Photo of the week

Comment of the week

THE MADNESS OF FRED SMITH

03/22/15 1:42 PM

 

commentweeok_032215Damien Gomez put on a stout defence of The Bahamas and its reputation in the face of the lies told by Fred Smith and the Grand Bahamas Human Rights Association about The Bahamas.   Fred Smith, funded by only who knows, was in Washington D C with a full head of hair and full beard, looking like Attila the Hun, and portraying himself at various sites as the champion of the down trodden immigrant in The Bahamas.  Bahamians know only too well what people in the United States do not know and that is the only thing Fred Smith cares about is himself and money.  The only thing in which he is expert is shameless self-promotion

 

It is interesting how delusional this fellow is.  At the after party for Jack Hayward in Freeport Mr. Smith was boasting to friends that he had the government frightened and on the run with regard to its immigration policy. Only in his own mind.  He thinks that much of himself.  In the day to day running of immigration policy, Fred Smith does not even feature one minute of the time of the Department of Immigration, we would venture to guess.

 

He has his little minions running with him.  Joseph Darville, the former school teacher, and Paco Nunez, the former Tribune editor and now Louby Georges the former Guardian radio talk show host. That should tell you a lot.  A collection of formers: has beens, human detritus, all searching for a role and for relevance.  When we examined the pictures at the hearing in Washington, trumped up and contrived by Mr. Smith, he had in the background Noelle Nicolls the one who in a flagrant ethical violation, used  access at the Women’s Crisis Centre  to put the business of a Jamaican woman into the streets.  It’s a real collection of misfits.

The Bahamas has to use its scarce resources to fight off this internal enemy, when it could be using its scarce resources to stop these illegal migrants from coming to The Bahamas and get rid of those who are in The Bahamas. Instead we have to fight phony charges and excessive rhetoric by the consummate egoist in the name of Fred Smith.

Well madness comes in all forms. This is surely the madness of Fred Smith.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 21st March 2015 up to midnight: 377,141;

Number of hits for the month of February up to Saturday 21st March 2015 up to midnight: 1,321,306

Number of hits for the year 2015 up to Saturday 21st March 2015 up to midnight:5,399,223.

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Editorial

DAME MARGUERITE MARKS LYNDEN PINDLING’S BIRTHDAY

03/22/15 1:43 PM

 

Sir Lynden Pindling, the father of our nation, would have been 85 today had he still be with us.  On the occasion of the anniversary of his 85th birthday, the Prime Minister Perry Christie joined the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling at the mausoleum of Sir Lynden, where was laid to rest in St Agnes cemetery in 2000.  Also present were Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, and Senator Keith Bell, the Minister of State in the National Security Ministry. The photo shows the group at the mausoleum this morning.

 

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MITCHELL AT THE PINEYARD STEEL LUNCHEON IN GRAND BAHAMA

03/22/15 1:43 PM

MIXING AND MINGLING IN GBI
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President and CEO of Pineyard Technical Centre, specializing in training young people in welding for the industrial sector in Grand Bahama, Edney Anderson is shown at the luncheon held in Freeport at Ruby Swiss on Friday 20th March to raise funds for the technical education of young people at the Centre.   Fred Mitchell, Minister for Immigration, was the keynote speaker for the occasion.  He is shown being presented with a gift following his address from left to right: Mr. Anderson, Mr. Mitchell, students Feron Campbell and Hicuonia Cash. 

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Fred Mitchell MP, Minister for Immigration, is shown, fifth from the right, with Edney Anderson (fourth from left), President and CEO of Pineyard Technical Centre, on Thursday 19th March on a tour of the centre with some of the students.  Also in the photo is Dr. Valencia Carroll, Vice President of the Board of the Centre, who is also the wife of the Consul General of The Bahamas in New York Forrester Carroll. 

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Dr. Eric Brown Medical Advisor to Pineyard Technical Centre at far left and an  advisor to the Board of the Pineyard Technical centre shown on 19th March with Fred Mitchell, the Minister for Immigration, centre of the photo and Edney Anderson, President and CEO of the Centre at the right.

You may click here for the full address of Mr. Mitchell at the luncheon:

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THE NEW CYPRIOT HIGH COMMISSIONER

03/22/15 1:43 PM

His Excellency Georgios Chacalli, Non-Resident Commissioner-Designate of the Republic of Cyprus paid a courtesy call on the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Philip Miller and other senior staff at the Ministry on Wednesday 18th March..

 CYPRIOT

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FAREWELL TO THE ISREALI AMBASSADOR

03/22/15 1:43 PM

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ambassador of Israel Her Excellency Rodica Radian-Gordon paid a courtesy call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, March 18, and met with Permanent Secretary Philip Miller at the Ministry. (BIS Photo/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

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ELCOTT COLEBY REVIEWS THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (16 – 20 MARCH 2015)

03/22/15 1:43 PM

elcott 

Prime Minister Christie declares “Forestry Awareness Week”

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie signed a Proclamation declaring the week of March 16 – 21, 2015‘Forestry Awareness Week’ in The Bahamas and officially opened a Forestry Awareness Symposium at the College of The Bahamas on Wednesday, March 18. A highlight of the symposium was the planting of the national tree of The Bahamas, the lignum vitae on the college campus in front of the Harry C. Moore Library.

