Photo of the week

Comment of the week

RESPONDING TO THE CRITICS ON THE BANK OF THE BAHAMAS

12/14/14 1:35 PM

Last week, the Comment of the Week drew a furious response from a number of commentators.  The thrust of the response was that the Bank of The Bahamas and its situation could not be compared to Scotiabank and the other Banks owned exclusively by private shareholders as we argued last week.  The critics argued that the reason the Bank of The Bahamas was in trouble was because the Bank was politically run and that loans had been given not on their commercial merit and value but on the strength of political connections.  The other distinction they argued is that the statutory exercise of the powers of the Central Bank used to save Commonwealth Bank when they ran into liquidity problems in the 1990s cannot be seen in the same light as the recent problems with the Bank of The Bahamas.

One went so far as to say that Fred Mitchell, the Member of Parliament, who has been publicly leading the fight on the issue is embarrassing himself by making those arguments.

We disagree entirely.

Let us start with the argument about the exercise of the powers of the Central Bank to bail Commonwealth Bank out of its problems.  The Central Bank Governor at the time James Smith could have said we will not help.  You got yourself in the mess, so you get yourself out of it.  They could have let the Bank sink.  A decision was taken however that because of the problem of contagion in the economy, the knock on effects, the Bank had to be saved.  A bank is not a  private institution notwithstanding the fact of private shareholders and ownership. The banks are public institutions in the sense that they are at the very centre and nerve of the ability of commerce to continue in our economy.  When a bank goes under, there can be serious disruption in the  economy, not to mention adverse credit implications overseas for the country itself.  It was a mistake to allow Gulf Union Bank to go under.

The decision to save Commonwealth Bank therefore was an economic one but it was also a political one because imagine the disaster for a Government if Commonwealth Bank had gone under during Hubert Ingraham’s term.

Now to the Bank of the Bahamas.  The loans granted to  the companies were granted on business plans.  Those plans looked feasible in economic terms.  Plans often do.  If you remember the days when Atlantis had just come on-stream, the feeling in this country was that  money could never done.  Anything people put their hands on was turning to gold.  Proposals were analyzed in that light and bankers are just as much victims to the psychology of the market as anyone else.  The Canadian Banks  like CIBC, Finco, RBC and Scotiabank are all suffering today because they pushed credit through the system. It made the numbers look good.  They made great profits.  What they did not count on or remember is the story of Joseph in the Bible: the seven lean years and the seven years of plenty.  Life no matter what we think is cyclical and there will be a down turn, the answer is only when.

That when came about in 2008.  The loans went south along with the economy.  That did not just affect the Bank of The Bahamas but every Bank in this country with the exception of Commonwealth Bank that specializes in consumer loans to customers at exorbitant rates.  Everyone has taken a hit and all are continuing to suffer.

The conventional wisdom was that the Canadian Banks had weathered the worst of it, because they took the provisioning early and they were back on the mend paying dividends.  Turns out that is not the case and further provisioning has been announced over the past months and Finco says it will stop paying dividends.  The Bank of the Bahamas is in that crowd of other banks, no more no less.

The Board that made the loans complained of, was appointed under the FNM.  The Board appointed under the PLP made one mistake only and that is rather than letting go, they decided to try and work without help to keep the borrowers projects alive and also to save the bank.  That may have been a misjudgment because on strict banking terms they should have let the projects go earlier.  However, management is discretionary and if it had worked they would have been heroes.

People keep saying who should be fired for this.  The entire Board under the FNM is now gone.  The two persons on the Board appointed  by the PLP who tried to save the loans are also now gone.  The man responsible for credit decisions is now gone, although none of this was their fault.  The Managing Director who people want to go had no role in credit decisions.   The moves  now announced by the Central Bank and the monies put into the Bank by the government should help to save it.

From a public policy point of view, the issue is again contagion.  If this Bank goes under what will be the knock on effects on the bank.

To those critics who have plenty to say, we have a couple of words of advice.  Sometimes as smart as you are, it really is better strategically to keep quiet.  No one needs to know how smart you are on every subject and particularly when it involves allies of yours.  Strategically say nothing.  The party line on this one is the bank needs to be saved and we cannot create a psychological climate where  people think that the Bank is going to go under.  Talking bad about the bank can undermine its reputation and cause a run on the bank which will create worst problems.  That is what P J Patterson faced when the housing bubble in Jamaica burst.  Mama used to say: you tell some and keep some.  The critics can share their concerns but leave those concerns in the private domain.  The Bank must be saved.

Secondly, the Bank of the Bahamas must be given credit as the only Bank in the country that tried to help Bahamian entrepreneurs, as close as we have come to a venture capital Bank.  Not a good thing  in economic terms but sound public policy given the paucity of alternatives available from Canadian capital.  Interestingly enough the Canadian Banks are now blaming the Bahamian credit managers for pushing the credit and causing today’s problems when in fact it was the Canadians who pushed the Bahamians to give out loose money.

Bottom line: there is plenty of blame all around on all fronts.  The fact is the Bank of the Bahamas is no different from the issues which face the privately owned Banks: it’s the economy stupid.  We stand by that and no we are not embarrassed at all to say so.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 13th December 2014 up to midnight:564,631;

Number of hits for the month of December up to Saturday 13th December 2014 up to midnight:1,027,755;

Number of hits for the year 2014 up to Saturday 13th December 2014 up to midnight:14,880,700.

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Editorial

FOREIGN AFFAIRS BILL IS TABLED AND PASSED IN THE HOUSE

12/16/14 10:14 AM

fmitchellNassau, Bahamas – Intervention by Fred Mitchell MP, Member of Parliament for Fox Hill and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration in the House of Assembly delivered on Wednesday, 10th December 2014:

It is my honour to be able to present the legislation which I hope will govern the Foreign Service for the next generation and beyond.

Paula Tynes is ill; very ill. I wish her a speedy recovery. She is a great help to her husband Maurice.

I wish to say a word of thanks to the MP for Elizabeth for his service to the Cabinet.   Public Service is difficult. I don’t want people to put more on this than it is. This is an economic decision and everyone in here should understand that. We have inherited a broken system where MPs are hobbled in their work and it needs fixing. In this climate, there is no support for it. So we may live and leave yet another generation disabled by public service, left impecunious and down on their luck in death if we do not fix it. It is a rare thing to be a son serving in your father’s footsteps. I wish him well.

(I recall) the story of my first visit to Stuart Manor with George Smith and how the man (a constituent) said “I have done everything you asked of me and what more do you want for me to do. I gave you my children and my wife and all I ask is the road in Stuart Manor to be fixed. ”

The young officers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been waiting and are entitled to say “what more do you want from us?”Many are serving overseas and going fast into penury. (I also recall) the story of L. B. Johnson who was left stripped of everything because he served this country as ambassador overseas. This is my attempt to stop that from happening to another generation.

What is a foreign minister’s job?Yesterday we were in Cuba and spoke to the Haitian government and we expect a visit from the Haitian foreign Minister. We are watching political events in Haiti and there appears to be fast breaking developments there. We are always sensitive to political instability there.

