fbpx

ELCOTT COLEBY ON THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS ….CONTINUED

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

generic cialis medical times;”>elcottThis week in Parliament

viagra usa times;”>The budget debate continued this week in Parliament. 

Social Services Minister Hon. Melanie Griffin heralded the government’s disability legislation, the automated social assistance program involving debit cards and the IDB funded safety net program involving the Conditional Cash Transfer system as just some of the major achievements of her ministry and the government in bringing greater relief and dignity to those who use the country’s welfare system.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Transport and Aviation Minister Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin advised that the audit of the aviation sector was complete and the latest cost to upgrade the sector is around $179 million. She expressed great pride in her participation in the completion of the second and third phases of the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). She further advised that the $11 million state of the art radar system is complete along with the 3D Tower Simulator at a cost of $2.5 million at the LPIA making the Bahamas a potential regional training hub for Air Traffic Controllers. The FIR negotiations with the US government are nearing completion noted the Transport Minister and a pilot test run of bus routes ahead of the projected unified bus system is set to commence in the coming months. Hanna-Martin also foreshadowed a compendium of bills designed to strengthen the management of the more than 18,000 registered marine vessels and jet-ski operations throughout the country. Additionally, the eyesore that is the Potter’s Cay Dock will soon be no more as the Minister outlined the multi-phase upgrade of that iconic marine gateway to the Family of Islands. She also advised the House that the Road Traffic Department, the Port Department and the Post Office are all being upgraded through process automation.     

Speaking extensively about the roll out of the government’s much touted National Health Insurance plan in January of 2016, Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez announced that as of the 1st July, there will be a medical doctor on each of the 30 inhabited Islands to provide health services through the 98 satellite health clinics in the public health system. He further advised that Bahamians can begin the process of selecting and registering their primary healthcare provider during the first quarter of 2016. He addressed the House on Wednesday afternoon.

Education Minister Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald told House members that the government was still on schedule to have the enabling legislation before the House to facilitate the transition of the College of The Bahamas to university status by the end of the year. The National High School Diploma, the bipartisan education plan, increased subvention, the automated tracking system as part of the Student Achievement Unit and the building of capacity at Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) were just a few of the initiatives highlighted by the minister as evidence of the government’s commitment to reform and expand education, improve the academic performance outcomes and reduce the dropout rate in the public school system.  

The Environment Minister Hon. Kenred Dorsett pointed to the impact of the Derelict Vehicle Bill that resulted in the removal of more than 2,000 vehicles; the systematic elimination of shanty towns; and the commissioning of the $7 million Renew Bahamas waste recycling facility as measures necessary to create a cleaner and healthier environment. The new operation together with a new weight bridge will save tax payers $6 million per year said the Minister. The environment is further protected by the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund. The Self Generation Energy Program and the amended Electricity Act both allow for privately sourced alternative energy to be placed on the national electrical grid, reducing the cost of electricity across the board. The Minister touted the five new pieces of legislation that will modernize oil exploration in the country together with the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act that will outline how revenues generated will be allocated for the benefit of all Bahamians. The National Energy Policy that was released in September 2014 called for at least 30% of the energy produced the year 2033 to be from renewables and alternatively sourced. The Minister argued that these policy measures were building a stronger Bahamas and moving the country in the right direction.

The budget debate continues in the House on Monday, 15th June 2015.

PM Christie responds from Belgium to Greg Moss’ resignation

In a sudden and unexpected twist of political fate, Marco City MP Greg Moss told House members that philosophically he could no longer support the PLP or follow the current leadership on its present policy course and will resign as a member of the Progressive Liberal Party with immediate effect. He asked the Honorable speaker for a reseating arrangement at the next sitting of Parliament. This was Monday evening.

Responding to the resignation was the nation’s chief who was in Brussels Belgium to attend the EU-CELAC Summit. Prime Minister Christie was not surprised by the decision.  

“I had every reason to believe that Greg Moss was on a course that would take him outside the PLP. I’ve been around long enough to see that.”

Speaking about the culture and mindset of individualism within the current generation of young leaders like Greg Moss, the Prime Minister had this to say.

“What the Bahamian people must know is that young men have their own aspirations and their own ambitions and sometimes it takes them outside of the mainstream of a political organization where there is a series of compromises you have to make for the general good of the organization – it’s called team work.”

Commenting on the government’s policy decisions and level of performance within the context of budgetary and other resource constraints, Mr. Christie characterized his government’s performance as “remarkable.”

“The Progressive Liberal Party has done a remarkable job in using the resources available to us” said the Prime Minister.