 

Also commemorating the event was the Environment Minister, Hon. Kenred Dorsett. In an address to students at the Anatol Rodgers High School on Monday, Minister Dorsett highlighted the importance of the forest and trees in particular to our very existence and the need to protect them.

 

“Trees are the lungs of the earth” said Minister Dorsett and “they help us to balance the amount of oxygen and harmful carbon dioxide in the air. Trees regulate humidity in the air. Trees provide us with food, shelter, shade and jobs to help support us and our families.”

 

Forestry Awareness Week is being celebrated in The Bahamas this week from 16th – 21st MARCH 2015. This event is celebrated globally every year on the 21st March and is designed to educate the public and raise awareness of the significant benefits provided by trees. Civil society is encouraged to plant a tree in commemoration of this global event.

  

DPM Davis reports on BEC fire

Most of New Providence was plunged into darkness late Friday and the power was not fully restored until Sunday evening. There were reports of a fire at the BEC Blue Hills Power Plant with photos emerging on social media. Speculations about why the blackout occurred were fast and furious, but Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Brave Davis issued a statement on Tuesday about the facts surrounding the island wide blackout.

 

“I am advised that this (the island wide blackout) happened as a result of a series of events at the Blue Hills Power Station. In the first instance, a 33,000 volt generator cable faulted, resulting in damages to a number of cables and a fire in a cable trench.” 

The Deputy Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to BEC line staff who worked around the clock to fully restore power to all of BEC’s customers within forty-eight hours.

“Supplies to 40% of the customer base were restored by Friday Night/Saturday morning, and the restoration efforts continued until all supplies were restored by Sunday afternoon. It was a team effort involving both management and line staff and for this I am truly grateful.”

Of course the root cause of the fire is under investigation but the Minister was clear in pointing out that on the day of the fire that resulted in the blackout, there was no evidence of staff negligence. Usually in these type incidents, the assignment of blame and culpability is reserved for the conclusion of a taproot investigation in the circumstances surrounding this incident.

 

Compendium of Cooperatives Bills passed in the House this week

The compendium of bills to expand the regulatory framework of Credit Unions under the Central Bank was unanimously passed in the House late Wednesday afternoon with Parliamentarians pledging their full support for the new regulatory regime.

 

READ MORE.

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DAME MARGUERITE MEETS THE SPORTS, CULTURE AND YOUTH MINISTRY

03/22/15 1:43 PM

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MOYS&C) with Lyn Terez Davis-Nixon “Miss Daisy” and her team members paid a courtesy call on Her Excellency Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling at Government House, March 17. Pictured seated from left: Calvin Balfour, Permanent Secretary (MOYS&C); the Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture; Dame Marguerite Pindling; Lyn Terez Davis-Nixon “Miss Daisy”; and Layette McFall. Standing from left: Bishop Ross Davis; Althea Davis; Adrian Whyms; Trent Davis; Daren Seymour; Mavis Collie; Dr. Linda Moxey-Brown; Darren Turnquest, Director of Youth; Sandra Fountain; Deloris Johnson; Nicole Watson; Kendia Simmons and Tina Lynch. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)

 

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MINNIS TALKS ABOUT BEC

03/22/15 1:43 PM

 

Hubert Minnis was busy as a bee last week trying to look Prime Ministerial.  He was issuing press releases fast and furious and staging them if he could.  One such staging ground was just in front of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation.   He denounced the government’s lack of a plan for BEC, said it was poor leadership and leadership in crisis. He was referring to the fact that it appeared that Leslie Miller, the Chairman of the power company,  accused the staff of  neglecting the maintenance of the plant and causing the massive power failure on Friday 13th March.  The Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis who has responsibility for the corporation, said it just wasn’t so.  Mr. Miller later retracted his remarks. The Union President Paul Maynard at BEC called Mr. Miller a jackass and told the government that if they didn’t fire Mr. Miller, they (the union) would refuse to work along with the government on the necessary reform of the corporation.   Problem for Mr. Minnis is this: every time we think he looks like he could possibly be our Prime Minister, he goes and puts his foot in it.  The Nassau Guardian burst his bubble by pointing out that Mr. Minnis  while attacking the government on BEC had no plan for BEC himself. Uh oh.  Meanwhile the Prime Minister promises that BEC reform is coming.  He said he had to do some additional due diligence and now the decision is near.

 

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BRADLEY ROBERTS RESPONDS TO BRENT SYMONETTE

03/22/15 1:43 PM

 

Brent Symonette, the former Deputy Prime Minister, who was forced out of his position as head of the Airport Authority, for presiding over the awarding of a  contract to a firm in which he had an interest, is now back every week pontificating about one fact or the other.  Last week he even ventured to say that the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis should resign over the  BAMSI fire  issue.  As Pindling would have said: “ Resign my foot”.  Here is the son of a bootlegger preaching morality at us.  Lord help us!   Then he let the cat out of the bag. In speaking to The Tribune on 17th March, he said that he  was thinking of running for office again. There is a big effen surprise.  The word is he has his eyes on St. Ann’s.  He thinks that Hubert Chipman, the incumbent who replaced Mr. Symonette after the last election, is just warming the seat for him  so he can get it back any time he wants.  He also said he is thinking of Fox Hill and running against Fred Mitchell.  Well poor Shonel Ferguson who has her eyes set on the FNM nomination for Fox Hill.  Whatever is she going to do.   Any way before the week was out Bradley Roberts, PLP Chair, was in a position to solidly fix Mr. Symonette’s business for him with the following statement:

 

bradleyrobertsBrent Symonette is confused and intellectually dishonestBradley B. Roberts   National Chair Progressive Liberal Party  Brent Symonette is apparently confused, intellectually dishonest, clearly lives in an echo chamber and has zero credibility when it comes to handling the people’s money. The FNM’s stewardship of the Bahamian economy and its management of public finances leaves much to be desired as the ill effects are still being felt today.  The record will show that during our last term in office, the PLP government was able to overcome the reckless spending, borrowing and mismanagement by the FNM and grew public revenue by 51%, added more than $1 billion to the economy and recorded a budget surplus in just five short years. Those are the facts.  In our current term, the PLP government is projected to add some $600 million to the Bahamian economy after inheriting an economy that the FNM admitted was sick and “in a wheel chair” as a result of their excessive borrowing, spending and general incompetence. In thirty short months the PLP has successfully cut the deficit in half and by some $160 million in the current fiscal year. This government’s fiscal prudence has attracted praise from credit ratings agencies and the World Bank. As a matter of fact, the last time The Bahamas enjoyed an upgrade to its sovereign credit ratings was in 2006 under the PLP. Those are the facts.  This performance is in stark contrast to the FNM who presided over multiple downgrades during its last term in office. The record will show that the economy contracted under the FNM; the national debt ballooned by 40% in five years, the largest on record and government revenue deteriorated year after year despite huge tax hikes and unsustainable borrowing.  bsymonetteTo add insult to injury, the FNM collected some $500 million in one-offs during that period and it was all squandered. They collected well over $100 million in dividends from BTC before its sale; they collected over $200 million from the BTC sale; they collected some $40 million in stamp taxes from the sale of BORCO; tens of millions more were collected from the sale of South Riding Point Holdings Limited (former Burma Oil) and countless millions more in stamp taxes and fees when the government of China took an equity interest in the Baha Mar project. Additionally, the FNM government managed to exhaust its overdraft facility to the tune of another $200 million. In the end, the Bahamian people were left with huge debts to pay off, high unemployment and an economy teetering on the brink of collapse.   I dare say that had it not been for the waste of the FNM, the urgent implementation of VAT to save this economy would not have been necessary.  For his part, Brent Symonette was fired as chairman of the Airport Authority over a contract administration that was in serious conflict. Apparently he did not learn from the error of his malfeasant ways because as a sitting minister of the cabinet and Deputy Prime Minister no less, he chaired a committee to oversee the relocation of container port companies while he owned property on which some of the ports were located. He was also found to be in violation of the constitution regarding his financial interests in Bahamas Hot Mix and its contractual relationship with Jose Cartillone over the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP). In each case Brent Symonette found himself in a fundamental conflict between his public duty to service and protect the public interest and advancing his personal business interests.  So the last party to talk about trust with the people’s money is the FNM and of all people, Brent Symonette. This disgraced character has proven over and over again that he has one interest and that is Brent Symonette and how he could exploit public service to expand his personal wealth.   There is absolutely no nexus between the drivel of Brent Symonette and reality, the facts and the empirical data surrounding the fiscal stewardship of the PLP government. Brent suffers from diarrhea of the mouth and should keep quiet if he knows what is good for him. He had to know that if he made such a silly statement as the one attributed to him in the Tribune’s Business Section, I was coming after him aggressively and biting hard.  

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DAMIEN DEFENDS THE CAUSE

03/22/15 1:43 PM

 

GOMEZ DENOUNCES GBHRA ALLEGATIONS

AS “FALSE, BASELESS AND MALICIOUS

 gomez1
Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez addressing members of the Infer-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) during a hearing at the Organization of American States (OAS) administrative building in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 20. At left is His Excellency Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations and Permanent Representative to the OAS, and at right is His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States. Seated behind them are Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour and Second Secretary Krissy Hanna.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Denouncing allegations made against The Bahamas by the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) as ”false, baseless and malicious,” Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez told members of the Infer-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on

Friday, March 20, 2015 that The Bahamas has a history of respecting human rights that “predates our independence.”

“Indeed, our support of Haiti and its people in the attainment of economic, political and social stability emanates from an abiding and unflinching belief in the dignity of our shared human condition,” Minister Gomez told the IACHR commissioners, who convened the hearing based on specific allegations made by the GBHRA President about the mistreatment of illegal Haitian immigrants in The Bahamas.

GBHRA President Fred Smith also addressed the hearing, held in Ruben Dario Room of the Organization of American States (OAS) administrative building at 1889 F Street, N.W.

Underscoring his harsh criticism of the false allegations made by Mr. Smith, verbally and in written documents, Minister Gomez specifically highlighted the outrageous claim made by the GBHRA President that “the Government of The Bahamas has embraced Fascism and Nazism in a targeted campaign to commit genocide against Haitian nationals.”