We had a good meeting with the President of Cuba yesterday. Interesting bit of history told to us on the Flamingo. The President apologized for the sinking of the Flamingo, calling it a tragic mistake about which he was deeply embarrassed.

The Minister’s job is to foster good neighborliness.

Good relations with all countries around us. The US is our main trading and commercial partner and the country with which we have the closest ties.

Right now we have the talks in this generation of securing our borders. National security both inside and from outside threats is job one. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our neighbours.

This (piece of legislation) in fact creates for the first time a foreign service.

We are still not there yet in the sense that the foreign service in this legislation is a carve out of the public service but I believed that after years of wrangling over this subject we needed to make a beginning.

Today then I am proud to move the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bill 2014 which proposes to do what its long title says and that is provide for the continuation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the continuation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs as a Corporation sole; the establishment of a Department of Foreign Affairs; the appointment of a Director General in the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Administration and regulation of the Foreign Service; the repeal of Chapter 24 and for connected matters.

So today we are seeking to pass this bill to create a foreign service for the first time as a discrete part of the public service with its own rules, promotion procedures and governance and the allowances and benefit to which diplomats are entitled when they serve overseas or at home.

It creates some landmarks: the first of which is it creates for the first time a foreign service bill.

The Foreign Service in clause 6 is a disciplined force and therefore is not subject to the structures of the labour laws of the country as it relates to industrial action.

It creates a Department of Foreign Affairs for the first time in Clause 7 and the Office of Director General.

It establishes in Clause 10 a Foreign Service Committee in Clause 10 which Committee is to advice the Permanent Secretary and the Prime Minister and the Public Service Commission on grievances, disciplinary actions, and the appeals process in relation to an appointment and review remuneration and allowances.

In Clauses 11 and 12 the Governor General is empowered to make regulations governing the Foreign Service to be known as Foreign Service Orders.

We have circulated the draft orders and the Opposition was briefed by Foreign Affairs last week on Tuesday at the House of Assembly led by the Leader of the Opposition.

In Clause 14, the Minister may make regulations for the issuance of visas.

Those draft visa regulations are also done and have been laid before Parliament. It is proposed that they come into force on 1st February 2015.

The powers and the duties of the Director General are laid out in schedule pursuant to Clause 7 (6)

In moving the bill I would like to give a brief history of how this has come about and to thank those generally and some specifically who were responsible for making this possible.

I shall also go through each of the provisions of the act clause by clause.

I shall also address the financial implications of the bill and the coming into force of the orders.

I hope also to address some of the timely foreign affairs issues of the day.

The story of these Foreign Service orders begins way back in 1989 when the late Paul Adderley was the Minister. It has been a lot of work done since that day to come to this day.

I wish to pay tribute to all my predecessors.

I wish to thank the Permanent Secretary Philip Miller of his leadership in bringing this to its conclusion. He was joined by a team of young officers all of whom are in their twenties who crafted the initial drafts. There were senior officers who joined them. I wanted the younger officers to design these orders because these orders are to serve them and their careers far into the future. They are in fact setting the professional rules that will govern themselves and the generation after them.

The names of the people who worked on this current version:

Deputy Permanent Secretary Freddie Tucker
First Assistant Secretary Eugene Newry

First Assistant Secretary Kerry Bonamy

First Assistant Secretary Frank Davis

Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour

The Core team of the Foreign Service Orders comprised:

Assistant Secretary(Acting) Krissy Hanna

Administrative Cadet Marjorie Julien

Administrative Cadet Mikhail Bullard

The former Ministers of Foreign Affairs/External Affairs

The Right Honourable Sir Lynden Pindling

Minister of External Affairs 1969-1973

Senator the Honourable Paul L. Adderley

Minister of External Affairs and Attorney General 1973-1983

Minister of Foreign Affairs 1983-1984

Honourable Clement T. Maynard

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister of Tourism and Minister of Foreign Affairs 1984-1989

Minister ofForeign Affairs and Public Personnel1990-1992

Honourable Edward Charles Carter

Minister of Foreign Affairs 1989-1990

Sir Orville Turnquest

Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs 1992-1994

Honourable Janet Bostwick

Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs 1994-2002

Minister of Foreign Affairs 2001-2002

Honourable T. Brent Symonette

Minister of Foreign Affairs

2007-2012

Honourable Frederick A. Mitchell

Minister of Foreign Affairs 2002 -2007

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration 2012- Present

We pledged in there PLP platforms to bring into force foreign service orders.

The Charter for Governance highlights that the present PLP Government will:

Introduce Foreign Service orders and established a Foreign Service Commission for the professional development of The Bahamas Foreign Service;

Introduce a sustained recruitment and training programme in Foreign Service to attract the brightest and best the nation has to offer through the establishment of a School of Politics and International Affairs at the University of The Bahamas;

Establish a balance between the appointment of political and career Ambassadors and Heads of Missions to ensure the professional development and promotion availability of career Foreign Service Officers.

At present, The Bahamas has twelve overseas missions:

The Bahamas Embassy,Washington D. C. USA
The Bahamas Embassy Consular Annex, Washington D. C, USA
The Bahamas Embassy, Havana, Cuba
The Bahamas Embassy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
The Bahamas Embassy, Beijing, China
The Bahamas High Commission, London, U. K.
The Bahamas High Commission, Ottawa, Canada
The Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York, NY
The Bahamas Consulate General, New York, NY
The Bahamas Consulate General, Miami Florida
The Bahamas Consulate General, Atlanta, Georgia
The Bahamas Permanent Mission to the UN
and other International Organizations, Geneva, Switzerland

In keeping with the Government’s mandate in the Charter for Governance the Missions in Beijing and Geneva are headed by career Foreign Service Officers.

I now wish to take the House through the clauses in the bill and some salient features in the orders.

It is proposed that the bill and the orders come into force on 22nd December. The calculation is some 2 million dollars in costs, which were already budgeted. No extra budgeting is required. The Ministry of Finance was part of the negotiations. People in the service have been living below standard and in penury and these allowances have not been adjusted since 1990s.

I wish to touch on the matters raised with regard to immigration in particular comments made by Fred Smith QC and Daphne Campbell, a Florida state legislation.

No meeting was ever scheduled for Daphne Campbell contrary to what she asserts. Before her press conference in which she called for a boycott of The Bahamas, the consulate in Miami reached out to her to disabuse her of the nonsense she was parroting to no avail. She has since been told after writing for a meeting that unless she withdraws her remarks and apologizes for them, there will be no meeting.

With regard to Fred Smith, he should learn to read. There is no policy which this government proposes which will require in law Bahamians to carry identity documents. You are all aware however that passports are a requirement of every modern state and the Bahamas is no different. Our measures are administrative and in no way infringe on the human or civil rights of anyone. He says he is taking legal action based on the fact of a mandatory identity document. He will in fact be going to court if he does – based on a fiction; a figment of his imagination.

