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THIS WEEK CONTINUED…

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tadalafil sovaldi times;”>PM Christie promises National Heroes Park and honours regulations

cialis usa times;”>The work of the committee responsible for National Heroes Day as a national holiday continues. That committee was established in 1989 with the Hon. Fred Mitchell, the Hon. Loretta Butler Turner and Canon Sebastian Campbell to formally honour Sir Milo Butler. 

So having secured the second Monday in October to honour Bahamian heroes, the lobbying continues. At a ceremony held at the Botanical Gardens on Monday, 12th October, the Committee chair, Canon Campbell, called for a heroes’ park, an official honours system, Afrocentric education and an official national dress.

Acting Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Tellis Bethel proposed the naming of the body of water that delineates our territorial borders the Lucayan Sea in honour of the original inhabitants of the Bahama chain of islands.

In delivering his keynote address, Prime Minister Christie announced that by January 10th 2016, a heroes’ park would have been identified, complete with a cemetery and the attendant regulations governing the country’s local honours system would be legislated. 

Minister Hanna-Martin stands behind the Met Office

Following any catastrophe there is usually enough blame to go around and Joaquin was no different. Notwithstanding the relatively weighty evidence to the contrary, the Bahamas Department of Meteorology was the target of unfair criticism and baseless attacks in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin. Some accused the department of failing to advise the public on the storm’s development in a timely manner and a foreign hurricane center accused the department of having a faulty Doppler radar system. All of those claims to date proved to be inaccurate and the various critics are yet to provide one shred of evidence to support their claims. 

This week the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin spoke, throwing her full support and commendation behind her department in concurrence with the observation of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.   

“Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency who were here recently in a briefing with NEMA took the opportunity to commend the Department of Meteorology for the work that they did and for the actions they took in giving out warnings when it was not their advice to do so and observe that the meteorologists in the region were watching this storm and out of that has come a commendation for the department and so I want to throw my commendation to them for all the good work they have done.” 

The Minister also urged vigilance because of irregular weather patterns due to climate change from global warming and in light of the country’s vulnerability due to its location – within the hurricane zone.

“It (Joaquin) was described as drifting and wobbly and the end result is that it tells us that being in a hurricane zone as we are, we have to be extremely vigilant at all times even if it’s, you know, it looks like something you can discount – it’s something that we have to ensure that we keep our “P’s” and “Q’s” (about) because we are peculiarly

Vulnerable,” said the Minister.

Just for the record, The Bahamas Department of Meteorology tracked and reported regularly on Joaquin from the time it was a tropical depression until it fizzled in the North Atlantic Ocean on Saturday, 3rd October. NEMA released all 27 weather bulletins prepared by the Met Office to all of its stakeholders. 

PM Christie supports postponing November convention

The general consensus was that to host a political convention in the midst of thousands of Bahamians struggling to come to grips of the tragedy wrought by hurricane Joaquin as they worked feverishly to rebuild their lives, their communities and their economies smacked of arrogance and insensitivity. 

In the end the Prime Minister (party leader) and the Labour Minister (convention chairman) from the government side agreed and the party’s chairman agreed to postpone the November national convention until around April 2016. 

Prime Minister Christie told the media on Tuesday morning that for him “personally the answer is yes” for postponing the convention even though as government leader he was relying on the “good judgment” of the leaders of the party. 

Mr. Christie explained why he thought the convention should be postponed. 

“During the next several months in The Bahamas there must be extraordinary focus placed on those islands and where some big decisions have to be made on those islands with respect to infrastructure; whether or not people should continue to live in particular areas if they (currently) live in those areas” said the Prime Minister. 

In a press release the party concurred with the Prime Minister that this huge national undertaking required the full attention and focus of the national government at this time and a distraction such as a political convention must take a secondary role. 

“The party’s leadership has determined that the level of devastation caused by hurricane Joaquin and the scope of the recovery, the rebuilding and restoration efforts – especially of the physical infrastructure – necessarily require the full attention and focus of the government at this time. 

“Bringing a measure of normalcy and comfort to the lives of the residents of the southern Bahamas and assisting them with rebuilding their lives and their communities are of paramount importance to the government at this time. 

 “Politics must necessarily and wisely take a secondary role to this critical national undertaking” said chairman Roberts in a press statement on Tuesday night.  

Strachan leads industry Dialogue 101

Continuing her mandate to transform The Bahamas into a “state of the art arbitration center,” Financial Services Minister the Hon. Hope Strachan welcomed two industry experts, Professor Jan Paulsson and Attorney Clyde Lea on Tuesday past to the Ministry’s Dialogue 101 to discuss what arbitration means to the legal profession. 