“They even maintained that there are concentration camps in The Bahamas and compared the Detention Center to Auschwitz,” Minister Gomez said. “These lies cannot be left unanswered. It is my solemn duty to protect the name and reputation of our people. That is the sole purpose of my attendance here today. Let not my good manners detract from the depth of outrage collectively felt by the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the defamation of our country.”

Minister Gomez noted that in 1648 “the original English settlers of The Bahamas arrived to establish a free society in which they might practice their religion without let or hindrance of the English Crown or the Church of England.”

“They settled on the island of Eleuthera, the Greek word for freedom,” Minister Gomez said. “Shortly after settlement, a large number a black slaves were deported from Bermuda to Eleuthera where they were immediately freed. Without a Royal permit the settlers pursued the establishment of their new Jerusalem. They held democratically elected assemblies well before The Bahamas became recognized by the English Crown as a colony to be kept, where upon Letters Patent were issued and our democracy institutionalized. The Common Law protected human rights. Much later in 1963 a Bill of Rights was enshrined in the second written constitution affecting The Bahamas. In the 1969 and 1973 to further constitutions sought further to explicitly protect human rights by repeating the 1963 Bill of Rights. In colonial and post-colonial times human rights has been an essential feature of Bahamian Law and Bahamian Culture.”

He added: “It is in this context that the public utterances of the petitioners have evoked outrage and contempt as openly expressed by ordinary members of public. We join the public in condemning the outlandish and bizarre allegations made by the petitioners about the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Click to play video

“Notwithstanding the failure of the Petitioners to identify a victim of human rights abuses in The Bahamas or of a single failing in our domestic juridical institutions to provide adequate redress we appear as Portia to demonstrate the purity of our response to the demands of upholding human rights in good and bad times when even our neighbours fail to respond.”

Providing further support for his denunciation of the “baseless and malicious” allegations, Minister Gomez had displayed on a projected screen photographs of the detention center for illegal migrants and of the safe house used to keep infants and young persons under the age of 18 with their respective mothers.

“The new dormitories were built at a cost of over $1 million,” Minister Gomez told the Commissioners. “Note the bunk beds and the state of the art bathroom and toilet facilities. Hardly a concentration camp, much less Auschwitz. Note also the furniture and facilities at the safe house rented from the Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau and The Bahamas. Would the Catholic Church not qualify as a part of civil society? Here they participate in a private public partnership to protect young people. Would the Catholic Church partner with purveyors of genocide? Yet this is what the Petitioners would have you believe.”

Referring to the allegation that Haitians are singled out, Minister Gomez said public records show otherwise, adding that the Government of The Bahamas “acts even handedly in respect of the enforcement of our laws” and further pointing out that “there is no racial or ethnic preference or bias.”

Declaring that The Bahamas’ National Security agencies have collected intelligence about the smugglers of illegal migrants from Haiti, Minister Gomez noted that it has been reported that the fee charged each migrant ranges from $1500 to $5000.

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Pictured from left to right following Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) hearing held at the Organization of American States (OAS) administrative building in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 20, are: Jose de Jesus Orozco Henriquez, IACHR Commissioner; Tracy Robinson, IACHR Commissioner; His Excellency Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations and Permanent Representative to the OAS; the Hon. Damian Gomez, Minister of State for Legal Affairs; Rose Marie Antoine, IACHR Commissioner; and His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States.

“The criminal enterprise of human trafficking and smuggling is a new scourge to our people,” Minister Gomez said. “It poses new risks to The Bahamas. These risks require a measured response to ensure that our laws are enforced and obeyed by all. The witting or unwitting comfort given by the Petitioners to these criminal enterprises is noted with deprecation.”

Minister Gomez added, “Our duty to govern is paramount. We cooperate with the international community in the fight against both human trafficking and terrorism. Law enforcement requires that we know and account for all aliens in our jurisdiction as far as is humanly possible. This is consistent with existing law and the amendments to the Immigration Act now being debated in our Parliament.

“Our duty to govern also embraces our responsibility to give substance to constitutional rights enjoyed or to be enjoyed by subjects of our Commonwealth. Hitherto the passage of the amendments, children who are natives of The Bahamas but born to foreign parents enjoy no right to remain in The Bahamas during their infancy or minority. At 18 and until their 19th birthday they have a right to apply for Bahamian citizenship. The amendments improve upon the situation of such persons. The amendments confer a status of “belonger” upon such natives, enabling these children to enjoy a legal right to remain in The Bahamas, to attend school, college or university as if they were full citizens of The Bahamas. Additionally, such persons may work without obtaining a work permit. The only right not enjoyed by them is the right to vote. These salutary changes to the law of immigration will benefit literally thousands of Haitian nationals enabling them to open bank accounts and to participate in the formal economy of The Bahamas. For this laudatory achievement the Petitioners defame us, the magnanimous Bahamian people.”

Continuing, Minister Gomez noted, “Far from fascism or Nazism, we seek the embrace of our brothers and sisters born in our midst to foreigners who made varying degrees of contributions to our development. Many of these people are of Haitian descent but many also are of other nationalities and ethnicity. Many of these people are poor but some of these people are well to do or rich. We seek the inclusion of all of their talents recognizing that The Bahamas benefits by that inclusiveness more than it loses.

