October 2014
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Last evening, doing the rounds of social media were responses to a news story run by the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas in which an individual speaking at the demolition site of one of the shanty towns uttered certain remarks which aroused much commentary in the public domain.
The Department of Immigration which is responsible for the issuance of permission to reside in The Bahamas and the enforcement of the accompanying laws are aware of the matter and the enforcement unit is investigating the matter. In addition, the matter has been referred to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Notwithstanding the inflammatory nature of the remarks, all patriotic Bahamians and law abiding non- nationals in this country should refrain from responding in this matter in a way which would approximate taking matters into your own hands. This is a time for reasoned response. Let the authorities deal with it.
There are agencies of the government that are responsible for protecting the integrity of The Bahamas and they should be allowed to do this work. Suffice it to say that this matter is being taken seriously.
When I spoke on behalf of the country in New York on 30th September at the United Nations, I said that this country was conscious that unchecked illegal migration could lead to civil strife that is why we are taking steps to bring the matter under control.
I again plead to all law abiding citizens to support the measures that have been announced and which I expect to come into force on1st November.
There are a number of important interdictions and prosecutions that have taken place within the last week and I wish to share that with you which I will do extemporaneously. I have with me my colleague the Minister for the Environment Ken Dorsett and also the Director of Immigration William Pratt.
The Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis joined the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell at Christ Church Cathedral. The sermon was preached by the Very Reverend Dean Patrick Adderley. The occasion was today to mark the start of Diplomatic Week. At the end of the week, the Prime Minister will deliver the country’s policy statement on Foreign Affairs at a dinner at the Balmoral Club. The photos are by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services. In the front row is the Foreign Minister, Parliamentary Secretary Cleola Hamilton, High Commissioner Picewell Forbes and Mrs. Forbes and Permanent Secretary Philip Miller.
(Responding to an editorial in the Freeport news)
The following note was written by Fred Mitchell MP in response to an editorial in the Freeport News on Sir Albert Miller which was published on Thursday `15th October:
I wish to identify with the words and sentiments expressed about Sir Albert Miller published in your editorial on Thursday 15th October.
I believe that he has lived a good life and it was a life well lived. At 88, he is going strong and we wish him many many more.
It is amazing when one considers where he has come from. He is a Long Islander. In today’s Long Island, we consider things to be somewhat remote from the modernity of New Providence and Grand Bahama but consider what it must have been when he was a boy. He has come a mighty long way indeed.
He is a business icon and has achieved enviable success as a civic leader in our country. Recently, he retired as the Chair of the oil company Focal. This is an example of the story of the social mobility which was possible in our country and which is what we in today’s Bahamas ought to be striving to continue. It should be possible to move from the bottom socio economic group to the top within your life time by dint of hard work, fortune and the public policies of the country in which you were born and grew up.
He did not know his mother. She died when he was a baby. Sir Albert tells the story of his being taken home to Long Island when he was six month old baby during the 1926 hurricane and in the storm falling overboard. He was rescued by a man during the storm. His mother was badly traumatized by the storm and she died within a year. He was raised by his beloved older sister who herself lived to be in her 90s. From that small baby who almost drowned, we have the man we have today.
The young police constable today, should be able to aspire to not only become Commissioner of Police but to be captain of industry and business because men like Sir Albert Miller did it.
When I was a youngster, my parents chose some friends and benefactors for me. Amongst them was Sir Albert Miller and no matter what, through the vagaries of politics, activism, civic life, he has been a constant shadow and a protector.
These days, Friday is a day that I often spend with him. And in the exchanges between us, one thinks of the opportunities lost or put another way what could have happened. What could have happened was that he could have been Commissioner of Police. Sadly his aim to get that job was never to be, given the changing political order in our country but instead he took a job in Freeport. The rest as they say is history, ending up as Chair of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and leading the city of Freeport through its golden age. He was friend and advisor to all Prime Ministers of this country.
It is important therefore for us to be able to acknowledge that fact while he can still smell the roses. He is by dint of that leadership in Freeport, not only a shaper of the future of Grand Bahama but also of our Bahamas.
Nothing and no one in life is perfect but what is clear is that he did his best and for that there is the affection of many for a Bahamian life well lived.
I join in with the sentiments of the editorial and congratulate the editor for writing it. I express my personal thanks and gratitude.