For him to suggest otherwise is unbalanced lunacy and he should withdraw his slander of the Immigration department.

Imagine a Bahamian accusing the Immigration Department of “ethnic cleansing”. That is a crime against humanity. Is he mad? Has he taken leave of his senses? Where is the evidence?

 
( Since that time he has gone on to compare the detention to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. I have called this a criminal libel.)

Then there is the plethora of stories in the press about abuse? Remember now up until last week, there was not one single story about abuse. But isn’t it interesting that as soon as all the political parties congratulate the Department for their professionalism – suddenly there is an avalanche of stories about abuse. 

The interesting thing about them all is that each of those who complain is here illegally. One claimed she was Bahamian is not in fact Bahamian and the policy that is now being implemented (is intended) to solve the problem of no status. 

This is an interesting time. You have some people who have called up and said that we have lost our country to foreigners and they are glad the government is doing something to get our country back. That is the overwhelming sentiment. Then you have those who have hatched a vast conspiracy the ingredients of which we are somehow trying to target particular groups for elimination. 

The activist and some of the nationals of those groups specialize in creating victimhood as the means to sabotage the policy. There are genuine concerns and there will be anxiety but for the life of me how getting a passport of your nationality and a status which gives you the right to live and work here is so frightening and profound is beyond me. 

I said to someone who wrote me about abuse claims:in it the note said that before the matter gets to the international press we need to do something. I have a simple view. This is an open and transparent society. If anyone has a claim of any kind against any public official then you have several ways to deal with it: the press, the courts, the police and the department of immigration itself. There is nothing to hide and the truth will out. I am not afraid of the truth. 

Every immigration officer knows the standard for their conduct in the exercise of their duty: reasonable suspicion. There is no true Bahamian that will not support the efforts to ensure that our borders are secure. Those who do not have the right to live and work in The Bahamas must go home. 

There was a time when Americans and Canadians could waltz right into the Bahamas without a passport. That time has gone. You now have to have a passport. That is a universal standard. 

No other national group has complained about this (other) than our neighbours to the south or their representatives. The irony is most who are here have work permits and many already have passports. The same documents which they require to get citizenship or permanent residents of The Bahamas they need to get a Haitian passport. The Haitian government has indicated they will look at adjusting the price point of the passport. 

I would only say to the advocates of that community here: be proud of who you are. There is no intrinsic disgrace in being Haitian and no need to hide your identity. This is especially important for children. All that counts in this life is the content of your character. You are the descendants of Christophe and Toussaint and Dessalines. That is the real issue here, pride in yourself and not self hatred. Self hatred is a cruel thing and we must all in our lifetimes seek to rise above it. 

But national pride does not excuse breaking the law. The two are two different things. Everyone in this country is bound to follow the law without exception. 

I am once again asking all national groups to comply with the regulations and not be led astray by those who say they are for you but might just be looking for legal work at your expense. 

I am going to lay on the table the copy of the lecture which I delivered called What It Means to be Bahamian. It was the Pindling Lecture delivered on 5th May 2003. My views have not changed but I am not the Minister of Social commentary. I am the Minister of Immigration. The rules are what they are and the rules will be enforced. 

I am concerned that these statements by certain activists are being done to feed appetites for human rights reports which accept hyperbole and inaccuracies uncritically. They lack common sense and are misdirected. 

There is a need for public diplomacy in social media and apologies for the lack of response to calls and correspondence. The website has been recovered. Soon will be up and running. We are hiring new staff. There is an annual recruitment of at least five new officers per year. The Ministry has to become more sensitive and responsive to its public environment. We in the political directorate must become more sensitive and responsive to the needs of the careers of the officers that we send out to defend our country overseas. 

The call to patriotism:Explain the logic of immigration not showing up for work. One officer was hurt in an interdiction last Wednesday morning (3rd December) with cuts over the eye and nose. A police car was also damaged during an immigration check this morning. 

This is not easy work. It is dangerous work. We shall be moving into Abaco and Eleuthera and Exuma shortly. Thanks to the RBDF and RBPF

Thanks to the Immigration Department for its work. Right now here are the figures at the Detention Centre as of last week:

254 in the detention centre
177 Haitian
33 Cubans
20 Jamaicans
7 Dominicans
2 French’
2 Venezuelans
1 Ghana
1 Nigerian
1 St. Lucian
1 Eritrean
1 Ecuadorian
1 Kenyan
3 Chinese
2 Hondurans
1 Guyanese
1 Dominica

My view is that Foreign Affairs is to provide a seamless experience for Bahamians crossing borders whether for tourism, business or education. 

Why the visa rules. 

The current mode of visa requests and processing is based on a compendium of policies and common practices with the exception of an Act (Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Consular Services) (fees) Rules, 1989) stipulating consular fees which has not been amended since 1989

The objective of having visa rules/regulations is to formalize and harmonize the acceptance, processing, approval, denial and the appeal process involved in issuing visas, additionally ensuring that a standard visa application form will be used by all entities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs imbued with the authority of visa issuance, such as its embassies and consulates abroad. 

In summary then I wish to thank my colleagues for their support of this new chapter in the life of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I thank the Prime Minister for this appointment. I commend the bill to the House. And I so move. 

Additional statistics

BAHAMAS IMMIGRATION STATISTICS
JANUARY –NOVEMBER 1ST 2014

Foreign National Repatriated (Jan-Nov1st 2014)

Haitians———————-2,852
Other Nationals———————567
Grand Total————————3,419

Foreign Persons Repatriated (Jan-December 2013)
Haitians———————-3,033
Other Nationals—————835
Grand Total———3,868

Haitians interdicted at sea Jan –November 1st 2014—1,660

Haitians interdicted at sea January- December 2013—–1,550

Cost of Repatriation (Air Direct)
1st January 2014 to 30th June 2014—–$963, 977. 45
1st July 2014 to September 12th 2014—–$245, 450. 00

Grand Total———–$1, 209, 427. 45

The Department intends to continue its operations in every Island and districts of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in ensuring that who does not have a legal right to reside or work in the Bahamas will be arrested and deported. 

November 1st 2014 the Enforcement unit with assistance of the Royal Bahamas Police Force continued its operation mainly in the Carmichael Road area. A total of 77 persons were apprehended inclusive of Chinese, Filipinos, Jamaicans and Haitians. 

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PM OF HAITI RESIGNS

12/14/14 8:07 PM

As part of a compromise to bring political peace to Haiti, the Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has resigned.

This follows weeks of street protest in Haiti. The fear is that Haiti is headed toward social disorder again and the knock refugee problems for The Bahamas

datauri-file

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THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS BY ELCOTT COLEBY

12/14/14 1:38 PM

THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (8 – 12 DEC 2014)

BY ELCOTT COLEBY

 

elcottPrime Minister Christie at CARICOM-Cuba Summit

On the eve of his ascension to the chairmanship of CARICOM, Prime Minister Christie led a ministerial delegation to Havana, Cuba on Sunday to attend the fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit. These summits are held every three years and the locale alternates between a CARICOM country and Cuba with the last meeting being held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2011.