“Madam President and distinguished Commissioners, we in The Bahamas have faced illegal migration for longer than we have enjoyed independence. Throughout this experience, we have extended Christian charity to the weakest amongst us: infants, children, young persons, the aged, the sick and the infirm. We have provided schools and education even granting it as a legal right irrespective of the immigration status of the child. We have provided health care irrespective of persons’ immigration status and we have done so for among other things to promote public health and to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Our history of inclusion is now being questioned in spite of consistent public statements from the Ministers of Immigration, Education, Health and Social Services. This Bahamian tradition is questioned in the face of publicly disclosed expenditure and budgetary data which demonstrates the commitment of The Bahamas to the creation of a democratic, great and socially fair society.”

He added, “There is no threat to any child in the school system that he or she will be deprived of an education while within The Bahamas. Nor is there any threat to any immigrant that he or she will be denied medical care. Simply there is no basis for the defamatory Petition brought by the Petitioners.”

 

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DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SPEAKS ABOUT THE BEC BLACKOUT

03/22/15 1:43 PM

brave_addressPhilip Brave Davis
PRESS RELEASE
MINISTRY OF WORKS AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Statement on Weekend Blackouts

On the afternoon of Friday, 13th March 2015, New Providence experienced island wide power outages. I am advised that this happened as a result of a series of events at the Blue Hills Power Station. In the first instance, a 33,000 volt generator cable faulted, resulting in damages to a number of cables and a fire in a cable trench.

I first take this opportunity to thank customers across New Providence for their patience during this most difficult time. I am fully aware of the inconveniences homes and businesses wrought as a result of the outages that this past weekend. I also assure the public that Government is doing its part in fulfilling its commitment to not only reduce the cost of electricity but to also improve the delivery of services by BEC.
I would be remiss, though, if I do not express profound thanks to the employees of BEC whose efforts diligent efforts immediately began the restoration process. I commend them for their dedication and hard work. When I visited the facility on Saturday, I noted that, in some instances, employees worked straight through the night and into the following day so as to carry out the necessary repairs and to bring customers back on line. Supplies to 40% of the customer base was restored by Friday Night/Saturday morning, and the restoration efforts continued until all supplies were restored by Sunday afternoon. It was a team effort involving both management and line staff and for this I am truly grateful.

I note commentary by various media houses relative to this most unfortunate incident. Having personally visited the site and having discussed the matter with BEC’s management and technical staff, I am satisfied that the fault did not occur as a result of negligence by employees, and it is regrettable that any intimation to that effect was ever issued.

Hon. Philip E. Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister
17th March 2015

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SUCCESSFUL ACTION IN ABACO

03/22/15 1:42 PM

Communication by Fred Mitchell MP

House of Assembly

18th March 2015

Nassau, The Bahamas

On Operations In Abaco

 

abaco_sucessFollowing on a report that 60 people believed to be from Haiti slipped in undetected into Abaco and without visas in the early hours of 12th March, a period of more intensive checks has been mounted in Abaco by the Department of Immigration beginning today.

 

Immigration officers were transported by HMBS Nassau this morning to Marsh Harbour and began immigration checks assisting the local immigration force.  The Department of Immigration is supported by the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is also on standby for support.

 

The operations will unfold over several days.

 

Wednesday 18 March
abaco_sucess2The Department of Immigration continues its interdiction exercise in Abaco in search of the 60 or so migrants believed to have entered The Bahamas illegally on 12 March form Haiti,

 

Forty seven people have been detained thus far are to be brought back to Nassau.

 

There was on incident in which a Bahamian citizen has been charged with attempting  to assault immigration officers with a knife.  he was charged in the magistrate’s court in March Harbour with an offence.

 

The Officers on the scene report that the cooperation of the people of Abaco has been excellent notwithstanding the incident and the checks will continue.

 

The operations are expected to continue throughout the month.

 

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS RESPONDING TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

03/22/15 1:42 PM

20 MARCH 2015

 An officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been tasked with responding to the allegations made in a letter delivered to the Ministry by Amnesty International.  The queries in the letter have now turned up in a press release by that organization. 

 We say generally that the allegations contained in the letter and in the press release are a rehash of the same allegations from other human rights organizations.  They are not well grounded in the facts.

 There are material errors in their press statement.

 There is in the ministry’s view no need to clarify any aspects of the policy to them.  Everything about the policy is in the public domain and is pellucidly clear.

 —

55 illegal migrants were detained in Abaco on 19th March and are now in Nassau awaiting repatriation to their home country. The numbers including three women with their children who are detained at a safe house in Nassau separate from the others who are at the Detention Centre.

 

 

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THE WORK OF THE MISSIONS ABROAD

03/22/15 1:42 PM

Bahamas High Commission, London

HE Eldred Bethel, Ambassador of The Bahamas to France, participated in the inaugural evening of “La Maison des Bahamas” The Bahamas Pop Up Store in Paris on Tuesday 17 March 2015. Commenting on the event, Ambassador Bethel stated that, “…the Pop Up Store was transformed into a beautiful Bahamian island setting and made one feel as if they were on a Bahamian island!”