Fred Mitchell MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration
( Shame On Candia Dames And Eileen Carron Of The Guardian & Trib)
There is a double standard that operates in this country when it comes to the treatment by the media of black people and white people. The media is biased and not balanced. We refer now to the two newspapers The Tribune and Nassau Guardian which tend to drive public opinion and which organizations are implacably opposed to the PLP and to black people. People who criticize us for questioning the ethics of the journalists at The Guardian and The Tribune in particular Mesdames Candia Dames and Eileen Carron have now before them a case in point. These two women used their clout at the newspapers to savage Ishmael Lightbourne, a black man, a PLP and they hounded him until the government quietly had him withdraw from being the public face of the VAT campaign. He was accused of not settling his real property tax bill. They championed a man named Robert Myers who was head of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and the Bahamas Employers’ Confederation. He also headed an anti VAT tax coalition. Every day he was in the newspaper with some campaign about the government and how it should go after those who do not pay taxes, collect what is owed and on and on ad nauseum. Turns out that Mr. Myers himself was a tax cheat. He tried it appears to bring in a car at an under value, claiming that the car was used and had been damaged just after he bought it. They also found 4000 dollars’ worth of clothes and other stuff in the back trunk which were not declared. When caught, he fessed up, saying that it was not his but his wife’s car and that it was an error in the value by the brokers. He paid the fine and then paid the real duty in the customs court. This incensed the young customs officers in Customs and they thought that the Comptroller Charles Turner gave favourable treatment to a rich white man. Mr. Turner denied it and said that he had never spoken to the man and the car was not the man’s. The problem is that Mr. Myers himself in the letter of resignation from the two bodies that he heads has contradicted that claim. Any way he is gone and it only shows that Romans 3: 23 is absolutely correct that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Mr. Myers and these people who support him ought to calm down and stop spreading the hysteria about VAT. VAT is nothing and they need to cut it out. Kudos to the young ZNS reporter Cleopatra Murphy who exposed Mr. Myers as a tax cheat. Condemnation for Candia Dames and Eileen Carron for their silence because of who he was. Shame on them.
You may click here for the full statement by Mr. Myers.
The 113th Anglican Synod began in Nassau on Tuesday 14th October. The Bishop Laish Boyd gave his charge: a measured, reasonable address in which he urged the country to support the various difficult legislative measures that are now before us: VAT, the Amendments to the Constitution on women’s rights and the Gaming Bills. Here is what the Nassau Guardian reported that he said in his own words. The photos show scenes from the Synod including the Archdeacons Kingsley Knowles, Harry Bain, Keith Cartwright, James Palacious and Ranfurly Brown in their gold copes. The Acting Governor General Oswald Ingraham and Mrs. Ingraham with the Prime Minister Perry Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis behind them; the Bishop giving his charge and the Chancellor Bernard Turner, Vice Chancellor Diane Stewart and Registrar Tanya Galanis in the lawyer’s wigs. Monsignor Preston Moss of the Roman Catholic faith is shown in procession. The students of the Anglican School St. John’s are also pictured in their signature green and gray uniforms. The photos are by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
In light of the recession, the proposed implementation of value added tax in the Bahamas will open up a new and challenging chapter in our lives.
With the onset of VAT, the cost of living and the cost of doing business will increase because VAT is a tax on goods and services.
Brothers and sisters, this is what the new year will bring for us. Let us bite the bullet and whether the implementation of transition. It will be an adjustment for us all but the long-term effects will be for our good.
It is what it is, so let us approach it with a positive and forbearing attitude, and a commitment to continue to expand this nation on all fronts, even in the area of taxation regimes.
Bahamians are sensitive about who gets Bahamian citizenship, as any national should be. However, I am of the opinion that a lot of us simply need to grow up and come into the real world. We cannot have different strokes for different folks i.e. different rules for men and women.
Thousands of persons are disenfranchise and traumatized because of this. Families we all know and love are in anguish and turmoil, and it is not right.
Do not see these amendments in terms of national prejudice or phobia about foreigners. See them as the fundamentally are: An attempt to bring justice and equality to our sons, daughters and grandchildren who desire to have their children and spouses qualify for the same rights that the other gender does.
They are an effort to bring about equality between men and women when it comes to passing on citizenship and, more broadly, to eliminate discrimination based on sex, i.e., whether you are male or female.
The concern is that this has the possibility of opening the door to same-sex unions. With the greatest respect to those who hold this view, I cannot see how this can be so nor have I heard any argument that spells out how it can be so.
Having fears and concerns is one thing, but do we denied tens of thousands of their rights based on “what if’s”? I do not think so.
These amendments are about establishing Gender equality and seek to equalize the means of transmitting citizenship. With the introduction of the talk about same-sex marriage does is have the effect of steering the discussion into matters that simply do not arise. I consider it to be a red herring.
The vote on these amendments is so critical to our integrity to justice as a nation. I shudder to think that we would go to the polls and vote against these amendments. What would we be saying to the world? That we do not believe in Gender quality? That we do not believe in equal rights of men and women to transmit citizenship to their children?
That would be an unfortunate reflection on out Bahamian integrity and society in general. I get a headache thinking about it.
I applaud the government for its intention to pursue this. I do not know what the exact terms of reference of that body will be but I do know this: that thousands of persons were made legitimate application for citizenship – some of them decades ago – and who’s applications have not yet been processed. Some have not even received responses.
This is something that needs to be addressed now, having not been comprehensively addressed by success of governments in the past, in my view.
We fully appreciate the extremely difficult position in which the government finds itself, especially the dire need to fund the most essential services in the country and to seek to track the vast sums of unregulated money which is which exist in and affect the overall economy of the Bahamas.
This has implications for us with many of our international financial and regulatory partners. The church has said what it felt moved to say. The government is doing what it feels it has to do in this matter.
We have to continue to sensitize our people to the addictive nature of gambling even as we find help and support for those who fall victim to what could only be termed a national scourge i.e. habitual gambling.
The church cannot even do all of the things that so many people call on the church to do. The reality is that it will take more than simply the church to heal the maladies of society. It will take many agencies and individuals, public and private, businesses, social and civic and religious, working together, to make a change. And it can be done.
The collective good that is being done by so many is keeping our two societies [Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands] now, holding them together at the seams, keeping them stabilized and saving them from utter and complete self-destruction.
