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THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (24 – 29 NOV 2014) COMMENTARY BY ELCOTT COLEBY

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viagra generic diagnosis times;”>PRIME MINISTER CHRISTIE TOURS $14 MILLION RADAR SYSTEM

Touring the $14 million radar system and new tower that’s in its final stages of construction, Prime Minister Christie reflected on how this new radar system with its 160 square miles spanning capability would dramatically improve the operations at the air traffic control tower and the international airport generally.

 

“Today, what we are witnessing is a dramatic change in what we had in the past. This would improve the operations of the international airport and make the job of the air traffic controllers and other employees in this section more manageable.”

Minister of Transport and Aviation, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin said she was excited to see that the new radar installation was almost complete and looked forward to making good on the government’s commitment to improve the country’s aviation sector.

In addition to monitoring weather conditions, the completed radar system will include a 3-D training simulator, positioning The Bahamas to become a regional training center for air traffic controllers.

 

The tour took place on Monday at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau.

 

 

MINISTER GRAY LAUNCHES NATIONAL AGRICULTURE POLICY
Joining its fellow CARICOM member countries, The Bahamas launched its Agriculture Policy Program on Monday.

Bringing remarks was Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government Minister, Hon. V. Alfred Gray who reiterated the objectives and components of the policy programme under the auspices of his ministry’s Trade and Policy Unit. He stressed that a stronger policy framework to support local agriculture producers is a principal objective of this policy programme.

“I believe that at the end of this Agriculture Policy Programme, we will have a strengthened policy framework that will support small agriculture producers in The Bahamas, the Caribbean, and indeed throughout this region.”

 

He continued that “in The Bahamas, we already know that we are not able to produce enough local mutton to meet domestic demand. I look forward therefore to the innovations that the researchers will come up with in order to enable small livestock farmers to increase production levels in an ever changing climatic environment.”

The ultimate objective of the programme is to reduce poverty by ensuring that small producers are integrated into national, regional and international markets. The Ministry of Agriculture, BAIC and BAMSI are all expected to play pivotal roles in this project which will be implemented over a period of 45 months. 

The three programme components are as follow:

1.    Policy and strategy –  focuses on agricultural policy and will be led by CARICOM

2.    Applied research – will be lead by CARDI and focuses on building human capacity, improving stock of genetic material and transforming to climate smart agricultural systems

3.    Enterprise development – this component will be led by IICA and will focus on building capacity, networking and effective engagement with markets for small producers

 

This Programme will be funded by the 10th European Development Fund and facilitated in collaboration with the European Commission (EC), the CARICOM Secretariat, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

NAOMI BLATCHED REGRADED TO PRESCHOOL

Quoting the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) on the importance and impact of early childhood education on the overall intellectual development of children, Education Minister Fitzgerald said “children who attend a high-quality preschool enter grade school with better reading skills, richer vocabularies and stronger basic math skills than those who do not.”

 

He offered this value proposition while addressing educators at a ceremony to officially re-grade and launch Naomi Blatch Primary as the latest public Preschool on Monday.

 

Extolling the virtues of a pre-school education, the Minister listed the five developmental skill sets acquired during early childhood education that solidify the foundation of basic skills on which a child’s higher academic achievements can be built. They were Cognitive Development, Social and Emotional development, Speech and Language Development, Fine Motor Skills Development and the acquisition of Gross Motor Skills.

An investment of approximately three hundred and sixty-eight thousand, eight hundred and thirty-two dollars and fifty-four cents ($368,832.54) was made to upgrade this preschool facility according to the Minister.

BAHAMAS AND CUBA CELEBRATE 40 YEARS OF DIPLOMACY
The Bahamas and the Republic of Cuba celebrated 40 years of cordial diplomatic relations this week with a Reception held at Hotel RIU Palace Paradise Island on Monday, November 24.
9The Bahamas and Cuba officially established diplomatic relations on November 30, 1974 and since then the two countries have signed a number of agreements beneficial to both countries.

Notable among the various agreements has been collaboration in health and education.

The Bahamas and Cuba signed a cooperation agreement in August 2003 between their respective Ministries of Education providing for 79 Cuban specialists to teach in 25 government senior and junior high schools for a period of two to four years. Over time, hundreds of Bahamian students have graduated and continue to study at Cuban institutions in the fields of medicine, economics and engineering.

