THIS WEEK CONTINUED

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discount viagra cure times;”>Agriculture Minister the Hon. Alfred Gray introduced a compendium food safety and security bills designed to prevent diseases and contaminants from entering the local food chain through heightened phyto-sanitary measures at the port of entry. The bills are as follow:  

  • check times;”>A bill for an act to provide for the establishment of The Bahamas Agricultural Health and Safety Food Authority.
  • A bill for an act to regulate food security and quality at all stages.
  • A bill for an act to protect and promote plant health.
  • A bill for an act to protect and promote animal health. 

The Senate also met on Wednesday to debate the compendium of petroleum bills. In her contribution Attorney General Senator Allyson Maynard-Gibson highlighted the financial provisions of the bill and its advantages for the Bahamian people.

“Part 3 of the Bill provides for financial provisions; particularly it provides for royalties, fees and rents, compensation for environmental damage and ancillary matters, and also the duty to maintain records and annual reporting.

“What is important from this legislative formula is that the royalty will be calculated against the selling value of the petroleum prevailing in the market at that time or as determined by the minister with responsibility for petroleum. This is clearly advantageous to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” she added. 

Accidental death reported on the Lady Rosalind

The following statement was released from the Port Department of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation in the wake of reports of an accidental death on board a local inter-island merchant vessel. The statement was released on Sunday evening, 31st January 2016.

“Reports have been received that a Crew member on the Lady Rosalind 1 succumbed on board the vessel while it was docked at Smith’s Bay, Cat Island. The Royal Bahamas Police Force has conducted an investigation and Officers from the Port Department and Bahamas Maritime Authority will be dispatched tomorrow morning (Monday, 1st February) to conduct a casualty investigation under the Merchant Shipping Act. 

“A full report will be completed at the conclusion of the preliminary investigation, and a determination will thereafter be made as to any further action to be taken.” 

Transport Ministry issues DRONE notice

The Ministry of Transport & Aviation advised the public on Sunday past via press release that effective February 1st, 2016, all unmanned aircraft, called drones, must be registered with the Department of Civil Aviation pursuant to the Special Regulation, No. 1 of 2016 of the Civil Aviation Department’s Safety Regulations.  

“The Special Regulation regulates both commercial and recreational drones, and requires all persons wishing to import them into The Bahamas to first obtain a Certificate of Registration from the Civil Aviation Department, in order for the Customs Department to release the unmanned aircraft system to the owner” said the statement.  

According to Transport and Aviation Minister the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, the Special Regulation became necessary due to the proliferation of drones in The Bahamas. This new Special Regulation will remain in effect until the requirement has been incorporated into law, or until it is repealed by the Civil Aviation Department.

Unmanned aircraft systems already in The Bahamas have until 29th February, 2016 to register them with the Civil Aviation Department, and the failure to do so may result in them being detained by the Flight Standards Inspectorate of the Civil Aviation Department said the statement.

Restrictions governing the operation of the drones include their operation “near an airport, at excessive heights, in congested or populated areas, near an organized open-air assembly, near a vessel, vehicle or structure, or within close proximity to any person” said the statement.  

Attorney General opens the EDLS Legal Week

The Honourable Z. C. Allyson Maynard Gibson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs opened Eugene Dupuch Law School’s (EDLS) Annual Legal Education Week on Monday, February 1st. The theme of this year’s week of events, hosted by the law school’s Student Association, is “Extending the legacy of honour, integrity, scholarship, service, excellence and advocacy.” 

The Attorney General was interviewed by a student from EDLS and shared her thoughts on the successes and the challenges of the justice system and emphasized the importance Swift Justice, an initiative focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Judicial System.

“Swift Justice is not just a catch phrase. We set about bringing all of the stakeholders and the administration of justice together so that we would take away avoidable inefficiencies,” she explained.

“The result of which, in 2015 we tried 110 more cases than we did in 2012. We have doubled the conviction rate, we have decreased the backlog by allocating resources, we have built 10 criminal courts, we have improved our system of jurors, and we have welcomed to the table international partners”.

The Attorney General encouraged law students to get involved in informing justice system reform and contributing to a Safer Bahamas.

China EXIM Bank has its say

Amid mounting criticism over what some perceive as a lack of progress on the stalled $3.5 billion mega resort project, representatives of the China Export Import Bank, the project’s owner and financier, dismissed the criticisms as “unfounded,” accused the critics as having “ulterior motives” and flatly denied that the stalled project was their fault.

The Bank further defended their decision making process as “responsible” and necessary to not only protect their interests, but the interests of the Bahamian people.

“China EXIM Bank is a responsible bank. When it takes actions and makes decisions, the bank bears in mind not only its own interests but also the interests of The Bahamas and the Bahamian people” said the bank.

“It is because of this that the bank along with the receivers has been working hard to look for a competent investor who can take over the project with an integrated overall plan for the management of all parts of the project, so that the project will generate sustainable and maximum value for all stakeholders.”

Led into bankruptcy in Delaware on 29th June 2015 by the developer and later into receivership, the project has seen job losses numbering in excess of 2,000 and scores of unpaid contractors owed millions of dollars. The government of The Bahamas has constantly stressed the urgency of a resolution to this matter and Prime Minister Christie told party supporters as much during a public meeting in Bamboo Town on Tuesday, 19th January 2016.