The church and Christians are called to do what only we can do and that is to be faithful, to believe that God is still in charge of his world and to remain hopeful, hoping beyond hope, as the old testament prophets and writings teach us.
Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and the National Heroes Day Committee were joined at the mausoleum of the late Sir Lynden Pindling, the founding Prime Minister of The Bahamas to mark National Heroes Day on Monday 13th October. This was the second year that the day has been a holiday officially in law. Columbus Day or Discovery Day has been reduced to the status of an observance. Mr. Mitchell said that the ceremony at the Pindling tomb was chosen to mark the primacy of Lynden Pindling as the unquestioned founder of our country and the Father of the Nation. He said in Barbados regardless of party Errol Barrow holds pride of place as the founder of Barbados and the father of the nation. He wanted the same to happen with Sir Lynden and only the PLP could do so. Rev. Canon Sebastian Campbell delivered the homily calling for national honours and a National Heroes Park. Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke and said that he would honour all the requests. The Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis spoke on behalf of the government and paid tribute to the 15 men who were the framers of the Bahamian constitution. The photos show the scenes in the St. Agnes Cemetery in Nassau where the observances took place. Acting Governor General Oswald Ingraham laid the wreath. Mr. Mitchell posed in a photo with the Women’s Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party. Later Mr. Mitchell joined his constituents in Fox Hill to observe their remembrances and honouring the heroes of the Fox Hill Village.
COMMENTARY BY ELCOTT COLEBY
Governor General Dame Marguerite meets Queen Elizabeth
It goes something like this. The appointment of the Governor General in our Commonwealth comes with the award of a knighthood of the Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George; this investiture marked the Dame’s second knighthood. Her first came on March 21, 2007 when she was knighted a Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. She received that honour for community service and her work in charity and politics.
So in that grand British tradition, Dame Marguerite Pindling left Nassau for London on Friday 10th October for an eight-day trip, returning today, 17th Oct. That grand British tradition also requires the newly appointed Governor General to pay a courtesy call on the Queen, head of the British Commonwealth. That took place on 14th October at Buckingham Palace. With that, the ritual of the appointment to the office of Governor General is now complete.
Constitution Framers remembered
The 15 framers of The Bahamas constitution were remembered as the country celebrated its second annual National Heroes Day on Monday, 13th October 2014 at the mausoleum of Sir Lynden Pindling, the Father of the nation. Laying the wreath at the mausoleum was Deputy to the Governor-General, Mr. Oswald Ingraham.
It was in December 1972 when a bipartisan group of fifteen Parliamentarians, eleven from the governing party and four from the opposition, traveled to London to execute the Independence Order, paving the way for nationhood on July 10th 1973.
The Constitution Framers were then Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Milo Butler, Hon. Arthur D. Hanna, Sir Clement T. Maynard, Hon. Paul L. Adderley, Hon. George Smith, Hon. Cadwell Armbrister, Hon. Philip Bethel, Hon. Henry Bowen, Hon. Carlton Francis and Hon. A. Loftus Roker from the governing Parliamentary Caucus. The opposition House members were opposition leader Sir Kendal G. L. Isaacs, Sir Orville Turnquest, Sir Arthur Foulkes and Hon. Norman Solomon.
Of the fifteen framers, six are still with us. They are Hon. Arthur D. Hanna, Sir. Arthur Foulkes, Hon. George Smith, Hon. A. Loftus Roker, Sir Orville Turnquest and Hon. Philip Bethel.
Delivering the keynote address was Prime Minister Christie who foreshadowed the establishment of a National Heroes Park.
Also in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister Davis, Ministers Wilchcombe, Mitchell, Hanna-Martin and Griffin in addition to members of the National Heroes Committee including chair Fr. Sebastian Campbell and Freddy Munnings Jr.
Diplomatic week announced
Realizing the need to bring the foreign ministry, the diplomatic corps and the consular corps closer together while educating the public on the role of the foreign ministry, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell announced Diplomatic Week on Wednesday, 15th Oct 2014 at the House. He was flanked by the ministry’s executive team including Permanent Secretary Philip Miller; Parliamentary Secretary Cleola Hamilton, and High Commissioner to CARICOM, HE Picewell Forbes.
“This (event) will give Diplomats the opportunity to interact with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government officials so that they can get an understanding of The Bahamas’ goals in foreign diplomacy” said Mitchell. He has indicated on many occasions that the fundamental objective of the Foreign Affairs ministry is to facilitate a seamless experience for Bahamians traveling around the world.
A service of thanksgiving at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, 19th Oct will kick off a week of events. Also planned is a meeting of the 12 Heads of Mission with the Minister and Permanent Secretary; a public forum at COB; the launch of the re-election campaign for a Bahamas’ seat on the board of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and a diplomatic corps speaking tour. The Official Opening Ceremony of Diplomatic Week is scheduled for9am on Thursday (Oct 23) at the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach.
More PEPFAR grants to fight HIV/AIDS
The tripartite partnership between the government of The Bahamas, the United States government and local Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) continues as three grants under the United States PEPFAR small fund program totaling some $13,000 were awarded to five NGO’s in the continued fight against HIV/AIDS through public education and community outreach across The Bahamas.