 

Rounding out the delegation were Hon. Ryan Pinder, Financial Services Minister; Hon. Khaalis Rolle, State Minister for Investment and Hon. Fred Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister who joined the delegation in Havana on Monday.

 

Trade dominated the discussions generally with the Prime Minister pledging The Bahamas’ support for ending the trade embargo against Cuba; thanking Cuba for its frontline fight against Ebola, its continued support for special education and its support for health care, especially the miracle eye project that benefitted hundreds of Bahamian afflicted with eye diseases.

 

Prime Minister Christie also highlighted the need for route expansion for both flag carriers, Bahamasair and Cubana to facilitate trade between the two countries and the need for our countries to invest in the genius, talent and creativity of our people through greater collaboration and investment in the development of culture and sports.

 

On the issue of trade and bilateral trade agreements, the Prime Minister said that “in 2008, Cuba exported over $8million worth of products to The Bahamas, meaning cement and other such things; that is now reduced to $148,000 and so this significant area of trading is being addressed by us because we are about to sign agreements, phyto-sanitary agreements, to deal with plant and animals, being able to examine the agricultural produce produced here (Cuba) and import them to The Bahamas as we are doing with Haiti.”

 

Before returning home on Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister met with Cuban President Raul Castro for just over one hour.

 READ MORE.

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MITCHELL ADDRESSES HONORARY CONSULAR LUNCHEON

12/14/14 1:38 PM

lunchoen

The following remarks were made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the annual Honourary Consular Corp Luncheon held on Thursday 11th December at the Lyford Cay Club.:
fmlunchREMARKS BY THE HONORABLE FREDERICK MITCHELL, 
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND IMMIGRATION
AT THE HONORARY CONSULAR CORPS LUNCHEON
LYFORD CAY CLUB, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Illegal immigration has been one of the three greatest priorities of The Bahamas in this year; the other two being crime and the protection of the environment.

In dealing with immigration on the international front, a Memorandum of Understanding between The Bahamas and the IOM was signed during the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this past September.

The Memorandum of Understanding contains the following elements:

(i) the conduct of relevant research and studies on migration in the country;
(ii) the strengthening of migration management which includes measures to facilitate regular migration and to address irregular migration;
(iii) the identification and development of appropriate measures to assist and protect vulnerable migrants;
(iv) the mainstreaming of migration into the development plan and the exploration of potential collaboration in activities related to the UN Post-Development Goals;
(v) the enhancement of disaster risk reduction and resilience due to climate change and environmental challenges which lead to the movement of population;
(vi) the pursuit of informal intra-regional dialogue on migration in the Caribbean.

Further, the IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson, visited The Bahamas in November and reiterated the IOM’s support for regional cooperation in combatting irregular migration and smuggling.

There were also discussions on the Advance Voluntary Repatriation and Reintegration Programme and on The Bahamas’ role in a Regional Consultative Process to exchange views and best practices on migration management in the region.

On the domestic front, the Immigration Department has been improving its capacity to deal with the problem of the illegal influx of migrants into The Bahamas.

On 30th June 2014, the Department commenced the training of fifty-three recruits, forty-three in Nassau and ten in Freeport.

The officers were taken through a vigorous program which saw them being taught the various aspects of the application of the Immigration Act; and understanding how the different sections of the Department function. They were also introduced to physical training, as well as military drilling.

On the 5th November, 2014, they were graduated and are now deployed in the Enforcement Unit, at the Detention Centre, and at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

The 1st November, 2014 saw the implementation of a new Immigration Policy which requires that all persons born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents must be in possession of a passport of their Nationality. Additionally, with this Policy came the introduction of the Resident Belonger’s Permit.

This new permit would allow persons born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents to have continuous legal status until they have had a decision on their application for registration as Bahamian citizens.

As regards crime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been active on the international front. On 25 September 2014, The Bahamas became one of the first 50 countries to ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty which aims to regulate the international trade in conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons.

The Bahamas’ instrument of ratification was deposited at the United Nations on that day.

As a result of the achievement of 50 ratifications, the treaty will enter into force on the 24th of December 2014.

It is expected that support and commitment to this international instrument, particularly among countries of the region, will redound to the benefit of our communities, individually and collectively, as a result of stricter weapons control which will complement our national efforts to fight crime.

Regarding the pernicious activity of trafficking in persons, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, paid The Bahamas a visit earlier this year.

In her report to the Human Rights Council in June, she highlighted the deficiencies which exist in The Bahamas with respect to trafficking in persons, particularly the treatment of perpetrators and the registering and protection of victims.

The Government has committed to act on these recommendations in the coming year.

During the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly this past September, the Prime Minister delivered a statement on climate change at the UN Secretary General’s Summit.

He said that “The Bahamas calls therefore for a sufficiently ambitious, comprehensive and inclusive, legally binding framework, with commitments strong enough to reverse present upward emission trends.”

He also indicated that sustainable concessionary funding for countries such as The Bahamas should not be denied on the basis of skewed indices such as GDP, that do not account for our vulnerability as a Small Island Developing State.

Additionally, The Bahamas currently chairs the ‘Save our Sharks Coalition’ in New York and is working to promote healthy oceans and seas generally, and more specifically, the expansion of the “blue economy” through shark conservation and the establishment of shark sanctuaries throughout the world.

Throughout the course of this year, The Bahamas participated in a number of international fora such as:

The 2nd CELAC Summit in Havana, Cuba, on 25th-29th January, 2014; the 3rd CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Merida, Mexico, on 29th April, 2014; the 6th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States in Merida, Mexico, on 30th April, 2014; the 8th UK-Caribbean Forum in London 15th -16th June 2014; the 35th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of State and Government in Antigua and Barbuda on 1st – 4th July; the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States, in Apia, 1st – 4th September 2014; the 8th China, Latin America and Caribbean Business Summit held from 12th to 13th September; the CARICOM-Japan Summit, held in Tokyo Japan from the 13th to the 14th November; and most recently, the 5th CARICOM-Cuba in Havana, Cuba, on 8th December.

During this past year, The Bahamas opened the new Maritime Office of the Bahamas Maritime Authority in Athens, Greece and during our inaugural diplomatic week in October, from the 19th to the 25th The Bahamas launched its candidature for re-election to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation, under Category “C”, the election for which is to take place in November 2015. The Bahamas took the opportunity of a large foreign contingent during the Diplomatic Week 2014 to launch this action.

As regards to Technical Cooperation and Assistance, Bahamian students and professionals continued to rely on the Ministry’s Technical Assistance Unit for information and guidance on international education and training opportunities and in this year alone Bahamians have been offered opportunities in countries such as China, Cuba, Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Turkey, Israel and Malta.

