THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS BY ELCOTT COLEBY (14-18 SEPTEMBER)
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advice times;”>THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (14 – 18 SEPTEMBER 2015)
COMMENTARY BY ELCOTT COLEBY
Christie to offer again for leader at PLP’s November convention
All speculations in the print and electronic media, social media, around the cooler and in the barber shops came to an end on Thursday when Prime Minister Christie announced his intent to offer once again for leader of the governing Progressive Liberal Party during its 41st National Convention scheduled for the first week of November at the Melia Resort. He made the announcement at a Town Hall Meeting in North Andros.
Referring to the large crowd on hand, the Prime Minister told the crowd that the media should have been there to see the crowd and suggested that speculations surrounding his leadership were “foolishness” designed to distract his government.
“The radio stations say people tired of Christie. He should have been here tonight with you all. We have no time to be distracted by foolishness” said Christie. He said he would go in as leader and come out of convention as leader.
It is now clear that the Prime Minister will lead the governing Progressive Liberal Party into the 2017general elections.
A crowd of about 300 people showed up at the North Andros High School for the town hall meeting.
Delaware court dismisses Baha Mar Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition
Leaving only the offshore call center, Northshore Mainland Services, with a legitimate case in the jurisdiction of the United States, Delaware bankruptcy court judge Kevin Carey dismissed the Chapter 11 petition filed by the remaining fourteen Bahamian incorporated companies that make up Baha Mar. He handed down the judgment at noon on Tuesday, 15th September.
In his ruling judge Carey opined that a continuation of the Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware was unlikely to bring the parties back to the negotiating table in the short term. He added that that the Baha Mar creditors had “a legitimate expectation” that any solvency proceedings involving the project would take place in The Bahamas legal jurisdiction. This ruling was consistent with that of Bahamas Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder.
Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie welcomed the news which his government had sought through the courts.
“The Government welcomes the decision today of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court to dismiss the Chapter 11 proceedings against the Bahamian Baha Mar entities. In so doing, the Bankruptcy Court agreed that the future of the Baha Mar resort should be determined in the proceedings in the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, in which Justice Winder has appointed provisional liquidators” said the Prime Minister.
He reiterated the primary objective of his government.
“The Government’s primary objective is and has always been to see the Resort completed, opened and operating as soon as possible. The Delaware Bankruptcy Court’s decision advances that objective and recognizes that the interests of the Bahamian Baha Mar entities and their creditors will be best served by the Bahamian proceedings and by negotiations” continued Mr. Christie.
The Prime Minister again invited all parties to join it in “cooperating with the provisional liquidators to bring about a prompt resolution of this matter in the interests of the Bahamian people.”
In its response, Baha Mar expressed disappointment with the ruling and said that the company is weighing its legal options.
The Provisional Liquidators issued a statement essentially saying that the ruling does not affect their Supreme Court mandate to craft the way forward for Baha Mar.
The opposition FNM said that only “time will tell” if the decision to appoint Provisional Liquidators was the right one and the governing PLP hailed the decision as a “major victory for the Bahamian people.”
Police concludes BEC bribery investigation
Some nine months after the US Department of Justice reported that French energy giant Alstom SA agreed in a plea bargain to pay $772 million to settle bribery allegations involving several foreign governments, the local investigation into possible bribery of a BEC board member was concluded by the police and turned over to the office of the Attorney General.
The settlement was announced on 22nd December 2014.
At the beginning of the investigation, Bahamas Attorney General Senator Allyson Maynard-Gibson pointed out that the investigation by the US State Department took many years before it secured a conviction. She also noted that the naming of a Bahamian official in court documents does not translate into automatic prosecution in The Bahamas as due process must be afforded the accused.
The Attorney General believes her team is nearing the completion of this due process
and once again called on the public to allow the government to do its job in concluding this issue.
“We are at the end of the road” said Maynard-Gibson.
“Allow please the prosecutors, the excellent professionals, to do their jobs. I want to reassure the public that we take this matter very seriously.”
This week in Parliament
Following is a short summary of the House proceedings on Wednesday, 16th September 2015.
In the wake of the Delaware bankruptcy court ruling by Judge Kevin Carey, dismissing the bankruptcy petition by fourteen Bahamian incorporated companies that make up Baha Mar, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie responded a second time in as many days, this time updating House members on the government’s policy position regarding the way forward for the stalled $3.5 billion resort on Cable Beach.
“The government is pleased that the bankruptcy court in Delaware shares the government’s view that the future of the Baha Mar resort should be determined not in or by a court in Delaware, but rather here in The Bahamas by our own Supreme Court, especially now that the court here has appointed a Provisional Liquidator” said Mr. Christie.
The Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez communicated to the House on the list of activities to commemorate the combined Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) and Caribbean Wellness Week (CWW) and delivered an update on the government’s current preparatory work for the introduction of National Health Insurance (NHI) in January 2016.
Extension of hours at poly clinics in preparation for NHI is as follows:
Agape Health Clinic – hours extended to 8pm
Elizabeth Estates Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight as at the 5th October
Fleming Street Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight at the 28th September
South Beach Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight as at the 28th September
Flamingo Gardens Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight at the 28th September
Eight Mile Rock Clinic – hours extended to 9PM
Rand Memorial General Hospital Practice Clinic – hours allocated from 4pm to 11pm
Minister Gomez also advised the House of his ministry’s intent to officially open two new health clinics in September – one in Adelaide and the other in Fox Hill.
State Minister for Legal Affairs the Hon. Damian Gomez led the second reading and committal of the Antiterrorism Amendment Bill 2015 pursuant to chapter 107 of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas. This bill is intended to further aid in the combating, prevention and suppression of the financing of terrorism. Its passage into law effectively completes the fulfillment of the Bahamas’ international obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 and 1373 on terrorism and the anti money laundering and anti-terrorism initiatives of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).