PEPFAR is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It is the United States government’s initiative to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and is now part of the Global Health Initiative. Since 2004 PEPFAR has committed more than $30 billion in funding to fight the AIDS epidemic globally. PEPFAR reportedly continues to represent the largest financial commitment by a single country to responding to HIV and AIDS worldwide.
Receiving grants from the US Embassy were the Haitian Organization for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS & STI’s (HOPHAS); the Bahamas Sexual Health & Reproductive Association (BASHRA) in association with its partners SASHA Bahamas and BNN Plus and the One Eleuthera Foundation.
The award presentation and grant signing ceremony took place today, 14th October 2014 at the Ministry of Health headquarters. Representing the Bahamas government were Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle, Dr. Glen Beneby, CMO and Dr. Delon Brennen, Deputy CMO. The US Embassy was represented by Ananda Hall-Pyfrom, Asst. PEPFAR Coordinator and David Allen, Pol/Econ Chief at the local US Embassy.
World Food Day celebrated
On the 16th October 2014 The Bahamas joined 150 other countries in observance of the 34th annual World Food Day under the auspices of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Under this year’s theme “Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth,” the 62 year old FAO, one of the oldest organs of the United Nations, continued its fight to eradicate world hunger which affects upwards of one billion people today.
The Bahamas celebrated this day with a seminar on backyard farming and agriculture and cooperative display booths at Arawak Cay. The opening ceremony included performances by school choirs and community marching bands.
Ministers Rolle and Darville at World Investment Forum 2014
Seeking to attract more investments to The Bahamas, Ministers Rolle and Darville led a delegation from the Bahamas Investment Authority to Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the World Investment Forum (WIF) at the Palais de Nations from 13th to 16th October. This year’s theme is “Investing in Sustainable Development.”
The delegation included the Director of Investments at the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Candia Ferguson and Project officers Melissa Forbes and Leslie Dorsette from the Ministry of Grand Bahama.
The World Investment Forum (WIF) is a high level, biennial assembly that provides a global platform to engage policy makers, the private sector and other stakeholders in discourse on Foreign Direct Investment policy formulation and promotion. The Bahamas Investment Authority delivered presentations on investment opportunities in the Bahamas generally and in particular our industrial capital, Grand Bahama
Other countries participating at the forum included United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Zimbabwe, The Netherlands and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
Anglican Bishop addresses public policy at the 113th Synod
The 113th Synod of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands was held this week with the opening mass at Christ Church Cathedral on Tuesday evening. During his charge, Bishop Laish Boyd expressed support for the four constitutional bills on gender equality currently before Parliament and urged Anglicans to use common sense when considering the bills. He argued that there cannot be one rule for men and another for women – all must be treated equally.
On the issue of immigration, the Bishop said that the country must create policies that are relevant to the realities of the twenty-first century and not the 1960’s or 1940’s. He decried the slow process for the regularization of lawful applicants for citizenship. While he proclaimed his nationalistic love for The Bahamas and would not want to see it overrun by another nationality, he advised that “there needs to be a discussion about a path to regularization and even citizenship for some.”
On Value Added Tax, the Bishop referred to it as a new and challenging chapter in the life of the country and Bahamians must prepare for it. He urged Bahamians to “bite the bullet and weather the implementation transition. It (VAT) will be an adjustment for us all but the long term effects will be for the good.”
Amid claims that the country might not be prepared for an Ebola outbreak, Health Minister revealed on Monday that the government is ready and has a plan and that “anybody who is out there espousing that the ministry has not done anything is not telling the truth.”
“Ministry of Health has a plan to address the Ebola issue” said Dr. Gomez to the media. He continued that “it is a plan that has been developed over a period of months and a lot of work has gone into it.” He was referring to the 42 page plan his ministry developed.
On Tuesday at Government House, Deborah Fraser, former Director of Legal Affairs in the Office of the Attorney General was appointed a Justice on the Supreme Court Bench. Current Supreme Court Justice Jon Isaacs was promoted to Justice of the Court of Appeals Both justices were sworn in by Deputy to the Governor General, Mr. Oswald Ingraham.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Bahamas Cooperative League (BCL), the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government in conjunction with the BCL hosted a distinguished lecture on Thursday, 16th Oct 2014 at the Harry C. Moore Library. The guest lecturer was Joel Lalonde who spoke on the topic, “Accelerating wealth through cooperatives.”
The much anticipated Bimini SuperFast Cruise ship made its inaugural voyage from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini on Tuesday 14th Oct with more than 800 passengers on board. This is good news for Resorts World Bimini and local businesses in Bimini, especially during the slow tourism period.
In observance Youth Month under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, a Youth Parliamentary session was held on Friday at the House of Assembly. The Youth Parliament debated the Constitutional Bills on gender equality currently before Parliament and the pros and cons of Value Added Tax or VAT. The Minister of Youth, Dr. Daniel Johnson was in attendance to show his support.
Press Statement – Ebola
October 13th, 2014
The Ministry of Health is acutely aware of the situation regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) situation globally and would like to take this opportunity to again address and update the Bahamian people regarding the topic.
The current Ebola outbreaks in West and Central Africa started in December of 2013 with the World Health Organization being made aware of the gravity of the situation in March of 2014. A total of 8470 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in eight affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Spain, and the United States of America) up to the 10th October. There have been 4076 deaths.