The number of Bahamian recipients of Chinese scholarships has increased significantly this year. In addition to the 18 recipients named in August, an additional 19 Bahamian students visited China in October and November. Twelve of these students are pursuing a master’s in Public Diplomacy in Changchun, Jilin province and 7 students are at Beijing Normal University studying for an MBA. In addition, this year 38 Bahamians participated in short-term courses offered by the Chinese government.

Ladies and Gentlemen this has been a good year for The Bahamas in regards to its foreign relations and your support in this has been crucial.

I therefore thank you, the members of the Diplomatic and Honorary Consular Corps for your support in our inaugural Diplomatic Week and in your general work of maintaining good relations between The Bahamas and the countries that you represent.

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RYAN PINDER RESIGNS

12/14/14 1:35 PM

ryanpinder_resigns

(Photo of Minister Khaalis Rolle, Ryan Pinder and Fred Mitchell in Cuba on what will probably turn out to be Ryan Pinder’s last trip officially as a Minister of the government overseas on Tuesday 8th December.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

 

Ryan Pinder, the Minister of Financial Services, has indicated to the Prime Minister Perry Christie that he intends to resign from ministerial office at the end of the year.  This is a sad development for the government.  It loses one of its smartest and most dynamic and imaginative members at a  crucial time in the life of the administration.  That was the news which greeted MPs as they returned to work at the House on Wednesday 10th December.   The immediate question and speculation from friend and foe alike was why.  The easy and truthful answer is economics.  The country is determined not to give proper attention to the issue of the level of benefits and compensation that it gives Members of Parliament.  A limited set of reforms suggested by a House Select Committee on Benefits and Allowances was rejected because of a hue and cry raised in the public domain.  What will continue to happen is that people will come to public life attracted to serve but find out that they will go broke in the process.  If you have a  young family, the best you can do  is be a backbencher and hope that if you are on the right side you can parlay that into the income which is required to keep you going.  It is merciless. Fred Mitchell MP when he spoke to the issue on the moving of the request for a select committee to investigate the matter remembered his maternal cousin Sammy Isaacs who was impoverished as a result of serving one term as a Member of the House of Assembly from 1956 to 1962.  In speaking to the issue of Mr. Pinder’s resignation, he said this on Wednesday 10th December: “We have inherited a broken system where MPs are hobbled in their work and it needs fixing. In this climate, there is no support for it. So we may live and leave yet another generation disabled by public service, left impecunious and down on their luck in death if we do not fix it.” 

 

We agree with the sentiment and say that early in the term, the political capital could have been spent to fix it but we are now facing a general election and  the bite is becoming apparent and some people have decided that  now is the time to try and make a personal decision to fix their own circumstances.  That is how urgent and critical it is.

 

When the Cabinet conducts its business next year, there will be a change in the chemistry of how it operates.  A voice for business and for young people will be missing, gone to the private sector.  It just won’t be the same.  While there is nothing you can do about these things because everyone must act in their own best interest, it is an important moment to pause and see how those who are left to carry on in the Cabinet can so fix their business that they will improve the lives of their citizens and improve their ability to do their jobs.  Ryan Pinder will be missed and we wish him well.

 

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Eastwood Property Owners Association Commissions Its Gazebo

12/14/14 1:35 PM

On Sunday last 7th December, Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill was the guest of honour at the tree lighting ceremony for the Eastwood Subdivision on the Eastern flank of his constituency.  The Association is headed by  Cleome Wood and its  Organizational Chair is Patricia Graham.  The  occasion also provided the opportunity for the blessing and official commissioning of the new gazebo paid for by  the MPs constituency vote, designed by Carlos Butler and built by Jerome Brown.  The gazebo was blessed by  Rev. Canon Crosley Walkine, the rector at St. Matthew’s Church and a resident of Eastwood.   The photo shows Fred Mitchell third from left with Fred Ramsay, the first resident of Eastwood who was honoured on the occasion; Ms. Wood;  and Allen Adderley of the Eastwood Property Owners Association on the far right.

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The Latest Outrage By Stupid Fred Smith

12/14/14 1:35 PM

freadsmithThe following statement was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs And Immigration on Friday 12th December:
GBHRA COMMENTS “CRIMINALLY” LIBELOUS

The following is a statement released on Friday, December 12, 2014, by the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration:

The media has brought to my attention that the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) reportedly headed by Mr. Fred Smith QC and Mr. Joseph Darville has reportedly characterized conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Center as reminiscent of Auschwitz, a German concentration camp or more specifically, “Auschwitz in The Bahamas.”

This is a special and peculiar form of political madness.

For the edification of the general public, Auschwitz was a network of German Nazi concentration camps where Jews and other political prisoners were gassed to death; executed by firing squad; butchered in the name of medical experimentation and generally exterminated through mass murder. The German government denied any involvement in these atrocities called crimes against humanity.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Darville are alleging by their characterization that the government of the Bahamas is involved in these kinds of activities as part of the enforcement of this country’s immigration policy. The allegations made are false and outrageous and there is not one scintilla of evidence to support these outrageous allegations.

These unfortunate comments are viewed as criminally libelous and the Commissioner of Police must investigate what the GBHRA mean by their remarks.

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Juan McCartney Guardian Journalist On Fred Smith Q C’s Comment ( as quoted by Oswald Brown)

12/14/14 1:35 PM

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You may disagree with the new immigration policy all you want, but to call the Carmichael Road Detention Centre – which needs to be totally revamped or replaced, the Bahamian Auschwitz  is insane, profoundly disturbing and offensive to the memories of the many Jews, gypsies, gays and others who died in that concentration camp so horrifically at the hands of the Nazis ( as quoted by Oswald Brown on Facebook).

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Former FNM Senator Dies

12/14/14 1:35 PM

Former FNM Senator Lawrence Glinton, who was the father of Lawrence Jr., the head of the Bahamas National Trust died at home on Wednesday 10th December.

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THE FAT LADY IS SINGING A LOT

12/14/14 1:35 PM

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That’s one big bitch – Eddie Murphy in Beverley HiIls Cop 2

 