To date, over 400 Bahamians have benefited from the “Operation Miracle” eye programme, enabling those with eye impairments to receive medical assistance from Cuba free of charge.

BEC BLACKOUT: EQUIPMENT FAILURE OR SABOTAGE?
BEC Chairman Leslie Miller told the media that six engines malfunctioned at the BEC power plant on Monday starting around 2pm which necessitated a massive load shedding exercise

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. This affected customers firstly in western New Providence before plunging eastern New Providence into darkness for most of the night. Power was restored early Tuesday morning. The Chairman stopped short of calling the blackout an act of industrial sabotage but said that he found it highly coincidental and strange that the blackout occurred shortly after BEC’s union threatened consumers with a “black Christmas” and “no Junkanoo” if their labour demands were not met.

The threats came as a result of the latest labour agreement negotiated with the government but not ratified by the BEC board.   

Both union heads, Maynard of the line staff and Minnis of the management, denied sabotage but claimed that BEC’s entire power generation infrastructure was old, decrepit and in need of upgrade – upgrades that could cost BEC as much as $1.5 billion.

 

Union chief Paul Maynard told the media he saw no need to meet with Chairman Miller because the labour agreement was a “done deal.”

A meeting between the department of Labour and the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) was held on Thursday where both sides agreed that the union would end all industrial actions and return to the normal daily operational mode.    
Prime Minister Christie uses life experience to encourage parents

Preaching one of the Christie doctrines – the redemptive power of second chances, Prime Minister Christie urged parents and teachers alike not to give up on their children who appear challenged with their school work.

 

Using his life experience as an example, the Prime Minister reflected on how he was not doing so well in school as a child and was expelled from the Government High School. He benefitted from a second chance because people did not give up on him and he went on to become a lawyer, passing with honours, and is now in a position as Prime Minister to offer many of his former class-mates jobs in the public service.

He offered this anecdote and words of encouragement during the official opening of the 16th annual Tabernacle High School Thanksgiving Basketball tournament on Wednesday in Freeport Grand Bahama.

 

Extolling the virtues of education, the Prime Minister told those in attendance that the essence of education is preparation and that education in a broader and deeper sense is preparation for life.

“The essence of education” he said, “is preparation. For the parents who are here, you have an extraordinary obligation to understand the value of education to your children. Secondly, to understand that education is deeper and broader than just book learning. That preparation is preparation for life. Preparation for dealing with circumstances that one will be confronted (with)…”

 

Also on hand to address the student athletes was Tourism Minister, the Hon. Obadiah Wilchcombe. The Minister encouraged the student athletes, pointing out that sports is important because it helps build a man, and by extension build communities. The opening ceremony of the Tabernacle Falcons’ 16th Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament was held on the school’s campus.

 

PRIME MINISTER CHRISTIE CELEBRATES 40 YEARS AS PARLIAMENTARIAN

The monthly meeting of the General Council of the Progressive Liberal Party at its headquarters were the occasion and venue used to toast Prime Minister Christie on 40 consecutive years of public service as a parliamentarian. He celebrated with family, friends, parliamentary and cabinet colleagues, Stalwart Councilors and the party faithful.

 

Paying tribute to the Prime Minister were National Chairman Bradley Roberts; Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell; Tall Pines MP Leslie Miler; Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin; the PM’s brother Gary, who spoke for the Christie family and wife of 40 years Bernadette Christie.

 

Attorney General Sen. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, who was out of the country on government business sent in a congratulatory note.  

 

It was the 27th November 1974 when 31 year Perry G. Christie, an attorney in private practice, was called to public service and front line politics by then Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling. Milo Butler Jr. had resigned his senate seat to take up a post overseas as Consul General in Miami and Mr. Christie would fill this senate vacancy.

 

It is widely believed that with this appointment, Sir Lynden began the process of putting in place the next generation of political leaders of The Bahamas. As fate would have it, Mr. Christie would hold positions of increased responsibility in the executive branch of government that would culminate in his ascension to the lofty office of Prime Minister.