On 30 September 2014, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) was informed of the first confirmed imported case of EVD in the United States. The patient passed away on 8 October. On 6 October 2014, WHO was informed of the first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of EVD in Spain, after a health care worker (HCW) tested positive for EVD after treating a patient who had been repatriated from West Africa. This case represented the first human-to-human transmission of EVD outside of Africa. Most recently we have been informed of a second case of human-to-human transmission of EVD, this time in the United States in a health care worker caring for the imported case of EVD there.
Again, this course of events has been of particular interest to the Bahamas because of the volume of travelers to our islands, and the travel of our residents throughout the globe and returning to our shores. The Ministry of Health began spearheading the nation’s preparation and response to Ebola months prior to its introduction to our hemisphere. Stakeholder groupings were gathered to assess the readiness of the health sector (public and private) for an encounter with Ebola. After assessment, definitive plans and actions for improving the system readiness were enacted, including procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), defining reporting structures and mechanisms, establishing linkages with international organizations and testing facilities, training of personnel in relevant recognition and treatment protocols, among other actions. During the preparation of the health sector, engagement was initiated with our non-health sector stakeholders to include our armed forces, border control officials, ports of entry entities, national emergency planning agencies, the media, and many others. These discussions and planning activities resulted in the drafting of a National Ebola Response Plan as a focused exercise between the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization. The foundation of the plan included the national response plans for cholera, pandemic influenza, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) but taking into account the unique features of Ebola.
The Bahamian public should know that as the Ebola situation continues to evolve so will our plans, as both are dynamic. The exercise involving the suspected case of Ebola in-country in mid-September presented us with an opportunity to test our preparation. Although areas in need of strengthening were identified, and are being addressed, we have been commended by our Caribbean, regional and global partners for our handling of the situation. We will not leave any stone unturned we know that complacency will threaten our national security and potentially our way of life. We will remain vigilant in ensuring that the population’s health is protected from this and all threats with the most appropriate response we can provide. We look forward to engaging with all partners throughout the public and private sectors in order to ensure this global threat is contained and ends.
Ebola Virus Disease is a severe disease characterized by; sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. These symptoms may be followed by; vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and in some cases both internal and external bleeding. The World Health Organization has recommended persons avoid unnecessary travel to Ebola affected countries at this time. Persons who do travel to affected areas should ensure that necessary precautions are taken to avoid exposure, especially avoiding the bodily fluids of symptomatic patients. Travellers who experience any of the above mentioned symptoms within 21 days of arriving in the Bahamas should consult their health care provider immediately or contact the Surveillance Unit at 502-4776/502-4790/397-1021/376-3533.
For further information please visit the Ministry of Health’s website at www.bahamas.gov.bs/health or www.who.org/int .
|The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration is staging the first ever ‘Diplomatic Week –The Bahamas 2014.’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell made the announcement during a press conference at the Majority Room of the House of Assembly on October 15, 2014. Pictured are Mr. Mitchell and Permanent Secretary Philip Miller, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)
NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration is staging the first ever Diplomatic Week aimed at fostering closer ties between the Diplomatic and Consular Corp and The Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell made the announcement during a press conference at the Majority Room of the House of Assembly on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.
Also present were His Excellency Picewell Forbes, Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM; Permanent Secretary Philip Miller; Parliamentary Secretary Cleola Hamilton and other Ministry officials.
Underscoring the importance of the initiative, Mr. Mitchell said, “This will give Diplomats the opportunity to interact with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government officials so that they can get an understanding of The Bahamas’ goals in foreign diplomacy.”
He explained that many Bahamians do not think about foreign affairs unless they are “stuck” in another country and have to call on a Bahamian Embassy or Consulate office for assistance.
Another goal of ‘Diplomatic Week — The Bahamas 2014’ is to build relationships and to provide a “seamless” system when Bahamians have to travel abroad, Mr. Mitchell said.
The week of Sunday, October 19 to Saturday, October 25 is designed to bring to the capital The Bahamas’ 12 Heads of Missions abroad and an estimated 50 foreign diplomats accredited to The Bahamas, be they resident or non-resident.
Also during this week, three Ambassadors-Designate from Germany, South Korea and France will present their Letters of Credence to the Governor General.
The activities planned, as outlined by Mr. Mitchell are:
· Sunday, October 19 – Church Service at Christ Church Cathedral at 11am. All diplomats and Government officials are invited.
· Monday, Tuesday, October 20 & 21 – Officials from the American Embassy to appear on Bahamas at Sunrise at 6:30am.
· Wednesday, October 22 – A meeting of the 12 Heads of Mission with the Minister and Permanent Secretary. This will see the reemerging of the annual meeting between these officials to devise strategies on improving the work and goals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
· Thursday, October 23 – The Official Opening Ceremony of Diplomatic Week will take place at 9am at the Meliá’ Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach. The Official Welcome Reception will be held at Luciano’s of Chicago, East Bay Street at 7pm.
· Friday, October 24 – which is recognized as United Nations Day will see a Flag Raising Ceremony at the Meliá’ and the reading of the UN Declaration. At 7pm, the Rt. Hon Perry Christie, Prime Minister will host and address a meeting at Balmoral Club, Sanford Drive – during which awards will be given to outstanding members of the Bahamas Foreign Service.