In attendance on the inaugural evening were members of the French trade and public press alongside Mr. Anthony Stuart, Director – Europe, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

“La Maison des Bahamas” is the first of its kind in Europe and the innovative marketing event designed by Karin Mallet Gautier, Area Manager of The Bahamas Tourist Office and their communications agency in France.

Visitors are invited to this characteristically Bahamian space where they can discover all of the aspects of tourism in The Bahamas through film, photography, arts and crafts exhibitions and Bahamian specialties. Guests will also enjoy a nail bar and discover the Paris-Bahamas cosmetic products, enjoy a Goombay Smash at the bar and have access to special offers from travel partners for a future trip to The Bahamas.

The Bahamas Pop Up Store will be open in heart of Paris, 14/16 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau – 75001, from 17 to 22 March 2015.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following his address to a committee of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, during which he emphasized TheBahamas Government’s commitment to values such as morality, trust and ethics in Government, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez is pictured in the foyer of the OAS main building on 17th Street, N.W., with His Excellency Wilfred Elrington (left), Belize Minister for Foreign Affairs, and His Excellency Nestor Mendez (second from right), Belize Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the OAS. At right is Miss Krissy Hanna, Second Secretary, Embassy of The Bahamas. Ambassador Mendez was elected as the next Assistant Secretary-General of the OAS during a Special General Session of the 34-member hemispheric organization on Wednesday, March 18. He will assume office on July 12.

mission_washington

 

 

 

HAVANA – On The Case of Jamaric Greene

 

Communication to the House of Assembly

By Fred Mitchell MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

On The Case of Jamaric Greene

18th March 2015

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Mr. Speaker on 13 March 2015 there was a report in The Tribune by Rashad Rolle which addressed the complaints of the wife of Jamaric Green who is incarcerated in Cuba. He is a Bahamian citizen. Mrs. Antonia Green is quoted as saying the following: that letters were written to the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Foreign Affairs seeking their help.

 

The story then quotes her as saying: “I can’t believe your spouse could have been arrested and convicted of a crime in another country and no one from the government would make the effort to at least sit down with you and address your questions.”

 

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time that this matter has been addressed by me following on inquiries from the press. Earlier I indicated to them that the narrative that was being told was not correct. The narrative persists however and so I am now going to provide the House with the full report of this matter from our Ambassador in Havana.

 

It reads as follows:

 

The Embassy of The Bahamas in Havana, Cuba is fully aware of the case of Mr. Jamaric Charmon Green, as well as familiar with Mr. Green, as an Inmate.

 

During my tenure as Ambassador, over the past two years, our Embassy has paid Consular Visits to Mr. Green and all Bahamian inmates practically every month, which includes some visits by the Ambassador.

 As recently as 3 March 2015, Mr. Green along with other Bahamian Inmates received a Consular visit at the La Condesa Penitentiary, in Guiness, Mayabeque Province, when he was visited by Consul Saunders, Attache Carey and Dr. Armenteros.

 

During the aforementioned Visit, Mr. Green appeared to be in good spirits and good health. He made no complaints during said visit.

 

His wife, Mrs. Antonia Ferguson Green paid a visit to the Embassy, two days later on 5 March 2015. Ambassador Adams met with Mrs. Green for at least an hour, discussing all matters of her husband’s incarceration since the time he was here in Cuba.  Additionally, she took the time to meet with their daughter, (name redacted) and to counsel about how to deal with her father’s absence, to study her Spanish at the (name redacted) School in Stapledon Gardens and to prepare to be able to speak Spanish with

her father when he returns to the Bahamas.

 

One of Mrs. Green’s primary concerns, was that her husband felt that when he along with the others were initially detained in Camaguey, that they were not visited by the Embassy personnel.

 

Dr. Armenteros (an attaché at the embassy) informed me that he accompanied Consul Eugene Newry, on a Consular Visit to Camaguey to meet with Mr. Green and the three other detainees on Thursday, April 12, 2012. At that time, they met with them personally as well as with the prosecutor of the case and the Lt. Col. Director of

the Penitentiary, who informed them about the facts and the ongoing investigations of their case.

 

Subsequently, Mr. Green and the other inmates were brought into the room, where they had an opportunity to explain to everybody the facts surrounding the circumstances of how they arrived in the inland waters of Camaguey.

 

Consul Newry and Dr. Armenteros arrived at the Prison for the meeting at 9:00 a.m. and departed at 2:00 p.m.

 

On 12 October 2012 at 9:00 a.m. the four inmates were scheduled to appear for trial at the Provincial Court in Camaguey. Unfortunately, officials from the Embassy were not able to be present at that time. However, it must be noted that even if they were present, they would not have been allowed to make any intervention, nor assist them in any way, as their Public Defender assumed the role of full representation, before the court, on their behalf

 

Finally, please be advised of Mr. Green’s status, as recorded by the Ministry of the Interior of Cuba, as at January 2013, is as follows:

 

Name:                                    Jamaric Charmon Green

Parents:                                  Wellington and Annie Green

Age:                                       28 years

Address:                                 Dorsett Alley, # 6A off West Street,

Nassau, Bahamas

Location:                                La Condensa Penitentiary

Case No:                                151/2012

Crime:                                    Drug Trafficking

Sentence:                               18 years

Regime:                                 Severe

Date In:                                  22 February 2012

Date Out:                                27 November 2029

Entitled to Conditional

Release:                                 30 November 2020

Reduction in Sentence:        60 days (as at January 2013)

Time In:                             2 years 1 month (as January 2013)

 

Brief on Crime:                      With three other Bahamian citizens organized the transshipment of large volumes of marijuana from Jamaica to the Bahamas. The boat was damaged during the navigation at east of Cuba and they made the decision to launch the drugs into the ocean and wait for some time to ask for help. 