The Bahamian public was highly amused by the knock down drag out slanging match that took place in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 10thDecember.  The  slanging match occurred at the end of the day’s business when the government was moving a rather innocuous bill through the House of Assembly.  The bill to create a Foreign Service for The Bahamas for the first time in the country’s history got the unanimous support of the House.  There were a few criticisms of the Bill but the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs Hubert  Chipman said that he supported the bill.  Only to be sought to be outdone by  Loretta Butler Turner, the FNM MP for Long Island, who is still and obviously smarting from her loss in the contest against Dr. Hubert Minnis for the leadership of the Free National Movement.   She was bitter, strident and personal in her criticism, not of the bill but of the Minister Fred Mitchell personally saying that he was arrogant and belligerent in his conduct of the foreign policy of the country and that she had doubts about supporting the bill because  this seemed to her an exercise of giving more power to the Minister, allowing him to open a fiefdom and to do what he wants and pleases with the leave of the Prime Minister whom she says allows Mr. Mitchell to do whatever he wishes.  You do not know where to start with that kind of simpleminded foolishness.  You may have a look at the video exchanges yourself but what you get from this is a bitter woman who was trying to outshine her male colleagues.  She wanted to show the FNMs that they did after all make a mistake in electing Mr. Minnis and that she was the better choice because look after all she could take on Fred Mitchell allegedly the most popular star in the government’s crown these days.  Of course, as soon as she sat down Mr. Mitchell went after her with hatchet.  He said he agreed tht the FNM should control their trolls on social media. She popped up and objected to the word trolls, although she is the one who introduced it into the House.  Mr. Mitchell withdrew it but asked if the FNMs on social media had taken leave of their senses they write such utter garbage and foolishness.    Then someone suggested that they were in the same bucket together to which she replied that Mr. Mitchell would not know what to do if they were in the same bucket together.  At which point, Mr. Mitchell  was stopped in his reply by  his colleagues who urged him to  sit along with the Speaker who asked everyone to take a deep breath.  Mr. Mitchell shouted from his seat: there wouldn’t be enough space in the bucket.   There other brickbats like her shouting from her seat that Mr. Mitchell was carrying on like a child. He replied immediately: it takes one to know one.   Within minutes of the exchange, she picked up her bags and left the House with her tail between her legs. FNMs were amused particularly those who supported Dr. Minnis and  wrote on social media that  what happened to her she deserved.  She had failed utterly to derail what was a routine and innocuous piece of legislation which her colleagues were all supporting.  Interestingly enough not one of them got up to defend her during the exchanges.  She is a sad case indeed.

 

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THE WORK OF THE MISSIONS ABROAD

12/14/14 1:35 PM

NEW YORK – The Hon. J. Machelle Sweeting, newly appointed Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York 10th District, was honoured with the presentation of a plaque at the annual “Christmas Splash” of the Bahamian American Association, Inc. (BAAI) at the BAAI Bahama House building, 211 West 137th Street, on Saturday, December 6. Judge Sweeting, the first Bahamian-American female to be appointed as a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, was inducted on Thursday, December 4. Pictured from left at the Christmas Splash are: Judge Sweeting; the Hon. Forrester Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York; Ms. Dorea Rolle, President of The BAAI; and His Excellency Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS).

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NEW YORK -- The Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, attended a reception on Monday, December 8, 2014, celebrating the independence of Kazakhstan at The Roosevelt Hotel, 45 East 45 Street. The event was hosted by the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations Ambassador Mr. Kairat Abdrakhmanov and his wife, Mrs. Maria Abdrakhmanov, along with The Hon. Ms. Raushan Yesbulatova, Consul General of Kazakhstan to New York. Pictured from left to right: Military Adviser Kabentayev Alexandr; Consul General Carroll; Consul General Yesbulatova, Mrs. Abdrakhmanov; and Ambassador Abdrakhmanov.

 — with Forrester J Carroll.

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NEW YORK – The Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, attended a birthday reception for His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at the residence of the Consul General of Japan to New York Mr. Sumio Kusaka and his wife Mrs. Jkuko Kusaka, 4 East 67th Street, New York. Pictured from left to right:  Mrs. Kusaka, Mr. Kusaka, Consul General Carroll, and Dr Valencia Carroll, wife of Consul General Carroll.

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BRUSSELS

 

ACP COUNCIL MINISTERS CONVENE IN BRUSSELS

mission4BRUSSELS, Belgium –The 100th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers met in Brussels, Belgium from 9-12 December, 2014, for an historic session of the Organization. Ministers from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States engaged for the first time incoming members of the new European Commission’s administrative representatives, including Frederica Mogherini, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, and Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.

Representing The Bahamas at the Ministerial Council was Ambassador Rhoda M. Jackson, Bahamas Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The landmark session was particularly important for the CARIFORUM members states, as the new Secretary General to lead the ACP Secretariat for the next five years, from 2015 to 2020, was to come from the region. On Wednesday, December 10, the Ministerial Council approved the appointment of Dr. Patrick Gomes, current Ambassador of Guyana to the European Union, as the new Secretary General. The region is to also serve as the host of the next ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government.

The Council met at a critical juncture as the Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020 and there is a need to redefine the future cooperation arrangement between the European Union and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, within the framework of the post – 2015 Development Agenda. The Report on the Further Perspectives of the ACP Group and the Interim Report on the Eminent Persons Group would serve as the basis for these ongoing discussions. Other issues considered at the Council included Ebola and support to the affected countries, the status of negotiations for the Regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Development Finance Cooperation.

 

 

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CEDRIC SCOTT APPOINTED HONORARY CONSUL IN LA

12/14/14 1:35 PM

By Oswald Brown
12th December 2014

 

cscottNASSAU, Bahamas (Dec. 10) — Mr. Cedric Scott, the well-known actor, producer, director and businessman, has been named Honorary Consul for The Bahamas for the jurisdiction of Los Angeles, California, the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has announced.

Mr. Scott, who left The Bahamas in his late teens to attend college, studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and continued his post-graduate education at the University of Georgia, from where he obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree.

Upon graduation, he went England and worked in the English theatre as both an actor and director, appearing in plays from the classics, SHAKESPEARE and THE GREEKS to the contemporary “SLOW DANCE ON THE KILLING GROUND”.

Having been offered a contract to shoot a film in Hollywood, Mr. Scott returned to the United States, where appeared as a featured player in numerous movies and television productions, among them, “THE PLAYER,” “GHOST DAD,” “JAWS,” “A WEDDING,” and “WELCOME TO L.A.” During this period, Mr. Scott also served as the Assistant Director of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA), the oldest theatre school in the English-speaking world, which boasts such graduates as Spencer Dennis Haysbert, Robert Redford, Spencer Tracy, Edward G. Robertson and Jason Robards Jr.

Deciding to pursue producing, Mr. Scott teamed with Mr. Sidney Poitier as President of Verdon-Cedric Productions and during this period, he was involved in the production of “FAST FORWARD”, “LITTLE NIKITA”, “SHOOT TO KILL”, “GHOST DAD”, “SNEAKERS,” “SEPARATE BUT EQUAL”, and “CHILDREN OF THE DUST”.

Mr. Scott subsequently formed his own p r o d u c t i o n company, Mary Ann-LaGlo Productions. Among films produced under this banner are “HOPE”, “FREE OF EDEN”, “MANDELA AND DEKLERK”, and “TO SIR WITH LOVE 2”. Films currently near production are “SECOND LIFE”, “WHO MURDERED SIR HARRY OAKES”, “THE GOLDEN 13”, “MYRTLE FAYE RUMPH”, “SOUL SISTER,”, “WE THE PEOPLE”, “KWELA MAN”, and “CHASING A LIFE.”

Over his career, Mr. Scott’s productions have been nominated for several Golden Globe and Emmy Awards. For his production of the film, “MANDELA AND DEKLERK”, he was nominated for a CABLE ACE AWARD and the GOLDEN LAUREL AWARD. The production of “FREE OF

EDEN” won on Mr. Scott the prestigious INTERNATIONAL FILM/VIDEO COMPETITION. The jurors’ comment was: “This program is impressive, illuminating various lessons of life as the main character comes into her own. Very positive. Many issues covered in a skillful way. A Great vehicle for new artists to learn from the seasoned mentor.”