· Saturday, October 25 – A State Reception and Cultural Show at Government House at 7pm.
The week will also focus on student outreach, with Bahamian Ambassadors and Consul Generals along with Foreign Service Officers visiting schools in Nassau and Grand Bahama, Abaco, Exuma and Eleuthera.
“The various Heads of Mission will come in to explain the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in social and economic development and the importance of Foreign Policy in advancing the interests of The Bahamas in the international arena,” Mr. Mitchell said.
Also during the week, there will be presentations by officials from The Bahamas Investment Authority and the Ministry of Financial Services; and a Bahamian European Union dialogue on political and economic development, crime and security, climate change, natural disasters, Human Rights, the Economic Partnership Agreement, and The Bahamas’ accession to the World Trade Organization.
A signature event of the week will be the official launch of the re-election of The Bahamas to the International Maritime Organization at Graycliff, hosted by the Minister of Transport and Aviation the Hon Glenys Hanna-Martin.
The Foreign Service Act, which would incorporate the Foreign Service Orders for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expected to be implemented December 15, will also be discussed.
The campaign is on in the Free National Movement for the leadership of their party. The matter comes to a head at its one day convention on 21st November. Loretta Butler Turner, the now Deputy Leader, says that she is running for Leader and made an elaborate announcement about it which you can see on video. The race for Chair is not clear although it appears that Senator Michael Pintard is in and Darren Cash, the now incumbent is running for Deputy Leader instead. He will be running against Dr. Duane Sands and perhaps Senator Carl Bethel. There is no doubt however that all eyes are on the Leadership race. There was a video produced by Dr. Hubert Minnis, the now Leader of the Party saying that he is an ordinary man. He was riding to work on a bus. The thing was so corny but well one guesses in politics you have to be shameless. Most people do not give Mrs. Butler Turner a chance in hell of winning. The old guard in the FNM are united behind Dr. Minnis, including it appears the evil one, who is over in Mozambique doling out advice on democracy to them over the waters. Mrs. Butler Turner many say has gotten carried away by newspaper headlines, confusing that with votes for leader. In any event, we shall see in short order. We carry a story released by her to the media and Bahamas on bahamasweekly.com
Nassau, Bahamas – Loretta Butler Turner, Deputy Leader of the FNM and MP for Long Island, announced on October 13th, National Heroes Day, her decision to run for Leader of the Free National Movement at the party’s convention on November 21st.
In attendance were her husband, attorney Ed Turner, her son, her sister Clarice Butler and her brother, Craig Butler. Before making the announcement from her home, she was introduced by her husband, who noted in his introduction: “As a father and as I citizen I want the very best for our country. I have seen the kind of leadership that Loretta offers. I know her values and her convictions. I know where her heart is. Her heart is with the Bahamian people. She has a passion for public service.” He also stated: “I introduce not only my wife. I introduce to you today someone who I believe has the capacity, and the tremendous courage, compassion and conviction to help to move our country forward.”
In her announcement, the former cabinet minister noted that she made her decision after much personal reflection and consultation with her family, FNMs and many constituents from Long Island. She stated what she believes is the call of service today: “I believe that the call to public service today is:
- to help heal a wounded and troubled nation;
– to stem the ever-mounting tide of violence and social decay;
– to heal the spirit and strengthen the will of the Bahamian people to face the future with courage;
– to work for the transformation of our society through the restoration of our social culture;
– and to vigorously pursue the development of our economy with emphasis on the continued expansion
“ … Given the great challenges of mounting a more effective opposition, of holding this government accountable and of returning the FNM to office, the question is this:
“Who is the best available person, at this time, to lead the Opposition in parliament and in the country, and to defeat the PLP at the next general election?”
“The question of leadership today, is not who is the best man for the job. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, it is not about the colour of one’s skin, but the content of one’s character. So too, the question of leadership today is, “Who is the best person for the job?” “I believe that I am the most capable individual at this time to unite, to reignite and to lead the Opposition in order to defeat a failed government.”
She further noted: “I believe that there are very distinct differences between the major parties. The FNM must be clear about those differences and consistent in our positions and convictions. “We have a proud record of government, a record of reform and modernization in three non-consecutive administrations led by the Rt. Honourable Hubert Ingraham.
“I am running for Leader because I believe that the FNM needs the quality of leadership that will attract more independent voters and young people, as well as a growing number of PLPs who are disturbed by the direction of the country today.
“I believe that I will offer to my party and to the country a big heart, a tough and strong mind, and a spirit of compassion, especially for the least fortunate in our Bahamas.
Having worked in business, I believe that I can bring that experience to the business of government.”
Butler Turner outlined her vision for the role of government today: “We must place a greater emphasis on human and community development, especially in the area of training and education, and with an emphasis on early childhood development.
“In addition to tackling issues like the high cost of electricity, we must promote the development of a new generation of entrepreneurs, especially in small- and medium-sized businesses. “We need new sources of employment and economic activity, and urgently to tackle the high rate of unemployment among our young people.
“And we must work hard to protect and promote our heritage and culture and to preserve our natural environment. If I am fortunate to serve as Leader of the Opposition and as Prime Minister, one of my major priorities will be to confront the scourge of violent crime, its root causes and how we administer the criminal justice system.
The Bahamas has sworn in Deborah Fraser as the country’s newest Supreme Court Justice.