The EXIM Bank however insists that Baha Mar is a huge hotel complex and it will take time to secure the right investor with a thorough understanding of the project to ensure its success.

“As the Baha Mar project is a huge hotel complex, it takes time to market and for any investor interested to carefully study the project and gain a thorough understanding before making the final decision” said the bank.

Notwithstanding the vetting process and in the face of much criticism, Prime Minister Christie has repeatedly and unapologetically expressed confidence and optimism in a resolution to this project.  

The Parole and Probation Systems are launched

On the heels of a Parliamentary resolution to borrow $20 million to fund a Citizens Security and Justice Program, the Ministry of National Security launched the parole and probation component of the program with a conference that opened at the Hilton Hotel on Thursday of this week.

The theme of the conference was “Sharing experiences on community corrections; Probation and parole supervision.”

The parole and probation system is designed to ease overcrowding at the correctional facility and provide an executing mechanism for the managed and coordinated reintegration of ex-convicts into the broader society, thereby reducing the rate of recidivism.

Commenting on the use of the Electronic Monitoring System, Minister of National Security the Hon. Bernard J. Nottage foreshadowed a post-trial application of the monitoring system.

“Here we use it (electronic monitoring) primarily for pre-trial”…”but in many countries it is used for the purpose of monitoring people on parole, or who are on probation.” The minister revealed that parole legislation is expected by year’s end.  

Renewal of the contract for the provision of electronic monitoring services is currently under active review by the Ministry said the Minister.          

IDB board of governors to meet in Nassau

It is now official. The Bahamas will play host to the annual general meeting of the board of governors of both the Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Investment Corporation scheduled for April 7-10, 2016 at the Baha Mar Convention Centre on Cable Beach.

State Minister for Finance, the Hon. Michael Halkitis made the announcement in one of the boardrooms at the convention centre on Thursday of this week.

Expected to attract about 5,000 delegates, Halkitis revealed that the Bahamas government has spent about six million dollars in preparation for this grand event that promises to signal to the world that The Bahamas is a prime tourism destination for large conventions and meetings.

In addition to youth development, climate change and renewable energy are slated to take centre stage at this general meeting.

“At this meeting climate change and renewable energy will be regarded as priority areas for future IDB interventions in contributing toward the economic development of The Bahamas” said Mr. Halkitis.

Halkitis said the relationship between The Bahamas and the IDB has benefitted the country in the form of $800 million in loan grants to fund some 136 projects to facilitate national development.

NHI and BIA to resume talks

The NHI Secretariat issued a statement on Friday morning indicating that the Bahamas government was “pleased” with the recent statements made by Emmanuel Komolafe, Chairman of The Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) with regard to their willingness to compromise on their stance on the administration of National Health Insurance Bahamas.

“The Secretariat has always had an open door policy when it comes to stakeholder engagement and has already engaged in discussions to meet with the BIA as early as next week. As Mr. Komolafe stated, we all support universal health care. It is through this shared goal that will enable the Government and the BIA to work together for the good of all Bahamians” said the NHI Secretariat’s statement 

The statement concluded by reiterating the government’s belief that the private insurance industry is vital to the rollout and successful implementation of NHI Bahamas, and the NHI Secretariat “welcomes frequent and constructive discussions with the BIA going forward.” 

In Passing…

The annual Royal Bahamas Police Force service of thanksgiving was held on Sunday, 31st January 2016 at the Salem Union Baptist Church on Taylor Street. It was preceded by the annual laying of the wreath ceremony held at the police headquarters. This ceremony was attended by scores of family members of fallen officers in the line of duty. This was followed by a procession to the church where officers were addressed by the Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade and Minister of National Security, the Hon. Bernard J. Nottage. Both leaders thanked the officers for their public service and called for a united front to defeat the scourge of crime.

Continuing his campaign to promote national food security and the agribusiness sector, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. V. Alfred Gray, toured Forrester Bowe’s 19-acre commercial farm to encourage Forrester Bowe to continue his good work and to inspire others to get involved. Mr. Gray said “we are here today at the farm of Mr. Forrester Bowe, with some 19 acres on it.  He’s planting on it a variety of things like coconuts, Persian limes, guavas, cassavas, dillies, and sweet potatoes. I came here to encourage him and to see whether the visit could inspire other people to get involved.”

Junior Achievement Month was officially launched this week under the theme “Youth innovation leading the way” with a number of activities planned for February with a national focus. These activities include a three-day conference, BahamaJAC, for all Junior Achievers from across The Bahamas and a three-day college fair at the Kendal G. Isaacs Gymnasium on February 24-26, 2016.

In its continuing campaign of education, communication and preparation, the Ministry of Health hosted a workshop on the prevention and management of a Zika Virus infection. Health Minister the Hon Perry Gomez told the media that his Ministry was tracking developments of this latest global health crisis for the past three months.

Minister Dorsett participated in a workshop this week on the conservation of our marine protected areas. The workshop was hosted by the Bahamas National Trust.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday morning advising that all persons travelling to Trinidad must have a machine readable electronic passport to land in Trinidad. Passengers will not be landed with the handwritten passport and will be returned home. This is especially important for those traveling on the special charter to Trinidad later today on Bahamasair’s special flight.