 

On the following day 68 packages of marijuana, with the net weight of 423.05 kilograms, arrived in the Cuban coast at Sabinal Cay, Camaguey.

 

Behaviour:                              Good behaviour and participates in educational activities

 

Health condition:                   Good

Ministry of Interior:                

January/2013

 

Sir, I am satisfied that the Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Havana, Cuba is doing all that it possible can, in the circumstances to assist not only inmate, Jamaric Chamon Green, but all of the other Bahamian Inmates under our charge.

—-

That was the report of the Ambassador. I think it speaks for itself. The embassy and the wider government stands available to assist if there is anything further that the family believes can be done. However, we are unable to neither ameliorate the sentence of the inmate nor interfere with the legal procedures of Cuba.

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Deputy Prime Minister Buries His Mother

03/22/15 1:42 PM

Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis is shown  leaving the Zion Baptist Church on Friday 20th March following the funeral service for his mother Doris Davis.  Mr. Davis is shown with his wife Ann.   The Prime Minister Perry Christie attended the service  as did the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.  The photos inside the church are by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

 

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burial_brave1 burial_brave3

dpm_motherfuneral

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HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENTS ANNOUNCED IN GBI

03/22/15 1:42 PM

 

 healthcare_GBI
Managing Director of the Public Hospitals Authority Herbert Brown points as Chairman of the Authority frank Smith, Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle, Minister for Grand Bahama Michael Darville and Minister for Health Perry Gomez look on.

Managing Director of the Public Hospitals Authority Herbert Brown points as Chairman of the Authority frank Smith, Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle, Minister for Grand Bahama Michael Darville and Minister for Health Perry Gomez look on.

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The country’s healthcare system is again being transformed as major renovations to the Rand Memorial Hospital were announced on Monday during a press conference by Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez.

With the government making National Health Insurance a priority, the Minister said those in authority must put in context infrastructural improvements at the public hospitals and community clinics.

“One key mandatory precursor to the implementation of National Health Insurance demands the achievement of a consistent standard of care across all of our public hospitals and clinics. It is against this backdrop that the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority is forging ahead with when completed, will be the most aggressive renovation and enhancement project for the Rand Memorial Hospital in history.”

The announcement of the upgrades for the Rand, he said, is proof of the government’s commitment to improving the quality of health care in the country.

When completed, it is expected the Rand Memorial Hospital will have:

- increased its capacity by 19,

- relocated and enhanced physiotherapy and occupational therapy departments;

- for the first time since the Rand became a public health facility, a new private suite will be a reality;

- there will be a state-of-the-art new infectious diseases department; and

- improved facilities for the kitchen and cafeteria in their new location at the former Island Palm Resort.

The Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. Darville added that all the outlying clinics from Sweeting’s Cay to West End have been renovated, and the PHA has hired some twenty eight (28) new physicians and additional support staff to address the manpower challenges that existed in the public healthcare system on Grand Bahama for many years.
Additionally, Minister Darville noted that the PHA has updated the fleet of vehicles for doctors and nurses in order to meet the increasing demand for home and domiciliary care services, infectious disease control and surveillance.

Furthermore, through a new Family Practice Clinic, with extended hours is now up and running at the Rand Memorial Hospital, which will shift the burden from the Accident and Emergency Department of the hospital, so that patients with more serious illnesses can get the critical care services they need without long waits.

 

 

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Letters to the editor

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In passing

Spate Of US Reports are nonsensical and inaccurate

03/22/15 1:42 PM

This week the ubiquitous and voluble United States government  released another set of intrusive, overbearing and inaccurate reports about the state of The Bahamas.  This time it was the report on money laundering.  The country with the largest  money laundering issue is the United States.  But no we won’t talk about that.  They instead attacked The Bahamas saying that although we have these money laundering laws, we don’t prosecute anyone.  The lie was put to that when the Attorney General Allyson Gibson asked them to produce the proof.   Wayne Munroe, the Queen’s Counsel, piped up that he is defending three clients now on money laundering charges  Uh oh.  Caught the U S lying on The Bahamas? Never!

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Forestry Day

03/22/15 1:42 PM

Prime Minister Christie officially opened the Ministry of the Environment and Housing’s Forestry Symposium and plants a Lignum Vitae tree at the Harry C. Moore Library 19th March

forestry

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Prime Minister To Chair Caricom/Obama Summit

03/22/15 1:42 PM

COMMUNICATION BY:

RT. HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON CARICOM SUMMIT WITH THE U.S. PRESIDENT

Nassau

18 March 2014

 

I wish to announce to the House that the Caricom Heads of Government will meet with the United States President Barak Obama in Kingston, Jamaica on 9thApril.