Fraser was sworn in by Deputy to the Governor General Oswald Ingraham at Government House on Tuesday 14th October.
She had previously served as Director Of Legal Affairs at the Office of the Attorney General.
She has been a member of the Bahamas Bar since 1987.
The Supreme Court is the country’s court of first instance, followed by the Court of Appeal and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Justice Jon Isaacs, left, was sworn-in as Justice of the Court of Appeal, by Oswald Ingraham, Deputy to the Governor General, during a brief ceremony at Government House, 14th October 2014. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)
|Pictured from left to right at the meeting held on Wednesday, October 8, at the State Department Bureau of Educational Affairs are Ms. Monique A. Hinsey, a Consultant with the Bahamas Ministry of Education’s Scholarship Resource Services; His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States; the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology; Ms. Meghann Curtis, State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; and Ms. Neda Brown, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau
7th-10th October 2014
The Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, participated in a series of meetings aimed at identifying partners to leverage and maximize the existing $16 million that his Ministry annually dedicates to tertiary education scholarships, generating new scholarship opportunities for Bahamians, particularly public school students, enhancing exchange programs between The Bahamas (COB, BTVI and High Schools) and other Countries and institutions and other matters related to education during a five-day visit to Washington, D.C.
Mr. Fitzgerald and Ms. Monique A. Hinsey, a Consultant with the Bahamas Ministry of Education’s Scholarship Resource Services, arrived in Washington Tuesday, October 7, and later that day met with His Excellency Emilio Rebasa Gamboa, Mexico’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), at Mexico’s Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
They were accompanied by His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States; Mr. Chet Neymour, Deputy Chief of Mission, Bahamas Embassy; Miss Krissy Hanna, Second Secretary, Bahamas Embassy; and Mr. Mikhail Bullard, Third Secretary, Bahamas Embassy.
The Bahamian delegation received a detailed briefing on a scholarship program offered by the Mexican government to OAS Member States through the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) and the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation AMEXCID).
The CONACYT-OAS-AMEXCID Scholarship Program offers students the opportunity to study Specializations, Masters and PhD programs in Mexico while receiving a monthly stipend for subsistence, health insurance, a one-time grant for installation expenses and the possibility to obtain tuition waivers.
Mr. Fitzgerald noted that while The Bahamas would most certainly be interested in such a scholarship program, given the language barrier which limits accessibility for Bahamians and CARICOM nationals generally, he suggested that the program should also include a language immersion component to allow Bahamian students to become sufficiently competent in Spanish prior to commencing studies. He also suggested that an area of partnership of great interest to his Ministry would be short study immersion courses for junior high school students.
Ambassador Gamboa agreed to forward this and other recommendations made by Minister Fitzgerald to his government.
Mr. Fitzgerald continued his busy schedule on Wednesday at the State Department Bureau of Educational Affairs, where he met with Deputy Assistant Secretary Meghann Curtis and Managing Director AS Marianne Craven. Discussions included commitments to expand the slate of Fulbright opportunities available to The Bahamas, namely the Fulbright Visiting Student and Specialist programs, to work towards including The Bahamas as a target Country under the Obama Administration’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Exchange program and advisement on other non-government scholarship opportunities and student placement services that might be beneficial to meeting the Ministry’s goals.
On Thursday morning, Minister Fitzgerald held discussions at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) focusing on access to technical cooperation on grant writing and other educational matters. Among those participating in that meeting were Mr. Michael R. Nelson, IDB’s Country Coordinator, Caribbean Country Department; Mr. Carlos Herran, IDB’s Lead Education Specialist, Education Division; Mr. Jerry C. Butler, Alternate Executive Director for The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; and Ms. Astrid Wynter, IDB Representative in The Bahamas, via a televised conference call from IDB’s office in Nassau.
Thursday afternoon, Minister Fitzgerald visited the campus of Howard University on Georgia Avenue, where met with Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederkick, President of that historic predominantly black university; Ms. Gracia Hillman, Howard’s Vice President for External Affairs; Mr. Derek R. Kindle, Director of the Office of Financial Aid; and Mr. William Carpenter, Executive Protection Unit, Howard’s Department of Public Safety. The Meeting centered on discussion of avenues for enhanced access for Bahamians to the University and potential mechanisms to foster a deeper a structured relationship between the University and The Bahamas were offered.
Later on Thursday, Minister Fitzgerald visited North Chevy Chase Elementary School, a magnet elementary school for grades 3-to-6 in the areas of Computer, Science, Math and Gifted/Talented Education, where he met with Principal Renee Stevens and several members of her staff, including Ms. Melanie Carr, Staff Development Teacher; Mrs. Claire Thompson Neymour, Special Education Teacher, a Bahamian national; and Ms. Victoria Leahy-Jones to engage on the school’s unique curriculum, legal framework and technological apparatus used to foster an early focus on STEM subjects and provide quality special/gifted education.