 

After being elected to the House of Assembly in 1977 as the representative for Centerville, Mr. Christie would hold several key ministerial portfolios over the next fifteen years. He served as the Minister of Health and National Insurance from 1977 to 1982; Minister of Tourism from 1982 to 1984; and Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Industry from 1990 to 1992.
  

 After leading the PLP to election victories in 2002 and 2012, Christie served as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance from 2002 to 2007 and from 2012 to the present.

  
 

 CIVIL AVIATION BEEFS UP SECURITY

 The mandate of the government to transform the aviation sector continued this week with the conclusion of a five (5) day International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP) Workshop. Closing out the workshop was Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, The Honorable Hope Strachan. Also in attendance was Mrs. Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Aviation.

  

 This workshop followed a Risk Assessment workshop for aviation and security stakeholders. The workshop was held last week.

  

 Participants included members of the Civil Aviation Department’s Aviation Security Unit, the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces, Bahamas Immigration and Customs Departments, Post Office, Airport Authority Security Department, Nassau Airport Development Company and senior administrators from both domestic and international airlines operating from Lynden Pindling International Airport.

  

 The workshop was held as part of the ICAO Implementation Support and Development Improvement Program.

  
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 Its objective is to assist ICAO member states to build and strengthen their ability to meet the obligations for civil aviation under the Chicago Convention. 

  

 For five (5) days, the workshop participants received training in which they acquired knowledge, skills and capacity to review, update and implement provisions of the Bahamas National Civil Aviation Security Program.

  

 IN PASSING…

 The Ministry of Social Services and Community Development officially kicked off a week of events in recognition of “National Women’s Week” with a church service of thanksgiving at the Church of God of Prophesy Cathedral on East Street on Sunday. Under the theme, “Equality for women is progress for all,” the focus of National women’s week is to bring greater focus and attention to and an end to domestic violence, specifically violence against women and women’s affairs generally. Additionally, women activists against violence against women have recognized the 25th November of each year as a day against violence since 1981 in memory of the brutal assault of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic. This assault was reportedly on the orders of the Head of State, Rafael Trujillo.

  

 L. W. Young Junior High School was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday due to plumbing challenges. The school reopened on Thursday.

  

 Quantum of the Sea, the largest cruise ship of its kind in the world called on the port of Nassau on Thursday of this week.

  

 The cabinet of The Bahamas has decided on a state recognized funeral for the late Rev. Dr. Myles Munroe who died in a tragic plane crash in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sunday, 9th November 2014. The state recognized funeral is scheduled for Thursday, 4th December 2014 at the Diplomat Center.

  

The Inter-American Development Bank has reportedly approved a $33 million loan to assist the government of The Bahamas in its Fiscal Consolidation Plan which includes improved management of public finances, modernization of the country’s procurement system and monitoring “key government initiatives.”

  

 German-registered cruise liner MS Hamburg was welcomed by the thunderous sounds of Junkanoo recently as it made its inaugural voyage to Nassau this week – bringing with it over 300 passengers. The cruise liner, which travels all over the world to places like New York, Chicago, Greenland, the Amazons, the Middle East and throughout Europe is owned by the Conti Group and operated by Plantours Kreuzfahrten.

  

 The 120 member strong Bahamas All-Star Marching Band made history this past Thanksgiving Thursday when it became the first non-American marching band to perform in the legendary Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. They were fourth in the lineup and lit up 34th Street New York City with the sound of The Bahamas as they performed that 1970’s Ronnie Butler hit, Bahama Rock. Good for them.

  

 The Grand Bahama launch of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival will take place tonight at the Lucayan Marketplace in Freeport. This is a great opportunity to embellish our culture, add another component to our tourist product offerings and provide some much needed economic stimuli to the economy of Grand Bahama. The Right Honourable Prime Minister Perry G. Christie will travel to the nation’s second city for ‘The Grand Life’ Costume Unveiling by The Grand Bahama Cultural Carnival Company in the Count Basie Square of the Port Lucaya Marketplace beginning at8:00 p.m.

  

 Prime Minister Christie will address PLP supporters at an All Exuma one day convention in Exuma on Saturday, 29th November 2014.    

  

 Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling will address the 4th Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon for senior citizens in North Andros on Saturday, Nov 29. On Sunday, she travels to Grand Bahama to take in a gospel concert featuring the legendary Cooling Waters at the Freeport Gospel Church.