For his outstanding effort and dedication to bringing non-whites and women into the field of film, television, communication and entertainment, Mr. Scott has received awards from such organizations as the NAACP; Y.E.S. TO JOBS; THE LOS ANGELES BLACK WOMEN IN MEDIA COALITION and the late MAYOR TOM BRADLEY, LOS ANGELES. In 1998, Mr. Scott was honoured by the BAHAMAS TOURISM CENTER in Los Angeles during the 25th Anniversary Celebration for Bahamas Independence for his outstanding contribution to the Arts and Entertainment Industry. And in April 1999, THE 13th BAHAMAS COMPANY OF THE BOYS BRIGADE presented Mr. Scott with the SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE AWARD for continued contribution to the Arts. In February, Mr. Scott received the EXCELLENCE in MEDIA/ ANGEL AWARD for his production “FREE OF EDEN”.

Recently, Mr. Scott was honoured by The University of Georgia Graduate School as one of its fifty most outstanding, “UGA graduate degree holders who exemplify the intellectual legacy of the University”. And later, Mr. Scott was invited by the Dean of The School of Theatre and Film, at the University of Georgia, to spend a week at the UGA Campus and to screen one of his films. During his visit Mr. Scott met with students and faculty advising them on the Theatre and Film Industries.

Commenting on his appointment as Bahamas Honorary Consul, Mr. Scott said it has always been of paramount importance to him to give back to The Bahamas. To that end he has returned on numerous occasions to The Bahamas to premier his films and contribute all proceeds to charitable and community causes.

“One must say, in all honesty, that the decision by Prime Minister Perry Christie, supported by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, to bestow on me such an honour is most humbling,” Mr. Scott said. “I am surprised and honoured and I am looking forward to filling that role to the fullest.”

In welcoming Mr. Scott to his diplomatic team, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said a reception will be held in Los Angeles in the near future to officially introduce Mr. Scott as The Bahamas’ Honorary Consul for that jurisdiction.

Mr. Scott is the son of the late Mr. John Louis Scott and Mrs. LaGloria Mackey-Scott. After his mother’s death on his second birthday, he and sister, Allardyce Scott-Fitzgerald, were raised by their grandmother, Mrs. Mary-Ann Scott, on Nassau Street North in Nassau. Cedric is married to Yuki Morita- Scott and together they have three daughters: Aly, Tia and LaGloria.

As a young boy growing up in Nassau, Mr. Scott was an excellent baseball player and he gives credit to the late Andre Rodgers, the first Bahamian to play professional baseball, and Andre’s brothers, who were all excellent baseball players and also lived on Nassau Street North, for helping him perfect his baseball skills. 

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LOWELL MORTIMER FIRST HIGH COMMISSIONER TO INDIA

12/14/14 1:35 PM

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed last week that the attorney, former jurist, now businessman and philanthropist Lowell Mortimer has been appointed by the Queen as the first High Commissioner to India for The Bahamas.  Mr. Mortimer  received his instruments of appointment from the Governor General on Wednesday 10th December at Government House in the presence of his siblings and friends.  Today Mr. Mortimer is mainly associated with the groundbreaking Lowell J Mortimer Maritime Academy which is leading the way in training Bahamian sailors to take up positions on Bahamian flagged ships. Before that though, he was a successful attorney in private practice, given to all sorts of causes from his work with the Anglican Church’s Christ Church Cathedral, the AIDS Foundation,  Stapeldon School, the Fox Hill Congoes and he still serves on the Board of Abilities Unlimited. He has special interests in the  last two cases in people who are physically and mentally challenged.  The appointment makes sense and the Prime Minister made a wise choice in doing so.  The country is in the middle of an outreach to the Far East and India is a growing power in the world and The Bahamas needs to be on the scene.   Mr. Mortimer comes from  a set of parents who were engaged in the public and civic life of our country.  U J Mortimer was a pioneering businessman who started the Best Ever Candy Kitchen now known as Mortimer Candy on East Street.  His mother affectionately called “ Big Mama” but her proper name was Winifred, was a civic presence through the  Mothers Club  and  saw many an under privileged child through to their adulthood.    So  the stature, manners, conduct and mannerisms  Mr. Mortimer has today is a chip off the block and he comes by it honestly.  We congratulate him for this crowning achievement and know he will do well.  The photos of the event at Government house are by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

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The siblings of High Commissioner Lowell Mortimer at Government House and his nephews and neices and brother in law.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

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The former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Sir Orville Turnquest speaking to the Prime Minister at Government House for the presentation of credentials for High Commissioner Lowell Mortimer OBE.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

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The Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling with the Prime Minister Perry Christie and Mrs. Christie and Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs at Government House in the drawing room just before the presentation of instruments on 10th December at Government House.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

 

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Letters to the editor

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In passing

Skerrit Wins Again

12/14/14 1:38 PM

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Prime Minister  Roosevelt Skerrit was reelected to office as the Prime Minister of Dominica on 8th December . The Prime Minister had a reduced majority down from 18 to 15 but still comfortably ahead of the 4 seats won by the Opposition party.

 

 

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Mitchell Off To OAS

12/14/14 1:38 PM

Fred Mitchell, Foreign Minister, is to lead a delegation from The Bahamas to the Organization of American Sates to speak to the Permanent Council of the  OAS on Tuesday 16th December about the concerns raised over the new immigration  measures in The Bahamas.

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Deputy Prime Minister In Geneva

12/14/14 1:38 PM

The photo shows the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis with Commodore Roderick Bowe of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in Geneva, Switzerland on   10th  December at UNHCR Donor Pledging Conference.

Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis has been in Geneva, Switzerland attending a donor conference on refugees. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees has indicated that 500 million in pledges were raised at the meeting short of the 600 million plus raised last year and well short of the 6 billion that is needed to fund programmes for refugees over the next year.  The Deputy Prime Minister returns home  this week.

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Sir Ronald Saunders Withdraws From SG Race

12/14/14 1:38 PM

r_saundersThe Commonwealth Secretary General’s position now held by Kamala Sharma of India requires replacement and it appears that the race is now less complicated or more complicated depending on who you speak to.  Antigua and Barbuda had nominated Ronald Sanders for the job. He is said to have the widest experience and  the largest number of Caricom countries behind him.  This year is to be Caricom’s turn.  Dominica has nominated a candidate, sitting Member of the House of Lords Baroness Patricia Scotland who is Dominican by birth.  The other Caribbean countries don’t seem to like her as a choice.  Then there is Trinidad and Tobago who nominated one of the existing ministers of their government. But Trinidad already has the Deputy Secretary General’s position so it’s hard to see how they can have both.   In Cuba on 8th December, the PMs of Caricom met and agreed that the numbers were in favour of Sanders but that there were some strong holdouts so they would not proceed on a majority but rather delayed the decision to decide by consensus.   It looked good for Sanders.  Then the announcement, a bombshell, the government of  Antigua was withdrawing him as a candidate.    Many are now wondering what’s up here.