 I am to travel to Kingston on 8th April for the meeting, starting with preliminary talks with the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller of Jamaica who will be the host Prime Minister I will chair the summit on behalf of Caricom Heads.

 The subjects for the meeting proposed by the U S side are competiveness, national security and energy.  Our Ambassadors in Washington are working on a detailed agenda.

Following the meeting in Kingston, I will depart for the Summit of the Americas of the Organization of American States from 10th to 11th April in Panama City, Panama.

 

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More Migrants Caught In Abaco

03/22/15 1:42 PM

For immediate release

21 March 2015

 

Acting on intelligence, the RBDF intercepted a Haitian vessel off Abaco this morning around 1 a m.

 45 males and 11 females and 5 children intercepted without visas.

 They will be brought to Nassau this afternoon for repatriation.

They are now in the custody of Immigration

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Visiting The Junkanoo Carnival Factory In Freeport

03/22/15 1:42 PM

(photo and story from Bahamas Weekly)

Economic opportunities of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival for Grand Bahama

Freeport, The Bahamas – The Bahamas Weekly’s news team attended a press conference on March 20th at the Grand Bahama Cultural Carnival Committee headquarters in Freeport, where with Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville and Minster of Foreign Affairs, Fred Mitchell provided information on the progress being made building up to the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival launch to be held on the island April 17th and 18th. 

Also present at the conference was the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Bahamas National Festival Commission consultant Ginger Moxey had days earlier discussed the economic opportunities and benefits of the event for Grand Bahama Island.

 Changes At Port Lucaya: does this mean he really has the money he says he had?

The new owner of Port Lucaya, recently sold by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, to a company headed by an Englishman named Peter Hunt is being transformed.  Interesting always how these folk come to The Bahamas saying that they have all this money and expansion plans for the facility but it appears that they may not have what they said they have.  Instead of announcing expansion plans, the first thing that has been done is to cut back. Parking has been eliminated.  Signs have been put up banning children from coming there.  The musicians are no longer on the payroll.  Notices have gone out to tenants to pay up or be evicted.  That ought to inspire confidence in the operation and the future of a vibrant Grad Bahama.

 

 fm_carnival fm_carnival2

 

 

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Disciplinary Action Against The Police Staff Association

03/22/15 1:42 PM

 

dna_stand

We congratulate the Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade and his  superiors for having the courage to prosecute under disciplinary regulations those officers who joined a political march with the DNA on    13th March.    Last week, we understand they were all served summonses for their bad behavior.  The group tried to be clever by calling it a march for hope but it was really a political march with the DNA.  The officers were all dressed in the signature green shirts of the DNA and posed for pictures with the DNA leaders (see photo above).   The Association’s chairman Dwight Smith is presently interdicted on half pay for an alleged indecent assault of a female officer. 

 

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Closing the Grand Lucaya Hotel

03/22/15 1:42 PM

All around the town there is talk that the Hutchison group has had it with the losses at the Grand Lucaya Hotel in Freeport, the island’s signature property.  The talk is that if things don’t turn around  by December, they plan to shut it.  Problem ispeoplewish they would sell it to an operator who has a better sense ofhow to run ahotel and a greater feel for the people of Grand Bahama.  But the talk is the asking price is too high.

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Renaming A School Rollins Does Not Show

03/22/15 1:42 PM

eva_school

Andre Rollins, the rogue PLP MP, was in the House on Wednesday 18th March to speak on the Cooperatives Bill.  He immediately got into problem when he violated the rule on relevance and was told to sit down if he persisted.  Later on in the day, he spoke on Members’ Statements to say that his constituents had complained that the government was changing the name of the Oakes Field Primary School to the Eva Hilton School after a former headmistress without consulting with the parents, himself as MP and the wider community.   Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald denied it and the opening went ahead as planned. Mr. Rollins did not show up to the function.

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The Quote Of The Week

03/22/15 1:42 PM

Quote of the Week…..

“They even maintained that there are concentration camps in The Bahamas and compared the Detention Center to Auschwitz. These lies cannot be left unanswered. It is my solemn duty to protect the name and reputation of our people. That is the sole purpose of my attendance here today. Let not my good manners detract from the depth of outrage collectively felt by the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the defamation of our country.” Minister of State for Legal Affairs Honourable Damian Gomez QC on 20th March at eh Inter American Human Rights Commission’s  hearing brought by the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association against The Bahamas.

quote_gomez

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Bahamar Not To Open Fully

03/22/15 1:42 PM

The people at Bahamar, the mega resort on Cable Beach in New Providence,  have finally come out and admitted it.  Even though they said the date would not slip for the start 27th March,  they were speaking with forked tongue or using sleight of hand. They are only opening one hotel and it will take a full year before the entire property is open.  That’s was what they told the press last week.

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Congratulations to Greg Moss MP

03/22/15 1:42 PM

Greg Moss MP (PLP) for Marco City posted this picture and notice on his Facebook page:

moss_newborn

My lovely wife Chrystelle and I are excited to announce the birth of our daughter Grace Kristina on Friday of last week (13th March).

“For I know the thoughts I have for you saith the Lord; thoughts to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

God is good!!!

 

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