He blasted the assertion that the PLP had lost its philosophical way and was an elitist organization, a party disconnected from the ordinary people and no longer committed to meeting the needs of the poor, the weak, the dispossessed, the voiceless and the average Bahamian. He characterized any such assertion as a ”damnable lie.”

“I think it’s a damnable lie or misstatement to say that we are not acting in the best interest of the people of this country. By the very nature of the people who are elected – by the people who support them – by their relationship with their constituencies” said the Prime Minister.

PM Christie talks climate change at EU-CELAC Summit

In one of his final official duties as CARICOM Chairman, Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie participated in the summit of leaders from the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean and Latin American Community (CELAC), called the EU-CELAC Summit. He addressed delegates on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 in Brussels, Belgium.

In his address, the Prime Minister addressed the recurrent themes that have defined his tenure as CARICOM Chair, namely Climate change; Citizen Security; Migration and Financial Services.

Repeating that if sea levels globally rise by five feet, eighty percent of The Bahamas’ land mass will disappear, Mr. Christie renewed his calls for the industrial world to take the necessary steps to contain the global atmospheric temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius as this is a “do or die” proposition for the Caribbean region.

“This means that those who are the major emitters have to take dramatic steps to curb these emissions; dramatic steps must be taken to ensure that the global atmospheric temperature increase remains below 1.5 degrees Celsius. For the Caribbean region, it is do or die.”

The Prime Minister expressed happiness that countries like China and the United States have signed on to this climate change mandate.

He welcomed bilateral cooperation in the fight against transnational criminality, defended the tough immigration policies of The Bahamas as well as the legitimacy and rights of the business model of the country’s financial services sector.

GG delivers charge to Temple Christian High School graduates

“Students, I also charge you to be loyal to this land which gave you birth and nurtured you from infancy. That demonstration of loyalty is a major factor which will prove to the world that we are indeed one people united in love and service.”

This was the charge delivered by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling to the fifty-five graduates of the Temple Christian School during their ceremony at the Evangelistic Temple on Collins Avenue on Wednesday, 10th June 2015. The message of national unity and nationalism is consistent with the pledge made by the Governor General during her swearing in ceremony as the country’s Head of State.

Brandi Braynen was named the school’s valedictorian.

Labour Minister at ILO Conference in Geneva, Switzerland

Demonstrating to ILO delegates that the government of The Bahamas is committed to the protection of workers’ rights, Bahamas Labour Minister Hon. D. Shane Gibson pointed to the legislated Tripartite Act and the first sitting of its council as evidence of this commitment.

The Bahamas did sign into law the National Tripartite Council Act 2014 on March 3rd 2015.

“Delegates would also be pleased to know that this new Act came into force on April 19, 2015 and the first official meeting of the National Tripartite Council was held on June 1, 2015” said Minister Gibson.

On the issue of youth unemployment, Mr. Gibson told delegates that $20 million were allocated in the 2015/2016 fiscal budget to provide job training and employment opportunities for the nation’s youth, thus reducing the levels of youth unemployment while addressing the vexing issue of crime within that demographic grouping.

“The Government of the Bahamas, in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank has committed in its 2015-2016 National Budget, the sum of twenty million dollars toward the reduction in the level of Youth Unemployment. This new and innovative program is designed to identify at risk youth and provide these persons with training and capacity building – thus equipping them with new skills, and better preparing them to enter the labour market.”

Accompanying the Minister was Harold Fountain of the Customs Department, John Pinder, Public Service Union chief and Clint Minnis. Minister Gibson addressed the ILO conference in Geneva Switzerland on Wednesday, 10th June 2015.  

PM and AG address school for the blind at graduation

Under the theme “Education is a journey, not a destination,” the Salvation Army Erin H. Gilmour School for blind and visually impaired children held its first graduation exercise in five years on Monday of this week.

Parents, family, teachers and school administrators beamed with pride as they witnessed Ashanity Armbrister, Madhiba Bethel, Deangelo Harris, and Christian Heild receive their diplomas and gifts.

Also in attendance were Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs; Joel Lewis, Acting Deputy Director of Education; Ernesto Soberon Guzman, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba; and Major Lester Ferguson, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army.

Bahamas Attorney General Senator Gibson urged graduates to “push the envelope “and “savor” their graduation experience while appealing to the students to develop their spiritual lives by taking time to “pray and read the Bible. Prayer makes a big difference,” said the Attorney General.

Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie again defended the rights of the disabled to an equitable share of the resources and opportunities of The Bahamas. He singled out the employment of Ms. Abbie Daxon, a former Erin Gilmour School student, at the Office of the Attorney General to make the point that no child should be left behind or depend on chance to succeed. Like every Bahamian citizen, he said, “they are entitled to their rights.”

Mr. Christie congratulated the students for having achieved the “unimaginable.” “Do not let your future be determined by your circumstances,” he said.

Charges filed in illegal Eleuthera landing

Several persons involved in the illegal landing in Eleuthera last week appeared in magistrate’s court this week to answer those charges.

Two Haitian boat captains, Antoine Armad and Frankie Pierre, were charged before the magistrate’s court with assisting in the illegal landings. Mr. Armad pleaded guilty on the 8th June and was fined $2,000 or two years imprisonment at the Department of Corrections facility in Fox Hill. He is presently detained at that facility. Mr. Pierre pleaded not guilty on the 9th June and was remanded at Fox Hill until his trial date which is scheduled for the 13th July 2015.  

Further, three Haitian nationals, Tide Estilus, Sinfilien Remy and Robenson Guerrier,

who are residents of The Bahamas and holders of work permits together with a Bahamian national, Franklyn Smith, were also charged before the courts for harbouring, aiding and abetting illegal persons who are fugitives from justice. All defendants pleaded not guilty but Estilus, Remy and Guerrier are remanded at Fox Hill until their trial date of 13th July, 2015. Smith was granted bail in the sum of $1,500 and will appear in court on the 16th September 2015.

2015 Popeye Bahamas Bowl acquired by ESPN

With over 11.6 million households viewing the inaugural 2014 Popeye Bahamas Bowl game; with game highlights played on 401 television news segments; with some 1,587 articles written about the Bowl game and with over 56,000 posts on social media, ESPN, the sole carrier of the inaugural Christmas eve game in 2014, is looking to acquire the sporting event in 2015 and build on the success of 2014.

Senior Vice President of Events at ESPN Pete Derzis said it’s for these reasons ESPN decided to acquire the event.

“We want to build on the success of last year. Last year, we served as the television partner and we expanded that to where we are. Our goal is to take the success of year one and grow it so we can lay a great foundation for the future,” he said.

Chief Marketing Officer for Popeye’s Hector Munez said Bahamas Bowl was the biggest event the brand has ever participated in.

“The earnest that we were able to generate back in the states was unprecedented and we are hoping to replicate that. Even if we come close to replicating that we will be very, very happy,” he said.

“We are going to do a lot of the same since it was so successful last year. We are going to launch a number of different types of promotions in our restaurants in September to really introduce the partnership again. We couldn’t be happier because ESPN is number one in sports. When you think sports, you think ESPN and so the partnership with them is going to take the game to the next level.”

Chief Justice Longley receives Knighthood

It was announced today from Government House that Her Majesty The Queen has been pleased to confer upon the Chief Justice, His Lordship the Honourable Hartman Godfrey Longley, the award of Knight Bachelor, in recognition of his stellar contributions to the Legal and Judicial System of The Bahamas as Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Senior Justice and his recent elevation on the 1st February, 2015 to the Nation’s highest Judicial Office as Chief Justice of The Bahamas.

In Passing…

President and CEO of Gladiator Championship Wrestling ‘Nick the Gladiator’ paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources the Hon. V. Alfred Gray on Monday of this week at the Ministry. Nick the Gladiator, whose real name is Nick Cara, attended the recent South Andros Regatta.

In a short ceremony today (Friday, 12th June), Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie officially opened the Bahamas embassy in Geneva Switzerland. Accompanying the Prime Minister in Geneva were Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Fred Mitchell and Labour and National Insurance Minister, the Hon. D. Shane Gibson. The Prime Minister and his delegation were in Brussels, Belgium to participate in the EU-CELAC Summit.

A “Leadership for Women in Politics” seminar will be held Friday afternoon at the Michael Eldon Complex. Delivering presentations are Social Services Minister Hon. Melanie Griffin and Transport and Aviation Minister Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin.

The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) will commemorate World Blood Donor Day with their 9th annual Blood Drive and Health Fair at the Mall of Marathon from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday, 13th June 2015.

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis traveled to Cat Island on Friday, 12th June to participate in the Cat Island Sister City Association (CISCA) signing ceremony. The agreement is between the people of Cat Island and the city of Richton Park, Chicago USA. The Cat Island Sister City Association is a new organization aimed at involving Cat Islanders everywhere in a structured manner to promote Cat Island in a meaningful way through networking with international partners to make a difference in the life of and facilitate the future growth and development of the island.