 

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The Delegation In Cuba With The PM And The Cuban President

12/14/14 1:38 PM

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On Tuesday 9th December, the Prime Minister Perry Christie led a delegation to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro.  Shown at the meeting from left Ambassador to Cuba Alma Adams,  Minister for Trade Ryan Pinder, Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell, the Prime Minister, the president, the president’s interpreter, Cuban Foreign Minster Bruno Rodriquez Parrilla  and an unidentified Cuban Official.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

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Fred Smith Put In His Place By Jack Hayward

12/14/14 1:35 PM

Fred Smith acts like a man on some kind of chemical or suffering from manic depression disorder.  He is in the press every day these days sounding off on one subject or another.  Most of the time it’s been about Haitian migrants.  However, he also has time to sound off about the fate of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.  After serving for years as Counsel to the Port, (in order to keep his mouth shut, the late owner of the Port Edward St George put him on retainer and paid whatever crazy bill he rendered), he was let go by then Port Chair Ian Faire. This has set him loose again.  Now he says that the Port must be disengaged from the St George Family and Sir Jack Hayward, the present owners of the Port.   Sir Jack Hayward is just a tad bit mercurial himself had some great one liners in answer to it when he spoke to the Tribune: “Et tu Frede” was one,  borrowing the  line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when Caesar’s close friend Brutus  joined the conspirators to assassinate Caesar.  Then  Sir Jack also said that Fred Smith had earned enough money from the St George’s  while working at the Port Authority to buy the Port himself.  Of course Fred Smith is shameless so it probably means nothing to him, the fact that he has been shown to be a mercenary in law and a rank hypocrite.

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Children of the Lucayan School Provide Gift To Fred Mitchell

12/14/14 1:35 PM

The youngsters of the Model United Nations Debate Team ( MUNS) from the Lucayan International School presented a gift to Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill and the  Minister of  Foreign Affairs for his support of the school by visiting and speaking with the students.  The gift was a portrait of  Mr. Mitchell painted by one of the students Caihin    Farrington.  The Lucayan School was the winning team of this year’s MUNS debating contest and they watched the Minister deliver his address this year at the United Nations and attended the annual reception at the Bahamian embassy.  The presentation took place in Freeport on 12th December.

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Guyana To Go To Polls

12/14/14 1:35 PM

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President Donald Ramotar of Guyana has indicated that he will go to the polls in 2015 ahead of schedule.  The President said that he has been trying to get bills through Parliament to protect the Banking sector in Guyana from being blacklisted but he cannot do so without the support of the Opposition.  The Opposition has the majority and is refusing to assist even after being lobbied by other Caricom governments.  A vote of no confidence in the Government has been stalled by a procedural measure when the President prorogued the House.  He thought that he could negotiate with the Parliament in the meantime.  However  the President says it appears that nothing will change so he will have no choice but to dissolve Parliament and go to elections.

 

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Omar Archer Should Be In Sandilands

12/14/14 1:35 PM

There are some people who just don’t deserve the freedoms which they have.  One of them is Omar Archer, a perpetual nuisance, who now describes himself as an FNM.  If he is an FNM then god help them but they are welcome to him.  On Saturday 13th December, he began circulating criminally defamatory remarks on Facebook about an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and about  the Minister and some alleged incidents relating to  visas.  Suffice it to say, Mr. Archer does no know what the fuck he is talking about .  He is a mother fucking idiot and someone should investigate filing an emergency application to place himself in a mental hospital or a zoo where he belongs or better yet in his mother’s pung tang.

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Anthony Hall Columnist For Caribbean New Has His Say On Myles Munroe

12/14/14 1:35 PM

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This was written in a column posted on Caribbean News Now. Com. In it Mr. Hall warned people not to canonize Myles Munroe:

“Truth be told, I found his (Myles Munroe’s) alchemy of traditional Christian dogma and newfangled prosperity gospel as self-righteous as it was uncharitable. Indeed, it speaks volumes, regarding the former, that his public pronouncements on homosexuality made those of Pope Francis seem hedonistic; and, regarding the latter, that the success of his Bahamas Faith Ministries seemed to be measured more in terms of wealth acquired for himself than souls saved for God.”–Anthony L Hall

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The Trib Say D’Auguilar Says Government Using Immigration To Distract From real Problems

12/14/14 1:35 PM

“The Bahamian economy is paying the price for the Government’s “financial disasters” in attempting to run businesses, a leading executive blasting yesterday: “The s* has hit the fan.”

Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Superwash Laundromat chain’s president, told Tribune Business that Immigration and other ‘emotive’ issues were distracting Bahamians from this nation’s core problems – the need to grow the economy and combat crime.” ( The Tribune Business)  We wanted to share that quote and simply to say that the assertion by Mr. D’Aguilar is patently untrue and errant nonsense.  We just don’t get it.  Is he arguing that illegal migration is not  a real problem in this country? Jeepers.

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Jim Wood Controversial Head Of Baseball Dies

12/14/14 1:35 PM

JamewoodHe was a two time candidate for the FNM in the PLP seat of Grants Town.  He headed the baseball Federation and fell into a row with others and baseball was held hostage to it until just this year, there was  concordat to settle the decades old dispute that saw  youngsters abandon his federation and get into the major leagues through other methods.  Now he has passed away and he was lauded by the country including the Federation.

 

Bahamas Baseball Federation offers condolences on the passing of James Wood
11 December 2014

 

Nassau, Bahamas – The following is a statement from the Bahamas Baseball Federation:

On Behalf of President Craig KEMP, BBF Executives and its Membership:  

We wish to extend our condolences to the Family & the BBA Administration on the passing of Mr. James ‘Jim’ Wood.

May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen the family during this most difficult time.

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The Government Announces The Resolve Board

12/14/14 1:35 PM

Michael Halkitis, the Minister for State in Finance announced in the House on Wednesday 10th December that the government has put up to 40 million in cash to support the Bank of the Bahamas, that  the new company Resolve that will handle the bad commercial loans worth 100 million is to be Chaired by James Smith, former Central Bank Governor  and the agents to run it will be the firm Deloitte and Touche.

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The Charles Carter Park Named

12/14/14 1:35 PM

The former MP for the old Holy Cross constituency, now Sea Breeze was honoured on Friday 12th December with the renaming of a park in Sea Breeze after him.  The event was organized by Hope Strachan, the present representative and the turnout of family and friends was impressive.  Mr. Carter himself a former broadcaster, Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs basked in the glow of the recognition which by the way is well deserved.  Congratulations to him.   The first photo comes from Hope Strachan’s Facebook page; the others are by the Bahamas Information Services:carter1

With the Prime Minister, Hope Strachan MP who presently serves and the honouree Mr. Carter.

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