Then on Friday morning, Minister Fitzgerald met with Ms. Marie Levens, Director of the OAS Department of Human Development, Education and Culture; Dr. Juana Roman, Coordinator, Educational Portal of the Americas, OAS Department of Human Development; Ms. Juliet Mallet Phillip, Coordinator, OAS Scholarship and Training Programs; Ms. Andrea Leonelli, Education Specialist, Human Development and Education Section; Ms. Nichole D. Duncan, Scholarship Consultant, Department of Human Development, Education and Employment; Ms. Dulce Govea, Executive Secretariat for Integral Development; and Ms. Lina M. Sevillano, Chief of Unit, Technical Secretary to the Leo Rowe Pan American Fund Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss enhanced utilization of the various scholarships and funding avenues facilitated by the OAS by Bahamians, the alignment of OAS scholarships with Bahamas national development priorities and potential areas of technical cooperation between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the OAS. The Minister was also requested to present on the ongoing education reforms being enacted in The Bahamas at an upcoming inter-American Education Ministers Meeting in 2015.
Minister Fitzgerald wrapped up his series of meetings Friday afternoon at the Institute of International Education, where he met with Dr. Allan Goodman, President and CEO, and at NAFSA: Association of International Educators, where he met with Senior Directors Sheila Schulte and Gail Hochhauser and Associate Director Mark Farmer. At both Meetings the Minister discussed the projects that other Countries were implementing to maximize scholarship and placement opportunities for citizens in the United States, which were being facilitated by both NGO’s, and what areas of technical cooperation or service both entities could provide to his Ministry to assist with attaining his key policy goals going forward.
You have to be shameless to put out this kind of ham fisted stuff. This is part of the campaign for Leader of the Free National Movement by Dr. Hubert Minnis, the incumbent to show that he is an ordinary man by taking the bus to work. Yeah right!
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of The Bahamas spoke to the value of the family while in Rome for the recent Synod of Catholic Bishops.
Letters to the editor
(played at their concert last Saturday 11th October in Nassau)
The fans of T Connection, the internationally renowned Bahamian group of the 1970s and 1980s got to hear them in concert last Saturday 11th October and heard this reprise of The Best Of My Love.
T Connection – Best of my love live in Nassau October 2014 from mackeymedia on Vimeo.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell was shown seated with the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister Ann Marie Davis at the National Youth Awards ceremony on Wednesday 15th October.
This was posted on the Facebook page of Hope Strachan MP:
Joined Bahamas Waste yesterday for their Big Pink Unveiling Ceremony…great demonstration of love, teamwork and people helping people! Love the slogan for this initiative..”Real men wear pink. Let’s trash cancer! See more about it on their company page. All inspired by ace employee and cancer survivor Hartley “The Fighter” Strachan 16th October
On Tuesday evening 14th October, having apparently refused to resign for signing a Letter of Intent for a 650 million dollar deal that he was not entitled to sign, Parliamentary Secretary Renward Wells was dismissed. No explanation was given for it and with that, he became yesterday’s news. PLP Party Chair Bradley Roberts said that now was the time for the threat of Andre Rollins, the rogue PLP MP, to tell all to be made good. Mr. Rollins of course had long since resiled from his threat. We just say this whole thing is most unfortunate and unnecessary. Unnecessary in the case of André Rollins, Greg Moss and now Renward Wells. What a waste! What a shame!
The Cabinet Office advises that the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, has directed that the office of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development become vacant.
The Hon. D. Shane Gibson signs the Brasilia Declaration on behalf of the Bahamas. On October 14, 2014 while attending the 18th America Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization the Bahamas and twenty five countries of Latin America and the Caribbean sign the Declaration on the Establishment of the Regional Initiative: Latin America and the Caribbean a Free of Child Labour which commits all signatory nations to take actions to eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016 and the regional goal of the Decent Work Agenda to eliminate all forms of Child Labour by 2020. From L-R Mr. John Pinder/NCTUB, Minister D. Shane Gibson and Ms. Kalin Griffin/Assistant Director of Labour.
Dame Marguerite Pindling is pictured arriving at the Lynden Pindling International Airport having completed the ritual of appointment as Governor General, the audience with the Queen. She arrived back in the country on Friday 17th October and was met by the Deputy to the Governor General Oswald Ingraham and Mrs. Ingraham. The photos are by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
Fred Mitchell appeared on the radio talk show Connected on Wednesday 15th October. The show is hosted by Lester Cox. He was joined by Terence Bethel ( far left) and Christian Galanos.
Winner of The Prime Minister’s Cup and Award winner for Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, Mr. Shomekkar Cargil – a Farmer. He will be taking backyard farming to the Urban areas, Bain and Grants Town, Bain Grants Town Advancement. Included in this pic is his effervescent lecturer from COB, Dr. Erica Hepburn. — with Sho Footloose Cargill and Erecia Hepburn at Melia Nassau Beach.
The question is how long will he stay on as a consultant in the hospital when he is openly involved in party political activity. 15th October 2014.
Group photo from left shows: Sen. Carl Bethel, Mr. Hubert Chipman, MP, the Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, Political Officer of the U S Embassy David Allen, and Mr. Richard Lightbourn. The visit took place on Wednesday 15th October at the office of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Street, Nassau.
The 19th version of the International Cultural Festival , hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened on Saturday 17th October. The two day festival ends today. It is bigger and better this year with over 30 countries participating. Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell officially opened the Festival. The Chair of the Committee is Janet Johnson of the Ministry of Tourism. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the trophy to the Philippines for Best Of Show. There was plenty of food and cultural presentations at the Botanic Gardens. The photos are by Derek Smith of the Bahamas Information Services.
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