The Minister expressed her commitment to “ensuring that a strategic and comprehensive capacity building programme is firmly entrenched in the National Development Plan for The Bahamas International Arbitration Centre.” 

Further, Strachan announced that her ministry has invited the Principal Legal Officer of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law to conduct a lecture and technical workshop on the impact of the Model Law and the development of The Bahamas International Arbitration Centre. This workshop is scheduled for 13th & 14th November.

Another important step The Bahamas has taken in establishing this jurisdiction as an international center for arbitration was the 1st October, 2015 meeting between Bahamas Foreign Minister, the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Mrs. Bertha Cooper-Rousseau and the Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, H.E. Hugo Sibliesz. The trio discussed The Bahamas becoming a State Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Minister Strachan advised luncheon delegates that the country was in the “advanced stages of satisfying the necessary procedural steps for The Bahamas to become a Member State of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.”

This membership, said the Minister, “would be an honour for The Bahamas and would significantly boost its profile within the international arbitral community.”      

Halkitis: Joaquin threw “monkey wrench” in government’s recovery plans

The Bahamas chapter of the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants played host to that body’s 2015 regional convention which officially opened at the Melia Resort on Wednesday, 14th October. 

Delivering the keynote address was State Minister for Finance the Hon. Michael Halkitis. Commenting on the impact of Hurricane Joaquin on the country’s public finances, Halkitis bluntly said that Joaquin threw a “monkey wrench” in the governments recovery plans for 2015 and projected reprioritized budget allocations, especially in respect of the government’s infrastructural planning.

“We have to also consider for example, if there was a coastal road, now is this the time that we commit to move that infrastructure further inland to be able to withstand future storms.

“We will have to put a cost to it, put a timetable (to it), and then we look at how we’re going to finance it.”

The State Minister foreshadowed some fiscal reprioritizing from less critical areas to fund the critical rebuilding efforts in the southern Bahamas resulting in some “movement within the current budget structure.” 

In Passing…

Peter Deveaux-Isaacs has been recently appointed Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for coordinating the implementation of National Health Insurance. The Prime Minister feels that his training in diplomacy positions him as an excellent mediator in negotiations that have sometimes become challenging between consultants and key stakeholders. Mr. Deveaux-Isaacs was educated at Saint Augustine’s College, Iowa State University and Holborn College. He was also a Teaching and Research Assistant at Iowa State University. He has received extensive training in Diplomacy and National and International Security matters in the United Kingdom, Europe, United States, Chile, Mexico, Japan, Canada and Argentina, Brazil and the Caribbean. 

The Bahamas was elected Chair of the Committee of the Capital Fund for the OAS Scholarship and Training Programs during a meeting at the OAS on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. Our representative will be in the person of His Excellency Dr. Elliston Rahming, Ambassador to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS).The Bahamas’ nomination was moved by Ecuador and seconded by the United States. The Committee is tasked with managing, investing, mobilizing resources for and identifying potential uses for the Capital Fund for the OAS Scholarship and Training Programs. The use of the Fund is confined to assisting Member States with their domestic developmental goals in human resource development. The priority areas were established by the Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) in response to the Summits of the Americas and the General Assembly of the Organization. 

The donations for Hurricane relief continued this week with a group of webshop proprietors donating $250,000 to the relief efforts; Sebas Sebastian also donated several trailer homes. The Ministry of Tourism teamed up with Eastern Airlines to donate over 30,000 lbs of supplies; the Ministry of Agriculture donated supplies to NEMA; the Colina group of companies joined in the effort with $100,000 in goods and cash and the Progressive Liberal Party donated $50,000 to the cause. 

Former PLP Senator and Greek immigrant Alexander P. Mailis was eulogized at the Greek Orthodox Church on West Street and later laid to rest on Monday, 12th October at the family’s farm near Adelaide beach. Prime Minister Christie paid tribute to Mr. Mailis. He was 99 years old. 

As Grand Bahama continues its economic resurgence, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has launched yet again another advertising campaign highlighting the ecological riches, natural wonders, exhilarating adventures and vibrant culture that make life grand on Grand Bahama Island. It is the multilingual “LIFE IS GRAND” campaign.   

Prime Minister Christie delivered the commencement address on Friday to the latest graduates of the LJM Maritime Academy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration advised of the relocation of its Consular Division on Friday, 16th October. To facilitate this, the Division will be closed temporarily from the 19th – 20th October 2015. It reopens on 21st October 2015 at Charlotte House, on Shirley Street. Its telephone number, 397-9300, remains unchanged.